Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 100 (Vol # 7) Dated 29 Jan 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 100 (Vol # 7) Dated 29 Jan 2014

(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 754 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)

38.          SarasavãNi did not claim that she is the better-half.  That is only, a way of saying in English.  She only told Sankara that she is the other half or 'alter-ego' of the husband and that Sankara will have to compete with her also.  She was the personification of Saraswathi Devi, the Goddess of all knowledge and learning that she had every reason to believe that she would win.  By agreeing to do so and easily winning over her, Sankara only proved his 'sarvagnyatvam and sãrvaboumam' – 'सर्वज्ञ्यत्वं व सार्वभौमम्', that is omniscience and omnipotence!  Well that is another side to the story. 

39.          The competition being one between a part of the Sanãtana Dharma and the totality of it, as represented by Mandana Mishra and Sankara respectively, it was her job to adjudicate.  But her responsibility did not end there. As the adjudicator, she had to announce and execute the judgement that it came about that, she had to sacrifice her husband!  Because the agreement was that if Mandana Mishra wins, Sankara was to leave Sanyãsa and become a house-holder as a Gruhasta and if alternately Sankara wins, Mandana Mishra was to leave all his Karma Anushtãna and become a Sanyãsi.  That was the challenge!  What can never be accepted and done by a devoted wife ever, such a sacrifice was taken in her stride and done in a most poignant and subtle way by her! 

40.          She did not tell the ÃchãryãL, "You have won, please give my husband Sanyãsa" or some such thing!  Had she done that, it would not have been in her style and standard and we would not have come to notice her level of maturity!  All arguments and counter-arguments and debates were over.  It was time for food.  The food for the Sanyãsi is called the, 'Bhikshã Vandana' – 'भिक्षा वन्दन' and the food for the Gruhasta is called the 'Vaishva Devam' – 'वैश्व देवं'.  What SarasavãNi did was to call not only the Sanyãsi Sankara for Bhikshã Vandana but prayed to both of them, by saying, "May both of you kindly grace the occasion by receiving Bhikshã Vandana"!  As an 'Amsam' of Saraswathi she spoke with such subtlety and élan!     

HoysãLa Princess and RamanujacharyaL 
41.          In the story of Sri RamanujacharyaL also there is a narration of an incident in which a King who converted to another system and belief, was brought back to his Mother Religion with a woman as the pivot.  The King who ruled over the HoysãLa State in Karnataka had similarly converted to Jainism.  His daughter, the Princess had been possessed by a ghost.  RamanujacharyaL it was who chased away the ghost and brought her back to normalcy, while simultaneously also bringing the King back to the Vedic religion of VaishNavam!  He was renamed by RamanujacharyaL as 'Vishnu Vardanan' who got the famous Belur Chenna Kesava PerumãL Kovil constructed. 

MãNikka Vãsagar and Princess of Sri Lanka
42.          MãNikka Vãsagar also has cured a Princess of her affliction and thus re-established our religion on an occasion.  Here it was not Jainism but Buddhism the target.  The King involved here is not of India but the neighbouring Sri Lanka aka SingaLam where, Buddhism has been the main religion for quite some ages past.  This King in Sri Lanka had a daughter who was dumb from birth.  To enhance the name and fame of our religion there had to be woman dumb from birth.  Couldn't it have been a boy?  But, it was a girl.  To make her talk, her father went to many Saints.  When there is a problem not easy to tackle, people run to anybody with the hope of finding a solution.  That is how this King visited India, having heard about the reputation of MãNikka Vãsagar.  They came to Chidambaram.  That became the occasion for a huge debate between Vedic Religion and Buddhism.  Both sides agreed that whosoever causes the dumb girl to talk, that Religion would be declared the winner. 

43.          MãNikka Vãsagar who had staked his whole life as an offering to God, as a ripe old fruit of Grace that he was, prayed to God and asked him a question, "Oh God!  Will you not please cure this girl of her limitations and enable her to speak, as an indication of your boundless kindness to be known to the whole world?"  Then he started asking a number of questions about Easwara.  That dumb girl opened her mouth to speak for the first time in her life and promptly answered all his questions.  There is a work of his known as 'Thiruchchãzhal' containing two lines of questions by MaNikka Vãsagar followed by two lines of the reply by the girl, as part of his Magnum Opus known as Thiru Vãsagam.  Listening to this whole conversation and surprised by the miracle of cogent replies of the Girl, relieved of her dumbness, Buddhists accepted their defeat!

Buddha's Step Mother and Buddha
44.          As we have touched upon Buddhism, converse to what I have been talking about so long, I am reminded of an incident in the life of Buddha.  I have been telling you about those occasions when women walking the right path, like Thilakavathiyar, and Mangayarkku Arasi have been responsible for the protection, wellbeing and revival of our Vedic Religion.  Conversely it is also true that women going astray will cause great harm to the wellbeing of the society!  Buddha had created an organization known as 'Sangam' to mean a gathering or association, in which hordes of men were made Bhikshu or Bikku meaning renounced, celibate and abnegating practitioners of the religion solely paying all their attention to realization of that religion's ideals. 

45.          Then one day his step-mother who was also his mother's younger sister, by name Mahãprajãvathi came to him and requested that she should also be given 'pravrajyai' that is Sanyãsa by the Buddhist custom and made into a BhikshuNI.  For this his reply was, "My dear Mother, this sort of a life of renouncement and celibacy and undergoing and withstanding the difficulties and tribulations of such a life stoically, will not be suitable to women in general and especially to women of the royal upbringing like you.  Then when there are so many men here, if women also join in as BhikshuNis, the life in the Sangam will become as common as the market place!  That would lead to many avoidable pitfalls and abnormal situations and incidents!  So please give up this idea of yours".

