Thursday, January 31, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 122 (Vol # 6) Dated 31 Jan 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 122 (Vol # 6) Dated 31 Jan 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from the last paragraph on page No 834 of Volume 6 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated consonantly)

393.  To give opportunities for refinement and enable the individual Jiva-s to ennoble them-selves gradually and successively till they are capable of obviating their need to be born again; with extreme kindness AmbãL has created this Department of Kãmam and appointed Kãman as the Head of the Department!  Amongst the four major aims of existence as Dharma, Artha, Kãma and Moksha, this Kãma is also an important aim to be achieved in a morally acceptable manner, earning your passage in life, in a legally and aesthetically correct way to enjoy the pleasures of existence, while providing for your dependents and followers; so as to be finally able to achieve Moksha yourself and motivate others to follow a similar path towards release from the need to be born.  The whole thing is such a clean and balanced approach with suitable checks and balances that every individual can fulfil his or her reasonable ambitions that could be enjoyed with discipline and transcended at the right time in one's life, for eventual raise to Sannyãsa Yoga of the Nivrutti Marga for attainment of Gnãna, simultaneously with overcoming the need to be born anymore!

394.  As there is an exception to the rule in everything in life, so also some, only a very few are required to maintain celibacy from childhood (of Suddha Brhmacharyam – 'शुद्ध ब्रह्मचर्यं'), and go on to Sannyãsa directly, as decreed by AmbãL.  "All this explanation is all right, Swami!  But, why mix Kãmam with Easwara and cause the blemish in him who is a pure form of Gnãna?  As it says,
'ज्ञानिनां अपि चेतांसि देवी भगवति हि सा
'gnãninãm api chetãmsi devi bhagawati he sã
भलात आकृष्य मोहाय महामाया प्रयच्छति ||'
bhalãt ãkrushya mahã mãyã prayachchati ||', why is she forcibly attracting and befuddling even highly evolved souls, forcing them into delusion, back in to the 'pravrutti mãrga'?  Then for doing so, why are we praising her?"

395.  But, the story does not finish after their being forcibly getting involved again in to the worldly ways.  They all did come back to their original ways and did become perfectly irreproachable once again.  If at one time they were made to go astray, through them much benefit accrued to the world at large.  If there was a Hari – Hara Putra had to come into being, there would have been an Asura who would have taken a Vara that only a son born of two males can kill him!  If Vishwãmitra had not fallen in love with Menaka, the story of Dushyant and Sakuntala would not have been there and there would not have been the great 'Magnum Opus' of Kãlidãsa to come into being!  Vyãsa succumbed to the attractions of Krutãsi that the unmatched greatness of Suka ÃchãryãL in absolute Brhmacharyam came to be known to the world!  These episodes remind us that without her help, we are more likely to slip and fall and instead of thinking with conceit that on our own we will be successful, it is prudent to remain seeking her help with a sense of gratitude all the time!

396.  Another important point to register in one's minds is that, the one with the power to create is the only one who has the power and authority to erase it also.   If the government has the power to enact laws, only the government has the power to rescind the same.  Can you and I or any common man do that?  If the power and authority to create the world and instil desire in them is AmbãL's prerogative, to relieve us from the Srushti is also her bandobust or lookout only!   Only she can pull us out of the mire of such involvement also.  As every coin has an obverse and a reverse side to it, which is not immediately seen, when we say that AmbãL gets you involved in amorous activities, at once the reverse is also true that she is the power that can pull us out of it also!  If she makes use of her officer Manmata for befuddling mature and well entrenched Rishis and Munis to get enamoured at times, if she orders Manmata, "Do not show your abilities with these people and run away!", he has to pack up and vanish from the scene.  He is an officer, but a servant of hers.  We cannot on our own get over these predilections.  Her orders are required for him to obey.  So, though the sloka talks about one side of the story, we must understand the fact that AmbãL has to rescind her own orders to him, the God of Love!  If we read AruNa Giri Natha's Thiruppugazh, we may note that in almost all the poems he is requesting his favourite 'Muruga' to help him to overcome the lure of nubile women!

