Monday, March 29, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 205 (Vol #3) Dated 30 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 205 (Vol #3) Dated 30 Mar 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. Today we are proceeding from the third para on page 953 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 constantly updated.)

99. Kamakshi removes all problems and hurdles in one’s way and gives ‘Parama Aanandam’! In Jyotisham, that is Astrology, all our problems in life are said to be originating from the various influences of the Nine Planets, known as Nava Graha-s. For those who are often thinking of Her Lotus Feet and their divine influence on their life, the effect of the Nava Graha-s are completely nullified! This is the message in a sloka in ‘Mooka Panchasati’, containing word play too!

100. ‘Mooka Panchasati’ is a work of 500 sloka-s by one Mooka, which is a treasure house of Bakti, Gnaana and principles of Sakta saastraa-s with high literary merit. In it, in one of the chapters on Mother’s Lotus Feet (Pada Aravinda Sadakam-59), is this sloka with description of how all the nine planets are there in Mother’s feet:-
Tadano bhaswattaam amruta nilayo lohita vapu:
Vinamraanaam soumyo gururapikavitvam cha kalayan I
Katou manto gangadara-mahishi kaamaakshi bhajataam
Tama: ketur-maada:stave charana padmo vijayate II

101. As those feet are effulgent, he says ‘bhaswattaam’. The Sun who is the first of the nava-graha-s, has that characteristic of effulgence! One of His names is ‘Bhaskara’. From Mothers feet the nectar of immortality is oozing out. The poet calls this ‘amruta nilaya:’. When the Yogi-s experience this flow of ‘charana amrut’ on their heads, they would say that their peak is cooled, ‘uchchi kulirndadu’. Similarly, Chandra the moon is famous for showering Amruta on all. That is why he is called the Sudhakara.

102. Then the feet are described as ‘lohita vapu:’ the red orb, referring to the Mars i.e., the Mangal. Then it says that the feet are, ‘vinamraanaam soumya:’, meaning that it is, the most pleasant to those who prostrate to the feet with due humility. That ‘soumya’ is a quality of pleasing softness like the moon light! Soma is Chandra the Moon and the word ‘soumya’ is derived from Soma. The planet Mercury i.e., Budha is the son of Chandra. So he is called ‘Soumya’.

103. Then the poet says that Her feet are, ‘guru: + api =gururapi’, meaning that they are big too. The bigness is not in term of size but, in terms of their being powerful enough to grant the devotee everlasting bliss of ‘Brhma Gnaana’ by not only a touch, but even by a thought. That is why it is ‘gururapi’! Guru is the name of the biggest of the planets in the solar system, the Jupiter.

104. The poet says ‘kavitvam cha kalayan’, that it endows the capability in the devotee to compose songs also. This is due to Sukhra i.e., Venus. If Guru is the Preceptor of Deva-s Sukhra is the Preceptor of the Asura-s. Poesy is his portfolio. Adi Sankara in Soundarya Lahiri says that Ambal’s ‘paada teertam’, that is water used to wash her feet has the power to turn a congenital deaf and dumb person into a poet of world reknown! That is exactly what had happened to our poet ‘Mooka’. He was born deaf and dumb. It is his poem that we are discussing here!

105. Then Ambal’s walk is a slow ‘gatou manda:’ or in other words, ‘sanais chara:’ that is the planet Sani or Saturn. Then, ‘bhajataam tama: ketu’, the South Node. Mother’s feet have the power to remove all sorrows and darkness of the devotees. The biggest darkness is that of ignorance that is, Agnaana! Ambal’s feet have that power to remove our ignorance. Though Rahu is not directly mentioned, Tamas includes Rahu and Ketu.

106. There is no subject on earth that these poets have left uncovered. Starting from God, right down to the smallest insect, they have made use of in their ‘sabda jaalam’ or picture painting with words! Come to think of it, this talk on ‘paandityam’ will not be complete till mention is made of this poem, which is on Maha Vishnu and the Mosquito! One set of meaning will indicate that it is about Maha Vishnu. Another interpretation will point out a mosquito! Let me first quote the poem:-
kudhrushtibhir- dhooravarjya maanatvaat I
machaka twaameva maadhavam manye II

107. You can imagine that the poet must have tried to sleep. Evidently, his sleep must have been badly disturbed by the ubiquitous mosquito! The poet in him breaks out in to a poem about the mosquito, while the devotee in him thinks of God even then! Chakra-bramana-karatwaat – means, ‘by the fact of its endless spinning in circles’ –this could apply to the chakra in the hands of Maha Vishnu and the continuous buzzing around by the pest! The word ‘Kara’ will mean, for Maha Vishnu ‘the hand’ and for mosquito ‘doing’.

108. kudhrushtibhir- dhooravarjya maanatvaa – means that, people with bad intention can never come near Maha Vishnu. Those with eye problems will run miles away from places where there are mosquitoes. srutyanta-kelanatvaat – means that, Maha Vishnu plays around with ‘srutyantam’ that is the end of all Veda-s, called Upanishads. In the case of mosquitos, they keep playing around with a ‘ngoing’ sound of its own, more noticeable when near the human ears!

109. machaka twaameva maadhavam manye - The poet ends by saying ‘Hey! You mosquito, you are none other than the Very God Maha Vishnu, I believe! Let us finish also on the same note. I have been talking all this time about the nuances of poesy with word play, alankaaram, upama, siledai and such. So, you people have been listening raptly. Now I can see that mosquitos have started their singing. Let us break off with the idea that it is God Himself who has come to us in the form of these mosquitoes and is doing this ‘ngoing’ sound in our ears!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 204 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 204 (Vol #3) Dated 28 Mar 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 948 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.)

86. In Tamil Kalamega Pulavar is known for his poems of variety of colourful hues, much intricate thought content, subtlety of nuances and play of words! He himself has claimed that before you can say 'mm', "I will pour out 700 to 800 couplets, like the cumulo-nimbus pregnant with tons of water, I am a 'Kaala Megham' that is 'a black cloud'!" What cannot be even thought of, are the sort of ever new ideas, that other poets of his time have challenged him with and he has gladly responded sportingly and won them all!

87. For us there is this one Kanchipuram, where there is this only one mango tree ('eka + amram = one mango tree') which gives mango fruits and also 'eka + amra +easwar = ekamreswar', the God Easwara with the single mango tree, like a close relative of ours. So let us see a poem by Kaalamegha Kavi about that Ekamreswar! When you say, only one mango, it sounds as though you have used some number that is even smaller than one! Come to think of it, in this poem under reference, all numbers mentioned are smaller than one!

88. The challenge by the other poets to Kaalamegham was, "Let us see you composing a poem in the style of a 'VeNbaa' about our Ekamreswar using fractions of one, such as 'mukkaal, araikkaal, kaal, iruma, makaNi, oruma, keezharai and so on!" Kaalamegham had the capability for what was known as 'Aasu Kavitvam', by the grace of Akhilandeswari. So he just rattled out a song before others who challenged him could complete their sentence! What he said was this:-
mukkaaluku egaamun munnarail vizhamun
akkala raikkaal kaN(du) anjaamun - vikki
irumaamun maakaaNikku egaamun kachchi
orumaavin keezharai inrodhu.

89. The poem contains all fractions from 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 and 1/128, which are the same as 'mukkaal, arai, kaal, araikkaal, iruma, maakaaNi, orumaa, keezharai respectively, but each one of those words for fractions, the poet used with a different meaning! It means that, "Before old age, diseases, fear of Yama and death over takes you, start praying to Kachchi Ekamreswara, from now itself. Do it to day!"

90. Now, let us look at the word by word meaning. 'Mukkaalukku egaa mun' = before you reach the age of having to rest on the third leg of a stick; (here the underlined 'mukkaal' is 3/4th). Next, 'mun arai yil veezhamun' = before your fore head is covered by gray hairs; (here the underlined 'arai' means 1/2). Then, 'akkaal araikkaal kaN(du)' has both kaal 1/4th and araikkaal 1/8th underlined and it means, 'before that 'Kaalan' the God of time and death's foot marks are seen'; that is before getting indications of the approach of death. In old age there is always cold which causes hiccups and cough. Hiccup is known as 'vikkal' and cough is known as 'irumal'. So, the next sentence says, 'vikki iruma mun', meaning, 'before you are too embroiled in hiccups and coughing; and the underlined iruma is 1/16th!

91. Next fraction to be used is 'maakaaNi', which is 1/32. In olden days, outside the village or township, a wide area of a 'kaaNi' was left for being used as the cremation ground, which was known as 'Rudra Bhoomi or Mayaanam', also known as 'maakaaNi'. Here the poet says, 'maakaaNikku egaamun' meaning, 'before you are taken to the maakaaNi for cremation'! Next two fractions is 'orumaa' or 1/64 and 'keezharai' or 1/128! Here the poet is using the meaning of 'orumaa' as the one mango tree; and 'keezharai' as the God who is residing under that one mango tree as 'keezh' = below and 'arai' = residing! To Him you pray to-day itself, 'inrodhu'! Read that para again to get the meaning clearly. You cannot but be flabbergasted and thrilled with awe and admiration for the poet who could compose that in a fraction of a second almost! Even now as I am telling you, after the passage of hundreds of years, the poem is fresh and lively! Through fractions of One, the poet takes us all to that 'One mango tree God', 'Ekamreswara'!

92. In Kanchipuram there are many temples of ancient origins. Kumbakonam is another place around which you can visit a temple a day and not finish the agenda in a years time. Penukonda in Andhra Pradesh is another place, where there are more than 365 temples. But not all of them are as ancient as Kanchipuram or Kumbakonam! Like the Siva temple of Ekaamreswara, we were talking about, there is Vishnu temple of yore. The Varadaraja Swami there is called 'PeraruLaaLa-PerumaaL', rather famous for His abundant Grace. There is a two word humorous anecdote about Him. There were two travellers halted in one of the choultries, meant for the visitors to stay.

93. One of the travellers was just knocking off for the night and took God's name in all devotion and said, "Kanchi Varadappa...!" There was another traveller lying nearby, who was hungry enough. He quickly got up and looked around. ('Kanchi' is short for Kanchipuram and 'Kanchi Varadappa' is just the Lord's name. But the word 'Kanchi' does sound like, 'Kanji' and it would mean a porridge made of rice.) Not finding anybody with the utensil for the porridge and ladle for its distribution, the hungry traveller made an enquiry, "Enga Varadappa?", to mean as to 'Where is that porridge? Where is it coming?'

