Monday, April 19, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 214 (Vol #3) Dated 19 April 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 214 (Vol #3) Dated 19 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 1010 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.)
25. There is a custom of not mentioning the name of persons who are very respectable or loved as a show of difference, like saying ‘His Highness’ in English. Similarly in Bhagawatam, without mentioning the name of Radha, it has been indicated obliquely, they say! Followers of the sect of Radho-Shyam would say that, Radha is ever so slightly superior to even Sri Krishna. They will point out the fact that when they had a tiff of love, Sri Krishna had to clutch her feet and beg her pardon! So, they would say that, Her name has been kept in the back ground, so as to maintain the aspect of mystery!
26. When Sri Krishna is dancing around with all the Gopika girls, suddenly Krishna disappears. They all search for Him. Then they notice two pairs of foot-steps leading away. They identify one pair of foot marks as that of Krishna. The other is presumed to be of someone who specially adored Krishna (Bhagawatam 10.30.28). Similarly, by not mentioning the name of Meenakshi directly, its value has been enhanced.
27. So OK! Where is the indirect mention of Meenakshi occurring in Lalita Sahasranaama? In the beginning, in the line 12 it says, “vaktra lakshmi parivaaha chalan meenaabha lochana”. ‘vaktra lakshmi’ means the brilliance of AmbaaL’s face, which is like a flood. ‘parivaaha’ means a ‘pravaaham’, a flow. In such a flood, there has to be fishes. Where is the fish in this flood of facial brilliance? Her long eyes ‘lochanam’ are the fish. The word ‘look’ must have evolved from that word ‘lochanam’, that is the tool for seeing, from which is arrived at, the whole world of ‘lokam’! In Tamil too, ‘paar’ means to ‘see’ and its other meaning is the ‘world’. The world = ‘lokam’ = ‘paar’ and it has no reality other than the reality that is seen as appearance. So, Her eyes are ‘meenaabha lochana’ that is, the eyes of shape of the fish! So, all said and done, one complaint is over. There is a mention of Meenakshi in Lalita Sahasranaama.
28. Now let us look at Soundarya Lahari. There are many sloka-s describing the beauty of Her eyes. I am quoting the first two lines of one of them (No. 56). “tavaparNe karNe japanayana paisunya chakitaa: nileeyante thoye niyatam animeshaa: sapharikaa:” ‘ tava’ = you; ‘aparNe’ = One of AmbaaL’s name is AparNa, meaning leafless like some of the plants and trees in the fall season. He is just addressing Her by that name ‘Aparne!’; ‘japa nayana’ = the eyes which seem to be talking (to); ‘karNe’ = the ears; what are they saying? ‘paisunya chakitaa:’ = seemingly complaining about them; about whom? ‘saparikaa:’ = the female fishes; ‘animeshaa:’ = with unwinking eyes, that is, keeping their eyes watchfully open; ‘niyatam’ = surely; ‘nileeyante’ = submerge.
29. Fishes are mostly swimming under water. They rarely come up to the surface. Even if they do, they will quickly go back diving. Here Adi Sankara is giving a reason for their doing so! The fishes observed the Mother’s eyes stretching up to the ears. The eyes of the Mother of the whole universe, is keeping a track of the welfare of all the life forms all the time. So they are flitting about in all directions. Sometime in a side long glance, they seem to be stretching up to the ears on either of the sides, as though touching them and telling them some secret! What secret could it be?
30. The fishes do look like the eyes only. Are the eyes complaining to the ears that these fishes are trying to mimic them and compete with them? If Mother the supreme power decides to take any counter action, where will they go? So the fishes are trying to hide under water! Like Duryodana after losing went and hid in the lake under water, having lost to the Mother’s eyes in a beauty competition, the female fishes are going and hiding deep in the water!
31. ‘saparikaa:’ are the female fishes. ‘paisunya’ means, to back bite. ‘chakitaa:’ is to shiver; this shivering could be by being afraid that Mother may take some offensive action against them. It could also be due to being ashamed that they are not able to match Mother’s eyes in beauty as well as in their ability to flitter! In Madurai Meenakshi Koil, in the pond of golden lotus (por-tamarai-kulam), the fishes are plenty, but not to be seen easily. (KTSV adds. There is another Meen Kulathu Bhagawati Temple, also known as Pallasena Bhagawati Temple, in Chithoor near Palakkad, in Kerala. Many devotees of Tamil Nadu migrated to other states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, mainly because they felt suffocated by a wave of anti-Brahmanism and anti-religious movements during the later part of 19th century. They created replicas of the temples they left behind, in the places where they migrated. Meen Kulathu Bhagawati Temple is a version of Meenakshi Amman Koil of Madurai.)
32. I hope now it is clear that Meenakshi has been mentioned in Soundarya Lahari too. There is another inner agenda in comparing Mother’s eyes to that of the fish. Human beings and most of the animals are mammals. They suckle their young. Birds and some crawlers are those that lay eggs, hatch them and nurture their young by feeding them with worms and insects.
33. What does the fish do? It lays the eggs, but does not hatch them. It neither suckles them nor does it feed its young. Let the scientists of Zoology and Biology say whatever. As per traditional belief of ours, the mother fish hatches the eggs by her sight. Then she feeds the young also by her mere look! The eyes of Mother Meenakshi do not only look like a fish, but they hatch the young by a look and feed and take care of them by a mere look! Who are Mother’s children? From the germs to insects, weeds to plants, everything of creation are her children only! In one sense, even Parameswara is considered as Her child only. As the fish feeds its young by just a glance, AmbaaL fills us with energy, sustenance and knowledge, by a mere look of Hers!
