Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Holy Temple Of Thingalur



      In seventh century AD, Appothi Adigal, who is being revered as one of the sixty-three Nayanmars (great Saivaite Saints) lived in the town of Thingalur along with his wife, Maragatham Ammaiyaar, and four sons.  He had been an ardent devotee of Lord Siva.  Also, he had been an ardent devotee of Saint Thirunavukkarasar (one of the four greatest Saivaite Saints).

      By virtue of his sheer devotion on Saint Thirunavukkarasar, Appothi Adigal named almost everything that he owned as Thirunavukkarasu.  The school that he ran was named as ‘Thirunavukkarasu Pallichaalai’.  The water shed that he ran for offering water to the passers-by was named as ‘Thirunavukkarasu Thaneer Pandhal’.  The husbandry that he owned was named as ‘Thirunavukkarasu Ko Chaalai’.  He named all his sons as: Thirunavukkarasu – I, Thirunavukkarasu – II, Thirunavukkarasu – III.

      One-day Saint Thirunavukkarasar paid a visit to Thingalur.  It was to worship Kailaayanathar enshrined at the temple of Thingalur.  Saint Thirunavukkarasar was born as Marul Neekiyar.  The name Thirunavukkarsu was given to him by The Almighty.  Hence, he was dumbfounded to see a school, a water shed, a husbandry bearing the divine name ‘Thirunavukkarasu’.  Through the localites, he learnt the devotion of Appothi Adigal on him.  Appothi Adigal, who had never seen Saint Thirunavukkarasar, turned exuberant when he heard the news of Saint Thirunavukkarasar’s visit to his home town.  He, along with his wife, called on Saint Thirunavukkarasar.  The moment they saw him, they both bowed down to his feet and humbly requested Saint Thirunavukkarasar to have lunch that day at their house.  Saint Thirunavukkarasar accepted the cordial invitation.

      Maragatham Ammaiyaar prepared almost everything for serving Saint Thirunavukkarasar.  Just before serving the Saint, she asked her son Thirunavukkarasu – I to fetch a plantain leaf from the plantain tree that was at the backyard of their house.  Thirunavukkarasu – I, while trying to cut a leaf from the tree, was stung by a snake.  With great difficulty, he managed to hand over the leaf to his Mom.  Soon after handing over the plantain leaf to his Mom, he succumbed to the snake bite and passed away.

      Appothi Adigal and his wife were totally devastated by the death of their oldest son.  But they didn’t want to reveal it to Saint Thirunavukkarasar, as nobody would feel like enjoying a lunch in the house, where there was a bereavement.  Hence, they wrapped the dead body of their son in a big plantain leaf and kept it aside at an isolated room in their house.  They were all set to serve lunch for the Saint.  When the Saint sat for lunch, he could see everyone in the family except the oldest son.  He then enquired Appothi Adigal, where his oldest son was.  Since Appothi Adigal had extreme devotion to the Saint, he could not utter a lie.  Hence, he revealed him the truth.

      Saint Thirunavukkarasar instructed Appothi Adigal and his wife to get the dead body of their son to Kailayanathar temple, where he pleaded to the presiding Deity by singing a Thevaram hymn.  Lord Siva was moved by the plea of Saint Thirunavukkarasar and retrieved the life of Thirunavukkarasu – I.  

       There is a separate sanctum-sanctorum for Moon, one of the nine planets in Hindu Astrology, in the temple.  As per Hindu mythology, the 27 stars (considered as 27 sisters) in Hindu Astrology are the 27 wives of Moon.  Of His 27 wives, Lord Mathi/Moon (Lord Chandiran) is extremely fond of two of his wives, namely, Rohini and Kiruthigai.  Hence, more often than not, He remained in the quarters of either of the two.  He almost forgot the remaining 25 wives of His.  Those 25 wives became furious and complained about their spouse to their father.  The infuriated father-in-law cursed his son-in-law to lose all His handsomeness.  The disfigured Lord Mathi (Moon) pleaded to The Supreme Deity (Lord Siva) to forgive Him and to relieve Him from his father-in-law’s curse.  Lord Siva instructed Lord Mathi to go down to Thingalur on the Earth and observe penance so as to get relieved from the curse of His father-in-law.

