pachai maamalai pol mene

Friday, May 30, 2014

Rules of Domestic Observances During Sraadhdhams

Rules of Domestic Observances During Sraadhdhams

(compiled by Ananthanarayanan Vaidyanathan)
1.  Please keep self control and celibacy for at least three days per week in the fortnight in which the Sraadha Tithi falls.

2.  Kartha is the one who is to perform the Sraadham

3.  Bhoktha is the one on whom the Vishnu or Vishwedevas or Pitrus are invoked during the ceremony and  and are those who partake in the food offerings  receive Pratigraham.

4.  Most of the rules of discipline  are common for Kartha and Bhoktha

5. Either of the two should not stir out  wander on the streets on the day of Sraadham

6. Either of the two should not eat anything..the Bhoktha after the feast and the Kartha after taking thePitrusesham (partaking on what is left behind after feeding of the Bhokthas) on the day of the Sraaddham.

7. To expiate oneself of the sins already committed and make himself purified before the ceremony , a person may do Kooshmanda Homam before Sraadham.

8. Kooshmandam does not mean Ilavan or Pooshanikkai here, it is a Manthram

9. Kooshmanda homam can mitigate grave sins including the killing of a foetus by MTP

10. The Kartha should start performing Aupaasanam at least four days prior to Sraadham.

11. The Sraadha homam is performed in the Aupaasanaagni

12 If the Kartha is a Brahmachari, then it is Samidaadaanagni  that is to be used for oblations ....I used Samidaadanaagni as  I was a Brahmachari when my father passed away.

13 The Sraaddham comes in the fortnight Paksham and Thithi on the Paksham on which the parents of equivalent died.

14 If the Thithi falls on two consecutive days, Sraadha is to be performed  on the day when the Thithi is more spread in 

Aparaahnam..the Aparaahnam period during  the day is  after 18 Nazhika from Suryodhayam

15   If the Thithi covers two Aparahnams of consecutive days, the day where the Thithi is having more Naazhika should be the Sraadham day.

16. If the Thithi is spread equally on consecutive days, the Sradham should be performed on the first day.

17  If two Thithis come in one Souramaasam, the later Thithi is suitable for Sraadham

18  If Samkramanam falls on the second Thithi during the day, the Sradham should be performed in the earler thithi in the month.

19 The Aparahnam is the slice of time after 18 Nazhika 18*24 minutes from sunrise.

20 The Aparahnam will be at about 1-30 in the afternoon.

‎21  The time period after 15 Naazhika (6 hours from sunrise) is Kutupakaalam (from about  12-30 after Noon )

22. If there is dosham like Sankramasparsam for both the Thithis coming in the same month  Sraadham shoul be performed  in the next month.

23  If there is only a single Thithi in a month we need not consider the  Sankramanadosham

24  If by chance  the Thithi does not occur at all in the Souramaasam (Medam, Edavam etc, ) apply the Chaandramaanamaasam (Saka maasam) to find a Shudhdha thithi

25  If even that Thithi is not Shuddham perform the Sraadham next month

26 if you are not able to do sraadham on the tithi, you should do upavasam(starving) on that day and perform the sraadham next day

27 If you forget the Thithi perform the  Sraadham on Krishna Ashtami, Krishna  Ekadasi or on Amaavasya

28 If there is an Aasaucham or Pulai, or Seethakam perform  the Sraadham on the day of release of Aasaucham etc.

29 If we divide the day from sunrise to sunset into five equal parts..(about 84 minutes apiece) we would get the forllowing Kaalams in this order  

1. Praatah Kaalam   
2. Sankavakaalam   
3.  Maadhyaahnika kaalam         
4. Aparaahnam   
5 Saayaahnnam

‎30  If we divide the Maadhyaahnika kaalam into three slices of 28 minitutes apiece, we get                              
1. Gandharva kaalam 
2. Kuthapam 
3. Rouhinakaalam.

31  The presence of Douhitra.. the daughters son, Kuthapa kaalam and black ellu (gingely) are to be preferred.

31 Douhitra is the grandson born through daughter

32 It is beneficial to use black gingely in good quantity in Sraadham

33 The Darbha and black gingely have originated from Varahamoorthy  and hence  they will prevent Raakshasaas from causing damage to Sraadham

34 You should not invite  as Bhoktaas two uterine brothers for the same Sraadham

35  People who have no knowledge of Vedas,  or who are sick, should not be invited to be bokthaas
37 A person whose wife is in menstual  periods should not be a Bhoktha

38   A person without wife or son should not be a Bhoktha..this includes Brahmachaari

39  If a person has a son he may be invited as Bhoktha even if he has lost his wife.

40 A person who has been a Bhoktaa in another Sraadham just within three days prior to this Sraadham should not be invited.

