pachai maamalai pol mene

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Aaapadi Kim Karaneeyam...?

this article with necessary mutilation was published in a magazine recently;

Aaapadi Kim Karaneeyam...?

By  ananthanarayanan vaidyanatan

Aapadi Kim Karneeyam? Smaraneeyam padyayugalam ambaayaah, tat smaranam kim kurute ? brahmaadeenapi kimkareekurute

॥आपदि किं करणीयं  स्मरणीयं पदयुगळमम्बायाः तद् स्मरणं किं कुरुते ब्रह्मादीनपि किंकरीकुरुते॥

When one faces real threat to his existence, the only way out for him is the worship of the lotus feet of Ambaa Sree Lalithaambika. And even if one remembers her for a fleeting second, the entire world including the Brahmadeva Himself wait on his side prepared to obey his orders.

The worship of a male god, as the fountainhead of all virtues and strength and a female counterpart as the source of beauty, wealth and fertility is a common thread that runs throughout almost all the ancient civilizations in the world. The greatest ever civilization in the world, that of India also has the same tradition.  In tribal worship we can find the presence of this, either as Sakthi and Siva, Prakriti and Purusha or whatever format and name that appealed to the ancient mind. The remnants of Mohanjadaro and Harappa, which according to some schorlars is the starting point of our Hindu Tradition, and by some others is a separate culture has left the remnants of a fatherly male god  the protector with a prominent phallus and a mother goddess, the mother from whom springs all living beings, whose symbol is yonimudra.  Whether that culture was a separate one which went into ruins by some serious and shortlived calamity, or which gave us the prototype of the prime Indian religion in its present form,  the worship of linga and yoni representing Shiva and shakti remains for ever.

In the beginning of Vedic culture the prominence was for the male gods under the commandership of Indra with goddesses like Ushas, Medha, etc getting only fleeting reference. Even in those periods the names of Goddesses like Swaahaa and Swadhaa were prominent in connection with agni (fire) and aryamaa (the god of pitrus).  However may be out of human experience that one's own mother was the greatest source of energy and protection for each of us and also the fact that the woman as the wife alone can make the life of a male worth living, people started giving prominence to the female as a deity. Through passing ages, in some cults, the mother goddess gained ascendancy over the male counterpart. The tendency was germane even in Vedas where great mantras were always considered as representing a female deity.  Gayathri is the most prominent example.

The prominence of Devi became unquestionable because life was never easy for any members of an evolving culture, especially when it was subjected to a great extent by non democratic controls by stronger constituents of the society,  and the suffering  human being always craved for some mercy and tenederness and the woman was always the embodiment of these virtues while the strong male was always domineering.

In our country the fusion of the male and female divine forces is really wonderful.  Every great thinker and philosopher has underlined the mutual complimenting of the male and the female forces.
Maybe the evolution is like this.  The Lord Parameswara carried the entire universe on His head in the shape of a crescent representing the upper worlds.  In his matted hair he carried the entire  resources for the existence of humans, in the form of Ganga. He carried the the two most potent natural sources of energy, the Sun and the Fire, in his two eyes and the moon took his third eye. When concentrated evil oozed out in the form of the poison Halahalam he gobbled it up and kept it as a concentrated lump in his throat so that it cannot harm anyone.  All the demonic forces, he kept under his feet in the form of apasmaara. Then he burned of Kamadeva who created mutual attraction between male and female, which represented happiness and fertility.  This was too much.  The Sakthi, the prakriti, challenged this. She burned herself using her own yogic powers. The world came to a standstill. Siva the purusha could not suffer the pangs of separation. He carried the body of the burning Sakthi and ran amuck across the whole country running and crying  half in anger and half in anguish all the time.  The diplomat that is Mahavishnu, saw the catastrophe   overtaking the universe and hence he followed the  Rudra at a safe distance and tactfully cut off one part after another of the burning body of Sakthi. The pieces fell in one hundred and eight places in our sacred country and each place became  Sakthi Stala and the presence of Siva the great and Vishnu the protector could be seen everywhere.
The things took a beautiful turn when the Sakthi again took birth as Parvathi and adorned the  Siva with the marriage garlands and the latter, realizing that it was too difficult for himself to bear the brunt of maintaining the whole world all alone,  gifted half of his body to Shakthi, to become Ardhanaareeswara.

Adi Sankara, who is Lord Shiva himself. knew this well and so he proclaimed in the Soundaryalahari....Sivah Sakthya yuktho yadi bhavati sakthah prabhavithum, na ched evem devo na khalu kushalah spandithumapi.... Shiva when in the company of Shakthi is capable of performing all the functions of creation, maintenance and destruction, but the same God, if Sakthi is not with him will have the capacity even to move. a little ॥शिवः शक्त्या युक्तो यदि भवति शक्तः प्रभवितुम् न चेदेवं देवो न खलु कुशलः स्पन्दितुमपि॥

To express our gratitude to the mother who is the source of  knowledge, wealth, energy and all that is great  we celebrate the Navarathri.  The greatness of the celebration is in its uniqueness that it is the one festival which is observed all over the country in all the temples or households irrespective of what is the favourite deity of that temple or the househlod.

May we place our pranaams at the lotus feet of   the mother.
Sree Maatre Namah 
॥श्री मात्रे नमः॥