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.)




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