Monday, December 27, 2010

Austere Avvaiyar - Part 2

The first thing that everyone remembers on hearing the name Avvaiyar is Aathichudi. Aathichudi is said to have been written by the later Avvaiyar. Aathichudi stands as a crown for tha works of Avvaiyar. Its simplicity and the moral values it inculcates has a wide acceptance among people. It is so simple that is even taught to kids just out of kindergarten, and even used by people as quotes during their ordinary day to day talks or speeches.

Aathichudi has 109 verses explaining the morals. The beauty is that it is organized in such a way that each verse is in the order of the vowels (Uyir Ezhuthu), consonants (Mei Ezhuthu) of the Tamil alphabets and the combinant alphabets (Uyir Mei Ezhuthu).

அறம் செய விரும்பு    
Aram seyya virumbu
Desire doing righteous deeds

ஆறுவது சினம்    
Aaruvadhu Sinam
Anger is to be controlled

இயல்வது கரவேல்    
Iyalvadhu Karavael

Help others in whatever ways you can

ஈவது விலக்கேல்    
Eevadhu Vilakkael
Never prevent others from providing charity

உடையது விளம்பேல்    
Udaiyadhu Vilambael

 Never proclaim/boast what you have

ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல்    
Ookamadhu Kaividael

 Never give up the confidence and hope

எண் எழுத்து இகழேல்    
Enn Ezhuthu Egazhael

 Never despise learning

ஏற்பது இகழ்ச்சி    
Yaerpadhu Igazhchi

 Accepting alms (begging) is despicable

ஐயமிட்டு உண்    
Ayyamittu Unn
Share your food with the needy, before you eat

ஒப்புர வொழுகு    
Oppuravu Ozhugu
Act virtuously

ஓதுவது ஒழியேல்    
Odhuvadhu Ozhiyael

 Never stop learning

ஒளவியம் பேசேல்    
Ouviyyam Paesael

 Never gossip about others

அஃகஞ் சுருக்கேல்    
Akkam Surukael

 Never cheat on quantity of items you sell

The name Aathichudi is because of the head verse is in praise of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganapathy, who is adorned with the Aathi flowers.
ஆத்திசூடி  அமர்ந்த  தேவனை
ஏத்தி  ஏத்தி  தொழுவோமே

Aathichudi Amarndha Devanai
Yaethi Yaethi thozuvomae


meaning, we will praise the The God (Lord Vinayaka) who sits in the lap of the Lord (Lord Shiva) who wears the Aathi flowers

The simplicity of these verses are not only easy to comprehend but also easy to remember. Very easy for learning kids, that they remember through out their life.

Another work, the Kondrai vendhan, is also by the later Avvaiyar, which is similar to the Aathichudi in many respects. The same one-liner style, along with the order of the alphabets makes it easy to read and remember too. This is praise of Lord Shiva, who is adorned with the Kondrai flowers, and Lord Vinayaka. Usually all Tamil poems being with a song that is in praise of the poet's favourite God. This verse is called the Kadavul Vaazhthu. Now, the verses from Kondrai Vendhan.
கொன்றை  வேந்தன்  செல்வன்  அடியினை
என்றும்  ஏத்தி  தொழுவோம்  யாமே

Kondrai Vendhan Selvan Adiyinai
Endrum Yaethi Thozhuvom Yaamae
We will ever worship and praise the Son (Lord Vinayaka) of the Lord (Lord Shiva) who wears the Kondrai flowers.
அன்னையும்  பிதாவும்  முன்னறி  தெய்வம்
Annaiyum Pidhavum Munnari Dheivam
The mother and the father are the Gods to be realised first
ஆலயம் சென்றடல்  சாலவும்  நன்று
Aalayam Sendridal Saalavum Nandru

 It is good and noble to worship the God in temples
இல்லறம் அல்லது  நல்லறம்  அன்று
Illaram Alladhu Nallaram Andru
It is ignoble to not follow a peaceful marriage
ஈயார்  தேட்டை  தீயார்  கொள்வர்
Eeyaar Thaetai Theeyaar Kollvar

 The belongings of the miserly will be plundered by the evil-minded
உண்டி  சுருங்குதல்  பெண்டிருக்கு  அழகு
Undi Surungudhal Pendirukku Azhagu

