Sunday, January 31, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 182 (Vol #3) Dated 31 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 182 (Vol #3) Dated 31 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the second para on page No 832 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

100. As there are many varieties of musical instruments, in the dance form also there are varieties. Importantly there are two. One is Taandavam and the other Laasyam. Taandavam is done by males, full of mighty pride. Laasyam is by the females with subtle nicety of expression. Siva's dance is known as the Nataraja Pralaya Taandavam. Ambal does the Laasyam. She is called 'laasya priya & layakari', in the stotra Lalita Sahasranama.

101. Music and dance has intimate relation to Godliness in our religion. There is nothing like the Nataraja Murthy, in any other religion of the world. The idea of the whole world as an evolute of the divine dance of Nataraja at the end of an evolutionary cycle and the re-emergence of the next such cycle, is a concept unmatched elsewhere! Not only our own scholars but knowledgeable intelligentsia of the rest of the world are of one mind in accepting the awesomeness of the concept! Our Government prides itself in presenting a Nataraja Icon to visiting dignitaries from other nations. We hear about the astounding high prices paid for the Nataraja statues stolen from our temples and now adorning the foreign museums!
That is due to the value of the dance form.

102. Other than Nataraja, we have Nardana Ganapathy of the dancing form of Pillayar or Ganesha. Sri Krishna is said to have danced on the open hood of the snake Kalinga. Saraswathi as the Goddess of all form of Learning or Vidya, is also depicted in temples as Natana Saraswathi. If you take the musical instruments too, they are all intimately related to divine beings Veena also known as 'Vipanchi' is considered as life force to our art form of music. Saraswathi is always depicted to have the Veena on Her lap. That laptop is known as 'Kachchapi'! In one of the sloka-s in 'Soundarya Lahiri', Adi Sankara our Achaaryaal describes as to how Saraswathi is singing all the Siva Leela-s, while playing on the Veena. (Sloka No 66.)

103. What is superlative in Music is called 'Naarada Gaanam'! The poet, composer, singer Thyagaraja Swamigal of Thiruvaiyaru was initiated by Naarada, giving him the Sangeeta Saastraa-s. Thyagaraja Swamigal has referred to this in one of his songs by saying, "...naarada guru swami...". Naarada also goes about everywhere carrying a Veena in his hands. That Veena was called the 'magadi'. Appar sings about Siva on Veena, by saying, "...emm irai nal veenai vasikkumme...".

104. When Ravana tried to show off his prowess by attempting to lift the Kailasa mountain, Siva is supposed to have just pressed His big toe down and Ravana was getting crushed. Ravana got a bright idea. He is supposed to have made a Veena of his own body, using his head as the YaaLi and his nerves as the strings and played on them the Sama Veda by which Siva was pleased enough to give him the 'Atma Lingam' as a present. (Ravana was under instructions not to put the 'Atma Lingam' on the ground, lest it may get installed then and there! That Ganesha as a young brahmin lad tricked him to put it on the ground in Gokarna, to avoid his taking it away to Sri Lanka, is a different story!)

105. When you think of Sri Krishna, you just cannot but think of His Flute. So inseparable they were that He has names such as, 'Venus Gopala and Muralidhara!' There is slokam known as 'pradosha stotram', in which all the Gods and Goddesses are mentioned, playing on their various musical instruments. At the 'pradosha kalam' Siva as Nataraja is dancing in front of Ambal seated on a jewelled simhasana with all the precious gems inlaid!, in Kailasa. It is for that dance all the Gods and Goddesses were the accompanying orchestra. Vaakdevi Saraswathi is playing on a Veena known as 'Vallaki'. Indra is playing on the Flute. Brhma on Jalra. Lakshmi is singing vocal. Vishnu is on the Mrudangam. Normally it is Nandi who would be playing on the Mrudangam. But, possibly he was too lost in the pradosha taandavam appreciating his Masters felicity in dancing, to remember his own duty. So Maha Vishnu had to take over! It is interesting to read the variety of relationship between Siva and Maha Vishnu, as described in 'Siva Aananda Lahiri', as 'baanatvam and rishabhatvam'. But here referring to playing on the Mrudangam , he simply says, 'mrudanga vahataa'!

106. In this pradosha taandavam, Ambal has been described only as an ardent fan of Siva, enjoying being a spectator. In the final 'kalpa pralaya', of Siva's Taandavam when, He reabsorbs all moving / non-moving; animate / inanimate, unto Himself, Ambal is described as the only witness there, as per Lalita Sahasranama, "maheswara maha kalpa maha taandava saakchinee" . When the same Ambal is talked of as the Goddess of fine arts, she is called, Raja Matangi and Raja Shyamala!

107. As sung by Deekshidar, "meenakshi me mudam dehi...raja matangi", She who is in Madurai as Meenakshi Ambal is the Athidevathai of Music only. In Kanchipuram as Kamakshi too she has a separate Sannidy that is, sanctum sanctorum. Shyamala Dandakam is about Her only. The poet Kalidasa has written a poem as 'Navaratna Mala', starting with 'onkara panchara sukheem' about this Shyamala Devi, in which She is described as holding a Veena in Her hands like Saraswathi. Only difference is that Saraswathi is of the colour of 'lily white', where as Ambal as 'Shyamala' is ash coloured, but holding, 'veenaa sankranta kaanta hastaam taam'. In Her beautiful hands the Veena is ever there. It means that, through music, She is attainable! What is not so easily obtainable through rigorous practices of Tapasya and Yoga is easily accessed through music! This mind not otherwise controllable, can be made to bow with reverence in Her lotus feet!

108. Like the 'pradosha stotra', there is one 'sambu natana ashtakam'. This is authored by Patanjali Muni who is an Avatara of Adi Sesha Nag. Like him there is one 'Vyagra padar' who has legs like a tiger, who is all of the time in Nataraja's presence. The idea is that snakes and tigers and such cruel animals become calm and peaceful through music and dance! This eight para stotram by its word structure and flow can bring the dance ambience before our mind's eyes.

109. I wanted that this stotram should be presented during 'pradosha kaala puja' here in the matam, to Chandra Mowleeswara. But we cannot have ladies dancing in the premises of this Kanchi Kamakoti Matam! However as part of the 'shodasopachara', when we say 'nrutyam samarpayami', I wished that this stotra should be presented in the dance form! So I told our Asthana Sangeetha Vidwan to try and dance. He was flabbergasted at the idea, as he had no practice in dance at all. I only told him, "Do not worry. Think of Nataraja. Imagine that you are standing on wet clay trying to obtain the right consistency for making pots. So keep moving your legs to the beat of the music. If you cannot do 'abhinaya' with your hands, hold them reversed, with the backs of your hands resting against your hips on either side and try to show the bhava on your face as per the meaning of the words!" He was further encouraged by bringing the 'suddha maddalam' as is done in Chidambaram Temple! Then we added the sound of the conches at suitable pauses between the paragraphs! You can rest assured that it was a great success.

110. What I mean to say is that sruthi, layam, sangeetham and nrutyam, if practised as part of the 'upaasana' that is, as a service in worship, it can take us right in front of God! After all is said and done, where is the abode of God? Where is He not there? Is He not the in dweller in our hearts? These fine arts are a way of bringing our wandering minds to centre in the heart and experience the 'Atma Aananda'!

(To be continued.) Sambhomahadeva.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 181 (Vol #3) Dated 29 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 181 (Vol #3) Dated 29 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page No 827 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

89. Those who evolved the Sangeeta Saastraa-s must have been intimately knowledgeable about all the intricacies of those ‘sabda spota-s’ and the ‘abhighata-s’ that can cause those sound effects. Then only they could have given us all the subtle points of crafting those instruments. When we sing we are only mimicking what we have heard, without knowing the technique consciously as to how to produce those sound effects.

90. Still while chanting the mantra-s of the Veda-s, total perfection of uttering each letter (akshara suddham) of the mantra-s has to be there. Because these mantra-s though are seemingly bit-parts (kandam) are actually drawn from the ‘akanda aakaasa sabdam’ by those Rishi-s by their fine tuned ears capable of hearing the sacred syllables! Unless perfectly intoned, they will not have the intended effects. That is why there is the Siksha Saastram to tell us of the scientific method of intonations of the mantra-s. Thus the Siksha saastram tells us as to from which part of the body the air has to be moved in which specific particular manner to produce the correct pronunciation and sound effect of each mantra. Gaandarva saastram tells us similar clear instructions and notations about the Sangeeta Swara-s. Both are part of the 18 Vidya Sthana-s which are the basic foundations of the Vedic Religion.

91. Through the Senses Beyond the Senses. Individual Mantra-s though being ‘kandam’ have the power to take us to the whole of the ‘Akandam‘. Exactly similarly the sounds of music too have the power to take us from the bit-parts to the whole! One Swara when sung without variations for a long period, while remaining rooted in the ‘sruti’ is called ‘Kaarvai’. One swara when sung with minute fibrillations it is called ‘Gamakam’. When the singer by clever use of Kaarvai and Gamakam, slowly climbs the slopes as though and takes us to the awesome heights and just touches the pinnacles of the commanding heights, we also experience if only for a fraction of a second, the ‘akandam’ through the ‘kandam’!

92. This ‘anubhava of the akanda’ is the aim or mission of all the mantra, tantra, yoga and veda saastraa-s! As music makes this aim or goal possible to be achieved, we call the sound as ‘Naada Brhmam’ and music as the enabling process for ‘Naada Upaasana’. That is, through the ears, we try to attain not only sensual pleasure for the mind, but try and make it a path to the ultimate anubhava of experiencing God! Thus practicing music is considered as ‘Naada Yoga’!

