SADGURU SHRI SIVAN SIR

Yenippadigalil Maanthargal - YPM

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YPM-II - Page-6

Thondaradi Podi Azhwar.

Vipranarayanar was born in a Brahmin family in the village of Thirumandangudi (Thirumattangudi) situated to the west of Kumbakonam. He completed Vedadhyayana at a very young age and had a few peers in his knowledge of scriptures. From his young age he made it a habit to visit temples dedicated to Vishnu and worship. Finally he settled down in Srirangam determined to dedicate his life to Sri Ranganathan. He laid a huge Nandavanam there, made garlands from the flowers that bloomed there and offered them to Sri Ranganathan.

He also composed hymns on Sri Ranganathan. Though he was a scholar in scriptures, people called him Thondaradi Podi Azhwar, in view of the slavish like humility he showed towards the devotees of Sri Ranganathan. However anyone who happened to see him did not fail to show him due respect.

In the same town, lived a woman who lived the life of a Devadasi with honour. Whenever she visited the temple to serve Sri Ranganathan, took interest in observing the Azhwar closely. Watching his activities and attitude of supreme devotion for a long time, she developed a deep sense of admiration for him and decided that she must make such an excellent person her own. To approach Vipranarayanar who was a scholar, she adopted the subterfuge of  becoming his disciple. Though she was a popular, well known person, she thought it would be inappropriate to approach him directly, since she lived the life of a Devadasi.

Hence she sent a messenger and obtained the consent of the Daiva Sadhu who replied that he was ready for any service since he has risen above carnal desires and was of pristine heart. The Devadasi who went to Vipranarayanar importuned him to instruct her in divine matters and sublimate her. The Daiva Sadhu started instructing her elaborately in the lives of divine personages with all its nuances.

Noticing that the woman was assimilating whatever he taught her easily, Vipranarayanar developed a sense of appreciation for her. But this appreciation was platonic and  he hardly felt that he was interacting with a woman. However majority who witnessed this interaction did not approve it for obvious reasons. It can be even said that they dared to deprecate Vipranarayanar. Yes, finally the thoughts of the critical onlookers became true!

The Devadasi who was returning from temple at one night, entered the Ashram of Daiva Sadhu under the pretext of taking shelter with her garments completely wet from heavy rains. Noticing his disciple shivering from the water soaked saree and the cold weather, the Guru helped her to change her garments. He also brought an earthen pot containing embers to make her body warm. Though he never had any ulterior motive in doing all this, he however realised that Manmatha has forcibly entered a corner of his heart. From this incident Vipranarayanar started visiting the Devadasi in her house and stay there regularly.

But there was no let up in his service and devotion to Sri Ranganathan. However the temple priests and trustees who so far treated Vipranarayanar honourably did not show him the same respect any more. Sri Ranganathan however did not neglect him like that. Days rolled by...

Is it not inappropriate that a person who was functioning at the level of Daiva Sadhu should be exposed to the ridicule of the public for a long time? Hence, to demonstrate to the public that even if a Daiva Sadhu commits a lapse, he stands exempted, Sri Ranganathan took action.

A golden vessel used in the sacrosanctum to store water went missing. That is, Sri Ranganathan Himself gave it to the Devadasi in the form of Vipranarayanar. There was a lot of commotion in the temple. There was mutual distrust among the temple staff. Finally the majority suspected Vipranarayanar in view of his affair with Devadasi and his ready access to the sacrosanctum. Accordingly a check was conducted at the house of Devadasi and the missing vessel too was promptly recovered. The devotee of Sri Ranganathan was jailed on orders of the trustees of the temple. The golden vessel which had been recovered was melted since it could not be used as it is for service of God. However Sri Ranganathan did not want to see his devotee in jail for a long time. One day when the temple was opened at dawn as usual, the priest was stunned to observe that the golden vessel that had been melted reappeared in its customary spot!

The priest who rushed to inform the trustees of this divine miracle found the trustees coming in search of him. Before the excited priest who was panting began his explanation, the trustees began to speak.

The trustees confirmed that Sri Ranganathan appeared in each of their dream and said that He was responsible for the playful robbery, Vipranarayanar was innocent and as a proof of this the missing golden vessel could be seen in its customary spot at the sacrosanctum. After spotting the golden vessel in the sacrosanctum the trustees rushed to the prison and released Vipranarayanar. Before the trustees could apologise, the Daiva Sadhu started prostrating to them. The trustees then narrated their dream to Vipranarayanar humbly and solicited his pardon.

Arangan abolished the affection of the Azhwar for the artiste thus ! The Devadasi too dedicated her life to divine service. Thondaradi Podi Azhwar shone as a Daiva Sadhu till He reached the holy feet of Sri Ranganathan. He was one of those devotees who had seen the sacred form of Vishnu. All the Azhwars lived before the Vaishnava sect was founded by Sri Ramanujachariyar who was born in 1017. Similarly Sri Madvacharya who founded the Dwaitha school of philosophy lived during1238-1317.

