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Monday, 3 June 2013

ஸந்த்யா வந்தனத்தின் மஹிமை Sandhyavandana Mahima

Scroll down to read in English

ஸந்த்யா வந்தனத்தின் மஹிமையைப் பற்றி ஒரு கதை இருக்கிறது. இக்கதை சுமார் 500, 600 வருஷங்களுக்கு முன் நடந்ததாக ஊகிக்க முடிகிறது. சென்னை கவர்மெண்டைச் சேர்ந்த ஆர்க்கியலாஜிகல் டிபார்ட்மெண்டார் பிரசுரித்திருக்கும் ரிகார்டில் இந்தக் கதைக்கு ஆதாரங்கள் இருக்கின்றன.

திருவனந்தபுரத்தை ஆண்ட ராஜாக்களில் ஒருவர், எள்ளினால் ஒரு காலபுருஷன் உருவத்தைச் செய்து, அதனுள் ஏராளமான ஐவர்யத்தை வைத்து, தானம் செய்யப் போவதாக விளம்பரம் செய்தார். அந்த உருவத்திற்குள் இருக்கும் பொருளைக் கருதி, அநேகம் பேர் தானம் வாங்குவதற்காக வந்தார்கள். அந்த காலபுருஷன் உருவம் கேட்ட கேள்விகளுக்குத் தக்க பதில் சொல்ல முடியாமல், தானம் வாங்க வந்தவர்களெல்லாம் மரணமுற்றார்கள். 

கன்னடியர் என்ற ஒரு பிராம்மணர் இருந்தார். ஸந்த்யா வந்தன கர்மாவில் வெகு ச்ரத்தை உள்ளவர். சாஸ்திரங்கள் முதலானவற்றில் அவருக்கு அப்யாஸம் கிடையாது. அந்தத் தானத்தை வாங்க அவர் வந்தார். அப்போது அந்த காலபுருஷனின் உருவம் மூன்று விரல்களைக் காட்டியது. முடியாது என்றார். பிறகு இரண்டு விரல்களைக் காட்டியது. அதற்கும் முடியாது என்றார். கடைசியாக ஒரு விரலைக் காட்டியது, சரி என்றார். தான் ஒன்றும் செய்ய முடியாததைக் கண்டு, காலபுருஷன் அந்த உருவத்தினின்றும் மறைந்தான்.

அந்தத் தானத்தில் அடங்கிய சகல ஐசுவர்யங்களையும் அந்தப் பிராமணர் வாங்கிக்கொண்டார். மூன்று விரல்கள், மூன்று வேளைகளில் செய்யப்படும் ஸந்த்யா வந்தனத்தின் பலன். இரண்டு விரல்கள், காலை மாலை இருவேளைகளின் ஸந்த்யா வந்தன பலன். ஒருவிரல், ஒருவேளை, அதாவது மாத்யாந்நிகத்தின் பலன் என்பது காலபுருஷன் உருவம் கேட்ட கேள்விகளின் அர்த்தம்.

ஸந்த்யா வந்தனத்தின் ஒருவேளையின் பலனைக் கொடுத்ததன் மூலமும், ஐசுவர்யத்தைத் தானம் வாங்கியதன் மூலமும் பிராம்மணருக்குப் பாபம் சம்பவித்துவிட்டது. அந்தப் பாபத்தைப் போக்கிக்கொள்ள வேண்டிய வழியைத் தெரிந்துகொள்ள அகத்திய முனிவர் தவம் செய்துகொண்டிருப்பதாகச் சொல்லப்படும் மலைச்சாரலுக்குச் சென்றார். போகும் முன், தம்மிடமிருந்த தனத்தைப் பாது காக்கும்படி, கோவில் பூஜை செய்து வந்த ஒரு குருக்களிடம் ஒப்படைத்தார். எங்கே சென்றாலும் அகத்திய முனிவர் காணப்படவில்லை. முனிவரைக் காணாமையால், அவர் ஏக்கமுற்றிருக்கும் சமயத்தில், அகத்திய முனிவர் ஓர் கிழ வடிவத்துடன் பிராம்மணர் முன் தோன்றினார். அவரிடத்தில், பிராமணர் இக்கதையைச் சொன்னார். அந்தக் கிழவர், நீ போகின்ற வழியில் ஒரு பசுமாடு உமக்குத் தென்படும். அந்த இடத்திலிருந்து நீ ஒரு கால்வாய் வெட்ட ஆரம்பிக்க வேண்டும். பசுமாடு எவ்வளவு தூரம் சென்று நிற்கின்றதோ அவ்வளவு தூரத்திற்குக் கால்வாய் வெட்ட வேண்டும்.

