SRI DEVI AND JESHYTA DEVI IN TAMIL VEDA TIRUKKURAL (Post No.5675)

 

Written by London Swaminathan

swami_48@yahoo.com

Date: 18 November 2018

GMT Time uploaded in London –14-34
Post No. 5675

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

Jyeshta Devi, picture posted by Lalgudi Veda

Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar was a great Hindu who authored the most famous didactic work Tirukkural, also called Tamil Veda by his contemporary poets. He praised Vishnu, Shiva but condemned Brahma for creating poverty in the world. he said if one has to beg in this world for living, let Brahma go to hell. He praised Shiva for maintaining equanimity and ecorumeven when his friends asked him to drink the poison to save them. he praised Vamanavatar and Gopi Krishna in other couplets (Kural in Tamil). He mentioned the greatness of Go Mata, Vedic Studies, Brahmins, Deva loka, Arita in innumerable couplets. He begins his book with praise of God using Sanskrit words and ending the book again with Sanskrit words. In fact there is no chapter without Sanskrit word. This shows that he treated both the languages as his two eyes.

Scholars in the past 100 years from V R Ramachadra Dikshitar, V V S Iyer, K V Jagannathan, very recently famous historian Dr R Nagaswamy to many more have shown that he borrowed lot from other great books. Having said that all these scholars praised Thiruvalluvar for hs great skill in assembling so much moral sayings in one single book and that too in the briefest couplet format. We have 1330 couplets under 133 headings. No work in any other language can be compared with this marvellous work of the greatest Tamil poet of ancient times. He stands unique in the world of moral literature.

Here in this article I want to show his praise for Sri Devi, i.e Maha Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and hiscriticism of her elder sister Mu Devi or Jyeshta in Sanskrit, who is the Goddess of Mis Fortune.

Jyeshta, Goddess of Mis Fortune, bad luck has got her own shrines in several temples in Tamil Nadu. It is strange that Hindus see her as the elder sister of Maha Lakshmi who brings wealth.

Thiru valluvar says,

Goddess of Mis Fortune lives with the indolent and good luck of the Lotus Deity Lakshmi with strenuous strivers- Kural 617

Gambling is the ogress mis fortune. Those who are deluded and swallowed by her, suffer grief, misery and poverty- Kural 936

in both these couplets he used the same word Mukati (Mu Devi, Tamil word for Jyeshta Devi)

In the couplets where he praised Lakshmi, one can interpret it as Lakshmi or Fortune or wealth. But all the ancient commentators take it for Lakshmi.

Another interesting thing is the cognate words in English ,Tamil and Sanskrit for Lakshmi or fortune or prosperity:-

Sri = SIR title in English

Sri=Tiru in Tamil or Seer in Tamil

Sri Dhanam+ Seer or Seedhanam in Tamil

Linguists know very well that

S=T (Eg Sion= Tion)

wherever the tion comes English pronounce it as sion.

More about Jyeshta

The iconography of Jyeshta Deva is itself interesting. Jyeshta  generally means ‘elder’ in Sanskrit. Kashmiris called Shiva Jyeshta Rudra; elder son is called Jyeshta Putra.

Donkey Vahana

Jyeshta, Goddess of Mis fortune, is found in Hindu Puranas. She personifies poverty and is depicted with a  large belly and long nose. She was particularly worshipped in South India. A star—Nakashtra -also named after her (Jyeshta= Kettai in Tamil). This name also has bad connotation in astrology. Jyeshta’s vahana (mount) is ass. She has a banner with crow. In her hands she has arrow, cup, and her other attributes are  blue lotus, staff and hair ornament.

Cicero and Benjamin Franklin

S M Diaz in his English commentary on Tirukkural, adds more information:

The dark elder sister representing misfortune with go with the man of indolence

While the lotus born Lakshmi with reside with the man of industry- Kural/ couplet 617

Cicero is believed to have said somewhere, that Diligence is one virtue that contains in itself all the rest.

Benjamin Franklin said much later, that Diligence is mother of all virtues and certainly of good fortune.

Goddess Lakshmi is praised in couplets 617, 179, 519, 920

As I have mentioned earlier one can interpret the word Thiru as wealth, fortune, prosperity and Lakshmi. We always go by what the ancient interpreters say about it. Ten people wrote commentaries on Tirukkural and only half of them are available now.

Tags:- Jyeshta, Mudevi, Tirukkural, Goddess of mis- fortune

–subham–

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