 

Nandanar

A few centuries before in there lived a person in Tamil Nadu who belonged to a low caste. In those days, people born in lower castes served people born in higher castes hereditarily and hence were denoted by the term "Adimai" (slave). The masters of course took wholehearted care of their slaves. This Nandan though was a slave and a Panchama by caste, excelled in virtue. Besides we should not brush aside lightly the fact that in general the character of a person was in tune with his caste. In those days blind respect was not accorded to illgotten power and wealth. Life style was managed ideally. The citizens neither depended on education related employment nor needed money for day to day life. Accordingly they led a life free of anguish. 
Nandan who was born and bred in a village by name Adanur in Sirkazhi worked as an Adimai under a Brahmin. Devoted to his work, Nandan also used to get immersed in Siva conscience, forgetting himself in the process. Whenever he was free, he used to visit the Siva temples nearby and used to have darshan standing outside the temple from a distance. Though he could not see the sacrosanctum with his eyes, he was contented with mental darshan of Lingam.

One day when Nandan reached the temple at Thirupungur, Bhagavan wished to demonstrate His concern to Nandan and ordained Nandi to make way. The stone Nandi also responded by slightly moving sideways. Witnessing this divine miracle Nandanar got exhilerated and Bethe beheld a mass of light in the sacrosanctum which made him blissful. Nandanar had dug tanks in a few Kshetras with the help of persons from his caste.

Nandanar did not tell his master about the divine favour shown to him by Lord Siva at Thirupungur. A few local persons who were witness to this miracle did not think it fit to connect Nandan with the miracle at that time. Months passed. Margazhi Thiruvadirai was approaching. Our Daiva Sadhu set his mind on a visit to Thillai (Chidambaram). At the same time, the lands of his master needed repair. However Nandanar requested his master for two days leave to visit Chidambaram.

The master did not give permission for Nandanar to leave without completing his work. Nandanar who had achieved unremitting meditation and unparalleled devotion for Nataraja could have ignored the objection of his master and left for Chidambaram. We may think that a person who has tremendous devotion to God need not give respect to a man's diktat. But Nandanar decided to obey his master for a genuine reason.

As far as Nandanar was concerned, the idea of ignoring his master's order never even occurred to him since he was a slave. However, his mind was in total turmoil on the night two days prior to his planned departure to Chidambaram, with thoughts on temple, his unfinished duty and his master's diktat. When he went to the paddy field the next morning, he was stunned to see that the paddy was ripe and ready for harvest.

In other words, we can say that Nandanar who was a Daiva Sadhu became a Mahan overnight. When his master came to the field, he too was amazed to witness this divine miracle  and could get an idea of the exalted devotion of his slave. He became very proud and extremely happy that his Nandan had become a favourite of Nataraja. At the same time he prostrated to Nandanar. Nandanar who did not expect such an act from his master felt sorry and unable to stop him, returned his act by prostrating to his master! Even at this juncture, he was hesitant to ask for permission to leave for Thillai and stood silently in anticipation of his master's  permission. As a rule, those who function at Mahan's level are not conscious of the same.

The Brahmin, who was not a bit joyous about the bumper harvest in his 40 Velis of land, requested Nandanar to stay with him after his return from Thillai for his purification. Nandanar who was hesitant to respond to his master's request took leave of him putting his head down in obeisance.

Panchamas were prohibited from entering any temple to protect its sanctity, the reason being that they have committed mistakes and minor sins condemned by Bhagavan or were born to those who committed such deeds in their lifetime. Nowadays Panchamas live in all castes. Besides, many of those who were living as Pamarans in other castes have now become felons.

You may ask me a question as to what is the means of redemption for a Panchama. As we are born to Tom, Dick and Harry, a Panchama also can be born in other castes as directed by Bhagavan depending on his character and conduct. A few centuries later after Christianity, the caste based divisions in Europe transformed into class based divisions. Inter caste marriage and commensality were gradually growing. However the priests preserved purity that was commensurate with their times. Even then, other castes were forbidden to enter the Sanctum Santorum. Panchamas who were outcastes though allowed into the temple, were not allowed beyond a particular spot. From the time they appeared on earth, Panchamas used to worship a few low devathas (Arpa Devathas or Kshudra Devathas) in order to protect their interests.

Ever since foreign religions which appeared on earth started attacking deities and castes, countries gradually started losing divine excellence, scriptures, higher education and most importantly virtuous deeds which they were enjoying so far in proportion to their worthiness.

Moreover, those belonging to non divine religion, started incurring the sin of hating and persecuting those belonging to divine religion from the very beginning. Besides, they were also indulging in constant false propaganda to promote their religion.

For example Simon (37BC), who was a priest in divine religion was an adept in Vedanta and Mantrikam. Those who composed Bible a few centuries later have stealthily introduced him in the Bible. It has been falsely depicted as if Simon was fascinated with the miracles done by the disciples of Jesus, begged them to teach him those miracles with a promise of joining them but was repulsed by them. This is a deliberate false propaganda to encourage people to adopt Christianity.

In the past the world had divisions based on nobility and virtue. In course of time this has deteriorated into a division based on wickedness. That is, the world which did not accept sinners has now accepted them. Moreover, in our country, which still adopts a caste system at least in name, the number of sinners has increased greatly, though a virtuous people still live even in other castes.

