Monthly Archives: December 2015

Song 360 – A Request to Forget Me

360 மறக்க வேண்டுகிறேன்

கையெடுத்துக் கும்பிடுகிறேன்

கெஞ்சி ஒன்று வேண்டுகிறேன்

என்னைப் பற்றி எவருமே

ஏதுஒன்றும் சொல்லவேண்டாம்

 

காலமென்னும் ஓட்டத்திலே

கால்கடுக்க ஓடுகின்றேன்

இறுதியாக எப்படியோ

கரைநானும் சேர்வதற்கே

 

மனிதனாக பிறந்தபோதும்

மனிதனாக வாழ்வில்லை

மனதுஒன்று இருந்தும்கூட

முழுமையாகப் புரியவில்லை

 

புத்திபலதை மறுக்கிறது

பக்திசிலதை ஏற்கிறது

புத்திபக்தி இரண்டினிடையே

சித்தம் ஊசலாடிடுது

 

புத்தியிலும் வளரவில்லை

பக்தியிலும் சிறக்கவில்லை

எப்படியோ இறைவன்கருணை

ஏந்திஎன்னைக் காக்கிறது

 

அந்தக்கருணை யாறறிவார்

அவர்சொந்தம் ஆகாவிட்டால்

அடையாஒன்றை அறிதவர்போல்

வீண்வாதம் செய்கின்றார்

 

வந்தபோதுஒரு அடையாளம்

வையம்தானே தருகிறது

போகும்போது அதனுடனே

போகத்தானே சொல்கிறது

 

இடையிலெதனை மாற்றிடினும்

எந்தவேடம் போட்டிடினும்

இறுதியாகஏதோ ஒன்றை

ஏற்கவேண்டி இருக்கிறது

 

என்னவாக அதுஇருந்தும்

எவர் அதைத்தந்தும்

“பக்தன்” என்ற ஒன்றுமட்டும்

பணிந்துநானும் கேட்கின்றேன்

 

பாவியாக வாழ்ந்திருந்தேன்

“பக்தனாக்கி” ஆட்கொண்டான்

அந்தஒரு அடையாளம்

அடிமைக்கு என்றும்போதும்

 

எனவேஒன்றை வேண்டுகிறேன்

என்னைமறக்க கெஞ்சுகிறேன்

அவனைப்பெருக்கி என்னைச்சிறுக்கி

அவனுள்புதைக்க விரும்புகிறேன்

 

புதைத்ததை தோண்டியெடுத்து

கூறுபோட்டு பார்ப்பீரோ

கொடுமையான அந்தசெயலை

செய்யவேண்டாம் கெஞ்சுகிறேன்.

 

13-12-2015, மத்திகிரி, 2.00

 

English Translation

“A Request to Forget Me”

With folded hands I request you
And plead with you to do me a favor
Please don’t do
Any kind of study of me

In the race of life
I run with much pain and strain
So that by some means
I too will reach the further shore

Though born as a human being
I never remained like a ‘human’
Though I have a mind,
I never completely understood myself

Reason (intellect) refuses to accept many things
But bhakti accepts a few things
And my mind swings
In between reason/rationalism and bhakti

Neither I have grown in my intellect
Nor shone in my bhakti
Somehow the grace of God
Sustains me each day

Who can understand that grace
Unless one owns it as her/his own
And they unnecessarily debate over it
Without actually receiving it

When we are born
The world gives an identity to us
And when we will pass away
It asks us to go with that identity

What ever that might be
And whoever bestows it to us
I with humility request to give
the identity of “Bhakta” for me

I lived as a sinner
He redeemed me and made me a “bhakta”
That one identity is
Enough for this slave

Therefore I request you one thing
And plead with you to forget me
And please bury me in him
To increase him and decrease me

Will you exhume a buried life
And do the post mortem?
Don’t do that cruel act
I plead with much humility

13.12.2015, Mathigiri, 2.00 pm

 

 

 

Thoughts

This is bit autobiographical; if you get irritated please ignore this poem.

I read two rebuttals1 today that overwhelmed me in showing how Swami Vivekananda was more of a victim than an ideal case study for scholars.

Then I thought about myself. Whether I like it or not, there will be some debate about me in the future. It was amusing to think how they will interpret me against their ideologies and agendas.

