Thursday, May 20, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (Vol #4) Dated 20 May 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 13 (Vol #4) Dated 20 May 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 78 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.)

Question & Answers: Stories within Stories!

82. In PuraNas, all narration is in the form of one person asking a question and another answering them. That evidently means that they have done all their other activities for creature comforts and are at ease, being able to give all their attention to what is being said! Almost all PuraNas are in the form of the assembled ascetics of NaimisaraNya asking questions and Suta answering them. That in turn will be presented as having been enquired by one and answered by another. For example, though Bhagawatam is as instructed by Suta to the Rishis of NaimisharaNya, we receive it as a reply from Sukha to Parikshit.
83. Looking at the Itihasas, Maha Bharatam too is in the form of Suta’s reply to the assembled sages of NaimisaraNya. Only RamayaNa is different. Valmiki, who was disgusted with his way of life of dacoity, asked Narada as to, “Who is the ideal human being full of all admirable character qualities?” Narada’s reply was a narration of Sri Rama’s life history. This was later composed in poetical form by Valmiki, taught to Lava and Kusa, the two sons of Rama, who presented it by singing, in the presence of Rama and his courtiers in Aswamedha Mandapam, that became an epic!
84. Maha Bharatham was once again, as instructed to the Rishis of NaimisaraNya by Suta. Then the same story was retold to the grand son of Pandavas, Janamejaya by Vaisampayana Rishi. What was till then in ‘karNa parampara’ that is, verbally told and repeated, was written down by Vigneswara our PiLLaiyar, on the rocks of the Meru mountain with one of his tusks, broken by himself, to be used as the pen!
85. Branching of the stories takes place in between these PuraNas and Itihasas, when any one of the characters in the story would ask questions and Narada or Agasthya or Markandeya or such sages who were authorities of the past, would be clearing their doubts, through yet- another historical narration. Within RamayaNa too, in the Uttara Kaanda (that is canto), the life history of RavaNa and his relatives is narrated, as told to Rama by Agasthya.
86. This Agasthya is the one asking question, which is answered by Hayagreeva, that is the Lalithopakhyanam in the Brhmanda PuraNa! In Maha Bharatham too, there are many such instances when, many Rishis have clarified the doubts of Pandavas, during their 12 years of ‘Vana Vasa’ that is, stay in the forest! Exactly similarly, here in Skandam, KrishNa Paramatma is told by Narada, as to why the waxing moon is not to be seen on chathurthi! This is depicted as told by Nandikeswara to Sanat kumara.
87. Chandra’s Pride! Maha GaNapathi used to ride his Mooshika Vahana and roam about happily all over the worlds. During such visits everywhere, he once visited the Chandra Loka or the world of the Moon. He was the baby God of the colour of the Moon as he is known as, ‘sasi varNa’. More over any child loves the Moon.
88. Chandra always had a haughty pride about his own beauty, as he is much extolled and admired by all lovers, poets and lovers of poetry! That praise of the bards went to his head and he started looking down on all others. When a sense of pride comes over you, it is but natural that your perspective gets blurred.
89. PiLLaiyar’s elephant face dripping with love and compassion, the wide ears fanning about, his body of chubby cheeks, well filled belly indicative of wholesome baby fat, with the fifth hand of a proboscis or trunk mischievously touching all things around, while the legs look rather puny by contrast; he is a source of endless mirth and pleasure to the onlooker! For Chandra the Moon, he looked funny enough to be laughed at with derision! PiLLaiyar can take a joke, but not derision and ridicule! He was angered, since discipline of the deities is like a duty of his. Not because he felt personally insulted.
90. He told the Moon the following words. “Hi! Mr. Moon! You seem to be rather haughty, due to your apparent beauty. Your complexion is pleasantly fair alright. But, hope you remember that your light is actually only reflected glory! You seem to be forgetting that the parts of your body which does not receive the Sun’s light are dark and murky! Even when you are in your effulgent glory as a full moon, there are blotches and smudges!”
91. “Let it be so. Who is interested in appearances? Looking at your character, it leaves much to be desired! Because of the aberrations in your character, you were too partial to one wife RohiNi as compared to the 26 others! So your father-in-law Dakshan cursed you to loose your power of even reflecting the Sun’s light! When you were a negligible sliver of your original being, it was my father who gave you back great honour and prestige, by wearing you on his head!”
