Friday, December 31, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 16

Thiruppavai - Day 16



Here Andal and her friends have reached the palace of Nandagopan and request them to open the door

நாயக னாய்நின்ற நந்தகோபனுடைய
கோயில்கா ப்பானே! கொடித்தோன்றும் தோரண
வாயில்காப் பானே! மணிக்கதவம் தாள்திறவாய்;
ஆயர் சிறுமிய ரோமுக்கு அறைபறை
மாயன் மணிவண்ணன் நென்னலே வாய்நேர்ந்தான்;
தூயோமாய் வந்தோம் துயிலெழப் பாடுவான்;
வாயால் முன்னமுன்னம் மாற்றாதே அம்மா! நீ
நேய நிலைக்கதவம் நீக்கேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

The gatekeeper of Nandagopan’s palace, please open the door. Kannan promised us girls yesterday that he will grant us our wishes. We have come here with clean hearts to sing Suprabhatham for him. Please do not deny us entry. Please allow us inside.



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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 15

Thiruppavai - Day 15



Here Andal cajoles her friends to come and this song is in the form of a conversation

எல்லே இளங்கிளியே! இன்னம் உறங்குதியோ?
சில்லென் றழையேன்மின், நங்கைமீர்! போதர்கின்றேன்;
'வல்லை, உன் கட்டுரைகள்! பண்டேஉன் வாயறிதும்!'
'வல்லீர்கள் நீங்களே, நானேதான் ஆயிடுக!'
'ஒல்லைநீ போதை, உனக்கென்ன வேறுடையை?'
'எல்லோரும் போந்தாரோ?' 'போந்தார், போந்து எண்ணிக்கொள்'
வல்லானை கொன்றானை, மாற்றாரை மாற்றழிக்க
வல்லானை மாயனைப் பாடேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.


"Hey parrot! Are you still asleep? "
"Hey girls, don’t make noise, I am coming"
"Yes, we know about your sharp tongue"
"You people are good at saying such things and you are blaming me, let it be!"
"You come now"
"What about the others? Has everybody come?"
"Yes, if you want, please come and count, everybody is here"
 Let us sing the praise of the Lord who killed the elephant Kuvalayapeedam and destroyed the enemies.



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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 14

Thiruppavai - Day 14




Andal continues to call her friends

உங்கள் புழைக்கடைத் தோட்டது வாவியுள்
செங்கழுநீர் வாய்நெகிழ்ந்து ஆம்பல்வாய் கூம்பின காண்;
செங்கல் போடிக்கூறை வெண்பல் தவத்தவர்,
தங்கள் திருக்கோயில் சங்கிடுவான் போகின்றார்;
எங்களை முன்னம் எழுப்புவான் வாய்பேசும்
நங்காய்! எழுந்திராய், நாணாதாய்! நாவுடையாய்!
சங்கோடு சக்கரம் ஏந்தும் தடக்கையன்
பங்கயக் கண்ணானைப் பாடேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

In your backyard garden, Sengazhuneer flowers have bloomed and the night queen flowers are drooping. Yogis have gone to wake up the Lord in the temple by blowing the conch. Yesterday you told us that you will wake us up this morning. You have not only failed to do so, but not even ashamed about it! You seem to speak empty words! Please get up now, let us sing in praise of the Pangaya Kannan holding the discus and conch in his hands!




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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 13

Thiruppavai - Day 13



Here Andal tells her friends that it has dawned and asks her to join her for the nombu

புள்ளின்வாய் கீண்டானை, பொல்லா அரக்கனைக்
கிள்ளிக் களைந்தானைக் கீர்த்திமை பாடிப்போய்,
பிள்ளைகள் எல்லாரும் பாவைக் களம்புக்கார்;
வெள்ளி எழுந்து, வியாழம் உறங்கிற்று;
புள்ளும் சிலம்பினகாண்; போதரிக் கண்ணினாய்!
குள்ளக் குளிரக் குடைந்து நீராடாதே,
பள்ளிக் கிடத்தியோ? பாவாய்! நீ நன்னாளால்
கள்ளம் தவிர்ந்து கலந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

All the other girls have already left singing the praise of the Lord who destroyed the demon who came in the form of a crane; who removed the heads of Ravana. Venus has arisen and Jupiter has set. Birds have started making noises. Hey beauty with eyes like lotus and deer, on this auspicious day how can you still be in bed thinking of Kannan secretly?  Come to bathe with us.