But if I was asked, “How would you like to be remembered?”, my humble response would be, “Please forget me completely.” I don’t say this with any pseudo-humility but a real commitment. Frankly, I want to be erased from people’s memory. If that is not possible, the only way I want to be interpreted is as “a bhakta of Muktinath” – nothing more and nothing less.

I don’t believe the myth that we have no identity when we are born and we have none when we die. According to my understanding, we are all born and die with an identity (cultural, social, religious, etc.). No matter how you change that identity (changing religion, culture, nationality, gender, etc.) we must carry some identity when we die. For me, I want that identity to be as ‘a bhakta of Muktinath’.

My rational mind refuses to understand or accept so many things related to the life and mission of the Lord. At the same time, my bhakti is happy to remain His bhakta because I don’t need any proof other than my own life. I never lived an extremely immoral life, but knowing my nature, I have always thought of myself as a sinner saved by the Grace of the Lord.

Many other (Hindu) saints had similar experiences2 and claimed to be saved by the same grace of God. But I find the doctrine of prayaschitta (atonement) done by the Lord more convincing as it addresses my psychological and moral (spiritual) needs. Until the end of my life, I have to swing between rationality and my bhakti.

Therefore, as a sinner saved by the grace of Bhagavan Muktinath, I would prefer to be forgotten by all. If that won’t happen, let my life ‘increase His glory’ and decrease my identity and let me be buried in Him. As a final request, please don’t unearth my life after I die to conduct some post-mortem to give a report to others according to your ideology or agenda.

Anxiety is inevitable when you worry about how people will think of you after you are gone. When I was at Mahari (Rewa, M.P. with Shashi Kant Dube 11-11-1994) I wrote a poem about it.3 I never consciously planned my life. Several things happened on their own, decided by the invisible Hands of God. Only those who receive that grace alone can understand my life. Those who try to analyse my life with their agenda will only end up presenting a picture about me which I myself never understood or intended to live.

Db.

13-12-2015.

 

Endnotes:

  1. Ashis Nandy “Vivekananda and Secularism: A Nineteenth Century Solution and a Twentieth Century Problem” (pp.291-295) and Nirmal Mukherjee, “Vivekananda and Secularism” (pp.296-301) to Krishna Prakash Gupta’s article ‘Swami Vivekananda: “A Case Study of the Hindu Religious Tradition and the Modern Secular Ideal” (263-290), and Gupta’s “A Response”(pp.302-306) in: A. Raghuramaraju, ed. Debating Vivekananda: A Reader, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2014)
  1. குலம்பொல்லேன் குணம்பொல்லேன் குறியும்பொல்லேன்

குற்றமேபெரிதுடையேன் கோலமாய

நலம்பொல்லேனான்பொல்லேன் ஞானியல்லே

னல்லாரோடிசைந்திலேனடுவேனின்ற

விலங்கலேன்விலங்கலாதொழிந்தேனல்லேன்

வெறுப்பனவுமிகப் பெரிதும்பேசவல்லேன்

இலம்பொல்லேனிரப்பதல்லால் ஈயமாட்டே

னென்செய்வான்றோன்றினே னேழையேனே–

Evil, all evil, my race, evil my qualities all,

Great am I only in sin, evil is even my good.

Evil my innermost self, foolish, avoiding the pure,

Beast am I not, yet the ways of the beast I can never forsake.

I can exhort with strong words, telling men what they should hate,

Yet can I never give gifts, only to beg them I know.

Ah! Wretched man that I am, whereunto came I to birth?6

Tirunavukkarasu, F. Kingsbury, and G.E.Phillips, Hymns of the Tamil Saivite Saints, Calcutta, Association Press, 1921, song 35, p. 44 சுயசரிதை

 

  1. என்னென்ன கூறுவார்கள்

இறந்தபின் என்னைப்பற்றி

இருக்கும்போது கேட்கமாட்டார்

எந்தன் மனநிலையைப் பற்றி

துறவறம் இவனும் பூண்டான்

துணிவற்றதால் வாழ்ந்துகாட்ட

போட்டதெல்லாம் வெறும் வேஷம்

காணவில்லை அவனில் பெரும் மாற்றம்

காரணம் ஏதாய் இருக்கும் இவன்

வாழ்வைத் துறந்து இங்கு ஓட?

