Thursday, November 28, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 71 (Vol # 7) Dated 28 Nov 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 71 (Vol # 7) Dated 28 Nov 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 the last paragraph on page No 549 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)

Relatives of the Matam
30.           Another additional credit for Thillai ViLãgam is the fact that there is a temple in honour of Avvai Pãtti, the Tamil Pãtti nearby.  Four miles south of Thillai ViLãgam is the Karpanãr Kovil.  Nearby is a place known as Tulja Pãttinam, in the name of the royal family of Tuljaji from Maharashtra who ruled over Tanjavur.  It is here that there is a temple for Avvai Pãtti who had said that it is very good to worship in a temple, I Quote, 'ãlayam thozhuvadu sãlavum nanru' – 'ஆலயம் தொழுவது சாலவும் நன்று'!  Around 1940 when the Kumbha Abhishekam of the temple Karpanãr Kovil was done, this temple for Avvaiyar also became famous, with experts in the study of Tamil language scheduling a meeting there periodically. 

31.          If you go further south some four miles there is a clear tapering of the land East-West, so that till VedaraNyam the sea is in the East and after that suddenly for a good seventy miles or so, the sea is in the South!  Due to some natural geographical arrangement the salt in the sea gets accumulated over a spread of some two miles in north-south direction and some 30 miles in the east-west direction. Before our independence from the Britishers, during Salt-Satyagraha when people agitated against the taxation on salt, it was here under the leadership of Raja Gopala Ãchãryãr near VedaraNyam, in this general area only.  So, very near to Tamil Pãtti's place was also this place of VedaraNyam meaning a forest of Rik, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana Vedas.  This is yet another proof of the fact that Tamil and Sanskrit have gone hand in hand in this part of the country.  It is this desire that makes me claim anybody who reminds us of Chandra Mouleeswara by even just mentioning 'Ãthichchoodi', to claim them to be the close relatives of the Matam! 

Kamban and Sri Matam
32.          Similarly even Kamban the author of Ramayana in Tamil known as 'Kavi Chakravarty' – 'கவி சக்ரவர்தி', meaning an emperor amongst poets, is also closely related to Kanchipuram Matam.  One gentleman by the name of Vasishta Bhãrathi, old enough to be referred as another Tamizh Thatha, has carried out much investigation and identified that Kamban was born and brought up here in Kanchipuram.  Kamban is referred as 'Kamba Nãdar' or Kamba Nãttãzhvãr.  He had lived and stayed in a place known as Therazhundur in SoNãdu, but did not belong to that place and evidently was referred to by mentioning his place of origin as is the prevailing custom.   On further investigation and analysis, it is found that this name 'Kamba Nãdan' evolves from the name of the presiding deity in this place known as 'Ekamba Nathan'.  Also, because the river that flows here is called the Kambã River, such a name for the place could have evolved.  So this Tamizh Thatha Vasishta Bhãrathi was quite clear in his deduction that Kamban as a poet was referred to by the name of the place of his origin, as different from the place name where he had gone and settled.

33.          I have a little more masala for embellishing the point, though the connection to Kanchipuram is enough to establish the relationship between Kamban and the Matam.  Within three miles of Kanchipuram there is a village named Ambi.  Like the Pulavar Cheri in the southern tip on India, this is also a village forever assigned to the Matam by one Telugu King Vijayakanda Gopalan, a Sozha king.  This village given to the Matam as an eternal sanction for which there is a copper Plate etched with these details as a Sãsanam.  In it the full name of Ambi is given as Ambikapuram.  There is a temple the Siva Perumãn in that place called Ambikapathi Easwara.  Though Kambar is eulogized as one of the star devotees of the VaishNava Sampradaya, and he has sung 'Sadagopar Andãdi' about Nammãzhvãr, he had the vision of equality for all Gods, adoring Easwara as much as Maha Vishnu.  So evidently he had named his son in the name of the Presiding Deity of his village as Ambikapathi.  The time of Kamban is approximately almost the same as the time of the Sãsanam assigning the village to the Matam in 1111 A.D.  So there is scope for assuming that he was possibly involved with the Matam and would have been a true devotee of Sankara ÃchãryãL also.