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Monday, December 27, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 12

Thiruppavai - Day 12


                                                  

Andal continues to cajol her friends to wake up

கனைத்திளங் கற்றெருமை கன்றுக் கிரங்கி
நினைத்து முலைவழியே நின்றுபால் சோர
நனைத்தில்லம் சேறாக்கும் நற்செல்வன் தங்காய்!
பனித்தலை  வீழநின் வாசல் கடைபற்றிச்
சினத்தினால் தென்னிலங்கைக் கோமானைச் செற்ற
மனத்துக்  கினியானைப் பாடவும்நீ வாய்திறவாய்!
இனித்தான் எழுந்திராய்; ஈதென்ன பேருறக்கம்?
அனைத்தில்லத் தாரும் அறிந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

You belong to such a prosperous family that your place becomes slushy as it is continuously drenched by the overflowing milk from the buffaloes thinking of their calves! Here we are standing outside your house in this mist singing the praise of Lord Rama who killed the king of Lanka, Ravana, and you are still not saying anything. All the others have woken up. Atleast wake up now, how can you sleep like this?



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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 11

Thiruppavai - Day 11





Andal continues to wake up her friends here

கற்றுக் கறவைக் கணங்கள் பலகறந்து,
செற்றார் திறலழியச் சென்று செருச்செய்யும்
குற்றமொன் றில்லாத கோவலர்தம் பொற்கொடியே!
புற்றர வல்குல் புனமயிலே! போதராய்,
சுற்றத்துத் தோழிமார் எல்லாரும் வந்துநின்
முற்றம் புகுந்து முகில்வண்ணன் பேர்பாட,
சிற்றாதே பேசாதே செல்வப்பெண் டாட்டிநீ
எற்றுக் குறங்கும் பொருளேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.



You belong to the clan of Gopalas who has herds of milking cows with calves; who very bravely fight against their enemies by attacking them in their area and defeating them; who are faultless.
You are like a carefree peahen wandering in the forest, get up, when your friends and relatives have come to your place together and are singing on Kannan, you are fast asleep. why are you doing this?


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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 10

Thiruppavai - Day 10


நோற்றுச் சுவர்க்கம்  புகுகின்ற அம்மனாய்!
மாற்றமும் தாராரோ வாசல் திறவாதார்?
நாற்றத் துழாய்முடி நாரா யணன்நம்மால்
போற்றப் பறைதரும் புண்ணியனால் பண்டொருநாள்
கூற்றத்தின வாய்வீழ்ந்த  கும்ப கரணனும்
தோற்றும் உனக்கே பெருந்துயில்தான் தந்தானோ?
ஆற்ற அனந்தல் உடையாய்! அருங்கலமே!
தேற்றமாய் வந்து திறவேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

Till yesterday you were the one to follow the nombu perfectly, thinking of the Lord all the time in total bliss, why aren't you even opening the door this morning? Can't you atleast reply to us? The Lord who wears the fragrant tulasi garland only blesses us to follow the nombu successfully. Kumbakarnan has been killed. You seem to have defeated Kumbakarnan in sleeping! Lazy girl! Clear your head and open the door!



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Friday, December 24, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 09

Thiruppavai - Day 09




Here and the next few paasurams, Andal continues to wake up her various friends

தூமணி மாடத்துச் சுற்றும் விளக்கெரிய,
தூபங்  கமழத் துயிலணைமேல் கண்வளரும்
மாமான் மகளே! மணிக்கதவம் தாள்திறவாய்;
மாமீர்! அவளை எழுப்பீரோ? உம்மகள்தான்
ஊமையோ? அன்றிச் செவிடோ அனந்தலோ?
ஏமப் பெருந்துயில் மந்திரப் பட்டாளோ?
'மாமாயன், மாதவன், வைகுந்தன்' என்றென்று
நாமம் பலவும் நவின்றேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்

My dear cousin, you are fast asleep in the comforts of your soft bed with fragrance and dim lights around, please open the door. Aunty! please wake her up. Is your daughter dumb? or deaf? Is she drugged? or has she gone to a state of not able to wake up at all? Why she has still not woken up after hearing our chants of "Mayane, Madhavane, Vaikundanathane"? Please wake up your daughter.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 08

Thiruppavai - Day 08




கீழ்வானம் வெள்ளென்று, எருமை சிறுவீடு
மேய்வான் பரந்தனகாண்; மிக்குள்ள பிள்ளைகளும்
போவான் போகின்றாரைப் போகாமல் காத்துன்னைக்
கூவுவான் வந்து நின்றோம், கோதுகலமுடைய
பாவாய்! எழுந்திராய்; பாடிப் பறைகொண்டு
மாவாய் பிளந்தானை, மல்லரை மாட்டிய
தேவாதி தேவனைச் சென்றுநாம் சேவித்தால்
ஆவாவென் றாராய்ந் தருளேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்

It has already dawned! The buffaloes of Ayarpaadi have gone to graze the fresh grass. We have stopped the other girls who are ready for the nombu and all of us are waiting at your door to take you. Cheerful lass, wake up, let us pray to Lord Kannan to give us the necessary to follow the nombu. If we pray to the Devathi Devan Lord Narayanan who killed the Asura in the form of a horse and who destroyed the wrestlers, he will bless us.