"காமனை வெற்றி வீரனாக்கிய கடாக்ஷ சக்தி"
The powerful Side-long Glance of AmbãL that Made Kãman Victorious
397.  This next sloka that is the sixth has been fully devoted to sing the praise of the victory of the body-less Ananga!  From Adwaitam showing the way to Dwaitam by the urge for Kãma / Ichcha Shakti, to turn us back to Adwaitam as a theme, has the major and centric part in the Leela of AmbãL.  So, Kãman aka Manmata has more importance in this sloka.  That is why she has the divine names as Kãmeswari and Kãmãkshi.  Now the poem: - 
धनु: पौषपं  मोउर्वी मधुकरमयी पञ्च विशिखा:
dhanu: poushpam mourvee madukara mayee pancha vishikha:
वसन्त: सामन्तो मलय मरुदायोधनरथ: |
vasanta: sãmanto malaya-maruda ãyodana ratha: |
तथाप्येक: सर्वं हिमगिरिसुते कामपि कृपां
tathãpyeka: sarvam himagirisute kãmapi krupãm
अपान्गात्ते लब्ध्वा जगदिदमनङ्गो विजयते ||"
apãngãtte labdvã jagadidam anango vijayate ||

398.  Now the word to word meaning follows: - Hima giri sute = Daughter of the Himalayas!  Manmata's – dhanu: poushpam  = bow is made of flowers, mourvee = the cord in the bow is made of, madhukara mayee = bees, pancha vishikhã: =  the five arrows are, sãmanta vasanta: = Manmata's junior commander the spring season and ãyotana ratha: = their chariot is the breeze from mountains in the early summer; tatãpi = despite all this, te apãngãt = from the corner of your eyes, kãmapi krupãm labdvã = having obtained some occasional glance from the corner of your eyes, this ananga: = body-less Manmata, eka: = singly, idam jagat sarvam = in the entire world, vijayate = is victorious!

399.  This body-less Manmata aka Cupid is successful the world over despite the fact that nobody can see him and his weapons, tools and equipment are all so soft and pliant; only due to some power that he gets from occasional glance from the corner of your eyes, is the meaning of the sloka!  What are his weapons or tools?  First 'dhanu: poushpam', that is a bow made of flowers!  He starts out to conquer the whole world to make them subservient slaves to the power of Kãmam like a soldier setting out for battle.  He is standing in his chariot with one hand holding the bow and arrows.  When we look in to the details of what are his weapons, tools and equipment; what is the bow and arrows made of, who is his junior commander and what is his chariot; one can only burst out laughing!  Each is softer and more delicate than the other.  First we noted that his bow is made of flowers that is, 'धनु: पौषपं'. 

400.  He is famously supposed to have 'கரும்பு வில்', meaning a bow made of Sugar Cane.  Though normally bows are supposed to be made of 'இரும்பு' which means iron or steel, his is made of 'கரும்பு'.  Though it rhymes with the strong 'இரும்பு', if you bend it slightly, it will break!  Here the poet is further opting for a bow made of the soft and delicate flowers!  Though the Sugar Cane may not be very useful as a bow, it is strong enough to break a person's head, if you use it as a mallet!  But to now opt for a bow made of flowers, looks as though the poet has taken a little too-much of liberty, isn't it?   For a deity, like the body parts, the weapons are also meant to be part and parcel of their being!  When we do Pooja or Namaskãra or doing Homam, we invoke the divine being with their body parts and weapons saying 'सान्गायै सायुधायै' (sãngãyai, sãyudhãyai).   So, there is a doubt as to why the poet has changed the weapon?

