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Vedam Sathyam

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rkpatham

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Transalation of a tamil article wriiten by Sri Ramani Anna in Sakthi Vikadan


Tiruvidaimarudoor, near Kumbakonam in Tanjore district is famous for a Siva Temple, Sri Maha Linga Swami.

Many years ago, on a Chitra Pournima day, an Abhishegam for Sri Maha Linga swami was performed with the chanting of Rudra Japa. It was a grand success. With 11 Vedic Pundits, it started at 8am and finished by 1pm. Sri Narayanaswami Iyer (NI), the head of the village (Mirasudar), an ardent Maha Periyava devotee, organised the whole event.


Very eager to offer the Rudra-Prasad to Maha Periyava, NI reached Kanchi the very next day. He had packed the Prasad in a plantain-leaf covered with a new silk shawl.

At Kanchi, after finishing the daily Puja, Sri Maha Periyava was giving dharshan. A lot of people were waiting for the dharshan. When his turn came, NI was shivering and lost his voice. He did a sashtanga namaskaram. Maha Periyava looked at him and raised his brows, meaning “Whats the news?”

NI opened his prasad packet, kept it in a plate and offered it to Maha Periyava – still shivering in reverence. The Prasad offering had vibhuthi, Kumkum, chandan, vilva leaves, 2 half coconuts, and bananas.

Maha Periyava: “ This prasad is from which Kshetram?”
NI: “ Periyava, I organized a Rudra abhishegam yesterday in Tiruvidaimarudoor for Maha Linga Swami. I brought this Prasad for Periyava from there. I am offering it for Periyava’s anugraham”.

MahaPeriyava was looking at that plate containing the Prasad. And then asked him: “Narayanaswami, you are a rich man; still did you share the expense with someone else for this Abhishegam?”
NI: “No Periyava…I bore all the expenses myself”
Maha Periyava was smiling after hearing the emphasis on “I, myself”.

Maha Periyava: “You performed this abhishegam for Loka Kshemam?”
NI: “No Periyava…for the last 2 or 3 years we are not getting good harvest from the fields…..some lands have not yielded anything…..Muthu Josiyar asked me to conduct a Rudra Abhisegam on Chitra Pournima day for the best yields….I did that after believing him, Periyava”

The Acharya still has not accepted the Prasad. “ This means that you did not do it for aathmaartham or Loka Kshemam….!”, saying this, Maha Periyava closed his eyes and meditated for 15 minutes. When He opened His eyes, one could understand that He was very clear as to what had happened.

Maha Periyava: “Ok. How many Brahmmanals were there?”
NI: “Eleven Pundits were there, Periyava”
“ Who are they, you only organised them, right? From which place are they ?” this was Maha Periyava.

By now the devotees around were wondering why Sri MahaPeriyava was so inquisitive. NI took out a paper and read out the names. ".......Tiruvidaimarudoor Venkatrama Sastrigal, Srinivasa Ganapadigal, Rajagopala Swouthigal…..” MahaPeriyava intervened, “ Oh… all of them are great Vedic Pundits….just see in your list, if you have Thepperumanallur Venkatesa Ganapadigal”.

NI was very happy to find that name in his list. He exploded: “yes, yes, Periyava, he was there yesterday….”

Mahaperiyava : “besh….besh…..Venkatesa Ganapadigal was also there…Very good. He is a great Vedic Pundit! He is getting very old now. Nowadays he chants Rudra Japam with great difficulty.”

As if he got the point, NI immediately said: “ You are very correct, Periyava. He did not do the Rudra Japam properly. Most of the times he was sitting with his eyes closed without chanting…..and the number of Japams got reduced because of that……I was wondering why I invited him”.

Maha Periyava got annoyed with NI. “ Just because you have money, you cannot assume you can say anything! Do you know the qualification of Thepperumanallur Venkatesa Ganapadigal? You are not even comparable to the dust in his feet. How can you say that about him? Now I understand what happened yesterday. Now you answer me. When he was sitting with his eyes closed, did you not go to him and shout at him saying ‘ For the money you are getting, why is your mouth keeping shut?’

There was absolute silence there. The devotees were stunned. NI, who was at ease a minute ago, started shivering again, fell down on his knees, got up, closed his mouth with his palm and with tears in eyes said, “ I was wrong, Priyava…please, please forgive me. To Ganapadigal, I said exactly what you just now described. Please forgive me”

“ Wait, that is not it. There is more. Did you give dhakshina to every Pundit? How much did you give?” – Maha Periyava.

“ I gave ten rupees to each of them” – NI, with great difficulty.

“ I know everything….tell me again. Did you give ten rupees to everyone?” – Maha Periyava.

NI was quiet. But Maha Periyava did not leave him. “ You are ashamed to tell me. I will tell you what happened. You offered the ten rupee sambhavana to each Pundit. When you came near the Thepperumanallur Ganapadigal, you reduced the sambhavana to seven rupees since you thought he did not do the Japams continuously. You felt vindicated by this! And you were happy! But the Ganapadigal did not care. He smiled at you and took it……Tell me all this is true?”

The devotees did not know how Maha Periyava knew all this. NI was stunned and silent. He repeatedly pleaded guilty and said he would never ever do such things in future.

While Narayanaswamy Iyer was feeling ashamed and was pleading guilty, Maha Periyava did not stop there.

While Narayanaswamy Iyer was feeling ashamed and was pleading guilty, Maha Periyava did not stop there. “Wait…I would have been happy if it ended here. Did you organise lunch for all of them at Ramachandra Iyer’s house?”

“Yes, Yes, Periyava” – NI.
“ You served very well……the Chakra Pongal was like Amrut, made with a lot of cashews and raisins; overflowing with ghee… was served personally by you. Right?” – Maha Periyava.

“ Yes Periyava, I served the Chakra Pongal myself” – NI was pleased to say this.

“While serving, did you do it with clear conscience and follow the proper etiquette and decorum? “ – Maha Periyava.

No response from NI. “OK. I will tell you. Since it tasted very good, all the Pundits enjoyed it and asked for more Chakra Pongal. You also served them more and more. But when you saw Thepperumanallur Ganapadigal asking for more, not once but many times, you pretended as if you did not even hear him! So many times he asked for more! Yet, not once did you respond. Is this dharma? You cheated him off….You played so dirty. You deceived him, you betrayed him, you insulted him!”. Acharya looked very upset and sad.

NI was standing there, fully ashamed of himself. Maha Periyava changed his position and sat straight as if Lord Parameshwara was sitting there. After 15 minutes of silence and meditation, Maha Periyava opened His eyes. “Mirasudarvaal, you must understand one thing. The Ganapadigal is now 81. He has been chanting Rudra Japam from the age of 16 at many Siva temples. Sri Rudram is embodied in every nerve of his, and runs in his breadth and his blood. He is such a Maha Purush. What you displayed was absolute sin. Nothing but sin”. Maha periyava could not talk any more. After a while, He continued.

Maha Periyava continued: “The insult you heaped on him affected him thoroughly. Do you know what he did? He did not go back to his village. Yesterday evening he went straight to Maha Linga Swami temple. After three pradhakshinas, he stood in front of the Swami and do you know what he prayed for?”

Maha Periyava had difficulty talking. He continued after some time…”with tears rolling down his cheeks, ‘Appa Jothi Maha Lingam! You know I am your ardent devotee. You have heard my Rudra Japams so may times in your Sannidhi, from my young years. I am now 81. Am very strong at heart, but the strength in my voice has diminished. You are well aware of what happened during lunch today. That Chakra Pongal.... was so tasty…. And leaving aside my shame, I was pleading for some more….so many times. That Mirasudaar just pretended as if he did not hear me and went away. You know I like Chakra Pongal so much….I felt so bad that he did not serve me more in spite of my pleading. But later on, I realised that I should not have that kind of attachment to a mere dish. That’s why I am standing in front of you. When people go to Kasi, they give up a vegetable and a fruit. You are the same Lingam in Kasi as well. That’s why I am promising you that from this minute on, till my jeevan leaves this body, I am giving up not just Chakra Pongal, but any sweet dish. I will not touch. Maha Lingam, this is my promise… I am taking leave of you’. So saying, with more tears from his eyes, the Ganapadigal left for his village. Now you tell me, Narayanaswamy Iyarvaal, was it not a sin you committed? Will Maha Linga Swami accept your actions?”

Maha Periyava stopped here. It was 3pm. He refused the Biksha for the day. No one left that place. Tears in everyone’s eyes.

NI fell on Maha Periyava’s feet. He was sobbing, uncontrollably. Unable to speak, but still managed to say, “ Periyava, I feel very very ashamed. I made a big mistake. I will never do this mistake in my life. Please pardon me. Please, Periyava. Please tell me that you forgive me….Please take this Maha Linga Prasad and pardon me. Please Periyava”. Even then Maha Periyavaa didn't touch the Prasadams brought by NI but firmly said
“ Wait for a while, that Maha Linga Swami himself will give me anugraham for Prasadam”.

Just then a Pundit aged around 65, looking fresh with rudraksha around his neck holding a plate arrived there. He told Maha Periyava: “ My name is Maha Lingam. I am the Archagar in Tiruvidaimarudoor temple.

The Pundit continued: ”Yesterday there was a Rudra Abhishegam for Maha Linga Swami. I came to offer the Prasad to Periyava and take His blessings”.

When he was going to do Namaskaram, Maha Periyava stopped him saying “ those who got Siva Dheeksha should not do Namaskaram to me”. MahaPeriyava took the Prasadam and offered Matam’s ‘return gift’ – prasad. By then the Archagar saw NI and said, “ Periyava, he is Narayanaswamy Iyer. He was the one who organised the Abhishegam yesterday.” Then the Archagar took leave from Maha Periyava and left.

NI told Maha Periyava repeatedly that he made a big mistake and asked for Prayaschittam- ‘how can I wash this sin?’

Acharyal got up and said, ” I cannot tell you the Prayaschittam for this. Only Thepperumanallur Venkatesa Ganapadigal can tell you”. “But will he tell me, after whatever I did?” asked NI. In a loud voice, Maha Periyava said: “ If you have the Praaptham he will tell you”. So saying, He went inside to His room.

Maha Periyava did not come out for long. NI now decided to meet the Ganapadigal. He took a bus and reached Thepperumanallur next day. He wanted to plead for pardon from the Ganapadigal, get his blessings and then only go back to his place. When he reached the Ganapadigal’s house, he saw a lot of people there………the Ganapadigal left for his heavenly abode early that morning! What Maha Periyava said hit his head: “ If you have the Praaptham, he will tell you”.

He said to himself, “Maha Periyava knew I did not have the Praaptham – what a big sinner am I”. However, he did Namaskaram to the Ganapadigal’s body and left for his village back.

Later on, Narayanaswamy Iyer did a lot of service for the Mutts in the North and obtained Mukhti in Kasi.

Please dont criticise Veda Brahmanal or Vedi Pandits or Priests.......... I am telling you for your and family's good future


Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.
 
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kgmadhavan

Guest
Great article and good translation for the sake of members. Thank you very much.

K G Madhavan
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
rk,

please treat this as a warning.

you have posted the same post under the 'archagas demanding money...' thread.

there is no need to post the same under this thread. you could either open a thread and post it. go back to the other thread, and refer to this post.

or simply not start this post.

please do not do such again.

thank you.
 
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rkpatham

Member
Dear Moderator Sir
I want to write few postings on Mahaperiyawal related true stories- hence started this thread. I will do this under this thread. Dont want to mix Archagas posting and this story. Also please note that I have edited all those additional points which I have written in that posting and removed them when I pasted here

Regards
 
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kunjuppu

Well-known member
thank you rk. no sweat.

if you are copying verbatim from another web site, it is recommended that you give a brief summary, and then refer the url.

however, if it is your 100% composition, feel free.

thank you.
 
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rkpatham

Member
MahaperiyavaL's Magical Timepiece!
Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Dec 04, 2006

Kanchi Paramacharya was once camping with his entourage in a choultry at Pudukottai, Tamilnadu, on his way to Tirunelveli. After completing the Chandramouleesvara puja on the night he reached there, Swamiji was seated before retiring for the night.

He called Nagarajan, a youth who was assisting and told him, "Appa, Nagu! I need to get up at three-thirty early morning tomorrow for my snAna. You remember it!"

The youth Nagu with great reverence replied, "As you order, Periyavaa! As you told me now, at exactly three-thirty in the morning, I shall sing the namAvali hara hara sankara... jaya jaya sankara."

Swamiji smiled as he understood Nagu's words. He asked him, "Since it won't be proper to say 'I shall wake you up at three-thirty Periyavaa', you said you will sing hara hara sankara... jaya jaya sankara!"

Nagu grinned sheepishly. He did not know what to answer.

"Alright, do as you please!" Swamiji went to his room.

It was eleven in the night. The choultry was steeped in sleep. Swamiji had also retired. Nagu couldn't sleep. Worry caught hold of him. There was not a single wall clock or alarm timepiece in that choultry. What he had was a very old watch presented by his uncle on the occasion of his upanayanam. He was not used to wear it on the wrist as he was with the sage most of the time. The watch was taking refuge in his old trunk. He did not touch it after winding it up every day and setting the time.

The apprehension 'How could I wake up Periyavaa, if I wasn't awake at three-thirty?' took hold of him. Coming to a final decision, he went to the store room and retrieved his watch from his trunk. He came silently to the entrance of Swamiji's room and seated himself on the floor. He started chanting Vishnu Sahasranama silently, taking care that no sound escaped from him. Looking at his watch now and then, he was reciting the verses in repeated cycles.

When it was 3:30 exactly, Nagu got up, wiped his eyes, folded his hands, looked at Swamiji's room sang the hara hara sankara... jaya jaya sankara in a low voice. Within moments, the door opened. AcharyaL came out smiling, with the tejas of Lord Shiva himself and gave Nagu his suprapAda darshan. Only Nagu had the blessing to get this darshan on that day.

AcharyaL slowly walked up to the entrance of the choultry. Nagu rushed to make arrangements for the sage's bath. The choultry woke up gradually.

The next night, and the next, Nagu's pattern of staying awake, singing Vishnu Sahasra Namam and the hara hara sankara namavali continued.

On the fourth night when Nagu was doing his routine, tucking his watch at his waist, he fell asleep inadvertently. Suddenly he was awakened by a divine voice singing hara hara sankara... jaya jaya sankara. Jolted out of sleep, Nagu saw the smiling AcharyaL, his face replete with compassion.

Swamiji said with vAtsalya, "My child! It is exactly three-thirty now. Seems you slept because of tiresomeness. With a full day's service, it is natural you would have the strain." Smiling, Swamiji started walking slowly towards the entrance of the choultry. Nagu confirmed that the time was 3:30 from his watch at his waist.

He was wonderstruck and confused at the sage waking up at the right time. The divine voice singing the namavali echoed in his ears repeatedly. He hadn't heard such a song from the sage earlier.

It was eleven on the next night. Swamiji had retired. Nagu vowed to himself that he would stay awake at any cost the whole night. He had also brought water in a small brass pot, to wipe his eyes if he was overwhelmed by sleep.

The time was 2:30 in the night. Though he had managed until then, Nagu couldn't stay awake any further despite his best efforts, so he folded up sleeping on the floor.

The door opened. AcharyaL came out slowly. He saw the sleeping Nagu and the brass water pot on his side. He understood and laughed.

"hara hara sankara... jaya jaya sankara. Appa, Nagu wake up!" Swamiji called softly. Nagu got up, jolted to wakefulness and saw the smiling sage before him.

"Nagu, it is exactly three-thirty. Poor boy, you couldn't get up in time today also. Alright, arrange for my bath." Swamiji proceeded to the entrance as he did usually. Nagu wondered as he checked the time.

After the afternoon puja, Swamiji was seated alone. Nagu went and prostrated to him and stood nearby meekly without uttering a word.

Swamji began the conversation: "Appa Nagu, from your namaskaram it seems that you want to know something from me. What is it, ask me, don't feel shy."

Nagu hesitated and tried, "It is nothing, Periyavaa." Swamiji laughed. "I understand what your mind wants to ask me. When you couldn't stay awake with a watch on you, you are confused as to how Periyavaa could get up at the exact time, when he does not have any sort of timepiece! Right?"

Slightly emboldened, Nagu said, "Yes, Periyavaa. In spite of my best efforts, I somehow went sleeping at the time when I should have been awake. And you got up and awakened me at the exact time of three-thirty. I am ashamed Periyavaa. How does Periyavaa know the exact time..."

Swamiji interruped him and said, "You have the doubt that some karna yakshini tells me the time!" and laughed loudly.

"It was not that Periyavaa. Just a curiosity to know..." Nagu hesitated.

Swamiji continued: "No yakshini told the time in my ear. It was a bus that told me the time! The T.V.S. bus of Madurai T.V. Sundaram Iyengar's company. When I came out on the first morning after you awakened me with your namAvali, I noticed a bus pass by the choultry gate. On the next two mornings also a bus got past the choultry gate at three-thirty! On inquiry, I was told that it was the first bus of the T.V.S. company in the morning that arrives at Pudukottai from Madurai. There was not a second of difference in the exact time of three-thirty when the bus passed by the gate, day after day. People used to say that you can adjust your watch using the time of arrival of a T.V.S. bus at a particular place. I understood they were right! From the fourth morning, I got up as I heard the noise of the bus. There is no other secret in this, Nagu!" Swamiji laughed, absorbed in himself.

Nagu was just looking intently at the face of Swamiji, as he finished his reply.

Glossary
karna yakshini - god of the ears
snAna - bath
namaskaram - the action of prostrating
namAvali - a series of God names
suprapada darshan - having darshan of a sage when he gets up in the morning
tejas - divine splendour
upanayanam - the Hindu thread ceremony
vAtsalya - affection

I am not a author or translator for this posting. I have Copied this versions from another blog and the author is Saidevo

Disclaimer for this post

These English translations done by Saidevo of Paramacharya darshan and experiences of devotees from their original presentations in print and other media are posted here with the sole intention of carrying the divine message of Paramachaya to the members of this Forum, for a discussion among the members so as to understand and practice the directions contained in the message.

As I post this message , I have no commercial interests or financial considerations in spreading Paramacharya's message and darshan experiences, and have no claims of copyright for the translations.

I have duly quoted the source of these translations, and I hereby acknowledge the credits to the publications, authors, devotees and any other people concerned. Since Paramacharya is the real source, I understand that the original credit of these materials accrues to SriMatam, followed by the other people involved in spreading Paramacharya's message.

If anyone involved with these publications has any reservations on the implicit consents and permissions assumed in these translations, for the spiritual benefit of mankind, the same may be brought to the notice of This Forum Administrator, for necessary changes or removal of the material presented.

'saidevo', as translator of the material presented.
 

RVR

Well-known member
Thank you rkpatham. Please enlighten us with more such incidents involving Paramacharya.

All the best

எண்ணாயிரம் ஆண்டு யோகம் இருப்பினும் கண்ணார் அமுதனை கண்டறிவாரில்லை உள் நாடி ஒளி பெற உள்ளே நோக்கினார் கண்ணாடி போல கலந்து நின்றானே
 

SGanesan

Member
Excellent real life story

NI's reaction to Sri. Ganapadigal is wrong, but most of us behave that way to priests. We look down on the temple priests and vadyars thinking that they are only after money and do not deserve any support.
Even though they may have weakness like other humans, the priests, and Vadyars should be treated well.
Of course, we should treat every human nicely with respect.

Hara Hara Sankara!
 
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rkpatham

Member
"You Want to Know the Greatness of mantra siddhi?"

I am not a author or translator for this posting. I have Copied this versions from another blog and the author is Saidevo

Disclaimer for this post

These English translations done by Saidevo of Paramacharya darshan and experiences of devotees from their original presentations in print and other media are posted here with the sole intention of carrying the divine message of Paramachaya to the members of this Forum, for a discussion among the members so as to understand and practice the directions contained in the message.

As I post this message , I have no commercial interests or financial considerations in spreading Paramacharya's message and darshan experiences, and have no claims of copyright for the translations.

I have duly quoted the source of these translations, and I hereby acknowledge the credits to the publications, authors, devotees and any other people concerned. Since Paramacharya is the real source, I understand that the original credit of these materials accrues to SriMatam, followed by the other people involved in spreading Paramacharya's message.

If anyone involved with these publications has any reservations on the implicit consents and permissions assumed in these translations, for the spiritual benefit of mankind, the same may be brought to the notice of This Forum Administrator, for necessary changes or removal of the material presented.

'saidevo', as translator of the material presented.

Source: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan - Hindu Dharma Forums


"You Want to Know the Greatness of mantra siddhi?"

Author: Sri Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Oct 6, 2006

Once a brahmachary (bachelor) youth came to have darshan of Kanchi Mahaswami (HH Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati). He prostrated before the sage and got up.

Swamiji looked at him keenly and said, "Are you not Kulitalai Sankaran? You are fine?"

"With your blessings, yes, Periyavaa", said Sankaran.

"Alright, what is your age now?"

"Thirty, Periyavaa."

Periyavaa laughed: "So you have decided to lead your life as a brahmachari, without any idea of marriage."

"Yes, Periyavaa", said Sankaran.

"Alright, anything special about your coming here now?" Periyavaa laughed. "And you wouldn't come without a reason!"

"Yes, Periyavaa. I have come to get a doubt cleared."

"Is it so? Come on, tell me" said Periyavaa. "What is that big doubt you have?"

"It is a doubt about mantra japam, Periyavaa", replied Sankaran.

Periyavaa asked quickly: "If it is about mantra japam... Are you doing any mantra japam?"

"Yes, Periyavaa".

"Oho... You have had an upadesam?"

"Yes, Periyavaa".

"Whoever is that Guru?"

"Mysore Yajna Narayana Ganapadigal", said Sankaran.

"Good, very learned; whatever the mantra?"

Before Sankaran could open his mouth, Swamiji said, "Wait, wait. You should not tell me the mantra. That should remain with you as a secret. Just tell me which devata (God) it is about."

"Hanumat upAsanA paramAna mUla mantra, Periyavaa" said Sankaran.

"Alright. What is it that you want to get clarified in this mantra japam?"

"It is like this, Periyavaa. I am performing this mantra japam since my twenty-third year which was when I got the upadesam. I am doing it for the last seven years, still I don't know anything."

"What do you mean by saying 'I don't know anything'?", asked Swamiji with surprise.

"What I mean, Periyavaa, is that I am not able to find out if I have got the siddhi of that mantra" replied Sankaran, his voice echoing his sadness.

Swamiji said without hesitation: "What are you going to do by knowing it? Anyway, are you doing the japam for AtmArtam (to know the self) or kAmyArtam (for a specific purpose)?"

Sankaran said: "I am doing it only for AtmArtam, Periyavaa. Still, I am at a loss to understand if I have got the mantra siddhi and the grace of the devata. I pray to you to kindly tell me about my progress". As Sankaran said this with all humility, tears started rolling down his eyes.

"Only the person who does the japam can understand if he has got the mantra siddhi, by personal experience. There will be a time when the person will experience it, Sankara," said Swamiji with vAtsalyam (affection).

Sankaran wasn't satisfied. "No, Periyavaa. I haven't had any personal experience so far. And I don't understand anything about it, though I continue to do the japam, as advised by my Guru, for the last seven years. Sometimes my mind becomes very tired, Periyavaa. You should kindly inform me about any way that I can know it." As he spoke this, Sankaran joined his palms in reverence and prostrated before Swamiji.

Acharyal (Swamiji) was quiet for sometime. He understood Sankaran's confusion. He decided to make the disciple understand what he wanted to know. He asked Sankaran to squat on the floor near him and began talking:

"Many years back, in Sringeri Sri Sarada Peetam, a mahaan named Nrusimha Bharati Swamiji was the peetathipathi (pontiff). One day, a sishya (student) of the matam (hermitage) belonging to that region came to have a darshan of the Swamiji. He did not come for nothing. He bore the same question that you asked me now.

"After prostrating, he presented the guava fruits to Swamiji.

"'Come, you are fine? Tell me what you want', said Swami Nrusimha Bharati with utmost kindness. The sishya told him politely, 'Swami, I am doing japam of a mantra that was given to me by an upadesam. I am doing the japam for many years now. Still I am not able to know if I have got the mantra siddhi. How do I know it Swami?'

"Swamiji said at once, in a bid to persuade him, 'You continue to do the japam in an AtmArta way. That devata itself will bless you with the siddhi phala (fruits of the efforts) eventually.'

"The sishya was not satisfied with this reply from the Swamiji. He persisted, 'No, Swami. I need to know if I have got the siddhi of the mantra. You must tell me a way to know it, I pray to you.'

"Swamiji understood the sishya's mental state. He called him near and said enthusiasticaly, 'Don't worry, my child. There is a way!"

"'Is there a way, then kindly bless me with the knowledge, Swami!' The sishya was in a hurry of excitement.

"Nrusimha Bharati Swamiji said laughingly, 'Every day, before you start your japam, spread paddy grains on a wooden seat, and cover it with a vastram (cloth). Sit over the grains and do the japam. Continue in this fashion day after day. On that day when the paddy grains on the seat fry and blossom into flattened rice, you will understand that you have got the mantra siddhi you have been seeking to know. You understand this?'

"Even though the sishya understood it, he thought confusedly that if the Swamiji was telling him this way just to satisfy him or if this would really be possible. Suddenly he asked an unexpected question to the Swamiji.

"'Gurunathar should excuse me. I pray this to you with an intention to know. I should not be mistaken for testing a sage in the guru stAnam (the position of a guru). Spreading the paddy grains, covering them with a cloth... and they will fry...'

"Before he could finish it, Swamiji laughed and said, 'You want to know if I have had any such experience, right?' He asked for a wooden seat to be brought then and there and placed facing the direction of east. He asked for a lot of paddy grains to be spread over the seat. When this was done, Swamiji placed his vastram (cloth) over the grains, seated himself in padmaasana and closed his eyes. By this time a large crowd had gathered in the place.

"Only a few seconds later, there was a continuous noise of the paddy grains getting fried and flattened. There was a little amount of smoke also. Swamiji got up and removed his vastram (cloth) that covered the grains. On the seat were dazzling white flowers of fried and flattened rice! The crowd was amazed.

"Nrusimha Bharati Swamiji looked at the sishya who asked the question. The sishya was standing sobbing. No one could speak anything more..."

As Kanchi Swamiji finished his narration of this episode, Sankaran was standing amazed, with tears in his eyes.

When he started to say something soon after, Swamiji interruped him and said, "What Sankara, are you going to ask me to demonstrate to you?" and laughed heartily.

Sankaran fell at Swamiji's feet, his eight limbs touching the floor, and said, "Enough Periyavaa! You have made me understand the mahima (greatness) of mantra siddhi. Kindly bless me, and permit me to return to my place."

I am not a author or translator for this posting. I have Copied this versions from another blog and the author is Saidevo

Disclaimer for this post

These English translations done by Saidevo of Paramacharya darshan and experiences of devotees from their original presentations in print and other media are posted here with the sole intention of carrying the divine message of Paramachaya to the members of this Forum, for a discussion among the members so as to understand and practice the directions contained in the message.

As I post this message , I have no commercial interests or financial considerations in spreading Paramacharya's message and darshan experiences, and have no claims of copyright for the translations.

I have duly quoted the source of these translations, and I hereby acknowledge the credits to the publications, authors, devotees and any other people concerned. Since Paramacharya is the real source, I understand that the original credit of these materials accrues to SriMatam, followed by the other people involved in spreading Paramacharya's message.

If anyone involved with these publications has any reservations on the implicit consents and permissions assumed in these translations, for the spiritual benefit of mankind, the same may be brought to the notice of This Forum Administrator, for necessary changes or removal of the material presented.

'saidevo', as translator of the material presented.
 
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rkpatham

Member
The Astrologer Who Astonished the Arcot Nawab!
Author: Sri P.N. Sankara Raman, Kambarasampettai
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Jul 24, 2006

Source: Kanchi Paramacharya: A Virtual Darshan - Hindu Dharma Forums

As told by the author:

It is several years since the incident I have narrated here happened. At that time, my father P.M. Nataraja Sarma was working as a Sanskrit teacher in the Bishop Heber College, Trichy. He had immense bhakti and respect in Kanchi Mahaswami Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati.

Nattham village is located on the north bank of Kaveri in Trichy district. Once Mahaswami was camping there. My father wanted to have darshan of the Sri Tripura Sundari-Sri Chandra Mouleeswararar puja Swamiji was performing there. With three days coming up as holidays, he reached Nattham village on Friday night. The puja was over. Since nobody knew my father there, he was not specifically welcomed. Wearing the vibuti prasadam given by Mahaswami on his front, he lay down to sleep in a corner of the pandal. The next two days passed by in the same manner. My father had an eyeful darshan of pujas and the arAdhanas.

The third day was the Vinayaka Chaturti festival day. After the special puja was over, my father went to get the prasadam from Swamiji and told him about going back home. Swamiji raised his head and said, "First take the kozhukkattai (modakam) (a favourite sweet dish of Sri Ganesha) kept in front of Pillaiyar, sit somewhere, eat it leisurely and then come back; we shall discuss about your returning home."

My father was amazed. He wanted to take leave but Swamiji asked him to first eat the kozhukkattai and come back! After he ate the prasadam, Swamiji called him. Periyavaa was very happy to learn that my father was the paternal grandson of Pudukkudi Srinivasa Josyar (astrologer). Swamiji reminisced about his grandfather and the incidents that happened at that time. My father was quite surprised!

Swamiji continued: "Your grandfather went to Malayala Desam and learnt Jyotisha systematically. He also took up the upasana of devatas (chanting mantras on demigods). It was an interesting incident how he became an astrologer of Arcot Nawab. At that time, Tiruchirapalli was under the rule of Arcot Nawab. The Nawab had many astrologers. One day the Nawab ordered all the astrologers residing in his region, including those with him to come to his kaccheri (sabha). Many new astrologers assembled. Your grandfather was one among those present.

"After the Nawab came to the kaccheri, the Diwan got up and told to the astrologers: 'Nawab is organizing a competition for you people. You should all write down in a piece of palm leaf the name of the gate on the fort wall through which Nawab will go out for hunting today, put it inside a (palm) cover and give it to us. All the palm covers will be sealed and preserved. When Nawab returns, the seals will be broken and the leaves will be read out. Nawab will honour the man who has given the correct answer.' So every astrologer noted down as east or south or west or north as the gate according to his computation and submitted his cover.

"Ultimately, on that day, the Nawab did not go out of any primary gate. He demolished the north wall of the west gate (the northern petrol bunk side of today's Main Guard Gate) and got out, travelled some distance towards Woraiyur on the west, then turned north and went up to the Kaveri bank. Then he turned south and moved through the demolished entrance in the North Andar Street (today's name is Puduppadi Lane) to the northern street of Rockfort. Then he turned east and came to the East Andar Street via the slanted rocky path. He came round the Rock from the right and reached his kaccheri which was at today's Town Hall through the Chinnakkadai Street. He did not go for hunting at all. After the Nawab returned, the seals were broken the palm leaves were read out. Only your grandfather's leaf had mentioned about the Nawab's activities accurately. The Nawab was amazed. The others in the kaccheri also were wonder-struck.

"Thereafter, the Nawab legally gifted your father 80 acres of land in Pudukkudi. In the street south of the Rockfort, there is a black temple on the western side. Near that temple is a tall house with an iron gate. Opposite that house is a small house with thinnai (sit out). The Nawab also gave these two houses. Your grandfather spent gradually all the 80 acres of land and the two houses near the Rockfort for dharmic activities."

With this reminiscence, Mahaswami blessed my father and bid him farewell. My father used to recite this incident to me often and feel proud about it.

I am not a author or translator for this posting. I have Copied this versions from another blog and the author is Saidevo

Disclaimer for this post

These English translations done by Saidevo of Paramacharya darshan and experiences of devotees from their original presentations in print and other media are posted here with the sole intention of carrying the divine message of Paramachaya to the members of this Forum, for a discussion among the members so as to understand and practice the directions contained in the message.

As I post this message , I have no commercial interests or financial considerations in spreading Paramacharya's message and darshan experiences, and have no claims of copyright for the translations.

I have duly quoted the source of these translations, and I hereby acknowledge the credits to the publications, authors, devotees and any other people concerned. Since Paramacharya is the real source, I understand that the original credit of these materials accrues to SriMatam, followed by the other people involved in spreading Paramacharya's message.

If anyone involved with these publications has any reservations on the implicit consents and permissions assumed in these translations, for the spiritual benefit of mankind, the same may be brought to the notice of This Forum Administrator, for necessary changes or removal of the material presented.

'saidevo', as translator of the material presented.
 
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rkpatham

Member
Maha PeriyavaaL's Story About the Value of annadhAnam
Author: Sri S. Ramani Anna (in Tamil)
Source: Sakthi Vikatan issue dated Jan 18, 2007

It was the time when Kanchi Maha SwamigaL was staying in Kalavai, many years before. It was a Sunday. A large crowd had gathered for darshan. One by one the devotees prostrated to the sage, received his blessings and moved away. A middle-aged couple prostrated to AcharyaL and stood up with folded palms. Keenly looking at them, SwamigaL said, "adede... who (is this)... Palur Gopalan! You came a year back. That time you spoke about some problems. Aren't you fine now?" and laughed.

That Palur Gopalan replied, "We are very fine Periyavaa. As directed by you, from the time we started feeding an atithi in the noon time everyday, only good things are happening, Periyavaa! Good harvest in (my) fields. The cows don't die as before! The money that dripped out of hands without control for expenses stays in hands now. All that is (due to) the greatness of the atithi bhojana you have asked us to do, by your anugraha. I am doing it daily. Nothing else (is the reason for the prosperity)." Tears filled his eyes as he spoke. His wife who was standing by his side was also in tears of joy.

AcharyaL said, "besh, besh. It is fine if you have understood that good things happen due to the act of atithi bhojana. Alright. Today both of you have come over here. There in Palur--who will do the atithi bhojana?" AcharyaL inquired worriedly.

Gopalan's wife replied promptly, "We have made alternative arrangements for that Periyavaa. atithi bhojana will not be missed even for a day."

Maha SwamigaL was very happy to hear it. "That's the way you should do it. You must have a resolution to feed the hungry. Doing atithi upacAra will give such an anugraha and safeguard the family! One day sAkSAt Parameshvara himself will come in the form of an atithi, will sit and eat, you know that?"

SwamigaL was talking with kutUhala. To listen to these anugraha words, the people standing in the queue surrounded him. He asked everyone to sit down on the floor. The crowd of devotees sat down.

A devotee asked SwamigaL: "Is there such greatness in doing atithi bhojana, Swamy?"

SwamigaL replied immediately. "Yes yes! It is a maha puNya dharma that could lead to mokSa! It has benefited a number of people! Only when you ask people like this Gopalan who have experienced it, they will tell you. Such a lofty dharma is this one!"

A devotee got up and prostrated to the sage. He said with humility, "My name is RamaSethu. Tiruvannamalai is my native place. We all pray together to AcharyaL. We desire to listen more elaborately about the greatness of this atithi bhojana in a way we can understand it. Periyavaa should take mercy on us!"

SwamigaL asked him to be seated. The devotee complied. Everyone was watching the walking God in silence. That parabrahmam started talking after sometime.

"My memory is that it was (the year) thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight or thirty-nine. SriSankara MaTham was doing its administration from KummoNam (Kumbakonam). I am going to tell (you about) an incident that happened at that time. If you listen to it devotedly, the greatness that lies in this (incident) can be understood! I shall tell you (now), listen (carefully)."

Swamigal stopped for a brief while and then continued: "There was a large house on the western bank of the Kummonam Maamaanga (Mahamaha) kulam. A grocer by name Kumaresan Chettiar was living in that house. I remember very well... The name of his dharma patni was Sivakami Achi. They belonged to Pallathur near Karaikudi. That couple had no children. They had brought a dependable boy from their native place and kept him with them for taking care of the grocery shop.

"At that time, the age of Kumaresan Chettiar was perhaps fifty or fifty-five. That Achi's (age was) perhaps within fifty. At all times only the nama smaraNa 'Shiva Shiva... Shiva Shiva' would be issuing out of the mouth of those two people. There was no other talk! Chettiar had in his house a single-bullock cart. Seating Achi in the cart, Chettiar himself would drive! Every day both them would arrive in their cart at the banks of Kaveri to take bath. Finishing (their) bath, they would come to our MaTham, prostrate, receive the blessings and go back. They were such an intimate couple. About them, I am going to tell (you now) something that will overshadow all these, look (listen)!"

He took to silence to keep them in suspense for sometime. The devotees were waiting with eager expectations. AcharyaL started speaking again: "You know what work that couple had been doing for many years? To serve and feed the atithis! Don't be surprised! They would entertain the Shiva disciples with food, every day at noon in the hall of their house, without shrinking a face, whatever the number of disciples they received as guest. They would seat the disciple in the thinnai at the entrance (of their house), wash his feet with water, wipe with a cloth, apply sandal paste and vermillion to them and lead them to the hall and seat them there.

"They did not have any cook in their house! That amma would cook with her own hands, whatever number be the guests of Shiva disciples! Another important thing--if you ask what it is--is that they would inquire from the Shiva disciples the details of the vegetables and dishes they like, go and get them, cook and serve them! Such an elevated mind! Do you think how SwamigaL knew about all these things... There is no sort of secrecy about it. (One Sri) Sundaram Iyer, who was close to the MaTham, was looking after the accounts of Kumaresan Chettiar. Only he would tell me these things when he was free. Understand now?"

AcharyaL stopped for sometime and relaxed. None of the seated moved an inch. They were all looking with fixed eyes at Maha SwamigaL. That walking God continued: "One day it was raining very well. (It was) noon time. Kumaresan Chettiar came to the entrance (of his house) and looked (here and there). No atithi was in sight! Holding an umbrella, he descended the steps of the Mahamaham pond and surveyed the scene. A Shiva disciple was seated after bath in a small building there, wearing vibhUti (all over his body). Chettiar prayed to him and brought him for dining (at his home). He seemed somewhat like a well-read Shiva disciple. He came singing Thevaaram. Washing his feet, Chettiar led him to his hall and seated him. The couple prostrated to the Shiva disciple. Chettiar's dharma patni went to the disciple and asked, 'What vegetables are the favourite of Swamy? Please tell me, so I can go to the shop, get and serve them after cooking.'

"It seemed that the Shiva disciple was in good hunger. He got up and went to the backyard and looked around. He saw sprouts of tender spinach there. He came inside, called the mother and said that he needed nothing except the tender spinach in koottu and their stems in sambar and that it would be sufficient for him. Chettiar went to pluck the spinach with a bamboo plate in his hand. The rain had stopped by then. Since it was becoming late, the Shiva disciple who was very hungry, decided to give a helping hand for plucking the spinach, so he asked for a bamboo plate and went to the backyard.

"Sivakami Achi was standing at the backyard entrance, watching the two men pluck the spinach. Both of them placed their plates inside the house after enough spinach was plucked. You know what that amma did immediately? She washed the two spinach plates separately. She lit two furnaces, kept the spinach in two separate pans on the furnaces and started cooking. The Shiva disciple who was looking at her act was surprised! He was confused: 'What is this? Both the plates has the same spinach sprouts. Without using a single vessel to cook them why this mother lights two furnaces and cooks them separately?'

"After sometime, that amma took the pans out of the furnaces, took the disciple's spinach only to the puja room and offered it as nivedana to Swami. The disciple who was watching it was pleased with immense pride! Know what he had thought? He decided, 'I am a big Shiva bhakta. Sannyasi. So this mother has understood that Lord Shiva would accept only the spinach I plucked and offers it as nivedana. Still I would ask the mother herself after my meal about the offering.'"

Stopping here briefly, SwamigaL watched the devotees sitting opposite him. Nobody lowered a jaw. He continued: "The Shiva disciple, who had finished his dining, asked that Achi about his doubt. You know what reply did the Achi give? (She said
smile.gif
'Ayya, when the spinach was plucked in the backyard, I was watching. My husband chanted the name 'Shiva Shiva...' and plucked the spinach. So it became ShivArpaNa then and there. There was no need to offer it again. You plucked (the spinach) without chanting any name. That is why, I lit a furnace, cooked your spinach separately and offered it to the Lord.' The disciple was embarrassed to hear this. The couple then prostrated to the disciple. He appreciated the Achi's bhakti and wisdom and started on his way. They were a couple who served annam in such a way..."

AcharyaL stopped. The crowd of devotees was sitting with amazement. Nobody lowered a jaw. SwamigaL continued: "You know what was the phala prApti that was given to them for such incessant atithi bhojana? Some years later, they celebrated their shashti apta pUrti (completion of 60 years of age). On a Maha Shivaratri day they sat for darshan of the four sessions of puja in the Kumbeswarar temple. When they returned home, that amma, who sat in the puja room complaining of exhaustion, stretched out and breathed her last. Shocked, the Chettiar called her by name and went inside, but he too fell down and breathed his last. That was all. On that very day of Maha Shivaratri both of them attained the Shiva sAyujya together. Did you see the position that couple attained because of their act of incessant atithi bhojana? Even now, on every Maha Shivaratri day, I would remember the couple. They are the couple who served food in such a lofty manner."

AcharyaL finished. Tears seeped from the eyes of those who heard the story. The walking God stood up and said, "Seems it is almost two o' clock. Everyone will be hungry. Go inside and dine well", and bade them farewell with compassion.

Glossary:
arpaNa - offering , delivering , consigning , entrusting
atithi - guest, a person entitled to hospitality (from a-tithi: one who has no fixed day for coming)
bhojana - feeding, enjoying, eating
kulam - pond, usually near or in the precincts of a temple
kutUhala - curiosity , interest in any extra-ordinary matter
mokSa - emancipation, liberation, deliverance, release from
sAkSAt - before one's eyes, in person, in bodily form, visibily
sAyujy - intimate union, communion with
smaraNa - the act of remembering or calling to mind, calling upon the name of a god, a rosary of beads held in hand, not worn as a necklace.
upacAra

I am not a author or translator for this posting. I have Copied this versions from another blog and the author is Saidevo

Disclaimer for this post

These English translations done by Saidevo of Paramacharya darshan and experiences of devotees from their original presentations in print and other media are posted here with the sole intention of carrying the divine message of Paramachaya to the members of this Forum, for a discussion among the members so as to understand and practice the directions contained in the message.

As I post this message , I have no commercial interests or financial considerations in spreading Paramacharya's message and darshan experiences, and have no claims of copyright for the translations.

I have duly quoted the source of these translations, and I hereby acknowledge the credits to the publications, authors, devotees and any other people concerned. Since Paramacharya is the real source, I understand that the original credit of these materials accrues to SriMatam, followed by the other people involved in spreading Paramacharya's message.

If anyone involved with these publications has any reservations on the implicit consents and permissions assumed in these translations, for the spiritual benefit of mankind, the same may be brought to the notice of This Forum Administrator, for necessary changes or removal of the material presented.

'saidevo', as translator of the material presented.
 
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DURGADASAN

Active member
All the incidents are so nice... Periava's "Theergadrushti" one is enough to consider him as Jagadguru. I love him. His simplicity always admire me. Please post more...

Pranams
 
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rkpatham

Member
good collection of explanations by Paramacharya of Kanchi



To the awe and amazement of his devotees, Paramacharya often discussed about down-to-earth laukika matters with keen interest, deep understanding and knowledge. In this lecture, he explains the origin and meaning of the names of common Indian dishes and their connection to spirituality. In these explanations, I have mostly used the translated words of what Paramacharya actually spoke, extracted from the Tamil publication titled Sollin Selvar (The Expert of Words), Sri Kanchi Munivar by Sri Ra. Ganapathy.

A South Indian Meal



A typical South Indian meal is served in three main courses: sambar sAdam, rasam sAdam and more (buttermilk) sAdam. Sambar is also known as kuzhambu in Tamil, a term that literally translates to 'get confused'. Paramacharya explains how these three courses are related to the three gunas of spirituality: the confusion of sambar is tamo guna, the clarified and rarified flow of rasam is rajo guna and the all-white buttermilk is satva guna. Our meal reminds us of our spiritual path from confused inaction to a clear flow of action and finally to the realized bliss of unity.

SAdam

Cooked rice, the main dish of a South Indian meal is called sAdam. That which has sat is sAdam, in the same way we call those who are full of sat, sadhus. We can give another explanation for the term: that which is born out of prasannam is prasAdam. What we offer to Swami (God) as nivedanam is given back to us as parasAdam. Since we should not add the root 'pra' to the rice we cook for ourselves, we call it sAdam.

Rasam



Rasam means juice, which is also the name of filtered ruchi. We say 'it was full of rasa' when a speech or song was tasteful. Vaishnavas, because of their Tamil abhimAnam, refer to rasam as saatthamudhu. It does not mean the amudhu (amrita) mixed with sAdam. It was actually saatramudhu (saaru or rasam + amudhu), which became saatthamudhu.

Vaishnavas also have a term thirukkann amudhu that refers to our pAyasam. What is that thirukkann? If rudrAksham means Rudra's eye, does 'thirukkann' mean Lakshmi's eye? Or does the term refer to some vastu (article) added to pAyasam? No such things. Thiru kannal amudhu has become thirukkann amudhu. Kannal means sugercane, the base crop of suger and jaggery used in pAyasam.

I was talking about rasam. If something is an extraction of juice, then would it not be clear, diluted and free of sediments? Such is the nature of our rasam, which is clear and dilute. The other one, served earlier to rasam in a meal, is the kuzhambu. Kuzhambu contains dissolved tamarind and cut vegetable pieces, so it looks unclear, its ingredients not easily seen.

Buttermilk as our dessert

A western meal normally ends with a dessert. In a South Indian meal, desserts such as pAyasam are served after the rasam sAdam. Any sweets that were served at the beginning are also taken at this time. After that we take buttermilk rice as our final course. Paramacharya explains that since sweets are harmful to teeth, our sour and salty buttermilk actually strengthens our teeth, and this has been observed and praised by an American dietician. We gargle warm salt water when we get toothache. The buttermilk is the reason for our having strong teeth until the end of our life, unlike the westerners who resort to dentures quite early in their life.

Vegetable curry



Although cut vegetable pieces are used in sambar, kootoo and pacchadi, in curry they are fried to such an extent that they become dark in color (the term curry also means blackness or darkness in Tamil). May be this is the origin of the name curry.

Uppuma (kitchadi)



If the term uppuma is derived from the fact that we add uppu or salt, then we also add salt to iddly, dosa and pongal! Actually, it is not uppuma but ubbuma! The rava used for this dish expands in size to the full vessel where heated up with water and salt. The action of rava getting expanded is the reason for the term ubbuma.

Iddly


The term iduthal (in Tamil) refers to keeping something set and untouched. We call the cremation ground idukaadu (in Tamil). There we keep the mrita sarira (mortal body) set on the burning pyre and then come away. The term iduthal also refers to refining gold with fire. The (Tamil) term idu marunthu has a similar connotation: a drug given once without any repetition of dosage. In the same way, we keep the iddly wet flour on the oven and do nothing to it until it is cooked by steam.

Idiyaappam


(This is rice noodles cooked in steam). Brahmins call it seva while others call it idiyaappam. But unlike an appam which is a cake, this dish is in strands. The term appam is derived from the Sanskrit ApUpam meaning cake. The flour of that cake is called ApUpayam. This word is the origin of the Tamil word appam.

Appalaam (papad)



The grammatical Tamil term is appalam. This dish is also made by kneading (urad dhal) flour, making globules out of it and then flattening them. So it is also a kind of appam. Because of its taste a 'la' is added as a particle of endearment!

laddu


ladanam (in Sanskrit) means to play, to throw. ladakam is the sports goods used to play with. Since the ball games are the most popular, ladakam came to mean a ball. The dish laddu is like a ball, and this term is a shortened form of laddukam, which derived from ladakam.

Laddu is also known as kunjaa laadu. This should actually be gunjaa laadu, because the Sanskrit term gunjA refers to the gunjA-berry, used as a measure of weight, specially for gold. Since a laddu is a packed ball of gunjA like berries cooked out of flour and sugar, it got this name.

The singer of mUka panca sati on Ambal Kamakshi describes her as Matangi and in that description praises her as 'gunjA bhUsha', that is, wearing chains and bangles made of gunjA-berries of gold.

Pori vilangaa laddu





Made of jaggery, rice flour and dried ginger without any ghee added to it, this laddu is as hard as a wood apple, though very tasty, and hence got its name from that fruit and the original pori (puffed rice) flour used to make it.



sojji


sUji is another name from the Turkish. It has become sojji now. It is mostly referred to these days as kesari. In Sanskrit, kesaram means mane, so kesari is a lion with kesaram. It was a practice to add the title 'kesari' to people who are on the top in any field. Thus we have Veera Kesari, Hari Kesari as titles of kings in Tamilnadu. The German Keisar, Roman Caesar and the Russian Czar -- all these titles came from only from this term kesari.

What is the color the lion? A sort of brownish red, right? A shade that is not orange nor red. That is the kesar varnam. The powder of that stone is called kesari powder, which became the name of the dish to which it is added for color.

vada


A Tamil pundit told me that the name vada(i) could have originated from the Sanskrit mAshApUpam, which is an appam made of mAsham or the urad dhal. He also said that in ancient Tamilnadu, vada and appam were prepared like chapati, baking the flour cake using dry heat.

Dadhya araadhana



Someone asked me about the meaning of this term. He was under the impression that dadhi was curd, so dadhiyaaradhana( i) was the curd rice offered to Perumal. Actually, the correct term is tadeeya AradhanA, meaning the samaaradhana( i) (grand dinner) hosted to the bhagavatas of Perumal. It got shortened in the habitual Vaishnava way.

V

The term dhanur mAsam automatically brings up thoughts of Andaal and her paavai (friends). In the 27th song (of Tiruppaavai) , she describes her wake up puja and nivedanam with milk and sweet pongal to Bhagavan, which culminates in her having a joint dinner with her friends. Vaishnavas celebrate that day as the festival koodaara valli, following the same sampradhAyam (tradition). The name of this festival is from the phrase koodaarai vellum seer Govinda, (Govinda who conquers those who don't reach Him) which begins the 27th song. It was this 'koodaarai vellum' that took on the vichitra vEsham (strange form) of 'koodaara valli'.

pAyasam


payas (in Sanskrit) means milk. So pAyasam literally means 'a delicacy made of milk'. This term does not refer to the rice and jaggery used to make pAyasam. They go with the term without saying. Actually pAyasam is to be made by boiling rice in milk (not water) and adding jaggery. These days we have dhal pAyasam, ravA pAyasam, sEmia pAyasam and so on, using other things in the place of rice.

Vaishanavas have a beautiful Tamil term akkaara adisil for pAyasam. The 'akkaar' in this term is a corruption of the Sanskrit sharkara. The English term 'sugar' is from the Arabian 'sukkar', which in turn is from this Sanskrit term. The same term also took the forms 'saccharine' and 'jaggery'. And the name of the dish jangiri is from the term jaggery.

kanji (porridge)



Before we become satiated with madhuram (sweetness), let us turn our attention to a food that is sour. As an alternative to sweetness, our Acharyal (Adi Sankara) has spoken about sourness in his Soundarya Lahiri.

Poets describe a bird called cakora pakshi that feeds on moon-beams. Sankara says in Soundarya Lahiri that the cakora pakshi were originally feeding on the kArunya lAvaNyAmruta (the nectar of compassion and beauty) flowing from Ambal's mukha chanran (moon like face). They got satiated with that nectar and were looking for somthing sour, and spotted the full moon, which being only a reflection, issued only sour beams!

Acharyal has used the term kAnjika diya, which gives an evidence of his origin in the Malayala Desam. He said that since the cakora pakshis were convinced that the nectar from the moon was only sour kanji, they chose to feed on it as an alternative.

The term kAnjika means relating to kanji, but the word kanji is not found in Sanskrit. It is a word current only in the Dakshinam (south). There too, kanji is special in Malayala Desam where even the rich lords used to drink kanji in the morning. This was the variety came to be known as the 'Mayalayam Kanji'.

Kanji is good for deham as well as chittam. And less expensive. You just add a handful of cooked rice rava (broken rice), add buttermilk, salt and dry ginger, which would be enough for four people.

The buttermilk added must be a bit more sour. The salt too must be a bit more in quantity. With the slight burning taste of dry ginger, the combination would be tasty and healthy.

tAmbUlam


It is customary to have tAmbUlam at the end of a South Indian dinner. In the North, tAambUlam is popularly known as paan, which is usually a wrap of betel nut and other allied items in a calcium-laced pair of betel leaves. In the South, tAmbUlam is usually an elaborate and leisurely after-dinner activity. People sit around a plate of tAmbUlam items, drop a few cut or sliced betel nut pieces in their month, take the betel leaves one by one leisurely, draw a daub of pasty calcium on their back and then stuff them in their month, chatting happily all the while.

The betel leaf is known by the name vetrilai in Tamil, literally an empty leaf. Paramacharya once asked the people sitting around him the reason for calling it an empty leaf. When none could give the answer, he said that the usually edible plants don't just stop with leaf; they proceed to blossom, and bear fruits or vegetables. Even in the case of spinach or lettuce, we have to cook them before we can take them. Only in the case of the betel leaf, we take it raw, and this plant just stops with its leaves, hence the name vetrilai or empty leaf.
 
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