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 07

Thiruppavai - Day 07



Here Andal continues to wake her friends

கீசுகீ சென்றெங்கும் ஆனைச்சாத் தன்கலந்து
பேசின பேச்சரவம் கேட்டிலையோ? பேய்ப்பெண்ணே!
காசும் பிறப்பும் கலகலப்பக் கைபேர்த்து
வாச நறுங்குழல் ஆய்ச்சியர் மத்தினால்
ஓசைப் படுத்தத் தயிரரவம் கேட்டிலையோ?
நாயகப் பெண்பிள்ளாய்! நாராயண மூர்த்தி
கேசவனைப் பாடவும்நீ கேட்டே கிடத்தியோ?
தேசமுடையாய்! திறவேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

Have you still not heard the sparrows making chirping noises talking to each other as they leave their nests in search of food? Have you also not heard the ladies of Aayarpaadi with fragrant flowers on their tresses, churning the curd noisily with their bangles making jingling sounds as they move their hands to and fro? You are our leader, how can you still sleep after hearing our singing on Kesavan? Hey, beauty, open the door.



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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 06

Thiruppavai - Day 06



Here Andal wakes up her friends

புள்ளும் சிலம்பினகாண்; புள்ளரையன் கோயிலில்
வெள்ளை விளிசங்கின் பேரரவம் கேட்டிலையோ?
பிள்ளாய்! எழுந்திராய், பேய்முலை நஞ்சுண்டு,
கள்ளச் சகடம் கலக்கழியக் காலோச்சி,
வெள்ளத்தரவில் துயிலமர்ந்த வித்தினை,
உள்ளத்துக் கொண்டு முனிவர்களும் யோகிகளும்
மெள்ள எழுந்து அரியென்ற பேரரவம்
உள்ளம் புகுந்து குளிர்ந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்

Hear the birds chirping, can't you hear the booming sound of the white conch in the temple of our Lord whose vehicle is the king of birds, Garudan? Yogis and Rishis are chanting "Hari Hari" meditating on Lord Narayanan who drank Bhoodhana's life along with the poison she had applied on her breasts and tried to feed him; who killed Sakadasuran when he came steathily at great speed as a cart by hitting it with his legs; who sleeps in the Thirupparkadal. Don't these chants enter your ears and cool your hearts? Please wake up at least now.





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Monday, December 20, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 05

Thiruppavai - Day 05




Here Andal explains the benefits of praying to Lord Krishna


மாயனை மன்னு வடமதுரை மைந்தனை,
தூய பெருநீர் யமுனைத் துறைவனை,
ஆயர் குலத்தினில் தோன்றும் அணிவிளக்கை,
தாயைக் குடல்விளக்கம் செய்த தாமோதரனை
தூயோமாய் வந்துநாம் தூமலர் தூவித்தொழுது
வாயினால் பாடி மனத்தினால் சிந்திக்க
போய பிழையும் புகுதருவான் நின்றனவும்
தீயினில் தூசாகும் செப்பேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்



The Lord who was born in Mathura, lives on the banks of the Yamuna, who has done many miracles, who is the light of Gokulam, who brought greatness to his mother by being in her womb, let us worship this Kannan with new and fresh flowers and our singing. If we pray to him with our hearts, all our past, present and future sins will be destroyed like dust in fire. Therefore please do sing His praise




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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 04

Thiruppavai - Day 04




Here Andal prays for timely rains :

ஆழி மழைக்கண்ணா! ஒன்று நீ கைகரவேல்
ஆழியுள் புக்கு முகந்துகொ டார்த்தேறி
ஊழி முதல்வன் உருவம்போல் மெய்கறுத்து
பாழியந் தோளுடைப் பற்பநா பன்கையில்
ஆழிபோல் மின்னி, வலம்புரிபோல் நின்றதிர்ந்து
தாழாதே சார்ங்கம் உதைத்த சரமழைபோல்
வாழ உலகினில் பெய்திடாய், நாங்களும்
மார்கழி நீராட மகிழ்ந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்

Oh, Rain God! Please do not hide anything. Please go into the sea, take all the water to the skies noisily, make clouds as dark as the supreme Lord who is the very reason for this world to exist, make lightning like the discus he is holding in his handsome broad shouldered arms, make thunder like the conch in his hands and make the rain flow like the arrow from his bow Saarngam so that this earth can flourish and we can bathe in this auspicious month of Margazhi!