92. “Then it was his kindness that you were permitted to grow to your full potential of complete roundness. So as to remind you of your disloyalty to your other wives, you were made to wane and by the grace of Parameswara you were enabled to grow, as a cycle alternately! In addition to all this, people are ignoring the fact as to how you behaved in a despicable manner with your Guru’s wife! People look at you only because of your cool nourishing light, in the night time. Because of your this behaviour of disrespect to me, I curse you that nobody may look at you even for your beauty anymore! Anyone looking at you may be subjected to doubt and innuendo!” This was the curse by PiLlaiyar to Chandra the Moon!
93. The best method of punishing someone too proud of their beauty and their make-up is, not to give them attention and to ignore them! This is what PiLlaiyar did. Instead of cursing Chandra, he caused others to purposefully ignore him. Those who accidentally notice his presence in the sky and then suffer some bad luck are likely to direct their curses at Chandra. Thus he will end up getting light from the Sun and curses from the onlookers! One more thing, the world normally shows difference to people who may be of awful character, but if they are good looking, wealthy and in position of authority, he or she is much appreciated and admired. The purpose of PiLlaiyar’s curse is to curb this tendency also.
94. To ignore people who are proud of their beauty is the right punishment. Those who ignore bad behaviour in others and are respectful only towards beauty, position, power and status, are best punished by slander caused to them! Chandra was afraid about the likely curses he would have to suffer from those who become victims of slander, just because they looked at him! With this double dilemma, he hid himself deep inside the ocean!
95. The world suffered a lot due to the absence of the moon at night! The herbs get their nourishment from the moon light only. They were all starving and wilting. The diseases were on the increase due to absence of medicinal herbs. Lovers and poets were badly affected. All the divine beings and Rishis went and complained to Brhma. On such situations people always used to go to Brhma first. Either he will solve the problem or gradually raise the level to Vishnu, Siva or AmbaL successively. In this case however the consensus was to go back to PiLLaiyar himself. 96. So they were all advised accordingly to pray to Maha GaNapathi in the proper manner. In his favourite chathurthi, they all fasted and prepared all sorts of eats that PiLlaiyar is fond of, such as Modakam (mix of grated coconut with jaggery as a filling inside a receptacle made of a thin layer of rice powder kneaded with some water. A number of such Modakams are steamed together to complete the process); Appam ( a paste of rice with jaggery fried in clarified butter); fruits that would be available in the forests, like plantain and jack fruit, sugarcane and such things. ‘More than the items offered, it is your sincerity that is important’, said Brhma.
97. Normally ‘vratam’ means having one meal in the day and fasting at night. In this case, since the moon will be seen only at night, it would have been in the rightness of things to fast throughout the day and finish the same after a proper celebration of devotional procedure at night. That is why it is called a ‘nakta vratam’! Naktam means night and ‘nocturnal’ the word in English is derived from this word ‘naktam’ only!
98. Each God is fond one particular ‘upachara’ (courteous action of reverence). Siva is said to be ‘abhisheka priya:’, that is fond of being bathed and anointed. Vishnu is ‘alankara priya:’, that is fond of being decorated with flowers, leaves, garlands and jewels! PiLLaiyar is very pleased with offerings of eats, like any child should be. If you give anything to it, its immediate reaction would be to test its, softness, hardness, taste etc., by putting it in its mouth. So would this baby God be easily pleased with’neivedyam’, offerings of food! So he should be offered plenty of Modakam or Kozhukkattai, Appam, Pongal, Coconut, Bananas, Sugar Cane, Pineapple, honey and such things!
99. That is why Avvayar starts of her prayers to PiLLaiyar with, “paalum, theli thenum (honey), paagum paruppum, ivai naangum
kalandu unakku naan tharuven, kolam sei thunga-k-karimugaththu thoo maniye, nee enakku sangath thamizh moonrum thaa.” With apparent mastery and ease over her language, rhyming and rhythm, she tells PiLLaiyar, “I will give you four things namely, (one) milk, (two) clear honey, (three) the thick paste of dissolved jaggery and (four) dry fruits such as cashew nuts and almonds”. Then with equal mastery over the situation and child psychology, as to how attract the baby by puzzling it with some simple arithmetic, she says, “You give me three things, namely, Iyal, Isai and Natakam of the Sanga Thamizh”! That is poetry, music and dance/drama of the authority of Tamil culture!”
100. AruNagiri Natha in Thiruppugazh, in the very first song addressed to PiLLaiyar is saying, “kaithala nirai kani appamodu aval pori...” meaning, ‘hands full of fruits, appam, aval (beaten rice), pori (popped rice)...’ and so on. So also all the deities and other living beings and flora and fauna went to PiLLaiyar and sincerely prayed to Him, including Chandra!
(To be continued.)



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