Sunday, September 14, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 92 of (Vol 2) of 07 Mar 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 92 of (Vol 2) of 07 Mar 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 # 91 of (Vol 2) of 03 Mar 2008. I am at the middle of page 715 of the volume 2. Periyaval is talking about this in 1962.)

71. All roads lead to Rome. All rivers eventually reach the same ocean. All religions take us to the same God, by whatever name we may call Him! With this balanced equilateral perspective, they say, "Jehovah, Jove or Lord". Bible evolved in Israel of the Semetic Hebrew Religion. Their God is Jehovah. The Hellenic God of Greece is Jove, another name for Jupiter. Lord is the name for God in all religions. Though the name may vary, God is the same, say the experienced, learned, elders of any and every Religion.

72. With humbleness, if we approach the Puranas and study them with the aim of learning some lessons for life, there will be no confusion. We will learn that the message of the Puranas are for our individual and collective improvement and betterment. When our intention is to benefit from studying them, we will be able to imbibe the high morality and relate them to the modern conditions and environment. If our aim is to learn lessons, from negative situations we can learn, 'how not to behave' and from positive situations, we can learn, 'how to behave'.

Who Told Whom?

73. Most of these Puranas are of the format as though Easwara is telling Devi or Vishnu; or Brhma / Vishnu is telling Narada or some such Rishi. That in turn would be told to some other Rishi or King and so on, till finally Vyasa would be instructing Sutha; and finally Sutha would be telling this to all the assembled Rishis in Naimisaranya. (It is interesting to note that in such bygone days too, in Naimisaranya the Rishis after a hard day's work of Yagnas, before the evening ceremonies were to commence, would gather to spend some time for entertainment.) It is in that sort of an august gathering, Sutha would be seated on a high pedestal for relating his account of the Puranas! You may be surprised to note that Sutha, held in high esteem and reverence by all the gathered Rishis, was himself a non-brahmin. The learned were always respected and caste was never such a handicap as it is made out to be, by vested interest, in later day India! This also shows the reverence for the Puranas!

74. There are different methods for getting a job done. You can give an order, like a Governmental Order or a Decree by the Ruler. The one who has to obey will have to do it whether he likes it or not, with the fear of punishment for disobedience! This is known as 'Prabhu Samhitai'. Then we do it when suggested by a friend. Here there is no fear of punishment, but we do it out of love and kindness. To employ us in a job from the position of a friend is, 'Suhrut Samhitai'. There is a third variety, which can get anything done by a slight indication of inclination. That is by the wife's or girl-friend's wish! This is known as 'Kanta Samhitai'. You can call it the 'power of suggestion'. Vedam is Prabhu Samhitai, Puranas are Suhrut Samhitai and classic literature known as Kavyam, is the Kanta Samhitai. Vedas will give you the Do's and Don'ts, without going into the why of it. Puranas tell you as a friend would do, that 'if you adopt this method you will benefit and if you go this way, that may be harmful'. Not only do they tell you the reasons why, but do so through interesting anecdotes, making us attentive to the message.

75. Harischandra did this. Nala did this. What ever troubles and tribulations they had to undergo, eventually truth triumphed. They got name and fame, forever and eternity. Contrary to this, Hiranyakshan, Hiranya Kasipu, Ravana, Duryodhana and such, got some temporary benefits and advantage; but they will forever be examples for dishonour and ignominy. Thus Puranas encourages better attitude and behaviour; while dicouraging the wrong attitude and mis-behaviour. Like a good friend, Puranas do the job of 'Suhrut Samhitai'.

76. Kavyam ie., literature goes a step beyond. With the truth, imagination is added, enlarging some areas while censoring some, the poet takes liberty to play with the facts, to make it more interesting. Like the wife who has the husband's welfare only in mind, it does the job of 'Kanta Samhitai'. (Sensational and titillating writing is never part of what is classic literature / Kavyam!)

77. In the olden days, the Mother would get up early enough to do various household duties such as, cleaning up the house with a broom, sprinkling water in the front portico of the house, followed by a mixed sprinkling of water with the cow dung which had germicidal effect; churn the curd to get the butter; start making the meals in an open oven. While doing all this she would be singing melodiously the stories of the Puranas. As she would play fully underline the importance of the high morals; the children as they get up and do their personal cleaning up and ablusions, would be absobing all that, without even being unduly conscious of doing so! Later when reading the originals and listening to the Pouranikars in the temple, the lessons would be etched in the mind, blood and even DNA, I suppose. (KTSV adds:- We were five children ever quarrelling amongst ourselves as to who would go to sleep on either side of our Mother. Only two could excel. Others had to wait for the next night. Before going to sleep, this is what our Mother used to say, which has remained the only prayer in our hearts till this day, "OK. Children we will sleep now. Lessen the light of the Lantern. Say with me! 'Swami! Kadavule! Kappathikko! Nalla buddhi kudu! Neeye thunai!' " So, in our life we have never asked God, for this or that. Our prayers have always been, "Oh God! It is your job to take care of us. I do not have to ask you to do what is your job! 'Nalla buddhi kudu'. Give me the good attitude and mind!"