41  The avaricious brahmin who canvasses himself to be recruited as a Bhokta should never be called.

42 A Yogi, Jnaani, a follower of Samaveda or the son of a daughter are the best and most preferred invitees.

43 If a person offers to be a Bhoktha in exchange to the promise that you will go as a Bhokta to his house for another Sraadham it is unwelcome.

44. A brahmin's wife is pregnant for more than three months then he is ineligible as a bhokta.

45 If a person has lost either of the parents and the Atta Sraadham of that parent is not over, that brhamin is not to be called as Bhokta.

46 A brahmin who had a haircut or shave in the morning of the Sradham is unwelcome as a Bhoktha.

47 A Brahmin with leprosy, deformed fingernails, decayed and discoloured teeth etc should not be called as a bhoktha.

48 The youngest among the Bhoktas should be invoked as Pithru.

49 The elder one should be invoked as Viswedeva.

50 The eldest one as Vishnu if there is a family practice of invoking Pratyaksha Vishnu also.

51 Those who are affluent should present the Bhoktha with white silk

52 one should present at least two or three sets of soman uthareeyam according to the family practice.

53 The Soman Uthareeyam or Veshti should be atleast of the same quality as we usually wear ourselves

 54 If one is very poor at least a Yajnopaveetham should be presented in the place of Veshti

55 The Kartha should start the Sraaddham with a new Poonool

56 The Manthras should be pronounced with the right Swarams

57 There should be no hurry while performing Sraadhdham

58 Generous Dakshnina should be given according to one’s own capacity

59  The most praiseworthy Dakshina is gold.

60 The brahmin in whom Vishnu, Viswedeva or Pithru is invoked should be treated at par with god.

61 One should never get angry during the sraadhdham

62 For one month prior to Sraadhdham one should not eat cooked food from hotels or from other houses

63  If this is not possible Paraannam food from other houses etc should not be taken for at least on Paksham (15 days) or in the least at least for three days prior to Sraadham

64  The kartha should not apply oil to hair while bath at least for one week prior to Sradhaam

65  The kartha should not have sexual activity, nor he should sleep in comfortable bed for the preceding period as above(item 64).

66. For Paraannam or food from the house of others, the house of Guru, maternal uncle, sister and father in law are not included (the brother is not mentioned here because brother is never an annyan..sister would include athai and daughter also)

67 The washing of the Brahmin’s feet should not be done wearing  Pavitram

68  When we have to remove Pavitram, it has to be kept on the side of the right ear (Pavitram is the round contraption made of Darbha grass and  worn on the ring finger on the right hand during important functions..the right ear of a brahmin is supposed to contain Ganga)

69 for Visvedeva a square Kolam by water should be made on the Paadaprakshaalana Paatram as well as the twin plantain leaves arranged for offer of food.

70  Similar water Kolam for Pithrus is triangular (this is the reason why elders say don’t draw kolam with water at home usually..this is reserved for death and Sradhdha ceremonies)

71 The Paadajalam of Visvedeva and Pithrus should not be mixed. Only Paadajalam of Visvedeva should be used for Prokshanam.

72 The entire sraaddha place should be cleaned with the dung of cow.

73  Only the ankle (kanungaal ) of the brahmins should be washed

74  The upper feet should not be washed

75  The ghee left after Homam should not be used for worshipping the feet of brahmin, to rinse the leaf for meals or added to the cooked rice offered as Havyam and Kavyam.

76 The cooking medium should be ghee of cow..oil should be avoided.

77 As we are using black gingely some say gingely oil is permissible for cooking

78  Those who use coconut prefer to use coconut oil also.

79  Some do not use coconut as per the practice in their family

80  Some do not use sesame for frying...again a family tradition.

81  In the matter of cooking for Sraaddham, the practice followed in the individual family should be strictly followed...sisters, please get notes from elder ladies in the family on the traditions followed in the Individual family. Some are of the view that the menu should be same as the one followed for the Sodhakakumbha Sraddham, immediately after Sapindikaranam.