      Hence, it is believed that if people, who have debilitated or weak or waning Moon in their horoscopes, offer prayers at Thingalur, they would be blessed with everything in their lives that are being signified by Moon.  In Hindu astrology, Moon is the significator of the mother and the mind.  Thingalur is easily accessible by road from Kumbakonam and Thiruvaroor.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Holy Temple Of Thirumarugal


     On 3rd July 2016, just a day before my husband and I completed eight years of our union in wedlock, we had been blessed enough to offer worship at the Holy temple of Mannikavannar (Rathinagireeswarar), along with our daughters and both our parents, enshrined at the village of Thirumarugal in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.  The village of Thirumarugal is named after a species of plantain tree, called Marugal, which is found inside the temple.  That particualr variety of plantain tree abounds the entire village as well.  Appar, Thiruganasambandhar and Sundarar, the three of the four great Saivaite Saints, have sung in praise of the presiding Deity in their Thevaram hymns.  It is believed that the Lord has been enshrined there for epochs together.  It was the place where Goddess Mahalakshmi, upon bathing in the temple tank and worshipping Mannikavannar, could ward off the curse that befell on Her for hurting Saint Birghu (Birghu Munivar).

       Way back in 7th Century AD, seven-year-old Saint Thirugnanasambandhar had been staying at the temple of Thirumarugal for a while.  On a night, during his stay, he came across a young woman, who was sitting crest-fallen beside the dead body of her fiancé.  Upon enquiry, Saint Thirugnanasambandhar came to know that she and her dead fiancé hailed from the city of Madurai.  She was born into a Chettiar family.  Her parents had seven daughters and she was the last amongst the seven.  Her dead fiancé was none other than her maternal uncle.  Initially, her father agreed to get her eldest sister married to her maternal uncle.  But later, her greedy father got her eldest sister married to some other rich business man.  Then, he agreed to get his another daughter married to him but again dodged him in the same manner.  Ultimately, through false promises, her father got all six of her elder sisters married to other rich business men.  She didn’t want her maternal uncle to be cheated by her father any more.  Hence, she decided to elope with her maternal uncle.

      Since the woman and her dead fiancé didn’t have any proper place to stay, they decided to take shelter that night at the dormitory of the temple of Thirumarugal.  They were all set to get married the following day.  But, unfortunately, her fiancé lost his life owing to snake bite.  Saint Thiruganasambandhar upon hearing the story of the woman, was moved by her plight.  He was convinced that though eloping was an act of sheer disobedience to the parents, that woman had a justifiable reason to elope with her fiancé.  Hence, he pleaded to Lord Shiva by singing a Thevaram hymn, to retrieve the life of her fiancé.  Lord Shiva, who was moved by the plea of Saint Thiruganasambandhar, retrieved the life of the man.  Upon retrieving the life of the man, the Lord said to Saint Thiruganasambandhar, that the seven-year-old Saint had become the father of the man, as he was the one who gave him re-birth by pleading to the Lord.  He offered him the Divine Instruction of presiding over the marriage of the man and the woman the following day at the temple of Thirumarugal by keeping the temple’s principal tree, named Vanni, as the witness.

      The temple has statues of that man and the woman and even today their wedding day is being celebrated every year in the temple as, “Chettipillai Chettipenn Thirumanam”.  Also, offering prayers to the Lord of the temple is believed to ward off the evils and/or curses that cause delay in getting married.  It is referred to in Tamil as the holy place for obliteraring the obstacles for getting married. 

       Lord Saturn, who is also enshrined in that temple, was worshipped by Gorakka Sitthar.  Lord Saturn is believed to be enshrined there in the most tranquil form of His.  Thirumarugal is easily accessible by road from Thiruvaaroor, Kumbakonam and Nagapattinam.  Lord Bhairavar at Thirumarugal is believed to be enshrined in the form of 'Ruru Bhairavar', which is one of His eight forms.
       Saint Thirunavukkarasar in his Thevaram hymn on the presiding Deity has remarked that by hailing and bowing down to the feet of Marugalan (Manikkavannar), we could enhance penance, we could eradicate ignorance, we could reform our wavering mind, we could drink the nectar of supreme happiness!

