Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lakshmi kataksham

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. This we all know. Sri maha periyava in deivathin kural has given the examples of three great scholars who were benefitted by the blessings of mahalakshmi. They are Adhi Sankarar, Vedanta Desikar and Vidyaranyar. We shall see about them.

Sankara was born in kaladi. After his upanayanam, he wished to take up the sanyasa ashrama. But his mother didn't permit for that. He was so in need of entering into the sanyasa ashrama. While he was bathing in the river, a crocodile caught his feet and he was unable to move. A divine voice told that in this birth his life is about to end. He took that as a chance to make his mother allow him to enter sanyasa ashrama. So he told his mother that if she allows him to take up sanyasam,  which is considered as rebirth, he will be relieved from the hold of crocodile. His mother unable to do anything, allowed him as per his words. So sankara took up sanyasam and he was let free - from the holds of crocodile (As well as the bond of samsara). This sankara is none other than an incarnation of lord shiva himself.

In his poorvasrama, I.e before sanyasam, he was gathering food for the day, from households. It is the brahmmacharya dharma. Brahmmacharya ashrama is the period between upanayanam and marriage. Brahmmacharis have to gather food from the grihasthas (married couples, family) and eat what they get and not more than that. Even if they didn't get food for that day, they have to stay without food. He was standing in front of a hut, which seldom had any food. The very appearance of that hut, showed the poverty laden nature. When sankara asked for food, (bhavathi bikshandehi) a woman came out. She went in search of any food inside as she could not restrain herself from not giving food to this tejaswi sankara. All she could find was a stale amla (Nelli) fruit. Sankara understood the situation and he immediately wrote hymns praising goddess Lakshmi. Goddess immediately showered golden amla fruits that could fill the entire village. Sankara prayed for the lady, who even though was stuck with poverty, had an intention to give whatever she had. He prayed for the selfless nature of that woman. Thus the goddess showered her blessings on the poor lady, for sankara. This set of hymns praising Lakshmi came to be known as kanakadhara sthuthi.

Vedanta Desikar was a great vaishnavite scholar. He lived in kanchipuram. He was an ardent devotee of devaraja perumal (varadaraja perumal). Desikar was given a title "sarva tantra swatantrar" by the learned persons for his ability to achieve anything that he wanted, of his own, without any other's help. Desikar can get anything without borrowing anything from any human. The king was unhappy, on Desikar being given such a title, when he himself was there. He thought that he is the greatest person for all time. So he wanted to defeat Desikar. He made a plan. He chose a foolish boy and asked him to go to Desikar and ask him for a huge sum of money for his marriage. The boy unknown of the intention of the king, went to Desikar and asked for money for getting married. The plan of the king was to push desikar in an embrassing situation. Desikar doesn't have money of his own. He has to grant this foolish boy of his wish. And Desikar should not borrow anything from others. King was of the opinion that Desikar will be helpless. But what happened was, Desikar pleaded the goddess perundevi, the consort of varadaraja. Immediately, the foolish boy got the wealth that he requested from Desikar. The king, on coming to know about this, realised his mistake and fell at the feet of Desikar.

The next person was Vidyaranyar. He in his poorvasrama, was very much affected by the horribleness of poverty. He meditated on Lakshmi and a divine voice said, "in this birth you have to undergo the torments of poverty". Immediately, Vidyaranyar opted for sanyasa, and asked the goddess to grant wealth, stating that now it was his next birth. The goddess kept her words and granted huge wealth to him. But now since he is a sanyasi, he can't use the wealth for his needs. There are no family,  no relatives for a sanyasi. So he felt bad about his hasty decision for the want of wealth. But soon after meditating again, he got a clarity that it is all divine intervention. He has to make use of the wealth he got from goddess for the sake of world. At that time, there was a threat to Sanatana dharma, due to Turkish invasion. Also dvaita philosophy by madhvachariyar was prevalent in Karnataka. Sri Vidyaranyar, wanted to establish advaita and Sanatana dharma. He gave the wealth to two shepherds viz harihara and burka. They were crowned the king and minister respectively, of the new empire created under the guidance of  Vidyaranyar. The king was given the task of renovating the demolished temples. He also appointed another person, a cousin of this new king to conquer the captured princely states, to the south of Karnataka. They were successful in the attempt and thus came the raise of vijayanagara kingdom of hoysalas at hampi in Karnataka. Originally, the kingdom was named as vidyanagara kingdom, in praise of their guru Vidyaranyar. Later it became vijayanagara empire. This is not to be confused with vijayanagaram in Andhra Pradesh. The famous Krishna deva raya was a descendent of this vidyanagara (vijayanagara) empire.

The first king's cousin is known by the name kammpanna udaiyar. He conquered the southern provinces. There is a place called kambarasanpettai near trichy. It was named after this kammpanna udaiyar. He renovated a siva temple near samayapuram. That is now known as pocchaleswarar temple. The actual name of this temple is hoysaleswarar temple!

Goddess Lakshmi, thus showered her blessings for three persons. Let us pray to her so that we are also granted peace and prosperity.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Three siblings

Most of us know that lord Vishnu and goddess Parvati are brother and sister. Lord shiva - goddess saraswathi, lord Brahmma and goddess Lakshmi are siblings too. This fact is not known to many.

The complexion of these devathas will prove this fact. Vishnu, Parvati are dark complexioned, I.e blue or green or black... Both were born at the same time. When lord Krishna was born to devaki, vasudeva at mathura, yoga maya was born to yashoda at gokulam. Similarly, in the month of chithirai, when Rama navami is being celebrated, vasantha navarathri, the avatars of gnanambika is celebrated. We call Vishnu shyamalan and parvati as shyamala, meaning dark complexioned.

In shiva temples there will be a sannidhi for Durga, who is Parvati's form. She will be holding a conch and a chakra. She is usually called as Vishnu Durga. She is the protector. Protecting men is the task of Vishnu. Siblings show similarities in the task.

Shiva and saraswathi are white complexioned. We associate saraswathi with hamsam or swan which is white in color as her vehicle, white lotus as her seat. Shiva is described as shuddha spatika sankasham, meaning radiant like a pure spatika - transparent. Inherent meaning for pure is white.

Saraswathi is goddess of knowledge. Again in shiva temples there will be a sannidhi for dakshina murthy. This is siva's form. He will be holding, palm leaves, akshara mala in his hands. These are seen with saraswathi. Also both saraswathi and dakshinamurthy will have a crescent on their heads. Crescent is the one that grows. This indicates that arts should be ever growing. So these siblings grant ever growing knowledge to the devotees.

Lakshmi and Brahmma are red complexioned. Both are creators. Brahmma creates life, Lakshmi creates wealth to sustain life. We associate them with red lotus on which they are seated.

Parvati and shiva married one another, and supports one another in their activity. Similarly, Lakshmi and Vishnu and saraswathi and Brahmma. Knowledge (saraswathi) is required for creating (Brahmma) anything. Wealth (Lakshmi) is required for maintenance(Vishnu) and valour(Parvati) is required for destruction(shiva).