Literature


Marudhavanan grew like a prince and enjoyed his life like a calf capering in the lush green fields. As Pattinathaar, Marudhavanan did not show interest in his studies. Pattinathaar was worried that education is his lineage seems to be a curse. As far as he can remember, nobody fared well in education in his ancestral lineage. however, he consoled that his son will get to learn the nuances of the business and will learn to manage the property over time, as he gets older. Time went on, and one day Marudhavanan expressed his interest to set sails across the oceans to where Pattinathaar’s business ships travelled.

Pattinathaar got excited that Marudhavanan is growing up to become a tycoon like him. And that, he can slowly educate him on the nuances of the trade, made preparations for his travel. He gave instructions to the sailors of the boat that Marudhavanan went aboard. And Marudhavanan set sails on the ocean to far off countries where his father had business contacts. Before leaving he promised his father that he will bring the most valuable wealth that his father has ever seen. In all the places Marudhavanan went, he was invited with a lot of respect and grandeur.

Days went on and one fine day, the ship that Marudhavanan went, returned back to Kaveripoompattinam. Pattinathaar was excited to hear the news that his son is back. He went to receive his son back home. Marudhavanan hugged Pattinathaar and happily exclaimed that he has brought all the treasures he promised. He asked his father to order the workers to unload the treasures he brought with him and ran out saying that he is going to meet Grandmother. Pattinathaar ordered his men to unload the treasure. The men unloaded many sacks that arised a doubt in Pattinathaar mind, because, usually precious gems and gold will never be tied up in sacks rather they will be safely kept in boxes. Then, he opened one of the sacks and all he found was dried cow dung and husks.

Pattinathaar grew furious and asked one of his men to carry a sack, went home angrily and shouted where Marudhavanan was. His mother came out and was surprised to see her son angry, asked why he was angry. Pattinathaar told irritatedly “See what you grandson has got?” and kicked the sack down. The sack fell open and to his surprise the dried cow dung shattered into precious gems and the husk was nothing but golden husk. Pattinathaar’s joy knew no bounds and was very happy that a his son Marudhavanan has brought in an enormous amount of wealth.

By then, his mother came near him, gave him a box and told that Marudhavanan asked her to give Pattinathaar this box. She also told Marudhavanan is a very playful kid that he gave this box and ran away saying not to search for him. Pattinathaar opened the box and found an eyeless needle and a small palm leaf with something written on it. It read,

“காதற்ற ஊசியும்  வாராது  காண்  கடைவழிக்கே”

“Kaadhatra Oosiyum Vaaraadhu Kaan Kadaivazhikkae”

meaning, This eyeless needle is useless and will not go to the market. And, even this useless needle will never accompany you in your final destiny (after death).

Pattinathaar felt dizzy and the world going around him. He found everything to be an illusion before him. He realised that he went in search of wealth that is unstable in life. His mother appeared to him as Goddess Shakti (Lord Shiva’s consort) and Marudhavanan as Lord Kandhan (Lord Murugan). He realised that everything in life is just a hoax or an illusion and that we all are trapped in such an inescapable illusion. Now, he had his first wisdom realised.

நாபிளக்க  பொய்யுரைத்து  நவநிதியம்  தேடி
நலனொன்றும்  அறியாத  நாரியரைக்   கூடி
பூப்பிளக்க  வருகின்ற  புற்றீசல்  போல
புலபுலென  கலகலெனப்    புதல்வர்களை  பெறுவீர்
காப்பதற்கும்   வகையறியீர்  கைவிடவு  மாட்டீர் 
கவர்பிளந்த  மரத்துளையிற்  கால்நுழைத்துக்  கொண்டே
ஆப்பதனை   அசைத்துவிட்ட  குரங்கதனை  போல
அகப்பட்டீரே  கிடந்துழல அகப்பட்டீரே

Naapilakka Poiuraiththu Navanidhiyam Thaedi
Nalanondrum Ariyadha Naariyarai Koodi
Poopilakka Varugindra Puttreesal Pola
Pulapulena Kalakalavena Pudhalvargalai Peruveer
Kaapadharkkum Vagai Ariyeer Kaividavum Maateer
Kavarpilandha Maraththulaiyil Kaalnuzhaithu Kondae
Aapadhanai Asaithuvitta Kurangadhanai Pola
Agappatteerae Kidanthuzhala Agapatteerae

meaning, You gather all the nine kinds of wealth by uttering lies until your tongue gets split. You get together with women who don’t even know what is good and what is bad. And like the termites that fly out cracking up the earth, you beget a lot of children. You don’t know how to save them, you won’t leave them and go away. This act is like the monkey that inserts its leg in the gap of a tree branch split up by a wedge and trying to shake that wedge.