34.          Looking at it from the view of philosophical stand points too, there is a close parallel in the similarity of expressions as done by our ÃchãryãL and Kamban.  You have noted I am sure that our ÃchãryãL has described that the basic truth of Brhmam is seen through Maya as the whole world of appearances.  If by the dim light a rope is seen as a snake, with the enlightenment of Gnãna the snake disappears and only the rope remains.  The appearance of the snake was only imagined while rope is the basis or Ãdhãra for reality.  Similarly the world is imagined and the Brhmam is the basic Satya or reality.  The expansion and enlargement as the five Bhootas of Space, air, fire, water and earth are all entities of imagination which will all merge in the only basic reality, as has been explained by our ÃchãryãL.  Kamban has said the same thing and has said that the inner back-ground truth of reality is end of all that is hidden and unseen as 'Marai' – 'மறை', which is also a synonym for all Vedas!  I am quoting the prayer song as given at the start of Sundara Kãndam: -
அலங்கலில் தோன்றும் பொய்ம்மை
alangalil tonrum poimai
அரவென பூதம் ஐந்தும்
aravena bhootam aindum
விளங்கிய விகாரப்பாட்டின்
 viLangiya vigãrappãttin
வேறுபாடு உற்ற வீக்கம்
verupaadu urtra veekkam
கலங்குவது எவரைக்கண்டால்
kalanguvadu evaraikkandãl
அவரென்பர் கைவில் ஏந்தி
avarenbar kaivilendi
இலங்கையில் போருதாரன்றே
ilangayil porudãranre
மறைகளுக்கு இறுதியாவார்
maragaLukku irudiyãvãr. 
35.          He says that the end Ãdhãra basis is Sri Rama who fought in Sri Lanka.  Such a quintessential Adwaitam being spoken by Kamban virtually seals the bonds of friendship and relationship with this Matam eternally!  By this Ambikapathi story another Tamil Pãtti becomes our relation.  The girl, the princess of the Sozha Dynasty of that period, whom Ambikapathi loved and who responded positively to his love, is that Tamil Pãtti, because the song aka Pãttu was addressed to her!  That song was powerful enough to earn the royal wrath for him to be beheaded in response to which the princess, the heroine to whom that song was addressed, not wishing to continue living when her lover is gone, sacrificed her life too instantly.

Another Pãtti with a Connexion to Kãmãkshi
36.          We have seen a variety of Tamil Pãtti aka grannies during this talk.  We have seen so many varieties that it is mind boggling just to review!  They are deserving the title as 'Pãtti' for having been poets themselves or for the poems addressed at them; Avvai Pãtti who opted for old age even as a young and nubile maiden as the great teacher of morals for the young children of the Tamil world including the generations of children yet to be in the future, as the 'Kanni Pãtti' to mean that she never attained to even adolescence let alone became old really.  Then there is the queen of Tanjakkoor because she loved Tamil songs aka Pãttu were submitted to her that, though she was young she was called a Tamil Sumangali Pãtti.  Then the engineer's wife as the Deerga Sumangali of Thillai ViLãgam Pãtti, who got the Temple for Sri Rama constructed there.  Then finally as the person to whom the poem of love was addressed to as the 'pãttudait thalaivi' – 'பாட்டுடைத் தலைவி', the princess of Sozha Dynasty for whom Ambikapathi, the son of Kamban, wrote that song for which he was beheaded and she also sacrificed her life!  Thus I have included and virtually roped in many, all of them deserving to be called as 'Tamil Pãtti'. 

37.          Instead of finishing on that sad note of unconsummated love, let me talk about one more Pãtti.  That is, a Pãtti, who is directly related to the Kãmãkshi, Maha Tripura Sundari who is the Shakti aka power behind Chandra Mouleeswara.  This lady had lived during the 'Sanga Kãlam', a period of an eerie past of the Tamil literature.  Her songs have been included in poetical collections such as 'Aga Nãnooru', 'Pura Nãnooru', 'NartriNai' and such classic literature.  She has put into words the extreme state of being animated by divine aspirations; that she has an adjective to her name as the one who has sung such maniacal songs 'veri ãdal' – 'வெறியாடல்'Since she has sung about that subject, she has been referred to as 'veri pãdiya' – 'வெறி பாடிய' as an adjective to her name!

38.          In the ancient times 'Kãmãkshi Amman' is supposed to have been very violently ferocious, that she was known as 'Veri-Kãmãkshi' or 'Pei-Kãmãkshi'.  That is, she is so immeasurably and extremely powerful, as blinding our eyes and benumbing our senses, by the very intensity!   It is said that only our ÃchãryãL had pacified her by means of Mantra and Yantra, subduing the apparent intensity in to the Yantra installed in their presence.  Not only indirectly but also directly this 'வெறி பாடிய' Pãtti, was very much connected to our Kãmãkshi Amman in that, her name in Tamil as given to her by her parents was 'kãmakkaNNiyãr' – 'காமக்கண்ணியார்', which means the same as Kãmãkshi!

(To be continued with a new chapter.)