93. When that music is further embellished with the meaningful words of a great ‘sahitya karta’ of literary merit, there is a meeting of the minds of the singer, other musicians, the author of the song, the meaning of the words, the sound of music; all becoming one in the process! Divinity is experienced there. While Japa, Dhyana, Tapas and such Ashtanga Yoga are somewhat not easy to practice, through sensual pleasure of hearing music, experiencing divinity becomes so easily practical through music!

94. Through pleasure for the senses, enabling the common man to experience the divine, is a special facility of our Sanaatana dharma. When we do Pooja in the given manner, we do what is known as ‘pancha upachaaraa-s’. (This is a shortened version of the 64 upachaaraa-s known as chatush shashti upachaaraa-s.) Ganda, pushpa, dhoopa, deepa, neivedya-s are the five upachaaraa-s. They are all methods of satisfying the senses while guiding us towards divine experience!

95. In the Upanishad’s, the Paramatma or God, has been described as rasa swaroopa, Jyoti swaroopa and Ohmkara swaroopa. Ohmkara is for hearing, rasam is for the taste, Jyoti is for the eyes, gandam or sandal paste is for the sense of touch and smell, flowers are for the eyes and fragrance, naivedyam is for the taste buds and stomach. Thus while being ‘small pleasures’ for satisfying the senses, they are also for the highest of all aananda known as ‘perinbam’ when experienced with Paramatma Anubhava! The Upanishad-s establish very clearly that the Paramatma is of the form of supreme bliss, successively seen as ‘Anna Maya, prana maya. gnana maya. vignana maya and finally as aananda maya’! (Here the word ‘maya’ is having the meaning of ‘in the form of’.)

96. Sri Krishna Himself says the same thing in Vibhuti Yoga {ref circa 175 (Vol 3) of 13 Jan 2010}, while spelling out as to how He is to be seen in all the famous things of life, He says, “...among the effulgent beings I am the Sun...” that he is both heat and light. Then He goes on to say that amongst months, He is ‘Margazhi’ meaning the He is both the cold and foggy weather. Amongst the seasons He is the Spring season for which He uses the word, ‘Kusumakara’ meaning the season of flowers! The flowers are a feast for the eyes, nose and touch.

97. When the whole (that is beyond time and space and so ‘akand‘.) is fractioned and seen to be providing the pleasures for the senses, are themselves used in propitiating God, they become the ‘Sadhana’ through which you can get closer to the ultimate! Sabdam is itself Brhmam. Roopam is in itself Brhmam. So is rasam and gandam and sparsam, all Brhmam only. Though this may not be within our comprehension now, regular repetition of the idea in our own minds will get us convinced one day, of the truth of this statement. Amongst all the methods of approach to the ultimate truth, music at least enables us to get closer to the ‘anubhava’ or experience that ’sabdam or naadam is certainly Brhmam’. Even we in our immature state are able to comprehend this fact!

98. The art of music is one of the easiest of the royal paths that can fetch you the ’Atma Satchaatkaara’. If you know as to how to play the Veena with ’swara suddhi’, that one thing is good enough. No need for any other methods such as Yoga or Tapasya. You can attain to Moksha. When a Yogi or Tapasvi attains to Atma Gnaana, that Anandam is available only to Him or Her. Only in Music, the artist takes the audience along to the same experience! So is the fact in vocal singing and even solo percussion instruments. When they are played with ‘laya suddham’ they can make you experience the divine in their ‘sunaadam’!

99. Instruments are of four types, namely ‘tantri, randra, charma and loha vaadya-s. Tantri means stringed including, Veena, Tambur, Fiddle or Violin, Yaazh, Sitaar, Saarangi, and Piano. Randram means hole. These are the Flute, Nayanam, Shehnai, Clarionet, in which the air is blown through the holes to make music. In Harmonium it is still randra vaadyam, where in instead of blowing the air with the mouth we use bellows. Charma Vaadyams are those in which leather is tautly stretched on which the sounds are created by beating on it with the hands or sticks. Mrudang, Maadal, Dhavil, Jalra, Dholak and various drums of the western music. Ghatam is a special item of our Indian music, in which the sounds are created by beating on a mud pot specially prepared smooth surface. Then there is Jala Tarang ((water waves) in which porcelain cups of varying sizes, are partially filled with water and the sound is created by beating on them with small bamboo sticks. The pitch or the swara of the sound so created, can be manipulated by increasing or decreasing the quantity of water.

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol #3) Dated 27 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 180 (Vol #3) Dated 27 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page No 822 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)


78. Sabdam has been there forever encompassing all space. It is the limitations of our hearing due to which we are not able to receive or recognize that. For those with extra sensory perceptions, this all pervading sound can be audible. Now we are too dependent on our ears and believe only in what can be heard by the ears. To the famous saying, 'seeing is believing', we can add another, 'hearing is believing!' That is how we respond to the world around us.

79. Because of such narrow perceptions our views and believes are rather conditioned. We say sunrise and sunset. We know that the sun is just there as effulgent as ever, while it is the earth that is going around the sun. So the sunset and sunrise are only as seen by us and not the reality. When the sun light is spread all around, we are not even aware of it. But when the all encompassing sunlight is divided in to a small part as through a hole in the roof, then only it is within our comprehension. We are capable of catching only the micro part (kanda) of the macro whole (akanda)!

80. Another thing. Let us say that we are sitting under a pandal. (Pandal is a temporary roof made of interwoven palmyra leaves.) Let us say that the sunlight is passing through and we are seeing the patterns on the ground. If the hole was round or squire or triangular, the shape of the light on the ground will be similar to the hole through which the light passed. Like water taking the shape of the utensil in which placed, so also light does not have a shape or form. Shape or form means that it is bounden by the space. Like light, sound is also not qualified by space!

81. Let us say that the light is coming through the hole at an angle of 45 degrees to the vertical or horizontal. We also have to look at that angle to see the sun. Otherwise we will only see the wide open blue sky. During that if an eagle or crow flies overhead for a fraction of time its shadow falling on the hole may hide the sun. Then we will know that the bird was seen because of the sunlight falling on the bird. That is, to comprehend something that is 'akanda' (vast, huge, permeating the whole), we need some agency that can help us to comprehend.

82. I will give you another example. All around us there is the air of the atmosphere. We say that it is hot and humid and that there is no air. But then if we hold in our hands a fan and move it ever so slightly, we can feel the presence of air. That is you interpolate something in what is 'akanda' and sort of cut it or beat it or disturb it to be able to understand and or comprehend. This is known as 'abhighata'. Sound is also like that. Its all pervasiveness is not within the ambit of our understanding. But when we beat our two hands together, (i.e., abhighata), then we can hear the sound! Similarly when our vocal chords are moved in various ways, what is all pervading 'akanda', becomes smaller waves in the air and so becomes audible.

83. In the 'akanda' swaroopa, the Sabdam that is peaceful like the wide spread ocean, we create some disturbance by our vocal cords, tongue and teeth, like bubbles in the water. That is known as 'spotam'. In the silent ocean of sound, to create some bubbles or boils or pimples is 'spotam'! The sound created by 'abhighatam' is 'aahata sabdam'. 'Aahata' means beaten. Here there has to be two elements, of one doing the beating and the other getting beaten. When there is no second party to beat or nudge, then it is 'akandam and poornam'! Thus the sound that is there self created without the other to beat, that is known as 'anaahata dwani'. This 'akanda sabdam' is there in the wide open spaces of the universe and also in the sky of the heart (hrudaya aakaasa) of individuals. This is the sound of life. All the music, speech and instrumental music is created by some movement or beating and that is only 'aahata dwani'!

84. The alphabets of various letters are all a type of 'spotam'. The 'sapta swara-s' of 'sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa' are another type of 'spotam'. When we talk we use the consonants and vowels without sapta swara-s. In music we use words made up of letters known as 'akshara-s' and sapta swara-s . While playing on the instruments such as violin, flute and so on, we create only the various sounds as per the notes of the music. This spoken word is a peculiar capability of human beings only. Animals can be trained to respond to these sounds. Some birds such as mina and parrot can copy some of these sounds!

85. Knowledge of Our Ancestors in the Science of Sound. The books on Sangeeta Saastraa-s give out in detail as to how these musical instruments such as Veena (a stringed instrument in which the plucking of the string produces the sounds), Flute and Naayanam (both wind instruments in which the air is blown through one end and the air coming out through some holes creates the sounds to be manipulated), Violin or Fiddle (in which the finely taut strings of the bow are rubbed against the strands of the instrument, which is manipulated by the pressure of the fingers), Mrudang and Dhavil (percussion drums played on by fingers and or stick), Ghatam (a mud pot on which fingers beat notes), Ganjira and Jaalra are to be made. This means that our ancestors were very clear about the intricacies and subtle points of how sound can be produced by various means! The length of the strings or strands in Veena, the leather to be used in the percussion instruments, the distance between the air holes in the flute / nayanam are all too intricate and subtle.

86. In the Tala Vadya-s, namely, Mrudang, Dhavil, Ghatam, Ganjira, there are no sounds to show the different swara-s. But they create some sounds of musical value. Their right and left surfaces produce certain variations of sound. What sort of material go in to treating of the leathers in preparing to be used as the right or left surface of the instrument and the method of how they should be tightly held in place is all very scientific. Each instrument is an engineering marvel of years of practice and experimentation. Each part of Mrudang for example is to be of precise sizes and measurements.

