Thursday, April 15, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 212 (Vol #3) Dated 15 April 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 212 (Vol #3) Dated 15 April 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 page 999 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.)

1. Meenakshi is the name of AmbaaL in Madurai. Her name means that She has the eyes of the Fish. If you think of AmbaaL’s stotras, two things come to the mind. One is Lalitha Sahasranamam and the other Soundarya Lahari. Amongst the forms of AmbaaL the three that are famous are Kanchi Kamakshi, Madurai Meenakshi and Kasi Visalakshi. In Sahasranama it occus “...kamakshi kama dayini...”. In Soundarya Lahari, though this word ‘Kamakshi’ does not occur, In the Dhyana Sloka to start with, there is mention of ‘kvanat kanchi dhama’, it is describing Kanchi Kamakchi’s form – Dhanur (Bow), BhaNa (Arrow), Paasa (binding rope which keeps you tethered in this world) and Ankusam (the short sharp hand held instrument that the elephant’s handler uses to poke the elephant’s side to make him obedient). ‘Kanchi dhama’, literally means the golden belt worn over the saree. As a second meaning, one can be reminded of the place Kanchi as the destination! There is no mention of the name Meenakshi in either ‘Soundarya Lahari’ or in ‘Lalita Sahasranama’. This is rather surprising!
2. She is world famous for being a great benefactor of devotees granting boons aplenty. With kindness and grace, she also has power to govern. For six months in a year the ‘senkole’ or sceptre of state, is in her hands and for six months it is in the hands of Sundareswara. Here She is equal. In the matter of daily pooja and neivedyam, she is a step higher it seems. It is symbolically shown to Her first and later to Him as though, He is number two in the pecking order. This is a tradition peculiar to Madurai only.
3. ‘Dwaada Saantam’, a concept extolled in Saakta Tantra, has become a synonym for the city of Madurai. Here I am reminded of an incident. When I was in Rameswaram, one of the visitors had a name, Dwaada Saantam. His father had prayed in the Meenakshi Amman temple, to grant him a son. Similar to people naming their child on fructification of their prayers, such as Chidambaram, Pazhani, Thirumalai and so on, they had named him ‘Dwaada Saantam’. I asked a pundit there as to, “what is the meaning of this phrase ‘Dwaada Saantam’”? He absent mindedly answered that amongst the twelve Siva Lingas in Rameswara Sankara Matam, the south most is the ‘Dwaada Saantam! That is not correct.
4. We look at the human body from three different perspectives as made of the Sthula, Sooktchma and Kaarana Sarira-s. The Sooktchma Sarira is made of various power centres in the body. Starting from Mulaadhaaraa at the lower tip of the spinal cord, there are six power centres known as Chakra-s. Successively along the spinal cord, there are Swaadishtaanaa at the lower abdomen, Manipuraka near the naval, Anaahata near the heart, Vishuddhi near the thymus and Aagna near the third eye, at the centre of the two eye brows. Now between this Aagna Chakra and Sahasraaraa at the peak of the head, there are supposed to be 12 points. This Dwaadasa (12) + antam (end of it) = Dwaada Saantam, that is the peak of the human body as well as well as the peak of your experience or Anubhava, the place of the unity of Jeeva & Brhma at ‘Brhma Randram’! Tantra Saastraa-s talk of the end stage of Yoga Saastraa-s spatially is Madurai and calls that place ‘Dwaada Saanta Ksetram’. Here at the ‘Brhma Randram’ of the whole Universe that is Madurai, is Meenakshi as the indicator of the Oneness & Bliss of Brhma – Atma – Ananda!
5. With massive edifices and wide open vistas of go around-s, that is praahaaraa-s, the temple is one of the architectural beauties of the world. There is no end to the artistic treasures of sculpture to be found on the walls of the temple. In other places, the temple will evolve its name from that of the Easwara there and people will say that so and so AmbaaL Sannidy is there. Thus the very living beauty of BalAmbaaL is the AmbaaL’s sannidy in Muthu Kumaraswamy (or Vaidya Natha Swamy ) Temple. KarpagAmbaaL is in Kapaleeswarar Temple and MangalAmbaaL is part of Kumbeswara Swamy Temple. But in Madurai, the name of the temple is in Her name as Meenakshi Amman Koil.
6. Sundareswara is like a guest artist there. But, it is in Madurai that Siva has played His 64 divine episodes known famously as Thiru ViLai AadalgaL. It is here that Thiru Gnaana Sambandar prayed and got the Vibhuti from Sundareswara, with which he cured the Koon Pandyan of his disease known as ‘Veppu Noi’ and regained him back from Jainism(with a simultaneous correction of his crooked back)! Lord Sundareswara has thus been historically the reason for re-establishing the Vedic religion in South India. Still nullifying all that, it is Meenakshi who is the Presiding Deity here.
7. In the general area of Kanchipuram, in none of the temples of Easwara, is the sannidy of AmbaaL to be found! As a contrast, only Kamakshi is there sans Easwara in Her temple. So it is alright for that temple to be called Kamakshi Amman Koil. But the classic Sundareswara Temple constructed exactly as per the Saiva Aagamaa-s, being called the Meenakshi Amman Koil is a rarity. In Jambukeswaram for example, though the temple is known by the Mother’s name as Akhilandeswari Aalayam, the township is called by the Easwara’s name as Jambukeswaram only!
8. From pre-historic times many great saints and poets have sung in praise of Meenakshi. The famous ‘SyamaLa Dandakam’ is on her only. Meenaakshi is Shyamala, Maatangi, MantriNi. They are all Her names. She is the Mother of Mantra and Tantra Saastraa-s. As the Presiding Deity of Music, She is playing on the MaaNikya Veena all of the time! She gets you the nectar of Moksha through the nectar of Music
9. She is of the colour of emerald green. She stays in the Kadamba Vana, the forest of an abundance of a variety of flowers. In Tamil they would call it the Kadappa Vana. “maataa maragata syaamaa maatangi madasaalini I kuryaat kataaksham kalyaaNi kadamba vana vaasini II” In Navaratna Maalikaa too Kaalidaasaa describes Her as the Mother of Music only. The Mother is holding a parrot on her hands instead of VeeNa, the musical instrument. “onkaara panjara sukheem”, he starts off saying that, ‘She is the parrot in the cage of the form of Onkaaraa!’
10. Adi Sankara, our AachaaryaaL too has written the ‘Meenakshi Pancha Ratnam’. Thiru Gnaana Sambandar while addressing ‘our source which resides in the South Aalavaayil, that is Madurai’, ‘then aalavaayil uraiyum em aadiye’ starts off with Her in the mind when he says, ‘paadi maadudanaaya paramane’! This means that, ‘our God who is having his consort as half of His body’.
11. Thus She has inspired many great poets and devotees. Kumara Guruparar sang the ‘Meenakshi Ammai PiLLaithamizh’, in which He has described her as a tiny toddler. This work was presented in an august gathering in the very space in front of Her Sanctum Sanctorum. The King at the time was Thirumalai Nayak. While the presentation (known as, ‘arangu erram’) was going on, the temple priest’s daughter came running in front of all those seated there, before anyone could react, she came to the King, removed the pearl neck lace from around his neck and placed it around the neck of Kumara Guruparar and vanished walking into the Garba Gruha of Meenakshi AmbaaL! Everyone was convinced that it was the Goddess Herself who had done this!
(To be continued.)



Post a Comment

<< Home