Friday, April 26, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 162 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 Apr 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 162 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 Apr 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 in page No 1113 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 constantly)

818.                As per Sãstrãs, the place where ladies have to wear the Kumkum as an indication of being married and wishing for a long life for their husband and thereby for their continued wellbeing as a person well cared for and protected; is the Vakidu – the line of parting of the hair from the centre of the start of the hair line going right to the top of the head!  The centre point of the eye brows       , being the location of Ãgnã Chakra, is where we try and concentrate our minds and visualise the Paramãtma.  So, we apply Vibhuti or Chandan / Sandal wood paste there and so also the Kumkum is applied there.  Still application of Kumkum there between the eye brows, has no direct connotation to Sumangalitvam.  From olden times the practise has been that Sumangali ladies used to apply the Kumkum first in the Vakidu and then also apply the same in the fore-head between the eye-brows.

819.                Maha Lakshmi is also known as Bhãgya Lakshmi.  To get her blessings and assure oneself of her presence, the Kumkum should be applied at her place of residence – the Vakidu.  There are some who apply the Kumkum copiously all over the length of the Vakidu.  If not that, at least at the starting point of the Vakidu some Kumkum should be applied.  But AmbãL is having the red Kumkum powder applied to the length of the Vakidu as the sloka says – 'वहन्ती सिन्दूरं...सीमन्त सरणि:' – only when you have the Kumkum applied all along that line, it will look like a 'SaraNi' – a straight path, as otherwise it will only be a round dot.  From what our ÃchãryãL is continuing to say – that it is like a life-line for the imagination of the poet and the literary merit of the sloka – we can make out that, there is a big circle initially and then it is a red continuous line. There is no greater pleasure, bliss and good-luck than thinking of and visualising the Seamantham of AmbãL, in whose divine person, the residence of Maha Lakshmi has been decorated with the red Sindooram as Kumkuma Alankãram!  

820.      Lakshmi is ever a friend, Saki, Kinkari and attendant with AmbãL.  Lakshmi and Saraswathi are ever present on either side of AmbãL waving the Chãmara – as the Lalitha Sahasranãma says, 'sa chãmara ramã vãNi savya dakshiNa sevitã' – 'स चामर रमा वाणी सव्य दक्षिण सेविता'!  On occasions, instead of having them as attendants, AmbãL has them as her two eyes – when she is 'Kãmãkshi' – 'Kã' is Saraswathi and 'Mã' is Lakshmi and 'Akshi' means the eyes; so you have, 'Kã' + 'Mã' + 'Akshi' = 'Kãmãkshi'!  Later in one of the slokas of Soundarya Lahari, (in sloka No 64), ÃchãryãL says that AmbãL has lifted Saraswathi and given her a place in the tip of her tongue.  One of the greatest gifts or Anugraha of AmbãL is the 'Gift of the Power of Verbal Expression' or what is known as, 'vãk pradãnam' – 'वाक् प्रदानं'!  This has given rise to the saying that when we come across erudite scholars with noticeable 'gift of the gab' we often say that Saraswathi, the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom is seen to be dancing in the tip of their tongue!

821.                Relate this to an expression by MaNikka Vãsagar, when he says in 'Portrith Thiru Agaval' – 'nãththigam pesi nãththazhumberi' – 'நாத்திகம் பேசி நாத்தழும்பேறி', meaning, 'with a tongue that has developed irremovable scars by mouthing atheistic views'!  Instead of such talking nonsense of agnostics and atheism, AmbãL is all the time talking about the greatness and endearing qualities of Easwara like an eternal spring that, her tongue is red like the Hibiscus flower.  This flower is known as 'Japa' in Sanskrit!  You also know that to keep repeating a Mantra with a rosary or chaplet is also known as 'Japa'!  When you keep repeating a mantra knowingly mentally it is said to be 'doing Japa'.  (When you keep chanting the Mantra for long periods, that it almost becomes your second nature, then even when you are unaware of the fact, you are doing the Japa unknowingly.  Such a state is known as 'Ajãpa Japa'!  Like for example, you wake up from deep sleep and notice that you were already chanting the Japa, then you may know that it is 'Ajãpa Japa'!)  That aside, the poet is punning on the word Japa, that by doing 'Japa' of Easwara's endearing escapades, her tongue has attained the colour of Japa.  At that time, Saraswathi (at the tip of AmbãL's tongue), who is normally white and dressed in white, becomes red like a statue made of rubies!  In many places AmbãL is said to have caused the fair Siva to become red.  Similarly she has caused Siva's sister Saraswathi also to become red and thereby a revolutionary in modern political terms, (says PeriyavãL with a 'tongue in cheek' humour)! We noticed earlier that some devotees see AmbãL as 'AruNa Saraswathi' and sing 'Sringara Lahari' of the amorous genre!  Here the imagination is that the normally white Saraswathi has become red herself!  Out of the two persons doing 'Chãmara Kainkaryam' for AmbãL, one that is, Saraswathi has been given the honour by keeping her at the tip of her tongue.  The second that is, Lakshmi has been raised to the high heavens virtually, by lifting her above the head and keeping her in the Seamantham as Sindooram aka Kumkuma Alankãram!

