Monday, May 20, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 174 (Vol # 6) Dated 20 May 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 174 (Vol # 6) Dated 20 May 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 1205 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)
நாசி முக்தமும் யோகா நுட்பமும்
Pearl as Nose Stud & A Subtle Point of Yoga

947.                  Having described the eyes of AmbãL in many slokas, as he goes on describing the beauty of AmbãL from the head to foot – 'kesãdi pãdam', in the sloka No 61 the poet describes the nose and in doing so he goes on to just slightly touch upon a subtle point of Yoga Sãstrã.  Like the bamboo shoot which has natural holes in the centre of each of its sections or nodes and the surface is smooth, the nose has two holes and is as smooth.  AmbãL is wearing a pearl nose stud with a small dangly hanging loosely.  The poet calls it 'muktãmaNi dharaha' – 'मुक्तामणिधर:' as the dangly is made of pearl.  In Madurai and Kanyakumari the 'mookkuthi' is inlaid with diamond and is rather special and famous.  In Lalitha Sahasranãma, there is the description of the ornament on the nose of AmbãL as, 'tãrã kãnti tiraskãree nãsãbharaNa bhãsurã' – 'तारा कान्ति तिरस्कारी नसाभरणभासुरा' – meaning, 'by the shimmer of the nose ornament she beats the twinkle of the stars!'  As the stars twinkle with all the colours of the light spectrum, I think it is a diamond nose dangly being referred there.  The pearl will not coruscate with all the colours.  But whatever the gem, traditionally it is called the 'முத்து மூக்குத்தி' and it is also considered as appropriately sacred.

948.                  Krishna Paramãtma is considered to be doubly beautiful with male and female form in one.  In the ornaments that he wears the nose stud and dangly are included.  In the sloka starting with the words 'Kasturi Tilakam', it says – 'nãsã agre nava mouktikam' – 'नासाग्रे नव मौक्तिकं', meaning that at the tip of his nose is the new pearl ornament!  Here ÃchãryãL's description of comparison of the AmbãL's nose with the bamboo shoot and talking about the presence of a pearl stud is more fitting in terms of the traditional name for the ornament as – 'muththu mookkuththi' – 'முத்து மூக்குத்தி'.  Here he compared her nose with a bamboo isn't it?  Do not at once think of an old tree but a young shoot.  It is narrow at the top and broader at the base.  The bamboo's surface is very smooth and it is hollow in the centre along its length.  Then high quality bamboo is a place of origin for the pearl and in AmbãL's nose there is the ornament with a dangly pearl!  It is believed that other than the mother of pearl being a place of origin for pearls, elephants head, bamboo and sugar cane are also believed to produce pearls or pearl like gems.  In Soundarya Lahari itself in a later sloka No 74, it is said that when Parameswara killed Gajãsura (who had the head of an elephant), he is said to have taken out the pearls from his head and made a garland of it, presenting it to AmbãL which she is wearing as described in that sloka.  

949.                  But in this sloka under consideration she is wearing a 'முத்து மூக்குத்தி'.  "Normally the pearl is to be found inside a bamboo, but here it is dangling outside the nose!  How can the comparison be considered as appropriate?"  The explanation comes from the poet.  Through her nose there is the divine breath.  Normally through the hole in the bamboo, musical notes of the flute come out.  Here her breath is bringing out the pearl from inside and adorns the nose of AmbãL as an ornament மூக்குத்திThe breath of AmbãL is the Vedam, that is, one word for all the Veda-s.  This pearl is known as 'Muktam' in Sanskrit that rhymes with the word 'Mukti' for release from all worldly attachments.  So the whole arrangement of words and meaning is very apt in that, from the breath that is Vedas the outcome is the Mukti / Muktam to mean release or pearl. 

950.                  There is another word-play of pun here.  The word 'vamsam' in Sanskrit means lineage as well as the bamboo plant.  In Madhusudana Saraswathi's sloka we say – 'vamsee vibhushita karãt' – 'वंसी विभूषित करात्', meaning 'the one who makes all the progeny proud'.  Similarly here, having started saying that her nose is like the 'वंसी', he says, 'asou nãsã vamsa: tuhina-giri-vamsa-dwajapati' – 'असौ नासावंस:तुहिनगिरिवंसध्वजपटि', meaning 'that her bamboo like nose is the flag-pole of snow bound Himalayan royal dynasty'!

951.                  Let us come to the subtle point of Yoga.  When I said that by the breath of AmbãL the inner pearl was brought out, the poet particularly points out the breath to be from the left nostril.  But in the sloka you will not be able to find the direct word for the left nostril.  He is saying – 'shishira kara niswãsa galitham' – 'शिशिरकर निश्वास गलितं'.  The word 'nishvãsa' means exhalation and inhalation is 'ushvãsam' and 'galitam means 'bringing out'. What is 'shishira kara'?  Nowhere does it have the meaning of the left.  'Shishira' means snow or dew as the winter is known as 'shishir ritu'.  'Shishira Kara' is the same as 'Himakara', our ÃchãryãL's favourite word for the moon.  It means that he is saying that the pearl is coming out in the 'moon-exhalation'!   Does it mean yet another puzzle?