46.           She was adamant.  Gautama Buddha could not deny her for long, as she was in the position of his Mother!  So she was made in to a BhishuNi and enrolled as a member of the organization of the Sangam.  But it seems that Gautama Buddha told her one thing, "Amma, you have changed the system that I had deeply deliberated and decided.  Now the effect of this is that it is going to cut the period of existence of this religion in to half of what it would have been otherwise!"  True to his statement many things went bad in the whole system in the Sangam that they became the laughing stock for the rest of the communities of the country fetching a bad name for the religion.  You should see or read Matta Vilasa Prahasanam, a drama written by none else than the King of Pallava Sãmrãjya, Mahendra Varma Pallava, to know as to how low the very system of Sanyãsa Ãshrama had gone down to amongst the Buddhists!

47.          If at the intellectual level our ÃchãryãL by the path of Vedanta, Kumarila Bhattar by the path of Karma / Meemãmsa and UdayaNãchãryar by the path of Nyãya / Tarka Sãstrãs; were responsible for countering Buddhist Religion's principles, concepts, beliefs and methods; the credit for Buddhism to be virtually being thrown out of this country goes to this adamant attitude of one lady that in the general society the respect for the religion had dwindled down to the boots.  So we notice that women have the power to make and break, build as well as destroy and ennoble as well as demean!  But mostly womenfolk have been a constructive rather than a destructive force.  It is rarely that they became the cause for degradation and ignominy.  I just mentioned the stories of some of the women who have been responsible for renaissance and rebuilding of the Vedic religion.

Other Great Women as Bulwarks of our Religion
48.          There are many more women who have done much for the Indian Nation and the Vedic Religion.  If Shivãji defeated the Muslims and Turks and created a Hindu Sãmrãjya, the one who bowed the seed for that is his Mother Jijãbãi who with milk fed him with love for his Nation and Religion.  Later amongst many who aroused the common man against the Britishers, Jãnsi Rani Laxmi Bãi and such were more motivated by their love towards their religion than even patriotism and went to war against the Britishers so that their religion may not be destroyed forever!

The thing to be done by Ladies of Today
49.          Thus this nation has repeatedly been recovered and retrieved from foreign domination by the efforts of womenfolk repeatedly in the past and thereby the Sanãtana Dharmam has been rejuvenated. Anyhow always they have had more faith in their religion.  When the husband started going to office, attending shifts, going on tours and such, it is the womenfolk who have been keeping the flame burning in terms of religious faith and observances.  If like the earlier women of the ancient past, if the women of today also attend to playing their role in protecting and securing our religious faith, beliefs and observances, we do not have to worry about this voracious hunger of other religionists for converting the Hindu community into their fold at all.  What is to be done for ensuring this?  This is the question I am going to answer herein after.

50.          In Sanskrit and Tamil, there are many excellent small and big works which tell us about the ways, means and purpose of life with literary merit.  It is a double endowment of people in Tamil Nadu that, with Sanskrit which is an all India Language, Tamil has a hoary literary tradition of numerous books on devotion, humaneness, fair play, morality and justice.  In fact if one learns these two languages, one becomes a more knowledgeable citizen of the world!  But it is our sad luck that, it is the current tendency that the moment, we see a SeyyuL in the verse form, we tend to drop it like a ton of bricks!  But if we get these poems printed with meaning and explanations, making the old Tamil new, and verse into prose, Sanskrit with Tamil trans-literation, as small books and send by post with some Prasãdam, I am sure more and more people, especially women will read them, I believe.  Already I do see Abhirami Andãdi, Soundarya Lahari, Venkateswara Suprabhãtam, Vinãyagar Agaval, Shanmuga Kavacham and such poems are being learnt quite avidly.  Instead of only Bhakti, Dharmam, religious practices, some matters of Sãstrãs and rituals and some matters of personal and religious cleanliness are added, printed and made available plentifully, I am sure there will be a sizeable readership.

51.          If some small number of women get together in their respective colonies and living areas, form an association and inform this Matam, I consider it my duty to keep them supplied with a continuous stream of such books.  I wish that a whole lot of such Satsangs should come into being all over the country in which, mutually the religion protects the women and women protect the religion.  For them our Matam will come forward and make available plenty of 'Swayam-Bhodini' – 'Self-learning' books that could be of immense value.  Once they go through seven or eight such books in Sanskrit and Old Tamil with translations, transliteration, explanatory notes and commentary, then they would develop an avid interest on their own, to start studying doing research and analysis.  Then the literary merits of the study materials will sustain their interest creating the 'abhiruchi' – 'अभिरुचि' for further studies!

52.          All ladies – all womenfolk referred as 'thãik kulam' – 'தாய்க் குலம்' – should all become so many 'SarasavãNi', is my ardent wish.  The basis for greatness of a Nation is not its Armed Forces or advancement of science, cleverness of its political leadership or industrial and economic power; but the divinity apparent in that country because of the women who maintain morality and Dharma; is that basis, life force and everything.  If they become like that, there will never be a deficiency or downfall for the Nation.  Women are said to be AmbãL Swaroopa.  AmbãL should grant such an Anugraha!

(Next subject is Deiva Vishayam or Divine Matters.)