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol # 7) Dated 26 Nov 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 70 (Vol # 7) Dated 26 Nov 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 the last paragraph on page No 544 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)

Thillai ViLãgam; Statue of Sri Rama Found
22.           Confirming his opinion he came across the news that in a place known as 'Thillai ViLãgam' in ThiruthuraipooNdi Taluka of Tanjavur District, (similar to Chidambaram, in South Arcot District), that some hundred years back some people had unearthed and discovered in close proximity locations, statues of Sri Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman in a group and Sivakãma Sundari with Nataraja in yet another group.  Tamil Thatha also intensified his investigations and confirmed that this Thiru Chitra Kootam is the Divya Desam about which Kula Sekhara Ãzhvãr has sung that poem quoted in the previous paragraph.  Though he was not one of the Ubaya Vedãnta Vaishnavites, he was so keen about one of the two of Divya Prabanda PerumaL Thiru Mozhi, that is, Tamil that his hard work had finally paid off. 

23.          Since the place name was already known as 'Thillai ViLãgam', in the olden times it could have been Thillai Chitra Kootam also.  Discovery of Nataraja with his Consort and Sri Rama with his intimate Group as during his sojourn in the forest; the name 'Thillai Chitra Kootam' seems to be most appropriate.  The Nataraja Murthy was unearthed around a pond named as 'Ambala OoruNi' – 'அம்பல ஊருணி'.  So again the connection to Thillai Chitrambalam is re-established.  In the olden times, this place must have been famous as another Chidambaram.  Even now, Thiru VeNkãdu is referred as 'Ãdi' Chidambaram.  Out of the three thousand Brahmin families in Chidambaram known as the regular priests in the Nataraja Temple, some could have also been traditionally the priests in this Thillai ViLãgam too.  Because of that Kula Sekhara PerumãL could have mentioned in his Prabandam about, 'andaNargal oru moovãyiravaretta' – 'அந்தணர்களொரு மூவாயிரவர் ஏத்த', meaning that the same 3,000 families of Brahmins providing the priests in Chidambaram could have done so here too!

24.          It is very interesting to note the connection with Sri Rama and this Thillai ViLãgam.  After discovery of the statues of Sri Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Ãnjaneya, they have been installed in a temple proper with a pond in front, now known as 'Rama Teertam'.  For long this pond was known as 'nalla piLLai pertrãL kuLam' – 'நல்ல பிள்ளை பெற்றாள் குளம்', meaning 'the pond of the Mother who got a good son'!  Who is that lady who got a good son?  Till day, Sri Rama is worshipped by the words of Vishwãmitra as 'kausalya supraja rama' – 'कौसल्या सुप्रजा राम', meaning that Kausalya is that mother who has begotten Sri Rama as the 'Supraja' and that word is directly translated in Tamil as 'நல்ல பிள்ளை'.  Near this village is a place known as 'kazhuvan kãdu' – 'கழுவன் காடு' and 'jãmbavãn odai' – '', reminding us of Jadãyu's role, in trying to prevent RavaNa from taking away Sita and later Jãmbavãn's in encouraging and motivating Hanuman by telling him that he does not know his own untapped powers and capabilities, while proceeding to Sri Lanka in search of Sita.  Then another six or seven miles away is the 'tambik kottai' – 'தம்பிக்கோட்டை', a fort said to have been built by Lakshmana the younger brother of Sri Rama.  Then further some distance away is a place known as 'ativeera rama pattinam' – 'அதி வீர ராம பட்டினம்', meaning the township of the very courageous Sri Rama!   

25.          Even today if we were to serialize the statues of Sri Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman for classic beauty of form and craftsmanship, this Sri Rama from Thillai ViLãgam will be amongst the tops, I am sure.  Even though it is only a statue, one could feast one's eyes for hours just looking at them.  It is not even correct to say that it is craftsmanship!  It would be more appropriate that Sri Rama and others have re-emerged through the hands of the 'Shilpi'.  One of the specialities of this place is that, what is known as 'Rama Saram', the arrow in the hands of Sri Rama, at the base-end instead of finishing bluntly or an inverted crescent has finished with a triangle, with the base of the triangle bearing the brunt of pressure of the tout string of the bow. Another point to note is that at the right hand wrist of Sri Rama is to be found the protective 'Rakshai' tied by Kausalya, so that he may not be too badly affected by the evil forces when this 'நல்ல பிள்ளை' set out to proceed to the forests for 14 years, so obediently as per the wishes of the step-mother.

26.          While the idols of Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman are all beautiful to take one's breath away, as Ãzhvãr has sung, 'thiral viLangu Maruthi' – 'திறல்விளங்கு மாருதி', instead of revealing his bravery, the statue is more demonstrative of his humility and devotional subservience.  In almost all his statues, especially in the presence of his Lord, Hanuman prefers to keep his power and prowess under control.  Here he seems to overdo his humility holding his hands close to his body with his left hand in his lap and right hand closing his mouth.  There is one posture in which Sri Rama is depicted getting his coronation aka Pattãbhishekam done in which Bharatha and Satrughna are also seen to be standing; this one in which only Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman are depicted in Temples, they are normally called 'Chitra Kootam' or 'Pancha Vati'.  But since the latter is the place from where Sita was abducted away, it is not mentioned as being depicted in the temples and only the name of 'Chitra Kootam' is taken.  Though in Chitra Kootam Maruthi had not joined them, he is included in the worshipful procedures.  Just like Nandikeswara is always included in the festivities for Siva and Garuda Ãzhvãr is always included for the Maha Vishnu Pooja, here Ãnjaneya is also giving us Darsan. 