94. In the centre of Kanchipuram is where Kamakchi has taken residence, like the Queen of the place. Relating that Ambal with not partaking that kanji/porridge, there is another song of double meaning! When you have a peripheral look at it, the meaning will be as under:- "Ambal Kamakchi will not drink that kanji; will not eat that food of Kambu, that is Raagi. Neither will she care for other varieties of vegetables or recipes! For the five headed Mr Snake Sir, She will become the sixth head! The poem makes hardly any sense, thus understood, at a cursory glance. Let me give you the text:-
kanji kudiyaale kambanchoru uNNaaLe
venchinangal onrum virumbaaLe - nenjuthanil
anjutalai aravaarkku aaru talai aavaaLe
kanja mukhak kaamaakshi kaaN

95. Kancha mukham will mean that she has a face like a lotus. She won't drink even the porridge or partake any other food. To some extent it sounds as though She is rather miserly. Having said some irrelevant details about Her and then suddenly before ending, if you say that she becomes the sixth head for the Snake, it all sounds rather childishly flippant! What does it all mean? If you think deeply, it will become clear to you, at least partially to those who know a bit of Tamil.

96. 'kanji kudiyaaL' = residing in Kanchipuram! 'kambanchoru uNNaaL' = She does not Partake the prasadam offered to Ekamreswara, called Ekambar and Kambar in Tamil slang. The concept is this. There are 108 Siva Temples in Kanchipuram. In none of them is there a 'sanctum sanctorum' for Ambal! As the Presiding deity, She is the only one in that Kanchipuram, having a seperate temple of Her own! Normally in all Siva temples, the prasadam is first offered to Siva and then offered to all other deities. Here in the Kamaakshi temple, prasadam is specially prepared for her only! (There is an exception in that, in Madurai for example, Ambal Meenakshi is offered the Prasadam which goes to Sundareswara only later! There they are co-located in the same temple.) So She does not partake of that, 'kambanchoru'!

97. 'vyanjanam' in Sanskrit means other items of the menu. The same word could mean in Tamil as 'venchinam', red hot anger! She is the very form of Love and Compassion. The very form of 'daya and kshamaa' that is, sympathy and forgiveness! She is never angry. She does not like being angry! So the poem goes, 'venchinangal onrum virumbaaLe'. Having said that, it is also a point to note that, 'She is offered plain cooked rice' without any sugar or salt or spices at the Kamakshi temple at Kanchipuram!

98. Finally about Her becoming the sixth head for the five headed Snake! Aravaar could mean Mr. Snake Esquire. But, it could also mean, the devotees of Siva the Hara. He is the Five Headed Hara, which are Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Isana, respectively. His devotees are 'Aravaar'. She gives the devotees of Siva the 'Arudal' the solace! Yet another interpretation is that , for those who feel fear in their hearts, (nenjudanil anjudalai arivaar = feeling fear in their hearts ), She gives the 'Aarudal' that is pacifying the fear, She gives solace! Read the poem again with this under current of meaning and you will also feel Her 'Aarudal', in your heart too!

(To be continued.)



Friday, March 26, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 203 (Vol #3) Dated 26 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 203 (Vol #3) Dated 26 Mar 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 page 943 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.)

75. Tripura Samhaara Sloka. Appayya Deekshidar an amsa (a part), of Parameswara Himself, has written this sloka about His destruction of the three worlds. The text is like this:-
naleekasanam easwara: sikiriNaam tat-gandarodhdhaayino
gandharvaa: punar-etat-adva-patikou chakre cha tat-taaraka: I
badri-tat-prabhu-vairiNaam paribroodho jiva cha yasyaabhavat
jivandevasataam ribhu-kshaya-vidhou devaya tasmai nama: II

76. It means:- "Jiva's disciples enemies, at the time of their destruction, the Deity for whom the Easwara of pinnacles became naleekasanam, from whose throat emanated Gandarva-s, two way-farers of that path became the chakra the wheel, wearer of that wheel was Badri, that Badri's Prabhu's enemy's leader was useful as Jiva, prostrations to that Deity" What does this mean? It does not make any sense! What is Jiva, what is Jiva's disciple's destruction and how can Badri's enemy's leader was Jiva useful as? What is this a creation of the Appayya Deekshidar, about whom I have heard so voluminous praises of appreciation? Has he done this monstrosity?

77. There are many words with more than one meaning. This is a play on words by Appayya Deekshidar, which is rather abrasive! Vedantam is the End part of the Veda-s. For Vedantam, the basic texts are Brhma Sutra and Upanishad-s. (Their numbers total 108 out of which 10 are important.) Appayya Deekshidar has written a Bhaashyam by the name of 'Nyaya Rakshamani' for the early portion of Brhma Sutram. In it, while explaining the sutra 1.1.14., starting with, 'tat-hetu-vyapadesaascha', this sloka quoted above occurs. Let us not go into why he wrote it like that. There is some pleasure evidently in such intellectual exercise. That is what we are deliberating upon in these talks. So, let me tell you the meaning of the sloka.

78. In this sloka, first a word will be used with one meaning. Then later when the word is referred as 'that', it will come as, 'tat or etat'. While doing so, the meaning of the word will vary. Thus in this sloka, there are five such words used, first with one meaning and later with the second meaning! 'Naalika + asanam' is one such word. 'Naalikam' means tubular and so can be lotus or arrow; asanam means seat. Brhma seated on a lotus is known as 'Nalikasana'. Arrow is seated before being launched on the cord of the bow. So, bow is also nalikasana. Second word with double meaning is Gandarva as the divine caste of that name and it can also mean a horse. The third word is 'Chakra' which could mean the wheels of the chariot and the spinning weapon in the hands of Vishnu. Fourth such word of double meaning is Badri, which could mean a missile and or a bird. The fifth word is 'Jiva' which could mean a life line like the naval cord connecting the baby with the mother. It could also mean Bruhaspathi the Guru of all Deva-s.

79. Now let us look at some of the words in this sloka which are difficult to understand though they are not words of double meaning. The Easwara of pinnacles is the Meru Mountain. What came out of the throat of Naalikaasana are the four Veda-s. The path of the Gandarva-s is the Milky Way in the sky. The two travellers there in the sky, as seen by the earthlings are the Sun and the Moon. The bearer of the Chakra is the Maha Vishnu. The Prabhu of Badri is the King of birds Garuda the Eagle. His enemies are the serpents. The leader of the serpents is Adi Sesha. Jiva-s' disciples are the Deva-s. Their enemy's destruction is the annihilation of Tripura Asura-s!

80. Keeping the two meanings of these five words in the correct order respectively, as they occur in the sloka, if we look at the first meaning once and the second meaning later, the meaning of the puzzle falls in the correct place to get resolved! Now let us look at the meaning of the sloka once again.

81. "For Jiva's that is, Bruhaspathi's disciples' enemy's, that is Tripura Asura's destruction, Mahadeva used the Meru mountain as the Nalikasana the Bow. Brhma seated in the lotus and so named Nalikasana, from his throat emerged the Gandarva-s the Veda-s which were used as the horses for that Mahadeva and the two travellers in the path of the Gandarva-s namely, Sun and Moon became the wheels of the chariot; the wearer of the Wheel or Chakra, as a weapon on His fingers, Maha Vishnu Himself became the Arrow named Badri; the King of all birds Badri, whose enemy the serpent Adisesha, became the Jiva as the cord connecting the two ends of the Bow; prostrations to that Mahadeva repeatedly." Now that is the whole message of the sloka.

82. In Tripura Samhaara, Parameswara's chariot had the Sun and Moon as the two wheels. Veda-s were the horses. Easwara made the Meru the bow, which had Adi Sesha as the cord of the bow and Maha Vishnu as the Arrow! Appayya Deekshidar put together these details of Purana Itihasa, in a book of Vedanta, grammatically correct, connecting up many a Saastra-s, literarily cleverly for the reading pleasure of devotees, so inclined.

83. When we use one word with two meanings, we call it 'Sleshai'. There was this Bhaskara Raya, who was a master of Mantra and Tantra Saastraa-s and who had it in him to personally call forth Ambal Lalita Parameswari, as easily as Tukaram could ask Pandaripura Vittala to materialise, as many times as we call each other on cell phone; and who wrote the Bhaashyam for 'Lalitha Sahasranama', has written a poem humorously for fun sake. In it he has used two word strings to mean different things in two languages, asking us to answer him!

84. I quote the sloka:-
"na syaat chet vaakyasya ko artha: kasmin pika: brama:? I
aandhry girvaana bhashaabhyaam ekameva uttaram vada II"
It means that, "you have to give one word reply, which should mean in Telugu, 'if not' and in Sanskrit it should mean, 'to whom it will give the delusion of being a cuckoo'!" I am not going to run a quiz show. I will give you the intended reply too. The answer should be, "...kaaka pothe...".

85. In the Telugu language, for 'if not or otherwise' they say, "lekapothe or kaakapothe". In Sanskrit, the word "kaaka pothe" means, 'with the crow's small'! Let me explain. the Cuckoo does not construct a nest. When it has to lay it's eggs, it will lay in the nest of a crow. Their eggs look similar in size, shape and colour. Neither the crow nor the cuckoo knows which is theirs and which is others', even after they have hatched, till they start making their characteristic sounds of bird calls. The cuckoo will visit the nest whenever the crow is away and look at the small hatchlings crows and cuckoos, as its own. That is the delusion! So the answer to the puzzle in both the languages are "...Kaaka pothe...". Kaaka is crow and potha is the hatchling! Do you understand now?

(To be continued.)



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 202 (Vol #3) Dated 24 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 202 (Vol #3) Dated 24 Mar 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 936 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.)

63. A totally unread too went on to say, ‘gavayami, vayami, yami’ ! The story is like this. Bhoja Raja was a great patron, benefactor and champion of all art forms and artists. He himself was an avid man of letters. In his capital city of 'Dhaar' he had given an order that all people should be of literary merits! Otherwise, they should go away to the villages, was his order. He was a devotee of Saraswathi the Goddess of Learning and was within his means to decree so!

64. Life was one of high literary merit and scholarly pursuits. One day they brought one weaver as one who did not know head or tails of poesy! Bhoja Raja asked him, “Don’t you know how to compose a song?”
The poor craftsman looked at the radiant face of the King, on whose very eyes there was the Grace of Saraswathi virtually effervescing ! The weaver felt an immediate urge to express himself in poetry ! Without any further hesitation he said, "kavyam karomi nahi charutaram karomi yatnaat karomi yati charutaram karomi" !

65. He said, "Yes I will create a verse, though I cannot be very sure of it being good... may be if I try, I may be able to do it well also !" When the poetic urge hits you, you should not give way to pride, Yes ! At the same time one should not be too lacking in confidence too. He had to encourage the king also, after all ! Having said these two lines, he decided to make it a stanza of four lines. That coincided with the flow from within. Those two lines became really high class poetry with meaning, rhyme and meter! He said:- "bhupaala mouli maniranjita padapita he saahasanga, gavayami, vayami, yami II" ! It means that, "you Bhoja Raja whose foot rest has been reddened by the reflection of many a Kings crowns with inlays of rubies, Hey King for whom it has become simply natural to do daring things, 'gavayami' I shall sing, 'vayami' me who normally do weaving, 'yami' I am going and so, 'Good bye' ", he finished with a flourish !

