Monday, May 27, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 177 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 May 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 177 (Vol # 6) Dated 26 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 last Paragraph on page No 1226 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)

"பாராட்டே வெட்க வைத்தது"
Appreciation Caused Embarrassment

980.        In the next sloka No 66, the poet depicts enactment of a small drama on the stage in which unintentionally an expression of appreciation causes abashment.  The sloka is as follows: -
विपञ्च्या गायन्ती विविदमपदानं पशुपते-
vipanchya gãyanthee vividhamapadãnam pashupate:-
त्वयारब्धे वक्तुं चलितशिरसा साधुवचने |
tvayãrabdhe vaktum chalita shirasã sãdhuvachane |
तदीयैर्माधुर्य्यै: अपलपित तन्त्रीकलरवां
tvadeeyairmaadhuryai: apalapita tantreekalaravãm
निजां वीणां वाणी निचुलयति चोळेन निभृतम् ||
nijãm veeNãm vanee nichulayati choLena nibhrutam ||

981.        This drama takes place on a stage setting in AmbãL's assembly hall say.   AmbãL is happily listening to a music concert.  You can listen to music only when you are relaxed and happy without any undue pressure of work or urge to attend to something important.  To think of AmbãL in such a frame of reference as pleasantly and happily listening to music will give us also immense peace.  Whose concert is AmbãL listening to?  She is Saraswathi Devi playing the VeeNa. The very source of literature and fine arts is singing while playing on the VeeNa.  It is just beyond our imagination even to think of, let alone trying to express in words, in which the very Presiding Deity of dance, drama, music, arts, crafts, fine-arts and all forms of spoken and written expressions is singing and playing on the VeeNa, in the august presence of AmbãL!  The scene is just mind-boggling to visualise!

982.        'Vipanchaya', means on the 'Vipanchi', which is a VeeNa, aka 'Parivãdhini'.  Saraswathi's VeeNa has a special name as 'Kachchapi'.  Deities and great people's weapons and instruments have special names.  The bow of Easwara is known as 'Pinãka' and hence he is also called 'PinãkapãNi'.  Similarly the bow of Maha Vishnu is 'Sãrnga' and so he has a name as 'SãrngapãNi' and Arjun's bow is 'GãNdiva'.  Nãrada the recluse devotee's VeeNa is called 'Mahathi' and Tumburu whose name is normally mentioned along with Nãrada, has a VeeNa called 'Kalãvathi'.   As I said, Saraswathi has a VeeNa called Kachchapi, its name deriving from the fact that on one end of the VeeNa the pot like attachment is of the shape of a Tortoise and in Sanskrit Kachchap means Tortoise.  Professor Sãmbamoorthy told me that in Philippines such a musical instrument is in use and they call it 'Katjapi'.  In Lalitha Sahasranãma also this name occurs, where it says that AmbãL's normal speech itself is as sweet as the Kachchapi VeeNa – 'nija-sallãpa-mãdhrya-vinirbhartrsibha-kachchapi' – 'निज-सल्लाप-माधुर्य-विनिर्भर्त्सित-कच्चपी'.  It is this idea that ÃchãryãL has developed in to a drama in this sloka, using a generic name of 'Vipanchi' instead of its specific name Kachchapi. 

983.        When you say 'vipanchyã gãyanthee', 'what is being played on VeeNa' is the meaning.  I am interpreting it as 'playing on VeeNa and singing', do you know how?  Later in the sloka it says, 'vividam apadãnam pasupate:', meaning that by playing on the VeeNa she is describing 'vivdam' = variety of; 'apadãnam' = exploits; 'pasupate: = of Pasupati.  The adventures, exploits and escapades of Pasupati Siva have to be described in words for it to be understood by the listener.  Though here AmbãL knows all that her husband would have done on various occasion, in addition to instrumental musical nicety if the beauty of the words of the poems (Sahitya) are also there the enjoyment is enhanced, isn't it?  That is why I am saying that, Saraswathi is singing along with playing on the VeeNa. 