நடுவில் பசுமாடு எந்த இடங்களில் சாணி போட்டு மூத்திரம் பெய்கிறதோ அந்த அந்த இடங்களில், சாணிபோட்ட இடத்தில் மடை அமைக்கவும், மூத்திரம் பெய்யும் இடத்தில் வாய்க்கால் வெட்ட வேண்டும். இவ்விதம் செய்தால் உமக்கு ஏற்பட்டிருக்கும் பாபம் போய்விடும் என்று கிழவர் சொன்னார். கன்னடியர் அவ்விதமே செய்யத் தீர்மானித்துக் கொண்டு, திரவியத்தைத் திரும்ப வாங்குவதற்காக குருக்களிடம் சென்றார்.

குருக்களுக்குப் பிராமணர் கொடுத்த தனத்தின்மீது மோகம் ஏற்பட்டுவிட்டது. அந்தக் காலத்து பவுன் இளம் துவரம் பருப்பை ஒத்திருக்குமாதலால், குருக்கள் பிராமணரிடம் துவரம் பருப்புகளைக் கொடுத்து, “நீர் கொடுத்த திரவியம் இதுதான், எடுத்துக்கொள்ளும்” என்றார். குருக்களின் வஞ்சகச் செயலை அறிந்துகொண்ட பிராமணர், “நான் கொடுத்தது இதுவல்ல, நான் கொடுத்ததைக் கொடுங்கள்” என்று மிகவும் பிரார்த்தித்துக் கேட்டுக்கொண்டார். எந்தப் பயனும் ஏற்படவில்லை. ஆகவே, ராஜாவிடம் சென்று முறையிட்டுக்கொண்டார். குருக்களும் தருவிக்கப்பட்டார். ஆனால் குருக்கள் குற்றத்தை ஒப்புக்கொள்ளவில்லை. ஆகவே குருக்கள் பூஜை செய்யும் லிங்கத்தைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு பிரமாணம் செய்தால் நான் ஒப்புக்கொள்கிறேன் என்று பிராமணர் கூறினார். அவ்விதம் செய்வதாகக் குருக்களும் சம்மதித்துவிட்டார். 

குருக்கள் ஆபிசாரப் பிரயோகத்தில் தேர்ந்தவரானதால், லிங்கத்திலுள்ள ஸ்வாமியைப் பக்கத்திலுள்ள ஒரு மரத்தில் ஆகர்ஷனம் செய்துவிட்டார். இதை ஸ்வாமி, பிராமணரின் சொப்பனத்தில் தோன்றி, நடந்ததைச் சொல்லிவிட்டார். பிராமணர் மறுபடியும் ராஜாவிடம் சென்று, “குருக்கள் மரத்தைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு பிராமணர் செய்யும்படிச் செய்ய வேணுமாகக் கேட்டுக்கொண்டார்”. குருக்கள் மறுப்பளித்தார். ராஜா விடவில்லை. மரத்தைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு பிரமாணம் செய்யுமாறு ஆணையிட்டார் ராஜா. குருக்கள் மரத்தைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு பிரமாணம் செய்தார். உடல் எரிந்துபோய்விட்டது. ‘எரிச்சுக்கட்டி ஸ்வாமி’ என்பது அந்த ஆலயமூர்த்தியின் பெயர். திருநெல்வேலி ஜில்லாவில் அந்த ஆலயம் இருக்கிறது. பிறகு, பிராமணர் தம் தனத்தை எடுத்துக்கொண்டு கிழவர் சொல்லியபடி பசுமாட்டைக் கண்டு கால்வாய் வெட்டினார். 

‘கன்னடியன் கால்வாய்’ என்பது அதன் பெயர். திருநெல்வேலி ஜில்லாவில் இருக்கின்றது. அந்தக் கால்வாயின் பிரதேசங்கள் இன்றைக்கும் செழித்திருக்கின்றன. இந்தக் கதையினால் ஸந்த்யா வந்தனத்தின் பெருமை நன்கு விளங்குகிறது. 

எனவே ஸந்த்யா வந்தனம் ஒரு கடமை. அது செய்வதால் உலக க்ஷேமம் ஏற்படுகின்றது. ச்ரத்தையுடன் செய்தால் மோக்ஷம் லபிக்கின்றது என்பதைத் தெரிந்துகொண்டு, நமது கடமைகளில் ஒன்றாகச் செய்து வரவேண்டும் என்று உங்கள் எல்லோரிடமும் தெரிவிக்கின்றேன்.