87. Let us look at the Nayanam, that is also known as Nadaswaram. The Nayanam that is longer than two feet are known as 'Paari Nayanam'. The one and half feet version is known as 'Timiri Nayanam'. In this the Sruti (pitch) will be higher. There can be another in between these two known as 'Idai Paari'. There are clear cut instructions as to the type of wood to be used, which leather for which instrument, materials to be used for the strings and so on. For one instrument we should not be using wood from different trees, so as to keep its longevity on equal basis and the sound created is mutually complimentary ('sunaadam').

88. In old Tamil literature much intricate and subtle points about the 'Yaazh' has been given. Thiru Gnaana Sambandar has sung a 'Yaazh Moorip-padigam', on reading which one is astounded by his depth of knowledge about music! Adi Sankara too reveals his musical expertise through the 69th sloka in Soundarya Lahiri, starting with the words, "gale rekhas tisro".

(To be continued.)



Monday, January 25, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 179 (Vol #3) Dated 25 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 179 (Vol #3) Dated 25 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the second para on page No 818 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

69. Each caste and sub-caste were allotted their own jobs to do, so that there would not be any competition but inherence and specialization. In this none is higher or lower or more important than the other. If you can delink these disciplines from being a profession for earning a living and look at them purely as approaches to divineness; then you will see that music, dance and drama are the royal highways to divinity!

70. Lord Parameswara has been mentioned as the source of all music. Nataraja while he danced, holding His 'Udukkai' at the narrowest part with his thumb on one side and the pointing and middle fingers at the other, rotated them on either side swiftly by moving only the wrist, the sounds that came out are supposed to have formed the alphabets and vowels of the language and the 'sapta swara-s' of the musical octave. Then like the 'mouna' (silent) Dakshinamurthy, there is a 'veenaadhara' (holding the stringed musical instrument Veena) Dakshinamurthy, which you might have seen among the statues in the temples.

71. '...naada tanum anisam sankaram...', says one of the Thyagaraja kritis meaning, 'Parameswara's very form is the sound of music'. In this song Thyagaraja says that from each one of the five faces of Easwara namely Sadyojaatam etc., the 'sapta swara-s' were born. How were we to account for the seven swara-s from the five faces, was not known to me. The giants of South Indian classical music, such as Vasudevachar, Sambasiva Iyer, Maharajapuram Swaminatha Iyer and Semmangudi were also vague in clearing my, this doubt. Then on searching through the Sangeeta Saastraa-s, it was found that the 'shadjam (the base swara of 'sa') and panchamam'(the middle swara 'pa') are both 'prakruti swara-s' and so 'swayambu' (naturally self born and non-varying) as Easwara i.e., God Himself. The other five are manipulated and so varying. These five swara-s are from each one of the five faces of Siva, namely Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusa and Isaana. These five swara-s are 'ri, ga, ma, da, and ni' respectively, have all two variations each, while 'prakruti swara-s of 'sa and pa' have one each. The 'sa and pa' vary with the pitch, but remain constant within the octave for that pitch!

72. The notes sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni, respectively are the first letters of shadjam, rishabham, gaandaaram, madyamam, panchamam, dhaivatam and nishaadam. The eighth note is a repetition of the first note in a higher pitch from which you can have another set of swara-s. In Indian music they are called 'sapta swara-s' that is, the seven notes and in the western music system they are called the octaves, including the note 'sa' on either side. These sounds of the notes are based on the noises made by the animal kingdom. Shadjam 'sa' is the sound made by the peacock; 'ri' is Rishabham the sound made by the bull; 'gha' is Gaandaaram the sound of the goat; 'ma' is Madhyamam is the sound made by the 'krouncha' bird; 'pa' the Panchamam is the sound made by the cuckoo; 'dha' the Daivatam is the neighing of the horse and 'ni' the Nishaadam is the sound of the elephant.

73. Seeksha Saastram clarifies as to which part of the inner body should be touched by the breath, to create the correct intonations of the letters of the Veda-s. Similarly, Sangeetha Saastram gives out as to how the swara-s have to be given expression from which part of the body, starting from the lower abdomen to the peak of the head, by the movement of the breath. Thyagaraja in his kriti 'sobhillu sapta swara' says that the six swara-s are born by the co-operation of 'naabhi, hrut, kanta, rasana, naasi' that is naval, heart, throat, tongue, nose; in that order respectively.

74. 'Nadopaasana' is adoration of God through reverence to the Sound. It is a huge combined effort through use of Mantra and Yoga Saastraa-s. The pure Nadopaasana is simple and total upaasana of the Ohmkara that is the Pranava Mantra. Whether this Upaasana we do it through Pranava Mantra or through Music, this is high philosophical practice. Naadam, Bindu and Kalai are three important concepts. There is a Thiruppugazh song starting with 'naada bindu kalaathi namo namo'. Let us not go into those subtle details now! All that you have to know now is that, Naadam is Siva swaroopa, root of all sound, the Name or Naama. Bindu is Shakti swaroopa, root of all light, the Roopa or form or shape. Sabdam or noise are the sounds expressed. There is a sound yet to be expressed, that is Naadam, the basis of all sounds, the origin as well as the destination! Sabdam is all sounds including the word that is spoken by man and those uttered by animals and made by animate and inanimate beings. Naadam is the basis of all sounds and their end point!

75. In Vyakarana Saastraa Sabdam itself has been established as the Parabrhmam. This is known as the 'sabda brhma vaadam'. When talking about the definition of languages, the 'vyakarani-s' (philologists) prove that, the sound of the spoken word itself is the Brhmam! Exactly similarly, the musicians have established that the sound of music is a form of God! In music, Nada Brhma Upaasana or Nadopaasana is not only that the very sound of music is a form of God, but when the musician is singing or playing the instrument, he gets merged in the sound, in perfect harmony of sruti, laya, tala, the meaning of the words, mood of the raaga, becoming completely oblivious to his own existence; then the audience also get completely absorbed in the experience! That is the 'anubhava' of 'Adwaita' through music and that is 'Naadopaasanaa'!

76. The bliss experienced thus is 'atma anandam / brhma anandam' that is spoken of so highly in all the religious texts. The sound, the Naadam takes us directly to Brhmam. So the very sound or 'Sabdam' is Brhmam, that is eternal and complete! These two defining characteristics of 'nityam and Poornam' are indicative of the fact that the sound / Naadam / Sabdam, is beyond the parameters of time and space! 'Poornam' is that which is here, there and everywhere, without any limitation of space. 'Nityam' is that which has no restriction in terms of time, that was, is and will be for ever! What our ancestors have said is what is being proved by science. Science is thus enabling us to hear what is being said at the other end of the world, whether through wire or wireless or Sonar or Radio or Internet or whatever!

77. Hear someone is recording what I am talking about on a tape recorder. Years later you will hear without any distortion. What is proved? It is proved that the Sabdam, the Word is for ever beyond the limitations of Time and Space! Is it not so? When our ancestor's extra sensory perceptions were lost and Science had not yet made these discoveries, there was a time when, some people could have reacted to my statement that of 'nityatvam and poornatvam' of the Sabdam quite oddly! They could have said something as follows:- "What is this nonsense? How can sound be for ever and everywhere? May be you can hear it for some time. May be for some distance. OK. 100 yards or 200 yards! Even the big noise of the thunder can only be heard for some miles! Now they are saying that the Big Bang can be heard even now after millions of years!" Thank God! for the advancement of science is proving the statements in our Saastraa-s. What is 'Nityam and Poornam' is known as 'Vibhutvam'! We will talk about this later.

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 178 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 178 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from middle of the second para on page No 814 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

59. Having got rid of 'Devadaasi' as a tradition, we have made it imperative that every child, especially girls learn music and dance. This has led to more problems than what was solved! Now every girl is motivated to become a model or actor. Their logic is like this. "I have a nice figure. I know music and dance. I am able to evoke a fair response from the audience. Why not I make this a profession and earn a lot of name, fame and wealth?" In the name of professional ambition and popularity, they become ready to stoop down to any lower level. What suffers is the 'stree dharma', which is the basic foundation on which the whole edifice of social discipline rests in the Indian context!

60. Uncaring for such hazards and pitfalls, in the name of social reform and improvement of arts, much has been sacrificed on the alter of human greed and lust! Having asked the question as to why should there be a separate caste as 'devadaasi-s', now the general moral standards of the whole society has been brought down! In the garb of democratization, I am afraid that much harm has been done to the high ideals of Indian civilization and social standards!

61. The Varna system has been so evolved that all professions of the society may grow without tresspassing in to each other’s areas of responsibility. If there are any aberrations in one area, we should take measures to make corrections and amendments to improve and not do away with the whole system. If any part of the body is infected, you treat that part of the body and not remove it completely. Prevention before and treatment of the illness afterwards is the way it is done. You do not resort to surgery as the first step. These days for all illness of the society, it has become the trend to shout one simple slogan ‘remove all differences based on castes’! That has become the universal panacea!

62. Still, on dispassionate analysis, we will see that there is no suitable alternative to the ‘caste system’. All the possible requirements of the society are well taken care of by the caste system. When mistakes occur, they can be localized and corrected easily. Caste system is like the human biological system. Various parts of a body such as, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, legs, skin, head, heart and so on; are all meant to do their part of the job for the whole. Every part of the body cannot do the job of the other parts! If they try to do so, there will be sheer chaos!