401.  So I wondered if the correct word could have been 'poundram' instead of 'pushpam'.  Normally it is the 'Pundra Ikshoo' that is the bow for Kãman aka Manmata and Kãmãkshi Devi.  In 'Shyamala Dhandakam', it is mentioned, ' पुण्द्रेक्षु पाशाङ्कुश पुष्प भाण हस्ते' ('pundrekshu pãshãnkusha pushpa bhaNa haste').  It is the पुण्द्रेक्षु which is possibly become 'pushpam' I thought and so searched for clarification.  Then I came to realise that my doubt was unwarranted and to start doubting was itself was anathema!  In the Sanskrit dictionary known as 'Amaram', I looked up the names listed for Manmata and I found the name, amongst many others, 'पुष्पधन्वा रतिपतिर मकरद्वज आत्मभू:' – 'pushpadhanvã ratipatir makaradwaja ãtmabhoo:'.   In them the first one is clear that he had a 'bow of flowers'!  In Amaram there is no mention of Sugar Cane bow at all. 

402.  For SubrahmaNya Swami there are two Peacocks as his Vãhan or carriers.  From his childhood he had one Peacock as a carrier.  Later when he defeated Surapadman, he also prayed for and became his conqueror's Vãhan.   In some of his temples we see the head of a peacock on the Lord's left and the feathers fanning out to his right.  This is peacock which is known as 'Sura Mayil', as a name for the Sura who became his Vãhan.  In most of the other places the peacock's head is on the right and the feathers spread out on the left.  This is his original Vãhan, known as the Deivika Mayil or the divine one.  Lord SubrahmaNya is also said to have a third peacock as his Vãhan, when Indira the head of all Devas carried him on his back.  In some temples such a peacock will be seen to be facing the viewers with SubrahmaNya seated on it facing us while the feathers spread in the background.  Like that, may be Manmata is supposed to have two different bows, one made of Sugar Cane and the other of flowers!

403.  His arrows are also made of flowers.  One of his names in Amaram is 'Kusuma + Ishu = Kusumeshu', meaning the one with flower arrows.  In this sloka under discussion, it is mentioned that he has five arrows – ' पञ्च विशिखा:'.  Normally an archer would be having many arrows in his back-pack.  But this Manmata has only five in his bag and all of them are made of flowers.  In Amaram there is another name for Manmata as 'Pancha Saran', as the one with five arrows.  They are namely Aravindam that is lotus, Asoka, Mango, Jasmine and the Nilotpalam or the Blue Lily.  A bow made of flowers with no hardness whatsoever, and then five arrows of flowers each famous for its softness and fragrance!  They can never penetrate anything really!  Rather one will feel like softly touching one's closed eyes with them with all love and reverence!  Then how is one to aim and send the arrow flying, when the cord connecting the two ends of the bow is made of a series of bees?  The bees are supposed to be having six legs.  Are they catching each other's legs to form a string?

(To be continued.)



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 121 (Vol # 6) Dated 29 Jan 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 121 (Vol # 6) Dated 29 Jan 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti 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 going ahead from the last paragraph on page No 829 of Volume 6 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein ‘man/he’ includes ‘woman/she’ too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated consonantly)

382.  When on the one hand we worship God for getting rid of our weaknesses such as sensuality and lust, the very target of our devotion AmbãL is found to be responsible for Easwara to fall into Kãma, that is to be enamoured of Maha Vishnu as Mohini Avatara that they beget Hari-Hara Putra Ayyappa as an off-spring and for Rishis and Muni-s supposed to be past masters in controlling their sensuality as Jitendriyas, also to fall prey to the pulls of the senses; we cannot help wondering, if we are on the right lines or not!  Then we are hesitant that we may be committing a heinous crime, if we can find faults with Soundarya Lahari which has the reputation as one of our ÃchãryãL's famous works!  We know that the most intimate of all knowledge of the highest level occurs when the world and universe is erased from our vision!  But here there is talk of how the universe came into being!  Kãmam has to go for Gnãnam to happen or for Gnãnam to be comprehended, but here AmbãL is being praised and worshipped for the revival of Kãman aka Manmata / Eros / Cupid; to come back in to play after he had been vanquished and reduced to ashes by Easwara!  How can it be so?  Does it mean that Kãmam is equivalent to Anugraha of AmbãL?  There is an unavoidable puzzle and a quandary! 