82 The fresh clothes washed in the morning and dried alone should be worn while cooking.

83  Every material used for Sraddham  should be thoroughly washed, every utensil thoroughly cleaned before use for cooking for Pithrus

84 even salt and jaggery used should be formally sprinkled with water

85 the persons cooking should have the eligibility to chant panchaakshari (namassivaaya) and /or astaakshari ( om namo narayanaaya )

86 the persons cooking should be a relative and definitely not a servant

86  Ladies who are expecting the start of menstrual periods should not venture to cook for sraadham

87 Cooking should not be performed with wet clothes

88  If the wet clothes are spread and shaken in air seven times they are considered dry

89  If the persons engaged in cooking has to visit the toilet in between she can enter the kitchen only after a bath.

91  A pregnant or sick lady should not do the cooking for Sraadham

92 Lady should wear madisaar pudavai while cooking..

93 This is controversial..but I record.(just to be faithful to the traditions.. my personal views are of no consequence). a widow retaining her hair should not cook for sraadham

93  The ladies should not go on talking while preparing food for sraadham(the most difficult thing, is it not?)

94  The ladies should not cook after taking coffee etc., in exceptional cases they may take milk of the cow,

95 It is ideal to perform sraadham in one's own house.

96  If it is performed in the house of another person, rent for the space should be paid beforehand

97 Cook food  in new vessels or in vessels which are cleaned with extra care

98 No vessels containing even a little iron should ever be used

99 One should not ring a bell or sport Tilaks at the time of Sraadham

100 Some ladies and Karthas wear Vibhoothi Kumkumam etc. it can be allowed if it is the tradition in the family.

101 While cooking the ladies should not be either laughing or crying ( not let your daughter in laws cry..and vice versa)

102   Cooking should not be done with spread out hair

103   Cooked rice should be prepared after vadikkal and this should be the last preparation

104  When the rice is served in the plantain leaves it should emit steam (the rice and not the plantain leaf)

105 The materials suitable for Sraadham.. I give the tamil/malyalam names because english/botanical names are not relevant..any bilingual dictionary will give the names in english.... ulundu, karuppu ellu, gothambu, payaru, paavakkai(paarikkai), chakkai, mankai, mathalam pazham, kariveppilai, cherunaarangai, vazhappazham, vazhakkai..monthan kai is preferred, ilandhippazham, nellikkai, munthiringai, milaku, podalangai, katthirikkai or vazhuthinangai..naadan, then(honey), ney, vellam(chakkarai) , kadaluppu(sea salt), cows milk, karunai kizhangu, chembu or cheppankizhangu, jeerakam, elakkai, avaraikkai, pirandaikkai, pasumthayiru, some use vazhaithandu

106 Apart from these some use Thengai (coconut), Kadugu, Chakravallikizhangu, Katalai, Ilavan or Pooshanikkai, Vilaampazham, Milakai(capsicum) also according to family traditions.

107 Prohibited items.. karaamani, kollu, perunkaayam, muringakkai, inglish kathirikkai, thuvarapparippu, chorakkai.

108 Most important and preferred... then(honey), Chakkappazham, Ulundu, Naadan vazhuthina (the violet one)

109 For serving you can use silver thattu.. if your use Vazhai ilai in pair, both the top and tip should be there, no clipping, the narambu behind should not be torn away..

110 The leaf should be placed with its nuni(tip) on the left.

‎111. The planatain leaf with its entire contents after the brahmins have eaten should be placed in a pit on the ground and covered with mud and stones securely so that stray dogs do not eat the remnanants.

112   In some villages they reserve a deserted well for this purpose.

113   In town areas where there is no space to dig the leaves and remnants of meals are given to cows. But this is not proper. The Ucchishtam should never be given to cow. However if this is the only way left what else can be done?

114 The leaves should be removed before Swastivaachanam.(the conversation betwee the karta and the boktha as to whether the meals were good, whether everything was adequate and whether the Bhoktha is satisfied.)

115 After Pindapradhaanam the eating space should be cleaned.

116 Very difficult..the Kartha should not clean his teeth with brushes etc on the day of Sraadham as well as on the Orikkal day.