Besides, our country has become so depraved that it now considers sinners as good and vice versa. Though Brahmins have surely deteriorated from their original pristine stature, even today there are many Brahmins who are virtuous, talented and intelligent. In the same way, we have worthy, wise individuals from other castes as well. Hence the government and public should not eye the caste system with hatred but make use of the best individuals irrespective of the caste they belong to so that the country can benefit.

I have left Nandanar somewhere. Did I not tell that the Dikshithars of Chidambaram enjoyed an unique relationship with Nataraja? He appeared in the dream of all 3000 Dikshithars in the same night and informed them that a Panchama by name Nandan will take his darshan from the street corner and he has to be brought to his Sannadhi after a bath in fire (Agni Snaanam)!

The Dikshithars became happy informing each other about this wonderful dream.  The sacred day of Arudra Darshanam (Thiruvadirai) also arrived. This is perhaps the most important of festival days dedicated to Nataraja. The Aradhanas and Abhishekams to Him started the previous night itself. The sun appeared in the horizon. Those Dikshithars who were engaged in serving Chithsabesan (Nataraja) handed it over to another group, reached the street corner and waited.

Nandanar who took his master's leave in the previous night reached Thillai and stayed there. He woke up in the later part of the night, took bath, put on Thiruniru (Vibhuthi), sat for some time in the meditation of Nataraja and reached the temple street corner at dawn. When the Dikshithars saw Nandanar, their doubts were dispelled. After ascertaining his name, the Dikshithars requested Nandanar to come to the entrance of the temple tower. However Nandanar fell at their feet and submitted that he is a Panchama, the sanctity of the temple should not be compromised and they should not compel him. Only when the Dikshithars informed Nandanar about Nataraja's order to them in their dream, did the Mahan agree to follow them.

When they reached the temple tower entrance, the Dikshithars put Nandanar through the necessary penitentiary rites. Finally Nandanar duly completed the Agni Snaanam by entering and exiting the fire raised by Dikshithars for the purpose. The Nandanar who exited the fire, wore the look of a traditional Brahmin complete with Poonul and Panchakacham.

At this juncture let me clarify that the Jivathma of both Nandanars were the same essentially with only looks being different. The Mahan was able to perceive details of his previous birth at this moment.

Dikshithars followed the Mahan into the temple. When everyone neared Sabapathy (Nataraja), Mahan prostrated to Bhagavan in a wave of bliss. As soon as he prostrated, a mass of light appeared from the place and entered into Nataraja. The Dikshithars who were captivated by the mass of light shifted their glance towards Nandanar and were stunned too find that the Mahan has vanished.

Nataraja absorbed Nandanar in this manner. Nandanar who was born in a low caste was catapulted into a higher position and is sitting in all Siva temples as a Mahan. He is one of the sixty three Nayanmars. By the way,  those who witnessed Nandi making way for Nandanar  at Thirupungur confirmed the miracle only after the gap happenings at Thillai.

At this place let me elucidate the previous birth journey of Nandanar. Before he was born as Nandanar, he took birth as a Brahmin (Daiva Viveki) and was progressing in his spiritual journey. When he was about to consummate the Brahminical traits and become a Mahan, he got wild with a Panchama for a trivial mistake and wounded his mind by blowing his top on him. He should not have embraced such anger directly in view of his exalted state. Due to this lapse, he was constrained to be born as a Panchama later but became a Mahan and attained Bhagavan in the same birth.

If a person who is in an exhalted state happens to lose one of his due virtues, he will have to take an extra birth. Or if he misbehaves, he may have to take a birth in a caste accordingly. Kannappa Nayanar had competed the state of Daiva Viveki.

In these times since caste system is functioning only in name, the births that depended upon caste based merit have ended. Hence Bhagavan has caused four kinds of people, viz, the good, the bad, the wicked and the felon, to be born in all castes.

Had Nandanar who was functioning at the level of Daiva Sadhu violated the command of his master and gone to Thillai, he would have returned after just seeing the temple tower and would have again been born as a Daiva Sadhu. Since Nandanar obeyed his master even when faced with a noble dilemma, Bhagavan brought about the miracle of making the crops appear overnight and promoted Nandanar to the level of Mahan.

A rich Pamaran who performs service to God with pomp for name and fame is also benefited. A Viveki or a noble devotee who performs unostentatious Puja in a simple manner gets worldly comforts in the next birth. A Siranda Viveki or particularly a Mutrina Viveki, who is detached and hates wealth, is promoted to the level of Daiva Sadhu in course of time, though shunning external worship and performs only mental devotion. A Sadhu, who excels in humility, virtue and simplicity is also promoted to the level of Daiva Sadhu in sequence though not demonstrating his devotion.

Only those who reach the state of Daiva Sadhu can attain wonderful divine benefits. Hence you must understand that growth in devotion depends on one's character, conduct, nature and philosophical attitude. As a rule a noble person who is devoid of devotion loses the benefit, he can get a virtuous birth subsequently by performing a few good deeds.

