Quotes, the essential part of every Tamilian on this planet. There are very few or even no one who hasn’t used a quotation/aphorism. We already saw a few of them that got transformed in different ways especially the meaning during the course of time. I found a few others that were quite interesting in their original interpretations and the new and transformed ones. Lets see what those quotes are

This quote would have been uttered by every mouth that knows to speak Tamil

“Nalladhukku Kaalam Illai”

The meaning nowadays is, Good deeds would not be recognised so it is not a time for them. Which also means, that if any good deed is done, it is not only interpreted wrong sense, but also the person performing such a deed will earn a bad name. Though many incidents like this happen in the lives of every one of us. The actual meaning is hidden behind those untoward happenings. It is different and even might sound opposite too

Usually conducting auspicious events, doing good deeds, acts that benefits every one or at least the needy is done by looking at the almanac charts to see if the time is ripe to do those activities – like wedding, temple festivals, providing free food to the poor etc. It is done so because it would be beneficial for many. But the actual meaning of the quote is that, if any act however big or small is to be done and if it will help someone in some way, you should not look whether it is a good time to do that or not. So the actual meaning is – For doing good things, there is no specific time. Those deeds are not bound by time for the person to derive maximum benefit.

“Pon Kidaithaalum Budhan Kidaikaadhu”

The transformed meaning, You may even get lots of Gold, but you wouldn’t get a Wednesday. This might make most of us wonder, about what has Wednesday to do with Gold and why is it even important. There seems to be some missing clue that we might find how our ancestors made such unrelated statements. Maybe it could be a psychological reason that Wednesday falls in the middle of the week so it has to be a balanced day adding to the good things. Even nowadays, people prefer to do things on Wednesdays considering it as auspicious. But the actual fact is that in astrology Budhan (Mercury) is the deity of knowledge and wisdom. He is the one who bestows people with their education. And so even if one has a great deal of wealth, he might not be educated or even knowledged. The quote thus signifies, wealth can be acquired by different means, but education is very difficult to attain.

“Aathula Pottalum Alandhu Podanum”

Aathula – In the river
Pottalum – Throw, put in
Alandhu – Measure
Podanum – Throw, put in

The meaning nowadays is, Even if you throw your belongings into the river have an account of what you throw and how much to throw. It might be baffling, that throwings our belongings into to river is itself a foolish act, but having an account or measuring them is even foolish. Some even interpret the meaning as one needs to be frugal and should not waste unnecessarily.

The actual quote goes like this

“Agathula Pottalum Alandhu Podanum”

Agam – Home

meaning, Even if you give the money you earned to your very home, have an account of how much you give. Usually, people in business earn money, but they don’t keep an account of how much they withdraw from the business, as their purpose of earning is just for their home. So they don’t keep account of money withdrawn from business for their homely needs. But what this quote emphasises is that to have control of the expenses and money earned, you need to maintain proper accounts even in case of private use.

The next one is quite intimidating for children. It is used to frighten children to ward them off from water resources so that they don’t get sick after playing in the water for long. The quote is

“Sani Neeraadum”

meaning Saturn, who is dreadful planet feared for the bad times he causes to a human, will play in the water. So anyone playing in the water for long will be cast by the Saturn’s spell that they will have to suffer for 7.5 years. This was to frighten children from playing too much in the water. But actually the quote is

“Sani Neeradu”

meaning, One should take Oil bath during Saturdays. Because Saturday being a weekend, one is expected to take rest after taking an oil bath, so Saturdays are the right days for taking oil bath. And to maintain a good health, it is quite necessary to keep the good health and keep the body temperatures low in a tropical country like India.

The next one talks about the very own Tamil Language and Civilisation

“Kall Thondri Mann thondra Kaalathae
Munn Thondriya Mootha Kudi
Engal Tamil Kudi”

meaning, even before stone and sand was formed, the Tamil Language and Civilisation existed. But logically, it might be questionable how a language used by humans could have formed before stone and sand was formed in this planet.

The actual interpretation is quite different, it actually means that some form of Tamil Language existed even before the Stone Age, where humans started using tools and utensils made of stone. Historically, man started using stones as tools and later learnt to make utensils out of mud like pots etc. So, this statement is about a communication language, Tamil, that existed even before the stone age and even before man started making tools and utensils out of mud. Of course, Tamil is a very old language and it is possible that it existed in some form, but its existence has to be made somewhat logical and not even before anything formed in this planet.

The quotes become very valuable if their real and in-depth meanings are understood and propagated correctly to the next generations to come. This is the rich heritage we have in our hands to be safeguards for the days ahead.

More to come, until then…

After a long time, another photo blog post was due for its place. And it was Namakkal, also called Namagiri. People tend to remember, the Anjaneyar Temple (Lord Hanuman) when they hear the name Namakkal, but the legend and another temple is not quite popular among the people, though the temple is the very reason for Lord Hanuman’s popularity. Let’s see the pics of the temple and later we will get on the legend.

The view of the Lakshmi Narashima Temple and the fort at the top

The entrance to the temple (Kannadhasan standing)

The Vimanam of the Lakshmi temple

The Vimanam of the Lakshmi temple and a small mandapam with me

Another view of the Vimanam of the Lakshmi Temple

The huge rock from the other site the temple

The front mandapam and the rock fort

The front mandapam

Another view of the mandapam in the front

Another view of the mandapam in the front

Another view of the fort


Another view of the mandapam in the front

Lord Anjaneyar worshipping Lord Narashima

Another view of Lord Anjaneyar worshipping Lord Narashiman

The legend that is associated with this temple is that after lifting the Sanjeevi Parvatham (The Herbal Mountain) and keeping it back in place. Lord Hanuman, bathed in the river Gandaki in Nepal and He got the sacred stone called Saaligramam, that is considered the equivalent of Lord Vishnu. The Saaligramam that Lord Hanuman was unique that it had Lord Narashima and Lord Ranganathar sculptures in the same stone. So Lord Hanuman thought of taking it back to the South, when He was getting back to Srilanka.