காதல் தோல்வியாய் இருக்கும் என

கதையும் கூறுவார் பலவே

துறக்கவில்லை வாழ்வை நானும்

தோற்கவில்லை வேறெதில் தானும்

வாழ்கின்றேன் வாழ்வில் நாளும்

வளமுடனே உம்மைப் போல

காசு, காதல், பெண்டு, பிள்ளை

எல்லாம் உலகின் வெளி வேஷம்

போகும்போது கூட வாரார் எனவே

இருக்கும் போதும் வேண்டாம் எனக்கும்

 

மஹரி, ரீவா,. மத்திய பிரதேசம், 11-11-1994.

 

“Autobiography”

Once I pass away

what all people will talk about me?

no one will ask about my mind

when I am still alive!

as he does not have courage

Many story will be told about me that

“he renounced everything

as he does not have courage to live

all are mere outward drama and

We cannot see any great change in him!

What could be the reason for him to?

Run away from the life like this?

May be it could be love failure”.

But I didn’t renounced the life

And not get defeated in any other thing

I too live a good life

Like you all

Wealth, love, wife and children

Are mere outward appearance in this world?

Won’t come when we go away

As they won’t come along with me when I go away

I don’t need them when I live too!

 

Democratic (Ir)Responsibility

It may not be the right time to share such a personal opinion, but as I am helpless like the people of Chennai, I need to vent my anger.

One of the several evils that democracy brought with it is the irresponsibility of the public and the need to blame the ruling party for everything. In addition, the opposition parties and the media continue to bark loudly, assuming they are the ‘watch dog of democracy’. Such barking only irritates people who think soberly. Of course, I would have done the same thing if I was affected by such a calamity and wasn’t receiving any help — particularly with the aged and sick. In contrast, the media in favor of the ruling party will glorify all their good work done irrespective of the adverse situation.

In one T.V. show (Vijay T.V. ‘Neeya Naana’, 30-11-15), a doctor shared how three months before the rainy season, various departments of the government met and discussed how to face the forthcoming rainy season. This is done by the government officials, irrespective of which party is ruling. But nobody can prepare for such a calamity which hit Chennai with the worst rain in nearly a century.

Continue reading

Tamil Song 139

நெருக்கடி

 

இந்த ரகசியம் எவர்தான் அறிவார்

அதைச் சொன்னாலும் எவர்தான் புரிவார்

உணர்ந்து பார்த்தோர் வாதம் செய்யார்

உணராதவரோ நம்ப மறுப்பார்

 

நெருக்கடி என்பது சொல்லி வராது

நேரம் காலம் பார்த்து வராது

எதிர்பாரா நேரத்தில் எவரையும் தாக்கும்

எப்படியேனும் நம்மை வீழ வைக்கும்

 

தன்பெலன் மீது நம்பிக்கை வைத்தும்

துணைவலி எத்தனை தொடர்ந்து வந்தும்

எதிர்ப்பவர் என்பவர் இல்லா போதும்

சடுதியில் வீழ்வது எவர்க்கும் வந்திடும்

 

சேர்த்து வைத்தது எத்தனை இருந்தும்

சோதனை தாங்கும் மனநிலை இருந்தும்

இதற்குமுன் எத்தனை அனுபவம் இருந்தும்

இமைக்கும் முன்வீழ்த்திடும் நிலையும் வந்திடும்

 

இதனை உணர்ந்தோர் ஒன்றை அறிவர்

தன் குறை-நிறைகளை ஏற்றுக் கொள்வர்

அதன்படி அனுதின வாழ்வையும் அமைத்து

ஆனமட்டும் வாழ்ந்தும் முடிப்பர்

 

23-12-15, குருகுலம். இரவு 7.00

 

English Translation

Crises

 

Who will know this secret?

Who will understand even if we tell it?

Those who experienced won’t argue

And those who never experienced will refuse to believe it.

 

Crisis will never come informing well in advance

And it won’t come seeing good day or time

It will attack anyone unexpectedly

And will defeat us by any means

 

Though one keeps faith in her own strength

And however other supports accompany

And even if there is none to oppose

Downfall will come to anyone suddenly

 

Though many things are accumulated

And even having a heart to face trials

However one might have previous experiences

A situation will come where one will fall even before the blink of the eye

 

Those who understood will know one thing

They will accept their strength and weakness

And planning the life accordingly

Somehow will complete the life.

