Sunday, September 14, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 89 of (Vol 2) of 27 Feb 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 89 of (Vol 2) of 27 Feb 2008.

(Note 1. We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be! I offer my sincere apologies for the likely errors, as the one doing the translation. ---KTSV Sarma. Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1930's to early 60's.


(Continued from DK # 88 of (Vol 2) of 24 Feb 2008.)

40. In difference to the directions by Aalavandar, Ramanujachariyar, named the two sons of his important Sishya 'Kooratthu Aazhvar' as, 'Parasara Bhattar and Veda Vyasa Bhattar'. Then he went on to write the Bhashyam to Brhma Sutra on the lines of Visishtadwaitam and also write the detailed notes on 'Thiru Vaai Mozhi'. Though Vishnu Puranam was written originally by Parasarar, Vyas's father, it is Vyasa who edited the and gave us the same in the form it is in to-day. He divided the Vedas in to four parts as I have said before. He also wrote all the Puranas. Vedas can be studied and absorbed only by some entitled persons. How are others to know about the wonderful concepts and principles given in the Vedas? To make them available to the common man, he also wrote the Puranas.

41. Vyasa's father Parasarar wrote the original version of Vishnu Purana and Vyasa's son Sukha instructed Raja Pareetchit, the grand son of Pandavas, the whole of Bhagavatam. Out of the Eighteen Puranas, 'Bhagavatam' talks of Vishnu's Avataras with the Sri Krishnavatara as the main one. Normally, there is always a dispute as to which one is the Bhagavatam, the one talking about Vishnu's Avataras or the one talking about Ambal'sLeelas, known as the Devi Bhagavatam. We want both, as they are both excellent. Sri Chaitanyar, Nimbalkar and Vallabacharyar's bhakti siddhantas, rever the Vishnu Bhagavatam on equal terms as the Vedas themselves. At the same time, the Adwaitins who have objections to their siddhantas however, rever both the Bhagavatam with the same intensity.

42. Siva Puranam is different to Skaanda Puranam, though three fourth of the latter too is about stories of Siva's exploits only. But since it has the description of Skanda ie., Subrahmanya's birth and deeds, it is known as Skaandam. This has been rendered in Tamil by Kachchiyappa Sivachariyar of Kanchipuram as 'Kanda Puranam'. The famous 'Durga Sapta Sati' containing Durgambal's exploits knowns as, 'Devi Mahatmyam', occurs in Markandeya Puranam. 'Chandi Homam, Sata Chandi and Sahasra Chandi' are all held using these 700 slokas, which are valued as Mantras. Bhavishyam means the future. Bhavishya Puranam contains many of the twists and turns of the present Kali Yuga, foreseen. It talks of the rule of Mourya Kings as well as the White Skinned Britishers. Reading about such predictions, there are many who suspect that, it could not have been written 5,000 years back. It is one thing to suspect without any basis or logic. But it is another to accept that there could have been such great Rishis of self control and abnegation of sensual gratification, to be able to reduce the effect of the grossness to almost zero, to project themselves beyond the confines of mind, time and space! In such states one can have the vision to see, here, there and everywhere; in the past present and future! Common folks cannot have the temerity to even think of interpolating their crassness in the writing of such 'Deerga Darshies'.

43. Garuda Puranam talks of the world of the Pithrus / Manes. It contains many of the mantras concerning taking care of the ancestors, wherever they are now in whatever form, by giving oblations of plain water with sesame seeds! So there is a tradition to read this Puranam while paying obsequies to the departed souls.

44. Brhmanda Puranam contains the complete history of Ambal, including, 'Lalithopakhyanam and Lalitha Sahasra Namam'. When all the 18 Puranas are recited over a number of days, it is completed with the recitation of 'Raja Rajeswari Pattabhishekam' from this Puranam. Many of the regularly recited slokas in temples and households are taken from here and there; from the Puranas only. For example Siva Sahasranamam and Vishnu Sahasranamam, both occur in Maha Bharatam. Many Ashtotras, Kavachams etc are gathered from the Puranas only. 'Aditya Hrudayam' is from the Ramayanam and the 'Pradosha Stotram' occurs in Skaandam.

Upa-Puranas and Other Puranas.

45. Other than the 18 Puranas, there are another 18 Upa-Puranas and some more, which stand apart and some a part of the Upa-Puranas. Vinayaka Puranam and Kalki Puranam, belong to these Upa-Puranas. On the name of each month there are Puranas such as for Tulam, Maaga, Vaisaka and so on which are part of other Puranas. Each place of importance with a Temple has a Sthala Puranam, some of which are part of a Puranam or Upa-Puranam and some of which stand alone. Then You have those which talk about a river like Ganga and Kaveri, its life history and about various important Kshetras on it's banks. Like the Tula Puranam for the month of Aippasi, also contains the history of the Kaveri river. A bath in the Kaveri river in the month of Aippasi is special, say on Deepavali.