When He was enroute, it was dusk (Sandhya time – Sandhya means meeting point) so Lord Hanuman had to offer his prayers during dusk to his Guru – The Sun. But the Saaligramam could not be kept in the land as it is considered so sacred. So he was searching for a person. And then, He found Goddess Lakshmi doing penance in the sacred pond called the Kamalaalaya Theertham. So Lord Hanuman request Goddess Lakshmi to hold the Saaligramam for a while so that he can complete the Sandhya Vandhanam (Evening prayers). Goddess Lakshmi agreed and asked Lord Hanuman to be back soon.

Lord Hanuman offered his prayers and started meditating so gradually it got very late. And Lord Hanuman rushed to see Goddess Lakshmi, by then a huge mountain had grown. When He asked Goddess Lakshmi about what happened. Goddess Lakshmi told that as it got very late for Hanuman to get back, she could not bear the weight of the Saaligramam, so She kept in on the ground and it grew to be a mountain. The Saaligramam being a rare one having both Lord Narshima and Lord Ranganathar, Hanuman tried lifting the mountain, but it did not budge. Then Lord Hanuman heard the voice of Lord Narashima, saying that it was His wish to stay there and it is the because of the penance of Goddess Lakshmi at Kamalaalya Theertham that He wished to stay here. And this holy place be called the Namagiri, the Kamalaalaya Theertham be called the Namagiri Theertham and Goddess Lakshmi be called Namagiri Thaayaar. And after the Rama Avataram was over, Lord Hanuman came here and stood worshipping Lord Narashima and He is still blessing the devotees who come to Him

The speciality of this temple is that this is the temple where all the three prime Gods – the Thrimoorthy – (Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Bramha) are found in one shrine. The temple has no Vimanam, because to build one it has to cover the entire Namagiri mountain. As, Lord Narashima does not have a Vimanam, Lord Hanuman vowed to stand in the open space without Vimanam roofing. And He still does to this day, all attempts to build a roof failed, so he stands outside. The Lakshmi Narashima temple is under the maintenance of Archaelogical Society of India (ASI) whereas the Hanuman temple outside is under the control of the state government. And nearby the temple is the Namagiri Theertham (Kamalaalaya Theertham)

The temple is open during most of the day time. One more interesting fact is that the Lord Narashima’s feet and Lord Hanuman’s eyes are at the same height position as Lord Hanuman worshipping Lord Narashima’s lotus feet.

The mandapams were erected by the Pallavas and there is a rock fort on the top that was built by Tippu Sultan. The temple is very serene and tranquil that it captivates the minds of the people who visit it and makes them to come for more of Lord Narashima’s and Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings.

On the other side of the Lakshmi Narashima temple is the Lord Ranganathar temple. It is said that the Lord Ranganathar statue is bigger than the one at the great Srirangam. And the temple is open only during early morning and early evening for around 4 hours a day. The experience is so exciting that you find your mind to be in peace and tranquility once you visit the temple.

More to come, until then…

This being the month of Maargazhi, a post about the unique Azhwar known to the world would be nice. The Azhwar is none other than Aandaal. She is unique in various respects

  • Of the twelve Azhwars, she is the only female Azhwar
  • She had an unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu and married him at Srirangam
  • She started the ritual called the Paavai Nonbu, that is followed to this day. This ritual is followed by girls so that they get a husband of a good character
  • She is considered to be the incarnate of Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu
  • The temple for her at Srivilliputur stands as a official symbol in the seal of Government of the Tamil Nadu, as a symbol of the Art and Architecture of the Tamil Civilisation

Let us see the life history of Aandaal. She is believed to the incarnate of Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Legend says that Goddess Lakshmi wanted to praise Lord Vishnu, by being the daughter of the famous Azhwar, Vishnu Sitthar famously known as Periazhwar. So she was born and was found as a baby under the Thulasi plant in the temple garden by Periazhwar. From then on Periazhwar considered her to be a gift that Lord Vishnu gave him and doted her a his own daughter. He taught her the all the philosophies and stories he knew about Lord Krishna and also taught her to attain poetic eloquence in the Tamil language. He named her Kodhai meaning Garland.

Kodhai grew up as a kid just thinking about Lord Krishna and she would consider herself as playing Lord Krishna when her father was away to perform the temple rituals. Everyday Periazhwar gathers flowers from the garden and makes a garland out of it to be presented to Lord Ranganathar. One day after making the garland he would go away to his garden to maintain it and then return back to get the garland to the temple. So when he was away, Kodhai would wear the garland to see if it suited her, only if it did, it should be offered to the Lord. One day, Periazhwar saw Kodhai doing this and got very angry as it is considered a sacrilege in Hinduism that anything that has been used by the humans should not be offered to the Lord. He shouted at her telling her to get out of his sight, but Kodhai told that she was unaware and she thought she was playing with Lord Krishna. But later Periazhwar composed himself and told her not to repeat it and that he will get a fresh garland made for the Lord. And when he offered it to the Lord, the garland fell out as if showing the Lord unacceptance of the offer. The Kodhai brought the garland that she wore and told that Lord Krishna will like children and that she was playing with Lord Krishna, so he should accept the garland. Periazhwar offered it to the Lord in the temple and to his surprise the place was illuminated showing the acceptance. Only then he realised how blessed Kodhai was and adorned her with the name “Soodi Kodutha Sudar Kodi” meaning “The bright star like lady who gave the Lord the garland after wearing them”. And as she ruled the Lord with her devotion she was adorned the name “Aandaal” meaning, the one who rules.

