Sunday, September 14, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 95 of (Vol 2) of 14 Mar 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 95 of (Vol 2) of 14 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 # 94 of (Vol 2) of 12 Mar 2008, after para 112. I am at page 741 of the volume 2. Periyaval is talking about this in 1962.)

113. It is wrong to think that, Periyaval is talking about something not mentioned in the Ramayanam and hence some 'result of fertile imagination!'. If you do a character analysis of how Sri Ramachandra Murthy has behaved impeccably under diverse conditions, you may note that He would most probably have done these three 'Prayaschiththas', to absolve Himself of the likely Doshams; for having done what He had to do. For His sense of rightness of attitude and behaviour, these Sthala Puranas are very contributory, in filling up a gap if not a chasm! Yes Ravana was a pain in many people's lives. He had virtually stolen Sita by a very poor trick and taken Her away against Her wishes. Legally, he was liable to be charge sheeted for a number of despicable offences! Then Ravana refused to accept any 'deal' or compromise, when repeatedly adviced by Hanuman, his two brothers and Mandodari, his wife! The whole world let out a loud sigh of relief and was happy when he was killed. Instead of going on a spree bragging about this action of His, of having killed Ravana, Rama when He went out of His way, on an expiatory pilgrimage to install three different Sivalingams in these three places; it lifts Rama's character far above the normal human beings and places it on the high pinnacle of the Meru mountain itself, so to say! It also contributes immensely to the sense of amity and oneness between the devotees of Vishnu and Siva!

114. Between these three Sthala Puranas, there is no contradiction of duplication. Rameswara Puranam talks only of the expiation of 'Brhma Hatti' dosham. That Sthala Puranam does not talk about the other two 'stigmas'. From there He must have gone walking along the sea shore towards North. There, in Vedaranyam he installed the Sivalingam for absolving Himself of the 'Veera Hatti' dosham. There the Sthala Puranam does not talk about, the other two doshams. From Vedaranyam, Rama went inland to Patteeswaram, to install yet another Sivalingam to get rid of the 'Chaya Hatti' dosham. Here too the Sthala Puranam does not talk of the other two doshams, but only 'Chaya Hatti'! In each of these three places, talking of one of the doshams, it points towards the Ramalingam there! These three places are some 100 to 150 miles apart. Evidently, Rama went walking to each of these three places; as He was in a sort of a pilgrimage for expiating sins. He would have been wary of using any pomp and show. Hence He could not have been flying in the Pushpaka Vimanam! Looking at the likely date of the events in Treta Yuga, when there was no train and plane service linking the three places; the uniqueness of the dosham being absolved and the oneness of Ramalingam; speaks volumes for the integrity of the veracity of the Stala Puranas.

115. Whatever the so-called modern research scholors of History and Archeology may say or believe, let me share with you a confirmed opinion of mine. There is a general feeling amongst these scholors that, to the extent that we can take Valmiki Ramayanam as an authority, we cannot consider these Sthala Puranas at par! I am speaking from the other end of the spectrum. I am of the view that these Sthala Puranas, are more to the truth than even, Valmiki Ramayanam, Bharatam, Vishnu Puranam and Bhagavatham. First, I spoke to you about Mayavaram taluqa Thiruvazhundur and some of the Sthalas around that, about the story of Ambal as a Cow; then I spoke to you about Kumbakonam and places around, about the Kumbam at the time of Maha Pralaya; thirdly, I enlarged the circle, each about a hundred miles apart, involving a Ramalingam in each place! Now I am going to tell you something that happened at the All-India-Level!

116. In Kaveri Puranam, there are two stories. One gives importance to the 'Thurai' where 'Amma Mandapam' is located in Sri Rangam. ('Thurai', is the name for man made embankment with stone paved steps going down to the water line, with some facilities for use by the public.) This says that bathing in Kaveri in the month of 'Tulam' that tallies with the 'Aippasi' of the Tamil calender, is special. The main character in this story is the Chola King by the name of Dharma Varma. He ruled over the Kingdom from a place known as, 'Nisulapuri'. 'Nisulam, Nisolam, Solam, Soli, Choli', are all interconnected words, related to, 'Corn' or 'Cholam' and the 'Chola / Sozha' Kingdom and 'Choli' as a skin-tight dress. You see the corn has a skin-tight dress around it. May be the 'Corn' was a staple cereal, giving the kingdom the name. Let this chola thing be set aside! I only mentioned that as I went into, 'pada + artham = padartham, ie., 'word-meaning'.

117. In the Kaveri Puranam, in another place in the narrative, it gives importance to the 'Tula Kattam' the Thurai on the Kaveri, in Mayavaram. Here, the 'Thula Kattam' has become 'Laakatam'. This 'Thula kattam / Laakatam' is in many other cities on the Kaveri banks. All these embankments known as 'Thula Kattam' are exactly similar in engineering and size of construction! The Puranam while talking about the special value of 'Kaveri Snanam' in the month of 'Tula / Aippasi', in one chapter it gives the importance to Sri Rangam and Dharma Varma; and in another chapter, it talks about a Brahmin couple, who bathed there and attained to 'Moksham'. That Brahmin's name is 'Natha Sarma' and his wife's name is, 'Anavadya'. Religiously they took Snanam in Kaveri in that month of 'Tula / Aippasi' and obtained Moksham! The Puranam also says that they had been to many places on 'Kshetradanam' and that they had been to Kedarnath and Kaasi'. This is the story known in Mayavaram in Kaveri Puranam. Kasi or Varanasi on the Ganges is about 2000 kilo meters from Mayavaram on the Kaveri. There are many man made embankments called 'Ghats' on the Ganges. One of them is the 'Kedar Ghat', with its own Sthala Purana. There it mentions that, a brahmin couple from South India, called 'Natha Sarma and Anavadya' had bathed there!