 

23-12-15, Gurukulam, 7.00 pm.

 

 

Comments

As my back pain continued, I started to worry and wonder how I would manage my future life, if such physical impediments continue to come. One by one unexpected things began to develop in my life—particularly in the area of health. I was very proud and even bit arrogant a few years before that I had never become seriously sick. But as the body refuses to cooperate I often recall those arrogant thoughts. In that time I wrote this song.

Tamil Song 138

ஊர்கூடி இழுக்கனும்

 

என்னாலே முடியாது என்பது தெரியுது

எதற்கு வீண்வம்பு என்பதும் புரியுது

சும்மாவேனும் சங்கை ஊதிக் கெடுத்தவன்போல்

செய்வதால் எல்லோர்க்கும் தொந்தரவாய் ஆகுது

 

நமக்கென்ன என்று இருக்கவும் முடியாது

நான்னென்ன புலம்பினும் காரியம் ஆகாது

ஊர்கூடித் தேரை இழுப்பதே அல்லாமல்

சிலர்கூடித் தள்ளிட சற்றேனும் நகராது

 

தன்பங்கைச் செய்வதாய் எண்ணியே சிலநேரம்

தனியாகச் செய்வதால் பலனேதும் கிடையாது

பலர்கூடி செய்ய வருகின்ற நேரத்தில்

ஒருகைக் குறைநாலும் காரியம் நடக்காது

 

ஊரோடே ஒத்துப் போயேதான் ஆகனும்

ஒவ்வொருர் தன்பங்கைச் செய்தேதான் ஆகனும்

என்னாலே முடியாது என்றே ஒதுங்காமல்

இயன்றதை புலம்பாமல் செய்தேதான் ஆகனும்

 

20-12-2015, மத்திகிரி, இரவு, 11.15

 

Comments

As my back pain has increased, I find it difficult to manage so many things. I have to buy so many things and also to go to the ashram for the forthcoming year-end meeting. I was a bit perplexed how I would manage. But I realized that now knowing my limitation I should do what I could do and in over-enthusiasm I should not do that which will become more of a burden than a blessing to others. I strongly believe in this saying that ‘blessed is one who knows his limitation’. So when I was thinking about this, I wrote this song.

Rationality of Reason

When rationality is glorified beyond its reasonable limitation, I wonder what the very reason itself is. When someone like Swami Vivekananda claims that rationality is the only valid evidence (pramana) for any spiritual or religious claims, it creates a tension in me.

From Vivekananda himself:

“Again, ‘Experience is the only source of knowledge.’ The same methods of investigation which we apply to the sciences and to exterior knowledge should be applied to religion. ‘If a religion is destroyed by such investigation it was nothing but a useless and unworthy superstition; the sooner it disappeared the better.’ ‘Why religions should claim that they are not bound to abide by the standpoint of reason no one knows…For it is better that mankind should become atheist by following reason than blindly believe in two hundred million gods on the authority of anybody….Perhaps there are prophets, who have passed the limits of sense and obtained a glimpse of the beyond.  We shall believe it only when we can do the same ourselves; not before.’  It is said that reason is not strong enough, that often it makes mistakes.  If reason is weak why should a body of priests be considered any better guides?  ‘I will abide by my reason,’ continues Vivekananda, ‘because with all its weakness there is some chance of my getting at truth through it…We should therefore follow reason, and also sympathise with those who do not come to any sort of belief, following reason.’  In the study of this Raja Yoga no faith or belief is necessary. Believe nothing until you find it out for yourself’. {Most of the extracts from Vivekananda’s writings have been taken from Romain Rolland’s ‘Life of Vivekananda’.} Continue reading

Media Menace

This deluge in Chennai not only exposed the poor planning of the city’s development and the goodness of individual to serve, but also exposed the true nature of some of the media. In the name of “telling only the true story” or “giving first news” and parading how they are serving people most of the media discredited themselves.

