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The Erroneous Words of the Misguided
Sri Appaya Dikshitar was a treasure house of knowledge. His knowledge of various Shastras was encyclopaedic. The texts that have emerged from the ocean of his thoughts serve as testing material to identify scholars. He is a vessel that is brimful. His intellect is capable of working clearly and sharply through very complex material to reveal the hidden truth to the world.
Dikshitar’s text “anandalahari” - a gift to the world – is the perfect antidote to the venom of hostility to Shiva that has afflicted the world as a result of the aggressive abuses heaped on Shaivism by Vaishanavism, which came in to being much later than Shaivism. This text acts as a soothing balm to the heart that is pained by the fulminations against Shiva by Vaishnavism.
Chennai Sanskrita Seva Samiti had organized a discourse to commemorate this great man’s death anniversary. The saint has sung praises of both Shiva and Vishnu, treating them as his two eyes. The speaker brought out this facet using examples from texts composed by Appayya Dikshitar himself, leaving the audience in wonderment. In the context of declaring that it was his mission to eradicate calumny against Shiva, Dikshithar uses the phrase, “the erroneous words of the misguided” (durmateenaam durukti). The usage of this phrase does make the reader thoughtful. What made a great man like Dikshithar use such a phrase? When I heard this phrase quoted by the speaker on the memorial day of Dikshithar, an article I had determined to ignore and forget came back to me. Yes, this was in a magazine that is published by the Andavan Sannidhi. It bears the name of the Paduka that can bestow Paramapadam upon one – Sri Ranganaatha Paaduka. The author, who is antagonistic to Shiva, fills the article with insults against Shiva with the intention of declaring Vishnu as the Supreme God. Somehow this article has escaped the notice of Srimad Andavan too and has found its way into the publication. Can poison emanate from the moon, and fire from Sandalwood – can there be insults against Shiva in Sri Ranganatha Paduka? This was to be forgotten as an unfortunate occurrence. But when one sees that this article proves to be a good example for the words of Appayya Dikshithar, then one marvels at the farsightedness of Dikshithar. Dikshithar must have known that every now and then such halahala poison would be emitted.
It is in an article on poison that the writer has spewed such venom. The devas and the asuras churned the ocean of milk using the mandara mountain as the churning staff and Vasuki as the rope in order to obtain Amrutha. But before Amrutha could emerge, it was the Halahala poison that was emitted by the serpent Vasuki. Shiva, the Lord of Kailasa, protected the world from the venom by drinking it up Himself. This is how he got the name Neelakantha. This episode is recorded in the Vedas, Puranas, Itihasas and Kavyas. It is found in texts such as the Mahabharatha, the Matsya Purana, the Vayu Purana, the Agni Purana, Srimad Bhagavatham, the Valmiki Ramayana, and the poetic work, Neelakantha Champu.
When such is the truth, the writer of Sri Ranganatha Paduka article says thus :- “Our Lord, using Rudra as a vessel (instrument)t, drank up the poison and saved the world.” To establish this statement he also quotes a mantra from the Vedas. If readers examine the mantra and Sayanacharya’s commentary to it carefully, we would conclude that there is no basis whatsoever in the mantra to support the writer’s views. This Vedic mantra does not talk about the churning of the Ocean of Milk, nor does it talk about Amrutha and venom.
The mantra is given below with Sayana’s commentary. It merely says that the sun, along with the Marutganas or Vaidyutagni, used his rays as a vessel (instrument) to drink up water.
Keshee vishaya paatrena yadrudrenaapibatsha||
Keshee – rashmibhiryuktah suryah …. Rudro – vaidyutaagnih
Tena saha vartamaanah … visham – udakam patrena paanasaadhanena rashmijaalena apibhat||
If one takes this into account, one can see how laboured the writer’s efforts are. We can only console ourselves that the writer of the article exemplifies the words of Sri Dikshithar.
Kanchi Jagadguru Sri Paramaachaaryaa
On the last day of the two-month Chaaturmaasya (24 September) at 11 o’clock, Kanchi Jagadguru Sri Paramaachaaryaa came to the Samartha Ramadasa temple from the Sri Sankara Matham at Satara in a procession, followed by a crowd of devotees. He stayed at the temple till 3.oo in the afternoon, granted darshan to thousands of devotees, and blessed them. He then reached the new Rama temple under construction on the outskirts of Satara city at about 6.00 in the evening, once again accompanied by throngs of devotees. The managers of the temple and the residents of the area received him with joy and devotion. Women performed the aarathi and sang songs welcoming him. It was indeed a wonderous sight to see the Rama temple illuminated with colourful lights. After reading the Vishvaroopa portion of the Geetha at the temple, the Acharya granted darshan to devotees and blessed them. The next morning (25 September), the Acharya, accompanied by disciples, reached a small village at a distance of about five kilometers on the Satara road. He continued his Vijaya yatra from here. He will be returning to Satara again during Navaratri and would stay in the city for a while.
Translated from Tamil by Devotees from Chennai