822.                Seamantham as such, is the residence of Bhãgya Lakshmi in all married ladies.  Then the Seamantham of AmbãL, who is the source of all salubriousness and wellbeing, must have given Lakshmi a further boost in her stature and standing!  And that is what is referred by Abhirami Bhattar as 'Uchchit Tilakam' – 'உச்சித் திலகம்', at the very start of his great poem 'Abhirami Andãdi', as the 'Pinnacle Par Excellence'! Please pay attention – he did not say the Tilakam on the forehead but on the top – 'uchchi' – 'உச்சி'!  Sumangali ladies other than wearing the Kumkumam on their foreheads must wear it on the 'Vakidu' also always!  As described in the previous sloka, in the black forest of 'karu neidal' flowers, that is AmbãL's hair, this red line is running across dividing the whole area in to two parts.  Normally this parting of hair though is fair and white.  The redness – AruNa Ãbhã of AmbãL coupled with the redness of Sindooram that can turn both Siva and his sister Saraswathi to red; has made the Vakidu a brilliant red – the red Seamantha SaraNi in between the black waves of her hair on either side. 

823.                Mostly we are not able to appreciate such beauties and subtleties at all.  We look at the utility value in terms of our being able to make use of it in some way!  Some of us do appreciate things for their intrinsic aspect of beauty.  Poets do so with some comparisons and imagination, expanding and enlarging the scene!   Looking at the utter blackness on either side with the streak of red in between, what does the ÃchãryãL see?  He says, "prabala kabaree bhãra timira dvishãm brundair bandeekrutamiva naveenãrka kiraNam – प्रबल कबरी भार तिमिर द्विषां बृन्दैर्बन्दीकृतमिव नवीनार्ककिरणम्, meaning thereby that it looked like a streak of the early morning Sun breaking out of the surrounding darkness!

824.                'Arka' means Sun and 'naveena arka' means brand new Sun and 'naveena arka kiraNam' means the early rays of the new young Sun just breaking out. How is he? He is absolutely red, the colour of Raja Rajeswari – 'udhyat bhãnu sahasra ãbhã' – that Abhirãmi Bhattar has mentioned as the first words of his poem 'udikkinra senkadir' – 'உதிக்கின்ற செங்கதிர்'!  As the time passes and the sun rises this golden red of the sun becomes more that of the whiteness of silver. ÃchãryãL is seeing the Seamantha Sindooram as the first rays of the Sun.  At the start of the Vakidu is a big red round Tilakam which is like the Sun and the streak of red above that is like the first ray of the young sun, O K.  What is this "prabala kabaree bhãra timira dvishãm brundair bandeekrutamiva naveenãrka kiraNam", which sounds like a tongue twister and teeth breaker combination?  Please explain that!  That is the sound effect of the words by themselves!  By the very sound effects of the words the poet is able to convey the subtleties or the lack of it!  The words themselves sound as though somebody is coming to fight with someone else!  Who is coming to fight with whom?
825.                Earlier the poet was talking about mainly the Seamantha SaraNi as the red streak of brilliant light which we are now seeing as the first ray of the early morning Sun.  Then there are the words, 'prabala kabaree bhãra timira dvishãm'.  Here this word 'prabala' means powerful and famous, 'kabaree bhãra timira' means the heavy darkness of the thick dark hair is going to fight.  When you are strong and powerful, you will try and test your power against opponents, isn't it?  Darkness will fight with whom, with Light?  Normally in a dark room if you bring in a small lamp, the darkness will simply go without leaving a forwarding address, without even a 'good bye'!  Here the young 'Bala Surya' is just too young and AmbãL's 'kesha' - 'केश भारं' is the darkness which is very strong and famously powerful and ready to fight!  That too, if this 'bala Arka' – 'young Sun' was somewhere in the hand or leg, this hair may not have been able to show much of its prowess or animosity!  Here this young Sun is marked at the very start of the hair-line!  So now, we can make a go of it, the dark bundle of hair could have thought!

826.                Moreover this 'Kesha Bhãram' or 'kabaree bhãra' has been having too much of licence and liberty from AmbãL.  Otherwise when daily the sun comes out we know that darkness just goes.  When you get Gnãnam the way Agnãna vanishes is often compared with the speed with which darkness goes with the arrival of the Sun!  Then how dare this so-called 'prabala kabaree bhãra' even presume that it can fight with the Sun?  AmbãL has not only given it space in her head, but has attended to its daily care with 'ghana snigdha slakshanam', applying oil daily, combing and polishing it, wearing all the heavenly flowers there!  I think that they have literally have had too much of pampering and support, that they have become 'prabalam' as well as a 'problem' undoubtedly!  An oft repeated story in such situations is about how the Garuda the Eagle was asked if he is alright and doing well and he is supposed to have replied that                                                                                                              "It is OK, if you are where you are supposed to be"!  That is also a similar story.  The question was asked by Ãdi Sesha on whom PerumãL would be resting in Ksheera Sãgara aka the Milky Ocean and the question is addressed to Garuda the official carrier of PerumãL!  We will look into that story in the next issue of Deivathin Kural, before proceeding with what happened between the Darkness and Light – in Soundarya Lahari!

(To be continued.)




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