Tuesday, April 08, 2014

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 130 (Vol # 7) Dated 08 Apr 2014

 DEIVATHIN KURAL # 130 (Vol # 7) Dated 08 Apr 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 the second paragraph on page No 1002 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   http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated continually)

150.                  In the night time the lotus flower will close its petals around its central core that it will seem like two hands, palms facing inwards with the fingers touching while the center of the palms are slightly raised away from the centre.  The toe nails of AmbãL are so pearly white that her feet seem like the brilliant light of the moon in the night.  There are many divine angelic damsels doing Namaskãr to AmbãL.  Their hands are held in the Anjali pose of Abhinaya that seems like so many lotus flowers have closed themselves due to the moon-light of the nails in AmbãL's toes, says our ÃchãryãL in Soundarya Lahari, Sloka 89: –
नखैर्नाकस्त्रीणां करकमल संकोच शशिभि:
nakhairnãkastreeNãm karakamala sankocha shashibhi:

151.                  In this folding of hands in Anjali Mudra there are some gradations mentioned.  To generally do so is to hold your hands in Anjali posture in front of your chest, just in front of your heart.  The heart or Hrudayam is also known to be like a lotus bud and Easwara or whosoever is your Ishta Devata, is said to be the resident in our hearts.  So, we focus our hearts thus while expressing our sincere devotion by this Mudra of Anjali to whosoever it may be.  Still as there are gradations in our respect for the God and so many others down to other human beings, and since there are slightly different poses indicative of some meanings, let me tell you about them all. 

152.                  When doing Anjali to God, the hands should be raised above the head, as said in the song by MãrimuthãppiLLai, 'senni merkaram thookki' – 'சென்னிமேற்கரம் தூக்கி'.  In this itself there is a slight difference.  For Ishta Deivam the hands go up as far as it can be reached and for all other Devatas, the hands should be touching the peak of your head.  Guru's place is in the 'Brukuti' – 'ब्रुकुटी' that is, the centre point between the eye brows, where there is the 'Ãgnyã Chakra' – 'आज्ञ्या चक्र', as the Guru orders and we obey.  So, when doing Anjali to the Guru the hands should be in line with the Brukuti.  To one's own father the Anjali should be held in front of the mouth and for the mother the hands should be held in front of the stomach, for the obvious reasons that it is father who earns the income for our education / up-bringing and it is the mother who keeps filling our stomach!

153.                  Like the father, for the king also the Anjali is in front of the mouth. Father is the ruler authority in the home and king is like a father for the citizens, isn't it?  I do not have to explain as to why the Anjali for the mother is to be in front of our stomach.  Not only that she keeps our stomach filled without feeling the pangs of hunger, but also because she carried us in her stomach for nine months before we were born in to this world!   For all others the Anjali is to be done in front of our chest.  Even for Swami we could do so.  The only difference is that, for Swami with the wrist as the fulcrum, the fingers turn inwards pointing towards the residing place of God 'dahara guha' – 'दहर गुहा', the inner cavity of our own hearts.  For God or Swami it is the in-ward Anjali and for all others the out-ward Anjali.  In Lalitha Sahasranãma there is a Mantra that she is easily attained by an inward glance and very difficult to be attained if we are looking outwardly, 'antar mukha samãrãdhyã bahir mukha sudurlabhã' – 'अन्तर्मुख समाराध्या बहिर्मुख सुदुर्लभा'.

154.                  Look at the depth of meanings and interpretations in this simple act of doing Namaskãra / Anjali!  Let us see what Appar SwamigaL says in Tamil, in the song starting with the words 'talaiye nee vaNangãai' – 'தலையே நீ வணங்காய்!' – where he is instructing his body parts to be obedient to the divinity by saying 'Won't you bend your head'?  He goes on to say, 'kaikãL kooppitthozheer' – 'கைகாள், கூப்பித்தொழீர்!' – meaning that the greatest reason for justifying the existence of the hands is, to be able to do Anjali to God!  He has said about the head and hands.  In fact the song with which he has blessed us, offers his body making a garland of it, known as 'Thiru Anga Mãlai' – 'திரு அங்க மாலை', that this dirty smelling body excreting from nine different holes, duping us also in the bargain, becomes worthy of being offered to the Almighty God as a garland in veneration!

155.                  In this poem there is a line which says, what is the use of this body – 'ãkkaiyãr payan en' – 'ஆக்கையாற் பயன் என்'?  It is natural to expect that he will be talking about every part of the body or about Sãshtãnga Namaskãra, isn't it?  But no, he doesn't do that.  But he talks about 'pradakshiNam' – 'प्रदक्षिणं' – 'பிரதக்ஷிணம்'!  He is saying 'aran koil valam vandu pookkaiyãl attip portri yennãda ivvãkkaiyãr payan en' – 'அரன்கோயில் வலம் வந்து பூக்கையால் அட்டிப் போற்றி என்னாத இவ் ஆக்கையாற் பயன் என்?'  This 'valam vandu' means to 'go around from the left', that is to do PradakshiNam and that is 'வலம் வந்து' in Tamil.  Point to note here is that, when we walk around the temple from the left, we are keeping all the sanctums on our right with respect and with due worshipfulness!  This is the job of the body, to go around God's temple from the left, as the purpose of its very existence!  In addition to PradakshiNam he has also said a few more things as, 'pookkaiyãl atti', which means, 'to continuously pour like in a water-fall, pouring flowers'.  Exactly similarly ÃNdãL says in Thiruppãvai, 'toomalar toovit tozhudu vãyinãl pãdi manadinãl sindikka' – 'தூமலர் தூவித்தொழுது வாயினால் பாடி மனதினால் சிந்திக்க', meaning 'to do Archana continuously pouring flowers while singing with one's mouth and voice and also simultaneously thinking of the enormous beneficence of God!  