Karma Vyati and Gayatri Shakti



About 500 – 600 years ago, a Kerala king who ruled with Thiruvananthapuram as his capital, was inflicted by a chronic disease, which could not be diagnosed even after several rounds of trials and testing. Despite the royal treatment, the king continued to suffer without a cure for his disease.

One night, the king prayed to the Lord and dozed off. He had a dream in which a huge form stretching from earth to sky appeared and said: “O king, What afflicts you is a karma vyaati . That is, it is the result of the sins you committed over several previous births, which have not been paid for yet. You cannot be cured by medicine. You have to recompense. You have but one recourse. Get a statue made out of sesame seeds, equal to you in physical dimensions, fill it with gold, transfer your sins and disease to that statue, and gift it to a Brahman. The karma will leave you and transfer to him. If he is a master of mantrasakti, he’d be able to absorb the disease. To compensate for the transfer of disease, he has to be given the gold in exchange. 

When the next day dawned, the king had the image done in sesame seeds, had it filled with gold, and informed the Brahman community. No one came forward to accept the gift of gold, not willing to trade their mantrasakti for curing the king. It would be a huge risk, taking on a lifetime suffering in case their power was inadequate. The king could not bear the agony and got the information communicated to neighboring states too. The news reached Karnataka. A brave young man from Karnataka, confident of the power of his mantras arrived in Thiruvananthapuram to accept the offer. The king was happy to give the disease away, and ceremoniously gifted the sesame statue.

And then started a strange interaction. The young man stared at the statue, and it lifted its right hand up with three fingers extended. The king’s karma had been transformed into kaala purusha that resided with live power in the statue, which therefore acted, infused with life. This was not acceptable to the young man, who simply rejected that offer as well as the next offer of two extended fingers. When the statue came down to one extended finger, the young man condescended to accept. Thereupon, the statue fell at his feet. Kaala purusha liberated himself, leaving the statue as an inanimate object.

The Brahmachari then explained the whole sequence to the raja and the rest of the crowd who watched it all in awe and wonder. The young man had dialogued with kaala purusha, asking what he wanted in exchange for retreating without affecting him. The negotiation started with an exchange value of 3 rounds of gayatri (trikaala sandhyavandana palan) and ended with an offer and acceptance of one. People understood the power of chanting gayatri. As for the king, he was simply elated, as if the Lord himself had come to save him as He did in the form of Vamana in the court of Mahabali. The moment the Brahmachari took hold of the statue, the king was cured of his malady.

While the world celebrated his success, the young man was distressed. He had violated dharmasastra accepting the gift of gold and bartering away the empowerment of Gayatri, all for the benefit of an individual. He started seeking the right act of compensation that would bring greater good to the greatest numbers. He decided to seek the advice of Agastya maharshi who lives on eternally as chiranjeevi. Of all those who lived as humans there is no one who used divine power (divya shakti) for the common good, as did Agastyar. Though said to be thumb-sized in physical stature, his spiritual stature was enormous. It was he who helped Himachal restore its original height by counter- balancing from the southern side, the weight of the entire world that had gathered in the north . It was he who stunted the egoist growth of the Vindhyachal. He compressed the ocean into his palm in an act of aachamaneeyam. Above all, it was his act of eternal kindness that blessed us with river Kaveri.

Several families in Karnataka worship Agastyamuni as their protector and guru. The hero of our story too came from one such family, and he remains anonymous. 

This is no mere story, but has evidence of history. Praacheena loka mala, a compilation of records etched in stone, and as copper plate inscriptions, has been published by Nirnayasagar Printing Press as part of their kavya mala series. Volume 3, of this compilation, has a record that evidences this as a historical incident. Also during the British period, the Annual report of 1903-04 (p.84) of the Archeology Dept. of the Madras Presidency provides the records relevant to this. It is a record related to Chermadevi. We would soon discover the connection between Chermadevi and our story.

Just wanted to make the point this is no made-up story, in which case we could so easily have given a name to the hero. It’s because this is a true story, we are unable to give him a name. We learn that our ancestors, who performed great deeds, showcased only their acts, with their personal identity receding to the background, thus practicing humility as a virtue. In contrast, with no act of greatness as our claim to fame, we want a big name. 

Our young man started his pilgrimage to Malayaparvata, the abode of Agastya. The fragrance-laden gentle breeze we call as malayamaarutam comes across from this mountain, famous for its sandal trees. This is the very mountain that finds an esteemed place in ancient Tamil literature as Podhigai. Agasthyar who gave the life source to Coorg, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by gifting river Kaveri, created Tamraparni, from Malayaparvatam, to give a life source to the territories common to Kerala and Tami Nadu. This holy river flowed thru’ the old Kerala for some distance, and then into the southern Pandya kingdom (thenpaandi).