984.        We feel happy when people praise us.  May be due to not knowing our real character or just to flatter us so that they may get some favour done, people may praise us.  Otherwise how can anybody sing our praise?  If that is our case, with AmbãL nobody can ever really do so because, her character qualities are immeasurably great, unknowable and indescribable!  But, is Saraswathi singing AmbãL's praise?  No, she is singing about Easwara's 'thiruviLaiyãdalgaL' – 'திருவிளையாடல்கள்' – 'vividam apadãnam pasupate:' – as they are the favourites of AmbãL, she is listening about her husband's exploits as an epitome of fidelity! Saraswathi knows AmbãL's mind as she is known as 'Sarvagna' the Omniscient!  Like our ÃchãryãL, whosoever wish to win that title of 'All-Knowing' as 'Sarvagna' have to win over Saraswathi Devi in the final qualifying round sort of.  So, knowing AmbãL's likes and preferences, Saraswathi Devi is singing praise of Easwara while playing on the VeeNa and singing with it.  Like AmbãL Easwara Mahima are endless!  Saraswathi is trying to do justice to that difficult task, as well as she can.

985.        When experts sing in the presence of rich and knowledgeable connoisseurs of art, they will make an initial study of their likes and preferences, to be able to draw the maximum advantage out of the situation.  Saraswathi very much had this ability.  Had she played on the VeeNa say before Easwara, knowing that he would like to listen about AmbãL's greatness, she would have done that.  Here in AmbãL's presence she is singing about Easwara.  Sannidy is AmbãL's.  Singer is Saraswathi.  With singing she is also playing on the VeeNa Kachchapi, well known for its sweet sound!  The subject being sung about is Easwara's adventures!  Thus all aspects of the scene are of the order of the superlative!  At the start of 'Sivãnanda Lahari, our ÃchãryãL says that, 'the bliss of Sivãnanda is flowing from the histories of Easwara and filling the huge chasm in my head'. Now AmbãL is submerging in such a flood of bliss of Sivãnanda!  Those stories are so blissful even while reading.  Now to be listening to Saraswathi herself playing on the VeeNa and singing along, is just unimaginably too wonderful even to think of!

986.        AmbãL is enjoying the music and is totally engrossed.  At times she is nodding her head – 'chalita sirasã' – 'चलित सिरसा' – appreciating it.  To clap ones hand is 'kara kampam' and to nod is 'sira kampam'.  In clapping ones hands there isn't such delicacy, I suppose.  When the audience is exhibiting their appreciation especially when the artist is noticing that they are certainly discerning and appreciating the really subtle and delicate 'birkhas' and 'ghamakas', the singer gets highly motivated to experiment further and come out with exquisite variations.  Even if the artist is as yet a learner and a bit diffident, if we happily encourage at the right juncture, he may come out with some beautiful combinations.  So we should applaud truthfully and listen with an open heart.  If we sit around as though we knew too much with a bit of a sanctimonious attitude and a smug face, we will be killing the singer's natural aptitude and he will be worse than his normal ability.  This applies to all lines of art, games and studies. 

987.        Ambikai is happily encouraging and Saraswathi is going on making wonderful music and singing with it.  All that I have said are in that one line 'vipanchya gãyanthee vividhama padãnam pashupate:' – 'विपञ्च्या गायन्ती विविदमपदानं पशुपते:', meaning 'while Saraswathi in playing on the VeeNa to the accompaniment of her own singing of Easwara's various exploits'.  Saraswathi's name does not come here, it occurs only in the fourth line.  OK then what?  "Then as you started saying some words of appreciation", the poet tells AmbãL – 'tvayãrabdhe vaktum chalita shirasã sãdhuvachane' – 'त्वयारब्धे वक्तुं चलितशिरसा साधुवचने'.  Here, 'tvayã' = 'by you'; 'chalita sirasã' = with nodding of your head'; 'sãduvachane' = words of appreciation; ãrabdhe' = as started telling'.  She felt some words of appreciation should be expressed over and above her nodding of the head and just started saying.  In between the concert or talks, the audience erupts don't they, with words such as, 'Bhale, besh, sabhash'?  Or they say 'Hear, Hear!' or 'encore'!  These are known as 'Sadhu Vachane'.   Like this she said just some two such words.  AmbãL was highly pleased and from her throat a few words were uttered.  She did not even say fully, as the poet says, 'ãrabdhe'. 