Pattinathaar sang the above song, as he realised that he too was in the same position, got caught in the whirl of bonding and affection. There he decided to become a sanyasi

To be continued in the next post.

More to come, until then…

Tamil Nadu has a lot of poets, siddhars, sages and many wise men who have left behind their experiences as the great wealth that future generations to learn and follow. However, Pattinathar is unique to list of great people that Tamil has as its pride. It would be surprising that Pattinathar was a tycoon who has business all over the world. He was born in an affluent family and yet he turned to be a Sanyasi. Thiruvenkadar, was his name when he became a Sanyasi. This post and the subsequent posts narrate the life of Pattinathar and the incidents that lead him to become a Sanyasi. Pattinathar has given us his experience and wisdom in the form of songs that we will see in these posts. His works include Koyinaan Manimaalai, Thirukazhumala Mummanikkovai, Thiruvidai Marudhur Mummanikkovai, Thiruvegambamudaiyar Thiruvandhaadhi, Thiruvottriyur Orupa Orupadhu. Now let us see how a legendary tycoon of Kaveripoompattinam (Poompuhar) turned into Sanyasi.

Pattinathar, also called Pattinathu Chetty, was born in an affluent tycoon family. His parents were Sivanesan Chettiar and Gnanakalai Aachi. They were so affluent, that in those days it was a customary that kings of the various dynasties and empires who rose to the throne will be crowned by the wealthiest in the country. And for three generations or more, Pattinathar’s ancestors have crowned the kings in the Chera, Chola, Pandya and the Pallava Kingdoms. That would give us an understanding of how wealthy their family should have been. They had a lot of ships that sailed across to various countries in the globe for trade purposes. Pattinathar was born and he was named Swetharanyan. He had an elder sister.

Swetharanyan grew up as kid with lots of love, affection and lenience. He spent most of his time playing and studies was a far distant thing to him. Pattinathar’s father was worried that his son does not study well, but his mother convinced him that they had wealth that would feed more than 10 generations, so why worry about their son not studying. A few years later, Pattinathar’s father died and his mother had to take care of business. Though she was able to manage that, her brother – Pattinathar’s maternal uncle – gave her a helping hand and looked after the business.

Swetharanyan, born in the lineage of traders, instinctively had the skills for trade. He picked up the nuances quickly and wanted to venture into the seas to get more hands-on experience about trade across the oceans. He became well-versed and later he was married to a girl named Sivakalai at the age of 16. In those days, marrying at a young age was practised. Over the years, he grew to be a man who can handle businesses himself and became the wealthiest trader in Kaveripoompattinam. Thereafter he was referred to as Pattinathu Chetty or Pattinathar.

For a long time, the couple did not have a child as the heir to their wealth. They went to a lot of temples but still God did not bles them with a child. They were worried, and Pattinathar’s mother even suggested that he married another girl. In those days, men used to have more than one wife. However, People in those days had a very high respect for their mothers, that they would not rebuke anything against their mother’s words, Pattinathar was not in a position  to show his refusal to his mother’s suggestion, however he expressed clearly his unwillingness and made it clear that he was not willing to think of any other girl as his wife. His mother, honoured his wish and did not talk about that later.

Pattinathar had a dream one night. In the dream, he saw an elderly couple near Thiruvidai Marudhur, who had a young infant and were worried as they were not able to feed for themselves, and feeding and bringing up that infant was worrying them more. Pattinathar heard a divine voice asking him to travel to Thiruvidai Marudhur. He woke up from his dream and the next day Pattinathar and Sivakalai headed to Thiruvidai Marudhur. And when he reached Thiruvidai Marudhur, he saw the same elderly couple that he saw his in dreams. He enquired about them, and they said that they were poor and the child was born at a very later age, and now they are weak to feed for themselves. So they both decided to go and meet Pattinathu Chetty and ask him to adopt the child for which, the elderly couple told, that Pattinathar would give them gold equal to the weight of the infant with which they could manage the rest of their life. Pattinathar and Sivakalai eyes were in tears and they thought that Lord Shiva and Parvathi themselves came as the elderly couple and blessed them with the child.