பெருகலாம் தவம் பேதைமை தீரலாம்
திருகலாகிய சிந்தை திருத்தலாம்
பருகலாம் பரமாயதோர் ஆனந்தம்
மருகலானடி வாழ்த்தி வணங்கிடவே!
                                                          - திருநாவுக்கரசர்



Monday, September 12, 2016

Mu. Varadharasanar's, 'Kurattai Oli' in Spanish Language

La fecha: El 13 de Septiembre 2016

El Ruido Del Ronquido
 
     Era un erudito del idioma Tamil, se llama, Sr. M. Varadharasanar, quien escribió una historia en Tamil, mi lengua materna.   El titulo de la historia en Tamil es, "Kurattai Oli".  La he traducido como, “El ruido del ronquido”.  La ha sido traducido en muchos idiomas de India y en algunos idiomas extranjeros.

     Uno de mis sueños es traduciendo, por al menos, un mensaje desde Tamil a Español.  Aquí, traduciendo la historia del erudite Sr. M. Varadharasanar:

     En el edificio donde yo vivía con mi esposa en mi apartamento, vivieron dos familias más.  La familia rica vivió a la derecha y la familia pobre vivió a la izquierda.  Eran dos miembros en la familia rica – el hombre y su esposa.  Eran ocho miembros en la familia pobre – el cabezo de la familia, su esposa, su mamá vieja, sus cinco hijos.  Tambíen, vivió una perra con la familia pobre.  

     Un día la mujer de la familia pobre dio a luz a su sexto bebé.  Despues de algunos días, tambíen, la perra dio a luz a cinco cachorros.  Una mañana la perra salió afuera pero no se regresó a la casa hasta la noche.  Los habian sido extrañado  sus mamá los cachorros y estuvieron haciendo mucho ruido.  Los no pudieron soportar el hambre.  

     La mujer de la familia rica no podia soportar el ruido de los perritos.   Le pidió a mi esposa para ir decir a la mujer pobre que tirar los cachorros desde la casa.  Mi esposa dijo a la mujer pobre la misma.  La mujer pobre pidió a mi esposa para soportar con los cachorros hasta la mañana siguiente, ya que fue fuertemente lloviendo afuera.

     El ruido fue aumentando.  Despues de alguno tiempo, podia sentir que el ruido se reduce lentamente.  Me dio curiosidad saber la razón.  Por la ventana, podia ver que la mujer pobre tenia una taza pequeña en su mano izquierda y tenia un pequeño trozo de algodón en su mano derecha.  Ella dejó caer el trozo de algodón en el liquido en la taza y le apretó el liquido en la boca del cachorro.  Despues podia ver que la mujer apretó la leche de su pechuga en la taza pequeña y continuó el mismo hasta todos los cachorros detener el ruido.   Exactamente eso momento, podia oir el ruido del ranquido desde el apartamento de la mujer rica.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

BHARATHANATYAM – FROM DUSK TO DAWN


Today the art of Bharatanatyam enjoys global recognition and is being learnt with reverence.  What is now being considered as a divine art had for several centuries been thrown askance at as mere breadwinner for the women of courtesan danseuse community (Devadasis).   


      Who or what brought Bharatanatyam from dusk to dawn then?  It was Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale.  Rukmini was born into an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family on 29th February 1904.  Her father, Neelakanda Shastri, was an ardent patron of Annie Besant’s Theosophical Society, which is headquartered at Chennai.  Rukmini was naturally drawn to the Theosophical Society, which consequently made her to marry forty-two year old George Sydney Arundale, a close associate of Annie Besant, when she was barely sixteen.


       Once when the Arundales, Rukmini and George, had been sailing to Australia, they had Anna Pavlova, a Russian dancer, as their fellow passenger.  The friendship between Rukmini and Anna made Rukmini to nurse immense interest in Russian dance.  Anna suggested Rukmini to start working on traditional Indian dance forms.