From then on she had an unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu and she when she reached the marriage age, she was stubborn that she will marry only Lord Ranganathar at Srirangam, which made Periazhwar baffle as to how it was humanly possible. Later Periazhwar felt the vision of the Lord at Srirangam to bring his daughter in full bridal adornment to Srirangam. When they went to Srirangam, Aandaal merged with Lord Ranganather completely at that point.

Aandaal is held in high respect and exalted to the level of Azhwar because of her unwavering and sincere devotion to Lord Vishnu. Her exemplary works, Thiruppavai and Naachiyaar Thirumozhi stand as a proof to her devotion. Not only she showed her sincere devotion, she also made the other girls of the country to follow that and started off a ritual called the Paavai Nonbu which she elaborates her work Thiruppavai. The songs in both Thiruppavai and Naachiyaar Thirumozhi express the grandeur and eloquence. This Paavai Nonbu, is being followed during the month of Maargazhi even today, and the songs from Thiruppavai and sung daily. It is correlation to what Lord Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita, that in all the months he is the month of Maargazhi. It is so auspicious that in all the Vaishnavite temples it is celebrated widely to get the blessing of the Lord.

Now lets look at the very first song, that expresses the strong devotion and grandeur of Aandaal’s expression. The song goes like this




“Maargazhi Thingal Madhi Niraindha Nannaalal
Neeraada Podhuveer Podhumeeno Naerilazhaiyeer
Seer Malgum Aayippaadi Selva Sirumeergaal
Koorvael Kondunthozhilan Nandhagopan Kumaran
Yaeraarndha Kanni Yasodhai Ilam Singam
Kaarmaeni Sengann Kadhir Madhiyam Pol Mugathaan
Narayananae Nammakku Parai Tharuvaan
Paaror Pugazha Padindhaelor Empaavaai”

meaning, Oh! the wealthily adorned girls of Aaryarpadi, on the auspicious full moon lit month of Maargazhi, let us go and bathe and perform the paavai nonbu, because the Lord son of the Nandhagopan, who gives guards the country by given pain to his enemies with is long spear. The young lion of the beautiful eyed Yasodha, who has the body coloured like the dark rainy clouds, bright eyes and the bright and beautiful face like the full moon, who is none other that Lord Narayanan would bless us. So let us do the penance praised by the world – The Paavai Nonbu – by immersing ourselves in the water first.

We can see the literary eloquence and her power of faith to move the people to perform a ritual to get the blessings of the Lord is an exemplary feat.

The verses following from Naachiyaar Thirumozhi express the grandness in her thought and imagination. In the following songs she narrates to her friend about the dream that she had in the previous nights. She dreams about marriage ceremony between Her and Lord Narayanan. The grandeur and greatness of thought can be seen throughout the verses




“Vaaranamaayiram Soola Valam Seidhu
Naarana Nambi Nadakindraan Endru Edhir
Poorana Porr Kudam Vaithu Puram Engum
Thoranam Naata Kanaa Kandaen Thozhi Naan”

The situation of the this song is during the Maapillai Azhaippu ritual, where the groom (here the Lord himself) is invited and walked till the marriage hall. The meaning of the song, With a thousand elephants surrounded, Lord Narayanan walks majestically to the marriage hall. Because the Lord arrives and in order to receive him, the pot full and complete with gold is kept in front and in the places surrounding decorations with festoons and banners are done. This was the dream that she dreamt of.

Each of these verses are adorned with grandeur and in other verses she narrates the people who attended the dream wedding. The people are all the Gods, including the head of the Devars – Indran and many others who make the marriage ceremony a grand one. The narration of dream itself is greatly eloquent and shows the undiverted devotion She had to Lord Narayana.

The Srivilliputhur Aandaal temple adds the name Aandaal to its crown showing the divinity of Aandaal. Being so divine and Godly has made Aandaal a unique Azhwar and her works and the Paavai Nonbu will be remembered forever.

More to come until then…

Ravana is known to most of us as a demon king, and is portrayed as a person with moral turpitude etc, because he abducted Seetha and slayed many without mercy. But the fact is that Ravana is a great and a scholarly person admired by many. He mastered all the 64 forms of art and is a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He was a great singer and his eloquence and the knowledge can be realised through the song that he composed, which is being sung as the Shiva Thandava Sthothram even today. The song is so majestic and is in praise of
Lord Shiva.

The legend about this song goes like this. Ravana ruled Sri Lanka and wanted to worship Lord Shiva at Kailash, but when he went to Kailash and prayed Lord Shiva to appear before him, Lord Shiva did not. So Ravana got frustrated and wanted to show his strength, so he lifted Himalayas with all his twenty hands. The entire place shook like anything and Goddess Parvathi feared, when the place shook like earthquake striking. Lord Shiva then pressed the mountain with his feet and Ravana got crushed under the weight of the Himalayas and could not bear the weight of it and prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva bestowed him, and then Ravana sang this song which was called the Shiva Thandava Sthothram. Hear to this and we can see the eloquence and the majestic composition, though in Sanskrit, it has the good rhythm, alliteration and resounding beauty. The pdf version can be found here.