Those Who Constructed the Temples
27.          The statues of 'Sita, Lakshmana and Ãnjaneya with Sri Ramachandra Murthy', were located in Thillai ViLãgam in the year 1862 A.D.  For the construction of temple around the area, there is a connection to yet another Tamil Patti, a Sumangali Patti.  (A lady is considered as Sumangali when her husband is still alive.  Generally women prefer to die without ever becoming a widow, that is, to depart from this worldly existence while being a Sumangali.)  She is the wife of Sri Gopala Krishna Iyer, the engineer, and before her death she had requested her husband to contribute 60,000 Rupees for the construction of Sri Ram's temple there.  That is big money those days!

28.          I do not know as to how true this story is that I am going to narrate now.  It seems that Gopala Krishna Iyer's wife died requesting her husband to contribute Rs.60,000/- for the construction of the temple for Sri Ram.  When it came to writing the cheque in words and numbers, while starting writing in numbers first, instead of 6,000/- he added one more zero unintentionally and wrote 60,000/-.  After a minute of hesitation, giving more value to his wife's earlier request and may be submitting to God's will; he ended up contributing the full amount for the construction of the temple it seems.  A few years later, in 1892 A.D. some farmer while digging in the area of 'Ambala OoruNi' happened to strike against the statue of a huge Nataraja with his consort Amman Siva Kama Sundari, that was brought to the notice of Nattu Kottai Chettiyar family known as Peri.Na.Me.KaNa., who got the temple constructed as suitable to Nataraja Murthy known as 'Sabhai'.

29.          Looking at the sets of Sri Rama with others and Sri Nataraja with his consort; and hints and clues in terms of names of the deities involved, the devotees got motivated to go by the general arrangement between Govinda Raja and Nataraja in the environs of the Chidambaram temple.  The Sannidy-s for Sri Rama and Nataraja were similarly positioned on ground and both the temples took shape accordingly.  Research and findings by U.V.Swaminatha Iyer, that is, Tamil Thatha, further added to the fame of Thillai ViLãgam and as though to make up for the popularity of Nataraja in Chidambaram between Govinda Raja PerumaL and Nataraja, It is Sri Rama who became more famous and popular in Thillai ViLãgam.

(To be continued.)



Sunday, November 24, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 69 (Vol # 7) Dated 24 Nov 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 69 (Vol # 7) Dated 24 Nov 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 537 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)

The Service Rendered by Sri U.V.Swaminatha Iyer
12.           Tamil Patti was an original composer singer who taught morals to her students through her music, which were simple in construct and deep and grand in concept!  The Tamil Thatha was basically a student of Tamil who researched ancient Tamil literature and brought out nuggets of gold and treasures of gems!  What was available in bits and pieces were made wholesome by his research.  There are occasions wherein the original source had become completely forgotten and he gets some evidence of its having been there, by some quotations somewhere and he goes on a 'wild goose chase' literally and ends up with a real find of the original, like it happens in some books on mystery!

13.          There are many books of classic value in Tamil which have been searched for and found in its manuscript form etched on palm leaf.  The speciality in his publications has been cogent comparisons between copies so etched on palm leaves, giving out any differences between copies with special comments for what he has discerned and understood while also giving, 'viLangã merkoL agarãthi' – 'விளங்கா மேற்கோள் அகராதி', meaning a compendium of Not Clearly Understood Quotations!  They will have all the details for further research and study on the subject!  There are many works in Tamil which have been revived by him thus.  But unlike Tamil Patti, the Language was not a carrier for his advices on morality.  He contributed all his resources such as, heart, mind and time for the sake of Tamil!  So he has also researched and revived books like Jivaka ChintamaNi in which there is so much propaganda for the Jainism totally contrary to Vedic religion.

13.          In fact his, this service has been quite useful in making the high quality of Tamil literature evident and known to the world.  So I was making it a habit of reading his research works and would take every opportunity to call him, encourage him causing him to come closer to the Matam.  If he has done much research and analysis in Tamil, I have also done a bit in this line.  Often during his visits I used to open out on one or two of my pet projects in Tamil research and used to make him happy by doing so.  In fact over a period of time, he was extremely happy that the head of a Matam which was thought to be out and out only interested in Sanskrit, was also showing his competence and abilities in Tamil.  With growth of this idea, his trust and devotion to our ÃchãryãL also grew immensely that over a period of time he started sending his monetary contributions for Vyãsa Pooja in the Matam regularly and develop much interest in the functions of the Matam related to our religion and social work. 