        Anna’s words drove the Arundales to perform profound research on traditional Indian dance forms.  They were appalled to learn the disregard that was bestowed on Bharatanatyam (literally ‘Dance of India’) by the society.  The Arundales strove to work for the revival of Bharatanatyam.  At the threshold, they wanted to obliterate from the minds of the masses the misconception on Bharatanatyam.


       At the age of 28, under the shades of a banyan tree, at Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai, Mrs. Arundale started mastering the art from Guru Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai.  Soon she started performing on the stages.  She profoundly instilled in the minds of the people that Bharatanatyam was actually an art to be mastered.  She also brought some changes in the art, like, designing new attire for Bharatanatyam, new stage design, new dance style etc.


       Rukmini established a dance school, called Kalakshetra (literally ‘Place of Art’), exactly where she started learning it.  It now stands as a university.  Today Kalakshetra draws students from all over the world.  Apart from Bharatanatyam, other traditional Indian dance forms like Manipuri, Odissi, Kathakali, Kathak and Kuchipudi are also being taught there.


      Before the reforms made by Mrs. Arundale, even the very idea of learning the art of Bharatanatyam was considered as belittling oneself and one’s family.  Now, children, especially girls are being made to learn the art with reverence, when they are barely five years old. 


      Until her death in 1986, Rukmini devoted her whole life for propagating Bhartanatyam and vegetarianism.  One of the former Prime Ministers of India, Moraji Desai, offered her to become the President of India but she fervently turned down the offer.  She also features in India Today’s list of ‘100 People Who Shaped Up India’.    

      Summing up, what was disregarded “Parathaiyar Naatiyam”(dance of the Devadasis) is now being revered as “Bharatha Naatiyam” only because of the painstaking efforts of Mrs. Rukmini Devi Arundale.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thirupaampooranathar Temple - Rahu & Ketu Enshrined Together

Date: 17th October 2014

        This year, on 20th of September, my husband and I had a wonderful opportunity to worship Lord Siva enshrined as Thirupaampoornathar along with His consort Goddess Vanduser Kuzhali at Thirupaampooram, which is about 30 km from the temple town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu.

      It is an ancient temple.  One of the great Saivaite Saints, Thirugnanasambandar, has sung devotional hymns in praise of the presiding deity in his Thevaram.  It is being said that once in Kailayam, the abode of Lord Siva, when Lord Pillaiyaar(Lord Ganesha) was worshipping Lord Siva, Adisheshan, the serpent that adorns the neck of Lord Siva felt proud that Lord Pillaiyaar was also worshipping him while praying to the Supreme Deity. 

      Lord Siva, immediately, wanted to put an end to the pride of the serpent.  He castigated Adisheshan by cursing him that he and all other snakes in the heaven and on the Earth would lose all their venom and consequently all their powers.  The curse was a bolt from the blue for Adisheshan and the other eight heavenly snakes.  Some of which are Vasuki, Karkodakan and so on and so forth.  By virtue of the curse, the shadow planets Rahu and Ketu also lost their powers.  Adisheshan and all the other heavenly snakes pleaded to Lord Siva to set them free from His curse.

      Lord Siva then instructed all of them to go down to the holy place of Thirupaampooram on the Earth, where He is enshrined as Thirupaampooranathar(Seshapurieeswarar in Sanskrit) and observe severe penance until Maha Sivarathri.  He, also, told them that upon observing severe penance over there all the heavenly snakes and the snakes on the Earth would get back all their powers on the great day of Maha Sivarathri. 

      As per the advice of Lord Siva, the heavenly snakes descended to the Earth and performed severe penance.  Rahu(which has the body of a snake) and Ketu(which is snake-headed) joined together as one serpent(the head being Ketu and the body being Rahu) and observed severe penance at Thirupaampooram by keeping Lord Siva at the point where They conjoined.  Lord Siva, who was moved by the penance of the heavenly snakes, alleviated them from the curse on the mid night of Maha Sivarathri.  The only place on the Earth where Rahu and Ketu are enshrined together is nothing but Thirupaampooram.

       While alleviating them from the curse, He took a promise from the serpents that nobody in the village of Thirupaampooram should be attacked by a snake.  Also, those devotees of Lord Siva, who worshipped Him at Thirupaampooram should not be harmed by Rahu and Ketu thereafter in their lives, immaterial of their positions and/or their transient positions in their horoscopes or even for some unforeseen reasons in their present and/or previous births.