Please wait until the song loads…

Download Shiva Thandava Sthothram

He is a man who patronised art and respected people with artistic skills. There is also a legend where he called Agathiar for a music competition, it was a very tough competition. The task was to make a mountain made of gold to melt just by singing. Agathiar won the competitionas the mountain melted for Agathiar’s music and song. Ravana accepted his defeat and gave a word to Agathiar that he will not disturb him and the people living near Agathiar’s place. Thus he respected a learned person like Agathiar.

He was a brave warrior and also is enduring is doing great penance that he was gifted with various powers. He is said that have had the scars of an elephant’s tusk, Vishnu’s Chakram and many others after fighting with them. He also had all the nine planet’s, Indran and all the devars under his feet. His braveness, his enduring penance and nobility have earned him a crowned name that only one person has this crown. He has the name Eashwaran adorned to his name and called as Elangeshwaran. The other person is the planet Saturn (Saneeshwaran). No other person, who is not a manifestation of Lord Shiva bears the name Eashwaran to his name. Such a fame could not be achieved easily, Saneeshwaran got his name, because he put everybody to test for a period of 7.5 years without mercy or bias. He does not even leave out even if they are Gods. Likewise, Ravana also has the endurance in achieving a power by severe penance.

There is another legend that says Ravana was a Dhvarapalaga (Gate keeper) of Lord Vishnu’s heaven, the Thirupar Kadal (The Ocean of Milk). Once upon a time, he and his friend another Dhvarapalaga were guarding the gates. Then one Rishi came to worship Lord Vishnu, but they both denied the entry, because it was the resting time for Lord Vishnu. But the angry Rishi, cursed them that they both be born in earth and suffer. They both worried and asked for mercy, the Rishi told that Lord Vishnu will tell the way for their salvation. When both the Dhvarapalagas fell at the feet of Lord Vishnu, Lord Vishnu gave them an option. Either they can choose to life seven lives as a good devotee and then attain salvation or live 3 lives as an opposer and enemy of Lord Vishnu and attain salvation. Ravana chose to oppose and attain salvation and reach Lord Vishnu in 3 lives, because he felt that he could not be away from Lord Vishnu for seven lives. So he became a demon and he was born as Eranyan, Mahabali and then Ravanan, later attained the Dhvarapalaga status again.

Ravana also followed, even in his deathbed, the discipline that a student has to give to his teacher. When Ravana was defeated by Lord Rama, he was in his deathbed and breath the last few moments of his life. Then Lord Rama, the incarnate of Lord Vishnu, knew about his knowledge and wisdom and told his brother Lakshmana, not to think bad or low about Ravana, because he is not only a demon king, but also a great scholar and a discipline man, and to see it for Lakshman to see it for himself asked him to go to Ravana and know about the procedure to wage a war. Lakshmana still not convinced that Ravana was a great scholar and a disciplined man, went and stood near Ravana’s head and told that he came to Ravana just because his brother Lord Rama, told him ask Ravana about the procedure to wage a war. Ravana, with a smile asked Lakshmana whether he learnt any discipline in his gurukulam. Lakshmana was shocked to hear that. Ravana continued saying that Lakshmana is asking him the procedure to wage a war and that he is in the position of a student and Ravana himself is in the position of a teacher. So, it is not a disciplined behaviour to stand near the teacher’s head and ask questions and ordered Lakshmana to come near his feet and ask his question. Lakshmana felt ashamed, went near his feet and heard to the last minute lectures of Ravana and realised what Lord Rama told him. And then Ravana got a deep reverence in the hearts of Lakshmana.

The sculpture of Ravana lifting Mount Kailash and Lord Shiva as Kailasanathar on top pressing the mountain with his feet is found in the 1,500 year temple Keezhapazhayaarai near Kumbakonam. It is believed that on worshipping this Kailasanathar, people get their debts cleared and acquire wealth and prosperous life. It is also said that famous Emperor King Rajaraja Cholan worshipped this Kailasanathar daily when Keezhapazhayarai was the capital city during the Chola reign. Photos of Keezhapazhayarai can be found in a previous post – Great temples in desolate ruins

Ravana, though he is portrayed as villain, is respected and honoured for his scholarly knowledge. Those qualities of wisdom would heralded for ages to come and his name and fame will exist for all time till Lord Rama’s name exists. Let us respect him for his knowledge, wisdom and discipline which even the God’s speak of respectfully.

More to come, until then…

We have already seen about Edaikaadar and his predictions in the previous post Esoteric Edaikaar. Edaikaadar is also believed to be a disciple of another Siddhar called Bogar. Bogar is the one who installed the Navapaashana Statue at Palani Hills. Bogar is said to be of Chinese origin and travelled extensively all the way to Tamil Nadu; prepared and installed the Navapaashana Statue. More about Bogar in a later post, but Edaikaadar being the disciple of Bogar is illustrated in his songs as he mentions about China in his predictions. So, it seems that he would also have visited China with Bogar.

Let us see the predictions he mentioned about last year (Viya), this year (Sarvasithu) and the next five years (Saravadhaari, Virodhi, Vikrudhi, Kara, Nandhana). The songs go like this

Viya

“Viyavarudam Maari Vilaivundaam Cheenam
Suya Vaazvudanae Sugamaam Uyarvaam
Pathinettu Viththum Pathivaai Palikkum
Sathir Peru Nallakkam Migumthaan”

meaning in the Viya year there will very good rainfall and all the 18 major crops will grow well. China will grow to be self-sufficient. And good deeds and yaagams will rise on this planet.

