Thursday, June 27, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 02 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 June 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 02 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 June 2013

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavãL 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 page No 07 of Volume 7 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 continually)

11.                    It is true that as compared to the number of Siva temples on the Cauvery bank the VaishNava temples are much less.  But, PiLLaiyar has given the VaishNavas a pride of place on the Cauvery bank as not available to the Saivites.  When Saivites say 'the Kovil' they refer only to the Chidambaram temple that is not on the Cauvery bank!  Similarly, when Vaishnavites refer to 'the Kovil', it is the Ranganatha Temple situated on a land with Cauvery on either side, lovingly known as 'Sri Rangam'!  The river here is known as 'Ubaya Cauvery'.  It is PiLLaiyar who has bestowed this honour on Vaishnavites!  How did that happen?

12.                    Sri Rama had given the statue of 'Sri Ranganatha' with its Vimana or mounting of the form of PraNava Roopa to Vibhshna, at the time of Sri Rama's coronation when they had returned to Ayodhya after the war.  This Sri Ranga Vigraham aka idol had traditionally been the family (Sri Rama's Ikshvaku Vamsam) deity to which they had been doing daily prayers to, for generations.  At the end of Sri Rama's Pattãbhishekam, he had honoured all the visitors with plenty of gold and presents.  He had wished to honour Vibhishana a little specially.  Both Sugrieva and Vibhishana had rebelled against their respective elder brothers on moral grounds.  But the difference was that Sugrieva was interested in getting his wife and leadership back, whereas Vibhishana was mainly keen on surrendering to Sri Rama, without any expectation of returns!  In fact amongst VaishNavas, Vibhishana is quoted as the model for sacrifice and surrender – 'thyaga and prapatti' – the two most admired qualities required in a Bhakta.  Hence, the award of the statue of his traditional family deity by Sri Rama, in particular recognition of Vibhishana's model behaviour, was carried out. 

13.          In fact when Vibhishana surrendered to Sri Rama just before the war on the battle field, all others such as Angada and Sugrieva suspected his motives except Hanuman.  At that time Sri Rama was pained to note that they were finding fault with a sincere devotee and so had to make a major declaration that, 'sakrud eva prapannãya tavãsmi iti yãchate |  abhayam sarva bhootebhyo dadhãn etat vratam mama ||' – 'सकृद् एव प्रपन्नाय तवास्मि इति याचते |  अभयं सर्व भूतेभ्यो दधान एतत् व्रतं मम ||' – meaning that,  "I, Sri Rama will stand by and save that person from all threats and  protect him from all dangers, whosoever surrenders unto me forever, this is my promise!"  Accordingly now at the time of giving leave to Vibhishana to return to Sri Lanka, he wished to go out of his way to give him something really valuable!  So he gave him the idol of his traditional family deity!  Leaving Ayodhya, Vibhishana had come way down south to this island around which Cauvery was flowing on both sides.  Vigneshwara, who was watching the drama for so long, now decided not to let go the statue of Ranganatha from the mainland of India and that too from the soil of Tamil Nãdu, from this land on either side of which there was this River flowing known as Ubaya Cauvery, as I said a little earlier! He simply tricked Vibhishana and ensured that Sri Ranganatha is installed then and there between Ubaya Cauvery immovably forever!

14.          The idols with Vimana already energised by years of pooja is not to be kept on bare ground as they will get installed and established on the spot forever.   Sri Rama had given a clear warning about this to Vibhishana while handing over the idol and told him that only after reaching Sri Lanka and necessary preparations for its instalment, is it to be placed on ground.  Till then he could hand over the idol to somebody else temporarily if required.  Vibhishana was alone without the normal entourage.  It was this factor exploited by PiLLaiyar.  He took the form of a young Brhmachari and came in front of Vibhishana while causing in him a desire to take a bath.  Vibhishana addressed the boy, "My dear Son!  Will you please be kind enough to hold this idol in your hands, till I take a dip in the river and come back?"  "Oh!  Yes Sir" said the boy.  "But please remember that it is not to be placed on the ground", said Vibhishana.  The boy agreed to that on the condition that if he feels the idol to be too heavy, he will call the elder man three times and Vibhishana agreed to that.  It was a pleasure to bathe in the running waters of the river and had almost gone to the other bank swimming.  PiLLaiyar called for Vibhishana three times quickly in staccato style and kept the statue down and it got established there forever!

15.          As the story goes, till then it was only a small sized statue as can be carried by a person, not very heavy, as they say 'portable size' only.  The kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty had been keeping that idol in their pooja traditionally for many generations at their home.  So we can presume that it must have been a small sized statue only, isn't it? But on the ground today it is a huge statue bigger than a normal human figure of someone happily reclining with the head resting on one hand with the other hand raised in 'abhaya hastam', from the back.  Around that statue there is a huge edifice of a temple now.  Having finished his bathing when Vibhishana came running, he was disappointed to see the statue on the ground!  He was very angry with the boy, but he was saying, "I called you three times.  It was too heavy and so, I had to put it down!" 