63. The Vaidya who was supposed to learn and practice Ayur Veda was known as the ‘Ambashta Jaati’! Somehow this name has accrued to the barber caste. They carried the knife not to shave your face, but to carry out surgery if need be. Even as close as two or three generations back, they used to be clean and well dressed, read the pulse through the ‘naadi’ and prescribe Ayur Vedic medicines. Similarly, those who were required to practice the Gaandarva Veda were the Bharata Jaati or Bharata Putra.

64. The name of this jaati is from the name of Bharata Rishi who wrote the Bharata Saastram, in which there are many checks and balances to ensure that the rules of dharma and morality are never transgressed. In the drama, if there were two characters play acting as lovers or husband and wife, in actual life too they should be wedded to each other. Anyone cannot act as anyone else’s wife. When the drama starts, there will be a ‘sutra daara’, who introduces all the participants. But first he will call forward his counterpart ‘natee’, who should also be his wife in real life too. There were no exceptions to this rule!

65. Even if the drama was based mainly on a story of love, the man and woman couple were not supposed to cross the limits of decency, decorum and propriety. Normally such scenes instead of being enacted, would be conveyed by some narration by one of the characters in the drama. Pointing out these things, we passed a resolution in a ‘Sadas’, in a place known as Ilayaattang Kudi, binding on all artists in dramas and cinema. Well all that was done only for my satisfaction that, I have also done something about the pathetic state of affairs!

66. Some 50 to 60 years back, it was the custom for boys to be dressed as women to obviate the need for women of the society to come on stage. Some Brahmin boys became famous for their artistic capabilities of speech, dance and acting. But in Dharma Saastra there is clear injunctions against even such seeing of males dressed as a girl or girls dressed as a man! When the couple are actually wedded, they will apply self control over their exhibitionism. When they are both girls or boys, it may have been allright for them to touch each other a little more intimately, but one has to think of the effect on the minds of the audience! Anyhow all this is just not approved by the Dharma Saastraa-s. So to keep a caste meant for this specific purpose as Bharata Putra and let them apply self control and censorship was the best solution.

67. According to the saastraa-s none of the four castes were permitted to do any of these activities such as acting, dance and music as a profession as a way of earning their livelihood. Anybody can do singing as a way of enjoying himself or as a ‘naada upaasana’ and or do ‘naama sankeertana’ and entertain people, but not as a livelihood. He can do ‘uncha vrutti’ as a person singing devotional songs as per tradition and live on alms! The only people who were permitted to earn a living through singing, dancing and drama were from the jaati of Bharata. They used to call them, ‘melakkara jaati’. We often hear about cultivators of music, known as ‘chinna meLam’!

68. In the temple gatherings on important occasions, there were two troupes of entertainers. One was the ‘periya meLam’ consisting of the players of Nadaswaram (the long wind instrument) , Davil (the big percussion drum), the second nayanam and jaalra completing the troupe. The ‘chinna meLam’ on the other hand, used to be consisting of the dancers, nattuvanaar (who sings the jati), the singer and instrumental support artists. Within these two ’chinna meLam’ and ‘periya meLam’, this Bharata Jaati was contained. Probably this is the reason that, the Brahmin as a community, despite learning vocal and instrumental music, or joining many other professions such as, I.C.S., I.A.S., Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Lawyers and Advocates, Land owners and agriculturists such as Jamindars & Mirasdars and so on, never picked up Nadaswaram or Davil! I am just loudly thinking!

(To be continued.)



Saturday, January 16, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 177 (Vol #3) Dated 17 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 177 (Vol #3) Dated 17 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the second para on page No 811 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

52. Tevaaram / Divya Prabandam Traditions. The great devotees of Siva known as Nayanmar-s and Saiva Kurava-s, mainly Appar, Sundarar and Sambanda have set their devotional Tevaaram songs to a system of music known as ‘paN’ or ‘pann’ in various Raagaa-s. Since God Himself is known to be the very embodiment of music, they have described Him as involved in the various aspects of music. The way the Veda-s have been saved in the purest form of intonations in chanting for thousands of years, the singers of Tevaaram known as ’Oduvaar-s’ have carefully done the same remarkable service in protecting and sustaining the Tevaaram songs in their pristine glory, for more than 1,400 years! In every temple after all the procedure up to ’neeraajanam’ (up to which is done in the Deva Bhasha of Sanskrit,) is over, there is a provision for singing in the local languages. For this purpose, the Kings of Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallava, have made standing orders with funds in all the temples of Tamil Nadu.

53. Divya Prabandam songs were also sung in the Pann form. Later they were chanted more like the Veda-s, with some ups and downs of intonation and not as is done in music with the octaves. May be because the Vaishnava Aachaaryaa-s considered the Prabandam-s as Tamil equivalent to Veda-s and so wanted them to be chanted that way! That is how they are chanted till date.

54. Whatever that may be, at the end of the Pooja procedure, as part of the Shodasa Upachaaraa-s, presenting of singing, dancing and instrumental music; is all part of the accepted 'paddati' or procedure.
This is indicative of the fact that they are divinely acceptable. The fact that our classical music is based on swara-s as in Veda-s and the Abhinaya mudras are same as mudra-s of the hand in mantra saastra are enough to prove that our arts of Gaandarva Veda are fully divine.

55. Our mind is fickle. That is why while reading or chanting religious texts or while doing our nitya karma anushtaanaa-s, after a few minutes of concentration, it wavers! These divine arts of music, dance and sculpture have the power in them to draw and retain our attention for longer periods of time. Think of the following sentences - "pal ninaindu oottum thaayinum saalap parindu", meaning, 'with more love than the mother who breast feeds the baby, even as the child starts becoming hungry'! - "kunitha puruvamun kovvai chevvaayil kumin sirippum", meaning, 'arching eye brows and a bubbling smile in the slightly open mouth of ruby lips'! - "ponnaar meniyane", meaning, 'body that is golden hued'! They are not just words from a poet's mouth, but words from the heart that is deeply soaked in devotion!

56. When such words are simply uttered, for a fraction of a second we taste the nectar. When the same words are sung in deep devotion in classical raagaas, in a golden voice with 'gamaka' undulations, with different nuances of ever so slight variations, we will not notice as to how long we were deeply submerged! They will taste like pieces of sweet mangoes marinated in Amirta the nectar! Though music and dance when misused could cause mental aberrations of vicariousness; they can and should be used for concentrating this fickle mind of ours in thoughts of divine orientations. This mind of ours that is normally like the waves in the ocean can attain the peace of the pacific through the 'lalita kalaa-s'! That is why it is part of the 'Shodasa Upachaaraa-s'.

57. Jaati Dharma. Deva Dasi was a caste that came into being to do Natya Upachaara for God in the temples. This caste was called 'deva + adiyal' to mean 'servants of God'! So that they may not deviate into worldly life, they were meant to have got married to God, once in particular ceremony they are initiated. They were supposed to lead a life of celibacy! What was started with a very high ideal concept, deviated in to prostitution over time that, the Government had to enact legislation to stop this very arrangement. 'Devadiyaal' has become a curse word while prostitution continues in so many other high sounding names. That is the human dilemma!

58. To save the nation's discipline, that we have had to make such legislation to abolish Deva Daasi system pains me that, one of the Upachaaraa-s meant to be done as per dictates of saastraa-s, is not being done anymore. Yes, there are some cultural activities being organised in some places like in the temples at Chidambaram and Porur, for which we should thank our stars! The net result of all this is that, as children's education is initiated with 'Akshara Abhyasa', to learn music and dance has become a necessity for almost all. But this has generated problems of its own!

(To be continued.)



Friday, January 15, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 176 (Vol #3) Dated 15 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 176 (Vol #3) Dated 15 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the middle of page No 806 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

42. Point to note here is that, Krishna is not simply claiming all the good and attractive items of the toy shop( that is the world), as “Mine” as a child does. He is telling that, wherever and in whichever there is ‘srimat’, there is prosperity and splendour. It is beautiful, peaceful, pleasant, providing pure pleasure to the mind, heart and body. So, instead of claiming greatness simply by saying that he is there in all well known great and mighty, He is saying that it is His presence, His Vibhuti ‘Srimat’, that makes them known as great and beautiful! It is this sense of aesthetic beauty that is the subject matter of Gaandarva Veda!

43. Dance for the pleasure of the eyes, music for the ears, ‘nava rasa-s’ for the mind, all seemingly food for the physical senses; are all evolutes of Sama Veda and hence their greatness. Moreover please note that, in the Vibhuti Yoga quoted herein ( refer earlier para 36 ), Bhagawan also confirms that He is ‘Sama Veda among the Veda-s’! More than other ‘Upa Veda-s’ being part of the Veda-s, it is this proximity of Gaandarva Veda as having derived from Sama Veda, that makes it special.

44. It is the 'Swaraa-s' in Sama Veda the source from which the 'sapta swara-s' of music must have evolved. Anyone who has ever heard the Saama Gaanam, will vouch safe this observation. In Lalita Sahasranama, The Mother Goddess is called "saama gaana priyaa". In the Ashtotram for Siva too there is mention of, "saama priyaaya nama:". As though to confirm that it is the musical aspect of the Sama Veda that is being referred, the very next name is given as, "swara mayaaya nama:"! We also observed that Sri Krishna an Avatara of Maha Vishnu, says that among the Veda-s He is the Sama Veda. Putting all this together, we can simply derive that in this Hindu religion and culture, our concept of God is one of aesthetically beautiful music, in addition to His being Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient!