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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 03

Thiruppavai - Day 03


Here Andal explains the good results when we follow the nombu

ஓங்கி உலகளந்த உத்தமன் பேர்பாடி
நாங்கள் நம் பாவைக்குச் சாற்றிநீர் ஆடினால்
தீங்கின்றி நாடெல்லாம் திங்கள்மும் மாரிபெய்து
ஓங்கு பெருஞ்செந்நெ லூடு கயல் உகளப்
பூங்குவளைப் போதில் பொறிவண்டு கண்படுப்ப,
தேங்காதே புக்கிருந்து சீர்த்த முலைபற்றி
வாங்கக் குடம் நிறைக்கும் வள்ளல் பெரும்பசுக்கள்
நீங்காத செல்வம் நிறைந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்



“When we follow this nombu by bathing early, singing the names of Narayanan who measured all the worlds with his Trivikrama avatharam, our country will flourish with timely and enough rains, with the result of which, the crops will grow well and the fish will swim merrily in the ponds filled with water. The bees will rest on the well bloomed flowers; the cow will fill the vessels with milk the moment her udder is touched to milk them.”

Here Andal portrays the richness and prosperity that will result on following the paavai nombu. 


video

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 02

Thiruppavai - Day 02




In this second song, Andal explains the norms to be followed during this nombu


வையத்து வாழ்வீர்காள்! நாமும் நம்பாவைக்குச்
செய்யும் கிரிசைகள் கேளீரோ! பாற்கடலுள்
பையத் துயின்ற பரமன் அடி பாடி
நெய்யுண்ணோம்; பாலுண்ணோம்; நாட்காலை நீராடி
மையிட் டெழுதோம்; மலரிட்டு நாம் முடியோம்;
செய்யா தனசெய்யோம்; தீக்குறளைச் சென்றோதோம்;
ஐயமும்  பிச்சையும்  ஆந்தனையும் கைகாட்டி
உய்யுமா றெண்ணி உகந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்

“My dear people born on this earth, here are the ways to follow the nombu. We must bathe early in the morning, singing the praise of the Paraman who reclines in the paarkadal. On the days of this paavai nombu, we will not have milk and its products like ghee. We will not decorate our tresses with flowers or beautify our eyes with kajal. We will also not do the things which our ancestors forbade us from doing nor shall we talk ill of others. We will give alms generously.” 


video

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thiruppavai - Day 01

Thiruppavai Day 01



Today is the first day of Margazhi. Margazhi is the most sacred month in the Tamizh calendar. Lord Krishna says that he is Margazhi among the months. One can imagine the sanctity of this month from his words!

The ritual of singing Thiruppavai - in praise of Mahavishnu and Thiruvempavai - in praise of Sivan during the month of Margazhi has been followed for a long long time.

This Margazhi, I am posting the 30 songs of Thiruppavai – one song per day on the 30 days of Margazhi. 

I dedicate this to Mr. K.Parthasarathi, who not only gave me the idea, but also helped me with a lot of inputs. Thank you Mr.Parthasarathi!

Thiruppavai was sung by Andal, one of the twelve Azhwars whose compositions on Mahavishnu form the Nalayira Divyaprabandam. A brief account on Andal is available on my earlier blog on Andal

In Thiruppavai, Andal shows us the way to reach the Lord by the simple but very effective way of Bhakti! She has shown the way of Vratham called paavai nombu with all its rules and regulations in her compositions and confirms that people who follow this paavai nombu are sure to reach the Lord’s feet!

All the 30 songs are composed as Andal waking her friends early in the morning of Margazhi to follow the Vratham to attain the Lord.

I give below the songs in Tamizh, one each day, with the gist of it in English as I feel that a word by word translation may not read well.