 Reducing the quantity of food intake, by women is good for them
ஊருடன்  பகைக்கின்  வேருடன்  கெடும்
Oorudan Pagaikkin Verudan Kedum
Hostility with the society/country will destroy everything one has right from the root
எண்ணும்  எழுத்தும்  கண்ணென  தகும்
Ennum Ezhuthum Kannena Thagum

 Education and knowledge is like the eye for everyone
ஏவா மக்கள்  மூவா  மருந்து
Yaeva Makkal Moova Marundhu

 Children who do the right things without the parents' guidance are like curative medicine
ஐயம்  புகினும்  செய்வன  செய்
Aiyyam Puginum Seivana Sei

 Even under impecuniousness do your duties
ஒருவனை  பற்றி  ஓரகத்து  இரு
Oruvanai Pattri Oragathu Iru
Marry one and be loyal the spouse
ஓதலின்  நன்றே  வேதியர்க்கு  ஒழுக்கம்
Odhalin Nandrae Vedhiyarkku Ozhukkam

 Discipline is more important to a priest than uttering the sacred hymns
ஔவியம்  பேசுதல்  ஆக்கத்திற்கு  அழிவு
Auviyam Pesudhal Aakkathirkku Azhivu

 Gossiping is destructive to one's fame
அஃகமும்  காசும் சிக்கென தேடு
Akkamum Kaasum Sikkena Thaedu

 Earn cultivation lands and the money soon in your life

The beauty of these verses are their simplicity and the greatness of the values they inculcate in such curtness. Moreover, all of these are easy to remember as they have been composed in the order of the Tamil  Alphabets, that one can easily related to these verses based on the alphabets.

Children and kids find it very easy to take it by heart, also explaining these to them does not take much effort as they are easily understood.

I will try to post the meaning of the other verses too in the upcoming posts. The complete verses can be downloaded here.

There are more fascinating songs by Avvaiyar that served as technological insights to great construction feats like the Brahadeeshwara Temple at Thanjavur. We will see those in the upcoming posts.

More to come, until then...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Austere Avvaiyar - Part 1

"Avvaiyar",  the venerated name that reverberates throughout Tamil Literature  The name and the works of Avvaiyar have permeated in the minds of the Tamil people at all ages. Avvaiyar is seen as an icon representing the female poets in Tamil literature because Avvaiyar comes first when the question of naming the female poets in Tamil literature arises. This post and the subsequent posts are about this magnificent, magnanimous, literary eloquent, venerated and a motherly person - Avvaiyar, who is respected by people in all walks of life.

Avvaiyar is envisioned by many as one person who was a female ascetic and a wise crone. But, in reality, there were more than one with the name Avvaiyar. Abithana Chintamani identifies that there were 3 female poets who had the name Avvaiyar. The first one lived during the Sangam age, over 2000 years ago. The second one during the period of Kambar and Ottakoothar (11th and 12th). The third during the 14th century. Some researchers even say that there were at least 7 persons with the name Avvaiyar. One such reference to another Avvaiyar is during the time of Sage/Siddhar Agasthiar, where it says that Avvaiyar recommended another Siddhar Theraiyar - author of Padhartha Guna Chinthamani
- to become the disciple of Agasthiar. The time of Agasthiar was about 5200 BC to 4000 BC.

Though there were many Avvaiyars in different periods of time, their works exhibit the nature of the poets - simplicity, austerity and truth.

Avvaiyars' works are being recited and researched by students right from kindergarten to doctorates. Their works include Aathichudi, Kondrai Vaendhan, Nall vazhi, Moodhurai, Vinayagar Agaval, some songs in Puranaanooru, Aganaanooru. Many songs are just collections of single songs sung over various periods of time and they don't fall under a group or common title. These works have stood the test of time and still inculcate the moral values, virtues and stand as a beacon to lead a good life.

There are lot of interesting legends and songs that support those legends about Avvaiyar that we are going to see in the upcoming posts. I'll try to provide information on which Avvaiyar sangs those songs, in cases where I could not find such information, we will just enjoy those legends, the meaning and the literary eloquence those songs convey. For simplicity, here-in-after we will refer Avvaiyar as a single person, though we know that there were more than one Avvaiyar.