Those who have renounced worldly attachment are promoted to the next stage depending on their mental maturity though not performing good deeds. For a Pamaran to reach the state of Daiva Sadhu it may take several lifetimes of world. (Life time of a world is 1000 Mahayugams)

Finally, Nandanar who vanished miraculously at the behest of Bhagavan, lived a simple life devoid of popularity in this world. Similarly many Mahans who appeared in this world did not enjoy popularity during their lifetime. Mahans did not attract crowd as it happens these days with "magician saints". However the few who were lucky enough to be associated with Mahans were not oblivious of their greatness.

How can the general public appreciate the greatness of genuine saints who live on begged food? That is why, it appears, as if a few contemporary ultra rich saints, have usurped the place of genuine saints and enjoy tremendous popularity during their lifetime. Thuravis who are above Mahan, can only attain limited popularity in and around their area. But Gnnanis can't attain wide popularity even in future.

Popularity (Keerthi Yogam) is a reward for a particular charitable worldly act enacted in a previous birth. The same hell that is reserved for a rascally artist, a blackguard who gives talks on Dharma, a votary who lives by threatening others is also the place for a person who just has only popularity. That is, there is no concession for popularity which is not accompanied by virtue. Divine persons, who don't care for popularity but who nevertheless enjoy the same are not even conscious of it. Hence those who use improper means to attain popularity and those ruffians who abuse their popularity are incurring bagful of sins. But a good person or Viveki may earn popularity by performing charitable acts, thus earning virtue. The kings and ministers who must ensure that citizens remain free of criminal instincts ought to earn fame.

Kings who are custodians of welfare, character, conduct and integrity of their subjects should be considered representatives of Gods. If only rulers ensure that their subjects function as virtuous persons, God ensures that their kingdoms are blessed with optimum rains and abundant crops. Hence readers must know that abundance, welfare, hygiene, peace and security of a nation depends on how well it is run. 

Besides, nowadays, don't we see leaders of unwanted movements becoming popular? Are not divine fakes, who project themselves as divine earning popularity? Hence it is likely that a virtuous person may remain obscure while a vile sinner may enjoy tremendous popularity. Therefore it would be very wrong to estimate a person's character by his popularity.

A political party in Tamil Nadu claims that they are Dravidians and belong to Tamil Nadu whereas the Brahmins are Aryans who have migrated from the north. Influenced by this the Panchamas claim that they are Adidravidians and have been living in Tamil Nadu from time immemorial. In the past, virtuous persons from all castes throughout the world were called Aryans. 'Arya' means noble. Hence to think that 'Aryan' means 'Brahmin' is totally wrong. Similarly Egyptians called themselves Romethu meaning virtuous.

The Maharishis who were living throughout the world established the uninhabited Indian forest terrain as their temporary habitat. After a very long time some Aryans from neighboring countries made North India their residence. As time passed their presence multiplied and Aryans started settling at south of Vindyas and in due course spread throughout South India.

All these were over before many tens of thousands of years. The North Indians called those who took up residence at the south of Vindyas as "Dravidians" which meant "those who are living in territories below or to the south of theirs".

Hence, historians recorded the Aryans in North Indians as Aryans and called the same Aryans who migrated to the South India as Dravidians. Indians had the habit of calling those who lived in places below their regions  as Dravidians. Similarly Andrites used to refer to Tamilians who lived "south" of them as Dravidians for a long time.

In the same way, old Greeks called Romans who lived west of them as Hesperia, who in turn called the Spaniards to their west by the same term Hesperia. For example our Anchaneya and Homer (Valmiki of Greece) while pinpointing the locations of some countries have used the phrase 'right side' and 'left side' to denote directions.

The English men who prepared the Indian map has shown the entire area to the south of Vindyas as Dravidam. Our people have concluded from a slight similarity in the languages of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, that all those who speak these languages are Dravidians. Since Maratha and Oriya have been shown in the Dravida portion of the Indian globe, it is desirable to interpret the term Dravidam only as south or region below.

Finally the Andrites who wrongly equated the term Dravidam with Tamil, denote those who have Tamil as their mother tongue as Dravidagaru or Dravidavadu. One among groups, have decided that Dravidian means Tamilian, ie, who is not a Brahmin.

The terms Deccan, South, Dakshinam and Dravidam mean the same thing, ie, south or region below. That is why in a Plan or Map regions below are marked as south.

 

Karaikal Ammayar

Danadathan, who was born in a rich business family that lived in Karaikal, got his only daughter by name Punithavadi married to one Paramadathan. Since Danadathan was very much attached to his daughter, he set up a separate home for his son in law who hailed from Nagapattinam in Karaikal itself. Punithavadi who imbibed devotion to Lord Siva from her childhood, developed the habit of providing food and suitable gifts to devotees of Lord Siva which progressed with her age.

One day Paramadathan, who was running a trading business, one day received from his friend, two mangoes of a high breed. Paramadathan sent both the mangoes home. Soon a Sivanadiyar (Devotee of Lord Siva) suffering from hunger reached Paramadathan's house and was duly served food by his wife. Though Punithavadi wanted to give one of the two mangoes sent by her husband to the Sivanadiyar, she was hesitant to do so thinking that it is not proper for her to use what has been sent by Paramadathan personally without his permission. When she was in this dilemma, the Sivanadiyar (Bhagavan) who created this delicate situation asked Punithavadi whether she can offer him any fruit. Punithavadi who felt that God was testing her devotion prayed to Him mentally and gave him one mango happily.