Agasthyar’s Solution 


Departing from Thiruvananthapuram towards his destination Podhigai, the young hero reckoned it would be dangerous to take the forest route with so much gold. There was a priest in Ambasamudram, whom he trusted. He decided to leave the gold in his custody and then start the onward journey to Podhigai. After getting Agasthya Bhagwan’s darshan and advice on how to spend the gold for a societal cause, he thought he could take the bag of gold back from the priest. And so he reached Ambasamudram and entrusted the valuables to the priest.

Anxious not to delay Agstya darshan any further, the young man walked, unmindful of hunger, sleep, aches and pains. Walking across hills and water bodies, he fell down, fainting in fatigue. An old Brahman appeared and helped the young man out of his stressed condition. He was none other than Agastyar himself! From his abode in malayaparvatam, Agastyar could see in his vision of wisdom this kid coming in search of him overcoming a great deal of hardship. He wanted to go out and meet the boy on the way. Still he wanted to play a friendly little game, with the actual intent of highlighting the boy’s dedication and single minded devotion.

With a little resting, the young man wanted to resume his holy journey to malayachalam. Inquiring (as if he did not know) where the young man was rushing, the saint said in an obvious attempt to discourage him, “God knows where this mendicant would be. Why go through these travails, just to see him?” The Brahmachari was in no mood to give up. He said, “Our most compassionate guru will take care of us. Please don’t stop me.” Agastyar then revealed himself and blessed him.

“O my son, a cow will now appear before you. Pl follow the cow and build a dam on Tamraparni where the cow stops, and dig out a canal from the dam along the course the cow takes; make sluices and ducts at its excretion points, and lakes / ponds where it rests. At a particular point the cow will disappear from your sight. That would be your finish line to complete the canal. So, to quench the thirst of men and animals, to enable them to wash off the accumulated dirt as well as exhaustion, and to help crops grow and feed people, if you indeed do this great deed, your pratigrha dosham will melt away, paving the way to punyalokam; Your name will live as long as the sun and moon live!”

What else would the sage who gave us Kaveri and Tamraparni give as a solution, other than a route to quench thirst? When Agastyar left, a cow appeared, wandered, and settled down near the river Tamraparni. This is Cheramadevi, then in Kerala, now in Tirunelveli. Surrounded on all sides by mountains and the river, the delightful Chermadevi is full of coconut groves. So our young man ‘tailgated’ the cow that stood in Chermadevi, As it started running, he marked out the route together with the bio-stops and resting spots.

As he was following the cow in his efforts to bring benefits to the world, the cow entered the house of a woman by name Kalaasi in Seeniapuram.. Kalaasi queried the young man ‘Why did you let the cow into my house? And why are you marking out the route?” The honest young man recounted the entire story. I did not tell you the full details as it is not right on my part to interrupt the course of the cow. But when digging the canal, I will seek your permission, and pay compensation in gold, before taking over the house and merging the plot into the cow’s route. But Kalaasi did not want any compensation. The punyam from participating in this enabler activity to bring water and therefore prosperity to the town was sufficient reward for her. In any case the irrigation would benefit her lands too. 

And then the cow led him through some further distance, reached a village by name Paranthari, and from the shores of a dried up lake, it disappeared from sight. The village is now known as Piranchari. The Brahmachari understood this was the divine cow that came from Agastyar’s blessings, to plan out a course for a canal from Tamraparni.

The deceit and the punishment 


Having gleaned that the canal should terminate in the Paranthari lake, the young man ran to Ambasamudram to get the gold back. Public service means tireless running around and taking all the temporary failures and hurdles on the way. The young man now faced such a situation: Opening the bag returned by the priest, he found it was filled with the lentil instead of the gold in the shape of lentils.

The young man went to the King to seek justice. As Ambasamudram was in Kerala those days, the appeal was to the very same king who gifted the gold. The king who had earlier seen the mettle of the young man when he cured his disease, now fully comprehended his greatness from his noble intent of spending the entire gifted wealth for the good of the people. Still, since the man involved was a Shivacharya, the king called him and spoke to him with respect. But the priest stuck to his stance. So the king ordered him to take oath (satyapramanam), touching the Lord Kashyabheswara Mahalinga swamy to whom he performed puja everyday. The priest agreed. His secret plan was to do a pranapradhishta of the Lord in a tamarind tree the previous night and take the oath in the sanctum sans the lord.