Monday, January 27, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 99 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 Jan 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 99 (Vol # 7) Dated 27 Jan 2014

(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 747 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)

26.          The act of arson did not affect Thiru Gnãna Sambandar in any way and he realized that it was a divine decision to revive the use of Vibhuti and Rudraksha in Madurai.  The intention was punish the king who punishes his citizens for being devoted to Siva and Saivam!  So, he thought that the fire ignited by the Jains may go and affect the Pãndya Raja himself!  His words are 'amaNar koLuvum sudar paiyave senru pãndiyarkãgave' – 'அமணர் கொளுவுஞ்சுடர் பையவே சென்று பாண்டியற்காகவே'.  In Tamil this Jainism is called 'SamaNa' religion and the Jains are called both as SamaNa and AmaNa. The second word AmaNa alludes to the fact that they barely cover their bodies with clothes. His words meant that the fire lit by the Jains may go and attack the King of Pãndyas.  This divine boy did not wish that the King of Pãndyas should be attacked violently, hence the use of the phrase 'பையவே சென்று', meaning 'may quietly go and'!  The fire got in to the King of Pãndya's body and he felt that his whole body was on fire.  Evidently he was running a fever and felt the burning sensation all over his body and it was called, 'veppu noi' – 'வெப்பு நோய்' in Tamil, 'Disease of Heat'.

27.          Appar was made to suffer in 'Soolai Noi' and repentance by which he was reclaimed by Easwara.  Then he went and fell in the feet of his sister Thilakavathiyar and received the Vibhuti!  Here for the sake of the King of Pãndyas, his wife Mangayarkku Arasi went with the Minister Kulachiraiyar and fell in the feet of this baby boy Thiru Gnãna Sambandar and beseeched him to save and spare her husband's life.  She had earlier invited him to the Pãndya Kingdom so that the King's deserting the Saivam and Sanãtana Dharmam may be corrected.   Sambandar realized as to what was the divine Sankalpa!  He told them that, after curing the King of his affliction, he will go on to beat the Jains, who decry the conduct of Vedic procedures, by debates and in as many tests of strength and relevance as they could think of! That is the divine decision he said, 'veda veLviyai nindanai seiduzhal…amaNarai vãdil venru azhikkat thiruvuLame' – 'வேத வேள்வியை நிந்தனை செய்துழல்... அமணரை வாதில் வென்றழிக்கத் திருவுளமே'!  Having got the sanction from Sundareswara directly in his Sannidãnam, Sundarar came over to the Pãndyan King's Palace itself!

28.          There were a whole lot of Jains hovering about the King with peacock feathers in their hands, chanting all sorts of mantras and trying their tricks to cure the King of his disease.  Mangayarkku Arasi was concerned that they may not hurt this small boy, entering amidst them nonchalantly!  That moment, she forgot all the miraculous exploits of his that she had heard about and was only reacting like a mother would do about her child!  'This child is getting in singly amongst an overwhelming number of opponents not by itself, but on our request, isn't it?  I hope I am not guilty of sending this child to certain death!'  That moment her only feeling was, 'Let whatever happen to Saivam or Jainism and let whatever happen to my husband's health.  Oh God!  Please save this child', was the only prayer on her lips. 
29.          Thiru Gnãna Sambandar could visualise her plight.  He called for her and sang a poem consoling her.  Normally in Nãlãyira Divya Prabandam and Thevãram, we do not come across direct evidence of, the various incidents of that happened during critical moments of their life.  Whereas in this case there is such direct evidence of the fact, about the visit of Sambandar to Madurai on the invitation of Mangayarkku Arasi and Kulachiraiyar, and his assurance to her when she was mortally afraid of his safety, in Thevãram songs itself.  His view was, "Let them be great magicians.  But for people who do not have the God's sanction, however much strong they may be, to the believers of Easwara, they are all immaterial and inconsequential!  On my way here in Aãnai Malai, what happened to all their nefarious efforts?  Will I ever succumb to their heinous tricks?  Am I saying this by the pride of my ego?  I am saying this by the power of Easwara who is all the time standing beside me!  He brought me here.  When he is the inner power as 'Antaryãmi', what is there for me to feel afraid or proud?"  With such ideas Sambandar sang this padigam.

30.          Now let us analyse the poem line by line.  'mãniner vizhi mãdarãi vazhudikku mãperun devi kéL' – 'மானிநேர்விழி மாதராய் வழுதிக்கு மாபெருந் தேவிகேள்!'  He is saying, "You who is the like an Empress among women and the wife of this Pãndya King known as Vazhudi, listen."  In the next sentence of the poem he says, 'pãnalvãyoru bãlan eengivan enru nee pariveididél' – 'பானல்வாயொரு பாலனீங்கிவன் என்றுநீ பரிவெய்திடேல்'.  'பால் நல் வாய்' in being combined becomes 'பானல்வாய்'.  The whole line means, 'Please do not be afraid, as to how I am going to be saved from these big and mighty opponents, while I am still a small baby-boy not yet weaned from drinking mother's milk!'

31.          If you ever think that in Periya PurãNam, it is the fertile imagination of the writer that claims that Thiru Gnãna Sambandar did so many great things when he was only a small baby boy not yet weaned, you are mistaken.  The truth is emphasised when here, he himself is claiming that 'he is yet on a diet of milk only'!  He is not only saying that it is 'pãl vãi' – 'பால் வாய்', but also saying, 'pãl nal vãi' – 'பால் நல் வாய்', adding that adjective 'nal' – 'நல்' to it, meaning the adjective 'good'!  Isn't it a bit of a pride there, may be your doubt.  Why did he add this 'nal' to describe his own mouth?  He was not a man of pride.  He said so because, it was not any milk but mother's milk, that mouth had been fed with.  That too, not any mother's but AmbãL herself had breast-fed him satisfying his hunger and also filling him with divine Gnãna.    