66. "Had I not sung a song, I would have been punished. Now, that I have managed to say these four lines luckily, I am saved ! I do not know if I can do it again. Before the King can ask me 'once more!' let me get out of here, it does not matter if he does not give me honour and awards ! OK. Good Bye, God be with you, I am going ! Yaami ! ", so saying he walked away from there without even waiting for permission ! Here 'gavayami vayami yami' is gopuchcham.

67. Using words with more than one meaning is known as 'sleshai or siledai'. Our Aachaaryal Adi Sankara has done this. Bhavani is the name of Ambal. As a verb it means, 'I am becoming'. Using both these meanings he has written this poem, 'Bhavani tvam daase'.., in Soundarya Lahiri. His disciple Thotaka addressed him, 'bhava eva bhavan...', there by meaning that 'he is himself Lord Siva' !

68. There was a Bhavani Naik as a Diwan in Pudukkottai. He had a penchant to patronise the learned Pundits. He often conducted Vidvat Sadas attended by the learned luminaries of the time, widely known for their erudition especially in Sruti, Smruti, scriptures and vedantic literature. In them Raju Saastrigal, known as Mannarkudi Periyaval has participated. There is style of literature known as 'saadu' in which individuals are praised for their contributions in nurturing spread of vedantic knowledge. One such poem uses the word Bhavani as a noun and verb, which says, "It is not necessary to call for much knowledge of grammar to establish the fact that Bhavani is a 'Uttama Purusha' ! It is sufficient to look at this man Bhavani Naik !"

69. What is first / second / third person in English grammar is known as uttama / madyama / prathama respectively in Sanskrit grammar. Though these are only positional names to indicate first, second and third person respectively, there is also another meaning for the words. Uttama means super and Madyama means a little inferior ! There is a word play in this as Bhavani means, 'I become' which is after all in the first person, that is Uttama purusha!

70. There is another such sloka. Some 150 years back there was one Venkatrama Sastry, a Vidwan. Please do not mis-understand me when I say, that normally Vidwan-s were receivers and not givers. Though Yaachagam and Danam were both part of the 'shad karma niratha:' the six jobs of a brahmin, they specialize in Yaachagam (begging) than Danam (giving alms)! There were some exceptions to the rule. Tediyur Subrahmanya Saastrigal is one and so was this Venkatrama Saastrigal

71. Let him be. Now, let me teach you some grammar. Most of you would know this word, "Dehi". This is the word, asking others to 'give'. When you are saying, "You give", you say, "Dehi". The root word is 'datta'. When you say, "I shall give", you should be saying, "dadyam". That is the first person (uttama purusha) saying that he will give.

72. Venkatrama Saastrigal used to honour other vidwan-s and pundit-s and give them in kind and cash. One such recipient praised him by making use of the points of grammar I told you about, in a beautiful manner. What he said was something like this:- "Till recently Saraswathi Devi was rather worried and sad." Do you know the reason why? She was sad because, whosoever She nurtures is mostly the second person 'madyama' learned but poor, whereas the ones favoured by Lakshmi Devi are all rich and wealthy. Now, because of Venkatarama Saastrigal who is learned, rich and a giver of daanam, Saraswathi Devi is much happy! He is really a Uttama Purusha!
73. Those who kept on the chant, 'Dehi, Dehi' and so on, were all those who spoke the language of the Madyama Purusha. It was Venkatarama Saastrigal who spoke the Uttama Purusha words of 'Dadyam'! By the words of theirs, as per grammar, they are Uttama or Madyama, as per this sloka:- "etaavantam anehasam bhagawathi bharathi anaisheet aho ya dehi ihi madyamena purushena atyanta kinna sathi I srimad venkatarama namaka sudhi doureyam asadyasa dadyam iti atuna uttamena purushena anandam aavindati II "

74. Aho! = How bad! etaavantam anehasam = till this time; dehi iti = by the word give; madyamena purushena = by second rate people; atyanta kinna sati = much worried; bhagawathi bharathi = Saraswathi Devi; anaisheet hi = was much depressed; atuna = now; srimad venkatarama namaka = respectable person of name venkatarama; sudhi = well read; doureyam asadyasa = having reached as a support; dadyam iti = (who could say) the words 'I’ll give'; uttamena purushena =by this great man; anandam = happiness; aavindati = is experiencing!

(To be continued.)



Sunday, March 21, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 201 (Vol #3) Dated 22 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 201 (Vol #3) Dated 22 Mar 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 929 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. ‘Sunnam Jyasthi’. Sita asked Ravana to remove all the ‘ta’ letters from what he said to change the meaning from one of ridicule to one of encomiums of praise! Kalidasa knocked off one dot to lift the meaning from humdrum to the sublime! Bhavabhuti was a contemporary of Kalidasa, of equal capability and fame. There are many stories of competitiveness between them with either of them getting the bad end of the bargain! This story is about how they played a complimentary role of consultation.

45. Uttara Ramayana was written as “Uttara Rama Charitam” describing the period after Rama’s return from Lanka, as a drama of endearing beauty by Bhavabhuti. He took it to Kalidasa for a reading and approval. While listening to his friend, Kalidasa was enjoying munching on the ‘paan’, as his favourite lady was giving it to him. {To eat the Nagavalli leaves lightly smeared with a film of lime ( CaCO2 i.e., calcium carbonate), while munching on powdered and scented betel nuts, after lunch or dinner is a socially acceptable custom, much prevalent in India, till very recently!}

46. In one of the early scenes, Sri Rama is remembering the happy days he spent with Sita in Dandaka Aranyam. There is a statement which describes as to how they used to be speaking to each other without ever being aware of how the night passed ! It says, "...avidita gata yama ratrirevam vyaramseet...". In Sanskrit, when you write a word ending in 'm', it is a dot over the horizontal line. As Bhavabhuti read this line, Kalidasa mentioned, "sunnam jyasthi". This could mean that there is a little bit extra lime that is being applied on the 'nagavalli' leaf. The girl took it as a command for her to apply a little less of the lime paste!

47. In front of her, as it is slightly bad manners to be advising directly Bhavabhuti, Kalidasa possibly gave an indirect instruction to him! The beauty of it was that, Bhavabhuti was smart enough to take the hint. 'Sunnam' is the dot in the word 'ratrirevam' at the end! So, with the removal of the dot the words became, "...ratrireva vyaramseet...", meaning 'only night finished' and that the conversation continued!

48. As the story goes, Kalidasa was supposed to have said that there was one 'anuswaram' more! 'Anuswaram' is that dot. But to say 'sunnam jyasthi' is more in the line of the sort of understanding that existed between the two poets. [In Devanagari Lipi, the word finishing in 'vam' would actually be just a dot on the letter 'va'! The dot would be a small circle like this:- o . This dot and 'anuswaram' in Sanskrit and the lime applied to the 'naga valli' leaves, can all be referred as 'sunnam' in telugu. This adds to the view that Kalidasa must have been a poet from the part of India where they speak Telugu! If you say 'No!' to this, I will tell you one more thing.

49. In Kalidasa's Megha Sandesa, the Yaksha sends the Megha, that is the cloud as a messenger from a hill by the name of 'Ramagiri', which is said to be the same as Ramtek, a hillock located near Nagpur. However, believe it or not, in Andhra Pradesh too, beyond Nagalapuram there is a Ramagiri!

50. Palindrome. 'vikatakavi', meaning 'a humorous poet'; 'teru varute', meaning 'the chariot is coming'; 'moru porumo?', meaning 'have you had enough butter-milk?' , 'kudaku' a place name in Karnataka, 'malayalam' the language of Kerala; are all well known as palindromes in Tamil. Though when written thus in English, they may look not exactly like single letters, in Sanskrit and most of the Indian languages, they are single letters. (Some palindromes in English are 'damm It I'mmad' and 'was i t a r a t I saw'?)

51. All born as Hindu-s are required to visit Kasi at least once in their life time. While on the way they are required to have a dip in the Triveni Sangamam, then do 'sraddham' in Gaya. All these requirements could be combined in one sentence to form a palindrome. Kasi was known as 'kasika' which by itself is a palindrome. 'gaya pra yaga' was another. As 'ga ya pra ya ga' are all single letters read as 'ga ya pra ya ga', from either side and hence a palindrome.

52. I was told by a Pundit that there was a palindrome of a sloka about the nicety of being able to appreciate literary merits. I am not quoting the whole sloka here. The Sanskrit word for a palindrome is 'gata pratya gatham'. The word 'sakshara' means some one who is well read. Whereas the word 'sarasa' means some one who is well in to literary nuances. The man who is well read but does not have the maturity of mind and does not maintain the discipline of his learning, becomes an ogre! But the man who loves the literary subtleties, retains his finer qualities. Now take these two words, The well read 'sa ksha ra' becomes on return, 'ra ksha sa', an ogre; whereas 'sa ra sa' remains 'sa ra sa'!

53. There was a poet by the name of 'Maahan'. He has also written a sloka of palindromes. It is about Maha Lakshmi embracing Maha Vishnu with love. I am only quoting and not translating! But read it back and the whole sloka is a palindrome! "tam sri ya kanaya na sta rusa saradaya taya yadaya tarasa saru sthan aya naka ya sri tam".

54. Thiru Gnana Sambandar was breast fed by Ambal Parvathy Herself! He wrote all sorts of poems like a perennial water fall. This Sanskrit word for palindrome 'gatapratyagatham' in Tamil is known as 'Malai Martru' based on the exchange of garlands between the bride and bride-groom in a marriage! Thiru Gnana Sambandar has written 11 two lined 'cheyyul-s'. I am quoting one of them. You will feel as lost as a person who has been left in the forest with his eyes and hands tied tightly! I quote:- "ya ma ma nee _ ya ma ma _ ya zhi ka ma _ ka Na ka _ ka Na ka _ ma ka zhi ya _ ma ma ya _ nee ma ma ya". Between the words in Tamil I have given an under score!

55. Let us try and understand this some. "Yes! We are people of very limited capabilities and power. You are Omni potent. 'Yaam aama? nee aam aam. Maayaazhi!'. You are holding the huge Yaazh or Veena, as the Dakshina Murthy playing on the big Veena. 'Kaamaa kaaN naaga!' You are a great handsome being, wearing the Snake as a piece of decoration! 'KaaNaakaamaa' means the one who has the Kaama the God of Love burnt to ashes, that he cannot be seen any more! 'Kaazhiyaa', Hi! the God who has a temple in Seerkaazhi - the place of Sambanda Swami's birth. 'Maa maa yaa', the great God of Maayaa' Maha Vishnu. Here from the mouth of this divine child, the oneness of Siva _ Vishnu emerges!