Then Pattinathar and Sivakalai, took the elderly couple to Kaveripoompattinam and said that they will adopt the child and gave the elderly couple a good amount of wealth for them to survive through their age. Then they planned for the adoption ceremony of the child. Now, Pattinathar’s sister, who thought that the wealth of Pattinathar will automatically be for her family as Pattinathar had no heir, had her dreams shattered by the adoption of this child. She argued and quarrelled with his brother. But Pattinathar made a firm decision that he is going to adopt that child and that child will be his heir. The adoption ceremony went very well in all its grandeur and they name the baby boy – Marudhavanan. They considered Marudhavanan as their own child and showed him a great love and affection.

To be continued in the next post.

More to come, until then…

After quite a long time, a post about one of the ancient treasures in Tamil Literature is in order. These days, we hear a lot of people talking about environment safety, etiquettes etc, but it is quite amazing to know that our ancestors had this consciousness thousands of years ago. Such a fabulous thought process has been rendered as a treatise that defines the rules of life and etiquette that has to be followed to lead a disciplined and a happy life.

The treatise is “Aasarakkovai” by Peruvayin Mulliyanar which is one of the Pathinen Keezhkanaakku Group of literary works in tamil literature. Written about 1500 to 2000 years ago, by around (100CE-500CE) consists of 100 stanzas, in which the author defines that rules governing food, dress code, decorum with kings and elders, conserving and non-pollution of natural resources, eschewing evil habits and bad company.

It is quite intriguing and amazing to see that Peruvayin Mulliyanar had envisioned about a lot of aspects that are applied even today. The name aacharam itself means discipline, etiquette, decorum etc. Kovai means collection, aggregation. Let’s see a few stanzas. The first one enlists the characteristics of discipline

நன்றி அறிதல் பொறை உடைமை இன்சொல்லோடு
இன்னாத எவ்வுயிர்க்கும் செய்யாமை கல்வியோடு
ஒப்புரவு ஆற்ற அறிதல் அறிவுடைமை
நல்லினதாரோடு நட்டல் இவை எட்டும்
சொல்லிய ஆசார வித்து

Nandri Aridhal Porai Udaimai Innsollodu
Innadha Evvuyirkkum Seyyaamai Kalviyodu
Oppuravu Aatra Aridhal Arivudaimai
Nallinathaarodu Nattal Ivai Ettum
Solliya Aasaara Viththu

meaning The eight traits of good decorum are Gratitude, Patience, Pleasantness in speech, Refraining Non-harming attitude towards other beings, Being Educated and Learned, Concordance with people, Understanding things thoroughly, Being Knowledgeable, Association with good people define aacharam (disciplined way of life).

To maintaining these traits one has to be very disciplined otherwise the traits cannot be achieved, this itself defines the remaining 99 stanzas. However the poet goes into defining who an educated person is, who is a respectable person etc. Let us see a few songs and their meaning to unravel what the poet has actually got for us.

அரசன் உவாதியாயன் தாய் தந்தை தம்முன்
நிகரில் குறவர் இவரை
தேவரை போல தொழுது எழுக என்பதே
யாவரும் கண்ட நெறி

Arasan Uvvathiyaayan Thaai Thandhai thammun
Nigaril Kuravar Ivarai
Devarai pola thozhudhu ezhugha enbadhae
yaavarum kanda neri

meaning The King, the Teacher, the Father, the Mother and Elder Siblings are respectable people in one’s life, so they should be treated and respected like the Gods and that is the etiquette which our ancestors found out

The next stanza is the basic etiquette about serving food or table manners

விருந்தினர் மூத்தோர் பசு சிறை பிள்ளை
இவர்க்கு ஊன் கொடுத்தல்லால் உண்ணாரே என்றும்
ஒழுக்கம் பிழையார்

Virundhinar Moothor Pasu Sirai Pillai
Ivarkku Oon Koduthallal Unnare Endrum
Ozhukkam Pizhaiyar

meaning, The disciplined, while eating, will serve the food for the guests, elderly people, the cow, the birds and the children before they even take their food. This is what is considered as table manners

Even today, many people serve food for the birds before they eat their meal during the day. It is even considered, that the ancestors eat the food in the form of birds. Such an act of providing food to the cattle and the birds is to some extent a conservation of the ecological system.