Viya Varudam – Viya Year
Maari – Rains
Vilaivu – Growth of Crops
Cheenam – China
Suya Vaazhvu – Self Sufficiency
Sugam – Comfort, Happiness
Uyarvu – Promotion and good fortune
Pathinettu – Eighteen
Viththum – Crops
Pathivaai – Register (usually an event), Surely
Palikkum – Happen for sure
Sathir – Boundaries
Perum – Receive
Nall – Good
Yakkam – Yaagams
Migum – Rise

I guess China is establishing itself in a global level and there was indeed a good rainfall too last year. The next song relates to this year (April 2007 – March 2008)

Sarvasithu

“Sarvasithu Thannil Avathil Palavum
Ore Pathinettu Vithuthum Ongum Perumaiyudan
Mikka Vilaivindaam Menmaelum Maariyundaam
Thakka Sugam Perugum Thaan”

meaning, during Sarvasithu all the 18 crops will have good yield. Rains will pour continuously in quantities more than required. All happiness and comfort will last throughout the year.

Sarvasithu Thannil – During Sarvasithu
Avathil – Planet, world
Ore Pathinettu – one 18
Viththu – Crops
Ongum – Gain, have good growth
Perumai – Pride
Mikka – Excess
Vilaivu – Growth of crops
Menmael – Over and Over again
Maari – Rains
Undaam – Affirmative
Thakka – Appropriate
Sugam – Comfort
Perugum – Rising

Of course, we can see, that main places being lashed by rains, but the overall picture makes us to wait for another five more months. For the rest we have to wait to see if it really works

Saravadhaari

“Narr Sarvadhaarin Nalla Mazhai Undaam
Arppa Vithaanadhellam Aagadhu Sorrperiya
Aindhu Vagai Vilaivum Aagum Sugamudanae
Maindhar Ellam Vaazhndhiruppar Matru”

meaning, during Sarvadhaari rains will be good, but only the 5 major crops will have a good yield, the rest would not. And people will live a comfortable life.

Narr – Good
Sarvadhaarin – year Sarvathaari
Nalla – Good
Mazhai – Rains
Undaam – Affirmative
Arppa – Mean
Vithu – Crops
Aagadhu – Negation, Will not happen
Sorrperiya – Things worth mentioning
Aindhu – Five
Vagai – Variety
Vilaivum – Harvest
Aagum – Happen
Sugam – Comfort
Maindhar – People, Children
Ellam – All
Vaazhndhu – Live
Iruppar – Exist
Matru – the rest of it

Virodhi

“Needu Virodhi Nilathin Mazhai Migudhi
Medu Kaadellam Vilaivundaam Needum
Arasar Peraalae Azhiyum Ulagam
Thiramigu Noi Saerumena Seppu”

meaning, during virodhi rains will pour everywhere, and hence there will be good growth of crops everywhere, be it plains or hills. Rulers and Kings (can be interpreted as countries) will fight with each other and cause devestation and destruction. Contagious and diseases will be on the rise.

Needu – Long
Virodhi – year Virodhi
Nilathin – On this land
Mazhai – Rain
Migudhi – Excess
Medu – Mounds
Kaadu – Forest, Plains
Ellam – All
Vilaivu – Harvest
Undaam – Affirmative
Arasar Peraalae – Because of Kings
Azhiyum – get destroyed
Ulagam – World
Thiramigu – More potent and powerful
Noi – Disease
Saerum – Will reach
Seppu – Tell

Vikrudhi

“Vaiyam Thanil Vikrudhi Maari Vilaivadhigam
Seiyya Valangal Sirakkumae Aiyya Kael
Maadu Kazhudhai Vayapari Noi Mikku
Saada Meliyumae Thaan”

meaning, during Vikrudhi, rains and crop harvest will be good. All the resources will be abundant, but cows and donkeys (to be interpreted as cattle) will catch disease and die in large numbers

Vaiyam Thanil – In the earth (Vaiyam – Earth)
Vikrudhi – The year Vikrudhi
Maari – Rain
Vilaivadhigam – Vilaivu (harvest) + Adhigam (Excess)
Seiyya – Beauty, usually used as an adjective
Valangal – Resources
Sirakkumae – Get better
AiyyaKael – Hear with caution
Maadu – Cow
Kazhudhai – Donkey
Vayapari – Contagion
Noi – Disease
Mikku – Too much
Meliyumae – Get weak, die

Kara

“Kara Varudam Maari Peiyum Kaasiniyum Uyiyum
Uramigundha Vella Engum Odum Nirai Migundhu
Naalukaal Seevan Azhiyum Noiyaal Madiyum
Paal Neiyumae Surungum Paar”

meaning, during Kara year, rains will be good and the people in the world will attain bliss and salvation, but floods will inundate everywhere and four legged cattle will die in large numbers because of diseases. And hence, milk and ghee will go scarce.

Kara – The year Kara
Varudam – Year
Maari – Rain
Peiyum – downpour of rain
Kaasiniyum – Earth
Uyiyum – Salvation
Uramigundha – Forceful
Vella – Flood
Engum – Everywhere
Odum – Flow
Nirai – word used refer cattle
Migundhu – in excess
Naalukaal – Four legged
Seevan – Beings
Azhiyum – Destroy
Noiyaal – Disease
Madiyum – Die, Perish
Paal – Milk
Neiyumae – Ghee
Surungum – Shrink

Nandhana

“Nandhanathin Maariyarum Naadengum Panjam Migum
Nandhumuyir Noyaal Naliyumae Andharathin
Meenu Thirundhu Thooman Ezhum Mikka Keduthi Undaam
Kone Madivan Endrae Nee Kooru”

meaning, during Nandhana year, rains will fail and famine will strike throughout the world. Beings will die as a result of diseases. Comet will appear indicating a bad omen. Kings and Rulers will die in this year.