Tanjai VãNan Kovai – 'தஞ்சை வாணன் கோவை'
14.     Once I demonstrated to him as to how in this Matam, we have been having a long standing and on-going interactions with Tamil Scholars.  This fact when it also helped him in the area of research in which he was involved in at that time, he virtually started dancing around happily.  So I am sure that you would like to know as to what it is.  You might have heard of something known as Tanjai VãNan Kovai, that is, one of the 96 varieties of a verse known as Prabandam.  The Sringãra Rasam as sensual and decorative Rasa, as from a Nayika towards Easwara, is known as 'Kovai'.  The work so written by MaNikka Vãsagar is Thirukkovaiyar, in which, the first 'Thiru' is a respectful prefix and so is the 'yar' a qualitative suffix at the end.  'Kovai' is the name of the book.  So, Tanjai VãNan Kovai is a poem of love about a gentleman by the name of VãNan. 

15.          There is a story about him.  Once when Tamil poets visited him, he was not in town, but his wife the Queen was there.  She had also interest in literature.  Not wishing to return the poets empty handed, she expressed her desire to listen to the poets about their compositions – in their language 'thiruchevi sãrtruvadu' – 'திருச்செவி சாற்றுவது', meaning 'to lend her ears' and they did so accordingly.  Even this wife of 'VãNan' could be called a 'Tamil Patti' as, though she was not far advanced in age, as she was ready to hear their 'Pattu' or songs, she could be called a 'Patti'!  She wished to honour the poets as he used to do or even better.  For each song she gave them a plate with Betel leaves, areca nuts, plantain fruits and a coco-nut each known as 'Tãmboola Maryãdã'.  The difference was that each coco-nut was made of gold!  The poets were thrilled at this bonanza!  But as they were about to take leave, Tanjai VãNan happened to return.

16.          His reaction was one of anger it seems.  He told her in apparent annoyance, "What is this?  Is there no sense in displaying our respects to the poets?"  He told the poets, "Please return all your gifts and then please wait for some time here itself.  I shall come back after correctly deciding as to what should be the suitable gift."  Rani was shocked and poets were highly disappointed.  Tanjai VãNan had gone inside the palace and the poets waiting in the reception hall were in absolute agony that a well-known philanthropist and benefactor had turned out to be a crude character like this!

17.          VãNan came back with his Rani after some time.  He did honour all the poets with a similar 'Tãmboola Maryãdã' with the difference that each golden Coco-nut had its three eyes represented by three invaluable gems imbedded.  If the Rani replaced the bare coconuts with the golden ones, this donor patron had added three gems to each golden coconut fruits!  If she as the Rani is to be considered as a Tamil Patti, He as the 'dãtã' – 'दाता' meaning donor philanthropist, is to be considered as a Tamil Thatha by his own rights as a 'दाता', as he so plentifully donated to the Tamil poets, he has by his own rights has earned the name as a 'Tamil Thatha'!  About this Tanjai VãNan Sri U.V,Swaminatha Iyer had done  some research and identified that he did not rule from the Tanjore of the Sozha Desa and that his place was in Pãndya Nadu, a place known as 'Tanjakkoor'.  In the Railway line connecting Madura with Manamadurai there is a station known as 'Thiruppachatti'.  One mile south of the station is the place Tanjakkoor.  When I told Sri U.V.Swaminatha Iyer that this Matam can also provide evidence that Tanjakkoor in Pãndya Nadu is the real place of this donor-philanthropist VãNan, our Tamil Thatha Sri U.V.Swaminatha Iyer was thrilled beyond belief! 