The next is about keeping the environment clean and pollution-free, which is the buzzword that every person or organisation is talking about these days, but the same thought have been introduced thousands of years back

புல் பைங்கூழ் ஆப்பி சுடலை வழிதீர்த்தம்
தேவகுலம் நிழல் ஆனிலை வெண்பலி என்று
ஈரைந்தின் கண்ணும் உமிழ்வோடு இருபுலனும்
சேரார் உணர்வுடையோர்

Pul Painkoozh Aapi Sudalai Vazhitheertham
Deva Kulam Nizhal Aanilai Vennpali Endru
Eeraindhin Kannum Umizhvodu Irupulanum
Saeraar Unarvudaiyor

meaning, Grasslands, Agricultural lands, Cow dung (the dried form of cow dung is used to burn alongwith wood while cooking and during pujas), Graveyard, Waterbodies like ponds, lakes etc, Temples and places of sanctity, Shades under trees etc where people rest, Stable where cows are tied and Ash that is obtain by burning wood etc – are the 10 places where disciplined people would not pollute by spitting, passing excrements or otherwise

This environmental consciousness is the paramount statement of today’s environmentalists, but this consciousness was widespread with our ancestors even in those days.

The next song is about strict discipline and self control

பிறர்மனை கள் களவு சூது கொலையோடு
அறனரிந்தார் இவ்வைந்தும் நோக்கார் திறனிலர் என்று
எல்லபடுவதும் அன்றி நிரயத்து
செல்வழி உய்திடுதலால்

Pirarmanai Kall Kalavu Soodhu Kolaiyodu

Aranarindhaar Ivvaindhum Nokkaar Thiranilar Endru
Ellapaduvadhum Andri Nirayaththu
Sellvazhi Uithiduthalaal

meaning Uxoriousness over other’s wives, Booze, Larceny, Gambling and Murder are the five things that learned and disciplined people would never dare to commit because it not only brings blame and bad name but also paves the way to hell

The next stanza details about how one should conduct his life

நந்தெறும்பு தூக்கணம் புள் காக்கை என்று இவைபோல்
தம் கருமம் நல்ல கடை பிடித்து தம் கருமம்
அப்பெற்றியாக முயல்பவர்க்கு ஆசாரம்
எப்பற்றியாயினும் படும்

Nandherumbu Thookanam Pull Kaakai Endru Ivaipol
Tham Karumam Nalla Kadai Pidithu Tham Karumam
Appettriyaga Muyalbavarkku Aasaram
Eppatriyaayinum Padum

meaning, The one who is hardworking like an ant, protective like the weaver bird, Active like a bird, Social like the crow and does his duties correctly, then discipline will automatically attribute to him.

It is quite amazing about how the poet can bring about all these nuances of discipline. The problem is that how is could be followed by everyone equally, so considering that, the poet has also given exceptions to people who might not be able to follow the rules of discipline or etiquettes or in other words, it describes the people who are exempted from these rules. The following stanza enlists those poeple

அறியாத தேயத்தான் ஆதுலன் மூத்தான்
இளையான் உயிர் இழந்தான் அஞ்சினான் உண்பான்
அரசர் தொழில் தலைவைத்தான் மணாளன் என்று
ஒன்பதின்மர் கண்டீர் உரைக்குங்கால் மெய்யான
ஆசாரம் வீடு பெற்றார்

Ariyadha Theyatthan Aadhulan Moothaan
Ilayaan Uyir Ilandhan Anjinaan Unbaan
Arasar Tholizh Thalaivaithaan Manaalan Endru
Onbadhinmar Kandeer Uraikkunkaal Meiyaana
Aasaram Veedu Pettrar

meaning, the people who are exempt from following the rules described are Foreigner, Beggar, Aged people, Kids, Dead person, Frightened/Panicked person, Persons on deputation of King’s or Governmental order, Persons about to get married are the nine people enlised to be exempt from maintaining the aasaram.