32.          Then he says, 'As I was on the way coming here, in the place where I was halting for the night in Aãnai Malai and other places these trouble creators could not do much, despite their trying, because of the fact that Vãlarãyan was standing guard for me!'  This 'Vãlarãyan' means Haran of Ãlavãi that is another name for Madurai. His words of the next line are, 'Aãnai Malai ãdiya idangaLirpala allalser eenargatkeLi yenalen thiru vãlavãyaran nirkave' – 'ஆனைமலை யாதியாய இடங்களிற்பல அல்லல்சேர் ஈனர்கட்கெளி யேனலேன் திரு வாலவாயரன் நிற்கவே'.  Aran or Haran is one of the names for Siva that Sambandar loves most!  When He is with me, nobody can in even touch me let alone hurt or demean me!  After he had assuaged her apprehensions like this, there was a real test or trial of strength or whatever you may want to call it, between the Jains and Sambandar to decide as to which is the real and superior religion, based on who could cure the Kings 'veppu Noi'!    

33.          The motivator and instigator for this competition of sorts is that of Mangayarkku Arasi.  The one who a few minutes back felt, 'Let Saivam and Jainism go wherever and whatever happens to her husband's health, as long as this child is saved from any harm', now suddenly was aware of tremendous amount of trust and faith in this child's abilities and power.  So she believed that by the power of Sambandar, the name of Saivam and her husband's health will be redeemed and recovered and so was keen on both in one stroke, as they say, 'two mangoes in one stone', used as a missile!  As the Pãndyan Queen, she set the rules for the competition.  "Let them both try.  Whosoever cures the King of the illness, that side will be considered as the winner", she declared.  The affected person being the King, he at once accepted to the rules of the competition. 

34.          Considering his body in two parts as the Right and Left side, it was agreed that the Jains and Sambandar will try their cures on that side of the body.  Chanting their Mantras the Jains started caressing the left side of the body lightly touching the body with their Peacock feathers.  With each stroke, the king felt that the burning sensation was increasing.  Unable to tolerate further, he looked at Thiru Gnãna Sambandar.  That is the time Sambandar sang the Padigam that starts with the words, 'mandiram ãvadu neeru' – 'மந்திரம் ஆவது நீறு' extolling the power and potency of the Vibhuti of Sundareswara Swami, the Presiding Deity in Madurai, and applied the Vibhuti on the right side of the body.  As the Vibhuti was applied, the heat subsided and on the King's request, the same was applied on the left side of the body also and thus the King's 'Veppu Noi' was got rid of completely. 

35.          Thilkavathiyar gave Vibhuti to her brother to get rid of the Soolai Noi.  Here Mangayarkku Arasi got the Vibhuti applied to her husband all over the body by Sambandar to get rid of the Veppu Noi.  In both the cases, it was the Vibhuti that cured the disease and saved the Vedic Religion.  Even after this burning body was cooled as the placid waters of the river, the Jains did not accept their defeat!  They insisted on two more tests.  They were the 'anal vãdam' & 'punal vãdam' – 'அனல் வாதம்' & 'புனல் வாதம்'.  (This word is not to be mistaken as the English word 'Anal', which means excessively orderly.  In Tamil this word is pronounced with the first letter 'A' shortly and not elongated.)  In the first test of 'Anal Vãdam', both representatives of Saivam and Jainism were to write the important points of contentions of their respective religions, on Palmyra Leaf and place it in fire, whichever manuscript remains without being burnt, that side is declared the winner.  In Punal Vãdam, similarly both sides were to place their respective manuscript in the flowing river.  The manuscript that swims against the current, instead of getting washed away, will be declared the winner.  In both of them, needless to say, Thiru Gnãna Sambandar was the winner.  What does it mean?  It means that Saivam that is the Vedic Religion was the winner.  The Pãndyan King and the Kingdom came back to the way of Sanãtana Dharma, once again!

ÃryãmbãL – SarasavãNi & Ãdi Sankara
36.          In Tamil Nãdu for the outside religions to give way to Vedic Religion and for it revive and flourish, God has made use of two women as the tools, while letting them stand behind the scenes as the driving force, for the effectiveness of Appar and Sambandar to become known to the world.  If you take the whole of the Indian subcontinent, if Ãdi Sankara Bhagawat PãdãL could defeat 72 different religions and sects from within and outside the country, single handed and was victorious in re-establishing the Vedic Religion, it is his mother ÃryãmbãL who gave him permission to assume Sanyãsa, when he was only a child of eight years of age!

37.          There is one more gem of a woman who has contributed immensely for the spread of this religion, within Sankara Vijayam, in which she had to sacrifice her husband for the sake of the religion.  I am talking about SarasavãNi the wife of Mandana Mishra.   This was not a fight between the Vedic Religion and a Non-Vedic one!  It was between the total Vedic Religion inclusive of the three prongs of Karma, Bhakti and Gnãna Marga-s and the one sided 'Karma Only' of Mandana Mishra.  Like they say, 'Yours is not to question why but to do and die'; this Mandana Mishra advocated, "Simply do your Karma and Kaput!  There is no need for either devotion of Bhakti or intelligent analysis of Tattva Vichãra!"  He was defeated by Sankara Bhagawat PãdãL.  For this debate the arbitration was done by the wife of Mandana Mishra, SarasavãNi by name.  Then she said that as wife is the better-half of the husband, Sankara should compete with her also in debate. Sankara agreed and defeated her too.  She was an embodiment of Saraswathi Devi herself! 