Many verses, single lines from Avvaiyar's songs are quoted even today as a moral to represent virtue, humility and truth. For example, her words

"கற்றது கைமண் அளவு, கல்லாதது உலகளவு"

"Katradhu Kai Mann Alavu, Kalladhadhu Ulagalavu"

meaning, "What we have learned, is like a handful of earth; What we have yet to learn, is like the whole world" is exhibited in NASA

Avvaiyar was very much respected by the Kings and Emperors of South India, even the Emperors of the three great kingdoms - Chera, Chola and the Pandya - had high regard for Avvaiyar. Avvaiyar is venerated so much in Tamil Nadu, that she is even worshipped as a God. People have even built a temple for her. In Thovalai Taluk of Kanyakumari district, there is an old temple that was built during the 11th century for Avvaiyar. The deity is called Avvaiyar amman. Women in that locality, prepare kolukattai (a steamed cake made out of rice flour) and offer it to Avvaiyar amman during the Tamil month of Aadi. Women worship Avvaiyar amman to get good husband and for betterment of the standard of living.

This itself is a proof, that Tamil Nadu held Avvaiyar, and women in general, in high respect. In the upcoming posts, we will explore more about these legendary Avvaiyars and their works that makes us proud of having such great people in our ancestry

To be continued...

More to come, until then...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Esoteric Edaikaadar - Part 3

Continuing Part 1 and Part 2, this post I wanted to write Edaikaadar's predictions for the next few years and the legends associated with this Siddhar. First let us see the predictions and the interesting legend about how Edaikaadar evaded the famine for 12 years and manipulated the planetary positions to reverse the effects of the famine.

Vijaya (விஜய )

மண்ணில்  விஜய  வருடம்  மழை  மிகுதி
எண்ணு  சிறு  தானியங்களெங்கும்  நண்ணும்
பயம்  பெருகி  நொந்து  பரிவாரமெல்லாம்
நயங்களின்றி வாடுமென  நாட்டு

Mannil Vijaya Varudam Mazhai Migudhi
Ennum Siru Dhaniyangal Engum Nannnum
Bayam Perugi Nondhu Parivaaram Ellam
Nayangalindri Vaadum Ena Naatu

meaning, In this land, during the Vijaya year, rainfall will be abundant. Pulses (Crops) will grow well. Fear will mount, and as a result, the army and people will become unhappy and weak.
Jeya (ஜெய )

ஜெய  வருடந்தன்னிலே  செய்புலங்களெல்லாம்
வியனுறவே  பைங்கூழ்  விளையும்  நயமுடனே
அஃகம் பெரிதாமளவில்  சுகம்  பெருகும்
வெஃகுவார்  மண்ணிறை  மேல்

Jeya Varudam Thannilae Sei Pulangal Ellam
Viyanuravae Painkoozh Vilayum Nayamudanae
Akkam Peridhaam Alavil Sugam Perugum
Vekkuvaar Mannirai Mael

meaning, during the "Jeya" year, crops will yield a good harvest in both the Nanjai and Punjai lands. Divine activities like Yaagams and Poojas will be on the rise. Everyone will be happy and comfortable. The rulers will become greedy and proud.
Manmadha (மன்மத)

மன்மததின்  மாரியுண்டு  வாழும்  உயிரெல்லாமே
நன்மை  மிகும்   பல்பொருளு  நண்ணுமே  மன்னவரால்
சீனத்தில்  சண்டை  உண்டு  தென்  திசையிற்  காற்று  மிகுதி
காணப்பொருள்  குறையும்  காண்

Manmadhathin Maariyundu Vaazhum Uyirellamae
Nanmai Migu Palporulum Nannumae Mannavaraal
Seenathil Sandai Undu Then Disayil Kaatru Migudhi
Kaanapporul Kuraiyum Kaan

meaning, In the year "Manmadha", rains will be good. People will live well and be bestowed with good things. Because of the decisions made by the rulers, China will have to face war. The southern regions of India will have more winds. As a result, items obtained from the forests will get reduced.
Dhunmugi (துன்முகி)

மிக்கான   துன்முகியில்  வேளாண்மை  யேறுமே
தொக்க  மழை  பின்னே  சொரியுமே  மிக்கான
குச்சர   தேசத்தில்  குறை  தீரவே  விளையும்
அச்சமில்லை  வெள்ளை  அரிதாம்