156.                  It is particularly said that mind, speech and body should be made totally oriented towards God.  Here ÃNdãL has changed the order as body, speech and mind when she says that by doing Archana by the hands, singing the praise by one's voice and to think of God by the mind, to make one's very existence divinely oriented.  Though the words are different there is no difference in Appar's and ÃNdãL's songs in the message.  What Appar says as 'pook kaiyãl atti' is the same as 'too malar toovi thozhudu' by ÃNdãL and the word 'thozhudu' can be doing Namaskãra or offering flowers or doing Anjali by the hands.  Appar told the hands to 'kaikãL kooppit thozheer' – 'கைகால் கூப்பித் தொழீர்' and ÃNdãL said 'too malar toovi tozhudu' – 'தூ மலர் தூவி தொழுது'.  When Appar asks as to what is the use of this body, the answer is being given by both Appar and ÃNdãL that, we are to bow our heads, use the power of speech by singing in praise of God; by the middle part of the body, that is by the hands plucking and stringing the flowers in to a garland and placing it on the God's neck or by doing Archana pouring a continuous shower of petals of flowers and by using the lower end of the body, that is, the legs to perambulate around his temple from the left, thereby making full use of having been born in this world as a human being with body parts, six senses and hands and legs a mouth that speak and a mind that can think!

157.                  The mouth, the voice and the power of speech should be made use of in singing praise of God as far as possible, as otherwise it is a misuse of the facility given to us as, 'portri yennãda' – 'போற்றி என்னாத', is a facility that is simply wasted.  Then talking about the head, he started from there only when he said 'talaiye nee vaNangãi' – 'தலையே நீ வணங்காய்'!  In another place he has said, 'taliyãra kumbittuk koothumãdich sankara saya portri portri yenrum' – 'தலையார கும்பிட்டுக் கூத்துமாடிச் சங்கரா சய போற்றி போற்றி என்றும்'.  Often devotees of Sankara sing a chorus 'Jaya, Jaya Sankara, Hara, Hara Sankara' – 'जय जय संकर, हर हर संकर'.  That is what Appar says in Tamil as – 'சங்கரா சய போற்றி.  When you keep on repeating such chanting you get animated somewhat with overflowing of religious fervour, don't you?  That is what Appar has said as 'koothumãdi' – 'கூத்துமாடி'.  Siva is a dancer himself and makes the whole universe and cosmos move round and round, in a dance of endless spins and spirals and in the bargain we are also only bit-players of small parts!  He is anyhow called the 'Ãnanda Kooththan' – 'ஆனந்தக் கூத்தன்', meaning the 'Happy Dancer' and we are also 'kooththargaL' – 'கூத்தர்கள்', part of the ensemble! 

158.                  If we can do bending of the head in supplication, Archana by the hands of picking up the flowers or so many of the other offerings and recitation of litany by the mouth with ardent devotion; that is the fruit of our having been born, the poet says.  We make a note of one more thing.  Head, hands and feet are all three important parts of the body while doing Namaskãra.  Head is the top end, hands are the end parts of the arms and the feet are the other end of the legs; thus are the extremities of the human body and these very ends are important in the act of Namaskãra; Namaskãra by bowing the head, by folding the hands in Anjali and placing them on the ground before laying oneself flat on the ground and by bending the legs at the knees.  So are they important in offering the flowers and in perambulating from the left around God's Temple!

159.                  One question remains unasked.  Why did Appar Swami not talk about Sãshtãnga Namaskãra in which the centre part of the body, the chest and torso would have had to participate?  Talking about the 'Ãkkai' – 'ஆக்கை' all the time how could he have forgotten to talk about Sãshtãnga Namaskãra in which the whole body parts have a role to play each? What I feel about it is that, it is so obvious that he left it as unsaid!  When it comes to being worshipful to God, Namaskãra is minimum that we should do, as well as the most important part of it, isn't it?  Say we are instructing the cook about items to be cooked in a feast.  We are talking about the vegetables, each item of the menu, savouries and sweets.  Will it be a great mistake if we do not talk about the Bread or Roti or Rice, which is after all the most important item, isn't it?  Do we have to say 'Please make 'Sãdam' – 'சாதம்' by cooking Rice'?  Even when asking others who have had the food about the quality of the food, do we ask, 'How was the rice cooked'?

160.                  It so happens that in Tamil, cooked rice is known as 'Sãdam' – 'சாதம்' and the things offered to God and then distributed amongst the devotees as divine blessings are known as Easwara Prasãda, that is 'Prasãdam' – 'பிரசாதம்' in Tamil.  May be that is how the word 'Sãdam' evolved from 'Prasãdam'.  Some time or the other I have spoken about the three GuNas of Satva, Rajas and Tama meaning Purity, Passion and Inertia.  Amongst them the most Satva food, as Sãdhu Annam could have come to be called the Sãdam and when the same is given to us with the Grace and blessings of God, it came to be called the 'Prasãdam' – 'प्रसादं'.

(To be continued.)




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