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.



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