Mikkaana Dhunmugiyil Velanmai Yaerumae
Thokka Mazhai Pinnae Soriyumae Mikkaana
Kuchara Desathil Kurai Theeravae Vilayum
Achamillai Vellai Aridhaam

meaning, in the year Dhunmugi, agriculture will flourish, good amount rains will fall during the later part of th year. Gujarat will see good harvest. There is nothing to fear in this year, but products that are white - milk, salt, cotton etc will become scarce.
Heyvilambi (ஹேவிளம்பி)

ஹேவிளம்பி  மாறியற்பமெங்கும்  விளை  குறையுமே
பூவில்  விளைவரிதாம்  போர்மிகுதி  சாவதிகம்
ஆகுமே  வேந்தர்  அநியாயமே  புரிவர்
வேறுமே  மேதணி  தீ  மேல்

Heyvilambi Maari Arpam Engum Vilai Kuraiyumae
Poovil Vilaivaridhaam Pormigudhi Saavadhigam
Aagumae Vendhar Aniyayamae Purivar
Yerum Maedhani Thee Mael
meaning, during Heyvilambi, rains will fail and harvests will fall. Countries will wage war against each other. Rulers will begin to do injustice as a result, the world will burn in fire.

Vilambi (விளம்பி )

விளம்பி  வருடம்  விளைவு  கொஞ்சம்  மாரி
அளந்து  பொழியும்  அரசர்  கலங்க்முடன்
நோவான்  மெலிவரே  நோக்கரிதாகும்  கொடுமை
ஆவா புகலரிதாம்

Vilambi Varudam Vilaivu Konjam Maari
Alandhu Pozhiyum Arasar Kalangmudan
Novaan Melivarae Nokkaridhaagum Kodumai
Aava Pugalaridhaam
meaning, Vilambi year will see less harvests, rainfall will be just sufficient. Rulers will commit blatant injustice, torture and tyranny. Successful happenings will become scarce.

Now on to the interesting legend, where Edaikaadar manipulated the planets to bring prosperity. Edaikaadar was a shepherd and was herding his goats in the Podhigai hills. One day, one Siddhar was passing by those hills and Edaikaadar provided him with the goat's milk and other food items. As a token of gratitude, that Siddhar bestowed Edaikaadar with the knowledge of self-realisation. Edaikaadar attained knowledge and self-realisation. He acquired the knowledge of predicting things before hand and thus he then calculated that the next 12 years is going to suffer from drought and famine, started to train his goats to eat the Erukkilai (Madar plant), it is one of the plants that will survive even the toughest drought. Though it has medicinal properties, raw intake could cause a lot a problems that includes skin irritation. He also mixed the Kuruvaragu (a kind of millet) along with mud and started to construct a small hut in that region.

On the onset of the drought, grazing grounds started to dwindle and the goats were left with no other choice than to eat the Erukkilai. As a result, it will start to itch which in turn will make them to rub their skin against the walls of the hut. After the goats scratch themselves against the walls, the kuruvaragu will fall off along with the dried mud. Edaikaadar collected these, prepared food and made his living.

Soon, all the people in that place, fled to other areas because of the severe drought. But Edaikaadar stayed there, as he had the way to endure the drought. The Navagrahams (Nine planets) who influenced everything on this planet, were confused when they saw Edaikaadar being able to survive the drought, wanted to find out how he did.

The Navagrahams, went to Edaikaadar's place to find out how he managed the drought. Edaikaadar realising that they are the Gods that represent the Navagrahams, received them well and his hospitality was great that he provided them with the Varagu food and goat's milk. Having had a lavish meal, the Navagrahams dozed off. At that time, Edaikaadar changed their positions and thereby ending the drought. When the Navagrahams woke up they realised that their positions have been altered, grew furious, but the hospitality of Edaikaadar prevent them from cursing him, instead they blessed him and left the place.

Though the legend might not sound logical or even humanly possible to manipulate the planets, but Edaikaadar's predictions and his presence of mind enabled him to endure the drought and also maintain a herd which is appreciable.

More to come, until then...

