Friday, July 12, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 09 (Vol # 7) Dated 11 July 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 09 (Vol # 7) Dated 11 July 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 58 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)

MaNikka Vãsagar and PiLLaiyar
80.          So far we have seen Vinãyaka and his interactions with the trio who have sung the Thevãram songs and as to how it has been mentioned in their songs and how evidence is available in folk-lore of there being a 'ஓலமிட்ட விநாயகர்', 'மாற்று உரைத்த பிள்ளையார்', 'கூப்பிடு பிள்ளையார்', and 'செவி சாய்த்த விநாயகர்' in various temple towns, as proof of the various active roles played by PiLLaiyar in these incidents.  In his writings MaNikka Vãsagar has not made a mention of PiLLaiyar anywhere.  But they have had some intimate interactions.  Let me tell you about one story which may not be known to most of you.  In the olden times the best route from Pãndya Kingdom to the Sozha Desam was through this place known as Ãvudaiyãr Kovil aka Thirupperundurai.  There was a place for transients to stay for the night, known as Chathiram in that town.  Besides that was a PiLLaiyar statue installed in the open space without a roof over his head.  Normally such PiLLaiyar in the open air without a roof overhead are known as a PiLLaiyar who preferred the sunlight and so had a name as, 'veyil uganda piLLaiyar' – 'வெய்யில் உகந்த பிள்ளையார்'!  Here the PiLLaiyar had gone a step ahead and is said to have suffered the Sunlight for the sake of travellers on behalf of them – vicarious suffering and so was known as 'veyyil kãththa piLLaiyar' – 'வெய்யில் காத்த பிள்ளையார்'!

81.          You may be aware of the fact that Vãdavurãr as MãNikka Vãsagar was originally known, as the minister of the Pãndya Nãdu had gone to the Sozha Nãdu with funds for the purchase of horses.  On the way he stayed in this Chathiram for a night.  This 'Open Air Theatre PiLLaiyar' came in his dream.  To demonstrate the theory of Adwaitam, he occurred in the dream as Brhma, Vishnu and Rudra, repeatedly morphing in to the other and told him, "You will construct a temple here in this very place for the Para BrhmamDo not ask me as to how to construct a temple for the Brhmam which is without form and without any defining characteristics known as 'NirguNa'!  I know that it is difficult to display a form for the formless.  But it is essential to make people understand and comprehend the idea.

82.          Brhmam is 'aroopam' that is, formless.  Other than Siva Lingam all the other statues of Gods are three-dimensional!  But Siva Lingam is neither form nor without form, a sort of an oblong sphere known as 'arooparoopa' – 'अरूपरूपं'!  The base for the Siva Lingam is 'Ãvudaiyãr' – 'ஆவுடையார்', indicative of Brhma, Vishnu and Rudra as the trio and above all that, (not exactly 'above' but beyond) the trio, is Sivam.  This is a symbolic representation only.  But people overly impressed by the 3 D picture as seen by the eyes and perceived by the mind think of it also as a form only!  It is normal for common people to have such common ideas!  But in such a big country like ours, there has to be at least one temple for the formless primordial Param, isn't it?  A temple to encompass the idea of form and formless, GuNa and NirguNa, from here and now to infinity and eternity!  So, having installed the 'Ãvudaiyãr', leave it without installing the Siva Lingam on top of it.  The empty space does not mean that it is nullity but the inclusive principle of all existence! To enable people to understand, that God is a principle of all parts of existence, name the God here as the 'Ãtma Nãtha Swami'.  Do not construct the temple straight away because I have told you.  My Father will appear before you under the 'Kurundai' tree as the Guru and advice you to make you understand, comprehend and experience that the indwelling Ãtma in all living beings is none-else but the same Para Brhmam!  After that you do the construction of the temple!"  PiLLaiyar vanished after that.

83.          Thus from the statement of an elephant (the PiLLaiyar), money meant for purchase of horses was made use of for the construction of Ãvudaiyãr temple, that is the temple for Rishabha the bull!  This word Ãvudaiyãr means the owner of all cattle.  The 'Udaiyar' means the owner as given in the stone carvings in temples where it is mentioned in Tamil as 'Nageschchuram Udaiyar' – 'நாகேச்சுரம் உடையார்' and 'Raja Rajechchuram Udaiyar''ராஜ ரஜெச்சுரம் உடையார்'.  It means that the Bull is the Pasupati for all cows and Siva is the Pasupati for all animals and human beings too, as after all human beings are also animals only!  So, all of us put together are only animals and so are included in the word 'Pasu' and God as the Master for all of us is the 'Pasu Pati'!  Thus the temple became 'Ãvudaiyãr Kovil' – 'ஆவுடையார் கோயில்'.  If it is to be literally translated, we should be calling it the 'Bull Temple'!  Not only the temple, but the temple town of 'Thirupperundurai' also came to be known by the name of the temple as 'Ãvudaiyãr Kovil' with the passage of time!  AmbãL is also formless here as 'Yogãmbikai'!  As both AmbãL and Swami have been left without a statue here, what MãNikka Vãsagar did was to install three PiLLaiyar statues at the entrance of the temple, to emphasise the fact that he appeared in three different forms as Brhma, Vishnu and Rudra as well as the Para Brhmam in the form of PiLLaiyar, I suppose!  In the temples of many places, we do find two PiLLaiyar statues one in the outer entrance and one in the inner Prãhãram.  Only here in the Ãvudaiyãr Kovil we are faced with a row of three PiLLaiyar statues abreast at the very entrance!