56. (Appar Swami too while describing Siva in Thiru Thandakam says, "...naraNan kaaN naan mukan kaaN...", meaning, 'see Vishnu the naaraNan, see the four faced Brhma the naan mukan' !) The sloka finishes in "...nee maa maayaa...", to mean, remove the darkness of the illusion of Maya ! Here using only six letters of the alphabet, that is, ‘ya ma nee zhi kaa Naa’, in various combination, the poet has created the verse. To do so is known as 'sabda chitra kavyam', a literary art work with sounds!

57. I will give you one such 'sabda jaala' description of God's exploits, equally applicable to Siva and Vishnu! The text goes like this:- "mitraatri putra netraya trayee chadrava chatrave -gothrari gotra jatraya gothradre te namo nama: II 'mitra atri putra netraya' means, the one with the Sun and Moon as the eyes. Siva and Vishnu, both can be and are described thus. 'trayee ch adrava chatru' means 'the enemy of the Veda-s' enemy', that is Asura's opponent, again equally applicable to both Siva and Vishnu ! 'gothrari gothrajatra' means the protector of the progenies of the enemy of the hills, that is Indra's followers, Deva-s' protector; again this can be applied to Siva and Vishnu !

58. 'gothradre te namo nama:' means repeated prostrations to you the keeper of cattle! Both Siva and Vishnu correctly answer to this definition too ! Siva is known as 'Pasu Pathi', the Head of all animals. He is the Pathi of all people, all life forms are only so many Pasu - animals ! So is also Vishnu the shepherd Gopala. (Is it not equally true of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd !) Repeated prostrations to You Oh God!

(More to come !)



Saturday, March 20, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 200 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 200 (Vol #3) Dated 20 Mar 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 920 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.)

31. Siva - Shakti as Siva - Vishnu. One of the slokas of Kalidasa which is, as it is famous, is also quoted for subtle change of meaning with the change in breaking and rejoining of the ‘sandhi’ in between words. That is the second line of the very first sloka of ‘Raghu Vamsa’ invoking Gods! This sloka is known to even people who otherwise do not know Sanskrit, at least out of people of the past generation! The sloka goes like this:- vagarthaaviva sampruktou vak artha prtipaaddhaye I
jagata: pitarou vande parvati-paramesvarou II

32. The meaning. I pray to the Father and Mother of the world Parvathy and Parameswara who are, as inseparable as are the word and its meaning, so as to be able to get the correct and appropriate word of the apt meaning, (in this endeavour of writing that I have undertaken)! In this, the last two words could also be looked as ‘parvathypa rameswarou’! Now the meaning changes. It means that your prayers are addressed to ‘parvathy pathy parameswara and rama pathy maha vishnu’! It is not correct for me to say that the meaning has changed. I should say that the meaning has become more expansive and inclusive!

33. ‘Pa’ is ‘pathy’. ‘Adipathy’ can be simply ‘Adipa’. ‘’Nara pathy’ can be ‘Nrupathy’ for example, like ’nara simha’ becomes ’nrusimha’ and can be shortened further to, ‘Nrupa’. On similar logic, ‘parvathypa’ is same as ‘parvathy pathy’. Now, ‘rameswarou’ means ‘the lord of rama that is Vishnu! Thus what was ‘Parvathy Parameswarou’ (meaning the duo of Parvathy and Parameswara) becomes ‘Parvathypa Rameswarou’ ( to mean the duo of Parvathy’s lord Siva and Rama’s lord Vishnu)! Now the word ‘pitharou’ can be construed to mean the ‘two fathers’ Siva and Vishnu!

34. There is much sense in this. Sakthi, the Mother, Ambal, is Herself, Vishnu in the Male form! Sivam is said to be the ever male as the thing of ‘nirguna’ sans guna or characteristics. When He is with the ‘saguna’ Sakti, in the female form as Ambal, with her as the left half of His body, He is ‘Ardha Nareeswara’. When that ‘saguna’ power is in the male form, Siva-Vishnu are known as Sankara-Narayana. In other words Vishnu in female form is Ambal, the consort of Siva. Appar Swami says, “ari alaal devi illai aiyan ayyaranaarke”. So, there is nothing wrong in thinking of Siva and Vishnu as Father and Mother of all existence! With them as the parents is ‘Ayyappa Saastha’.

35. There is one more thing. Maha Vishnu in the Male form, is more satisfying to think of as with Maha Lakshmi! Ramanuja’s religion of Vaishnavam is ever known as ‘Sri Vaishnavam’ with the Mother Sri given the pride of place in the beginning. Easwara too similarly is to be thought of as ‘Sa + Amba + Murthy’ or ‘Sa + Amba + Mahadeva’ as ‘Sambamurthy or Sambhomahadeva’! That is, He is to be thought of as, with Ambal!

36. So, at the beginning of the Maha Kavya, if you think of them as Parvathy - Parameswarou or Parvathypa - Rameswarou; we think of one or both the divine couples of Parvathy - Easwara & Rama - Her Lord Vishnu! While praying to one you get the benefit of praying to both. By detaching and attaching the position of just one letter, we have so much more to gain! The most important additional advantage is that, like we cannot detach the word from its meaning, we learn to ever attach Saivam and Vaishnavam!

37. In the Saiva - Vaishnava sense of equality too, there is a popular saying in Tamil. It goes like this. “ariyum sivanum onnu; ariyaadavan vaayile mannu”! This means that, “ariyum = Hari and sivanum = & Siva; onnu = are one; ariyaadavan = the one who does not know this, that is the one ignorant of this; vaayile = (in his) mouth; mannu = mud”. Put together, it means that, Hari and Siva are one; mud in the mouth of the one who is ignorant of this!

38. Now comes another meaning of the second sentence, “....ariyaadavan vaayile mannu....”! Here it can be parted as, “ari + yadavan vaayile mannu. Ari that is, Hari was a Yaadava and in his mouth there was mud. Krishna had put mud in his mouth and shown His Mother the whole cosmos by just opening His mouth!

39. That is alright to say that they are one and the same! But why should you say something that sounds demeaning for Hari to have mud in His mouth? There is deeper meaning here too! One Brhmam is the power of God in being. As Siva He is Nirguna Brhmam of no variation whatsoever, so no creation, no guna, no distinctive characteristics. As Hari, He has the whole Prakruti Tatva in Him and becomes all the Earth and Cosmos of all Saguna! ‘ariyum sivanum onnu’, the first sentence, is about the Nirguna Brhmam Siva. Now the second sentence. The first word Ari means learn; learn what? Learn that “Yadavan vaayile” = learn through Yadava; “mannu” = all the worlds! That same Nirguna Brhmam becomes all these worlds, earth, solar system, star families, galaxies and the entire cosmos! Learn this!

40. In Sanskrit, there is a sloka in which by removing one letter, from where ever it occurs, what is a ‘ninda sloka’ (derogatory) becomes one that praises, that is a ‘stuti’! It is written by one Sri Rama Sastry of Chamaraja Nagar. It is the 18th sloka in ‘Sita - Ravana Samvada Jari’, printed by Kaasi Choukamba Press The first three lines are as being spoken by Ravana, addressing Sita, in which he is rather critical of Sri Rama! In reply, Sita tells Ravana, “kala! tam asakrun-maa sprusa giraa”, to mean, “You Menace! Do not repeatedly touch Him with your words”! When Ravana spoke derogatively thus about Sri Rama Chandra, it possibly sounded like desecrating Sri Rama with Ravana’s words soaked in his saliva! So she said, ‘kala’ = you mischief monger, ‘tam’ = Him; ‘gira’ = by words; ‘asakrun’ = repeatedly; ‘ma sprusa’ = do not touch! This is the apparent meaning. Now when we look at it in greater detail, it would mean, ‘do not touch Him repeatedly with those words starting with ‘ta’. Drop those ‘ta’ and you will see that you are actually praising Sri Rama! (Since in Sanskrit, there are four ‘ta, tha, da, dha’, here only the first letter ‘ta’ is referred.)

41. What is that ‘Ninda ‘ sloka? What happens when we remove all the ‘ta’ kara swara-s? The original sloka runs like this:- “adalpam nidralu: rajanishu durgatatama: maha kadaryadya: manasi viduta:-projvalayasa: I vadaan maamsaadaanaam bahu vimada laabou janakaje katam slaagyo raama:....”, after this is the line, ’kala tam asakrun maa sprusa giraa II’, as what Sita told Ravana, as mentioned earlier.

42. What Ravana said to Sita is as follows:- “Hi Janaka Putri!, He, your Rama does not even have a bed to sleep in. He does not know how to speak properly. He has gone too far down! He is too afraid. All his worth is gone. Having killed some Rakshasa-s he has attained many enemies! How can he be great?” ‘Rama:’ = Rama is; ’rajanishu adalpam’ = has no bed to sleep at night; ‘nidralu’ = sleepy; ‘kuwaak’ = speaks only bad words; ‘durgata tama:’ = gone too far down to the lowest; ‘manasi’ = in mind; ‘kadaryadya:’ = fearful; ‘viduta projvala yasa:’ = gone are the glories; ‘maamsaadaanaam vadaan’ = by killing carnivores Rakshasaa-s; ‘bahu vimada laabou’ = has obtained many enemies; (such a one); ‘katam slaagya:? = how could he be appreciated?

43. Now as suggested by Sita, let us set aside the letters ‘ta’ where ever they occur and look at the meaning of the same sloka! ‘atalpam’ becomes ‘alpam’, so, ‘alpam nidraalu:’ means one who seldom sleeps; As it is as a King he is not supposed to sleep too much. Now that he has lost Sita, he hardly sleeps! ‘kuwak durgata tama:’, with the two ‘ta‘ letters that are underlined, dropped, ‘kuwaak durgama;’ and the meaning changes from ‘bad mouthed who has reached the lowest abyss‘, becomes, one who is unapproachable by crass words or thoughts; from fearful becomes man of high achievements, whose effulgence has become more bright by the killing of Rakshasaa-s; and so on. By removal of the letter ‘ta’ the sloka become one of praise for Sri Rama!

(More to come.)



Thursday, March 18, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 199 (Vol #3) Dated 18 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 199 (Vol #3) Dated 18 Mar 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 913 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.)