Though some of the stanzas might not be relevant to this day or cannot be followed as mentioned. Some stanzas might even appear to be discriminating, but if we construe it in the right sense, the point of discrimination disappears. But, we have to appreciate the knowledge and the awareness we had, even before the western world knew that there are such principles to govern discipline for a citizen and for a society as a whole.

Assarakkovai in pdf format can be downloaded here

More to come, until then….

PS: From this post onwards, I am planning to write the tamil script using Google’s Transliterate service, rather than posting them as images. Post your comments if there are any problems viewing the content

Many philosophers and saints have spent their lives in finding out the answer to the question who/what accompanies us throughout the life and after. Hinduism firmly believe on the philosophy of rebirth so that soul gets reborn again and again until it attains salvation. Some say that the physical body that a soul takes is just a shell and nothing goes with the soul. Many of us even would have heard the great verses by the great Tamil poet of recent times, Kaviarasu Kannadhasan, that goes like this.

“Veedu Varai Uravu
Veedhi Varai Manaivi
Kaadu Varai Pillai
Kadaisi Varai Yaaro?”

meaning – When a man dies, his relatives and friends come till his home. His life partner (wife) come till the street. His children come till his body is cremated. But nobody knows who/what will accompany that soul after that.

Veedu – Home
Varai – till, until
Uravu – relatives, friends
Veedhi – Street
Manaivi – Wife
Kaadu – Forest, Burial/Cremation ground
Pillai – Son/Children
Kadaisi – End
Yaaro – Interrogative pronoun indicating Who?

However the well known siddhar Pattinathar (circa. 11th Century) has an explanation to this question about who the companions are? His song goes on the same lines as above.

“Aththamum Vaazhvum Agathumattae Vizhi Ambozhuga
Meththiya Maadharum Veedhi Mattae Vimmi Vimmi Iru
Kaithalam Mael Vaithu Azhum Maindharum Sudukaadu Mattae
Patri Thodarum Iruvinai Punniyam Paavamumae”

meaning, Wealth and Relations coming till the home. Women – The wife – with their attractive eyes come till the street. The children who cry keeping their hands on the body come until the cremation grounds. The two things that accompany are the sins and the good deeds that a person does during his life.

Aththam – Wealth,Relations
Vaazhvu – Living
Agam – Home
Mattae – Till
Vizhi Ambu – Attractive Eyes (Vizhi) striking the view like an arrow (Ambu)
Meththi – Praise
Maadhar – Women
Veedhi – Street
Vimmi – Spasmodically gasping while crying
Iru Kai – Both hands
Mael Vaithu – Keeping on top
Azhum – Crying
Maindhar – Children
Sudukaadu – Cremation ground
Patri – Clasp
Thodarum – Continue
Iruvinai – Two karmas
Punniyam – Good deeds
Paavam – Sin

Pattinathar has so much to be said about him, that it will take up a few posts to fully cover and convey his sayings. To give a brief about Pattinathar – He was a highly influential and a very rich businessman, who attained realisation/enlightenment by his own son who was none other than Lord Shiva incarnate. The one verse by his son made Pattinathar attain realisation about the existence of a soul and its ultimate path. The verse is

“Kaadhatra Oosiyum Vaaradhu Kaan Kadai Vazhikkae”

This has two meanings that can be interpreted. The first, The needle with a broken eye, will never make its way to the market. The second, which was the culmination of Pattinathar’s realisation, means that even the useless needle with a broken eye would not accompany in the human’s last journey

Kaadhatra – Kaadhu refers to Ear, however in this context it refers to the eye of the needle
Oosi – Needle
Vaaradhu – Will not be coming
Kaan – See
Kadai – Shop, Market, Last, End
Vazhi – Path, Destination

The wealth earned, the people whom relationships are built, even their wife and offsprings would not accompany during their final journey. His intention is not get dejected in life that nothing is going to come with us in the final journey and why should one put in efforts to gather wealth. But to make a note that the good deeds and the sins are the ones that we have with us in all our lives. So we need to minimize the sins that we commit and increase the good deeds that we perform. So setting our expectations low, will avoid unnecessary desires which is the root cause of all troubles and tribulations that a person goes through and is the thing that pushes a man to committing a sin. And the belief is that if you commit less sins and more good deeds, you will be reborn as something better than what we are now. Be it for the reasons of rebirth or not, let us try to avoid committing sins in our lives.

More to come, until then…

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…

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…

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…

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