988.        What happened the moment AmbãL opened her mouth and started speaking in appreciation of the music?  That is the third line of the sloka – 'tadeeyairmaadhuryai: apalapita tantree kalaravãm' – 'तदीयैर्माधुर्य्यै: अपलपित तन्त्रीकलरवां', which we have to analyse to understand.  'Tadeeyai:' = their, that is 'of those words that AmbãL was uttering, their'; 'mãdhuryai:' = (by their) sweet grace of exquisite beauty; 'apalapita' = 'refused or insulted'; 'kala ravãm' = 'the sweet sounds'; of the 'tantree' = the strings' (of the VeeNa).  Put together the meaning of the third line is, 'By the sweet grace and exquisite beauty of the words being uttered by AmbãL, the sweet sounds of the strings of the VeeNa were virtually put to shame as though' was noticed by who else, but Saraswathi.

989.        If we generally think as what would be the sweetest of sounds, we are likely to come to a decision that it must be the sounds of the VeeNa of Saraswathi, who is the Goddess of arts, crafts, fine-arts, learning and knowledge.  We are likely to think that nothing can match her playing on the VeeNa, in excellence, sweetness and grace!  If something can match that, then it must be her voice, we are most likely to assume.  But now, when AmbãL is about to say a few words – she did not sing – she only spoke.  There was no rhyming or verbal gymnastics.  She did not do much talking either.  Just started talking and just two words were spoken.  By that time Saraswathi's voice and her VeeNa sounds were just defeated!  As we saw earlier that in front of AmbãL's facial beauty, the moon-light was rendered into sour porridge; now before the sweetness of her few seconds talk, the singing and playing on the VeeNa all this time by Saraswathi, were rendered to, not total bunkum but nothing much to say!

990.        Then what did Saraswathi do?  She stopped singing and bent her head down.  What did she do to the VeeNa?  She just covered the VeeNa in its casing or container.  Let us look at the words of the poet.  That is the fourth line of the sloka – 'nijãm veeNãm vãNi nichulayati cholena nibhrutam' – 'निजां वीणां वाणी निचुलयति चोळेन निभृतम्'.  The word to word meaning is like this:- 'nijãm' = her; 'veeNãm' = VeeNa (to it, she did something); 'nibhrutam' = hiding it so that it may not be seen outside; 'VaNee' = that is Saraswathi; 'nichulayati' = covers.  It means that, having seen that against the exquisite sweetness of AmbãL's talk, the sound of her VeeNa was beaten, so that it may not be seen outside, Saraswathi puts her VeeNa back in its casing!

991.        Normally, a run-of-the-mill artist will not accept that somebody else is better than them.  Saraswathi evidently is not one of them.  She whole-heartedly agreed that compared with the 'heavenly music' in the spoken words of AmbãL, her own singing and the sounds of her VeeNa are better hidden.  When something is no match, they will say 'உறை போடக் காணாது', meaning that it will not be able to make even a covering!  So she covered her VeeNa in its casing 'உறை போட்டு மூடி விட்டாள்'!  That is, because AmbãL was appreciating her singing and playing, she did not continue singing but said, "Enough is enough"!  (Though she has said that 'enough is enough', we are not yet finished with the scene and will continue with the discussion of AmbãL's appreciation and Saraswathi's reaction to it, in the next edition of Deivathin Kural!)

(To be continued.)




At 4:55 AM, Blogger soumya said...

I happen to reach this website by HER own blessing, it seems. How great is the quality of explanation, line by line, verse by verse, of the toughest lyric, Soundarya Lahar!! I want to read from the beginning - Sivasakthya yuktho---.

Pardon me, if we can avoid some spelling mistakes such as 'da'in place of 'dha' in 980 ( vividhamapadaanam in Sanskrit text ),and then half of first cha in Sanskrit with second Cha of the Chavargam, to write Kachchapi ( Lalitha Sahasranama quote.) !!


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