15. The five Pandava brothers were doing ‘Agnaata Vaasa’ (living incognito) for a year, at the end of their 12 years stay in the forest, as per the mutually agreed conditions on the gambling table! If they complete one year thus without being recognized, Kaurava-s would have had to return the Rajyam (power of governance). Now 12 years were over and the one year of living incognito was also coming to an end. Before that, Duryodana was keen on exposing their identity so that, the cycle of 12 years of Vana Vaasa followed by one year of Agnaata Vaasa, will have to be gone through again!

16. So, he sent his spies in all directions trying to locate the where about of the five Pandavas. He got some indications that possibly they were hiding in Virata Desh. Now they hatched a plan. They knew that the Pandava-s were basically kind hearted. So now, if you take the army and attack the Virata Desh, the Pandava-s are likely to come forward to help the King of Virata. That would be a suitable moment to expose them and send them back to the forest for another 12 years!

17. Accordingly the Kaurava Sena entered in to the Virata territory and started driving away their cattle. In Maha Bharatha, this occurs in Virata Parva in the chapter on Gosha Yatra. To fight with them Uttara Kumara the son of Virata comes forward, with Brihannala, who is actually Arjuna dressed as a woman as the charioteer. Uttara Kumara who had initially boasted so much about his prowess, was frightened of being injured in battle and killed! He wishes to run away from battle. Arjuna, remaining in woman’s dress, props him up and starts displaying his capabilities with a bow and arrow!

18. Bhishma Pitamaha starts wondering as to who could this woman be, with such astounding skills in archery! Drona Achaarya replies him as to who this woman was. This is one of the Bharatha Kuttu. As Arjuna was not revealing his true identity and living incognito, this sloka talking about him as uttered by Drona, is also not easily understandable. This is the sloka:- “ nadeeja lankesavanaariketurnagaahvyo naama nagaarisoonu:I eshonganaaveshadhara: kireeti jitvaavayam neshyatichaadhya gaa va: II ”

19. The meaning:- nadeejalam = river water; kesava naari ketu = kesava’s woman’s indication; nagam = tree or hill; nagaahvyo naama = a man with the name of a nail; nagaarisoonu: = son of the enemy of nail; eshaanganaa veshadhara: kireeti = this woman who is wearing a crown is a dressed up in a garb; jitvaa = having won; vayam = we; neshyati = taking away; cha = also; adya: = now; gaava: = cows.

20. Now, that is only the word for word meaning, in one way of interpretation of the combo words! Let us put the meanings of the words together and see what we make of it! River water, Kesava’s woman’s identification tree or hill a man with the name of a nail son of the enemy of nail this woman who is wearing a crown is dressed up in a garb having won we taking away also now cows! Thus there is some meaning of the individual words, together it makes no sense!

21. This girl Bruhannala who teaches dance to the Prince of Virata, is not wearing a crown. Here she is the charioteer for Uttara. ‘Kiriti’ is normally indicative of a man wearing a crown. A woman wearing a crown should be called a ‘kiritini’. So there is an error in the meaning of the word and a mistake in grammar too. This is ‘kanna, pinna’!
22. This sloka is like a thoroughly twisted and knotted maze of imbroglio! To understand this, we have to thoroughly dissemble and reassemble each word and look at all possible combination of its meanings! Only very intelligent people with high power grasp can do that. Ganapathy Bhagawan could do that in a fraction of a second. What is that meaning? It is like this. Someone was asked to go to the shop and purchase 100 gms each of ‘Sukku, Milagu and Thippily’. He went and asked for 100 gms each of ‘Sukkumy, Laguthi and Ippily’. After breaking their heads in trying to decipher what he asked for, the shop keeper and his assistant out of sheer frustration, gave him a thorough thrashing, it seems!

23. The regrouping of the words are as under:- nadeeja = dear Mr River born, that is addressing Bhishma Pitamaha; lan(m)kesa = king of Lanka that is Ravana; vana ari becomes vanaari = destroyer of vana; here it would mean the Anjaneya who destroyed the Ashoka Vana; ketu: = what is on top; here it is the flag. So, so far the meaning is like this. “...nadeeja lankesavanaariketu:...”, means, “Dear river born Ganga Putra, Sir Bhishma Pitamaha! The one who has on his flag, the picture of Anjaneya who destroyed the Ashoka Vana of the Lankeswara Ravana, that is Arjuna!”

24. “...nagahvayo naama...” is to be interpreted. naga = nail or tree or hill; aahvayo naama = with a name of; together that would mean, ‘with the name of a tree’! Arjuna is that name of a tree as well as that of a Pandava. Arjuna is the name of a type of tree known as the ‘Marudam’ in Tamil. The three Siva Kshetra-s with the ‘Marudam or Arjuna’ tree as the Sthala Vruksha - namely, Sri Sailam is Mallikarjunam, Thiruvidai Maruthur is Madhyarjunam and Thirupudai Maruthur is Pudarjunam; have all got the name of Arjuna added to their name, the name of a tree!

25. Next we have to see the meaning of ‘nagarisoonu’! Here the word ‘naga’ means instead of a nail or a tree, a hill. Howzzat? Who is the enemy of hills and mountains? It is Indra! Once upon a time hills were mobile. They had feathered wings. They would fly from place to place and cause untold miseries to smaller forms of life! Indra cut their wings off with his Vajrayudha! Then only they got the name of ‘achalam’! Sanskrit root words for move is ‘gam’ or ‘chalam’. If you add ‘a’ or ‘na’ as a prefix to words, they will become antonyms. Thus, ‘a + chalam’ and ‘na + gam’ would mean the same ‘immobile or static‘! Here nagam means the static mountain. Now the word, ‘naga + ari + soonu:’ = the son of the enemy of hills i.e., the son of Indra, that is Arjuna!

26, ‘esha angana veshadhara: kiriti’ , if this is taken to mean ‘this woman wearing a crown is in disguise’, that would not be factually correct! ‘kiriti’ should not be taken to mean any one wearing a crown, as though it is a common noun. Here Bruhannala is not wearing a crown and a woman wearing a crown should be referred as ‘kiritini’, to be correct grammatically! Here ‘kiriti’ should be taken as a proper noun to mean a particular person, that is Arjuna, whose bravery was appreciated by Indra himself and given a special title as, ‘kiriti’! In this light, if we read this sentence again, ‘esha angana veshadara: kiriti’ now would mean, this person who is dressed up to look like a woman, is actually ‘kiriti’ that is Arjuna.

27. Once you have got this ‘kiriti’ as Arjuna, now you know the meaning of the jig-saw-puzzle! That he is the one in the disguise of a woman, doing the job of a charioteer for Uttara, Virata Raja Kumara as Bruhannala; having Hanuman Anjaneya in his flag; has the name of the Marudam or Arjuna tree in his name; who is also the son of Indra. That is the Indra, who had cut the wings of the mountains which used to fly! All this become crystal clear.

28. One line remains unsolved. ‘jitva vayam neshyati saadya gaava:’ makes no sense or it means that, ‘won - us - herds - now - he - too - cows’! As we did earlier, we have to cut and rejoin the words differently, as follows:- ‘jitva - (a)va - yam - neshyati - sadyaga: - va:’. This would mean, ‘that ‘kiriti’ Arjuna, yam = whom; jitva = having defeated, (that is Duryodana), va: = your; ga: = cows; neshyati = herds; ava = save him, that is save that Duryodana!

29. Now let us recap the meaning of the whole sloka. Dronacharya is telling Bhishma, who was appreciating the archery of this woman charioteer of Uttara, “Dear Sir, the Son of River Ganga, the one who has in his flag the Anjaneya who had once destroyed the Ashoka Vana of Ravana, and has a name as derived from the tree Arjuna, the son of the enemy of mountains, in the garb of a female, having defeated Duryodana, is now driving away the cattle which we had captured, hence save our king Duryodana.

30. We have been breaking our heads in trying to understand this all this while. Like Ganesha the Scribe of Maha Bharatha, Bhishma understood immediately. He had extremely sharp intelligence and grasp of understanding. Anjaneya is another brilliant Brhmachari, that is eternal celibate! Listening to this story, we are all fortunate to think of such great personages as Ganesha, Bhishma and Anjaneya! Many such Bharatha Kuttu-s, he could solve without even trying. Thinking of Him let us also put some ‘kuttu’ on our heads, praying for energizing our brains too!

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 198 (Vol #3) Dated 16 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 198 (Vol #3) Dated 16 Mar 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 page No 907 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.)

PaNpaadu i.e., Culture

1. Poet's Play on Words. Poets use the same words that we use every day in our conversations and writings. But there is some special beauty and intelligence that comes into play in their writings, that is not to be seen in our speech and writing. This is similar to what happens when we pick up a brush to paint and an artist does or when we wield a violin and bow and Lalkudi Jayaraman does! Without seeming to make much efforts, they are able to lift us to the ethereal heights of aesthetics in a jiffy. They have this capacity to thrill and decorate the ordinary to make it extra ordinary!

2. The ideas and concepts in the bland words of ours instantly become attractive and fetching in their words with inner meanings with frills such as comparisons and rhymes. Like decorating a simple looking girl with facials, jewels, flowers and nice clothes and making her look very beautiful, simple words become poetry and literature by their artistry! This decoration is known as 'alankar' in Sanskrit and 'aNi' in Tamil. This decorative art in poetry is known as 'alankara saastra'. In Tamil we have 'uvamai aNi, siledai aNi' and such. In Tamil the literature on the subject is known as 'Tandiyalankaram' . There was one Thandi in Kanchipuram some 1,300 years back. He was a poet of renown of that time. He had written a book on the intricacies of poesy, called 'kavyadarsam'. This was the basis on which 'Thandi Alankaram' was written in Tamil some 900 years back.

3. There are two types of decorative writing in classic poetry. One is to thrill the readers mind and heart by the very nobility of their ideas by which they touch the very core of your heart and make us shed tears, not necessarily out of sadness! The other is to thrill the intellect by the novelty of their expression, perspective and presentation! This second may not melt your heart and may not add to your knowledge base. Still they will make a deep impression on our minds! It has the power to make you forget your worries and monotony like a magic show.

4. So, even great classic writers also have at times resorted to what can be called as, 'word play'. What sounds like some meaningless blabbering, when interpreted in a novel way and given deeper meanings, we cannot help appreciating such art. This is known as 'Chitra Kavita'. In this too there are two varieties. One is play on words with double meanings giving different meanings known as, 'artha chitram' and play on rhymes and similar sounding words with slight nuances of meanings known as 'sabda chitram'!

5. Kanna - Pinna. When somebody talks nonsense irrelevantly, we say in Tamil, that, "He is saying something kanna-pinna'! The double word group does not have a dictionary meaning. But, a poet has given some new meaning to this and beautified it! He was a well known poet in the King's gathering. The King used to shower his poets with largesse. There was an unread poor man, who asked the poet, to give him some poem which he will present to the King as his own and win some prizes. Many poets who are normally people with big hearts are said to have helped many poor people like this. Even Kavi Kalidasa is said to have helped poor people like that.