Relieved of hunger, the Sivanadiyar left and Paramadathan returned from his work place with hunger. After duly cleaning his hands and legs with water, Paramadathan offered prayers to Lord Siva and sat to eat. Along with other items of food, the wife offered the balance of one mango in his plate. Finding the fruit tasty, Paramadathan asked for the other one too. Punithavadi who had consummate faith in Lord Siva, went to the kitchen and prayed to Lord Siva to give her one such mango. At once, a mango appeared in her hands. Paramadathan who tasted the second mango found it extraordinary in taste. He called his wife and asked her, " This mango with a nectarine taste was not sent by me. Where did you get it from? "

Though it was not proper for her to conceal the truth, Punithavadi felt that it may be immodest of her to tell her husband that she got it by the grace of Lord Siva. However finally she told Paramadathan the truth since there was no other go. The husband who was skeptic about what his wife told her, "If it is so, get another mango in my presence".

Punithavadi stood there and prayed to Lord Siva thus: "Swami, if you don't give me another fruit the truth I uttered will be falsified. Hence please save me". As she prayed thus, a mango appeared in her hands miraculously. The amazed husband who received the mango in his hands was startled to find that it disappeared swiftly from his hands.

Paramadathan who was a wise man by nature could not brush this miracle lightly. He thought of Punithavadi's harmonious conduct towards him, her exalted state of devotion to Lord Siva, catholic attitude and commitment to the devotees of Lord Siva. Thinking thus Paramadathan decided that Punithavadi is nothing short of a Goddess and it would be highly sinful to consider himself as the husband of such an exalted soul. Ruling himself unfit to continue as her husband, he left Karaikal by ship citing business travel.

Paramadathan who left Karaikal reached the country of Pandyas, married a woman there and begot one daughter. Punithavadi who was immersed in her devotion to Lord Siva, continued to serve His devotees and also mentally worshipping her husband daily. At this time, a few relatives of Punithavadi came to know about the whereabouts of Paramadathan in a town in the country of Pandyas and took Punithavadi there. When Paramadathan came to know that Punithavadi had come in search of him with her relatives, he went with his family to meet them.

When Paramadathan saw Punithavadi, he fell at her feet and asked his family members to do the same. Punithavadi who was shocked at such strange conduct of her husband moved away a little, while Paramadathan explained his point of view to her relatives. He told them about the divine miracle at Karaikal, his daily worship of her as Goddess ever since and his naming his daughter after Punithavadi as proof of his changed attitude towards her. The relatives of Punithavadi were tongue tied to listen to the divine miracle. As soon as Punithavadi heard her husband's words, she was possessed by a divine feeling. In other words it should be construed as the release of the woman God from her husband's thraldom. Therefore Punithavadi who immersed herself in Siva conscience prayed to Lord Siva thus: "When the attitude of this fellow is like this, you must unsheathe me of this beautiful bag of flesh  which i bore for his sake and grant me the form of a ghost."

At once, her flesh vanished and the woman Mahan appeared as skeleton. Those who were there became amazed with a tremble. When the Ammayar left on her feet bereft of any worldly feelings, her relatives returned to their places with mixed feelings.

Ammayar who became a scholar by the grace of Lord Siva, composed Arpuda Thiruvandathi and Thituvirattai Manimalai. Desirous of beholding Lord Siva, Ammayar proceeded towards Kayilai. When she reached the foot of the sacred hill, she started climbing the mountain on her head, thinking that it would be profanity to step on it. That is, to fulfill the desire of his devotee, Lord Siva too got His mind on assuming such up side down posture.

Looking at the figure approaching Lord Siva on its head with astonishment, Devi pointed it out to Siva who replied that the devotee asked for that particular form from Him by choice and was coming there for their darshan. On Ammayar reaching Lord Siva, He addressed the Mahan affectionately as "Ammaye" and Mahan responded "Appa" and fell at His sacred feet.

After this when the Lord asked Ammayar what she desired, she asked for cessation of birth and unceasing remembrance of the Lord apart from the privilege of singing during the dance of Siva. Conceding her request Siva blessed her to reach Alangadu in south, witness his divine dance and sing on the spot. Ammayar accordingly reached Thiruvalangadu, had darshan of the Lord's divine dance and sung the Thiripadigams beginning "Kongai Thirangi".

 

Oblivion (Maradhi)

Oblivion is a shortcoming that affects human beings. This may lead to problems and losses in both important and insignificant matters. Even those who are gifted with a prodigious memory and remember the minutest details of even trivial matters  may sometimes be affected by this flaw. There are those who instantly recognize a person whom they have met just once thirty years back. These people are not affected much by this defect.

It is impossible that all of us who are normally very particular in  remembering important agenda to complete it in time without giving it a miss, would have got disappointed on a few occasions. Whatever it may be, those who are aged may invariably befriend forgetfulness.

