Sunday, June 3, 2007


ONE or two months later Venkataraman chanced upon Periapuranam borrowed by Subbu Iyer from some one. The epic was authored in the following circumstances.

The ruler of the Chola territory, Anapaya Chola was a Jain and a tormentor of Saivites. One of those thus tormented was the poet Sekkizhar. "Did not Tirunavukkarasar (Appar) give away in charity all his patrimony and take to Jainism? Did he not reconvert to Saivism due to the ministrations of his sister? Why did not some such thing happen to the king? This is Siva's territory and there are twelve kshetras, six kumarasthanas, five lingas each of an element and 1008 Sivasthanas. The great Nayanmars devoted their entire lives to the praise of Siva, they revelled in the very thought of the magnificent form of Siva, they looked upon themselves as just specks of dust at the feet of Siva and extolling Siva, sang songs which gave great joy to the common populace. Won't this king get converted on hearing the stories of these devotees? I shall enshrine them in a book," thought Sekkizhar and took up the work. But alas, no word came out of him. He wept bitterly and prayed to Siva in utter helplessness. Siva himself spelt out the first word — thereafter Sekkizhar's devotion poured out, as Siva's grace, and resulted in Periapuranam. The poet recited this to the Chola king in the presence of Nataraja and was blessed.

The first religious text that Venkataraman read was Periapuranam. It was as if he entered a new world altogether. The more he read the greater was his thirst. The Lord of Time was the monarch therein hence there was no fear of time. The subjects were all contented devotees of Siva. Devotion, love, peace, and bliss flooded all over as knowledge of Siva himself.

As he was progressing, Venkataraman's devotion and reverence for the devotees was increasing — he grieved at their travails and rejoiced in their triumphs. Venkataraman felt that Siva was glancing at him also just as he beheld the devotees. On completion of the book his emotional upsurge vanished, Venkataraman became his usual self. He seemed to have forgotten all those devotees and had given up all thought of following them.

Venkataraman's life was flowing like a deep unruffled stream — of course, there were occasional whirlpools. He was very sensitive and could bear no rebuke. When he was young, Sundaram Iyer reprimanded him once at Tiruchuzhi. The boy was deeply hurt. He did not turn up at mealtime. A prolonged search ensued. He was found in the Sahayamba shrine -- possibly, he went there seeking the comfort of the Mother's lap. Such incidents did occur.

Venkataraman was naturally of a helpful disposition.

He assisted his mother and aunt in their household chores. Several mistook this characteristic and ridiculed him as an effeminate person. Some psychologists hold that only a person both with feminine and masculine qualities in equal measure can become a redeemer of humanity. Peace, grace, love and sympathy are feminine qualities whereas determination, courage and strength are masculine qualities. A complete or glorious life cannot be had without an adequate representation of both masculine and feminine characteristics. Can we think of anyone more graceful and at the same time more courageous than Sri Krishna? Is not Easwara an "ardha nareeswara?" A completely soft nature is like a creeper that cannot survive on its own. Similarly, an unyielding courage is like a wooden staff with no sap. Venkataraman's nature was a combination of both, which was why he became a redeemer of humanity.

Referred Resources: Tiruchuzhi

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