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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Paarthadhu Kettadhu Padithadhu...

I was watching the movie “Bharathi kannama” again. The story of Bharathi Kannama is on very sensitive topic of inter caste marriage between rioting castes and was handled delicately. Especially the movie was released when southern districts were rocked by caste related clashes and there was wide spread opposition for screening the movie. However the movie united the people and it was a great success in our part of the world.
The director had made a very original presentation with realistic dialogues. There was a balanced presentation of both sides of the problem and none was blamed. The characters represented were real people and the subject discussed was the need of the hour. I will not say this was a perfect movie in every sense, but it was one of the best movies made in kollywood. However I guess the people, who have lesser awareness about caste issues in our society, may not appreciate the movie as much I did. Being one from madurai, I was able to relate myself to the issues very well.

Once I was coming from “Azhagarkoil” in a LSS town bus. LSS buses are rated as high speed buses and they stop at lesser number of points so it reaches destination faster. The tickets are charged higher than normal busses. I happened to listen to a dialogue between an old lady and the conductor.

Paati: “yeppa oru modern lodgu kudu?”
Conductor: “Modern lodge nikkadhu paati..simmakal irankigka”
Paati: “Simmakale kudu” (hands Rs. 1.50 )
Conductor: “innum nalana kudu pati, idhu LSS”
Paati: “Ennale bussu vidura, naan ketta stoplaium nippata maatenga, kaasu vera kooda kekkuriya? Inganave bussa nippatu, naan irangi kidurein”

Struck by the logic
Conductor: “Aatha onnaar ruvaiku unnai modern lodge la iraki vitturen..aala vidu thayee”

(For non-tamil world wide readers (!!!!), sorry I cannot translate this piece)

I read somewhere, one Sanskrit Poet says to lord Shiva

“I have never uttered your name in my previous births and I will not utter your name in any of my births in future”

The meaning is “uttering your name releases one from birth-death cycle. My very birth shows I have not uttered it before and since I utter it now, I will not have any birth in future to utter”. I don’t remember the poet, probably Barthruhari.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Thasai inai thee chudinum

Students learning thirumarai
Raja Rajan

One day in the court of Raja Raja Chozhan, who is the greatest tamil king, lived during tenth century AD, some “paanars” (court vocalists) were singing some saivite songs. Hearing the song the king’s heart melted and tears ran down his cheeks out of ecstasy. The song, he was listening to was from “Thevaram”, collection of songs by appar, sundarar, sambandar. Except for the few songs known then, nobody had any idea about other songs and also the state of original scriptures.

NambiYandar Nambi
There was a saint by name Nambiyandar nambi, blessed by lord vinayaka. Raja Rajan approached him to help him in finding the original texts of thevaram. By divine instruction, they came to know the original “chuvadis” (writings on palm leaf), were in one of the chambers of Chidambaram temple. However, the temple priests did not allow them inside the chamber as they said only the original poets could be allowed as per the orders of the poets themselves.

Thevaram Restored
Rajarajan, known for his presence of mind, arranged for the procession of “vigrahams” (idols) of the poets and went to the priests. Moved by his devotion they opened the chamber for them. Alas, most of the palm leaves were eaten by ant hills. However few hundreds of songs were left unaffected. King and the others were grieved by the loss. However they heard a “ashariri” (voice of god), saying whatever that was needed for kaliyuga had been recovered and rest would not be obtained anytime.

Nambiyandar Nambi, as ordered by the king, compiled the works as into 11 thirumarais, which also included works of Manicka vasagar and also works of Nambi himself. Rajarajan, in his desire to preserve the “thirumarai”, trained some 3000 people in singing them and supported them. The clan that lives by singing thirumarai, is called Odhuvars. They were (are, in some cases) supported by temple administration. In that way “saivam” and “Tamil” prospered in the divine land of Tamilnadu. There are odhuvars of vaishnavites too and they sing “Nalayira divya prabandham”.