For example, this morning (9-12-15) on Raj TV, they showed where they helped some affected people by providing some essentials and rations. Then the reporter said, “No one so far has reached these affected people. They all came only on the main road but failed to reach these people who are living a bit interior. It was only Raj TV who reached these people to help.”

Accordingly they also took an interview of a few people who received the help. All of them in one voice said, “No one came to help them but only Raj TV came to help, although we were suffering for the last six days.”   Continue reading

Tamil Song 137

பயனுள்ள உழைப்பு

 

சும்மா இருக்கும் சுகம்பெற வேண்டும்

சூழ்நிலை மறக்கும் நிலைபெற வேண்டும்

எல்லாம் முடியும் என்றில்லாமல்

எதுபயன் தரும் எனுமெண்ணம் வேண்டும்

 

சும்மா இருப்பது சோம்பல் அல்ல

சுறுசுறு பென்பது உழைப்பும் அல்ல

எதுசெய்வது எனும் இலக்கு இல்லாமல்

அலசடிப்படுவது வாழ்வும் அல்ல

 

பயனற்ற விதத்தில் பலசெயல் செய்து

பயனற்றுப் போனோர் பலரும் உண்டு

சிலவற்றைச் சிறப்பாய்ச் செய்து

மேன்மை அடைந்தோர் நம்மிடை உண்டு

 

ஓடிஉழைத்து பார்த்தவரெல்லாம்

ஓய்ந்து போகும் காலமும் உண்டு

உழைபில் விருப்பம் இல்லாதவரும்

சுறுசுறுப் படையும் காலமும் உண்டும்

 

செய்வது சிறிதாய் இருந்த போதும்

சிந்தை அதிலே ஒருமிக்க வேண்டும்

அலட்சியமாக பலவற்றைச் செய்ய

பயனற்றுப் போகும் வாழ்வும் கூட

 

மத்திகிரி, 14-12-2015, மதியம் 2.00

 

Comments

As usual, when I began to read my regular reading, I began to think how I had become too busy in reading so many things. As this thought came, I closed my book and sat quietly trying to relax. Of course as the mind is always busy, there is no point claiming that we are giving rest to our mind. Over the next few minutes, I began to think about the joy of remaining inactive, which is impossible for most human beings. I don’t think this is the concept of lazy. For me even a lazy person is very busy in remaining in laziness. Then I said quality is more important than quantity in any kind of work. Then I wrote this song.

Tamil Song 136

நல்லவேளை புரியலை

எப்படிச் சொன்னாலும்

எதைஎழுதி வைத்தாலும்

என்மன ஓட்டத்தையே

எடுத்துரைக்க வழியுமில்லை

 

உள்ளாக ஒன்றிருக்க

உதட்டிலே ஒன்றைவைத்து

செயற்கையாக செதிடும்

செயலுக்கு முடிவுமில்லை

 

உண்மையான என்நிலையை

உணராமல் நானிருக்க

என்னசொல்லி புரியவைக்க

என்பதும் விளங்கவில்லை

 

மனிதனாக பிறந்திருந்தும்

“மனிதனாக” வாழவில்லை

மனிதவாழ்வின் இரகசியத்தை

நானுமே அறியவில்லை

 

புரியாத புதிராக

புவிவாழ்வு தொடர்ந்திட

புரிந்துகொள்ளும் அவசியம்

எனக்கும் இருக்கவில்லை

 

காலம்கூட ஓடிப்போச்சு

காலன்வர நேரமாச்சு

கடைசிமட்டும் யோசிச்சாலும்

குழப்பமே மீதமாச்சு

 

என்னபதில் ஆனாலென்ன

எவர்வந்து சொன்னாலென்ன

என்வரை அவற்றாலே

மாற்றமேதும் நிகழவில்லை

 

இதைத்தான் சொல்லுகின்றேன்

ஏதோஎழுதி வைக்கின்றேன்

நல்லவேளை நான்சொவது

எவருக்கும் புரியவில்லை!

 

30-11-15, மத்திகிரி, இரவு, 11.30

 

Comments

As I went to Chennai to attend Adhu’s thread ceremony, I went by auto to the function. As per the ‘dharma’ of Chennai auto drivers, he began to lament about the flood, all the mistakes done by the public and govt. and all the solutions to the problem, which nobody heeded to listen him. (If you could travel in several autos in one day in Chennai, you could collect so much interesting information from them that you could write a story, screen play script, philosophy, theology, sociology, etc. Chennai auto drivers cannot travel without talking with the passengers.)