Other parts to this post

Part 1
Part 2

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Lost Heritage - Muttam

The temples and the archaelogical wonders in India are quite fascinating. More fascinating are the ones that have a great heritage, become lost over time and later rediscovered. One such place is Muttam, also now known as Kottai Kaadu, meaning the forest of the fort. It is quite intriguing to know that this place was once a hive of activity, with people flocking from all across the globe. The Romans and the Greek conducted trade with people in that region. The reason behind it was the great perennial river, Noyyal. It is referred to as the Kanchi Maanadhi in ancient literature. However, some people opine that the Kanchi Maanadhi and the Noyyal start as two different rivers that merge together before merging with the famous Cauvery at a place called Kodumudi. The Kanchi Maanadhi was laden with precious and semi-precious stones that was one of the biggest reasons for people flocking from all across the globe. The other reason was that the region was rich in spices and condiments that are quite valuable to the people of the other countries.

Muttam lies in the Kongu region, the present Coimbatore, near the foothills of the famous Vellingiri hills and in the banks of the Kanchi Maanadhi river (Noyyal). The route along the river Noyyal gave the foreign traders access from a port called Vanji in Kerala to one of the busiest cities in the Chola Empire - Tiruchirapalli (Trichy). This route became more of a trade route called the Rajakesari Highway, which still connects Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli. The name Rajakesari refers to the Chola king "Aditya Karikalan - I" who conquered the Kongu region and provided a shadow of army to safeguard the traders and their precious belongings while they travel in this route. Along the Rajakesari highway were a few other important places that were also a hive of activity and trade, they were, Vellalur, Erode and Karur. Ancient Greek and Roman currencies were discovered in these places when research and excavations were done.

It is no wonder that kings from the three empires were insistent on conquering the Kongu region, because, when they have the fertile and rich Kongu region in their control, they amassed great wealth. Muttam was the hub of all the events and trade happening. In order to safeguard the place, a fort was built by the then rulers of the place, some say Cholas and some say the Pandyas. This dates to the days of another famous place call the Perur, which has a famous Shiva temple built by the great Chola Emperor - King Karikala Peruvalathaan. Many Sangam period Tamil literary works Kurunthogai, Padhitrupathu and Aganaanuru have references about the Kongu region

Now, in the once famous centre of activity, only a small renovated temple remains. The fort is now ruined and the blocks of granite used to build the fort have now been used up to erect fences, stone embankments. Now let's see the present state of this glorious place, that is, temple. The temple's main deity is Lord Shiva adorned with the named Muttathu Naagalingeshwarar and his consort Goddess Parvathi is in the name Muthuvaaliamman. The other deities include Vinayagar, Subramaniar, Dakshinamoorthy, Perumal and Sandikeshwarar. The temple also carries the symbols of the Chera, Chola and the Pandya kingdoms, implying that the kings were patrons to this temple. The temple does not have a festival yet, but the Poojas are being performed daily. Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalaar took efforts to renovate and rebuild the temple in the same old structure it was. The same stones that were used to build the original temple was used again too, to renovate and rebuild that temple. Nearby the temple runs the Kanchi Maanadhi. Now let's see the pictures of this great old treasure.

The front view of the Muttam Nagalingeshwarar Temple

The front view of the Muttam Nagalingeshwarar Temple

The shrine of the main deity Nagalingeshwarar  and the Dakshinamoorthy shrine. My friends Sakthivel and Vijayendran too in this snap

The closeup view of the main shrine

The Vinayagar shrine

The view of the main shrine from the Vinayagar temple with me and Sakthivel

The stone inscriptions on the temple walls

Following are the pictures around the temple

Lord Subramaniar Shrine on the left

Goddess Muthuvaali Amman Shrine

Carving of the Kannappa Nayanar. Shiva worship was quite prominent in the Chola Empire

The Pandyan Empire symbol - The Fish

Lord Vishnu Shrine

Navagraha Shrine

The Nandhi status in front of the Nagalingeshwarar Shrine

The serene and fertile Betel nut plantation near the temple

The Kanchi Maanadhi. This is a perennial stream that irrigates the lands nearby (Sakthivel, Anwar and Vijayendran)

A few more picture of the Kanchi Maanadhi

Though we have lost the heritage of this great place Muttam, the remains have to be preserved for the generations to see how well the Tamil civilisation flourished, when most others were just beginning to evolve.

More to come, until then...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Pattinathaar: The tycoon turned sanyasi - Part 5

King Badhragiri decided to become a sanyasi, handed over his kingdom to his minister and went in search of Pattinathaar. He found Pattinathaar and requested Pattinathaar to accept him as his disciple. Pattinathaar denied saying that Badhragiri was a king, who has lived a posh life and being a Sanyasi means relinquishing everything in life as nothing belongs to a sanyasi, even the air he breathes does not belong to him. But Badhragiri was determined; he expressed his determination to be a disciple of Pattinathaar by turning to be sanyasi. Pattinathaar finally agreed to take Badhragiri as his disciple.