Current state
As temple administration fell in the hands of politicians, there is not much support for odhuvars. People have lost interest in tamil music and they are enslaved by filthy cinema music, tele serials etc. Recent study shows there are only few hundreds of odhuvars alive. My friend who belonged to lineage of sambandhar, who had the rights to sing in meenakshi amman temple, never learnt this art. He has his flower shop business in the temple. I will be glad if I still get to hear the three time declaration of “Sindhai magizha siva Puranam thannai, mundhai vinai muzhudhum ooya uraipan yaan” (I will sing siva Puranam, to destroy my sins and to obtain ecstasy) in the majestic voice of some odhuvar, when I visit the temple next time.

I am proud of those hundreds who fight poverty and try to sing in praise of god. All they want to do is sing “Nama sivaya vaazhga” or “pallandu” in the temples, despite we listen to them or not. However, if we make an effort to listen to them, their life will blossom again. As far as I know they committed no sin but not studying IT and remained contented in singing His Glory.

Note1: Raja Raja Chozhan, also called as “thirumari kanda chozhan’s” birthday is celebrated till date.
Note 2: In the temple rituals, Odhuvars earn more respect than the king himself, as per aagamam.
Note 3: The species called “Thookanam kuruvi” is almost extinct.
Note 4: Thasai inai thee chudinum siva sakthiyai paadidum varam ketten”
When my flesh is burnt in fire, (when my pyre is lit) let me sing in praise of “Siva – Sakthi”, is the boon I ask. ~ Bharathiyar.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Meenakshi amma's pattabishekam Posted by Hello

Azhaguku oruvarum ovvadha valli

This is the Image of Meenakshi's Pattabhishekam. The function was on thursday at madurai.
This beautiful amman remides me off the verse

Azhaguku oruvarum ovvadha valli
Aru maraigal pazhagi sivandha padhaambuyathal
~Abirami Andhadhi

No one is equivalent to your beauty
Your lotus red colored feet is accustomed to the rarest vedas
~Abirami Andhadhi

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

You too Raja Sir!

I was listening to the "paatu solli" song from movie azhaghi. It starts with "sarva mangala" shloka. I was very annoyed when they said "sive" instead of "Shive". First of all I feel it is a blasphemy to use sacred shlokas in movies where only love (between man - woman) and lust form the central theme. Even when they do, I would expect them to give shlokas their due respect. (Shive means wife of lord shiva, I dont know what sive means, and it is a sacred name told in lalitha saharanamam).
Deva is culprit of throwing such filth on our religious beliefs by using tunes of famous devotional songs for his filthy numbers. Example, 18 vayadhu song from the movie “sooryan”. By the way I do not consider him as music director as he simply replays famous tunes like my friend dinesh and his team does.
At least in one song, I have listened ARR doing this sacrilege. In the movie “alaipayudhe, song "endrum endrum punnagai", the shloka "Maangalyam thandhunane" was shown scant respect. Somebody shouts "maangalam maangalam" from "adi vayiru". But I can forgive ARR for that as he is a Muslim, I don’t expect him to show any sensitivity towards Hindu faith. But I can never forgive Mani for this act. However, I wonder how our Brahmins, who are supposed to safeguarding the originality of traditional texts, blissfully enjoy such mean violence on our Vedic fabric.
Even though, as I said before, this practice of misusing our religion in movie is quite common and unopposed, I cannot accept such low quality work from Raja. He is a very devotional and religious. He has always handled shlokas in his songs with due care. So Ilayaraja Sir! Please make sure that your singers pronounce them right.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Seethamma maa amma sri ramudu maa thanri

There was a huge crowd assembled outside the palace. Next day is the "pattabhishekam" of Sri Rama. King Dasaratha had summoned Sri Rama that night. The crowd having known this information thought father had called the son to give some important lessons on "Raja Dharma". They wanted to see rama before and after that important class. Rama was coming on his chariot with his face glowing like sun. Crowd hailed him. He directly went to his father and presented his respects. The purpose of the summon was to inform rama that he was stripped off from the previages of heir apparent, he was sent on "Vanavasm" for 14 years and his brother Bharatha was to be crowned. The Rama came out of the palace. The crowd was hailing. They did not find any change in the body language of Rama and his face was beaming as ever. The poet Kambar compares his face to "andru alarndha malar" (the flower that just blossomed). Rama is embodiment of the dharma. His detachment for everything but dharma makes me celebrate his birthday "Rama Navami". "Rama neeku samanam yavaru?" (Rama who is equivalent to you).

