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.)




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