Then they started out on their journey south. They followed the rule of the Sanyasi, relinquishing everything. For food, they just get some alms from the homes that provided food. During some days they get food in plenty, well enough to feed thrice a day or even more, and on some days they don't get food at all.

One day, Badhragiri found a Thiruvodu and he took it. Pattinathaar told him that a Sanyasi has no property, so he told Badhragiri to leave that Thiruvodu where he found. Badhragiri justified saying that they don't get food quite often and the Thiruvodu is the vessel used by Sanyasis, even Lord Shiva used it. Pattinathaar said, "It's your wish". Then they proceeded, later Badhragiri found a small bag, he took and looked at Pattinathaar, again Pattinathaar told "See you are starting to gather your assets". Badhragiri argued, "it's of no use to others, why not we using it". Pattinathaar said, "It's your wish" and proceeded.

And on another day, he found a puppy stranded in the road. It was very weak and appeared as if it hadn't eaten for a few days. Badhragiri took pity on the puppy, fed it well and took it with him. Pattinathaar reminded Badhragiri that he was a Sanyasi and he is going back into his family bonding by taking the puppy with him. Again, Badhragiri argued that being a sanyasi does not mean that we should ignore the poor and hapless creatures. As usual, Pattinathaar said, "It's your wish" and proceeded.

A few days passed, then one day, both of them did not get any food for the day and they decided to rest for the night in the Thinnai - a small area in front of the house, usually where people sit. Pattinathaar lay down to rest in one end of the lobby and Badhragiri in the other end keeping all the possessions and the puppy nearby. Sometime later in the night, a beggar came near Pattinathaar and begged for food. Pattinathaar and Badhragiri woke up on hearing the beggar. Pattinathaar told the beggar that he is a Sanyasi however the man on the other end of the lobby is a family man and he might have something.

Badhragiri realised that Pattinathaar was mentioning about the the various things he had collected in due course has made him attached to those things. At the same time, he got angry because he renounced everything to become a Sanyasi, yet his own Guru told that he is still a family man. Immediately he threw away his possessions and threw the puppy against the wall that it died after having a last gaze at Badhragiri. Badhragiri could not understand the meaning of that gaze the puppy gave him. Then the beggar showed who He was, He was lord Shiva incarnate. Lord Shiva gave enlightenment to Badhragiriyar and vanished

However, Pattinathaar had to wait for some more time until he reached Thiruvottriyur and he was playing with the kids out there, he attained enlightenment and turned into a Shiva lingam.

That was the life history of the legendary Pattinathaar who was born as a wealthy man, but renounced everything on realisation that nothing in this world is permanent. He has left us his life experiences and his realisations as songs that will serve as a reminder that one should not be attached to the materialistic possessions in this world.

More to come, until then...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pattinathaar: The tycoon turned sanyasi - Part 4

Pattinathaar reached Ujjain and worshipped the Kali and decided to stay there for a while. He was getting acquainted with the place and walked along the streets of Ujjain. There was a sudden excitement in the crowd and the reason was that the King of Ujjain Badhragiri (Bharudhahiri) visited that place with his soldiers escorting him. The people there respectfully bowed to the King when he went past them. But Pattinathaar did not bow to the King. The King grew a bit disturbed and asked Pattinathaar why he did not bow. Pattinathaar said he does not bow to anyone other than Lord Shiva himself.

The king roared, "It is the King who is talking to you". Pattinathaar replied "So is the One replying to you". He referred to Lord Shiva as "the One" who is talking from within him. The King was surprised by that answer and went quietly ahead. The town settled down for the day at dusk and Pattinathaar along with a few sanyasis settled down in the nearby Sathiram

When Pattinathaar was telling about his life history to the other sanyasis, a stranger who claimed that he was a merchant joined the group of people in the sathiram. The merchant was listening to the conversation between Pattinathaar and other sanyasis. Pattinathaar was explaining about the realisation he had in his life and that the meaning of life is to get rid of the materialistic pleasures of this world and realising the Supreme Being. The merchant interrupted, telling his views. He argued explaining that the purpose of life is to enjoy every moment of it. To get rid of materialistic pleasures are the words of the weak and the impotent. The merchant added, "In addition to the pleasures of wealth, the company of a woman you marry adds more value to your life. You should not miss the comfort, love and compassion. The wife has only one mind and that mind thinks only about you."