He who avers that he has forgotten his responsibility and duty is a sinner. He who avoids both deliberately is a felon. One who pretends as if he has forgotten a loan he has taken is also a felon. One who mostly forgets whatever work is assigned to him is an imbecile or an idiot. He who is not able to understand what others tell him is insane. But he who has the power to forget everything is a Thuravi or Gnani. In the same way, he who has the power to retrieve all information in a split second is also a Thuravi.

Apart from the above types of oblivion, there is one more that results out of curse during Puranic times. The curse laid on Shakunthala by Maharishi Durvassa to the effect that Dushyantha in whose memory she failed to extend due hospitality to him forget her, is an example of curse related oblivion. Though I have mentioned about these common types of oblivion, what I intend to tell you in this chapter is about divine or god sent, temporary loss of memory. Only spiritually evolved souls may be granted this divine oblivion. Unlike those who generally avoid loss of memory to remember things in the nick of time, in spite of conscious remembrance forgetting things at the right time may be described as divine oblivion sent by God.

A Karnataka Brahmin by name Govinda Dikshithar who was an expert in Veda Shastra at a young age, was shining like Rajaguru in the court of Achyutha Devaraya, king of Vijayanagar. The king appointed Govinda Dikshithar who was 18 years old as minister to his son in law Sevappa Nayakar whom he appointed as king for the Chola kingdom under his sway. Only from this time, the rule of Nayakas dawned in Tanjore. The regime of Nayakas was as flawless as that of Cholas.

What is the necessity for various government departments when citizens were hereditarily brought up as virtuous, conscientious and scripture abiding? Where is the question of witnessing social malaises like unemployment, hunt for jobs, violent agitations targeting noble persons, pestilence, starvation and water scarcity?

In the present degenerate times when the propensity of citizens to commit sins is rather high I am constrained to quote from the speach of a former speaker of Loksabha.

Replying to a farewell address presented to him by MPs, Mr.Pathak said he had suffered from the inhibitions of his office as chairman of the Rajya Sabha in giving expression to his views publicly on controversial issues.  Pointing out the delicate nature of a presiding officer's job, he said that expression of his opinion on matters discussed in the House could cause embarrassment to him as well as to others.

"The topics which cause anxiety to MPs and the public were matters of deep concern to me also, such as corruption in all its ramifications, its remedies and their implementation, problems relating to the independence of the judiciary, equal application of laws, and equal justice to all, balance between individual and social interests, grave economic issues and others."

Mr.Pathak said an independent judiciary and the rule of law in its widest connotation were the sine qua non of democracy.  "I also feel that corruption can destroy the very democracy which is the most valuable asset given to us by our leaders who laboured selflessly and suffered so that we may be happy."  The nation, he stressed needed "sacrifices, purity of public life, strong public opinion, genuine hard work and unfailing discipline."

However as long as Adult Franchise is applicable, we can only criticize the various acts of government but can achieve nothing else. If voting rights were granted only to judges, scholars and the charitable rich, only meritorious people would have occupied positions of authority and our country would have been in the forefront of prosperous and peaceful countries.

Besides in the past people did not discriminate between Siva and Vishnu and the twin sects of Saiva and Vaishnava did not simply exist. It is not that a few persons did not show more devotion to one of the two principal deities but everyone only wore only Vibhuthi on their body.

Only when the Vaishnava sect was founded with its followers forming a separate group in the society, the Saiva sect became a reality by chance. Except in India, no other country accepted deity specific divisions as long as it continued with the divine religion. As far as our kings are concerned irrespective of the sect to which they belonged, they served both the principal deities equally. Their ministers too did not show less interest in such non discriminatory attitude.

The Nayakar kings who belonged to the Vaishnava sect treated Govinda Dikshithar  who was a devotee of Lord Siva as praiseworthy. During his lifetime he has constructed and renovated a lot of temples besides digging several irrigation tanks with staircases. A few Vimana Mandapams with staircases constructed by him in the river Kaveri jut out majestically even now and it appears as if mother Kaveri is flowing happily alongside them.

A big, tall Mandapam at the center, three long Mandapams surrounding it on three sides, two tall Vimana Mandapams on both sides where they end - no fan of art can escape a sense of wonder while looking at these structures standing majestically in Kaveri and in few other rivers.  A few of them have begun to degrade. These Mandapams not only remind us of our ancient culture but also makes virtuous persons who behold them undergo a divine feeling invariably.

The regime of Nayakars had extended much beyond the Chola province. Sevappa Nayakar who had Govinda Dikshithar as his minister was also devoted to Lord Siva. Govinda Dikshithar constructed a lot of Anna Chatrams (inns where free food was served to pilgrims) and Veda Patasalas. One such Veda Patasala by name ' Raja Patasala' started by him in 1542 AD still is functioning in Kumbakonam. He constructed a lot of houses and donated them to Brahmins who dedicated their life to living a life as laid down in Vedas. Even today there are many places founded by him that go by such names as 'Ayyan Kulam', 'Ayyan Theru', 'Ayyan Pettai', 'Ayyan Puram' etc across the state of Tamil Nadu.