34. Soundarya Lahari does make a mention of AmbaaL Meenakshi by this word “animeshaa:” = ‘the non- winking being’, that is the AmbaaL who never sleeps! The time taken to wink one’s eyes is a ‘nimisham’. It is this word that has corrupted in to ‘minute’, like ‘Madurai’ has become ‘Marudai’, over time! The traditional belief is that the fish never sleeps. For that only our AachaaryaaL has given the logic of the fishes fearing that Mother’s eyes may be complaining against the fishes to the ears. Mother’s eyes never close even for a wink, because of Her care of the all the life forms. The eyes of the fishes too never close because of fear!
35. There is one more connection between Meenakshi and the fish. The Vaigai River in the past used to be known as Krutamaala. It is on the banks of this river that Vaivasvata Manu had his Kingdom. For him Vishnu took Matsya Avatara as the Fish! Neelakanta Dikshidar has referred to this incident humorously in ‘Siva Leela ArNavam’. “Maha Vishnu took so much pain to locate the Veda-s which was lost in the floods of (pralaya) dissolution of the world. Those Veda-s themselves are in search of your feet!” I quote, “aavishya kinnam nigamaan aseshaan amee na meenam pratamam smaraama: I aavishya maanam nigamair aseshai: amba snumaste vayamaakshi meenam II” .
36. There is a poem in Paripaadal which says that, “In Vanji the capital of Chera-s and in Uraiyoor the capital of the Chozha-s, they get up in the morning to the sounds of the cock; whereas here in the capital of Pandya-s, we wake up to the sounds of the chanting of the Veda-s! I quote, ‘naanmarai-k-kelvi navil kural eduppa ema vinruyil ezhudal alladai vaazhiya vanjiyum kozhiyum pola-k-kozhiyin ezhaadem peroor thuyile.”
37. AmbaaL has a tall edifice of Gopuram here. What is a Gopuram? Is it just a construction only? It is the fruit of the eternal tree of Dharma (sanatana dharma vruksham). If the tree is so tall, its roots must have gone deep underground! The roots are the Veda-s. In Madurai the roots of the Veda-s have gone far deep underground as well as in the conscience of the common man’s mind! She is the very personification of Naada (sound), Sangeetha (music) and Veda-s!
38. Wherever AmbaaL’s divine glance falls, that place becomes sweet. Sugar and honey are not as sweet as the nectar of Amirta the very look of Love and Compassion! While man is ever running after happiness, the sweetest happiness for all living beings is to realise one’s own completeness, that is, ‘pari poornatvam’! The fruit of neem which is bitter initially, becomes sour and then sweet. So does the bitter gourd! For all living things the sweetest experience is to set aside our separateness and realise our oneness! That sweet amirta is given by Meenaakshi’s eyes! Devoid of mundane attachments, we experience the happiness of release, moksha!
39. Muththuswami Deekshidar was granted that Moksha by Meenakshi who is also called Meenaambikai. That was an Amavasya and night was DeepaavaLi the festival of lights. Muthuswami Deekshidar had finished his pooja and was singing in praise of Meenaambikai completely lost to the world. He was describing AmbaaL’s brilliant emerald green colour saying, ‘maragatha chaaye’. He was saying ‘meena lochani (with eyes of the fish), paapa mochani’ (who gives release from all sins) and so on. As he kept singing, he totally dissolved himself and the presiding deity of music Meenakshi gave him what he had asked for – release from mortal existence!
40. Because her sweetness is pronouncedly apparent, the very name of the place became ‘Madurai’. Because the nectar of her Grace is spreading all around like the waves of the ocean, it should be called an Ocean of Anugraha. We noticed earlier that Her eyes are twinkling like the fishes in the ocean. Now we notice that there is an ocean of Grace emanating from Her eyes! So, inside the fish like eyes, there is another ocean, an ocean of compassion!
41. It is not as though, She is far off and only Her glance of Love falls on us, it is more intimate like the Mother on whose lap the babe is finding solace and protection, being able to hear Her sweet voice and lullaby, is available to all Her children. Her very look is giving us all ‘Nayana Deeksha’, which makes every resident of Madurai , lucky in-deed!
42. The fact that all of you residents of Madurai have come to have my ‘darshan’, makes me thrilled to have your ‘darshan’, as you are all the recipients of Mother Meenaambikai’s ‘kataksham’. This is a drop of that ocean of the Grace of Her eyes! Let us pray at Her feet for this Grace to spread all over the whole world encompassing all living beings in Her Love! Let us pray:- “maturapuri naayike namaste maturalaapa sukabhirama haste I malayadwaja pandya raja kanye mayi Meenakshi krupam videhi dhanye II” (The Empress of Maturapuri, who is holding the sweet sounding parrot in your hands, the daughter of the king of Pandyas who has the flag with the emblem of a mountain, prostrations to you while beseeching you to grant your grace on us!)
43. Let us happily keep singing Her praise with this clarity that we are all Her children, all over the world! (He gave this speech when he visited Madurai in April 1961.)




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