Similarly at the function I met so many people and talked about so many things. Likewise when we were driving, Madhu and I discussed various books and subjects. But people like me who were born in ‘post-Independent India’ but who still live in a ‘post-modern’ world find it difficult to cope with any world. People like my mother who managed to survive in the ‘modern world’ have less stresses as they escaped the ‘gadget invasion’ in their personal life. They are happy to read their daily newspaper, weekly magazine, gossip with neighbors, watch mega serials, etc.

But we who are caught between the ‘modern’ and ‘post-modern’ feel caught between ‘a rock and hard place’. Unable to cope with the modern trend of information Tsunami at the same time unable to keep away from them, I find it difficult to respond to one thing properly. And the worst scenario in this is how to analyse my life and communicate to others. When I was thinking on this line I wrote this song.

Textual Exegesis

One need not wonder how speakers can do it when they give long religious discourses, either as an exclamation or a question. The Puranas (along with many other scriptures) are huge in size, but even by taking one word or incident, the speakers can talk for several hours. Like MEGA-TV serials that run for several years, some religious discourses run for several episodes.

So this morning (23-10-15), as per my regular sadhana, I was listening to ‘Nalamtarum Narayaneeam’ (the Narayaneeyam which bestows welfare; in Podigai TV) by Sri. Thamal Ramakrishnan. I was amazed at the way he can infer so many new meanings into the Narayaneeya by Narayana Bhattar which he composed at Guruvayur.

For example, this morning he explained the word ‘varada’ in the tenth sloka of the third dasaka (chapter) of Narayaneeam. He said that the word ‘varadha’ not only shows that Guruvayur Narayanan is the bestower of boons to His bhaktas, but considering the way Bhattar uses the same word three times in this sloka, we can also assume or speculate that he is also mentioning the three great Sri Vaishnava centres of Tiruppadi, Kanchi and Sri Rangam. According to Ramakrishnan, Bhattar rarely repeated the same word again and again in one solka. But the way he uses the same word ‘Varadha’ three times in this particular sloka, we can assume that he also take us to those three important Sri Vaishnava centres, particularly Kanchi Varadan.

Similarly the way he can stretch the meaning even to the steps of the temple tanks or the step before the sanctuaries is also very interesting. For example, the 24 steps of the temple tank Guruvayur depict the 24 syllables of the Gayatri mantra. The steps in the Varadharaja temple in Kanchi also have their own explanation. The first ten steps depict the ten avatars of Vishnu, etc. When the number won’t co-operate, he splits the steps further. For example, as the Varadharajan temple has more than 20 steps, the first 10 are the 10 avatars, the next 8 could be the ashtakshara mantra (Om namo Narayanaya, an eight syllable mantra), and 3 steps could be three gunas or three Vedas, etc.

He does this not only to the steps but even explaining so many things related to the temple and various things related to the deities, like ornaments, thread, etc. Anything with six could be the six darshanas, 3 could be three Vedas or gunas. If it is 4, it could include the fourth Veda (atharvana); 8 is the ashtakshara mantra; 12 could be the 12 Vaishnavite Azhvars (saints), and so on and so forth. This is not limited to the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya. Every Indian sampradaya has their own holy numbers including the Christians (7, 12, 40 and 72).1

After this, when Dr. Anandapadbanacharya continued his discourse on ‘Ramanuja Vaibhavam’ (the glory of Ramanuja, Podigai 6.45 to 7.00 am), has to take a delicate path in uplifting his sectarian affiliation and not offending the followers of other faiths. For example, when Ramanuja went to visit the Puri Jaganath temple, as per his habit, he wanted to bring some reforms in the temple rituals (which he already began at Sri Rangam). But the traditional priests of Puri Jaganath temple did not like it. So they plotted to remove Ramanuja from Puri.

But Jaganath had a different plan. Since he wanted to allow the tradition to continue in the Puri temple, seeing that uniformity was neither possible nor good, he took Ramanuja while he was sleeping to another place. So when Ramanuja woke up, he was surprised that he was not in Puri, but also felt very sad that he was not in a holy Vaishnava centre.