6. This poet is also similarly a big hearted fellow. Instead of composing a poem, he told this rustic, "You just go to the King and say anything that comes to your mind. It does not mater even if you were to say something, 'kanna Pinna'! I will be there in the King's court when you do this, is it not so? I will explain as to how whatever you say has a lot of meaning and that you deserve to be honoured!"

7. Then the man came to the King's court and his name was announced by the royal gate keeper. The man was quite impressed with the august assembly. As it is, he was not a man of words. In this situation his tongue was tied, like a school child that forgets its lines on stage. He just blurted out, "kanna"! There was a pause. Then gathering courage he said, "pinna"! Another pregnant pause! Then he said all in one breath, virtually shouting at the top of his voice, "kanna, pinna, manna, thenna!"

8. No body knew what he meant. The royal assembly was non-plussed! The King was almost annoyed! But the Asthaana Vidwan, our big hearted poet stood up clapping, "How wonderful, Great, Great!" and kept clapping. Everybody looked up to him! He addressed the King thus, "He is a great poet sir! You know what he has said? He calls you 'Kanna', that is to mean that, you are as great as Karna of ever lasting fame for generosity Then he calls you 'Pinna', as the one who came after Karna. That is Dharma Putra, the eldest of the Pandava-s famous as the man of peace and the man of balanced temperament at al times! You are as good as that Dharma Putra!", he explained!

9. "Then he called you Manna, the King of all Kings and finally Thenna, the King of South India!". The whole audience burst into a mighty roar of appreciation. The King was mighty pleased and gave that poor rustic, 'akshara laksham!' Now, I will not ask you, if you understood that word, 'akshara laksham'! It means that the King gave him a Lac of rupees per letter of his poem! Instead of containing any high and noble idea, the story above is an example of instant wit and play on words only! However doing so has an attraction of its own to the poets and writers!
10. That is the reason why, not only poets like Kalidasa, Kalamegham and Mahan have used such tricks extensively in their creations, but also, others who were Maha Rishi-s known for their erudition, devotion and divine disposition, such as, Vyasa, Achaarya Adi Sankara, Appayya Deekshidar, Thiru Gnana Sambandar et al.

11. Let me start with one of the 'Bharatha Kuttu'! I think that I have told you about this story as to how, Vyasa added some such puzzles while narrating Maha Bharatam. Vyasa was composing and dictating, while Maha Ganapathy was acting as the steno-grapher, writing it on the Meru mountain rocks, with his pen of ivory, which he had broken from one of his tusks! Ganapathy had put one condition that Vyasa's dictation should remain ahead of his writing. To counter this, Vyasa had said that Ganesha should understand the meaning of what is being dictated, before writing it! Hence the need for Vyasa to add a puzzle every now and then!

12. As they started with such a mutual challenge, Vyasa continued like a river in spates. Ganesha matched his speed in writing. Much earlier, In a running race with his younger brother, Ganesha had matched his physical capability with sheer brain power. When the requirement was to go around the three worlds three times, he had just ambled around his parents three times and claimed the first prize, while Subrahmanya was still speeding across the worlds seated on his carrier peacock!

13. In this race too, Ganesha's speed was the superior one. So what Vyasa did was, to add a deliberately difficult sloka whose meaning had complicated inner twists. In Sanskrit words could be in any order, in a sentence. Take this previous sentence as an example. This sentence could be written as, "words in Sanskrit could any order be in a sentence in"! So whenever Vyasa needed a break, he would add a sloka, whose words would be so cleverly spun around that, the correct interpretation could be quite difficult! Further in Sanskrit, there are rules about how words can and should be joined together! These are known as rules of, 'sandhi'! If you go against the rules of 'sandhi', you may end up making blunders in understanding the meaning! So apparently, the sloka will convey one meaning, while rearranging the order of words could convey a different meaning. Within the combined words slight changes in 'sandhi' could give yet another slant to the meaning altogether!

14. Maha Bharatham had a Lac sloka-s (that is, hundred thousand)! Vyasa introduced a complicated 'Bharatha Kuttu' every hundred sloka-s. Thus, there are a hundred such puzzles in the whole of Maha Bharatha. Ganesha may be, paused slightly to grasp the meaning of such ‘kuttu-s‘, before writing. That possibly gave enough breathing time and space for Vyasa and the process carried on! In the next mail, we will consider in detail one such 'Bharatha Kuttu'.

(To be continued.)



Sunday, March 14, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 197 (Vol #3) Dated 14 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 197 (Vol #3) Dated 14 Mar 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 page No 898 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.)

115. Artha Saastra too reiterates this Yagnya Valkya Smruti that the traditions and culture of the state defeated in battle should be nurtured and taken care of. Though the winning king may retain control in his hands, he is to do so through a local person of social standing only. Preferably such a person should be a close relative of the erstwhile king who has been defeated. On many occasions the rule has evolved to the defeated king himself or if he is killed in battle, to his son. For example, when Vali was killed, though Sugriva was made the king, Vali's son Angada was made the crown prince. Similarly when Ravana was killed in battle, Vibhishana, Ravana's younger brother was made the king.

116. The defeated state should pay a yearly cess to the winner. They are not to go to war with anyone without consultations. Thus their defence and foreign affairs will have to be in a sub-servient manner. But, they could have a fair amount of independence in their internal affairs. Except as was obtaining in the Indian sub-continent, nowhere else in the world, such generousness can be observed.

117. A king was to observe six principles while dealing with other kings of other countries, known as 'shaadgunyam' , as given by the Artha Saastraa-s. These are, 'sandi, vigraham, yaanam, sthanam or aasanam, samsrayam and dvaiteebhavam'. These are explained hereinafter. 'Sandi' means a mutual agreement of peace, which is incumbent on both the nations. 'Vigraham' is breaking of these mutual agreement and instead of allies, the other is considered as an enemy. 'Sthanam' or 'Aasanam' is neutrality or non-alignment. 'Yaanam' is like the period of cold-war, when with out declaration, preparation for an eventual confrontation takes place. 'Samsrayam' is joining hands with a more powerful third party, against the earlier opponent. This is very similar to the idea that, 'the enemy's enemy could prove to be a friend'! Such an act being a policy of convenience, it is more related to diplomacy and not really 'Dharma'!

118. In the First World War, Austria joined with Germany and Serbia got into 'Samsrayam' with Russia. The differences of views between these two nations assumed huge proportions to become a World War! 'Dwaiteebhavam' is to join hands with a third neighbour so as to be able to wage a war with the second one! This is very close to the idea of 'divide and rule', in which you exploit both the elements who have been divided. Whereas 'Dwaiteebhavam' is for one to interpose between the second and third, so as to be able to deal effectively with the second! As I said earlier, this is an approach lacking in integrity, more appropriately to be called, duplicity!

119. The Parts of the Government. When I have spoken about the 'shaadgunyam' of foreign policy, I should be talking about the seven parts ('sapta angam' or 'sapta prakruti') of the machinery of a Government. They are 'swami, amaatya, suhrud, kosa, rashtra, durga and bala', respectively. Let me explain. Swami means the King. Amaatya are the ministers. Suhrud means friendly countries and well wishers. Kosa is the treasury, which includes the repository of wealth, money and also the nation's agricultural and industrial produces. Rashtra is the nation with its citizens. Durg is the fort and defence works. Bala is the strength that is, moral - rightness of Dharma and physical - the Fighting Forces!

120. Thiruvalluvar rearranged this in a different order as the complimentary infrastructure for the King, as the first Kural in the chapter on 'Porut Paal'. "padai, kudi, koozh, amaichu, natpu, aran; aarum udaiyaan arasarul eru". In this Kural, udaiyaan is the owner that is the King. Padai is the bala of strength. Kudi is the rashtra or the nation. Koozh is the food, the wherewithal, that is the kosa or Treasury. Amaichu is the various amaatya or ministries. Natpu is suhrud. Aran is Durg. What is given in Dharma Artha Saastraa-s is word for word repeated by Thiruvalluvar!

121. To sum it up, a cursory glance of Artha Saastra may give you the impression that 'Artha', the meaning, means, money, material, resources and their availability to be the most important priority. On a deeper understanding, we will find that Dharma is the priority one and Artha is only secondary. Moreover, if you have to use unfair means of Adharma, one may as well do without that!

122. What ever be our aim in life, Artha gives it a possibility of attainment. Let it be happiness or a reasonable life style, or 'daanam' that is philanthropy in being kind to others, money makes it possible. People may be very well behaved and morally intentioned, may be they are very devoted to God and wish to pursue Gnana, it can happen only when the king does his job of protecting his people. If there is no law and order in the country, where is Dharma, Gnana and Moksha?

123. Chanakya says that though it is the impression of all that, Artha enables only attainment of Kaama, it is also the basis of the other two manly pursuits of humans, namely Dharma and Moksha. There is another way of looking at it. Amongst the four Ashrama-s, the Brhmachari and Sanyasi are both dependent upon the Gruhasta, (the farmer, producer, shop keeper, crafts man and so on,) for sustenance. The Gruhasta is mainly concerned with the Artha of Living. So, Chanakya also contributes to the idea of the four 'Purusha Artha' being 'Artha, Kaama, Moksha through Dharmic methods, (morally acceptable means)!

124. The fact that other Purusha Artha-s are dependent on Artha Saastra can be viewed from another angle. Starting from the task of protecting the Veda-s by Adhyayanam and Adhyapakam, all the professions can thrive only when the learners and teachers of these are protected and enabled to pursue their profession in a peaceful environment. The Government has an important role to play here, that of protecting the 14 Dharma Pramana-s (the Sruti, Smruti scriptures) and 18 Vidya Sthana-s which are actually the varied disciplines! Thus Artha Saastra is like the protecting armour for them all.

125. While talking of 18 Vidya Sthana-s, of the four Upaveda-s, other than Artha Saastra, Ayur, Dhanur and Gaandarva Veda-s, it not only means that they too need the support of the government but also that, they are closely related to the King's job of governing and fighting battles. There will be casualties in war. So the king and his soldiers should know first aid and treatment for various likely injuries. There is a portion of Ayur Veda known as Salya Saastra, which is about removal of the broken pieces of spears or arrows from the wounded soldiers body. I do not have to tell you as to how the king and his soldiers were rather avid in learning about Dhanur Veda.

126. As far as Gaandarva Veda is concerned, the king was considered as a Patron of Arts. Bhoja, Vikramaditya, Mahendra Varma and Krishna Devaraya, were all well qualified in the arts of Dance, Drama and Music. They were ardent fans of well known artists of their times and took good care of such people.

