Wednesday, June 05, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 182 (Vol # 6) Dated 05 June 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 182 (Vol # 6) Dated 05 June 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 page No 1262 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)

1041.      In sloka No 89, our ÃchãryãL says that AmbãL's Pãda CharaNa are greater than even the heavenly trees such as 'Kalpa Taru' in their ability to grant one's wishes.  There in heaven the hands of angels are like the lotus buds, as they are praying with folded hands, the poet says.  He gives reason for why the lotus flowers are buds and not blooming.  In AmbãL's very red hued CharaNa the nails are absolute white and they seem to be a set of teeth laughing at the Kalpa Taru.  They are so bright like the full-moon's light.  As the lotus flowers close up their petals in moon-light, under the spell of the brilliant light of those nails of AmbãL's feet, the lotus like hands of these heavenly women had to fold!

1042.      Those very feet are the flowers that Veda Mata has adorned her hair with.  So here Vedas too have come searching for her feet and how did they get them, but by her 'dayayã' – kind- permission, isn't it?  This has been noticed by our ÃchãryãL.  So he says, "Please make them available to me too!"  Thus he remained at the very feet of the Paramãtma and became one with it,that he eminently deserved the epithet – 'Bhagawat Pãdar' – 'the feet of God!'

மனக்கல்லில் மலரும் தாமரை
The Lotus that Blooms in the Stone of the Mind

1043.      The feet of divine beings are referred to as 'thiruvadi' as a flower only – as 'CharaNãravindam'.  Your feet are so fragile and delicate.  At the time of your marriage how your husband was hard hearted enough to consent to place them, those soft and flower like feet of yours on a hard stone of 'Ammikkal'?  'katam vã' – How could he do so – 'bãhubhyãm' – by hands, during your – 'upayamana kãle' – at the time of marriage?  Meaning there by 'How was he cruel enough to pick those delicately soft feet and place them on the hard surface of an 'ammikkal' after all?  (Further words in Sanskrit sloka are to be translated.  In the mean- time let me explain a meaningful ritual done during a marriage as per Hindu customs.  Of course all such rituals have deep meaning and purport though, it has become a custom of modern times to look down upon all such rituals.  The trouble is that not all Purohits conducting such rituals know the meaning of all the mantras having a bearing on those rituals!  If 'Upanayanam' is the end of childhood and the start of Brhmacharyam, 'Upayamanam' is the end of Brhmacharyam and the start of Gruhastam, the first two Ãshrama-s of the life as a Hindu.

1044.      At the time of marriage, one of the important customs is for the bride-groom to bend down and assist the bride in taking seven steps forward, without leaving her hands which he has received and accepted in 'PãNigrahaNam', by holding her toes with his left hand and very gently enabling her to step forward.  This ritual is known as Saptha Padhi.  In doing so he makes her stand on the Ammikkal / grinding stone.  One symbolic meaning is that the groom makes the bride stand on a strong foundation, asking her to stand like a rock.  How can there be a rock inside the house?  Hence the grinding stone readily available in-doors is made use of, which is well-polished that one can stand on it bare-footed!  One of the spinoff of these rituals is that it enables the bride and bride-groom to have a number of fleeting body contacts as an introduction to each other. 

1045.      So the poet is asking, 'katam vã' – 'कतम वा' – how at all; 'bãhubhyãm' – 'बाहुभ्यां' – by his hands; 'upayamana kãle' – 'उपयमन काले' – at the time of marriage; 'purabhitã' – 'पुरभिता' – Parameswara; 'dhrushadi nyastam' – 'ध्रुषदि न्यस्तं' could place them on the grinding stone?  However instead of wondering how hard hearted he was, the poet is putting in, with a kind heart – 'dayamãnena manasã' – 'दयमानेन मनसा'!  We can interpret this in two different ways.   One is to praise an idiot as very intelligent and illustrious more as an innuendo.  Another interpretation is that it is being said quite genuinely and sincerely!  He could not have been otherwise! Here we have to call for 'Sivãnanda Lahari' for help.  Even otherwise it is worth studying these two works about our divine 'Father and Mother' as a comparative and complementary study, by which one is bound to come across many a treasure.  Relating the 'CharaNa' with granite rock, he was asking a heartrending question, addressing Easwara when he is dancing during the evening time of 'pradosha kãla', in sloka No 80 in Sivãnanda Lahari.  "Dear Father, if you have to dance, aren’t there smooth surfaced stages available in this Kailãsa?   Don't you have devotees who would readily make a mat of flowers for you to dance on?   Why are you torturing the soft flower like sole of your feet like this, dancing on hard rock?  May be you are pre-conditioning your feet, knowing that one day a person like me with rock like mind will be born.  To be able to dance on my serrated mind and heart, you are training your feet on mountainous ground, isn't it?"

1046.      Here, the poet has used a word, 'Upayamanam', which is not much in use, but evidently selected purposefully. It means, 'to guide with discipline and control on the right lines'!  So also in 'Upanayanam' a young boy is handed over to a Guru for teaching, tutoring, mentoring and guiding with discipline and control.  Similarly the young girl is handed over to the husband, for him to do all that with love and affection, to run the Gruhasta Ãshrama with humility and care as well as élan and panache!  It is his job to show her the way, so that later she will be able to dance in the minds of the people of the world – her children, he is training her the way he trained himself – out of kindness and sympathy – without any allusions or innuendo – genuinely with 'daya mãnena manasã only', making her to step on the 'ammikkal' the grinding stone!

