Monday, September 08, 2014

Skandan and Sambandan

In Hindu mythology, Lord muruga is known as "The learned" - "Pandit". We call him gnana panditha. Gnana means wisdom. This word suits for skandan - gnanaskandan. Skanda was born to Lord Shiva from the fire that came out of his 5 five known faces (satyojatam, tatpurusham, eesaanam, vamadevam and aghoram) and 1 invisible adho mukham. So the six sparks (fire) came out of the sky, transported by air, reached the water (saravana poigai) and ruled (still ruling) the earth in the form of Lord Muruga or subrahmanya. This shows that skanda is manifestation of the five bhootas.

This skanda was 'Sanath kumara' (one of brahmma's manasa putra) in his previous birth. Sanath kumara was always meditating on Brahmman or the Paramatman. He had a dream that he was the leader of Devas or celestials and saved them from the holds of asuras or the demons. There is a rule that those who meditate on brahmman i.e for one who is an advaiti (practiser and preacher of the vakya aham brahmmasmi), will always speak, think the one that is true. Since sanath kumara dreamt about he being the lord of devas, it should become true. But in that birth, since he is meditating on brahman, there is nothing like leader or lord or deva or asura. So Lord Shiva came with his consort Parvati and made sanathkumara to ask for a boon. Sanathkumara in turn told shiva that he doesnt need anything and if he needs anything he will grant. Shiva was happy at his reply as sanathkumara proved that he is a true advaiti as he didnt differentiate him from brahman. So shiva asked sanathkumara that he may be born as his son in the next birth. Sanath kumara readily agreed to that request and told he will be born to Him, Shiva alone as Parvati didnt ask for any boon and it is wrong to grant boon to one who has not asked for it. Parvathi understood the situation and persuaded sanathkumara that there should be a small part played by her in this task. So sanathkumara assured that he will be born out of the sparks coming from Shiva's third eye and only a water body of Parvati's form could handle it.

Saravana poigai is Goddess Parvati's form. So it was able to handle the spark when even river Ganga was unable to handle it. Then goes the history of Kartika maids who got an opportunity to grow up six children and gave them back to goddess parvati who united them into one child with six faces, twelve hands. He is Skanda.

Sambandan was born in a family of priests in Sirkazhi in Tamilnadu. He is a reincarnation of Muruga. Because of his knowledge, he is known as GnanaSambandar. One of the six faces of lord skanda, protects the veda and the path established by it. Gnanasambandar too proclaims that it is his duty to uphold the vedic tradition. He did it. Fought against the Jains, re-established shaivam. Even the Pandya king who was supporting Jainism, returned back to shaivam after being cured by Sambandar's thiruneetru pathigam - "mandiram aavathu neeru.... thiru aalavaayaan thiruneeru".

Sambandar did lot of miracles that one cannot imagine. The poems written by him on palm leaves were undisturbed after being thrown into fire or water. Such is the highness of his songs. He drank the breast milk of tripurasundari ambal of sirkazhi when he was 3 years old. That incident is known to us. So I didnot mention much of it. This alone is enough that he is lord muruga. Who else is eligible to drink that mulaipaal?

Like sambandar in south india, there was a great scholar, kumarilabhatta who was a mimamsa by practice. For mimamsa, bhakti is not necessary. Just practising the karma mentioned in veda is enough. He fought against the buddhists who were of strong opinion that there is no bhakti no karma. Kumarilabhatta's mimamsa tradition came to be known as bhaatta matham after his victory over buddhism. Then came Adhi shankara who argued with kumarilabhatta that karma is first step to purify our external organs and bhakti is the next step to purify our mind. There is also a third step where there is no karma and no bhakti (i.e these will fuse together) and we will recognize our self (atman). Kumarilabhatta accepted his defeat and he sacrificed his mortal body in fire in front of shankara. Shankara tried to rescue him but it was a vain. Before leaving his body, kumarilabhatta asked shankara to go to Mandana mishra who was a staunch mimamsa, and tell him whatever was taught to him. Shankara even won mandana mishra and he became his disciple - sureshwaracharya also known as vaarthigar for his elaborate commentaries on upanishads and other vedic principles. 

No comments: