Sunday, April 24, 2016

Kundalakesi-Tamil Epic

Tamil language is as old as Sanskrit and Tamil has a hoary past. The Epics in Tamil literature revealing the relativity of our own values. The Five Great Epics in Tamil literature which are large narrative in Tamil namely Cilappatikaram, Manimekalai, CivakaChintamani, Valayapathi and Kundalakesi. 

The 5 Great Epics, also known as Aimperumkappiyam.. The Five Great Epics were composed during the period between 1st Century CE and 10th Century CE..Out of these, only Kundalakesi and Valayapathi are in existence. Amongst the Five Great Epics, Kundalakesi and Manimekalai are Buddhist religious literary works, Valayapathi and Civaka Cintamani are Jain literary works and Cilappatikaram has a neutral religious observation. then the 'discovery' and enjoyment of Tamil literature.
Recently I read  one of the unique epic Kundalakesi. These epic provide the historical verification of cultural, social, religious and academic life of the people of that era and it points out the common folly in being attached to worldly things and how important it is to follow the path to enlightenment through a religion or by wisdom. I am glad that I could explore a small part of Tamil literature today.
The Story of Kundalakesi has inspired me a lot ever since I read .. Kundalakesi was composed before fifth century. Originally there are ninety nine verses but only nineteen verses are available. The story of these epics too, is not clear. However, from what is available, we know that epics belonging to other religions were destroyed, though they have their own literary merits.
 The poet who composed this epic was Nagakutthanaar. He was an ardent Buddhist, who is believed to have known all about his previous births. He is supposed to have lived during the 10th century A.D.   ‘Kesi’ means a lady’s plait. As her hair was curly, she was called Kundalakesi. Her name has been taken as the title of this epic..
Story Of Kundalakesi:
Kundalakesi was the leading character and was born in a merchant family in Puhar. Initially she was known as Bhadra. She lost her mother at a young age and lived a sheltered life. One day she saw a thief being paraded in the streets and falls in love with him. His name was Kaalan and he was sentenced to death. Obsessed with Kaalan, she begs her father to save him. Her father appeals to the king for the release of the thief. In order to release Kaalan he pays Kaalan's weight in gold and 81 elephants to the treasury.
 Kundalakesi and Kaalan are married. Although she loved her husband very dearly, her husband being a thief, was only attracted to her property and her jewels. One day in a light vein she refers to him as a thief. This enrages Kaalan and he decides to kill his wife. One day, he coaxed her to put on all her jewellery and led her to a mountain saying that he wanted to make some offerings to the guardian spirit of the mountain because that guardian spirit had saved his life when he was about to be killed. Kundalakesi went along with her husband, but when they reached their destination, the thief revealed that he intended to kill her and take her jewels. She is shocked to hear this and. She pleaded with him to take her jewels, but to spare her life, but it was of no avail. She then realized that if she did not get rid of her husband, there would be no way of escape for her. She felt she must be cautious and crafty. So she asks him to grant a final wish - she wishes to worship him by going round him three times said to her husband, she wanted to pay respect to him for the last time. So saying, and going round the man respectfully. He agrees and when she gets behind him, Kundalakesi pushes him, thereby killing him. 
After this, she had no desire to return home. She left all her jewellery hanging on a tree, and went on her way, without any idea where she was going. She happened to come to a place of some Paribbajikas (female wandering ascetics) and she herself became a Paribbajikas a Buddhist monk and spends the rest of her life spreading the teachings of Buddha. She carries out theological battles with Jains and Hindus, defeating them in debates. She finally attains superior liberation. In one of the versions, it is believed that she was a Jain in her initial life and she shattered conventions by becoming a nigrantha or naked monk.
The story actually amazed me! Feminism was so strong and bold those days. We preach these days about being bold women, do not know actually know if we are !
There is also a small message in this story True penance is controling your feelings. pleasure and Praise belongs to those who having Mind Purity.everything is  seemed to be predestination
A man may conquer a million men in battle, but one who conquers himself is, indeed, the greatest of conquerors.Real freedom is freedom from all forms of bondage. It can be achieved only through proper spiritual development and purification of one's own mind - purging and cleansing oneself from all taints of greed, hatred and delusion.

Links: Verses with Meaning-

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Glimpse Of My Greens in My Suuny Balcony!

Just imagine yourself relaxing on a couch, watching a beautiful  clear skies and a lot of greenery around ;A place to relax, anytime of the day with a cup of hot coffee is my balcony. I didn't have a very big balcony. Hence I had only the side spaces of the balcony left for nurturing the plants. I tried to utilize this space to the maximum. Gardening is my hobby. 

 I derive great pleasure from this hobby... One of my favourite pastimes is sitting on my balcony and observing the flowers is to appreciate the colour and the varieties of flowers in nature. 

 I have a number of flowers-pots in which I have grown some very-green plants and some flowering plants.. I absolutely love surrounding myself with flowers of different shapes, colours and fragrances.
 I feel uplifted by sensing each flower's beauty, vibration and presence, These flowers connect us with Divine joy!  They are such a wonderful source of inspiration. The elegant, graceful jasmine makes the air cool and aromatic. 
a rose that speaks silently in the language of fragrance. ..  
Apart from the flowering beauties, I have Brinjals , Beans,lemon grass, Basil, Fenugreek (methi), Mint, ginger, green chilies and coriander as well.

Having fresh herbs, vegetables on hand for cooking is such a treat. The smell of fresh herbs in the kitchen is heaven for me. I have enjoyed taking the time to watch the life in the various plants. the joy of watching a seed sprout, slowly grow, then blossom into a plant that starts giving fruits! It is unmatched! 
When the plant bears fruits and flowers, you feel like a proud parent; No amount of money can give you that satisfaction of having something that you have grown yourself. And trust me, once you get the first crop, you will be passionate and addictive, For people who love nature and want to keep a part of it close to them, house plants are a simple option. 
You do not require much space and it is not very hard to take care of the plants. Without much hassle, they provide great beauty to the house and give you a new hobby and invite birds also.
Surrounding yourself with green trees and beautiful garden not only makes you cheerful but improves your health too .But plants are living and thus they need tender care and attention.
Now I seeded Tomato, snakeguard & Ladies finger with help of gardening blogs. There are a lot of good blogging sites that explains simple gardening methods which will be useful for the beginners like me .Every day, I spend a few minutes in my spare time to engage with the plant kingdom which gives a rejuvenating feeling.
My sanctuary is my balcony garden!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kolattam Celebration

Every Year Kollattam celebration is celebrated in our village. In my childhood I participated.After morethan 3 decades  this year .  Iam very fortunate to participate in this function. I recollect  memories of my young age about this festival.. 

Kolattam is an ancient village art which is performed by groups of young girls &women , with two sticks held in each hand, beaten to make a rhythmic sound.  The stick provides the main rhythm and this dance is performed during village festivals. Kolattam is derived from the word ‘Kol’ (small stick) and ‘Attam’ (play)dance. The two sticks held in the hand of each girl/woman is struck against those of the other girls/women in rotation, producing beautiful music. The stick provides the main rhythm and music delights one and all and is performed during festivals .

Kolattam festival, , is popular in the villages of central and south Tamil Nadu. It Kolattam festival commences every year on the new moon day just after Deepavali and ends on the full moon day. On the evening of New moon day,. The young girls get together on the banks of the river,pool or lake and collect a mound of clay. This clay is then taken to the potter,

 A potter makes a little image of a cow and calf and the customary nine grains (Palligai)are made to sprout. He then colours it with natural dyes such as lime stone paint for white and charcoal powder for black. This figurine is called “Pasuvan”. This “Pasuvan” is placed at  the village Bajanai madam and worshiped.  It is for this deity that girls perform Kolattam as an invocation to the Rain God.The ladies and children sprinkled Nava Dhanyas  on five earthen  cups (Palligai) All the assembled ladies and children were offered betal leaf etc.... The children began to perform Kollattam in front of Passavan, the Idol.

 Everyday, the young girls with Kolattam sticks gather in the evening and perform Kolattam in front of each house in the Agraharam. In every stage of the dance, each girl has one stick in each of her hands and the stick in the hand of each girl is struck against those of the other girls in rotation, producing beautiful music. This dance is set to tune in different Ragas and songs. Songs about Lord Krishna are primarily sung.
கோலேன கோலே

கோலேன கோலே

 பாலா நீலா லா கோலே

பால பாவன லீல விலோசன

பால ப்ரபஞ்ச கோலே
 The dancers themselves sing the songs, which are mostly on Lord Krishna, and pray for rains and rich harvests in the coming year. Young girls pray for the prosperity of the land, pray to the rain God to shower his blessings so that the village pond is filled to the brim and farmlands give a bountiful crop.People have strong belief that God will fullfill young girls prayers.

 The significant verse is – “Swamy, give us rain; let the tanks and ponds overflow; let whatever we sow turn into gold; let us see many husks of grain!
மழை ரொம்பப் பெய்ய வேணும்; சுவாமி,

குளங்கள் பெருக வேணும்; பூமியில் போட்டது பொன்னாய் விளையணும்;

 பொலி ரொம்பக் காண வேணும்.’

The age group of dancers grouped in pairs.. The artists led by the leader move into two circles moving in and out .The  inner circle groups receives the strikes while the outer circle delivers them according to the rhythm of the sticks.The sound /rhythm of the sticks are itself a music to hear .Another dance known as  Pinnal Kolattam is danced with ropes which the women hold in their hands, the other of which are tied to a tall pole. With planned steps, the women skip over each other, which forms intricate lace-like patterns in the ropes. As coloured ropes are used, this lace looks extremely attractive. Again, they unravel this lace reversing the dance steps The girls, at the end of the session bring edibles from their houses and offer it as neivedhyam to the “Pasuvan”

The girls earn their monetary reward and accumulate it collectively so that they can use this fund for the Big day.  On the purnima day, these young girls are entitled to a relaxing oil bath. Oil and soapnut powder is provided to the girls by the Village head/the house that takes responsibility for “Pasuvan”. The girls then adorn themselves with fine silks,jewellery and flowers.
 A young brahmachary boy in the village selected as “Pasuvan Pillai” is gifted with a “kuttai”, towel and garland. 
He then accompanies the “Pasuvan” in a bullock cart or “Chaparam”(palanquin)(Nowadays taken in car)to the river or lake accompanied by nathaswaram, melam and petromax light . Ladies and girls, grouped age-wise, also join the procession singing songs and playing various types of kolattam. New songs are also composed every year.. The young girls perform kolattam all along the route in front of the “Pasuvan”. All the women of the Agraharam now join the young girls in the dance and song. Older women perform “Kummi” dance.  At the river bank, the “Pasuvan” is immersed in the river/vayal and  the Paaligai is dissolved in the waters by the elderly ladies and. On their way back, Haarathi is performed before the houses.. then prasadam is distributed. The ladies were given thamboolam and dinner. This will be followed by a grand communal feast. ”. 

Through these festival we learn about the seasons, effect of monsoon on the harvest, and learn to share, work as a team and manage public fund. This festival gives the villagers an opportunity to mingle freely, to exhibit their skill and imagination in composing and singing songs, learn how to express and communicate without words.  as well as strengthening unity and co-operation.