45. So we can deduce that the arts covered in Gaandarva Veda are all basically divinely oriented. Out of all the Upaveda-s, it is this Gaandarva Veda that is seemingly capable of pulling man in an endless downward spiral. But it can also lift him to the esoteric heights of experiencing oneness with God. If still one could go astray, the mistake lies not in the Veda, but in our understanding of it. There is fire. We can cook food in it. We can light up and do a 'Havan' with it, paying our obeisance to the Devata-s. We can light up the camphor and wave it in front of the Murthy of God, evoking gratitude towards all the elements of Nature. But, if we are careless, there can be a major accident! You cannot blame the element of fire for it.

46. When the various feelings of human emotions are depicted on stage through dance and drama to the accompaniment of music with dharma, it makes deeper impressions on human minds. Ramayana, Maha Bharata, Purana-s, life histories of great heroes of the past, can influence a whole society to move in the right direction. In the name of 'social theme' it is wrong to misuse this powerful medium! Mahatma Gandhi says in his autobiography as to how, 'Sravana Pithru Bhakti Natakam' that he saw in his childhood, got etched in his mind for life! To respect one's parents and to think of our ancestors with a sense of gratitude, is what is most lacking in the youth of the modern world.

47. For long this social responsibility of inculcating noble qualities in people's minds was being done by the 'Pouranik-s', who in themselves combined all the capabilities of music, dance and drama. This was considered as the most suitable method of ensuring discipline of the people at large. Kings of yore considered it a part of their duty to honour such Pouranik-s, musicians, dancers and artists, individually and collectively as a troupe. They were provided with titles, funds, other amenities and creature comforts on permanent basis, so that they could devote all their energies in developing their art. There are many recordings of such actions on their part etched in stone carvings in various temples all over India. Music heard by the ear has more power than speeches and written messages. This when combined with the visual art of dance and drama, they have a multiplying effect.

47. In Krishna Karnaamritam, there is a slokam that goes like this. "kasturi tilakam lalaata palake vakshastale koustubam naasaagre nava mouktikam karatale veNum kare kankaNam I sarvaange harichandanam cha kalayan kante cha muktaavaLim gopastree-pariveshtitho vijayate gopaala chudaamaNi: II" Its meaning is as follows. Young Krishna is described. He is wearing a Kasturi mark in the centre spot between the eye brows. On the chest is the Koustuba MaNi, in the tip of the nose is pearl miniature pendant called 'bullaakku', 'in the palm of his hand there is the flute, in the wrist there is the kaNkaN bracelet, in the neck there are pearl necklaces. His whole body is smeared with sandal paste. He is surrounded by Gopika damsels and he is the brilliantly shining jewel of them all in the centre!

48. This when sung with musical accompaniment, heard by the ears, mentally pictured, while simultaneously being enacted by a number of girls dressed as Gopika-s, with a captivatingly beautiful cherub play acting the Bala Krishna's role, with all the ornaments described, with Raaga, Taala, Layaa and Abhinaya; the audience can be transported to the seventh heavens!

49. Let me tell you about the 'bullaakku' that is worn on the tip of the nose. Among all female deities, the most beautiful is Lalita. Among the male deities it is Sri Ramachandra Murthy. When the entire 'soundaryam' of the male and female form are combined in one form, it is Sri Krishna. There is a sloka certifying this fact that Sri Krishna had in him all the beauty of the male and female form together. That is why He is described to be wearing the 'bullaakku', which is normally worn by woman folk only. This is a very small pendant with a small pearl the size of a grain, hanging from a stud screwed to the nose.

50. Other than the items of decoration mentioned in the slokam quoted above, Krishna would be sporting a peacock feather at a jaunty angle in his braided hair, two ear studs known as 'makara kundalam' flittering with the slightest movements of his body, a yellow silk cloth with red designs of jigina glittering in his hips, 'thandai and golusu' worn on his ankles; with last but not least would be an all knowing smile of mischief! With all that think of Yasoda's 'vaatsalyam' (the Mother's love) or Radha's 'prema' (the lover's love). Such a scene when depicted with dance and music, we will forget this world and become one of the Gopika-s. Simultaneously it will be a nectarine feast for the eyes, ears, mind and heart!

51. Whether good or bad, Gaandarva Veda has the power to make a deep impression on the mind and heart. It is we who have to be sensible enough to filter the inputs for our own betterment and ennoblement! We can make a painting or statue to tickle and titillate our senses. Or we can opt to imbue reverence and devotion in ourselves. There are various slokas by Adi Sankara of deep concepts of Vedanta. There are Azhvar's paasuram-s, Nayanmaar's Tevaaram songs, Taayum Aanavar's songs, Aruna Girinaatar's Thiruppugazh and so on and so on. There is an ocean of devotional songs available, waiting to be taken advantage of, in all the languages of India. Just reading them can touch our hearts. But if you can understand the meaning and sing them or hear them being sung, even a stone like heart would melt!

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 175 (Vol #3) Dated 13 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 175 (Vol #3) Dated 13 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the middle of page No 803 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

27. As I was saying, in Nrutyam, there is only movements of the body parts to the accompaniment of the 'Jati Swara-s', which evokes a sense of beauty, without touching on emotions, as there is no music, no song with meaning and no facial expressions. The very movement of the body parts has that effect. In Kathakali, more prevalent in Kerala, we see a contrast to the Nrutyam. In it without a word being spoken, the dancer would only convey all the meanings through slight movements of hands, legs, lips, eye brows and eyes. The body parts would hardly move as they would be heavily made up as though in straight jackets! They will speak through the eyes and eye brows! They will convey a story that is a 'Katha', through dance that is a 'Kali', making it 'Kathakali'.

28. In Tamil, we mean happiness, by the word 'KaLi'. (Please note that 'Kaali' is the name for Durga Maata Ambal or Mother Goddess, not to be confused with this word, 'KaLi‘.) Dancing with happiness is 'Kalikkoothu'. That is why the 'Ambalak Koothan' the cosmic dancer is revered by a sweet neivedyam of 'KaLi' on the day of 'Arudra' star. To express the 'mano bhaava' through words in a song, through movements of the body in dance and create an atmosphere of thrill and beauty; or without any 'mano bhava' being expressed, to convey a sense of beauty through the nuances of the Raaga and Taala and Swaraa-s; is all a celebration of beauty and our appreciation of it! The aim is to take the participant and the observer, nearer the inner Self, forgetting the world of business at least for a short period of time!
29. The flow of the sound of the beat is called 'Laya', do you know why? It is so called because of it's power to completely absorb you in it's flow, without any other thought whatsoever! When the percussion instrument 'Mrudang', the 'mrudu + ang' is played on, it can do the same! So does 'sruthi' the basic 'saa paa saa' sound repeating itself when the 'Taanpura or tambur' is sounded. You can have the same experience of 'laya', when you hear 'raaga aalaapanaa' of any raaga, without even the help of the song, which is yet to be sung! Like the colours of the rainbow and or flowers, the 'atma aanandam' is felt on such occasions, when you forget the world and are truly in your self, in your element. The one who gives that happiness then is your own self, or Atma or God, who else? So all this beauty of the art, all this soundaryam and maduryam is your real swaroopa, is your real self, which you are able to experience, those few moments! So it is all closely intimately in-sourced!

30. The basis of all beauty in and out of this world is all 'Easwara' or God only! Our Adi Sankara Bhagawat Paadaal calls the flow of beauty from Ambal as 'soundarya lahiri'! That is why one look at the evening sky sends us into raptures, that is if you have the time and inclination to do so and not otherwise preoccupied! A look at a flower can make you forget all your worries. When you hear cuckoo calling in the early morning of a spring or see a peacock dancing welcoming the rains, it touches the core of your heart, thrilling you. As I said before, a Raaga Aalaapanaa, (even when heard from a distance, no need for words or the accompanying music,) can do wonders to your mood. Your happiness will stop your world for a split second and bring tears to your eyes!

31 Just think of the sound of Krishna's flute, floating in the breeze can make you melt with a clean, sacred peacefulness. That something is divinity in a form recognizable by the being! Looking at the ice covered slopes of Himalaya-s, you can feel the chillness in your bones with a pleasure that comes of being one with nature at its purest. To see Taj Mahal in the full moon light, people from all over the world visit India, because the divine beauty of the Taj Mahal has that apparent serenity.
32. In the end of Vibhuti Yoga, in Bhagawat Gita, Sri Krishna says, 'Vibhuti' is the defining quality of 'Vibhu' that is all pervasiveness. The whole universe can be defined by the word, 'charaacharam', that is, 'chara + achara' of 'mobile and immobile' things. He says that in this whole world of static and moving things, there is not a single iota of existence other than me! "na tad asti vinaa yat syaan-mayaa bootam charaacharam". Those who are aware, know that there is nothing not permeated by divinity! They are known as 'Gnani-s'. They know that behind all, stone and sand; good and bad; positive and negative; ugly and beauty; the reality is God. They know that behind all triplets of seer, seen and sight; knower, known and knowledge; the truth is only Him!

33. In Vibhuti Yoga, he lists all those things that are rather famous for some reason or the other. You know that for every single Lata Mangeshkar known for her singing, there are thousands of equally great voices that are never heard. For every single Taj Mahal known for its architectural beauty, there are thousands of such wonders unknown to people, all over India. In answer to Arjuna's question 'how am I to recognize your presence?', Bhagawan gives this reply, as given in the subsequent paragraphs'!

34. "Intellect, wisdom, non-delusion, forgiveness, truth, self-restraint, calmness, happiness, pain, birth, existence or being, non- existence or death, fear and fearlessness, non-injury of Ahimsa, equanimity, contentment, austerity, beneficence, fame, ill-fame, that arise amongst people of different kinds are all me. The seven great sages, the ancient four of Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata, possessed of powers like me, are all from me and come back to me." He goes on to say.