In order to do his daily rituals and sadhana he had to worship in a Vishnu temple. But the local temple belonged to Shiva, which he could not worship. As usual, Narayana asked Ramanuja to go to the temple and to look carefully. After reaching the temple, Ramanuja asked the priests to further clean the sanctuary more clearly. (Don’t ask how the Shaivite priests didn’t cleared the sanctum before.)

When he saw who was there, he fell before the deity and began to worship. But others were surprised as he had fallen prostrate before Sivalinga. But knowing that he could not and would not worship Shiva, they asked him what he was doing. Ramanuja pointed to the deity and said it was not a linga but actually Kurma (tortoise) that they had been worshipping. As per his habit, he constructed other parts of the temple and made it a Vaishnavite centre.

We understand the delicate balance the preset day acharyas like Sri Anandapadbana have to undergo. They cannot openly proclaim that by removing the linga, Ramanuja converted it into a Vaishnavite temple. At the same time they cannot compromise with their sectarian affiliation and zeal to protect its orthodoxy. But converting a temple belonging to one sampradaya to another is part of our religious history and we need not hesitate to accept it. For example, most archaeologists and religious historians insist the present Badrinath temple was actually a Jaina or Buddha sanctuary that Sri Adi Sankara converted into a Vaishnavite centre and installed Nambudiri Brahmins from his native place (present day Kerala) as the priests.

Of course any open confession of such fact will be attacked by the liberals and others who want to promote a harmonious and unified Hinduism without sectarian conflict. But our present day demands cannot easily change the past historical reality so easily. Instead of explaining away easily, we need to confess that there was a past reality and history, but we need to move ahead to the needs and demands of the present where such sectarian extremism won’t work anymore.

Whatever might be the past and present reality about the religious history of India, we have to appreciate the way the present day speakers do their exegesis both of the text and tradition to accommodate both liberal and orthodox views simultaneously.

Db. 23-10-15

 

Endnotes

  1. The following points from McEvilley will help us to understand the prominence of number in religion:
    Many Hind numbers involve 108 (e.g., 1/4×432) in various decimal expansions, e.g., the 10,800 stanzas in the RgVeda and the 10,800 bricks in the Hindu fire altar.  The numbers have multiple readings built into them.  The number 108 , for example, is ¼ of 432; 10,800=30×360. The Satapatha Brahmana (X.4.3.14-20) says the total number of “ordinary” (lokamprna) bricks in a soma sacrifice arrangement of altars is 10,800 and that the altars in such an arrangement are to be surrounded by 360 enclosing stones.  To establish a cosmic correspondence, the SatapathaBrahmana (X.4.4.2) also says that the stars in the sky are 10,8000,000 (i.e., 1000x360x30)…. Similarly the Satapatha Brahmana says the RgVeda has 432,000 syllables, but the number does not match the text as we have it.  Again Mesopotamian numerology seems to have been imposed on a system that originally lacked it.  The believer is left with the consolation of thinking that “the number 432,000 is the ideal number of syllables,” and the missing syllables are in a sense really there but “unmanifest.” { Charles H. Kahn, The Astronomical Code of the Rg Veda, New Delhi: AdityaPrakashan, 1994. pp. 93, 91.} —Thomas McEvilley, Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies, Delhi, MotilalBanarsidass Publishers, (2002), First Indian Edition, 2008. p. 77

…In Babylonian religious thought the gods are represented by numbers. The number 1 represented the High God. The god of music, Enki, was represented by the number 40 which, in the sexagesimal system, means 40/60, that is 2/3, or the musical perfect fifth—the same ratio applied to the winter solstice (the New year)….—ibid. p. 87

…But seven seems to have been especially enshrined in astronomy somewhat later, when Sumerian astronomers focused on the fact that there are seven planets visible to the eye.  Due to this astronomical significance, the number seven came to signify totality: The whole cosmos was made up of seven levels. The seven-leveled ziggurat (Entemenanki at Babylon) signified ascent through the cosmos, made up of the seven planetary levels; the related idea of the seven levels of hell—which is both Sumerian and Indian—keeps the universe numerically symmetrical.  The sacredness of (p.88) the number seven worldwide is “of Mesopotamian origin,” {MirceaEliade, Shamanism, Bollingen Series 76 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1964), p. 274} and it occurs frequently, indeed in almost chaotic profusion, in the sacred literature of the Indian sects.

