Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pomp and glory lead but to the grave - mantrA 149

srigurubhyO namahA |

In the 149th mantrA, the sage observes that neither riches nor the position held by one while alive is of any use when the soul has separated from the body.

மன்றத்தே நம்பி மாடம் எடுத்தது
மன்றத்தே நம்பி சிவிகைபெற் றேறினான்
மன்றத்தே நம்பி முக்கோடி வழங்கினான்
சென்றத்தா என்னத் திரிந்திலன் தானே. I.2.7.149

In pride of pomp a stately mansion he built,
In rage of wealth into the palanquin he stept,
In vain excess gave away largesse in crores,
But ne'er his soul sought the Lord's green retreat. I.2.7.149

Com - In pride of pomp a stately mansion he built, (The princely man) took great pleasure from the palatial abode he built himself In rage of wealth into the palanquin he stept, and he enjoyed (due to his abundant wealth) the look on the face of the onlookers as he went about town being carried on a beautifully wrought palanquin. In vain excess gave away largesse in crores, He made a habit of being generous with his wealth by offering new clothes and charity to the three categories of people during public occasions but ne'er his soul sought the Lord's green retreat. Even still, after his soul parted from the body at the time of death he was unable to return to the world of the living when called by his children.

*The last line of this verse which in the original is "சென்றத்தா என்னத் திரிந்திலன் தானே" actually means that he is unable to return (to the body) when his children call him ‘appa’ (father). This has however been translated into English as ‘But ne'er his soul sought the Lord's green retreat’ and I have left the line be as such and have instead given the meaning intended in the original. The overall impression that the sage intends to leave us with through this verse is that even though one might be (while alive) enjoying all the trappings of a princely life with plenty of wealth and social status, all that lasts only as long as the soul remains within the body. But when death does occur, neither money nor the love and respect of society are capable of bringing the soul back into the body. The term முக்கோடி வழங்கினான் refers to the practise of offering new clothes and other charity to the three categories of people – to those that are on a lesser social level than oneself, to those that are one’s equals and to those who are on a higher social level than oneself. The Tamil world ‘kOdi’ refers to new clothes. This was a custom observed by the wealthy in the olden days.

thirucchitrambalam |


Anonymous said...

this one is real confusing.

do we have to take it just for the transitoriness or do we have a cushion to further elaborate to know then what was the benefit of the charity he may have done?

though charity would not give you an extended innings, dont you feel that this description could have been totally avoided.


mooligai sidhan said...

srigurubhyO namahA |

The focus of this mantrA is in pointing out that death is certain for everyone - be they rich or poor, good or bad, saint or sinner.The effects of charity performed by the individual when alive is not the focus of this mantrA. There is a sub section occuring later in the text titled 'dhAnachirappu' where the deliberation on the merits of charity etc are contained.

The mention of charity here is to paint a picture of the princely/rich person, to suggest affluence. And to point out that even such a person, will still end up like everyone else after death. Hence the sage mentions that even when such a rich person is dead, his soul is unable to re enter the body. None of the wealth or social position or even the adoration of kin is capable of reuniting the body with the soul once death has occured.

If we observe some of the mantrAs to follow in this section this is made exceedingly clear.

Regarding your mention of this description being totally avoided, I am afraid I dont understand what in the description needs to be avoided.