Nandhanathin – In the year Nandhana
Maariyarum – Maari (Rain) + Arum (Fail)
Naadengum – All over the country
Panjam – Famine
Migum – Excess
Nandhumuyir – refers to cattle being grown
Noyaal – Disease
Naliyumae – Become weak, or perish
Andharathin – Space
Meen Irundhu – Stars
Thooman – Comet, indicating bad omen
Ezhum – Rise
Mikka – In Excess
Keduthi – Bad Things, Mishaps
Undaam – Affirmative
Kone – Kings, Rulers
Madivan – Die
Kooru – Tell

It is not about the belief that it works or not, but the thing that makes us wonder is Edaikaadar’s ability was able to predict the happenings in a generic fashion even with no technological advancements. By probing more into those ancient texts, we would be able to realise and reveal it to the world, what our ancestors have left for us.

More to come, until then…

Lord Rama, the seventh of the Dasavatharam (Ten Incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, is the most worshipped God in the country, with more epics written in his name of which the Valmiki Ramayana in Sanskrit and Kamba Ramayana in Tamil being the two most prominent ones. Those great epics were not just because Lord Rama was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, but also for the qualities and the character Lord Rama possessed. A loving son to his parents, a kind brother to his younger brothers, a loyal husband to his wife, a generous and great king to the subjects of his kingdom, a merciful but brave warrior to his enemy – Ravana, A true friend to his friends, A wise guide to his disciples (Hanuman) and so on. The qualities that Lord Rama embraces are the most liked qualities of everybody. A man with these qualities having epics written in his name is no wonder to us. And also the man possessing these divine qualities can be considered God. People have realised this and have sung many songs, of which the ones that inspired me a lot are from Kambar and Sivavaakiyar. Yes, Sivavaakiyar he wrote Sivavaakiyam and then became a Vaishnavite and his name was called Thirumazhisai Azhwar, which is when he sang the song about Lord Vishnu and his avatars.

The following two songs are by the Kavi Chakravarthi Kambar

“Naadiya Porul Kaikoodum Gnanamum Pugazhum Undaam
Veediyal Vazhiyadhagum Veriyankamalai Nokkum
Neediya Arakkar Saenai Neeru Pattazhiya Vaagai
Soodiya Silayiraaman Tholvali Kooruvaarukkae”

meaning, The people who chant and praise the valiant Lord Rama’s adorned with the Vaagai flower garland after defeating and decimating the great army of demons, will attain the things that they went in search of; They will attain all the knowledge and fame; Their home and family will be in good welfare; Goddess Lakshmi will bestow her blessing and good wealth.

Naadiya – Search, Reach
Porul – Things
Kaikoodum – Materialise, be fruitful
Gnanam – Knowledge
Pugazh – fame
Undu – Exist, happen
Veediyal – Veedu (Home, Family) + Iyal (Discipline, Order, Welfare)
Vazhi – Path
Kamalai – Goddess Lakshmi
Nokkum – Bestow, See
Neediya Arakkar – Large Demons
Saenai – Army
Neeru – Ash
Pattazhiya – Decimated
Vaagai – The garland that the warriors used to adorn when the win in a battle
Soodiya – Adorn
Silayiraaman – Lord Rama
Tholvali – Strong shoulders; The valiance is always measured my the breadth and the strength of one’s shoulders
Kooruvaar – People chanting, uttering

“Ramanaai Vandhu Thondri Raavanan Thannai Veeti
Tharathalam Muzhuthum Kaathu Thambiyum Thaanumaagap
Paraaparamaagi Nindra Panbinai Pagaruvaargal
Narapathiyakip Pinnum Namanaiyum Velluvaarae”

meaning, He incarnated as Lord Rama and defeated Ravana. Saved the entire planet from Ravana. Then He and His brother Lakshmana stood as Divine Omnipresent Beings. And those who chant these qualities of Lord Rama, will become Kings and will even win Yama, the life taker.

Ramanaai – As Lord Rama
Vandhu – Coming, Incarnating
Thondri – Come into existence, being born
Raavanan – Ravana
Thannai – Pronoun refering Ravana
Veeti – Defeating
Tharathalam – The earth
Muzhuthum – fully
Kaathu – Save
Thambi – Brother
Thaanum – pronoun referring Lord Rama
Paraaparam – Divine Omnipresent Being
Nindra – Exist, stood
Panbu – Characteristics
Pagaruvaargal – People who chant (Pagar) the name of Lord Rama
Narapathi – King/Leaders of humans
Pinnum – Later
Naman – Yama
Velluvaar – Win over someone

There is legend that Lakshmana is considered to the incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s 5 headed snake mount called Adhi Sheshan. Adhi Sheshan wished to be near Lord Vishnu in his Rama avatar so he was born as Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana

This song is by Sivavaakiyar

“Andhikaalam Uchchi Moodrum Aadukindra Theerthamum
Sandhi Tharpanangalum Thapangalum Sebangalum
Sindhai Mevum Gnanamum Thinam Sebikkum Mandhiram
Yendhai Rama Rama Rama Vennum Naamamae”

meaning, The three time periods during the day (The dawn, the dusk, the noon); The bathing sacred waters; The offerings to the ancestors offered during dawn and dusk; The divine chantings; The knowledge the resides in the mind, all of these chant the only mantra, the name of my dear Father like God, Rama Rama Rama.