Here is the first song:

மார்கழித் திங்கள் மதிநிறைந்த நன்னாளால்
நீராடப் போதுவீர் போதுமினோ நேரிழையீர்
சீர்மல்கும் ஆய்ப்பாடிச் செல்வச் சிறுமீர்காள்
கூர்வேல் கொடுந்தொழிலன் நந்தகோபன் குமரன்
ஏரார்ந்த கண்ணி யசோதை இளஞ்சிங்கம்
கார்மேனிச் செங்கண் கதிர்மதியம் போல்முகத்தான்
நாரா யணனே நமக்கே பறைதருவான்
பாரோர் புகழப்  படிந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்


Here Andal calls her friends, the beautiful girls of the prosperous Gokulam saying “this is the month of Margazhi where the moon shines brightly in the sky, come and have your bath. The dark skinned, lotus eyed, moon faced Krishna, son of the very tough Nandagopan and mother Yashoda’s lion cub will give us  his blessings and we can follow the nombu with all his blessings"

Nandagopan is said to be tough – koorvel kodunthozhilan – as he is very protective about his young son


video


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Margazhi (மார்கழி)

Margazhi (மார்கழி)

The most beautiful month in the Tamizh calendar! Lord Krishna says that he is the month of Margazhi from which one can imagine the beauty and sanctity of this month.

It is considered very auspicious to visit the temples everyday in the early morning during this month. This custom has been followed by our people over the ages and now it has been proven scientifically that the ozone layer is closest to the Earth during this time and hence breathing in the fresh early morning air during this month is very beneficial to our health.

Temples are opened earlier in the morning in Margazhi and special pujas are conducted to the deities.

Margazhi is synonymous with Tiruppavai and Tiruvempavai to one and all.

Andal recited the 30 verses of Tiruppavai on the 30 days of Margazhi, followed the Paavai nombu and attained Lord Mahavishnu.


Manikavasagar recited Thiruvempavai on Lord Shiva. In these verses, the saint visualises himself as a female and sings in praise of the Lord in the early hours of Margazhi

Kolam




 Margazhi is known for lovely kolams. People decorate the entrance of their homes with decorative kolams and rangolis.


Margazhi Bhajanai & Unjavrithi

Margazhi is known for its bhajanai early morning and people also do unjavrithi. People go in groups singing in praise of God.


Again all these are being followed to ensure that people get benefited by the pure oxygen early in the morning!

Vaikunta Ekadasi (வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசி)





All Ekadasis are considered to be days to follow the vratham of avoiding rice. Rice is the staple food of South India and it is better to avoid it at least once in a fortnight to cleanse the digestive system. The eleventh day after the new moon and the full moon is called Ekadasi and we are supposed to follow the vratham of avoiding rice and eating light on these days. Even if the vratham is not followed on all ekadasis, it is important to follow it on Vaikunta Ekadasi. It is believed that people who follow the vratham of avoiding rice and salt and be awake the whole night reciting Lord Mahavishnu’s name on this day will reach Vaikundam after leaving this world. Vaikunta Ekadasi is the eleventh day of the waxing moon. This year it falls on 17th December. Ever year all temples of Mahavishnu have the beautiful ritual of “sorgavaasal” (சொர்க்க வாசல்)   on the early morning of Vaikunta Ekadasi and the whole day is celebrated on a grand scale in these temples


 Thiruvadhirai (திருவாதிரை)  aka Arudhra darisanam (ஆருத்ரா தரிசனம்)



Thiruvadhirai is the star of Lord Shiva and this festival is celebrated in His honour. Arudhra darisanam is celebrated on the full moon day of Margazhi and this year it falls on 22nd December. This festival is celebrated in all Sivan temples with special abhishekams to the Siva lingams on the eve of Thiruvadhirai and special alangarams and pujas on Thiruvadhirai day. The celebrations at Chidambaram are the best with special pujas to Natarajar.


This time of the year is very close to harvest and all kinds of native vegetables are available aplenty. Hence the offerings to Lord Shiva are kali (களி) - a sweet made with rice and jaggery - and kootu (கூட்டு) - a side dish made of all native vegetables and coconut.

Thiruvadhirai ther (தேர்) (chariot) is said to be very famous and in fact many people including those in our household have the habit of decorating their front porches with kolams in the design of chariots.


Hanumath Jayanthi (ஹனுமத் ஜெயந்தி)


Hanumath Jayanthi – the birthday of Lord Hanuman is celebrated on different months in different part of India, but in Tamil Nadu, it is the new moon day of Margazhi which usually coincides with Hanuman’s birth star Moolam. This year it falls on 4th January 2011.

Bhogi pandigai (போகி பண்டிகை)


The last day of Margazhi, before the “wedding season” month of Thai is born, come Bhogi Pandigai. This pandigai is on the day before the grand tamizh festival of Pongal. This year it falls on 14th January 2011. Just before Bhogi, the houses are cleaned, painted and all old and unwanted things are burnt on bhogi day marking the entry of new and exit of old stuff. Of course, nowadays burning is discouraged as it creates pollution.

