Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 3 (Vol #4) Dated 28 April 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 3 (Vol #4) Dated 28 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 the last paragraph on page 14 of Vol 4 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

25. Much before the advent of Krishna, NarayaNa who is the basis or origin of Dasa Avatara and Parvathy, have been known to be brother and sister. Neither have parents. They are both essentially Para Brhma Swaroopa. But if Siva is the end, peaceful, static point of all creation when it has all been cancelled out after Samhara; NarayaNa and Parvathy as NarayaNi are both the male and female form of intense participation in re-creation of the functional (vyavaharik) universe, by their power of Maya!
26 Actually there are no separate Gods. There is no two or three or multiplication and proliferation, but only one! But to make what is be-yond comprehension and words to explain, a whole galaxy of Gods are imagined. That one divinity is said to be Sivam, when as yet untouched by the drama of creation (srushti ) and functioning ( vyavaharikam ) of the universe. When involved in this drama of a functional world, in the male form it is assumed to be NarayaNa and in the female form it is thought of as NarayaNi or Parvathy! This NarayaNa and NarayaNi are considered as brother and sister. They also look, dress and decorate alike with similar character qualities! So they are said to be brother and sister. Brhma & Lakshmi and Siva & Saraswathy are similarly related.
27. I was talking about how the sister’s son (nephew) is known as, ‘maru magan’ in Tamil, (meaning another son), is also son-in-law, in the case of Murugan, son of Parvathy. He is nephew of Vishnu and is also the son-in-law. Both VaLLi and Devasena were originally Mahavishnu’s daughters, who later were brought up by different foster parents. They are the two wives of Subrahmanya or Murugan, as the story goes. So Mahavishnu as maternal uncle is also father-in-law!
28. Contortion by the Uncle Vishnu. Though not related like this by a marriage, this uncle Mahavishnu and nephew PiLLaiyar are very close. The best way of getting close to children is through, mimicry and buffoonery. Some contortions of the body or at least the face will do wonders with them. In the traditional approach to PiLLaiyar, one such gimmick that his uncle Vishnu did, is important. When we think of PiLLaiyar, we do think of ‘dobir karNam’, catching hold of one’s ears on opposite sides, by the hands across the chest while standing and then sitting on your haunches. You have to do so three times! Nowadays this has been included in Yogasanas.
29. Unlike other Gods, PiLLaiyar is not a punishing God! If you go to PerumaL, you have to do ‘anga pradakshinam’, in which you have to lie flat with your hands joined high above your head and role. Thus you have to go around the temple in the outer ‘prahara’ which may be anywhere from 400 to 800 metres, one side! Or you have to climb a mountain known as ‘muzhangal murichchaan’ or the ‘knee breaker’! For Murugan you carry the milk or sandal paste, in two containers hung on either side of a pole. The pole is carried on the shoulder by the devotee. This is known as the ‘Kavadi’! Some people take this to extremes of physical torture, by piercing their body parts with small and big spears to represent the ‘Vel’, the weapon of Subrahmanya. For Easwara you have to fast and keep awake the whole night on ‘Maha Siva Rathri’! Without any such difficult efforts, PiLLaiyar gives us the least amount of trouble. That too in jest! I am talking about this practice of, ‘knocking on the high forehead with the knuckles (known as PiLLaiyar Kuttu) and this you do as you go on your haunches and getting up three times, while catching hold of the ears’! If a child watches some elder doing this, it will look at it in wonder and will mimic that with a smile on its face.
30. This practice of ‘thoppu-k- karNam’ as known in Tamil was origi-nally started by Maha Vishnu only! Once, as the story goes, Maha Vishnu visited his sister AmbaaL in Kailasa, to meet his brother-in-law and play with his nephew. He happened to show some tricks with his ever present ‘chakra aayudha’ to the baby PiLLaiyar. The child ex-tending its trunk picked up the ‘chakra aayudha’ and put it in his mouth. Maha Vishnu had to do some monkey tricks to get the thing out, before the child swallows it, as it normally happens with children.
31. It was then that, Maha Vishnu quickly thought of this contortion of the body, doing ‘thoppu-k-karNam’! PiLLaiyar, this child of ‘prasanna vadanam’, felt thrilled and laughed repeatedly. When he did that, the ‘chakra aayudha’ of Vishnu fell out from PiLLaiyar’s mouth and Vishnu quickly picked it up. This since then, became a method of showing our regards to PiLLaiyar as well as remind him of this above incident, I suppose!