16.          Vibhishana tried to move the statue from the ground in vain.  He wanted to punish the boy and so came forward with raised hands to knock with the knuckles on the boy's head.  Then there was this chase, with the boy running away and Vibhishana running after him.  The chase ended only near Trichy Rock Fort.  PiLLaiyar, who had gone to the top of the hill there, (known as 'uchchi-piLLaiyar' – 'உச்சி பிள்ளையார்' meaning 'hill-top-PiLLaiyar' there), came down to let Vibhishana catch him.  He was condescending enough to let Vibhishana sate his anger by knocking on his head with his knuckles.  You can catch God only when He lets you, isn't it?  Krishna did a similar thing to Yashoda.  As she had had enough of his mischiefs, the Mother wanted to tie up the toddler Krishna with the 'UraL' – that is, the grinding  stone, for which she got hold of some ropes.  Then try as she may, she could never tie him up even after using yards and yards of rope!  She was sweating profusely.  Then Krishna permitted her to do as she wished and then only this act of tying him up to the grinding stone could be done!  Then that story goes on as to how, Krishna still crawled on his hands and knees like toddlers do, pulling the heavy grinding stone behind him and knocked down two Asuras standing in the way as two trees! Let us come back to our story!  Normally devotees of GaNesha while paying their obeisance, pull on their ears with the hands crossed on their chest and knock on their own heads with their knuckles, before doing sit ups three times while still pulling on their ears; asking pardon for all their past sins!  Here PiLLaiyar was getting some of it back!  That act of knocking on the head with the knuckles of closed fists is known as 'kuttu' – 'குட்டு', in Tamil.

17.          Immediately after that PiLLaiyar revealed his true identity to Vibhishana.  With that itself Vibhishana's anger and complaint was gone. To appease him further PiLLaiyar told him, "But do not worry.  Sri Ranganatha is lying facing south towards the direction in which you were proceeding only!  He will take good care of you and your people from here itself!  Though normally divine statues are never installed facing the southerly direction, here I have planted him on the ground in such a way that, He will continue to shower his grace and protection towards Sri Lanka, rest assured!"

Three Deities Facing the South: Saiva VaishNava Equality.

18.                    It is the father of Vigneshwara, DakshiNa Murthy who is solemnly sitting facing South in eternal silence, instructing his four disciples through that 'Mauna' which is said to be most eloquent!  Then there is PiLLaiyar's father once again as Nataraja in Chidambaram dancing his ebullient 'Ãnanda Thãndavam' or 'Koothu' facing the South!  Now PiLLaiyar has made his uncle that is, mother's brother also to face the south!  While DakshiNa Murthy is sitting as an immobile statue totally unaware of the world, Nataraja is causing the entire universe to rotate and spin in eternal motion!  But this PerumaL is in deep sleep – 'ananta sayanam'.  Of course like DakshiNa Murthy, he is also in Samadhi only, but they call it 'Nidra'.  Of course he is also in Samadhi only but it is said to be 'Nidra' because, he is a magician – Mãyãvi   whose actions are beyond our understanding.  As we create a dream world in our dreams, populated with all that is there in this world with people, animals, birds, plants and places; this so-called world of creation is said to be his, PerumãL's dream world! So, while remaining in a Samadhi like DakshiNa Murthy, simultaneously he is also in a dream creating, running and managing this world.  So to dream he has to sleep, isn't it?  So, he resorts to 'Nidra'.  If all others go into Samadhi sitting up straight, he does it his Mãyãvi style, lying in Nidra.  So this is given a special name as 'Yoga Nidra'!  We sleep with our 'Arivu' in a state of suspended animation, whereas He is animating the whole world by his 'Arivu'.  So there is a beautiful word in Tamil for this rare sleep as – 'Arithuyil' – 'அறிதுயில்''Thuyil' in Tamil means sleep and when Hari is in Thuyil it is Hari's sleep as well as a rare sleep and so it is 'Arithuyil'.

19.          When daddy's Samadhi statue and active, dynamic dance-state statue are both facing south, his uncle's combined samadhi-sleep-dream-business-state statue should also be facing south; PiLLaiyar must have decided!  When he got hold of the Ranganatha statue from Vibhishana Ãzhvãr, (PeriyavãL says smilingly with the tongue in the cheek humour), as the customs officer seizes our treasure like statues from being smuggled out of our country to foreign lands; he also must have taken cognizance of the fact with extreme compassion that, Sri Rama's Anugraha for such a great devotee as Vibhishana Ãzhvãr should not be interfered with in any way; and so the statue should be installed in the most appropriate of places, in the island between the two branches of Cauvery on either side, overseeing Sri Lanka.  Simultaneously the child in him must have taken great pleasure in making the uncle do what his daddy is already doing, that is overseeing the South!  Like daddy, like uncle!  There is also equality between Easwara and PerumãL in the process.  So then, it also happened that, Sri Ranganatha as Rangaraja got the status as the King of all such PerumãL temples in 108 Divya Desas!  So also, the Saivites consider the Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram as their 'Kovil' and Vaishnavites consider the Rangaraja temple in Sri Rangam as their 'Kovil'; both are 'Kovil', both are 'Rajas' and both are overseeing the South!  Equality and amity that is Samarasam between these two major arms of Hinduism continues!

(To be continued.)




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