        Thus far, there has been no case of snake bite in the village of Thirupaampooram.  Also, every Tuesday and every Friday night snakes roam around the temple.  Those are believed to be the heavenly devotees of Lord Siva, who transmogrify themselves as snakes to worship the Supreme Deity.

        Thirupaampooram is easily accessible by road from Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Is Lithium Aluminium Hydride A Better Reducing Agent Than Sodium Boro Hydride?

Both Lithium Aluminium Hydride(Li[AlH4]) and Sodium Boro Hydride(Na[BH4]) are co-ordination complexes.  They serve as reducing agents by releasing the hydride(H-) ions from their respective co-ordination spheres.

 The central atoms in both the cases, namely, Al & B, belong to Group - IIIA of the periodic table.  As we know that electro positive character increases upon going down a group in the periodic table, aluminium(Al) is more electro positive than boron(B).  Hence, by virtue of greater electro positive character, Al easily releases the H- ions that are bonded to it than B. 

Thus, Li[AlH4] serves as a better reducing agent for organic compounds than Na[BH4]

Friday, September 4, 2009

Spanish as a Foreign Language

Date: 4th September 2009

Here I would like to expatiate why I chose to learn Spanish, in particular, as a foreign language.

Until December 2006, it had been my unfulfilled desire to learn and master a foreign language. My parents have always been considering learning a foreign language as a colossal waste of time, energy and captial. On the other hand, I have always been having an inclination to learn and master as many languages as possible. I find immense happiness in doing so.

But their constant discouragement didn't set me aback. On the contrary, it boosted my spirits. I fervently decided to learn and master a foreign language and prove them totally wrong.

I was bewildered to choose between French, German, Russian and Spanish. I sought the help of search engines to find a solution for my bewilderment. While surfing the net, I came across so many facts which ultimately made me to choose Spanish.

Let me narrate the basic facts now. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world with approximately 500 million speakers(Mandarin dialect of Chinese stands first). So, one basic fact is that Spanish speakers outnumber English speakers.

Spanish has been recognized as one of the six official lanugages of the United Nations. The other five are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Russian.

Also, Spanish serves as the official language of about twenty-five countries in the world. Some of them are: Spain, Mexico, the whole of the South American continent(other than Brazil) like Bolivia, Gautemala, Hondruas, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru. In the United States, Spanish has been officially recognized as the second language.

Spanish and Portugese are mutually intelligible languages. Hence, Spanish is widely understood in Portugese speaking conturies like Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique etc.

The aforesaid reasons drove me to start learning Spanish as a foreign language. Now let me share with you all, the fact, that how I am at an advantageous position with my knowledge in Spanish.

I now possess "Diploma in Spanish". I studied "Spanish as a Foreign Language" at "Instituto Hispania", India(http://institutohispania.com/index.html)

Instituto Hispania is obviously the top ranking institute for learning Spanish. The management of the institute does commendable service in promoting Spanish language in India. I would strongly recommend the people of India to learn Spanish at any one of the branches of Instituo Hispania.

By virtue of my knowledge in Spanish, my English word robe has increased by leaps and bounds. It is because of the fact that Spanish is actually an offshoot of Latin and Latin has a telling influence in English.

I would like to corroborate this statement with an example. In Spanish, the word "Salud" refers to "Health". Once, while going through an article in English, I came across the word "Salubrious". With out even refering to the dictionary, I could make out that it would mean something related to health. Spanish and English possess innumerable identical and similar words.

Also, now since I know Spanish, I am able to understand Portugese, Italian and French.

The aforesaid three languages along with Spanish fall under one language family.

Now, by the Grace of The Almighty I have been living in a country for almost a year where Spanish has been given the status of second language. Here, I end up conversing in Spanish with the native speakers of the language and consequently I have won the hearts of innumerable native speakers of Spanish.

Summing up, I would sincerely recommend those Indians, who have an inclination to learn new languages, to learn Spanish at the outset.

யாம் பெற்ற இன்பம் பெருக இவ்வையகம்