383.  If you ask like that – one reply can be that there has to be opposing teams or sides, they have to clash, compete and fight with each other and break their heads in these head-on clashes and that enemy has to be vanquished and the flag of victory is to be hoisted.  That is a matter for pride and that is where the juice of livelihood is present and not in the hum-drum monotony of drab existence!  If everything is smooth sailing tick-t-boo you will not even know what is good that even the good or better or best will only be a bore!  The value of shade is to be found only in the scorching heat of the Sun!  For opposing forces to be catching hold of each other's hair, is to show that finally –'सत्यमेव जयते' – 'satyameva jayate', meaning that 'Truth alone wins'!  To demonstrate the truth of this statement only, within the passive, non-moving and inactive Brhmam this slight movement leading to coming into being of the whole universe and all the wide-spectrum of all sorts of feelings and sensations were input.  Then such a universe once created had to have the self- sustaining power to re-create and re-generate for the species to continue to proliferate!  So there had to be Kãmam in every one of them.

384.  The beauty of this difference between what is identifiable as good and bad is that, in good there will be some bad elements and in bad there will be some good!  It is in understanding these subtle nuances and fighting the battle of wits, exist the very purpose and beauty of this drama of life.  That sensuality and anger is bad is only a generalised statement.  If you go deep into those things, there may be some good aspects in them too.  You must exhibit anger against all things bad such as injustice, indecency, cruelty and partiality and so also we should have Kãmam for the good things of life such as beauty, decency, justice and excellence in arts and crafts!  So, Kãmam and Krodha meaning Love and Anger are not bad per se and the quality of its being good or bad depends on the context of their application.  On occasions what is apparently avoidable at times may be not wrong but necessary and similarly what is generally considered as likeable qualities may be hiding a malicious intent!

385.  More than anything else God's Grace or Anugraha and Man's Prapatti / SaraNãgati / surrender To God; two of the greatest things in the world are possible only if there is someone as the Creator and many as the Created.  Moreover in that creation there should be both good and bad as opposites for man to choose from.  If the greatest that God could give man is Grace, the highest that Man could do is to surrender!  (PeriyavãL smiles while saying this and continues.)  The realization that we can do nothing about anything is the greatest that we can do!  If we do that 'not doing anything', then only we will know the truth of the statement that Muruga is supposed to have told AruNagiri Natha, 'சும்மா இரு சொல் அற' meaning, 'keep quiet without any words or just be saying nothing'!

386.  Thus two.  If there was no creation or if the being so created are not incessantly pestered by so many desires and buffeted between such pulls and pressures, where is the opportunity for AmbãL to shower her Grace and exhibit her kindness?  If there was no conflict and no problems and everybody is hale and hearty and completely satisfied who will care for God's kindness?  Having fought against the negative forces of life as far as possible and having come to the firm conclusion that this battle cannot be fought by one's own abilities and power; then when you say, "Oh God! It is all yours, just you!"  Then and only then you can enjoy the pleasure of 'CharaNãgati' – 'चरण + आगत' – 'arrival at the feet' – surrender unto AmbãL!  Then only she will also get the thrill of coming to our rescue!  When that protection from God gets done, one side's Anugraha and the other side's surrender cancel out each other with the high flood of bliss remaining in the balance, with the flag of victory flying; in a state of lack of clarity as to whether it was the man who was successful or whether it is the God's Grace in play; without any chance for such research and analysis; this man Jiva Ãtma will be AmbãL herself, as when he surrenders he has simply erased his separateness! 

387.  Even if a million, ten million or even more number of people go in to the harmful, hateful and heinous things of life in fighting for or against them, it does not matter; as long as one man is successful in overcoming the binding ties of this creation; it is enough.  A tree may produce thousands of fruits and nuts.  Not all of them have to become a tree again, isn't it?  Similarly even if one man in a zillion attains to completeness, it is enough to achieve the purpose of creation in God's scheme of things!  Even if many are failures, not all of them are forever failures.  In our religion we do not contribute to the idea of eternal damnation.  Only Madvãcharyãr had that sort of an idea.  We can take it that his intention was possibly to turn people in the opposite direction against evil.  Our general belief is that even the worst criminal should have a chance for redemption.  We believe that AmbãL will one day or the other will pull those children also, correct them and give them all the love in her lap, like the Mother that she is!  One day or the other every wave that started in the centre of the ocean will reach the shore!