952.                  It is a puzzle related to the Yoga Sãstrã.  As per that, when the mind is pulled by anger and desire, the breath goes in by the left nostril and comes out of the right nostril.  When the mind is deep in noble and spiritual thoughts, inhalation happens by the right nostril and the exhalation is by the left and when the mind is thoughtless and mind itself is dormant in Samadhi, the breathing stops at 'Kumbhaka'.  At such moments, there is no action.  AmbãL is ever in the highest thoughts of universal kindness and so she inhales by the right nostril and exhales by the left one.  But, that is alright, the question now is as to why the poet has used the phrase 'shishira kara nishvãsam' – the 'moon- exhalation'?
953.                  The answer to this question is also to be gleaned from Yoga Sãstrã only.  The human body is said to be containing 72,000 ducts or Nãdis all over the body which are said to be carrying the life force.  Three of them are the main ones, Ida, Pingalã and Sushumnã.  The one in the right side is Pingalã aka Surya Nãdi and the left one is Idã or Chandra Nãdi.  The central one is Sushumnã aka Agni Nãdi.  Paramãtma's right eye is said to be the Sun and the left eye is said to be the Moon and the central eye is Agni or fire.  Carrying the same analogy the right nostril is the Sun and the left is the Moon one.  So the left nostril is the Shishira-Kara nostril.  Since these matters are well covered in the earlier Ãnanda Lahari portion, I suppose in the latter part describing mainly the beauty of AmbãL, the poet might have left without enlarging.  But so that experts may get some special pleasure, he might have inserted just a word as an indication as 'Shishira Kara'!
உவமையற்ற உதட்டழகு
Incomparable Beauty of the Lips!
954.                  As we go along from head to foot, next in line is the mouth and the lips covering them are described in the next sloka No 62.  Normally the lips are compared to the corals.  But the redness of the coral is no patch on the deep redness of the lips of AmbãL.  This coral or 'Pavazham' as it is called in Tamil is considered as a creeper plant by the poets.  Normally the creepers are green and the fruit in them may be red.  If the creeper plant itself is red and then if it has any fruit, then may be it can be compared to her lips.  That is not possible as the coral does not have any fruits of its own!  Now what to do?  One of the wives of Arjuna the mythological and historical character of Mahabharata is known as 'Pavazhakkodi' – 'பவளக்கொடி'!  But, she was possibly an Octopus or Mermaid!  But how can we get a fruit of such a thing?  Then they used to compare the redness of the lips to a fruit known as 'Kovai Pazham' – 'கோவைப்பழம்', a type of fruit Botanically known as 'Memordica Monadelpha'!.  What is its name in Sanskrit?  Its name itself is 'Bimba' which also means reflection.  What is it the reflection of?

955.                  As its name indicates, it is a reflection and it is a reflection of nothing else but the lips of AmbãL!  As part of her playfulness she is said to have caused the fruit to reflect the shade of her lips for it to get such a name may be!  Still it was not as red as the original that it was reflecting! To become as red as the colour of her lips, the fruit is supposed to have tried to ascend – 'adhyãrodum' – 'अध्यारोढुम्', is the word used, to mean – 'jumping about trying its level best to win'!  Then not being able to match up to the requirement even by one sixteenth (kalayã – कलया) of it, evidently feeling ashamed of its over reach and failure, became a little more red out of shame, as the poet asks as to how could it have avoided feeling embarrassed – 'kathamiva na vilajjeta' – 'कथमिव न विलज्जेत'?  How can it not be ashamed asks our ÃchãryãL.  While giving up its efforts the 'Bimba' fruit that is, 'Kovai Pazham' is a little redder.  Still it is nowhere near.  It is alright to say that the child is taken on to its mother.  But how stupid it is to say that the mother is like the child?  AmbãL's beauty and the redness of her lips are just beyond compare!   That is the message!  In Lalitha Sahasranãma also a similar idea has been expressed – 'nava vidruma bimba srinyakkãri dasanachchadã' – 'नवविद्रुम बिम्बश्री न्यक्कारी दसनच्चदा' – meaning that the lips of AmbãL are redder than the Bimba fruit and the Coral

நிலவும் புளித்துப்போகும் புன்னகை!
A Smile that Causes the Moon Light to Become Sated!

956.                  After talking about the lips, the poet describes the beauty of AmbãL's smile.  Sloka No 63 in which the poetical beauty also overflows.
स्मितज्योत्स्नाजालं तव वदन चन्द्रस्य पिबतां
smitajyotsnãjãlam tava vadana chandrasya pibatãm
चकोराणामासीदतिरसतया चन्चुजढिमा |
chakorãNãmãseedatirasatayã chanchujadimã |
अतस्ते शीतांशो: अमृतलहरीं आम्लरुचय:
ataste sheetãsho: amrutalaharim ãmlaruchaya:
पिबन्ति स्वच्छन्दम् निशि निशि भृशं काञ्जिकधिया ||
pibanti swachchandam nishi nishi brushm kãnjikadhiyã ||  

957.                  At the very start the poet had described AmbãL as Chandra MouLeeswari, isn't it?  There the moon was above the face, a crescent on top of the crown.  Here the face itself is the moon – 'tava vadana chandra' – 'तव वदन चन्द्र'!  The word 'vadanam' can mean the mouth or the face.  The root word is 'vat – vada' to speak.  Like the Vedas advice '' – 'सत्यं वद, धर्मं चर' – meaning 'speak the truth, live righteously'.  There the word 'वद' means, 'speak'.  So the first meaning of 'vadanam' is mouth.  In the descending order of description after the head, eyes, nose and lips, next it is the turn of the mouth.  But the mouth cannot be compared with the moon!  So, the poet is evidently describing the face as the full-moon.  From the moon like face the moon-light known as 'நிலா or நிலவு' in Tamil and 'ज्योत्स्ना' in Sanskrit is flowing inundating the whole world!  The moon may have some blemishes, but not the face of AmbãL.  She is smiling and so her beautiful set of teeth are being seen, adding to the overall effect!

(To be continued.)




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