18.          The 63rd ÃchãryãL of this Matam known as the IV Maha Devendra Saraswathi had ascended the Peetam in this Matam in the year 1783 A.D.  Within a few months the Raja of Siva Ganga Vijaya Raghunatha Periya Udaiyar had donated a village to the Matam.  That donation is evidenced by the legal documents of that time and the name of the village so donated was known as 'Pulavar Cheri'.  Evidently this Village must have been known as 'Pulavar Cheri' meaning a village of learned poets or a place often celebrated as a meeting place for poets of that period.  So my guess was that this must have been the place where poets were honoured so famously, and the adjoining Tanjakkoor must have been the place of Tanjai VãNan.  So, because that place was the one where poets were all the time frequenting hovering around, like the bees do on the flowers, must have got the name as Pulavar Cheri.  Hearing this Iyer was as thrilled as though he hand located a period relic of Palm Leaf Manuscript!  Similar to this finding in which mostly what was thought of a the Sozha Desa Tanjore, was finally identified as a Pãndya Desa Village, similarly there was a small bit of my 'research' in connection with the identification of yet another place too.  That was about what is 'Thiru Chitra Kootam'?
Location of Thiru Chitra Kootam
19.          Chidambaram is one of the 'Pãdal Pertra Sthalangal', meaning one of those places mentioned in Thevãram where Nãyanmãrs have sung in praise of Siva's escapades.  It has also been classified as one of the 108 Divya Kshetrãs of Vaishnavãs, as Thillai Nagar Thiru Chitra Kootam.  In the place which is famous for Parameswara carrying out his dynamic dance as Nataraja, just adjoining the Sannidy, there is the great Mãyãvi Maha Vishnu, in deep sleep as Govinda Raja.  It is claimed by the Vaishnavãs as the very place in which Thiru Mangai Ãzhvãr and Kulasekhara PerumaL have done Mangalã Sãsanam.  But Sri U.V.Swaminatha Iyer was of the opinion that this is not the same Chidambaram.  His point was that, if the place name is 'Chitra Kootam' the Murthy in that place should be Sri Rama Chandra Murthy and not Govinda Raja.  So there is a mismatch of the names in his opinion. If your question is as to, how can it be that Maha Vishnu in deep sleep on the Sesha Naga is called Govinda Raja, that question does not withstand much analysis.  Because Krishna is considered as a PoorNa Avatara, we do identify Maha Vishnu wherever he may be located, with Govinda and or Gopala as per custom and tradition.  Thirupati Srinivasa PerumaL is hailed as Govinda only, isn't it?

20.          There was another point in U.V.Swaminatha Iyer, Tamil Thatha's attention.  Kulasekhara while singing about Chitra Koota, in that Pasuram 'PerumaL Thiru Mozhi' has completely covered all the incidents as in Ramayana.  So he was wondering if there was any other place in which the Presiding Deity is Sri Rama, which also was known as Thillai.  A counter question can be asked.  Kulasekhara used to have Sri Rama as Ishta Devata.  Once when he was the ruling over a place known as Thiru VanjikkaLam, there was Ramayana Upanyasam being conducted.  In it when it was mentioned that at Janasthana, Sri Rama set out to fight with 14,000 Rãkshasa-s as a single individual, he totally forgot that he was only hearing about what had happened long time back, got up saying, "What My Swami to go into war as single individual only?  No!  I will just now collect all my forces and go in support of him!"  For him, everything was Rama.  In Thiru KaNNapuram also, he has sung a lullaby for baby Sri Rama.  So it is but natural that for him, even Govinda Raja could have been none else, but Sri Rama.  So what is there to do much research in trying to prove whether Thillai Thiru Chitra Kootam was the same as Chidambaram or not?

21.          In this, I have no axes to grind Sir!  I was only explaining the views of U.V.Swaminatha Iyer on the subject being discussed.  As per his opinion, instead of his poems about Thiru KaNNapuram, in which he has only generally referred to Sri Rama, while singing about Thiru Chitra Kootam, he has specifically mentioned the presence of Hanuman and so period! 
"தில்லை நகர் திருச்சிற்ற கூடந்தன்னுள்
Thillai nagar thiruchitra kootantannuL
திறல்விளங்கு மாருதியோடு அமர்ந்தான் தன்னை
Thiral viLangu mãrudiyodu amarndãn thannai", meaning that in Thiru Chitra Kootam Sri Rama was seated in all his regalia, (evidently with Sita and Lakshmana) 
Now the question has to be answered if there is any such indication of Sri Rama seated with Sita, Lakshmana and Maruti in the Govinda Raja PerumaL Sannidy in Chidambaram, or are we talking about some other 'Thillai Nagar Chitra Kootam'?

(To be continued.)



Friday, November 22, 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 68 (Vol # 7) Dated 22 Nov 2013

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 68 (Vol # 7) Dated 22 Nov 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 530 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)

Kanchi Sri Matam & Tamil Grand Parents
ஐயர்களில் ஓர் உ.வே
1.             Amongst Sri VaishNavas it has been a tradition to add two initials as 'U' and 'V' to indicate 'Ubaya Vedanta' – 'उबय वेदान्त', meaning that they are doubly qualified in Vedas in Sanskrit as well as Tamil.  In the Sri Ramanuja Sampradaya as ancient Rishis have given us the Vedas and Sãstrãs, these 12 Ãzhvãrs have given us 4,000 poems known as ' Nãlãyira Divya Prabandam'  – 'நாலாயிர திவ்ய பிரபந்தம்', which are considered to be of equal status and value as the Vedas.   The elders of that tradition are required to be well versed in both Sanskrit Vedas and Tamil verses of this Nãlãyira Divya Prabandam.  The two initials 'U' and 'V' were indicative of their expertise in both Tamil and Sanskrit Vedas as the word 'Ubaya' means 'in both'.  So this 'U' and 'V' was as an abbreviation or acrostic / acronym.          