Music Season
Last, but not the least, is the Margazhi music season in Chennai. The music season is not just music, but dance and drama too with many lecture demonstration sessions useful for learners. Again the music season does not wait for Margazhi anymore as the city is growing and with sabhas all over the place, the duration of the season has increased. This year music season began on the 1st of December and is in full swing now. It is a pleasure to watch the sabhas full of different types of people right from the lovely pattu sari clad ladies to the girls in jeans - many of them foreigners - enjoying the kutcheris alike. For the past 10-15 years the food served in the sabha canteens has gained almost as much importance as the kutcheris themselves with caterers vying for a slot.











 

All in all, Margazhi is a lively month right from temples early morning to the kutcheris late evening!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nostalgia

Cat (Art?) Dosa

After a long time I had the chance to make animal shaped dosas yesterday. Ranga's niece and her family had come home and I made a cat dosa, elephant dosa and fish dosa for the grandson!

Everybody around including Ranga was surprised to see the art in dosa!

I travelled down the memory lane to the great days at No.1. Ranganathan Road where my sister Sundari used to make cat shaped dosa for me. I do remember that Amma used to make small dosas - like the mini uthappams we get in Saravana Bhavan these days - just to make it more interesting for us to eat! To my knowledge it was Sundari who created the cat dosa first. I used to be very fascinated by the cat and used to eat just the tail, then the ears and then the head and so on, what fun it was! Later in life, I extended to elephant shape, fish shape, star shape etc for the many nephews and nieces, but till date cat dosa is the first one that I make when I get a chance to entertain a child with different shaped dosas!
Thank you Sundari for introducing me to this art. This blog is just for you!

In so many years, Ranga says he has never seen these dosas made by me and took some snaps!



Thursday, November 18, 2010

TV Programme - Kannapiran Kadhai Amudham

TV Programme - Kannapiran Kadhai Amudham

In this morning's episode of Kannapiran Kadhai Amudhu on Podhigai TV, Sri Velukkudi Krishnan gave a very cute example of why God punishes bad men. He first put a question - is God partial? Being God, how would He judge people as good or bad? Sri. Krishnan also gave a reply with this sweet example


A child plays with a stick. The child's mother keeps an eye on him. As he plays, the child tries to poke his own eye with the stick. Mother's reaction is to warn the child and if the child tries to do it again and again, she throws the stick away and beats the child.

Mother = God
Child = Jeevathma
Stick = The body Jeevathma takes

As the child (jeevathma plays), mother (God) just observes. Once the child (jeevathma) tries to hurt himself, mother (God) hits the child (jeeavathma) and throws the stick (body) away!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Karthigai (கார்த்திகை)

Karthigai (கார்த்திகை)

This eighth month in the Tamizh calendar is one of the darkest months as it is one during which it rains the most, the others being Purattasi and Aippasi Daytime is quite less in this month as it becomes dark by 5.30-6.00 pm during this month.

First day of Karthigai

Today is the first day of Karthigai.
The first day of Karthigai is well known for Iyappan. People planning to visit Sabarimala for Makara jothi, start their vratham on this day. Iyappan vratham starts with the wearing of tulasi mani maalai on this day and following the strict rules and regulations of this vratham. Iyappan temples are beautifully decorated and special pujas are done for the Lord on this day.


The other very old significance of the first day of Karthigai is Mudavanuku moksham  (முடவனுக்கு மோக்ஷம்) – the moksha of the lame man. The story behind this is that a lame man wanted to bathe in the Cauvery waters in Kumbakonam atleast on kadaimugam day (last day of Aippasi) as bathing in Kumbakonam Cauvery on all days of Aippasi is considered to give one moksham.
Even today this is followed and people throng the river on the kadaimugam day to ensure they atleast have a dip in the river on that day. By the time he reached Mayavaram (aka Mayiladuthurai), Aippasi ended and the month of Karthigai had begun. To fulfill the lame man’s wish, God blessed him saying that he will attain moksham even if he bathes in the Cauvery in Mayavaram.