35. "Now I will tell you of my most prominent divine glories. As they are illimitable, it is not possible to describe all of them! I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all beings; I am the beginning, the middle and also the end of all beings!"
36. "Among the twelve Adityas, I am Vishnu; among luminaries, the radiant sun; I am Marichi among the (seven or forty nine) Maruts; among stars Moon am I. Among the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; I am Vasava among Gods; among the senses I am the mind; and I am intelligence among human beings. Among the Rudras I am Sankara; Among the Yakshas and Rakshasas, the lord of wealth (Kubera); among Vasus I am Pavaka(fire); among the seven mountains, I am Meru; among the household priests of Kings, O Arjuna!, know me to be the chief Brhaspati; among the soldiers I am Skanda; among the lakes I am the ocean."

37. "Among the great sages I am Brighu; among the words I am the one syllabled 'Om'!; among sacrifices I am the sacrifice of silent repetition (japa); among the immovable things I am Himalayas; among the trees, I am Peepul; among the divine sages I am Narada; among the Gandarvas, Charatha; among the perfected, I am sage Kapila; I am Ucchaisravas born of nectar, among horses; among lordly elephants I am Airavata; among men the king; among weapons I am thunderbolt; among cows I am the wish fulfilling cow called Kamadhenu; I am the progenitor, the God of Love Kandarpa; among serpents I am Vasuki."

38. "I am Anantha among the Nagas; I am Varuna among water-deities; Aryaman among the manes am I; I am Yama among the Governors; among the demons I am Prahlada; among beasts the Lion and among birds the Vinata's son the Garuda; among the purifiers I am the Pavana the Air; among warriors I am Rama; among the rivers I am Ganga the Jahnavi; among creations I am the beginning, middle and also the end; O Arjuna, among the sciences I am the knowledge of the Self and Logic among controversies."

39. "Among the letters of the alphabet, I am the letter 'A'; I am the dual among compounds; I am verily the everlasting time; I am the dispenser of the fruits of actions, having faces in all directions; I am Death among the all-devouring ; among feminine qualities, I am name, fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intelligence, firmness and forgiveness and I am prosperity among the rich; among the hymns I am Brihatsama; among the months I am the Margaseersha; among the seasons I am the flowery spring; I am gambling by the fraudulent; splendour among the splendid; I am victory of the victorious; determination of those who are determined; goodness of the good!"

40. "Among Vrishinis I am Vasudeva; among the Pandavas I am Dhanajaya the Arjuna; among the sages I am Vyasa; among the poets I am Usana the Kavi; of those who punish, I am the sceptre; among those who seek victory, I am statesmanship; among secrets, I am silence; among knowers I am knowledge. Whatever the seed of all beings, that also am I, O Arjuna; there is no being mobile or immobile that can exist without me! There is no end to my divine glories, O Arjuna, but this is a brief statement of Me and my divine glories. "

41. "Whatever being there is glorious, prosperous or powerful, that know thou to be a manifestation of a fraction of my splendour. But, of what avail to thee is the knowledge of all those details, O Arjuna? I exist supporting the entire universe with a fragment of Myself, I remain. 'yatyat vibhutimat sat-tvam srimat oorjitam eva vaa I tat tat eva avagasccha tvam mama tejomscha sambhavam II'

(To be continued.)



Monday, January 11, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 174 (Vol #3) Dated 11 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 174 (Vol #3) Dated 11 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page No 798 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

18. Entertainment and Self Control. In practice what we find is that these methods of entertainment called 'passing time' or 'time pass' in various languages literally, instead of being some short time diversions, can and do become capable of completely diverting us from the purpose of our very existence! Pleasures of the senses have the power to attract our minds away from our duties and responsibilities. They are meant to be like the appetizers in food or the side dish. But they tend to become the main dish themselves. They are permitted in the saastraa-s only as a last resort for some relaxation in passing. We are supposed to spend our resources of money and time for such things only sparingly. But the tendency amongst us is that we get carried away by their pull that we become ready to fritter away all our resources in them neglecting our responsibilities towards our self, family and society!

19. The reason for our easy vulnerability is the fact that, our Karma Anushtaana, i.e., the regularity and strictness with which we observe our duties and rituals have all dwindled down to nullity. If we do our Karma Anushtaana regularly, sincerely believing in their power and effectiveness, automatically we would be endowed with a natural sense of balance and proportion, strong will, inner urge to obviate going astray, discipline and lack of cheap desires! Then we would be able to control our urges for gratification that, a matter of 'time pass' will not become 'life passé'! It is that control over our crass desires and urges, that made this country famous in strict observance of Karma Anushtaana-s, well known as the Land of Tapasya, as well as remarkable excellence in all the fine-arts of music, dance, drama and literature

20. With discrimination and prudence, when we learn to appreciate these arts and crafts, they can be culturally ennobling. Otherwise they could be very distracting and deviating! When we go in for more and more cheap popularity, these arts could be easily the cause for pulling us down in a vicious cycle of a downward spiral. Dance, sing songs and such things can make you mad. Look at how the cinema stars are adored and every one of their actions, style and dress get aped by the general masses. Every daily or periodical news papers and magazines are full of gossip about them. With the advancing technology, some semi clad actor of either gender of hollywood or bollywood or sandalwood are splashed across the newspapers and magazines every day.

21. When you do not have healthy habits and daily rituals, the tendency to run after the pulls of the senses every hither and thither cannot be avoided. Putting the blame on what is called popular demand and people's choice, baser instincts are given total freedom of expression. Words, gestures and scenes are all interpolated to cater for the most atrociously sensual. In this game of constantly trying to out beat the others, the artists, writers, singers, directors and actors have an important responsibility to maintain the standards of probity and decency. You can get popular and make money, but you should keep it in the mind that you owe a responsibility towards the society.

22. It is an offence to mix sub-standard materials in what you sell in a provision store. It is an offence to pollute or mix poison in sources of water like a tank or a well. Exactly similarly, you cannot getaway scot free from the blame of corrupting people's minds! In the other cases you may bribe your way out! But you cannot run away from Your self. You cannot dupe God. He cannot be bribed. He will punish you. If you have this idea in your mind that you have a responsible role to play and are answerable to God, you will not go astray.
23. This is precisely the reason that a thought of God as a constant companion, an intension to do good for others, a religious orientation and humility will help in developing a balanced and matured attitude. More than any other profession, the artists in this do develop a high opinion about themselves and their infallibility. In the olden times, even great artists of merit went through a humbling experience in what was known as 'Arangetram' of presenting their work. Now-a-days in the name of freedom of expression, people tend to take too much liberty with what is said and written. That only emphasizes the importance of a religious orientation from the beginning. In the name secular orientation, we are becoming irreligious to say the least! From everyone having the freedom to follow his or her own idea religion, we are becoming uncaring for our own religion leaving aside all matters of discipline and morality. That can only be detrimental to Saatvic Guna and give greater play to Rajasic and Taamasic tendencies, in the society as a whole!

24. These arts are called 'Fine Arts' that is 'Lalita Kala'. If they are going to lead to Raajasic and Taamasic tendencies, they cannot be called 'Fine Arts' any more. Fine arts should be instrumental in refining the society's taste and outlook! It should be an automatic control on thuggery, ruffianism and crass sensuousness! Sangeetam that is music, Nrutyam that is dance and Natakam that is Drama are the important parts of Gaandarva Vedam.

25. Sense of Beauty and Aesthetics. Nrutyam is different from Natyam. The former is dancing to the beat with the steps depicting the nuances of the beat and hands showing so many mudra-s, without singing and depiction of feelings by facial and bodily expression. When you add the music and facial expressions, it becomes Natyam. By simple movement of the limbs sans expression of feelings, how is it that Nrutyam is able to please our minds? It is here that the sense of aesthetics comes in to play. We have an inner understanding of what is beautiful, without having to get involved personally, sans any conditions, sans any give and take.

26. When a rat runs we may not see any thing beautiful in it. When an elephant walks with it's tail swishing, it's trunk oscillating and it's ears flapping, it makes a fascinating picture. When you see some swans gliding in water gracefully, you cannot take your eyes off! You may not see much in a crow. But an artist like R.K.Lakshman may just make you wonder as to how you missed seeing what he could so easily convey!

(To be continued.)



Friday, January 08, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 173 (Vol #3) Dated 07 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 173 (Vol #3) Dated 07 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page No 795 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

11. So that we may not get too tired in our day to day responsibilities of doing our duties, earning a livelyhood and making ends meet, I suppose our elders have included the apparent non-utility music, dance and drama in Gaandarva Vedam, so as to encourage us and give some respite from the humdrum monotony, to enable us to forget our loads of woe!

12. Why the Name of Gaandarva Vedam? There are many life forms not apparent to our eyes. One of the divine class of people amongst them are the Gandarva-s. Unseen by us but visible to the microscope are the germs. Invisible to the microscope also is electricity. What is not visible to the human eye is seen in X-ray vision. Similarly to the saints such as Rishi-s, Yogi-s and Muni-s with extra sensory perception, these Gandarva Jaathi may be visible.

13. These Gandarva-s are known to be spending all of their time in dressing up beautifully, singing, dancing, decorating, showering flowers, playing in-door and out-door games, shadow play, puppetry and such things. For each such activity, the 'Adhishtana Devata' are Gandarva-s only.