127. During Agnata Vaasa( at the end of Vana Vaasa, when for one year Pandavas were supposed to remain incognito), Arjuna in Virata Desa was a dance master. Udaiyaan playing on the Veena subdued an elephant which was running amok in Masth. There are many such examples in Ithihasa-s, Purana-s and Kavya-s! While talking of Sri Rama's adorable character qualities in the beginning of Ayodhya Canto, it is said that he was foremost in Music and such Gaandarva Vidya-s, "...gandarve cha bhuvi sreshta : ...".

128. Even when you come into recent historical times, Mahendra Varma Pallava had a pseudonym as 'chitra kaara puli', meaning a tiger amongst painters! He has also written a comedy by the name of 'Matta Vilasa Prahasanam'. In Kudumiya Hills he has etched on stone the Sangeeta Saastra for future generations. Raja Raja Chozha had a royal pseudonym as, 'Raja Vidyadara'. In the Tanjore big temple, he had organised 'Aariya Koothu and Tamil Koothu'. In recent times, the reason for the revival of Music, Dance and Drama in Tanjore, is mainly due to the Saraboji and Naik dynasty of Maharashtrian kings. The king was supposed to be a 'parangathan' in arts. The word means that he is supposed to have crossed all borders and limits, in nurturing and cultivation of the arts!

129. Ambal and Easwara as the two 'Hamsa-s', white swans, are said to be in conversation with each other. The 18 Vidya Sthana-s have emerged from that conversation of the two white swans in the 'Anahata Chakra', one of the six Chakra-s of the causal human body! So says Adi Sankara in the 38th of the sloka-s in Soundarya Lahiri, "...yataa laabhaat ashta dasa gunita vidya pariNati :...". These 18 Vidya Sthana-s are (to remind our readers), Ruk, Yajus, Sama, Atharva Veda-s (four Veda-s), Siksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Jyotisha, Chandas Saastraa-s (six Veda Anga-s), Mimamasa, Nyaya, Dharma Sastra-s, Purana-s(these also separately number 18!), Ayur Veda, Dhanur Veda, Gaandarva Veda and Artha Saastraa-s ( totalling eight). The King was required to be fairly well versed if not an authority in all of them. Since he was mainly guided by the Artha Saastra in so doing, that is its greatness!

130. Sukhra the Guru of Asura-s and Bruhaspathi the Guru of Deva-s have both authored Saastra-s on running a Government. Brhma has authored a Saastra each on the four Purusha Artha of Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha. From that the portion on Governance has been briefly covered by one Visalaksha, called Visalaksham. Bruhaspathi further shortened it. Medhatiti (who had written a commentary on Manu Smruti) and Vignaneswar(who had written Mitakshari), have both commented on Raja Neethi or diplomacy, which are respected for their thought content even in the modern world of to day! There are many areas in Ramayana and Maha Bharatha, which are throwing ample lights on many subtle points of diplomacy and governance!

131. Please do not forget what I said very early on this subject. When whatever said in Artha Saastra is agreeable to Dharma Saastra, then and only then, they have the power and sanction of authority. We hear this from the mouth of Chanakya himself when he says that, "whenever there is conflict of interpretation between Dharma Saastra-s and human and governmental transactions, procedures and methods, the King should decide on the basis of Dharma only!" "Dharmo rakshati rakshita :" , meaning that, the king protects righteousness and in turn Dharmam protects the protector!



Friday, March 12, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 196 (Vol #3) Dated 12 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 196 (Vol #3) Dated 12 Mar 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 page No 892 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.)

103. If one man troubles another and then another troubles the first in return, then it is a multiplication of the first mistake! Here hate, anger and an urge to retaliate come in to play. But, when a neutral organization as government, without a personal reason punishes the offender for the sake of justice, then that is known as ‘sikshai’ as a punishment for the mistake he originally committed, also so as to deter repetition by him or by others. This is part of ‘Raja Dhandam’ and to do so is Dharmam, to save the society from this man‘s propensity!

104. If a mad person throws stone at others, even if he was our own son, do we not lock him up? Similarly some are kleptomaniacs, some believe in forgery and different people have slightly different type of madness. They have to be jailed or hospitalized. To reduce the hurt to the society, some have to be hurt, inconvenienced or put under restraint!

105. How does this ‘Raja Dhandam’ work towards foreigners? To protect ones citizen from being hurt by foreigners is also part of the King’s duties. What ever the other country, to wage a war against other countries to bring them under ones own control has been an age old practice. I am not going to justify such actions of the past. Actually one Mr.J.W.Yelder questioned me on this. He asked me, “It is said in Artha Saastraa, that a king may wage a war with a neighbouring country for the purpose of expanding his own influence. Can this be done in the present day circumstances?” I told him that this was a custom of the past, with more overtones of Artha and not Dharma. This need not be taken as having permanent applicabilityand validity!

106. Anyhow it was the in thing for a king to try and expand his area of influence and suzerainty. This was followed by all the countries of the world. But a point to note is that, even this was done in a more humane and acceptable manner in the Indian context. They conducted what was known as ‘Rajasooya yagnam’, in which a powerful horse was permitted to roam at will, accompanied by some representative armed escort. Where ever it strayed, the local chief, paid tributes to the king who was the original owner of the horse. War ensued only when the local chief had the guts and temerity to object to the free movement of the horse! Though this was also part of the three taboos as per philosophy, namely, ‘mannaasai, pennasai and ponaasai’, meaning the lure of land, lass and lucre; a king was to get over such desires only when he adopted the ‘Vana Prastha Ashrama’ in his old age!

107. Dharma Saastra neither restrict a king from going to war, nor do they instigate him to do so! Artha Saastraa recommend and justify going to war, either in self defence or when there is tyranny and dictatorship, for reasons of re-establishing Dharma as well as for establishing ones own suzerainty! But, simply for the sake of expansion of one’s own rule, it does not recommend going to war as the first act! It talks of, ‘upaaya chatushtyam”, meaning, ‘the four fold approach’! In this, going to war is only the last of the four methods! This is some thing about which we can be proud of really!

108. ‘Upaaya chatushtyam’ are, Sama, Daana, Bheda, Dhanda. These steps should be made use of successively by the king, in his approach to other kings / nations. First is ‘Sama’. With peace in your heart see if you can win the other kings friendship and good will. By suitable well known sages and saints, he should be given advices accordingly.

109. Next is ‘Daana’. We give him presents and co-opt him in our empire. Give him a small portion of ones own land, without any show of fear or submissiveness, when the other comes to fight with an army of his own. Give him a present of wealth and jewellery. Give ‘Kanya Daan’ of ones princess to the other king or his son, there by establishing blood relations. Since this method is slightly inferior to the first method of real genuine love and compassion, this has been opted for as the second step. If in Sama, you are mine and I am yours, with total equality, in Daana, the oneness of equality is gone.

110. The third step is the ‘Bheda’, which is lower still. Normally in our day to day life we should not be using this at all! Bheda and Dhanda are reserved for use by Royalty only! This is similar to the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy so successfully adopted by the Britishers, in expanding their strangle hold on all colonies, all over the world. In Artha Saastra, there is still a restraining clause. Having brought the opponent to his knees almost, you give him a chance to go submissively, accepting your primacy. You still reserve your application of ‘Dhanda’.

111. War is the fourth step ‘dhanda’ ! What is punishment for the internal offender, is the war on the external foe. Though there is much difference between the two, to be a power in being and show of force is common. To keep oneself capable of fighting a war when necessary is one of the pre-requisites of the rule by the king.

112. When we look into it closely, it will be found that a king has to use all these methods, in management of internal affairs too. Sama is spreading awareness of Dharma through temples and Dharmic pravachanam-s by Pouranik-s and Pujari-s. Awards, titles recognition of worth, praises and financial encouragement through manyata puraskar-s and such things come under Daana. To convert an accused as an approver, so as to be able to book the others, is Bheda. Punishment is Dhanda!

113. Being Kind to the Side Which has Lost. There are many restrictions in the application of Dhanda Neethi too! The winning side in dealing with the loser has to observe many niceties of behaviour. Firstly you are not to gobble up the other country totally! Without hurting the other nations individuality and identity, it should be entrusted to respectable people of its own. What ever is contrary to their religion and culture, is not to be imposed on them. These sort of noble ideas is not only said in the concerned Dharma Saastraa-s, but is also emphasised by Chanakya in his Artha Saastra.

114. When nations expand their area of influence by way of force or other means, invariably have used a variety of means to create cleavages in the defeated populace, so as to attract them to ones own religious and cultural beliefs, is generally what is seen everywhere in history. But our Saastraa-s have totally disapproved such practices. We do not believe in conversion at all. We believe that what ever be your God and methods of approach, through that you can come up to the highest level of becoming aware and understanding! That is the way we understand “...sarva dharma sahishnutvam...”, meaning tolerance of other’s point of view! Yagnya Valkya Smruti says, “yasmin dese ya aachaaro vyavahaara kula stiti: I tataiva paripaalyo asou yataavasam upaagata: II” This is to say, ‘In the country won over by war, the winning king is duty bound to keep and maintain its procedures, customs, traditions and religion, without making alterations in them’ is the clear ruling!

(To be continued.)



Thursday, March 11, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 195 (Vol #3) Dated 10 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 195 (Vol #3) Dated 10 Mar 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 page No 887 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.)

93. Sekkizhar was a minister under a Chozha King. He wrote the book about all the 63 Nayanmar-s, renowned devotees of Siva. Amongst them there are only 12 brahmins, rest are all non-brahmins. They are all revered so much that in Siva temples, in the covered space around the sanctum sanctorum, there are statues representing each one of them. In describing their stories, Sekkizhar does touch upon two things invariably. One is about various Vedic traditions and the second is about how the king took care of the maintenance of 'varna-ashrama-dharma' ! The kings had an important role to play in this, as after all his was the responsibility to maintain social cohesion.

94. The king took care of this 'varna-ashrama-dharma' , so that it automatically ensured that people were disciplined enough. To a large extent this reduced the need for the application of 'raja dhandam' ! Each person had his profession to take care of with a fixed life style and method of earning his keep. You did not have to constantly compete with others all the time. When there is competition, anger, animosity, hate, jealousy, cheating, favouritism, bribing and even murder, takes place. All such complications were obviated, by the lack of competitiveness. Policing and judicial responsibilities of the king were that much less, in the bargain!