But Pattinathaar differed saying that woman are like men do have multiple minds, you can never say that their minds are set on only one man - the husband. Before marriage they could have admired other men too. The merchant grew a bit disturbed by the answer asked if it was true for noble women. Pattinathaar replied that it was true for all women in this world. The merchant who was none other than the King himself in disguise, came out of his disguise, grew more viscious and told Pattinathaar "My Queen is more noble and she has only one mind thinking about me"

Pattinathaar laughed and told "She has many minds!". This made the King very angry and he shouted at Pattinathaar to get his word back. Pattinathaar was determined that he told that he spoke only the truth. The King intimidated Pattinathaar that he would be killed if did not apologize and take his word back. Pattinathaar did not budge. The King went out of the Sathiram asking Pattinathaar to be ready for his sentence in the morning. Pattinathaar told he is a sanyasi who sacrificed everything in life and life itself is no matter to him. The King ordered his men to put Pattinathaar in the prison.

The next day the King issued an order to his men to put Pattinathaar to sentence in a Kazhumaram. (Kazhumaram, a conical shaped mast made of tree or iron fully lubricated with oil, where criminals are mounted on it on the sitting position with their hands tied to their back. The criminals will have painful death). Pattinathaar was brought before the Kazhumaram where he was about to be sentenced. He realised that it is the will of Lord Shiva and sang the following Aram (Truth) song

"என்செய லாவதியாதொன்று மில்லை இனித்தெய்வமே
உன்செய லேயென் றுணரப் பெற்றேன் இந்த ஊன் எடுத்து
பின்செய்த தீவினையாதொன்று மில்லை பிறப்பதற்கு
முன்செய்த தீவினை யோலிங்ங னேவந்து மூண்டதுவே"

"Enn Seyal Aavadhu Yaadhondrum Illa Ini Dheivamae
Unn Seyal Endru Unarappetraen Indha Oon Eduthu
Pin Seidha Theevinai Yaadhondrum Illai Pirappadharkku
Munn Seidha Theevinaiyo Innaganae Vandhu Moondadhuvae"

meaning, There is nothing I did or can do to this. I now realize that it is your will my God. I haven't committed any sin after being born into this body. But the sins that accumulated over my previous births is now standing before me to end this life

As soon as he finished singing this Aram, he fainted and fell to the ground. The Kazhumaram started burning in flames. This incident was reported to the King; the King was amazed and went to meet his queen. She thought the King was disturbed by the incident and requested him to relax, gave him wine and ordered her servants to keep the King this way. The King enjoyed the wine and literally forgot his kingdom and the world. In the meanwhile, the queen went to meet Pattinathaar herself and ordered him to apologize and tell the world that she was noble to get himself released from prison. Pattinathaar said that he would rather die. She went away saying that she will make sure that the miracle like the one that happened before does not happen the next time.

The King was inebriated and never cared about his kingdom for a few days. After he came to his senses, he went in search of his queen. Suddenly, he heard her talking to someone and discovered that she was intimate with one his horse chariots drivers. He also heard her telling the plans to execute the sanyasi (Pattinathaar) and once that is done, then the King. As a result, her secret lover would become the next King.

The King was shocked to hear that from the woman who he believed to be noble. He was very disoriented to see the queen betraying him and having an affair with an ugly servant of his.  Now he remembered Pattinathaar, and the truth he said. He immediately ordered his men to behead the chariot driver and to humiliate the queen by a practice called Karum Pulli Sem Pulli Kuthudhal (A practice where the person punished was tonsured, applied black and white spots all over the body, mounted on a donkey and make them go around the city/town). He did that to set them as examples of what would happen if someone betrays the King. The order was executed, and his former queen went around the city, people pelted her with stones and she died.

King Badhragiri, then went running to Pattinathaar, fell at his feel and apologized to Pattinathaar for ordering his men to execute him. Now, King Badhragiri decided to become a sanyasi and a disciple of Pattinathaar. He handed over his kingdom to his chief minister and requested Pattinathaar to accept him as a disciple.

To be continued in the next part...

More to come, until then...