2.            There was one U.V.Swaminatha Iyer.  Being an Iyer he was a Smãrthã, follower of Sankara that is, our ÃchãryãL and so he could not have been entitled to these two initials as given to elders of the VaishNava sect.  His initials were due to the fact that he was from a place known as 'Uttama-Dana-Puram' and his father was one Venkatasubba Iyer.  This Swaminatha Iyer was virtually a devotee of the Tamil language that his talk, research and even his very breath was all the time about this one subject of Tamil Language. So having devoted his entire life and time for this one subject of Tamil Classic Literature known as Ilakkiyam, we could presume or expect that he would have read Nãlãyira Divya Prabandam also, but not the way the VaishNavas meant by that acronym.  When it comes to God and Bhakti, he was very much a devotee of Siva.

The Two Who Really Very Actively Did Life-Long Service
3.            I wished that he should really deservedly become 'Ubaya Vedãnta'.  By saying this, I do not mean that he should be made to learn the Vedas by Adhyayanam and chant the Ãzhvãr Pasurams.  I only wished that he should become sufficiently an expert in the Tamil traditions of devotional literature and related to that become an authority in the nationwide Sanskrit literature especially in connection with religious Ãchãrã Anushtãnãs.  I have this desire about all Tamil Scholars, not only for U.V.Swaminatha Iyer only.  For U.V.Swaminatha Iyer, who already was exceptionally qualified in the world of classic Tamil Literature, instead of just having Bhakti peripherally, I wished that he should have deep belief and conviction in the Sanãtana-Sampradaya system and have devotion to our ÃchãryãL who revived and rejuvenated the system, as that would so motivate others in the world of poets and writers of Tamil Literature. As the Tamil world followed the foot-steps of 'Tamil Patti' in ancient times, in this century should line up behind this man who was well known as 'Tamil Thatha'.  (I hope that you are aware that it is a custom in Tamil to address an old woman as 'Patti' meaning 'Grand Mother' and similarly old men are respectfully addressed as 'Thatha' meaning 'Grand Father'!)

4.            Karaikkal Ammaiyar was glorified by Siva Perumãn himself when he addressed her as 'Amma'.  Similarly this Avvaiyar Patti was glorified when Siva's younger son SubrahmaNya addressed her as 'Patti' and asked her if she wants the fruits heated or cold?  Though Avvaiyar was an Avatara of Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning, at least temporarily she was made to look a bit foolish, wondering as to how the fruits falling from the tree being shaken can be hot or cold.  But when the fruits fall from the tree being shaken, as you know only the ripe ones will fall off the tree.  So, the old woman had to brush off the sand particles sticking to the ripe fruits by blowing air from her mouth.  Now this child seemingly innocently asks the Patti, "They are hot isn't it?  That is why you have to blow air at it!"  Patti sees the point and feels slightly abashed.  Thus Muruga could drive home a sense of humbleness in Patti who might have thought of herself to be 'all-knowing' otherwise!

5.            What GaNesha the elder of the two sons of Siva did was, to lift this Patti in all her humility by his Thumbikkai and reach her all the way to Kailãsa in a jiffy.  Normally we may come across a grandson taking the granny's hands and guiding her to climb a bus or train and guide and usher her from one place to another.  Here this PiLLaiyar child has just lifted this Avvaiyar Patti from this world and fetched her to the very heavens in one go!  To catch hold of the hands of Thatha or Patti and guide them happens a little later in life.  When the baby is still smaller the grandchild learns its first few steps as to how to walk as the old persons speed with a walking stick will suit the speed of the baby trying to learn to walk.  But if the ancient world of Tamil followed that Avvaiyar Patti then and this U.V.Swaminatha Iyer Thatha now, nobody can match the speed that they demonstrated, so actively and dynamically, never being static or taking rest in their entire life of service to the humanity!

'Ãththichchoodi' – 'ஆத்திச்சூடி'
6.            Avvaiyar wrote a number of poems addressing the children putting across high philosophy in acceptably simple language that will reach the young minds.  She knew that children were the seedlings of future generations of citizens.  If they have the right sense and the correct attitude towards life and others, morality and good behaviour will automatically be ensured.  So she taught the Veda Dharma and Manu Dharma in very simple words.  Vedas as Prabhu Samhita can generate commands such as, 'Satyam Vada' and 'Dharmam Chara'. She humbly wondered if she as an old woman can issue such orders or commands.  So, instead of saying, "You have to obey whether you like it or not", she put it in acceptably pleading tone, "Why don't you love to be well behaved and do the right thing?" she says, 'aram seya virumbu' – 'அறம் செய விரும்பு'.