46. Other than Puranas about Gods, Sthalas/Places of worship and so on, there are also Puranas about devotees. 'Periya Puranam' also known as 'Thruthondar Puranam' is about the 63 Nayanmars, who were Devotees of Siva. This is also available as 'Upamanyu Bakthi Vilasam' in Sanskrit. There is a book by the name of 'Baktha Vijayam', which talks especially of devotees of Panduranga of Pandareepuram in Karnataka. One Nabha Das has written about the devotees of North India, by the title of 'Baktha Mala'.

Itihasam and Puranam.

47. Ramayanam and Mahabharatam in our country, has been like the two eyes for all people rich and poor, showing the right path, over the years. These two have been given a special name of 'Itihasam' instead of Puranam. 'Pura' means the past. They talk of what happened in the past. They contain predictions about the future and guide lines for individual and collective behaviour. You can take Puranas to mean as those written in the past. All the old time literature have been written in poetry only. It is only recently that the prose form of literature started being used. That is why they started being called 'Novel' to mean the new form! In Tamil, they coined the word, 'Naveenam' for it. Naveenam is new, Puranam is old, very old!

48. Puranam has to fit in with five qualifications. One is Sarggam, that is old creation. Then the second is Pratisarggam, that is the original creation's expansion. Third is the Vamsam, that is starting from the sons of Brhma, how the family spread from generation to generation. Fourth is Manvantaram, about the Manu of that set of thousand Chatur Yugas, when one of the 14 Manu's reign holds sway. Fifth is the Vamsanucharitham, the details of the Ruler's Dynasty. Then it will also have descriptions of the Boogolam(of the countryside and city/towns), Kagolam(Astronomical details) etc. So, it is not only History but, Geography and Astrography too.

49. Itihasam is, Iti + ha + aasam, meaning, thus + truely + so; that is how it happened. That 'ha' in the middle has the meaning of, 'emphasising truely, sincerely, really'. With no untruth whatsoever, Itihasam reports exactly what happened. They were written as and when it happened, with a first hand reporter. Valmiki wrote Ramayana, when Rama was alive. He looked after Sita, when she was seperated from her husband again after return from Sri Lanka. Despite her proving her chastity by walking through fire without being singed, there were doubts being expressed about her chastity still! Later, Lava and Kusa, Sita and Rama's sons presented the whole of Ramayana as a 'dance drama opera' to Rama himself. Similarly, Maha Bharata was written by Vyasa, who was a first hand witness to all that happened, when it happened. In addition, he also had the divine vision, to know things that he may not have personally been witness to. While mostly Puranas talk of past events, Ramayanam and Mahabharatam, were such that, as and when they were written, most of the people of that time knew most of the characters and details of the events. That is why, there is no chance of our doubting them. That is why they are called, "Iti + ha + asam = Itihaasam".

50. Itihaasam could also be taken to mean, 'that is how it is said'. Instead of being a witness to an event, to take it to be true on face value, is known as, 'aidihyam'. The Tamil word 'aideekam' evolving from this means anything traditionally so believed. So, that is how it happened! OK, we will also do like that only. This word 'aidihyam' comes from the word, 'iti'.

The Greatness of Itihasa.

51. Puranas are considered as Veda's Upangam. Whereas, Itihasas are considered as of an equal status as that of Veda itself. Bharatam is the, "...panchamo veda:...", that is, the Fifth Veda! About Ramayanam it is said that, "...when the very parama purusha to be known through the Vedas themselves was born as the son of Dasaratha, that Veda itself was born as Valmiki's child, The Ramayana...", says a poem in Sanskrit! The slokam is this:- "veda vedye pare pumsi jate dasarathatmajeI veda: prachetasaadaaseeth sakchat ramayanatmanaaII". (Valmiki being the son of Prachetas, Valmiki is known as Praachetas.) Ramayana and Maha Bharata are stories, which were part and parcel of every person of this country, rich and poor. The essence, morals and dharma, of these two stories, was flowing in the blood of the people of this country till some five to six decades back; till the advent of cinema and television; till the Pouranikars were reaching these to the intelligentia and the common man! By then anyhow it is hoped and we have reasons to believe, that these individual and collective concepts of morals and dharma, had become part of the DNA imprint!

(To be continued.)



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