(To be continued.)



Saturday, January 25, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 98 (Vol # 7) Dated 25 Jan 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 98 (Vol # 7) Dated 25 Jan 2014

(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 740 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)

14.          Dharmasena was afflicted by this Soolai Noi and was suffering with constant stomach pain.  The Jains tried their level best to cure him with their medicines and mantras, in vain.  He was so critically ill that he felt that his death was imminent.  He wished to meet his elder sister.  Since he knew that she would not approve of his conversion to Jainism, he was avoiding meeting her all these days.  But now since he felt that his days were numbered, he wished to meet his sister once again before the inevitable.  So he sent a friend as a messenger. 

15.          More than his love for her, she had more affection for him.  But when she got the message, you know what she did?  More than the love for him, she had greater faith and loyalty to her religion.  'Even when he is fighting for his life, I would not like to see him as a Jain.  I will not step in the environs of that Jain establishment.'  This was her reply to him.  Through Periya PurãNam we get to know the level of devotion and loyalty that the women-folk had for their religion.  (KTSV adds: – I had an opportunity to know this in person.  I was in Bangla Desh – erstwhile East Pakistan, as part of the offensive from Hilly.  Immediately after the war was over, in early Jan 1971, before handing over the assets to Bangla Desh, one day I was driving a British Land Rover jeep, which I had as my vehicle for some time temporarily.  It was one of the captured vehicle in war, not yet handed over to whomsoever authority.   The only problem was that the vehicle's breaks were not functioning.  I used to leave it in gear and switch off and the vehicle would come to a halt with a series of 'Dhak…dhak…dhak'!  Somewhere between Rangpur and Dinajpur I was halted by a civilian.  He spoke in Hindusthani / Urdu.  His main message was that he was very happy to see the Indian forces there, defeating the Pakistani Army.  He said, "Saab!  I am a Hindu because my Mother has told me so.  For generations it has happened that Hindu women are taken away and their menfolk killed.  The women would become kept wives of Muslim men.  So for generations in our bloods we have inputs from both Hindu women and Muslim men.  But our mothers have told us, "One day when you are a master of you own affairs, live the life of a Hindu and not a Muslim"!  But, I have to say also that after independence of Bangladesh, Chakma Buddhists have been hounded out of that country while Hindus have been decimated to nullity and almost wiped out in Bangla Desh!)

16.          When their medicines and mantras were ineffective on Dharma Sena, the Jains of Pataliputra gave him up as a wasteful investment.  The messenger who had gone to meet his sister had come back with the message that she will not even step into such an establishment of the Jains.  The time had come for MaruL Neekkiyar to get rid of the name as Dharma Sena and live up to his original name as the 'Remover of the Darkness of Ignorance'!  Knowing that his sister would not be able to see him wearing the Jain dress of a mattress around the hip and the feathers of the Peacock, he wore a normal dress of a 'Veshti and a towel', like anybody else, went in search of her and fell at her feet saying, "Akka! I surrender unto you to get rid of this horrible disease.  Please save me", he pleaded!

17.          She was already with a bleeding heart for her brother who had gone astray and was suffering now.  She told him that she will give him the holy ashes for relieving him of his pain and more than that his agnostic bent.  Don't we take a suffering child to the village masjid for a cure from the Mullah or Imam, whatever our religion is, hoping for a cure?  This man was after all, a more matured person.  He applied the Thiruneeru all over his body.  The sister considering that the blessing of SoolapaNi Siva, the Wielder of Soola the Trishul aka the three pointed Spear, is the right counter for the termination of Soolai Noi, took him to the nearest temple of Easwara.  For one part pains of the disease, MaruL Neekkiyar had ten times more regret for ignoring his own religion.  When your sense of repentance is complete, Easwara Anugraha is assured, isn't it?  The Grace of Siva flowed that was to prove to be a great boon for the whole of the Tamil speaking world, in terms of so many gems of Thevãram songs from the fertile spout of MaruL Neekkiyar who was to become famous as Appar!  He got the power and inclination to compose and sing songs appealing to God as Easwara, starting with 'koortrãyinanvãru vilakkagileer kodumai pala seidana…' – 'கூர்றாயினன்வாறு விலக்ககிலீர் கொடுமை பல செய்தன'.  From his great discomfort and tribulation, God made available such songs for all our benefit!

18.          The disease disappeared without a trace.  Having appreciated his appeal, the Veerattãneswara the Presiding God of that temple town, named him Vãgeesar, that is Nãvukkarasar, which means 'the King of Speech'.  From that day, like an ocean over flowing in ebb, he started pouring out a whole series of songs, dripping with Gnãna and Devotion!  He was named as Appar when Thiru Gnãna Sambandar called him, 'Appare!'  This happened later.  Before that, the Jains in Thiru Pãdiri Puliyur, having come to know that their Dharmasena had reconverted back to the fold of Hinduism and that he was composing and singing Thevãram songs which could further spread devotion to Easwara; they were afraid that their religion was in peril, went to King Mahendra Varman and put up all sorts of complaints, some true and some from their imagination. 

19.          King Mahendra Varman sent his men to apprehend Thiru Nãvukkarasar SwamigaL.  He got him put in a cauldron of boiling and effervescing calcium oxide known as 'suNNãmbuk kãLavãi' – 'சுண்ணாம்புக் காளவாய்'.  There also as he kept thinking of God's Grace, the cauldron became as though air-conditioned!  He was feeling very comfortable under the protective shadow of his God Easwara, listening to perfect music of the VeeNa and the wholesome shower of the Moon light, pleasant blow of the breeze of Manda Mãrutam, the cool air of the spring season on the banks of a lake with the buzzing music of the bees!  He says so in his song:-
"mãsil veeNaiyum mãlai madiyamum
மாசில் வீணையும் மாலை மதியமும்
veesu tendralum veengiLa venilum
வீசு தென்றலும் வீங்கிள வேனிலும்
moosu vaNdarai poigaiyum pondrade
மூசு வண்டறை பொய்கையும் போன்றதே
eesan endai iNaiyadi neezhale
ஈசன் எந்தை இணையடி நீழலே"

20.          When his punishment did not make any difference to Dharmasena aka Nãvukkarasar, the King was fuming with annoyance.  Then he tried to administer poison to his prisoner and tried to get him trampled by the elephants.  None of these things could affect the equanimity of Nãvukkarasar in any way.  Then it was that Nãvukkarasar was tied to a huge stone pillar and was arranged to be dropped in mid sea!  That is the time, he sang the song starting with the phrase, 'sorruNai vediyan' saying that Easwara's Grace will not forsake him, even if he were to be dropped in the ocean tied to a heavy stone pillar!  The words of the songs are as follows: –  
"sorruNai vediyan sodhi vãnavan
சொற்றுணை வேதியன் சோதி வானவன்
porruNait tirundadi porundak kaitozhak
பொற்றுணைத் திருந்தடி பொருந்தக் கைதொழக் 
kartruNaip poottiyor kadalir paaichinum
கற்றுணை பூட்டியோர் கடலிற் பாய்ச்சினும்
narruNai ãvadu namachchi vãyave.
நற்றுணை ஆவது நமச்சிவாயவே."

21.          As he was thus totally relying on the chanting of the five syllabled 'pancha Akshara mantra' of 'Na ma Si Vã Ya' – 'न म शि वा य' – 'ந ம சி வா ய'; that by the Grace of God, the huge stone pillar started floating on water and brought him to the shore.  Even today there is a village by the name of 'karai eravitta kuppam', meaning the place which 'permitted coming ashore', which is located near this place 'Thiru Pãdiri Puliyur'!  When he saw this miracle, the eyes of King Mahendra Varman also opened and he too returned to the Vedic religion.  With that all over the Pallava Kingdom there was a reawakening and ascendency of the Vedic Religion that automatically meant that Jainism and Buddhism started waning.  If the return of Mahendra Varman was caused by Appar, Appar's return to the fold was that of his elder sister Thilakavathiyar isn't it?  She is the root cause for the great service by Appar for the Sanãtana Dharma, Vedic religion and Saivam!

Mangayarkku Arasi & Thiru Gnãna Sambandar
22.          Then too In the Pãndya Nãdu, the reputation of the Jains was still at the zenith.  Raja Maravarma himself had embraced that religion.  He had issued such decrees as, "Nobody will go to the Siva Temples anymore!  None will wear the ashes of Vibhuti anymore on their person!"  There is a proverb which says, 'yathã rãjã tatã prajã' – 'यथा राजा तथा प्रजा', meaning that 'citizens have to do as the king does' and hence the general public had to behave as per the wishes of the King!  More than anybody else, the one who has to abide with the King's dictate is the minister and for a man, more than anybody else the person who has to obey is the wife, isn't it?  In the case of this Pãndya Raja, without openly defying, his minister Kulachiraiyar and wife Mangayarkku Arasi were against his orders. 

23.          They were both great devotees of Siva Perumãn.  Though unable to openly defy the King's / husband's orders respectively, they were continuing to be devotees of Easwara.  She was quietly applying Vibhuti on herself without making a show of it.  Similarly they were most of the time wearing the Rudraksha Mala on their person inside the clothes.  Still they were both inwardly cursing their fate of not being able to follow the King's/husbands orders and being unable to courageously follow their religious beliefs either.  As the Queen was constantly fretting about this, as a relief and a suitable medicine to the constant worry, she heard about what was welcome information.  "A child by the name of Sambandar was singing devotional songs and doing some miraculous deeds is with Appar in a place known as VedaraNyam aka Thiru Maraikkãdu.  Wherever that child visits that place becomes so sanctified that other religions run away that, that place becomes another Kailãsa!

24.          She called for and consulted with the minister Kulachiraiyar on the quiet.  Somehow if Sambandar is made to visit Madurai, they felt most of their problems will be solved.  That will make it possible to cause the Pãndya King and the citizens to make a turnaround back to Saivam, they felt.  They both sent a messenger to Thiru Gnãna Sambanda Murthy.  He came via a place known as 'Aãnai Malai' – 'ஆனை மலை' or the Elephant Hill.  I am rushing through the story.  Just by looking at him – he did not sing any song or give lectures like me – just looking at him entering the huge main temple of Meenãkshi Sundareswara Kovil in Madurai, people in droves, forgetting about the King's embargo, followed him with so much natural devotion and ardour.    