Just as He did in the story of Sundaramoorthy nayanar and Sangili nachiayar, the Lord let the cat out of the bag, appearing in the Brahmachari’s dream. Next morning when the king and the public gathered at the temple to witness the ‘swearing’ the Brahmachari said the priest need not invoke the Lord for such a mundane matter; suffice it to promise under the tamarind tree in the campus. The crowd applauded his magnanimity, a bonus he got in staging the drama scripted by the Lord. The king’s verdict followed the same script and the priest was asked to take the oath under the tree. The priest, by then on the irreversible course of his destiny, held the tree that had been consecrated with the power of the Lord, and stated under oath that he had returned to the young man the very same bag as was entrusted to him. The moment he uttered the words, a huge flame appeared, engulfed the priest, and turned him into ashes.

Errors can be forgiven. But the string of deceitful acts, the misappropriation of gold violating the trust placed in him, cunning ploys to defuse the oath, and above all trying to use the Lord he ceremoniously prayed to on behalf of the people to be an accomplice in his fraudulent act, went beyond the limits of tolerance. And the Lord scorched the man who betrayed.

The astounded king and the people were then informed of the dream and the divine revelation. The king then had the priest’s house searched, recovered the bag of gold, and was immensely happy to return the money that he had originally gifted.

Having incinerated the priest, Kashyabeswara took new names as Daheswara (from the root dahanam), erikkattichamy, ericha mudiyar, erichaavudaiyar etc. Till recently, there had been a local custom of asking people who committed acts of crime to take oath before this deity. Even those who lied under oath in the courts of law are said to have confessed here.

As ordained by Agastyar, the Brahmachari built a dam in Chermadevi and dug a canal as charted out by the run of the cow, complete with sluices, conduits and ponds along the course, ending in the Paranthari lake. In return for her gesture in allowing her house to be pulled down to make way for the canal, the lake and the canal therefrom were named after Kalaasi as Kalaasimadai and Kalaasi kaalvaai.

The man who made her name eternal, the man who was the cause and instrument for the canal, did not etch his own name in history. Till this day this canal irrigates thousands of acres of land, and provides life source for the drinking and cleansing of thousands of humans, animals and other living beings. From the place of origin of the man who remained anonymous, the canal is being called kannadian kaalvaai. The Chermadevi inscription calls it by the Sanskrit name Karnataka kulya. Thiruvananthapuram samastanam has done well to preserve the record.

Milagup Pillayaar (Pepper Pillayaar)


The man who accomplished so much could not but be humble. To ensure the humility (vinayabhavam) that no big effort would be fruitful without the Grace of God, He put t the young man through a test. Right after the completion of the dam and the canal, for 2-3 years the rains failed. When the river source dried up, of what use would the dam and canal be?

The Brahmachari who prayed to the Almighty through Agastyar, his acharya, stood on his head in penance, a la Bhageerathan, on the sands of Tamraparni, in an act of surrender to the Guru. No longer did he think of his pratigraha dosham; in single minded devotion to the cause of public good this man without a home or asset, family or progeny, went through such hardships.

Agastyar appeared, appreciated him for passing the test, and installed a Mahaganapathy right on the spot. “Mix water into pepper powder in a thick paste and smear over the Lord. Take the trouble in these days of water scarcity to get pots of water and pour over the deity so its form becomes invisible in holy abhishekam. The rains would come pouring. Tamraparni will be in deluge, filling the dam site, the canal and the water bodies.” He blessed.

The man did as told. The rains came as promised. As his act of eternal charity, the canal has been providing life source to the land around for centuries. Even now when rains fail, the pepper kaappu abbhishekam to the Chermadevi pillayaar is a favorite ceremony to bring rains back. Near the sluice adjoining the school of Vedas, an annual prayer is held, whether it rains or shines. The Lord is called Pepper Pillayaar.

With the inexpensive labor and other costs of those days, the young man had money left on completion of the canal construction. At the origin of the canal, at the river’s bathing space (snaana gattam) he built a temple for Shiva, known as Appan kovil, with permanent endowment for daily puja, and an annachatram for feeding people. Travancore royal state has also given grants and aid to ensure its continuity.


குறிப்பு:

ஸ்ரீ வை. வைத்யசுப்ரமணிய அய்யர் அவர்கள் வெளியிட்டுள்ள, ஸந்த்யா வந்தனத்தின் முக்கியத்துவம்’ என்ற புத்தகத்திலிருந்து எடுத்து,சென்னை மயிலாப்பூர் வேத அத்யயன ஸபா வெளியிட்டுள்ள ‘உபநயனம்’ என்ற தலைப்பில் ‘பெரியவாள் முடிகொண்டான் கிராமத்தில் 16.12.1939 இல் அருளிய உபதேசம்’ என்ற தலைப்பில் வெளியிட்டுள்ள கட்டுரையின் ஒரு பகுதி.