7.            This book of 109 aphorisms is known as 'Ãththichchoodi', it is one of the names for Easwara.  Before teaching anything the first lesson to be taught is an expression of subservience and gratitude to God, isn't it?  To think of divinity should be the first thought and that is our Indian and Tamil culture.  Even if the story is about a love affair or a comedy, to pray to God expressing our obeisance is always the first page or song called the 'Mangala Sloka' or 'KadavuL Vãzhthu' – 'கடவுள் வாழ்த்து', that was known as 'Nãndi' – 'नान्दी' in Sanskrit.  There is no book in Tamil without a prayer to God.  So, in this first book like a Primary Reader, Avvaiyar is referring to Parameswara as wearing the 'Aãthi' flower.  'Aãthi' is the flower that Siva is 'Choodi' meaning wearing on his head.  Let me quote the full sloka of two lines: -
ஆத்திச்சூடி அமர்ந்த தேவனை
Aththichchoodi amarnda devanai
ஏத்தி ஏத்தி தொழுவோம் யாமே.
Eththi eththi tozhuvom yaame.

8.            Siva is described to be carrying many things on his head, for example the crescent moon, Ganges River, Snake, a garland of skull bones, Konrai and Aãthi flowers.  Amongst all this, the Crescent Moon is rather special, as it is very beautiful and indicates his kind-heartedness.  Isn't it a very pithy statement when someone is too fond of something to say, "He keeps him on top of his head and dances around"!  Having been sinful when the Moon is just wasting away, then regretting the same falls in the feet of Parameswara intending to expiate, Siva in fact has lifted the Moon high above his head, and danced in celebration.  It is that posture called and known as 'Chandra Mouleeswara', the Swami venerated in this Kanchi Kãmakoti Matam. 

9.            This name 'Ãththichchoodi' reminds us of Chandra Mouleeswara and you ask me how.  This flower of 'Ãththi' in shape is like a sliver of crescent moon only.  In colour also it is a pale yellow instead of being golden, closer to the hue of the crescent moon.  The original name anyhow seems to have had something to do with the ubiquitous Agasthya Muni, who has a penchant for turning up in the most unexpected of places.  This green leafed vegetable known as 'Agaththi Keerai', which is a favourite of the Cow, may be was first identified as a very useful herb by Agasthya Muni.  Though Easwara had thousands of other names, may be that Avvaiyar selected this particular name of his as 'wearing the Ãththi' to remind the children that it was this Agasthya Muni who got the eternal nectar of Tamil language from Siva.  As the name also reminds us of Chandra Mouleeswara, the Presiding Deity of this Matam, it is a matter of additional satisfaction and pride to me also!

Tamil Vidwãn-s and Sri Matam
10.          I get some personal satisfaction by creating a connection with this Matam for whosoever is a great Tamil Scholar.  Because the general impression about this Matam in the outside world is that with us only Sanskrit has all the importance.  They feel sad that unlike the VaishNavas who give equal importance to Tamil and Sanskrit, in this Smãrthãs Matam, they do not contribute for the principle of Ubaya Vedanta!  There is a historical reason for this.  Ãdi Sankara Bhagawat PãdãL carried out all his actions on an 'All India Basis' only that he had to be understood and ensure acceptance on that basis.  Like in Kanchipuram and Sringeri in the South, he had established Matams in the West, North and East in Dwaraka, Badrinath and Puri Jagannatha, respectively.  So language wise he had to make use of a language of All-India acceptance and orientation.  So, all Sankara Matams have had a greater connection to the Sanskrit Language from the beginning.  But at the same time, our Matam at Kanchipuram has always been showing keenness in developing its Tamil connections.  Tamil Scholars have always been honoured by the Matam.  Sri U.V.Swaminatha Iyer himself has confirmed that before the start of the 20th Century, he has been to our Matam some 20 to 25 years before that and that the Pundits in the Matam have appreciated his speeches then and that ILayathankudi PeriyavãL who was the head of the Matam at that time, had given him blessings.

11.          People have started differentiating widely between Tamil and Sanskrit only recently from the start of the 20th Century.  I have been sincerely wishing to change this status-quo and bring everyone under a total equal care of Chandra MouLeeswara's Grace that in his presence we should all join hands as his beloved children.  So like the Sanskrit Pundits I started honouring Tamil Vidwãn-s also on a regular basis.  That is how I pulled U.V.Swaminatha Iyer to come to the Matam and through him – 'तत्-द्वारा' – I wished to help the Tamil-world to develop a sense of acceptance and affinity to Vedic Karmas, Ãchãrãs and Traditions.

(To be continued.)