25.          Seeing all this, the Jains went and complained that some young boy had arrived in Madurai with evident magical powers seeing which they said was a, 'kandu muttu' – 'கண்டு முட்டு' for them, meaning a 'seen stigma' for them.  The King replied that it was a 'kettu muttu' – 'கேட்டு முட்டு', meaning that for him it was a 'heard stigma'!  That night the Jains put fire to the place where Thiru Gnãna Sambandar was staying.  God's intension in bringing him to Madurai was clear in the mind of Thiru Gnãna Sambandar by this incident of arson!

(To be continued.)



Thursday, January 23, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 97 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 Jan 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 97 (Vol # 7) Dated 23 Jan 2014

(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 732 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)

Ladies as Guardians of Sanãtana Dharma
1.            Whenever our religion has been in great danger, it is the women-folk, who have saved it from peril.  It has been said – 'stree moolam sarva dharma:' – 'स्त्री मूलं सर्व धर्मा:' meaning that they, the women-folk are the root cause for all morals, discipline and order in our society.  What is the name of our Religion? To call it the Hindu Religion is an error, as given by foreigners.  To call it the 'Veda Matam' or Sanãtana Dharma would be more appropriate.  Vedas when referred to as a deity is called the Veda Mãtã as a Mother.  Our religion itself has been considered as feminine and it has been saved and protected by women mainly. 

2.            Mostly they have been unquestioningly obedient to their husbands, as the adage goes, 'kallãnãlum kaNavan pullãnãlum purushan' – 'கல்லானாலும் கணவன் புல்லானாலும் புருஷன்' meaning, 'whether the husband is like a stone or grass and whether he does right or wrong, the wife is to be implicitly obedient and surrendered unto his will'!  Here 'KaNavan' and 'Purushan' are synonyms meaning the husband.  Though most of the women are extolled and eulogized for their faithfulness and subservience known as 'pati vrata dharma' – 'पति व्रता धर्म', there have also been women who have corrected their husbands and mended their behaviour, guarding them from going astray.  There have been such women who have been responsible for changing the course of life, of their husbands and or children from being too involved in the ways of the world, make an about-turn to one of complete surrender to divinity and Gnãna, as can be gathered from our old PurãNãs and literatures concerning Gnãna!  Especially two such ladies who were Queens have to be mentioned.    

3.            One such lady is Queen Chudala, about whom there is description in 'Yoga Vãsishtam' which is like a reference book on Gnãna and how to go about attaining to that state.  While she has been one to correctly differentiate and identify what is Ãtma and what is not that, by doing 'ãtmãnãtma vichãra' – 'आत्मानात्म विचार', while at the same time having achieved all the powers of what is known as 'Ashta Maha Siddhi' attained through Yoga also.  Her husband Chikidwaja though above any blemishes as such, was highly and deeply involved in worldliness as a King with royal aspirations and tendencies.  He is gradually turned firmly to the path of Gnãna Marga, by the influence of Chudala.  There is a saying in the Sãstrãs that a wife is a companion for the first three aims in the quartet of Purushãrtha, namely Dharma, Artha, Kãma and Moksha.  But in this case, the wife Chudala is the driving force towards Self-Realization, as the story goes on differently, beautifully differently!

4.            There is another queen, another Gnãni by the name of Madãlasa, whose story occurs in Mãrkandeya PurãNa. (Literal meaning of the word Madãlasa in Sanskrit is the intoxication by liquor.)  Though inwardly she was a self-realized being, outwardly she was like any other woman who keeps home only.  She begets four children.  For the first three children, she gives Gnãna Upadesa from the time they are sleep in a cradle and she sings lullabies for them.  So they give up the normal life and go into the Nivrutti Marga.  The fourth one she trains in Pravrutti Marga, so as to be able to take up the job as a ruler of the State.  Then finally before going on to Vana Prastam for doing tapasya in the forest with her husband, she writes down her instructions to her fourth son secured in a ring, so that at a suitable time, later in his life he will also be able to undertake Sanyãsa. 

Women who Guarded their Religion and Nation from Peril
5.            These are individual cases of those who helped their own sons or husband to proceed on the Ãdhyãtmic Marga.  I was not intending to talk about them but about those who by their love of their religion saved the whole country from the perils enshrouding their religion.  I started talking about how a whole religion is in the process of being disowned and downgraded in a whole country!  When a husband leaves the Veda Madam and is converted to some other religion, instead of remaining unconcerned that, 'his wish is my command, let him do whatever'; a woman reconverted her husband and a whole State that he was ruling, back to their original Veda Madam, is the person thinking about whom I had started today's speech. 

6.            Her name is Mangayakarasi, respectfully addressed as 'Mangayrkarasiyãr' respectfully, included as one of the 63 Nãyanmãrs, who lived up to her name which means, a 'Queen of Women'.  By name a queen and by her attitude and behaviour also a queen amongst women, she was the Queen of Pãndya Kingdom.  She was the wife of the then King of Pãndya Desam some 1400 years back.  She was the daughter of the King of the Sozha Kingdom.   At that time the Sozha dynasty was somewhat down in their power and domination.  In the North of Tamil Nadu, it was the Pallava Kingdom on the upswing under Mahendra Varma and in the South it was the Pãndya Kingdom which was dominating under Mãravarma.  Both of them had left the Vedic Religion and had embraced the Jainism.  First it was Mahendra Varma who returned back to the fold of Vedic Religion by the efforts of Appar SwamigaL.