Karthigai deepam(கார்த்திகை தீபம்)


The most important festival of Karthigai is Karthigai deepam, which falls on the full moon of the month of Karthigai. This year Karthigai deepam falls on 21st November. Karthigai deepam is mainly celebrated in all Sivan temples with the most important being Thiruvannamalai Deepam. The main deepam being lit in Thiruvannamalai is a great sight and is always telecast on TV every year.  Lighting of the deepam takes place in all other Sivan temples also on a grand scale. At home, people light agal vilakku (lamps made of red clay) filled with oil and new cotton wick and place them decoratively near the front door as well as backyard. Lighting of the lamps in this month must have started mainly because, as mentioned above, this is one of the darkest months and lamps were lit to get rid of the darkness. As in everything else, this is being celebrated as a festival. In fact, a couple of lamps are kept at the entrances to homes in the evenings on all days of Karthigai in yonder days. Even nowadays many people follow this including our household. Whatever maybe the reason, it is a joy to see the rows of lamps on the people’s balconies on the day of Karthigai deepam.


Since Karthigai deepam comes quite close to Diwali, bursting of fire-crackers for Karthigai is also observed.

The sweets made for Karthigai are the Karthigai pori and adhirasam. Karthigai pori is a very healthy sweet as there is no deep frying or ghee used in it.

Karthigai Amavasya


Karthigai amavasya is celebrated as Sridara Aiyyavaal urchavam  (ஸ்ரீதர அய்யவாள் உற்சவம்) in  Thiruvisalur The legend behind this is that Sridhara aiyyavaal on the day of his mother’s ceremony, went to have bath in the river nearby to get ready for the ritual. On his way back, he met a few untouchables begging for food. Moved by their condition,  Aiyyavaal brought them home and fed them with the food made for the ceremony. Immediately the agraharam where he lived  disowned him and he could not get any Vadyar (priest) to do the ceremonies for him. He prayed to God and suddenly three men came out of nowhere and offered to do the ceremonies and have lunch too. Immediately after lunch, the men vanished and  Aiyyavaal understood that it must have been the Mumoorthigal – Brahma, Vishnu, Sivan. Despite this, the he was advised to go to Varanasi and bathe in the River Ganga for the sin of feeding the untouchables. He again prayed to God as he was too old to travel all the way to Varanasi. God blessed him that on Karthigai amavasya day, River Ganga will flow from the well behind his house. Ganga overflowed in his well on this day. To this day Ganga is said to have kept her promise and flows in that well and it is considered sacred to have bath from the waters of that well on Karthigai amavasya day. This day is being celebrated as Sridhara Aiyyavaal urchavam even today. This urchavam is celebrated for ten days with the Amavasya day being the concluding day. This year Aiyyavaal urchavam Amavasya falls on 5th December. Aiyyavaal who lived about three hundred years ago is said to be one of the gurus of the nama japa sampardaya.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recipe : Karunaikizhangu Thuvayal

Karunaikizhangu thuvayal (கருணைக்கிழங்கு துவையல்)

This is my favourite among the dishes made out of karunaikizhangu, the other one being karunaikizhangu masiyal, my sister Sabi's favourite! I have never personally made this dish as the slightly itchy karunaikizhangu is not relished in my inlaw's place but I love to hog it whenever Amma makes it for me.

Karunaikizhangu  (கருணைக்கிழங்கு) (yam)- 2 numbers  
Mustard seeds (கடுகு)   - 1 tsp
Urad dall (உளுத்தம்பருப்பு)  - 2 tsp
Dry red chillies (காய்ந்த மிளகாய்)   - 4
Tamarind (புளி)          - 2 inch strip / 2 tsp of pulp
Asafoetida (பெருங்காயம்) - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder  (மஞ்சள் பொடி) -1/2 tsp
Salt (உப்பு)     - to taste
Gingelly Oil (நல்லெண்ணெய்) -  2 tsp

Peel the yam and cut into small round pieces. Wash well and pressure cook in water adding turmeric powder. It should be well cooked with two whistles. Take out the cooked yam, drain the water completely and let it cool.
In a kadai take oil, add mustard seeds and when it crackles, add the urad dall, let it become golden, add the red chillies and switch off the gas. Put these in a mixie along with tamarind, salt and asafoetida and grind. 
Mash the cooled yam with a masher and add the ground mixture to it. Mix the whole thing together and your karunaikizhangu thuvayal is ready to eat with hot rice and gingelly oil!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Temple Trails Tamil Nadu : Kandakottam, Chennai – Soorasamharam – Part II

Soorasamharam at Kandakottam - Part II


We waited for about 15 minutes witnessing the police organising the crowd very well. Slowly the traffic was stopped on our side of the road and the Sooran came first and positioned himself.

Many young men dressed up as Murugan’s soldiers including Veerabahu followed and next came the much awaited Murugan. What a beautiful deity! His vahanam was the horse. He had the Vel which his mother Parvati had given in one hand and a beautiful bow in his other hand. I saw Murugan as Parimelazhagar for the first time!