95. Though the management of 'varna-ashrama-dharma' was the main job of the king, it neither took too much of his time nor was it a highly stressful task. The reason is that people were voluntarily well behaved and observed the do's and don'ts of their caste and were well within the parameters of behaviour as required in the ashrama they found themselves in. Aberrations were rare. Even when a person like Buddha came on the scene recommending 'no-caste & no-god' concept, despite the tremendous power of attraction that he had, there was no popular ground swell against 'varna-ashrama-dharma' ! Despite convenient interpretations by British historians with vested interest, there was never any popular upraising against the 'varna-ashrama-dharma' ! There was not a single case of a move against the 'sanatana dharma' nor was there ever a chance for any king to force 'varna-ashrama-dharma' down the throat of unwilling masses! For thousands of years such an arrangement could not have sustained undisturbed, unless and until people found personal peace and social stability, in the set up!

96. Such being the case, the kings of yore did not have to waste their time and resources on policing and judicial procedures. So they could devote their time and energy in aesthetically pleasanter ventures. Instead of courts, police stations and jails, they constructed temples, lakes and ponds; free food chatra-s, built roads and planted trees on either side; rewarded learned Pundits and Pouranik-s enabling the common man to know about the saastraa-s; encouraged the pujaris to give talks on Bharatam in folk-music style! To remove hunger of the common man and sustain his moral self discipline, were the main concerns of the rulers those days.

97. People were peace loving. They visited the temples and developed devotion to the deities. They listened to the lectures of Purana, Itihaasaa-s stories and inculcated all the finer aspects and intricacies of dharma and morality. They lived peacefully with each other with mutual respect and admiration for their expertise in their own areas. I feel bad when I relate and compare this with the present day affairs! Instead of becoming aware of dharma and their respective duties, people are becoming more conscious of their rights. There are more temples in ruins becoming relics and brand new well maintained courts of law! Number of cinema halls are ever increasing. They learn all sorts of unlawful illegal acts through the cinema. Then is the lure of the lucre and sensual gratification, leading to general health deterioration and more money spent on the medical bills. Then you have race courses, hotels, dance halls and night clubs! As though all that is not enough, in the name of equality and rights, there are rabble rousers instigating social unrest with political overtones! Thus people have lost physical fitness, mental balance and social peace with ever increasing crime rate!

98. When you build a welfare edifice uncaring for the moral foundations, it can result only in the sort of conditions obtaining now! When you eat and drink anything, without a modicum of self discipline, you can only become unhealthy in mind and body both! Without moral bindings freedom of speech and expression through news papers, television and cinema can only assist in letting you go astray. There are more hospitals coming into being everyday because, people are all the time in the look out for newer and newer treatments for diseases of the mind, body and soul!

99. In the name of increasing money availability, they are opening ever new branches of banks in every village giving them loans. The idea is to get the Indian population to inculcate the habit of taking loans for anything and every thing with the concurrent proliferation of bribes, corruption, cheating and likely foreclosures. Thus get them all branded as beneficiaries of the welfare policies of the government, which in other words is the assured vote banks for the politicians!

100. The biggest welfare of the masses is to inculcate devotion to the divine power of God and the idea of dharmam through self discipline! The Artha and Dharma Saastraa-s were based on this deep rooted idea of discipline. It is this root of dharma that has been cut asunder by the present day politicians in the name of secularism, in the pretext of fighting the imaginary evils of casteism! No modern ideology can replace the fair and equitable system of 'varna ashrama dharma' that was existing in India. Despite the daily deterioration of values that we are seeing practically in all walks of life, politicians simply mouth the inane criticism that the earlier arrangements in ancient India, was lacking humaneness. This they do so as to retain themselves in power and continue to grind their own axes of selfishness, hypocrisy, parochialism and nepotism!

101. Another interesting point! The present day politicians at least in South India often take the name of Thiruvalluvar and his Thirukkural. But they conveniently ignore Thiruvalluvar's injunctions on Raja Dharma. In 'Porut paal', Thiruvalluvar has devoted a whole 'Adhikaram' of ten kurals, named 'Periyarai Pizhayamai' meaning 'not talking ill of our fore fathers or elders'! "The kings should approach the saints and sadhus with due respect and keep them happy", says Thiruvalluvar, so that they may not suffer like Indra, at the hands of Agasthya Muni. Indra lost his status as the King of all Deva-s, when he failed to listen to the advice of Agasthya! Then Thiruvalluvar goes on to say, "...kedal vendin kelaadu seiga...", meaning that, 'if you want to self destruct' do not consult elders!'

102. What is true kindness and humaneness at the level of managing national affairs of state? If we can establish a real state of justice and fairness, without fear of trouble creators in the society and also be able to mend the subsequent behaviour of those who have erred and enable them to steer clear of future pitfalls, that is true love of human kindness.

(To be continued.)



Monday, March 08, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 194 (Vol #3) Dated 8 Mar 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 194 (Vol #3) Dated 8 Mar 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 page No 882 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.)

83. What I am saying is that, the present condition is one like a building without a foundation! The condition existing in olden times was one with a strong foundation based on dharma. The king ensured that the common man was automatically and naturally guided towards a life of discipline and respect for the elders of the society. There were more 'temples, yagna shaalaa-s and free-food anna shaalaa-s', than courts of law and jails! Then there were exercise of control with in one's caste. Above all that if one was bent on committing errors, then the 'Raja Dhandam' was an active and effective power in being!

84. Look at the state of affairs now! There are plenty of police stations, jails and courts of law. But befooling all of them, many are hood winking and getting away with new and ever newer methods of thefts, frauds, murders, prostitution and economical offences! Despite there being a plethora of courts of law, they are proving themselves to be courts of flaw only! There are thousands of cases pending before them for years and even decades! Instead of the fear of the common man being eradicated, the common man is lured towards a life of corruption. Instead of safe guarding law and order, instead of encouraging and motivating people towards a life of discipline, if you have wetted their appetite for the fruits of 'forbidden apple', then the punishment is reserved only for those who are foolish enough to be caught or innocents on whom the crimes are hoisted! (KTSV adds:- When that too is flexible, amenable and stretchable for a consideration, we will have more cases of Tytlers, Sajjanpals and Inspector General's of police like Rathore, evading arrest for crimes blatantly committed decades back! The main sufferer directly is Justice itself and also indirectly on the principle of "Justice delayed is Justice denied "!)

85. 'Jaati NaattaNmai' was another concept that worked in modifying the harshness of the what was 'Raja Dhandam' before its application. In each caste there was this council of respectable representatives known as 'Jaati NattaaNmai', who investigated and deliberated on reports of offences of commission and omission. To that extent the job of the courts of law was lessened. As the deliberations were by people of the same community as that of the person accused, they could not be accused of partiality and or vendetta! Since their submission to the ideals of law and order was spontaneous, fairness of the system was naturally assured.

86. This was an additional reason for the king to ensure effective, 'varna ashrama dharma'. Each individual was assured of his duty, role in the society and his life style. Simultaneously he was a true devotee of God and had due respect for the elders and saintly Sadhu-s. He did the appointed duties with inherent satisfaction for his role in the society. This very fact also enabled him to progress spiritually, as evidenced by the fact that famously well known devotees are equally from all walks of life!

87. As all trades and crafts were fairly distributed across the society, all the required works of the society were done sans competition, jealousy, hate and confusion. The competition if any was only towards greater and greater refinement and ennoblement of arts, crafts and culture. Most importantly 'atma abhivruddhi' that is, progressing towards ones inner self and its realization, was the main aim. In this aspect, when you analyse as to what could have given this fillip to the Indian society as not available elsewhere in the whole world; we find that it is 'varna ashrama dharma', the only condition as not existing elsewhere, that made all the difference!

88. But, if the kings felt happy in having done their bit in maintaining the 'varna ashrama dharma' system in perfect condition, now by bringing in classless, creedless and casteless society, what we are doing is, losing our position of moral and cultural leadership, becoming as bad as the worst elsewhere in the world! There is cut-throat competition for everybody else's job, one-up-man-ship galore, crude jealousy and mutual hate. We end up having neither the technological and economic advancement nor the cultural sophistry! When practice of 'nitya karma anushtaanaa-s' of the castes has gone by default, only retaining the names of the caste-s, is like holding on to the dead body after the life has withered! In this we will agree with all the reformists that, if you are not practicing, you have no logic of holding on to the name of the caste alone.

89. But we totally disagree with the reformists view that this very basis of caste wise division of work is wrong. You are born in a particular caste, because of natural laws of Karma, of your own past deeds. The system permits you to raise your self by your self as evidenced by Nandanar and many Aazhwar-s and Nayanmar-s! Even Sukha from the lowest rung of the social order could raise to be the authority on all mantra-s, Ithihasa-s and Purana-s! It is the present chaotic mix of non-performance of caste wise duties and non-observance of 'nitya karma anushtaanaa-s' that is the reason for break-down of the system. If you ask me if the old system can be re-instated, my answer will be only, "That instead of asking as to whether we can or not, we should all be working hard persevering our level best to re-establish the old order!"

90. History repeats itself they say. A study of our recent history will prove my point that life is a matter of repeated cycles of events. Some 2,500 years back when Buddha came as well as 1,300 years back when Samana (Jain) religion was on the upswing, great saints such as, Udhayana Aachaaryar, Kumarila Bhatta, Gnana Sambandar, Appar, Manikka Vachagar et cetera have arrived to re-install the Vedic Sanatana religion of 'varna ashrama dharma', repeatedly. It will happen again. When such Aacharyar-s come into being, then the masses do not sit down for a discussion on concept and policies, but simply follow such great leaders. When the present existing state of affairs of 'not doing nitya karma anushtaana' and 'non observance of varna ashrama dharma', has sufficiently proved their worthlessness, there will be a saint to point out our stupidity and we will listen to him! Even though we may not be aware of the subtle points of difference, when the masses become conscious of the general degradation, they will revert.

91. Both Buddha and Mahavira did away with all castes, varna ashrama dharma and nitya karma anushtaanaa-s, wholesale! They were popular for some time. Like the ebbing and receding of the tides, these also come to pass. Many of those who had gone away to these religions came back on their own without any external promptings or compulsions. At least the intelligentsia should carefully analyse the truth of this observation of mine and identify the ways and means of bringing back the old methods of the Hindu society. As a minimum arrangement, they should try to bring the brahmin community back to its old ways to be an ideal and responsible model to be emulated!

92. Whether we make this happen or not, we have to get one thing clear in our own minds without an iota of doubt! Those Rishi-s, Gnani-s, devotees, religious leaders, poets, architects and thinkers by their cumulative efforts (without being aware of doing so!), lifted this country to high pinnacles of ideals to the envy of people from all over the world; giving us all those Saastraa-s truly soaked in sanatana-vedic-varna-ashrama-dharma. They did so not for a short period, but for many thousands of years! They could not have done that without true belief in the system. Amongst them there were many non-brahmins. Amongst those non-brahmins, one Sekkizhar is good enough to be mentioned with pride, as an example of many such illustrious sons of the soil of the Bharath Varsha!

(To be continued.)