1047.      Our minds which are hard as stone can only be melted by meditating on Mother's – AmbãL's CharaNa Aravindam.  There is no other religion or sect or cult; theory or doctrine or principle; beyond this simple method needed.  As an innocent child, if we can have her feet in our minds, or in our head as an assumption, just a 'Bhãwana', simply just imagine that her feet are on our heads; that is enough.  This assumption will take us right across all opposition to Brhmãnandam!  She is the one who kept her feet on the buffalo-head of Mahisha Asura and gave him 'Sãyujyam' – oneness with herself!  That is why in Saptasatee Kalpa, we haven directed to do pooja to Mahisha Asura (the buffalo headed Asura) also while venerating her in pooja!  (Refer to Devi Mahãtmyam, Vaikruthika Rahasyam: Sloka 30.)

1048.      Let us come to terms with ourselves.  However capable we are or otherwise, the greatest problem faced by all human beings is the pride aka Ahankãra of ours.  For that head-weight to lessen, the only anti-dote is AmbãL's CharaNa Amrita on our heads!  That is why, when the Devas were priding themselves to be 'too good to be true', AmbãL had to teach them some humility in Kenopanishad.  While reminding us about it, our ÃchãryãL had the sense without an iota of pride, "Mother, please show some Dayã that is kindness to me also – 'mãm api'!  That CharaNa may be placed on our heads also, whenever it may be!  In the meanwhile let us be just like children and be happy with one piece of a flower used in her pooja, to be touched with our eyes and kept on our heads, in abject reverence!

அழகுநடை அடியிணையில் ஆத்ம ஸமர்ப்பணம்
Self-Surrender in AmbãL's Feet

1049.      'These feet are made for walking' became a famous pop-song.  In classic literature the walk of Kãvya Nayaki are said to be 'anna nadai' or the 'walk of the Swan'.  Of course 'Baby elephant walk' was another famous pop-song!  But in a sloka (No 91) our ÃchãryãL has changed and upped the ante by saying that the Swans are hovering around AmbãL to learn a few tricks of the trade of walking.  So her feet have become the teacher.  Other than giving a practical demonstration of what they are teaching, they are also giving lecture on the theory part of it.  How is that done?  You see, AmbãL is wearing 'Silambu' an ornament of gold inside which there are metal beads.  When she walks they make tinkling sounds.  Their 'jal, jal' tinkling sounds are the theory aspect of the teaching.  In an earlier sloka (No 60), by the 'jaNa, JaNa' sounds of the ear-danglies, AmbãL was expressing her appreciation of singing by Saraswathi.  Here she is giving theory class with demonstration to the official carriers of Saraswathi, the Swans, as to how to walk beautifully!

1050.      This 'Silambu' itself has a name as 'Hamsakam' about which 'Mooka' the poet has done 'Slesha Alankãra' (Mooka Panchasatee, Pãdãravinda Sadakam, sloka No 27).  For some reason our ÃchãryãL has not done so, may be leaving it for Mooka to do so, possibly.  The word 'Hamsa' indicates recondite Sadhus who are Sanyãsi, like Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa.  In the last of the 'Kesadi Pãda' descriptive slokas, ÃchãryãL has said that his five Indriyas and mind should merge in the feet of AmbãL, about which I had told you earlier.  There are some differences between, which sloka comes in which order between these end slokas.  In the more popular version, while finishing the Swaroopa VarNana this idea of merging of the mind and five Indriyas in her feet, just prior to the Swans being taught their strides, seems in the rightness of things, when he says, 'tava charaNe nimajjan majjiva: karaNa CharaNa: shad charaNatãm' – 'तव चरणे निमज्जन मज्जिव: करण षट्चरणताम्'meaning 'in your lotus-feet may my five senses and mind be imbedded like the six-legged bees in the lotus flower' – as Ãtma SaraNãgati!  This idea of 'bees merged in lotus' has also been used slightly differently in the 'Shatpadi' stotra and 'SubrahmaNya Bhujangam' stotra by ÃchãryãL.

1051.      In the rare cases where they have this sloka as the last of the descriptions of AmbãL's CharaNa, after this sloka, they follow it up with 'Kadã kale Mãta:' – 'कदा काले मात:' sloka in which the poet is wondering as to when will he ever get the opportunity to drink AmbãL's CharaNa Teertam!  Moreover, among the three slokas one after the other in which the poet has described AmbãL with Lakshmi and Saraswathi, this 'Kadã kale Mãta:' sloka comes in-between and breaks the connectivity.  So it seems that it is in the right order to chant the ' Kadã kale Mãta:' sloka immediately after one about the mind and senses merging in the lotus of AmbãL's lotus-feet.  Anyhow I am not very particular about the order of chanting of the slokas, as long as you are one with the ÃchãryãL's mind-set in composing these songs says PeriyavãL!

(To be continued.)




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