Many such names have now disappeared. Govinda Dikshithar has also extended many temples constructed by Cholas. He has also built a few Raja Gopurams. As far as I know most parts of the temples in Chidambaram, Viruddachalam, Thiruvannamalai as well as the Prakara Mandapam at Rameshwaram were built by him. It also appears that Swamimalai which has been built above the ground level was built by him. The Raja Gopuram, the sanctum sanctorum of Mangalambigai and Sannidhi Mandapam of Kumbeshwaran temple at Kumbakonam too were built by him.

All the sixteen miniature temples around the Mahamagam tank at Kumbakonam with their staircases were built by Govinda Dikshithar. He has also constructed many Perumal temples. In spite of distorted versions of modern history, many temples such as Oppiliappan temple and Kudandai Ramaswamy temple were built and consecrated by him. Especially Mannarkudi Rajagopalaswami temple was built by him. In this temple there is a carving at Perumal Sannadhi which depicts Govinda Dikshithar prostrating. To express their gratitude to Dikshithar, many Battacharyas and elders from Vaishnava community have adopted the surname Dikshithar hereditarily.

I said the temples of Cholas were expanded. Though the Indian government has given first place to Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Darasuram and a few other temples for sculptural exquisitness and decorative designs, the temples built by Nayakar kings have excelled in some other aspects.

Like each Chola king built temples between 9th and 15th century AD, Govinda Dikshithar also built several temples in villages for Lord Siva and Vishnu. In the northern corner of Mahamagam tank, there is a tiny temple in which a sculpture of Govinda Dikshithar offering Thulabaram (giving away gold equivalent to his weight) can be seen. An expert in all divine arts, Govinda Dikshithar was also a linguist, conversant in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. He has composed many Kavyas. He was one of those who played a significant role in adding glory to Tanjore Saraswathi library.

He was a master in scriptural arts such as Samudrika Lakshanam, Jyothisham (astrology) etc. He has attained Siddhi in mantra shastra. It is not necessary to point out that he was one of the foremost of Daiva Vivekis. The ministers in those days lived in humble tiled houses, unlike the present ones who live in luxurious mansions. They were responsible for maintaining the collective morality of the public to ensure that they do not indulge in crimes. The public were not threatened with punishments. They did not commit sins by nature.

Govinda Dikshithar who had divine blessings even as a young lad, became a Daiva Sadhu within a few years of becoming a minister. He was the minister both in the court of Sevappa Nayaka and his son Achyuthappa Nayakar. A few years before the demise of Achyuthappa Nayakar, Bhagavan appeared in his dream and asked him to renovate the dilapidated temple at Pateeswaram. This Kshetra is located 2 miles slightly to the south of Kumbakonam.

When Thirugnana Sambandar reached Pateeswaram in the course of his pilgrimage to visit the temple, he could not bear the heat. Knowing his devotee's distress, Bhagavan sent immediate help. He sent a Muthu Pandal ( A marquee made of pearls) which was borne by Boothaganas of Lord Himself. Also the Nandi in front of Siva in the temple made way for such an eminent devotee to facilitate his darshan. Till date, an yearly festival called Muthu Pandal is celebrated in Pateeswaram temple for name sake to commemorate this divine incident.

Govinda Dikshithar who was ordained by Bhagavan at his advanced age to renovate His temple became extremely happy and commenced the work under his personal supervision. A few years passed. He had fixed an auspicious day to fix the slab stone for the upper portion of the tower. The ceremony was fixed for 1 pm in the noon.

At about 8 am in the morning, two Panjamas who were waiting for Govinda Dikshithar at his backyard sent for him. When he went there and saw them, the Daiva Sadhu was startled. However, he quietened himself, versed as he was in divine secrets.

Yes! Both the visitors had worked under him and died a few years before! So the Daiva Sadhu took it that this spectacle was a miracle of Bhagavan. Both Panjamas prostrated to him and stood with folded hands.

Daiva Sadhu did not ask them, "how is that both of you are alive?". He simply asked them, "where are you coming from?".

Both replied, "we are coming from the Yamalokam".

"What is the reason for your visit", asked the Daiva Sadhu.

"We have come today to take your senior mason away" replied the visitors.

It is needless to say that no notice is served before taking away lives of human beings. Both ex Panjamas were not those who worked under him. They who were there to take away the Mason were neither the messengers of Yama. Both of them were partial manifestation of God who put on the appearance of Panjamas. Further, Bhagavan wanted to demonstrate a miracle to Govinda Dikshithar who was functioning at the exalted level of Daiva Sadhu and the same was granted in this manner.

The Daiva Sadhu who was aware of all these intricacies thought for a while and asked them, "are they talking anything about me in Yamalokam? ".

"Yes! They were talking. They said that you have completed all virtuous acts to reach Moksha Lokam except the deed of laying Nandavanam", replied the Panjamas.

The Daiva Sadhu who was extremely pleased with their auspicious response asked them to leave.

From the above, you can somewhat infer that those who are born as Sadhu or Siranda Viveki can speed up their spiritual elevation by undertaking charitable acts that are ordained in scriptures in consonance with their conduct. That is, they must at least dedicate their body to such charitable acts. Such acts may continue up to Daiva Sadhu level. In case they remain incomplete even at that state, the persons concerned may happen to be born again as Daiva Sadhu.