118. The story of Natha Sarma of Anavadya, (that there was a couple by that name, and that they had obtained to Moksham by bathing in the Kaveri in the month of Tulam,) may not be known to many in South India itself. They are also not famous like Rama or Krishna or Harischandra or Nala Maharaja! But when the Sthala Purana of Mayavaram tallies with that of Kedar Ghat in Varanasi, you have to sit up and take note! I only mentioned this to prove the point as to how, it is being daft, to distrust the Sthala Puranas! You do not have to bother about all the details either. Take the gist of the main message and apply it to, may be the changed circumstances of the modern day world. They are not to be considered as, 'all cock and bull stories, totally redundant'!

119. Kasi in Uttar Pradesh and Kanchipuram near Chennai in Tamil Nadu are more than a thousand miles apart. In Kasi Viswanatha Temple, Ambal is called, 'Annapoorani'. In Kanchipuram too Ambal is supposed to be doing the 32 Dharmas, one of them being 'Annadanam' (meaning, giving free food as alms). In the Kamakshi Temple, opposite to the entrance to the Sanctum Sanctorum, is the 'Sannidi' for Annapoorneswari. On it's 'Vimanam' (that is the dome like thing on top of Her Sannidy), are six peaks, unlike anywhere else in the South. If you wonder as to why so, the answer is available in Kasi, where on the Vimanam on top of Annapoorni's Sannidy, are very similar six peaks! It has been constructed as a replica of what is there in Kasi! When you take note of such genuine efforts to maintain tradition in places so far apart in space and time; you look at the unity of minds that is not to be ignored!

The Importance of Sthala Puranas.

120. In my opinion, to get to know many historical truths, local culture and customs; these Sthala Puranas would be more beneficial. These are suitable subjects for Research and Analysis, even more important than the Puranas and Upapuranas and Itihasas, in learning about our History and Culture. They are supplementary and complementary to each other, in addition to filling in the gaps of the Puranas / Itihasas. For example, now many learneds do not easily agree that, Adi Sankara who was so immersed in Adwaita, visited many Temples all over India, re-organised the devotional Mantras, Yantras and Kramas ie., Procedures, in each place. He mainly emphasised the Gnana Marg. So they feel that he could not have got too involved in these procedural imbroglio! But, if you get deeper in to the Sthala Puranas of such diversely located Kshetras as in Srinagar in Kashmir, Badrinath in Uttaranchal, Kamakhya Temple in Assam, Thiruvortriyur in Chennai, the famous Balaji Temple in Andhra Pradesh, Akhilandeswari Temple in Thiruvanaikkaval in deep South and Guruvayur Temple on the West coast; and or read the hundreds of slokas on each and every deity, so dripping with Bakti Rasa; then you are likely to wonder as to 'what more can anyone do for the spread of Bakti Marg, in the length and breadth of this vast country?' You will also note that, if there is a 'Rawal' in Badrinath, a Namboodri Brahmin, so is a 'Rawal' in Thiruvortriyur! He took the Namboodri Brahmins from Kerala and installed them there, for generations to come, as evidenced till date!

121. Even in the spread of Dharma and Morals, these Sthala Puranas have maintained their high levels and have not lagged behind the Puranas. Actually they have given clearer and deeper understanding to subtle points of Dharma. Though in recent times the Sthala Puranas seem to have lost credibility amongst the so called learned people; amongst Tamil scholors writing of 'Sthala Puranam / Maanmiyam / Ula / Kalambakam', have been quite popular. (Mahatmiyam in Sanskrit becomes Manmiyam in Tamil.) While dividing the History of Tamil Literature, in to various periods such as, Sangha Kalam, Tevara-Divyaprabanda kalam, and so on, the 16th Century A.D. is recognised as, 'Thala-Purana Kalam'(in Tamil, Sthala becomes Thala). In the 14th Century itself Umapathi Sivachariyar, wrote the 'Koil Puranam' about the Chidambaram Temple Mahatmiyam. That is supposed to be a path-breaking effort by him. Kamalai Gnana Prakasar and Saiva Ellappa Navalar are considered important Purana Writers. Kanda Puranam's author Kachiappa Sivachariyar, Paranjoti Munivar who wrote the Thiru Vilayadal Puranam, Umapati Sivachariyar, Sivaprakasa Swamigal, Irattai Pulavargal, Andakak Kavi Viraraghava Mudaliyar, Korattaiyur Sivakkozhundu Desikar, Trikuta Rasappa Kavirayar are all mentionable in the Role of Honour! U.V Swaminatha Ayyar's Guru, Maha Vidwan Minakshi Sundaram Pillai, has written the Sthala Puranam for many Kshetras. This shows that in the fields of Religion and Tamil Literature, Sthala Puranas have had their special place! Karungulam Krishna Sastrigal has written the 'Vedaranya Mahatmiyam' in Tamil. For the Sthala Puranas to be published and spread, local governments themselves have shown much involvement as evidenced by Minister Govinda Deekshidar(responsible for the establishment of the Naik Dynasty in Tanjore), taking active part in the translation of the Thruvaiyaru Kshetra Puranam, in to Tamil!

122. (KTSV Adds:- I find it rather pathetic that, being a Hindu, in India, we have to be rather apolegetic about our own HOARY PAST, so rich in culture and Dharma! To talk of Sthala Purana, as though expiating for some past sins! You go to other countries and see as to how, for the sake of Tourism, Sthala Puranas are being concocted, cooked-up, printed on glossy paper, freely available, in abundance[for example Niagara Falls, I would call it Niagara False!]. Hotels, Restuarants and Eateries; pay for the brochures.)

(To be continued. I have to connect up with another Ramalingam Temple, some 30 miles out side Hyderabad!)



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