Thilakavathiyar and Thiru Nãvukkarasar
7.            Let me tell you about that story.  The Pallava King leaving Jainism (known as 'Samanam' – 'சமணம்' religion in Tamil), back to Saivam is the second part of the story.  Before that Appar himself had left Saivam and gone to Samanam.  For such a man to have become one of the four great Nãyanmãrs, known as 'Saivak KuravargaL' – 'சைவக் குரவர்கள்', to have sung so many songs with a melting heart, to cause melting of the heart of those who hear his songs, to have been given the title as 'Vageesar' and 'Nãvukkarasar' by Siva the Lord himself; all the credit goes to another lady only.

8.            When Appar was in Jainism, he was not known as Appar or Nãvukkarasar, but was known as Dharmasena.  That was not the name given by his parents, which was 'MaruL Neekkiyar' – 'மருள் நீக்கியார்', meaning 'Remover of Ignorance of Mãyã'.  Later evidently some urge to experiment caused him to embrace Jainism and when he became an instructor in that religion, he named himself as Dharmasena.  The credit for pulling him back to Saivam goes to his elder sister known as 'Thilakavathi', respectfully called 'Thilakavathiyar'.  True to her name she was a 'Thilakam' – 'तिलकं', meaning a mark worn on the forehead with sandal wood paste mixed with fragrant unguents, an ideal woman.

9.            Her devotion to her husband in other words 'Pãtivratyam' is of a surprising quality!  It is alright to be loyal and devoted to one's husband after marriage.  But in her case the marriage never took place and they had not even met each other!  Even when she was only a child, her parents had decided to give her in marriage to one 'Kalip-Pagiyar' a leader of men in the army.  He had gone to fight a war somewhere in the North.  Before his return her father had died.  Immediately her mother had also given up her life as per the system known as 'Sati', in which the wife also jumps in to the funeral pyre, not wishing to continue living without the husband!  Thilakavathy and MaruL Neekki were both very young at that time.  Still their mother gave up her life in the pyre of her husband. 

10.          When these two children, as sister and brother were thus stranded as orphans, as luck would have it, news came of the death of Kalip-Pagayar on the battle field.  It was then that Thilakavathy came to the decision to give up her life also, by the 'Sati' system by which her mother had died.  Her logic was like this, 'As my parents had decided to give me in marriage to Kalip-Pagayar, I am as good as married to him.  So I have to go by the path shown by my mother.'  Thus she was about to light up a pyre to do another 'Sati'.  There was no love lost whatsoever in this case.  It was MaruL Neekiyar who was virtually in doldrums!  He cried that, when he is solely dependent on his elder sister, her decision to give up her life uncaring for this orphaned brother is as good as an order to die!  So, he will commit suicide before that, he said.  This changed the sister's mind.  She decided to live on for his sake, but as a widow, following the discipline meant to be observed by them as per Pati Vrata Dharmam.  So now, she totally devoted her life as a Tapasvini with Siva Bhakti and in taking care of her younger brother. 

11.          After he grew up a little, MaruL Neekkiyar leaving their village Thiruvamur, went to Thirup-padirip-puliyur for further studies.  The Patali tree is called Padiri Maram in Tamil.  Like the capital city of Asoka, known as Pataliputra in the North, this is the southern version.  There MaruL Neekkiyar came across the huge schools run be the Jains.  The place where the Samana Munis stay used to be known as 'PaLLi' – 'பள்ளி'.  That name has come to stay in Tamil as a synonym for schools.  Jains have done much in spreading education all over the country, which should be mentioned with appreciation.  But their purpose of educational service, as it happens the world over, is with missionary zeal of spreading their religion. 

12.          This is exactly what happened with MaruL Neekkiyar also.  Slowly but surely he got converted to that religion!  As an intelligent boy, he did well in his studies and became an Ãchãryãr and changed his name to Dharma Sena.  Especially then, as the King of the Pallava Dynasty, Raja Mahendra Varma had given royal patronage to Jainism, that it had become a powerful force in being.  Here back home Thilakavathy had left Thiruvamur, and gone to North of Katila Nadi near PaNrutti, to a place known as 'Thiruvadikai' – 'திருவதிகை', where there was a huge Siva Temple.  She used to devote all her time in cleaning up the temple premises with a broom and mop; plucking the flowers from the garden and making garlands for decorating the Murthys; chanting Siva Nama all the time.

13.          Once she came to know that her younger brother had embraced Jainism, she felt extremely sad, much more than what she had felt when her parents and her yet-to-be-but-never-was husband had died!  She used to cry before her God all the time, asking him to save her brother who had gone astray and converted to another religion.  She was ever in tears praying to God with this as the only prayer, asking for her brother to be saved from this anathema of leaving one's own religion!  One can visualise the intensity of her feelings by the fact that God appeared in her dreams and told her, "Amma!  Please do not fret.  Your brother in his past life had fallen short of total realization.  That blemish has caused him to experiment and join some other religion.  To reduce his past load of Karma, I shall now give him the 'Soolai Noi' – 'சூலை நோய்'.  He will suffer for some time and as a result, he will be thrown out of their religion and will also suffer from his guilty conscience and regret the fact of converting to other religion.  Thus he will come back as an ardent devotee of mine!  His intelligence and poetical acumen are yet to become known and praised all over the world!"  Soolai Noi is a type of colic pain in the stomach.  (KTSV adds: – Appar's condition as described here is similar to what is described as 'Yoga Brashta' – 'योग भ्रष्ट' by Bhagawan Sri Krishna in Bhagawat Gita.  Please refer to Slokas No 41 to 47 in Chapter 6.)

(To be continued.)