Andhi – period of time referring to either dawn or dusk, usually dusk
Uchchi – Noon
Moondru – Three, in this context the three time periods
Aadukindra Theertham – The sacred water like rivers where people bathe
Sandhi Tharpanangal – Offerings to ancestors and Gods during the dawn and dusk
Sebangal – Chantings
Sindhai – Mind
Mevum – Occur, Reside
Gnanam – Knowledge
Thinam – Daily
Sebikkum – Chanting
Mandhiram – Mantra
Yendhai – My Father
Rama Rama Rama – Chanting in praise of Lord Rama
Naamam – Name

The next song is about the greatness of the two letter tamil word Rama (Ra, Ma)

“Nanmayum Selvamum Naalum Nallkumay
Thinmayum Paavamum Sidhaindhu Thaeyumae
Jenmamum Maranamum Indri Theerumaey
Inmayey Rama Endra Irandu Ezhuthinaal”

meaning, All the goodness and wealth will come to us; The pains and the sins will get defaced and erased; The tribulation of birth and death will get over; All just by uttering the two lettered word (in Tamil) Rama in this birth

These songs come out of a realised mind. In fact, some people have the practice of praying to Lord Rama and Lakshmana, when they go on a long travel. There is a belief when people pray and utter the names of Rama and Lakshmana when they go on a travel, they will return back safely without trouble. And that is backed by a legend in Ramayana, where Sage Vishwamitra uttered the name Rama and Lakshmana and took them to the forest to kill Thadagai, the female demon, and returned safely to the country.

Nowadays, many argue the existence of Lord Rama in the Treta Yuga, but it is an undeniable fact that the qualities described about Lord Rama, stand as a proof and as a guide and principle on how a man should lead his life peacefully. If not all, at least a few of those qualities will really make mankind to live peacefully and happily. And uttering Lord Rama’s name has brought fame to many people who were unknown to the world before they chanted this Divine name. Valmiki for example was a thief and he uttered the name Ram in reverse MRa, the first time he tried to utter, but he was hailed for his great epic the Ramayana. And so is Kambar hailed has the Kavi Chakravarthi, just because of his work the Kamba Ramayanam. The devotion to this incarnation is a real great thing to be revered and chanted for time to come. And because Hanuman enjoys himself in hearing and being the disciple of Lord Rama, He is a Chiranjeevi (immortal). Let us get all the good things in our life by chanting the divine name “Rama”

More to come, until then…

Being the Tamil month of Purattaasi, an auspicious month consecrated to Lord Vishnu, I thought it would be great if there is a post about the great Thirumangai Azhwar. There are other Azhwars who are equally worshipped as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu except Aandal who is worshipped as the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, but Thirumangai Azhwar inspires me a lot. His endurance in his devotion to Lord Vishnu has exalted him to the position of an Azhwar. He has travelled extensively to all the 108 Dhivya Desams, of which 106 are in this Earth and the remaining two are in the Heavenly Abode. He is said to have lived for 105 years and then attained salvation at the Lotus feet of Lord Vishnu at a place called Thirukurungudi. He has sung a majority of the songs in “The Naalayira Dhivya Prabandham”, a collection of 4000 hymns, sung in praise of Lord Vishnu. His works in the Naalayira Dhivya Prabandham are Periya Thirumozhi, Thiru Kurunthaandagam, Thiru Nedunthaandagam, Thiruvelukootrarikkai, Siriya Thirumadal and the Periya Thirumadal which count to over 1200 hymns in all. He was a crude person before he became an Azhwar, same as what Valmiki was before writing the Ramayana.

His original name is Kaliyan, born to the Army Chief Command Neelan (as Abithana Chintamani state), he was cheftain of the Chola Empire and later crowned as King by the Chola Emperor for a small kingdom called Thirumangai as a token of the friendship and the gratitude for winning the war on the enemy, and hence the name Thirumangai Mannan – subsequently Thirumangai Azhwar. He explains in his songs that he slayed innocent lives, has not even uttered kind words to the poor and needy, plundered the wealth of people and had a affinity towards women. But later when he was crowned as a King he was attracted to a great lady called Kumudhavalli, who was the main reason for Kaliyan to divert his attention to the devotion to Lord Vishnu. He wanted her in marriage, but Kumudhavalli accepted his proposal conditionally stating that she would marry only a person who feeds 1000 devotees of Lord Vishnu daily and the one who helps the construction of the Vishnu temple at Srirangam. Kaliyan agreed and Kumdhavalli married him. He ardently carried on with the tasks. And later, troubles started to crop up, his reserves started to dwindle and there was pressure from the Chola Emperor, on the dues of taxes to be paid to the Chola Empire, but Thirumangai King was very serious in completing the work of the temple he started and feed the devotees of Vishnu. And later he was imprisoned for not respecting the orders of the Chola Emperor. Later while in the prison he heard the instructions from the voice of Lord Vishnu (Lord Kariperumal) asking him to come to Kanchipuram to pay off the dues to the Emperor. He informed the Emperor about it and Lord Vishnu directed Kaliyan to the place where there was treasure and he paid the dues, but he was dethroned out of his kingdom and he wandered lonely in the forests, where he got into the company of thieves. But even at that time his intention and endurance was to complete the temple of Lord Vishnu. Before he got into the company of thieves, he begged the wealthy people in his kingdom telling the reason that he needed money to complete the temple and their help is very much needed, but in vain. Then he started the booty and started plundering from the wealthy men. His looting continued and he got a lot of wealth enough to complete the temple work.