388.  It is good to remember here what Sri Krishna tells Arjuna in the battle field of Kurukshetra:-  (First the English transliteration of the sloka has been given and then in the Sanskrit script.)
"uddared aatman aatrmaanam naatmaanam avasaadayet |
Aatmeivahyaatmanor bandu: aatmeiva ripu: aatmana: ||"
"उद्दरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत |
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्दुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: ||"  It means that, "One should raise oneself by one's Self alone; let not one lower oneself; for the Self alone is the friend of oneself and the Self alone is the enemy of oneself".  Sri Krishna is saying, "Practise Yoga.  Discipline the senses and the mind.  Elevate yourself and attain to the gloriously dynamic heights of existence.  Do not demean yourself by becoming a slave of lust, greed and anger.  Rise above worldliness, become divine and attain Godhead."

389.  As the story goes, a King was going to the battle field camp.  He instructed one of his ordinary citizens to come and meet him there, after completion of some errand.  That man told the King, "My Respected Sir, nobody will let me enter the place where you will be camping.  Give me something for identification."  The King gave him a signet ring.  On a closer inspection it was found to be marked with a sign of the enemy King!  This man could not understand and the King himself explained.  There will be so many who will be desirous of meeting me about something or the other who will be having my personal signet ring.  Such a queue may itself be too long.  By the time your turn comes, the urgent matter on which I wish to meet you may be unacceptably delayed!  So we have some of these captured from enemy king's spies. All you have to do is to act a little suspiciously and my body-guards will apprehend you and quickly bring you before me on seeing this signet ring on you!

390.  Exactly similarly, AmbãL causes us to come to her by giving us these lust, anger, and such negative qualities, seeming like signet rings of the enemy, for us to try to overcome and seek her help when it is beyond our abilities!  It seems that Sri Krishna asked Kunti, the mother of Pãndavãs as to what boon she wishes for.  She replied, "Please shower me with all sorts of problems as then only, I will keep thinking of you constantly!"  How will we be faced with problems?  It is the pulls and pressures of Kãma and Krodha and the problems accompanying them that will cause us to think of God!  If we stretch the argument a little further, we will note that all the problems due to the whole list of evils such as anger, greed jealousy, atrociousness, beastliness, corruption, depravity, inequity and such unpleasant qualities are all AmbãL's Anugraha only for us to learn as to, "How not to be and how to be"!

391.  Then, if the purpose of giving the urge for Kãma to a Jiva is, as an opportunity for earning God's Grace; it does not end with that one individual only, but for it to flow to the subsequent generations of people yet to be born in his lineage.  The very fact of their coming into being as his descendants is because of this 'flow of kind-heartedness of divinity'.  As I say this, I note that one more matter is added to the list of 'contradictions to the ordinary' that I have been telling you.  There have been many great Mahatmas who have declared, "பிறவி வேண்டேன்!" (Thondar Adippodi  Ãzhvãr's  'Thiru Mãlai', 3.), which means that they are praying so as to avoid any future births!  Then the question arises as to how I am saying now, that from one man's Kãma the birth of his future descendants is to be considered as Anugraha for them, how is this 'out of ordinary' statement is to be accepted?

392.  It is alright for a highly evolved person to be praying for the cessation of the cycle of repeated births and deaths.  But when there are many souls in the interregnum, having bags of negative Karma back-log pending to be cancelled by future good deeds; they have to have the opportunity to do so by being born again, isn't it?  If there was no Kãma in the world, how are they to be born again?  If, after having been born, if they add to their already existing huge negative balance by further heinous actions, it is only their mistake.  The mistake is not in being born!  To be born is an opportunity to for one to attain to the stage of doing away with future births.  This is the crux of what one has to understand and do the needful, 'that you raise yourself by yourself' – 'उद्दरेदात्मानं आत्मनात्'!

(To be continued.)