14. The total of such arts is supposed to be 64, 'chatush-shashti-kala'. In Lalita Sahasranama, She has two names as "chathush shashti upachaaraadya chathush shashti kalaa mayee", meaning 'revered through 64 methods of hospitality and embodiment of 64 arts!' All possible methods of entertainment will be found to be included in these 64 kalaa-s. For this Lalita Sahasranama, Bhaskara Raya has written a Bhashyam, that is considered most valuble and authoritative. After referring to all old related texts, he has defined and listed all the 64 'upachaaraa-s' and 'kalaas'.

15. First the Upachaaraas:- 1. Paadyam, water for the feet. 2. Aabharanaavaropanam, removal of jewels. 3. Sughandha taila abhyanga:, smearing with scented oil. 4. Majjana shaalaa pravesha:, entry in to the bathing hall. 5. Majjana mandapa mani peetopaveshanam, being seated on the jewelled seat in the bathing platform. 6. Divya snaaniyodvartanam, being dusted with scented powder. 7. Ushnodaka snaanam, bathing in warm water. 8. Kanaka kalasa chyuta sakala teerta abhishekha:, bathing with waters from various sacred sources brought in golden pots. 9. Douta vastra parimaarjanam, being dryed with a clean dry towel. 10. Aruna dukoola paridaanam, decorating with red saree. 11. Aruna dukoola kuchottareeyam, being covered by a red cloth on the breasts. 12. Aalepa mandapa pravesha:, entering the anointing hall. 13. Aalepa mandapa mani peeta upaveshanam, being seated in the jewelled platform in the anointing hall. 14. Chandana-agaru-kunkuma-sangu-kapoora-kasturi-gorocanaadi divya ganda sarvaanga vilepanam, being smeared all over the limbs of the body with, sandal wood paste, amyris, reddened ochre, sangu an odoriferous bark, musk, camphor, kasturi another musk from the civet cat, gorocanaa a yellow pigment from the hump of the cow. 15. Kesa bhaarasya kaalaagaru dhoopa:, perfuming the hair-locks with the smoke of the kaala agaru. 16. Mallika maalati jaati champaka ashoka shatapatra pooga kudmali punnaga kahlaara mukhya sarvartu kusuma maalaa:, garlanding with flowers of fragrance of all seasons such as, jasmine, maalati, jaati, champaka, asoka, roses of all colours, areca buds, punnaga and kalhaara. 17. Bhushana mandapa praveshanam, entering the jewellery hall. 18. Bushana mandapa mani peetopaveshanam, being seated in the jewelled seat in the hall of ornaments. 19. Navamani mukutam, wearing the crown of nine gems. 20. Chandrasakalam, wearing the crescent moon shaped crown. 21. Seemanta sinduram, placing red sindura on the forehead. 22. Tilaka ratnam, Forehead dot of a gem. 23. Kaalaanjanam, black collyrium for the eyes. 24. Phaaliyugalam, twin circlets on the nostrils. 25. Mani kundala yugalam, pair of jewelled ear-rings. 26. Naasaabharanam, nose-stud. 27. Adhara yaavakam, applying red-lac to the lips. 28. Prathama bhushanam, wearing the main ornament i.e., the Mangalya Sutra. 29. Kanaka chintaakam, Golden necklace. 30. Padaka:, pendant. 31. Maha Padaka:, larger pendant. 32. Muktaavali:, pearl neck-lace. 33. Ekaavali:, a singlular strand of pearls. 34. Channa veeram, an ornament worn as an X, across on the chest. 35. Keyura yugala chatushtyam, pair of two bangles on each hand worn high up over the biceps, numbering four totally. 36. Valaya aavali:, series of bangles. 37. Urmika aavali:, series of rings in the fingers. 38. Kaanchi daama, waist belt of gold with small bells. 39. Katisutram, the inner girdle around the waist. 40. Sowbhagya aabharanam, auspicious ornament. 41. Paada katakam, bangles for the feet. 42. Ratna noopuram, jewelled anklets. 43. Paada anguleeyakam, rings for the toes. 44. Eka kare paasa:., one hand with the noose. 45. Anya kare ankusa:, other hand holding the goad. 46. Itara kare pundrekchu chaapa:, third hand holding the sugar cane bow. 47. Apara kare pushpa bhaana:, fourth hand holding the arrow of flowers. 48. Sriman maanikya paaduke, pair of jewelled auspcious sandals. 49. Swa samaana veshaabhi: aavarana devataabhi: saha maha chakra adhi: aarohanam, entering the great Sri Chakra attended by equally anointed, dressed and decorated 'aavarana' deities. 50. Kameswara anka paryanka niveshanam, sitting on Kameswara's lap. 51. Amrutasava chashaka:, cup holding the nectar. 52. Aachamaneeyam, sipping water. 53. Karpooraveetica, scented betel. 54. Aanandollaasa vilaasa haasa:, smile of happy bliss. 55. Mangala aaraartikam. auspicious saffron-water waved in front. 56. Chatram, umbrella. 57. Chaamara yugalam, pair of whisks made of the hairs of chamari deer. 58. Darpana:, showing of mirror. 59. Taala vruntam, palmyra fan. 60. Ganda:, smearing of sandal paste. 61. Pushpam, flowers at her feet. 62. Dhoopa:, incense. 63. Deepa:, light. 64. Neivedyam, food offering.

16. Now About the 64 Kalaa-s. 1. Knowing the alphabets of 18 languages. 2 & 3. Knowing reading and wrting those without delay. 4. The art of drawing. 5. Knowing the meaning of several languages. 6. Writing poetry in them. 7. Lecturing in them. 8. Gambling. 9 to 12. Knowing the four veda-s. 13 to 16. Knowing the four auxilary Veda-s. 17 to 28. Knowing the twelve Saastraa-s. 29. Knowing Tantra-s, Purana-s, Smiriti-s. 30. Knowledge about Poetry, Aesthetics and Drama. 31 to 36. The black arts of Pacifying, Controlling, Attracting, Enemity, Ruining and Killing. 37 to 43. Stultifying the effect of motion, water, sight, fire, weapons, speech and semen. 44. Sculpture. 45 to 48. Training elephants, horses, chariots and men. 49. The science of divination of bodily marks. 50. Wrestling. 51. Gastronomy. 52. Science of curing effects of poison. 53. Playing stringed instruments. 54. Playing wind instruments. 55. Playing percussion instruments. 56. Keeping time with cymbals. 57. Indrajaala or creating illusion. 58. Dance. 59. Singing. 60. Alchemy. (Converting all that you touch in to Gold.) 61. Evaluating precious gems. 62. Art of theft. 63. Knowledge of reading pulse or naadi. 64. Disappearance.

17. Thus all that is covered by the Gaandarva Veda come under the the second list of 'chathus shashti kalaa mayee'! Some of the effects of those things in the second list are practically seen in the 64 Upachaaraa-s, by which Ambal is revered. Veda-s, Upaveda-s, six darshana-s of Sankhyam, yoga, the 18 vidya sthana-s, riding the elephants, horses, aakarshanam, tiraskaranam, indra jaalam, naadi saastram, garuda saastram for reducing the effects of poison, to be able to read 'saamudrika lakshana', ando so on; are all included. Sense of aesthetics, fair evaluation of music, dance and drama; both the defining marks of the profession of a critique are part of this. Chains, necklaces, garlands, jewellery making and assessing, evaluation of gems, hair styling, massaging, to teach the birds to speak, create and sustain youthfulness, quizzing, puzzles creation and solving, are all there in this. To start a song with the last word of the previous singer, known as, 'andaadi' (anta is end, aadi is start)! One person gives out a line of a poem with some hidden meaning, the other completes the poem, in a manner correct as per the rules of literature, rhyme and reason, while answering the hidden idea, known as 'samasya poornam'. The modern journalism of reporting on news, events, business and entertainment, with its cross words, fill in the blanks, word puzzles, sudoku, cartoons and political comments are all part of this 'Chitra - vichitra' gaandarva vidya only! To speak with verbal wit, pun on words, rhyming, versifying; to bring in vichitram in actions, speech, singing, play on words, or with swara-s in music is all part of this great art of living happily, creating happiness touching on the sense of wonder in others, is all part of Gaandarva Veda!

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, January 05, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 172 (Vol #3) Dated 05 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 172 (Vol #3) Dated 05 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page No 790 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)



1. There is Artha Saastra which talks about money matters, status, position, trade and business. So, it is useful in daily life. Krushi Saastram is about agriculture, making food available to the society. There is a Paaka Saastram telling us of the methods of cooking food, including all the culinary delights. It teaches us as to how to cook and get rid of hunger. The Yuddha Saastram of Dhanur Vedam tells us as to how fight a battle and sort out social pests or troublesome neighbouring states. Ayur Vedam teaches us as to how to take care of the human body to prevent the onset of diseases and the cure. To-day I am going to talk to you about Gaandarva Vedam, which has none of these apparent usefulness! Is not the introduction good?

(Having said so, Periyaval kept quiet for a few minutes. Then he continued with a smile.)

2. Having said that I have opted to talk about a subject that has no utility, I waited for some time to see your reaction. Despite hearing my statement, none of you have preferred to question me as to why I am wasting your precious time and or leave this place either! You continue to be sitting there with ardent desire to know as to what is this useless subject. I can clearly see that it is not just good manners that you are waiting to hear me further. If such was the case, you would be sitting there with apparent reluctance! But what I am seeing written large on your faces, is spelt as, 'c u r i o s i t y' ! It is in this curiosity that is the reason for 'Gaandarva Vedam' without any utility still, assuming the status of Saastram and a Upavedam!