32. Mahavishnu catching hold of his ears with his hands across his chest, is ‘dhorbi: karNam’, in Sanskrit. ‘dhorbi:’ means, by hands; ‘karNam’ means ears. This action in Tamil has become, ‘thoppikkarNam’ or ‘thoppuk-k-karNam’ poduvathu. It is not ‘karaNam’, but ‘karNam’ only. The evidence for the fact that this was not just started by any other human being but by Mahavishnu himself, lies in the word, ‘dhorbi: karNam’, itself! To make you understand that, I have to teach you some Sanskrit grammer!
33. In Tamil and English, we have the singular and plural only. We consider that more than one is plural. In Sanskrit there are three ‘ekam, dvi and bahu vachanam’ for singular, dual and plural respectively. In Tamil, they are, orumai, irumai and panmai respectively. The underlined ‘dual’ in English and ‘irumai’ in Tamil are words coined now, to make it clear to you. Only in Sanskrit, we have a ‘dvi vachanam’, between the singular and plural. Depending on this, the verbs in Sanskrit undergo changes, much more than it happens in other languages. May be because there are many pairs in existence, such as, male - female, good - bad, inside - outside, sivam - sakti, paramatma - jeevatma, sati - pati, bhagawan - bhakta, guru - sishya and so on! So this has been given a special place in Sanskrit grammer.
34. If this action of catching the ears had been started by human be-ings, as the human being has only two hands, the changes to the verb should correctly have been as done for the dual variation. To catch the ear with one hand would have been, ‘doshaa karNam’ and with two hands, ‘dorbyaam karNam’. That phrase in Tamil usage would have become, ‘toppaang karNam’ and not, ‘toppik-karNam. Since Mahavishnu has four hands, the verb would have undergone variation as applicable to ‘bahu vachanam’ as, ‘dorbi: karNam’! This phrase would have undergone changes in Tamil usage as ‘toppik-karNam’, as is obtaining today! So, it is to be understood that the phrase in its original form was not the creation of a human being! The very phrase is evidently coined by someone with more than two hands. That too, the action of catching hold of the two ears by hands crosswise and doing sit-ups, much liked by PiLLaiyar and all children, was inaugurated by the uncle Mahavishnu originally.
35. Now about this sloka starting with ‘suklaambaradaram’, which we all say to start with any of our religious and ceremonial ‘karya’, though thought to be addressed towards PiLLaiyar; does not contain any reference to PiLLaiyar, surprisingly! None of his names such as, GaNapathy, GaNesa, Vinayaka, and or words such as, Gowrisuta or Sivatmaja; have been used in the sloka. His ‘vahanam’ (carrier – mooshika the rodent rat), or favourite weapon (paashahastha), or favourite dish (modaka) find a mention in that sloka! None of his physical identifications such as, gajamukha (elephant faced), ekadanta (whose one tusk had been broken thus giving him the name of ‘single tusked’); or lambhodara (whose tummy is big); are referred! Not mentioning even a single one of his famous exploits!
36. The sloka is as follows:- “shuklaambaradharam, vishnum, sasi varNam, chaturbhujam I prasanna vadanam dyaayet sarva vigna upa saantaye II” ‘shuklaambaradharam’ = wearing white dress; so do all males. Those who wear other colours are referred as ‘pitambaradhari’ or ‘raktambaradhari’ wearing yellow or red dress respectively. So, the first word does not refer to only PiLLaiyar! Next word is, ‘vishnum’! This means, ‘Omni present’, especially known as a name for PiLLaiyar’s uncle and not him! So, the nephew gets the name of his maternal uncle and we also are reminded of him only and not PiLLaiyar!
37. Next is, ‘sasi varNam’ = of the colour of the moon; so is Easwara and Saraswathy! This is followed by ‘chatur bhujam’ = four armed; this is the common characteristic of all deities! So, again it does not necessarily refer to PiLLaiyar! Then the sloka talks of, ‘prasanna vadanam’ = smiling faced; can you think of a God who is not having a pleasant smiling face? Except for KaaLi, Nrusimha Murthy, Veera Bhadra and such Ugra Swaroopa-s, all Gods are pleasant faced only! But, more than any other God, in one way, it will be agreed that PiLLaiyar has a smiling face dripping happiness, with a broad countenance of a baby elephant!
38. For each of the above five words, we have to knock on the fore-head with our knuckles, known in Tamil as ‘kuttik-koLvadhu’- five times! Then we have to do ‘dhyaayet’ that is think deeply of, ‘sarva vigna upa saantaye’! Having not mentioned a word of his name or any of the known characteristics, now you have to deeply think about that special ability of that God, who can get all your trouble cancelled! That is PiLLaiyar! Before starting on any venture or endeavour, think of him and pray – say this sloka and at least once do the ‘kuttu’!
39. Even before the child grows up to be able to learn any of these sloka-s by heart, the child is told, “Son, before starting anything, think of PiLLaiyar and pray to him to obviate all sorts of problems”. Then as he grows up, the moment he hears the words, ‘sarva vigna upa saantaye’, he knows that we are praying to our PiLLaiyar. The word ‘vishnu’ in the sloka is indicative of the very closeness between the uncle and nephew!

(To be continued.)




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