You may ask whether a Papi or Pamaran can attain Moksha Lokam by undertaking these charitable acts. It is just impossible. If such people undertake such selfless charitable acts, they can attain mundane prosperities such as wealth, worldly pleasures etc which are eagerly welcome by these spiritual amateurs in subsequent births, but attaining Moksha Lokam is simply out of the question.

That is, a nice family with a noble wife and children, a palatial residence with a luxuriant garden, good health, adequate wealth, intelligence, fame, power etc could be attained in the subsequent human births. But if the same persons who do such charitable acts commit sins and errors, they can't escape from the consequences. However if these persons on lower rungs focus on their conduct and deeds, they will be promoted to the next rung of the ladder.

In course of time, they will move forward towards the ripe state of Mutrina Viveki. Even if one has attained all the qualities laid down for a Mutrina Viveki, he can't prepare himself for the state of Daiva Sadhu unless he develops faith and devotion towards God. However God gives him faith and devotion in his next birth as Mutrina Viveki and promotes him to higher levels. Hence, we who are holding on to all attachments and desire for money can't aspire for Moksha Lokam only by performing charitable acts.

Did I not say that the Muhurtham for laying the foundation slab for the Gopuram was fixed at 1 pm? The puja for this function is customarily performed by the senior mason. However the Panjamas from the Yama Lokam have informed Govinda Dikshithar that they are going to take the senior mason away. Hence the Daiva Sadhu decided to safeguard the senior mason to shield him from any possible danger at the work spot.

At this juncture it can be said that he became confused. Evolved as he was, he overlooked the simple fact that even if he kept the senior mason away from the work spot, the destined separation of his Jeevan from his body is bound to happen. So after bidding farewell to the Panjamas, he locked the senior mason secretly in a room and kept the key with himself. By doing so, he planned to complete the function without the senior mason. That is, Bhagavan while allowing his body and mind to function, deactivated his intellect (chitham) and brain (Moolai).

Now it was 12 noon. The preparatory work for the Muhurtham started. Everyone was expecting the senior mason. A few people were saying that he was missing. Our Daiva Sadhu was engaged from 9 am in the performance of his daily chores such as Bramhayagnam, Vaishvadevam, Madyanhikam etc.

As the Muhurtham time drew nearer, the concerned persons sent for the minister. The minister went with them on their invitation after fully completing his Vaideeka chores. There was suddenly a murmur about the missing mason which was brought to the attention of the minister who reflexively removed the key from his waist and caused the mason to be brought to the spot. He completely forgot the purpose for which he locked the mason up and got him out of the custody involuntarily.

As time was running out, the mason who was released came running and ascended the ladder to reach the Mottai Gopuram where the foundation slab lay fixed with a few other rocks  lying haphazardly. The mason stepped on one such rock and fell. The rock on which he stepped landed on him causing his death instantly!

Only at this time the Daiva Sadhu became conscious about his oblivion. That is, we should understand that Bhagavan has removed from his memory the extraordinary incident that took place in the morning from the moment he kept the mason in custody till the time he died. After this incident, Govinda Dikshithar stayed in Pateeswaram only for a few days. He instructed his subordinates to get on with the renovation work and reached Thiruvidaimarudur having darshan of some Kshetras on the way. He importuned to the God to choose a place for laying Nandavanam.

Thiruvidaimarudur Mahalingam appeared in his dream and ordained that the Nandavanam be laid in His Sannadhi itself. Govinda Dikshithar who was very happy to have been blessed by Lord Siva Himself laid a Nandavanam for one mile and also constructed an oasis therein. He also built an Agraharam and donated it to Brahmins. Govindapuram, which is named after this great scholar is situated within one mile to the east of Thiruvidaimarudur.

As soon as the Nandavanam work was completed, Govinda Dikshithar became a Mahan and sat in Thiruvidaimarudur. One day when he prayed to Mahalingam to let him know about his time to shed his mortal coil, Bhagavan ordered him to go to Kumbakonam Mangalambigai Sannadhi. The couple reached Kumbeshwaran temple and used to sit in meditation at the Mangalambigai Sannadhi. On one such day when both of them prostrated to Ambigai, only Mahan vanished. However Ambigai blessed his wife too with Niryanam in the same day.

In memory of this divine incident, statues representing the Mahan in the form of a Lingam and his wife in human form, have been erected in a long platform (Thinnai ), opposite of  Mangalambigai Sannadhi as if the two are having Her darshan. Moreover big statues have been erected for both in the temple at Pateeswaram.

Govinda Dikshithar was a Hosalya Karnataka Brahmin. Many of his descendants settled in Tanjore, especially in Kumbakonam Thiruvidaimarudur. The 68th pontiff of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi, who has since renounced His post, was a descendant of Govinda Dikshithar.

Govinda Dikshithar 1517-1611.

Regime of Sevappa Nayakar 1535-1573.

Son Achyuthappa Nayakar 1573-1614.

Son Raghunatha Nayakar 1614-1638.

His son Vijayaraghava Nayakar 1638-1673.

Vijayaraghava Nayakar became a Veera Vaishnava. One Thathachariyar, a great man, became his minister as well as Rajaguru.