3. So, despite not having any utility value, it has something that attracts human beings attention. That is why even after I had declared the subject to be useless, you are all keen to know as what I am going to say further. Listening to me is not going to satisfy your hunger, neither is there any expected income, nor is your illness if any going to be treated. But it is clear that you are still interested in knowing what I am going to say. It is this 'interest in passing time interestedly', that is keeping you all riveted to your seats!

4. I gather from this that, though there is no direct utility in Music, Dance and Drama; there is some thing in them that gives some pleasure, wholesomeness and satisfaction to man's intellect and mind. As evidence of that, here just now, so many of you are patiently waiting to listen to my talk about this business of entertainment, which we lovingly refer to as 'time-pass'! Some how, this has an important role to play in human being's life. It need not earn a living but for which we are ready to spend our resources of time and money.

5. Basically it is Sangeetam(Music), inclusive of the allied forms of dance(Nrutyam) and drama(Natakam), that is called the Gaandarva Vedam. Now you can include Cinema and Television possibly. In Gaandarva Vedam the main authority is the Bharata Saastram, which includes classical singing, instrumental music and dance. In all discussions and conferences Bharata is much quoted as having given the definitions to all the technical words and nuances of classical music. As far as dance is concerned, though some subtle differences are said to be in the various dance forms of Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali and so on, as having evolved from different parts India, the main discipline is known by the name of Bharata Natyam only!

6. For that matter you do not have to be an expert to note that Katha is story telling and Kali is dance, put together makes it Kathakali! So basically all the rules of music and dance originated from Bharata Saastra only. This does not deny however the vast differences between the various disciplines of dance forms known by different names in the present world. Some time back the Government agency for research and revival of these classical arts was named 'Sangeeta Nataka Academy''. Some people objected to the fact that the word 'Natya' was missing from that name. Their reply was that the very word 'Sangeeta' includes vocal and instrumental music and dance forms, as dance forms are always with the music only. The very word Sangeet can be translated as, 'with music'!

7. Similarly Natakam cannot be separated from Natyam as both are from the root word 'Nata' indicating movement. In Tamil we call it 'nadappadu', 'nadippadu', for moving and acting respectively. Dance and drama together in Tamil is known as 'Koothu'. For example Siva in the primordial dance form is known as 'Nataraja' the king of dance and in Tamil as, 'Koothapiraan or Ambalakkoothan'! Thus the words 'natan, natee' are all synonymous with 'natikan or natikai' in Tamil, which stand for the word 'actors' of either sex!

8. In dance with music they play act all the nine different emotions sans make up, in poetical form with facial expressions and various 'mudra'-s of the hands. In drama the same play acting takes place to the accompaniment of stage arrangements and appropriate make up. In dance much is left to the observer's imagination, that is as realistically shown as possible in drama / cinema. Movement by the face, hands, and body parts, emotional movements of expressions and the development of the story through such movements; makes these forms of dance, drama and music complimentary to each other inseparably!

9. In Tamil these forms are called, 'Iyal, Isai, Natakam'. Iyal is natural and very close to reality with all possible movements of the dance. Isai is music that goes with the dance. Natakam is the drama. That is why there is dance thrown in at various points in the narration of the story in a drama, however much realistic the drama may be. Without music and dance, the narration is considered too dry and bland. There is back ground music to evoke the feelings as appropriate to the narration of the story. In a pure dance display there is no talk. But, somehow with music and bodily movements, it is able to convey the 'Bhaava' to the observer's satisfaction. Similarly in a pure music concert, none of these things are there. Still simply the words of the song sung within the parameters of Raaga, Swara, Laya, Taala, Aalapana, Kaarvai, Gamakam, takes one's breath away with the apparent freedom the singer is able to exhibit, limited only by his or her imagination!

10. Singing, dance and drama put together are the contents of Gaandarva Veda. It will not give us money. Your stomach will not be filled by them. Yes. The people who have taken these as a profession do earn a living, There is a whole world of make believe there, rather over shadowing all other professions and ways of life! What is meant for ones own or family's food may be happily spent in seeing a dance or drama or cinema. Though there is no utility, there is some apparent satisfaction. If you buy vegetables or fruits, they could be eaten. For the same price if you buy some flowers and put it in flower-vase, it does give some pleasant satisfaction to the eyes and possibly impart some fragrance to the environs. There is some utility there!

(To be continued.)



Sunday, January 03, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 171 (Vol #3) Dated 03 Jan 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 171 (Vol #3) Dated 03 Jan 2010.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from the last para on page No 785 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)

44. Mal Yuddham - Wrestling. For a livelihood money is also needed. We cannot be talking of dispassion and renouncement only all of the time. Such things are not good enough for practical living. That is why Artha Saastram has been evolved and so is Dhanur Vedam. Another aspect of it is unarmed combat such as boxing and wrestling, based purely on physical prowess. Wrestling was known as Mal Yuddham and the contestants used to be known as ‘Malla-s’. There was a King of the Pallava dynasty who was known as ‘Maha Mallan’. When somebody is ready to join issue on any point of dispute, people used to say, “What is the matter with you? Are you ready for a ‘mal yuddham’ or something?” Sri Krishna fought this unarmed combat with Chanura and Mushtika before killing Kamsa. Bhimsena fought Jarasandha like this only and killed him.

45. Dharma Yuddham. Dhanur Vedam thus talks of many ways of fighting the opponents with ‘mukta, amukta and muktaamukta’ weapons, missiles and unarmed combat. The idea is to protect oneself and one’s country from opposing forces. Whatever the mode of fighting, there were some moral rules and regulations. 'Fair is foul and foul is fair in love and war', was just not acceptable to our Indian way of thinking! That is why it was called the 'Dharma Yuddham'! The most important rules were that, the fight was between the armed forces on either side and battle should be restricted to the well defined battle field. Other civilians should not be attacked or their living areas affected in any way.
46. When Alexander the Great came to India, evidently he was flabbergasted by the very disciplined behaviour of Indian fighting forces under Porus and totally floored by the loser's demand that he be treated as equal and not as a prisoner! It was not the rebellion by his troops that was the reason for his making an 'about turn'! It was the dilemma of having to come to grips with the moral ascendancy of the Indian forces that was the reason! By the time the Muslim marauding hordes came to India, there were no more ground rules except 'might is right'! Indians invariably suffered a cultural shock in every encounter right down to, as far South as Halebidu! Britishers and other Europeans lodged themselves as traders initially and then became powers in being. They were quite adept at playing one local ruler against the other and exploit .

47. In the present day world however, it is the civilian population, children and women folks who are all human fodder to air attacks and bombings. In olden times acts such as destruction after entering the city, poisoning of water sources, burning of hutments and molesting the women folk were rare till the Muslim hordes were the first to do so! Even then it was not copied by the Hindu Kings. On similar occasions Sivaji, instead of doing any harm to Muslim women, sent them safely behind enemy lines with due protection in Palanquins!

48. Amongst sins there are some beyond any redemption or expiation! Those who do so are referred to as 'Aatataayee'! Those who do arson, loot, dacoity, use poison, kill unarmed innocents, misappropriate others property, land or women; can all be included in this. Modern terrorists are very much to be included in this. From this we can gather as to how our concept of Dharma had percolated right down to our battle field attitude and behaviour!

49. I told you earlier as to who can fight with whom. That is, the horsed cavalry should fight only with horsed cavalry and man on elephant should fight with another similarly mounted. That is to say the fight was always between people of equal power or capabilities. You are not to kill or even hurt someone who is putting both his hands up in surrender. You are not to hurt or kill the one exhibiting fear or some one taking rest, even temporarily. That is, some body who is not fighting in the direct front but is on the sidelines on stand-by duty so to say! Even in the thick of battle, if the opponent says 'wait, let me have a glass of water, or let me change the horse or let me adjust my armour', you are not to attack him till that opponent is ready once again. Messengers, assistants like the batmen, unarmed helpers, suppliers, bandsmen etc., are not to be attacked. Thus Sri Rama told his Army of Monkeys to refrain from doing anything against such people as mentioned above, before they went in to battle against the not very well behaved Asura army of Ravana! Fighting and killing was restricted to the battle field only and not out side that area. While moving in and out of the battle field, the opposing forces were supposed to be gentlemanly if not friendly! There were exceptions like Aswattama's foray in to the camping grounds and killing the sons of Pandava-s, for which he is roundly ridiculed. Such things were only exceptions and not the rule!

50. Now in the world it is all Adharma Yuddham only. In the name of chemical and nuclear warfare and scorched-earth policies, much damage is caused to the atmosphere and environment! Though we are permitted to give full expression to all our needs and desires in the form of Artha and Kaama, Dharma and Moksha are the Arann (fort and moat) on either side, keeping us within these limits as though; the four Purusharta-s have been mentioned as Dharma-Artha-Kaama-Moksha! Not money for money's sake and not desire for desire's sake; but all through Dharma for the sake of Moksha, is the concept! In the process, if it comes to a fight unavoidably, then do it as a Dharma Yuddham through Dhanur Vedam, was what our great Rishi-s had evolved.

51. During the battle of Maha Bharata in Kurukshetra, in the evening when they did not have the means of getting water, the soldiers gave the dust in Argyam, says the author Vyasa. This is a clear indication of the fact that even in the thick of battle they were not letting the Nitya Karma Anushtaana go by default and Dharma was not lost sight of! In Tamil there is a word 'marakkarunai', meaning 'harsh kindness'! For the Sake of maintaining and thriving of Dharma, you may have to resort to harsh measures as a corrective. Dhanur Vedam is to be observed, practiced and understood in that light.