One fine day, he planned looting a marriage party, he intimidated the people of the marriage party to put all the jewels and valuables in one place and it happened. But when he tried to lift the ransom, he could not. This suprised him as he has lifted more that what he had plundered now, but he was still struggling to move the bundle, but it didn’t budge. Then, Lord Vishu and Goddess Mahalakshmi reveal themselves from the incarnation they took as a groom and the bride respectively and then he realised and fell at Lord Vishnu feet and pleaded mercy and apologies. Lord Vishnu blessed him and told that the hardships he went under were to test his endurance in his commitment and thereafter Kaliyan be called “Thirumangai Azhwar” thereby exalting him to an Azhwar. Later he got back his kingdom and wealth, and started to continue with the good deeds and devotion to Lord Vishnu. After this he sung the Periya Thirumozhi in praise of the Lord Vishnu.

The enthralling effect and the greatness of his songs are simply out of this world. In most cases, we would try to justify our faults or mistakes that we committed, but Thirumangai Azhwar accepted all his crimes, mistakes and faults at their face value without any justification offering his complete surrender to Lord Vishnu. The songs not only consist of repentance, but also the eloquence in the praise that shows the devotion and the high regard and respect he had for Lord Vishnu. This along with his endurance has exalted him to an Azhwar. Let us see some of his songs

“Kulam Tharum Selvam Thandhidum
Adiyaar Paduthuyar Aayinavellaam
Nilandharam Seyyum Neel Visumbarulum
Arulodu Perinilam Alikkum
Valam tharum mattrum thandhidum Petra
Thaayinum Aayina Seyyum
Nalam Tharum Sollai Naan
Kandukondaen Narayana Ennum Naamam”

meaning, It gives you status, wealth, eliminates sorrow by demolishing them to the ground. It bestows you with lengthy heaven along with lots of land. It blesses you with strength and all sorts of good things. It does more than what a mother would do to a child. And I found that all good bestowing name, Narayana. Here land means not only the materialistic property land, but grounds on which the person is recognised.

Kulam – status
Tharum, Thandhidum – provides
Selvam – Wealth
Adiyaar – devotees
Paduthuyar – sorrow
Aayinavellaam – all of the sorrows
Nilandharam – ground level
Seyyum – Does
Neel – Lengthy
Visumbu – Heaven
Arulum – Blesses
Arulodu – Along with the blessings
Perunilam – A huge piece of land
Alikkum – Provide
Valam – Strength
Mattrum – Others
Petra Thaai – Mother who begets a child
Nalam – Goodness
Soll – Word,
Kandukondaen – Found and realised
Narayana – Lord Vishnu’s name
Naamam – Name

The next songs illustrate his meekness and great devotion. His acceptance of his mistakes at their face value without any justification, but all he requests was salvation

“Vaadinaen Vaadi Varundhinaen Manaththaal
Perunthuyar Idumbaiyil Pirandhu
Koodinaen Koodi Ilayavar Thammodu
Avartharum Kalaviyae Karudhi
Odinaen Odi Uyivadhor Porulaal
Unarvenum Perum Padham Thirindhu
Naadinaen Naadi Naan Kandukondaen
Narayana Ennum Naamam”

meaning, I anguished, felt weak and sad in my heart just because I was born in this whole lot of sorrow and distress. I had friendship with the mean and cheap people, just for the mean pleasures they gave me. Then I ran and ran because of the Supreme Being changed my instincts and senses to search for the Supreme Being. Then I because of search I found the Supreme Being in the name of Lord Narayana.

“Maanei Kann Madavaar Mayakkir Pattu Maanilathu
Naane Naanavidha Naragam Pugum Paavam Seidhaen
Thaenei Poompozhilsuzh Thiruvenkatamaa Malai Enn
Aanai Vandhadainthaen Adiyaenai Aatkondarulae”

meaning, I fell for the attractive deer like eyes of women and committed sins that will take me to all the four kinds of hell. The Lord, Lord Venkatachalapathy, of the Thiru Venkata mountains, that have flowers bearing nectar; I have come to surrender at your feet, please accept me and bless your devotee.

“Theriyaen Paalaganai Palatheemaigal Seithumittaen
Periyaen Aayinapin Pirarkae Uzhaithu Yaezhaiyaanaen
Karisaer Poompozhilsuzh Kanamaamalai Venkatava
Ariyae Vandhadainthaen Adiyaenai Aatkondarulae”

meaning, As a young child that commits mistakes, I have committed a lot of sins. And when I grew up (mental maturity), I became a poor fellow just by working for others (Feeding 1000 people daily as per Kumudhavalli’s request). The Lord Venkatachalapathy, of the great mountains that have majestic elephants. Lord Hari, I have come to Tirupathi to fall at your feel, grant me an asylum in your heart and bless me.

“Kondraen Palluyirai Kurikkole Ondrillamayinaal
Endranum Irandhaarkku Inidhaga Uraiththariyaen
Kundraei Megamadhir Kulirmaamalai Venkatavaa
Andrae Vandhadaidhaen Adiyaenai Aatkondarulae”

meaning, I killed many lives aimlessly, I never spoke benignly to those who came for help. Lord Venkatachalapathy, the lord of the mountains covered with misty chill clouds, I have come then to surrender at your feet and take asylum in your heart, bless me.

As already told, the greatness of Thirumangai Azhwar was his simplicity and the attitude to accept his mistakes at their face value, and most of all his endurance and the devotion to Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. His poetic eloquence has bestowed us great songs that have to be remembered for days to come and indeed sung in all the Bramhotsavam’s celebrated in Tirupathi and various other Dhivyadesams. One such eloquence is the Thiruvelukootrarikkai covered in the earlier post about Chithira Thaer in the Saarangapani temple of Kumbakonam. Thirumangai Azhwar stands as an example of how a devotion to the their God should be, whatever religion be it. Let us praise Thirumangai Azhwar during the month of Purataasi and get the blessings of Lord Vishnu.

More to come, until then…

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