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Happened to see!!! (story)

This is an incident I happened to see. The word "see" need not be taken in strictest sense. There are incidents which one happens to see when at young age, which were beyond their ability to comprehend then, however as he grows up he "sees" them better. Anyways, irrespective of whether I was a witness to the incident or not, let me describe what I grasped over these years from the incident.

People who follow my blogs might have known the locality in which I grew up. People of lower middle class and poor live in our locality. It was once upon a time "agraharam" where only brahmins lived, but not any more. However few brahmin families continue to stay there. Also that locality had many mechanical workshops, lathes, "pattarais" (smithy) etc and the street is aptly called as workshop road. The owners of those workshops live in good buildings and the workers live in the huts. I will say the neighborhood is a "slum" but also has some pukka houses of brahmnins and 2 or 3 storey buildings of worshop owners. I was around 6 or 7 then, living in one of those pukka houses.

My neighbour was a near total deaf "subamma", 84 yrs old, brahmin "patti". She was all alone until her widowed grand daughter, "parvathi" joined her. Parvathi was of age 32 or 33, she had a daughter of 4 yrs old named as "meena". I used to spend in subbama's house as she would give me "aval pori' etc. Also I enjoyed playing with meena. Subbama was very orthodox woman (aacharam) and she is very ardent devotee of godess kamakshi. She lived in her little pooja room and hardly had seen come out of it. People beleived she had the grace of goddess and would ask her to bless their children on their birthdays. Parvathi was making a earning by doing some tailoring to the local ladies. Always she was working on her tailoring machine.

One day I heard parvathi was cursing the rickshaw puller "vairam" to one of her customers. Vairam was one of the "rowdy" in our locality who used to sell "ganja". These things I came to know in later years. she was weeping and was saying that she felt very helpless as there was no one to stand by her except for the old "patti". I understood that vairam was disturbing parvathi by his rude behavior and I hated vairam without knowing what he was trying to do.

It was one of those rare rainy nights. The power was off. I decided to spend some time with meena and went to her place. There I saw vairam, drunken and was saying somethings in harsh tone. I did not understand what he was saying and why. Parvathi was crying and shouting at him to leave the place immediately. Subbama was inside her pooja room, probably sleeping as she used to sleep very early. She would not be hearing anything, in any case, as she was deaf. Suddenly vairam was approaching parvathi and parvathi was trying to escape. There I saw a rarest sight. Subbama was out with her stick raised. Her eyes were spitting fire. She was standing there like goddess durga and ordered vairam to leave at once ("Velila poda Rascal"). Vairam stunned to see her, fell on her feet and pleaded her forgiveness. Parvathi hugged her grand mother and started crying. But subbama was her natural self by then and was consoling her by saying "as long goddess kamakshi resides in my house no injustice can happen". I silently left the place.

Wonders of wonders vairam was not seen any more in our locality. People thought it has got something to do with subbama but did not know what exactly happened. However subbama lived for five more years from then. One day she called us and informed she wanted to leave this world. As long as she stayed in her house, her Kamakshi would not let her go. Hence she wanted to join a local hospital where she would die peacefully. She got herself admitted to a clinic in our locality and at the same night she left the world peacefully. Parvathi started taking care of pooja and people thought subbama did not die and she had entered into parvathi. Nobody ever troubled parvathi any more.

Note1: When hrinya kashibu asked prahladha "in which pillar your hari resides"?, the Hari wondering where the child could be pointing his finger, made himself available as "nrusimha" in every pillar. I believe these bhagavatham stories totally, as I have "witnessed" a demonstration.

Note2: Again, it is a mixture of real life incidents, Imaginations and wishes.