The Vratya ascetic of the AtharvaVeda is said to have seven pranas (breaths in the upper body), seven apanas (breaths in the lower body), and seven vyanas (breaths pervading the whole body) (AV XV 15.1.2.).  The RgVedic rishis, or wise men, are seven in number (as are the seven sages of archaic Greece) … This ancient number of totality yields the seven cakras; the seven breaths; the seven heavens and seven hells of the yogic cosmology; {See Shashi BusanDasgupta, Obscure Religious Cults (Calcutta: Firma KLM, 1976), p. 237} the seven steps of the Buddha, which represent the ascending of the seven planetary levels—that is, the surveying of the universe as a whole (M. {Majjhima Nikaaya} II. 123); the seven heads of the cobra hoods of Paarsva, Buddha, and others; the fact that Indra is called “killer of the seven”; the seven rishis; and so on.—ibid. pp. 88-89

The number 108 is also present throughout Indian religious literature, as, for example, the 108 pieces in which Sati’s body is torn in the Saiva myth, the tradition that there are 108 Upanisads, and so on. This number, too, comes from the Sumerian king list or an associated source; it derives from Precessional arithmetic as the fourth part of 432, and from sexagesimal arithmetic as the product of 3 and 36.

The number seventy-two, as in the 72,000 naadis, or channels, of the occult physiology of India, as mentioned, for example, in the Dhyanabindu Upanisad, also derives from Sumer. It both occurs in the king lists and arises in the sexagesimal arithmetic, where it represents 6 x 12, and in the mixed sexagesimal-Precessional arithmetic, where it is 432 divided by 6.  Astronomically, it is the number of years that the Precessional movement takes to traverse one degree.—ibid. p.89

The number 84 is common in Indian sacred numerology, occurring in a dizzying array of instances.  The tirthankara before Parsva, for example, is said to have died 840,000 years before Mahavira’s nirvana.  According to the Mahabharata (I.1098) Mount Meru is 84,000 yojanas high.  Tantras and Puranas mention 84 lacs of rebirth.  The Buddhadharma is traditionally said to be divided into either 84 or 84,000 branches.  When Maitreya, the future Buddha, renounces the world, it is said that he will be attended by 84,000 followers.  The SkandhaPurana describes 84 Siva lingas.  The Nath tradition records 84 siddhas.  Yogic  and tantric texts refer to the chief asanas, or yogic postures, as 84, or 84 million.  And so on.—ibid. p. 139

What has not been remarked upon is the fact that 84 is another of the distinctive Sumerian numbers.  In the Sumerian king lists 840 appears repeatedly, along with 420, as regnum lengths … Egypt and Mesopotamia of course influenced each other greatly, and by the Late Bronze Age their traditions moved out into the surrounding world in conflated and eclectic mixtures.—ibid. p. 140

Tamil Song 135

உண்மை எழுத்து

 

எவர் சொல்வதை நானுமே ஏற்பது

என்னுளே அவ்வுண்மை விளங்கிடாது

எவ்வளவு நான் வீணாக வாதிப்பது

அவர்கூறும் கருத்துக்கள் எனக்குப் புரியாமலே

 

படித்துப் படித்துப் பட்ட மரமானேன்

பலவற்றை சிந்தித்து பேதளித்துப் போனேன்

எதுஉண்மை என்று ஆராய்ந்து பார்த்தேன்

என்வரையில் அவ்வுண்மை புரியாது நின்றேன்

 

முன்பாக தனக்குள்ளே ஒருகொள்கை வகுத்து

மேம்போக்காக அதற்கு ஆராய்ச்சி செய்து

தன்கொள்கைக் கேற்ற கருத்தை தொடுத்து

தருவது ஒரு வேடிக்கை கூத்து

 

முரண்பாடுகளை முழுமையாய் ஏற்று

முடிந்தவரை அவற்றை சீர்த்தூக்கிப் பார்த்து

நடுநிலையோடு ஒரு கருத்தையும் அமைத்து

எழுதுவது மட்டுமே உண்மை எழுத்து

 

1-12-2015 , மத்திகிரி. மதியம் 2.57