78. Now these things are rare. From childhood, everybody is attracted by the pulls and temptations of, cinema, politics, pop music, news paper, gossip, TV serials and money matters! To what extent the puranas would be useful when presented through drama and cinema, is a mute question. Because, these are more oriented towards money making than being ethically and morally motivated. You may get some idea of the stories, but you are more likely to get some wrong motivation! Another pitfall is the fact that the audience is more likely to absorb the characteristics of the actors in the cinema or drama; rather than that of the Puranic characters!

79. When the Pouranikar himself is a man of exceptional character, involved in the spread of values and principles of the Puranam, having deeply ingrained those value systems in their own life, it is a pleasure indeed to hear them talk. If the person talking about those values, is himeself running after name, fame and wealth; and if he does not practice what he preaches; his upanyasam will also be failing to motivate the listener! Those who are husband and wife in real life only can enact the role of a married couple on the stage, as per the Nataka Sastra. Now-a-days, in big cities a lot of such 'Upanyasam' are taking place. I notice through the 'engagement' columns in the news-papers, there are many such programmes almost everyday. Even young people are attending such events, to the extent that I am tempted to call it a renaissance.

80. Point to note here is, as to what extent the Pouranikar is telling the story without embarassing anyone, any set of people or their sensibilities. It is alright to touch upon some humour and some politics, without missing the purpose of the Purana. To kindle gratitude towards God and inspire noble sentiments in the listener is, 'rasam'; but when the speaker gets carried far away from the purport of the Purana, then it is 'rasa-aabhasam'. The person telling the story himself should be a true believer of the message of the Puranam, deeply knowledgeable in the subject matter. He should guard against making the Purana Pravachanam another venue for entertainment, thereby reducing the impact!

81. I do not see so many Upanyasam, Bhajanai and such get-togethers, in smaller towns as I see in big industrialised cities. But I suppose, as per Newton's Law of Action and Reaction, wherever there is modernisation, these movements are also on the increase. But my only wish is that even in villages and less developed areas, at least on days like 'Ekadasi' or 'Pradosham', Puranas should be read and heard.

Sthala Puranas.

82. Even those who believe in the Puranas are not ready to believe in these Sthala Puranas, that are there in every place where there is a Temple. Those so called educated who call these Puranams as lies and bluffs, give scant relevance to these Sthala Puranas! In many of them it is said that, 'here Indra got Saapa Vimochanam, or from here Agasthya witnessed the Siva-Parvathi's wedding' and so on. Their likely reaction will be, "How can it be that the same story is applicable to more than one place? Just to get name and fame for their own town or city, these are all cooked-up stories!"

83. If I ask some very knowledgeable persons about this, their explanation is some thing like this. Every Kalpam, the same events take place, with some changes, may be in locations of some of the events. (Just to remind you, a day and night of Brhma's extends to two Kalpas, that is 8,640 million years! I suppose as history repeats itself, Puranas too get repeated every Kalpam, possibly!) Even if you do not believe this, we should take it that, people are proud to claim that some of the events of the Puranas took place in their city or town. Rama or Krishna came to their town, or some Maharishis came their and some henious sinful act was atoned and redressed in their place; may encourage their devotion to the local deity. Is this not more important than, our exercising our brains on matters in which we are poorly qualified? Bhagawan Himself says in Gita, that 'we should refrain from creating confusion in the minds of the common man who has innocent faith'. I Quote, " buddhi bedam janayet agnanaam karma sanginaam...", Unquote!

84. When I say this, it does not however mean that I have the view that, though Sthala Puranas may not be true, I am just trying to defend their case. Contrary to this, I believe the veracity of all these Sthala Puranas. May be that some of the Temples might have been constructed by the efforts of some devotees at a later date than what is depicted in the statues there! That is alright. Let it be! Whatever is said in the Vedas, we should believe in them. For Tamil devotees of Siva, Thevaram and for devotees of Vishnu, Nalayira Divya Prabhandam, should be believed totally. In these poems, sung in those particular sthalas / stations, the Sthala Puranam gets mentioned. This is a clear indication and confirmation of the place where the events occurred. As to the dates of these , since Thevaram and Divya Prabhandam themselves are 1,500 years old, the Temple and the events depicted should be at least that much old or prior to that!

85. For example, in Sri Rangam, Perumal is facing South as no where else, for which the reason is given in the Sthala Purana. After Ramachandra Murthy's Pattabhishekam that is, ascention to the throne, Vibhishana returned to Sri Lanka. At that time Rama gave him the small idol of Ranganatha, which He had been doing daily Puja to. Vibhishana while on his way back, halted for some time in the island between the branches of Ubhaya Kaveri. These idols long venerated in Puja, once if put on the ground even accidentally, will get firmly established irrevocably then and there! That is what happened. Vibhshana was heart broken. To ameliorate his sorrow, Ranganatha faced the South in his reclining posture! This, Thondar Adippodi Aazhvar talks about in his paasuram, giving the reason why Perumal is facing South. So evidently the event must be predated to the Pasuram! The paasuram runs like this:- "Kuda disai mudiyai vaithu / guna disai paadam neetti / vada disai pinbu kaatti / then disai ilangai nokki / kadal nirakk kadavul endai / aravanai thuyilumaak kandu / udal enakku urugumaalo ? / yen seigane ulagatheere !"

(Puranam about Puranams continues!)



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