The One Who Made these Thiru Murai Available for Posterity
84.          The poems of Thevãram and such religiously valuable poetry are collectively known as Thiru Murai.  The credit and honour for making these poems available for posterity goes to PiLLaiyar only!  The Saiva religious texts reveal that Rajaraja Sozha was known as Abhaya Kula Sekharan and that in his time there were only a few who knew the poems of Thiru Murai.  The king was so deeply involved in reading, singing and soaking his mind and heart in such devotional poems.  He who used to cherish being knows as 'Siva Pãda Sekharan' was aware that there were many more such poems, but did not know as to where and how to look for them!  He got a happy message one day that, near Chidambaram was a place known 'Thiru Nãraiyur' where there was a gentleman named as 'Nambi Ãndãr Nambi', who was said to be on 'speaking terms' with PiLLaiyar.  He was from the caste of GurukkaL, who normally do the pooja in Temples.   When he was a small boy once, his father had to go away to a nearby town for a few days.  So instead of the father the son went to the temple to do the pooja ritual.  At the end of the pooja when he had to offer the Neivedyam, the child expected the God to eat up what was offered as Neivedyam!  When he did not, he thought that possibly there was something lacking in his performance of the rituals.  He felt so dejected and broken hearted that he was trying to break his head by banging against the granite walls of the temple!  PiLLaiyar took pity on the child and materialised in front of the child to partake of the Neivedyam!  PiLLaiyar ate up all that was offered.  Once that was over, the boy started crying that now he is late for the school!  PiLLaiyar became the teacher and had to conduct the classes for Nambi Ãndãr Nambi!  Once you do that one day, you have to do it for ever isn't it?  Thus the boy and PiLLaiyar were on a one to one wicket of direct communication!

85.          So King Rajaraja Sozha was told to contact this Nambi Ãndãr Nambi.  The king rushed to Thiru Nãraiyur with plenty of eats for PiLLaiyar.  Sorry, I forgot to tell you that this PiLLaiyar was known as 'PollãppiLLaiyar' not to mean anything in the sense of being very mischievous, but only meaning that he was not sculpted from stone but a natural materialization!  Mr N A Nambi offered all the eats to PiLLaiyar as brought by the king and he was kind enough to extend his hand of a trunk known as 'thumbikkai' – 'தும்பிக்கை' and gracefully did justice to the gastronomic delights!  The king was extremely delighted.  He placed his request before them that he is interested in getting to know all the Thevãram songs.  Further he expressed a desire to know the history of all the Nãyanmãrs whose names only are listed in 'Thiru Thondat Thogai' – 'திரு தோண்டத்தொகை' as written by Sundarar.  As a blessing for the Tamil speaking world and the world of devotees, PiLLaiyar gave the answer to those questions.

86.          He said that in Chidambaram, in the Nataraja's Sannidy of Kanaka Sabha on the western wing there is a locked room containing the written copies of the threesome poets of Thevãram with their official seals.  You can go there and get those originals.  Then he told the complete history of all the 63 Nãyanmãrs – which is mentioned as – 'nambikku tumbi sonnãr' – 'நம்பிக்கு தும்பி சொன்னார்', meaning that PiLLaiyar told Nambi Ãndãr Nambi! Tumbi means the elephant and its hand is Tumbikkai.  It is this narration as told by PiLLaiyar that formed the basis of 'Thiruththondar Thiruvandãdi'.  This work and Sundarar's Thiruththondaththogai are the two books which formed the basis of Sekkizhãr's writing of Periya PurãNam on a later date.

87.          The King Rajaraja Sozha had quickly gone on to Chidambaram.  There the management as you know was in the hands of the 'Three Thousand' Brahmins known as 'Chidambaram Moovayiravar' Dikshidar-s!  They said that we have no authority to open the sealed archives unless the same three people come over here and make such a demand!  The King of Sozha was in a quandary, but only for a short period.  He was not only a brave soldier and a great administrator, but was also a man of wits!  It naturally stuck him that the temple statues are not only just statues but living beings in whom 'PrãNa Pratishta' has been done to instil the life in them!  When divine beings come amongst our midst as human beings like us, it is called Avatara, isn't it?  Similarly the statues representing them in temples are not just statues but 'Archa Avataras'! 

88.          After much consultations and consideration of alternatives, it was decided to bring out the 63 Nãyanmãrs in a procession and bring the leading three to the entrance of Kanaka Sabha.  So the Sozha king arranged for the formal bringing out of the three Nãyanmãrs and brought them to the entrance of Kanaka Sabha.  Then the Sozha King told the Moovayiravar that, "The original authors have come here themselves, asking for their seals to be broken and their writing to be brought out into the open, so, please oblige!"   It was the King's sincerity and devotion that won the day for him.  The temple authorities were moved by his true devotion, humility and lack of haughtiness!  They were all one with him in his efforts to get back the divine literary assets of Thevãram for the masses!  But when the palm-leaf manuscript copies were brought out, they were all shocked to find that a major portion had been eaten by white ants!  Out of the hundred thousand plus some poems; less than 800 were recovered!  It took some days for the salvaging action to take place. 

89.          There was a whole atmosphere of tragedy and sadness when they all heard the 'A-Sareeri' voice from the heavens!  The impersonal message was this: - "Please do not take it as a personal tragedy or a collective loss!  In the days to come, the life will be so fast that these 800 poems will be more than sufficient.  Instead of catching a rat after digging a whole hill, as the saying goes, what you have recovered is as big as an elephant.  The Kali Yuga as it goes on will become so fast paced that people will never have enough time for serious matters, because all their time will be spent in various ways of passing time!  Gossip, sports, cinema, Tele Vision, politics and newspapers and their advertisement that, they will hardly have time for things like Thevãram.  So, these 796 Padigam-s of Thevãram that have been recovered will do most sufficiently, for those who will be keen to learn them!" That was a short impersonal announcement to which I added some, said PeriyavãL, with a smile on his face!

(To be continued.)




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