There was a commentary going on about the events on one side. First was the Veerabahu thoothu. When Sooran did not listen to Veerabahu, war was declared. Sooran came with his sword and kedayam for the battle and Murugan nipped his head with his Vel. Sooran went back and came again with Yaanai mugam (elephant-face). Murugan removed this head and he again came back with Singa mugam (lion-face), Yaali mugam, Aatu mugam (goat-face), Puli mugam (tiger face) and Kudhirai mugam (horse-face). Murugan detached all the heads with his Vel and finally Sooran came with his original face. Every time the head was removed with the Vel, the whole area resounded with the chant of “Vetrivel, Veeravel” and “Arohara”!

Then Sooran went around the Lord and when he came to the front, he took the form of a tree. The ever benevolent Murugan did not kill him like any other Gods do to the Asuras, but split the tree into a cock and peacock and kept the Sooran near him always!
Here is the video of the Soorasamharam

video

The Soorasamharam here ended with the Sooran taking the form of a tree and deepaarathanai (aarti) was performed to the Lord. Once the deepaarathanai was done, the crowd started moving and we also proceeded home satisfied with a great darshan of the Soorasamharam.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Temple Trails Tamil Nadu : Kandakottam, Chennai – Soorasamharam – Part I

Soorasamharam at Kandakottam - Part I

When we had a great darshan of the Soorasamharam at Vadapalani temple last year, Jayashree decided that she will take me to Kandakottam for this year Soorasamharam. Who will get such a sister, who instead of just enjoying herself, ensures that I also get the pleasure out of such visits. Thank you Appa and Amma for such a sister and thank you Jay, Love you!

We had enquired at the temple and found that Soorasamharam will take place around 7 pm. To find a comfortable place to stand, we reached the temple by 5.30 pm to have the darshan of the Lord. Despite hearing a lot through my parents and grandparents, this was my first visit to this temple.  I was thrilled to see the well decorated gopuram (temple tower) but was a little bothered about the long queue which stretched to the road on the side of the temple. But the queue moved so fast that within 7-8 minutes, we were inside the temple.



 
It was a very quick darshan and volunteers were pushing people as they had to accommodate a huge crowd. I just glimpsed the idols of Vallalar and Pamban Swamigal on the left. On our right was Murugan. Murugan looked very very cute in full alangaram. I was surprised to see such small idols of Valli Deivayanai sametha Murugan. On either side of the sannidhi were separate sannidhis for Valli and Deivayanai.
We moved further to have darshan of Ganapathy in front of us and I was just allowed to read the words Suriyan and Veerabagu by which time the volunteers pushed us out. I promised myself to make a detailed trip to this temple again and blog about it including the legend and history.

As we came out the Dwajasthambam was to our left and many ladies were lighting ghee lamps nearby. We moved to our right and reached a very beautifully decorated mandapam. On the left side on a raised platform there were beautiful water rangolis on plates. The rangolis were of Ganapathy, Valli Deivayanai sametha Arumugan, Gnanapandithan, Murugan on his mayil vahanam, Natarajar and Vallalar. Inspite of being six days old, the rangolis were looking beautiful and a lady nearby wondered how it would have been on day one.



On the right side near the decorated pillars was the Urchavamurthy on Mayil vahanam. It was a pleasure to have his darshan. Like Thatha used to say, the youthful Murugan gives one so much cheer and energy! We had our fill of this Murugan and proceeded further.


The staircase next to this had “way to Kandan Kalaiarangam written on it and people were going up and down. We too went up out of curiosity. We were delighted to see the gopurams from there.


There was no programme happening at the Kalaiarangam. But people were just sitting around and relaxing there.We came down and moved further right to have darshan of another Urchavar. This happened to be Valli Deivayanai sametha Arumugan complete with his Vel and Sevalkodi. All the six faces were looking so beautiful and  benevolent!



We reached the side entrance of the temple and came out. While coming out, I could feel the presence of Murugan everywhere and the Bhakthi of the people in that area and all around there were shops in  the Lord's name.   



We once again enquired about the timings and exact location of Soorasamharam with a few people. We then reached the main road near Eithirajulu Naidu Sons and stood a comfortable place hoping to get a good view. The traffic was in full swing and people around were saying that it will be stopped the moment, Murugan comes out of the temple in oorvalam (procession). While waiting in such a huge but organized crowd, I could not stop feeling proud of our country where we never give up such festivities and celebration for the sake of our livelihood, but make it a part of our lifestyle!