117 The Bhokthas or Sraaddha brahmanas should not touch one another.

118 They should not converse with another...they should eat in silence..mounena bhokthavyam

119. They should indicate whatever they require more through indications by fingers or gestures.

120  Ghee and Payasam which are served should be eaten in full.

121  The bhoktas should leave behind at least a little of all other things they eat.

122 They should eat without haste ensuring that they will not get hungry again in the night.

123  The eight Vasus, 11 Rudras, 12 Aadhityas and 12 Visvededevas are supposed to be present protecting the sraaddhas. For each Sraadham one should invoke two Visvedevas..they differ for various sradhas. for annual sraddha..Puroorava aardhrava, for Mahalaya, Dhuru, Ruchi. for Naandi, Satya Vasu, for Yagas Kratu, Daksha for Sapindeekaranam Kaala Kaamuka, for Sannyaasaanga sraadham Saadhu, Kuru

124  The vessel containing material for Arghyam should not be kept open.

125 The Arghya paatram should not be moved from its place.

126 If the Arghya material has been fully used, the material should be prepared again to the accompaniment of manthras.

127 If a little of the Arghyam material goes waste it can be condoned.

128 The deities of Sraadhdha are the Vasu,  the Rudra and the Aaditya.

129 Our forefathers have to remain in their company during their existence as pithrus, hence Vasu Rudra and Aditya also should be kept pleased.

130 The deceased father is in the realm of Vasu the grandfather in the realm of Rudra and the greatgrandfather in the realm of Aditya.. the lady counterparts also have the same status. The status may vary according to the fathers, or the lady's in law in the hierarchy pre-deceasing the juniors..
131  While doing invocation of pithru we have to keep the Yajnopaveetham in Idam position

132 For invoking devas it should be Valam

133 Darba should be offered to Devas straight.

134 Darba should be offerd to Pitrurs after folding together the tips.

135 Paruppu and ghee for meals should be kept in separate donnai and kept without touching the main leaf over another piece of leaf.

136 Abhisravanam should be chanted while the brahmins are eating so that the Rakshasaas are kept at bay..

137 The abishravana manthras are the part of Kathopanishad where Naachiketaopaakhyanam is described, Ramayanam where the origin of Ganga is described and other manthras from Vedas and Upanishats.

138 Some brahmins should be invited to perform this Abhisravanam

139 They should be offered Dakshina after the Sraadham

‎140 Ekodishtam the eleventh day death ceremony, Sapindikaranam the 12 th day ceremony, Maasikam, Anumaasikam, Naandi, Gayasraadham...for these Abhisravanam is not there.

141 If the remnants of the food from one Bhokta falls inadvertantly on the leaf of other the two should not touch the other leaves or continue the meal...they should not raise from the seat.

142 The leaves should be removed, the place cleaned with the dung of cow and new leaves should be placed and served.

143 The meals can continue after another Parishechanam

144 While brahmanas are eating the fire in the fireplace should not be put out.

145 If the agni is put out inadvertantly, the Kartha should fast for the day and do Sraadham again next day.

146 The Vaayasapindam..the morsel of rice for the crow should be protected at any cost till a crow comes and puts its beak on it.

147 If the people of the fourth caste see this Pindam or if some dogs or other animals eat it Sraadham should be done once again.( It is mentioned to record the tradition.. personal views may be different)

148 The repeated Sraddham  should be done the next day after fasting on the day 

149  All honours and respects should be offered to Visvedevas first.

150  Washing of hands, Aachamanam, raising after Sraddha meals etc should be done by the brahmin representing the Pithru first.

151 After Pindapradhaanam one can just put in mouth as prasdam a little rice left over.

152 That rice is Pithrusesham,,, nothing wrong in eating it,

153 Some people just pick the rice and smell it.

154 The pindams can be left either in Agni or water, especially in a river or pond

155 If the sraadham is on a Theerthakkarai, the pindams should be left in the Theertham itself.

156 For Sankalpa Sraadham, Homam, Aavaahanam, Arghyam Vikiraanna Pinadam etc are not there.

157 Till the Sraadham is concluded the house should not be decorated with Kolam (Rangoli)

158 Naamam(Thilakam..tiruchoornam, thirumannu), Rudhraksham etc should not be worn during Sraadham normally. Some family traditions permit wearing Viboothi Pundram Rudhraaksham etc.

159 The eater of the feast(Bhokta) can chew Vettilai Paakku.

160 Bhoktha should not do any other karma on that day.

161 The Bhoktaa will be eligible for the next Sandhyavandanam only if he chants at least eleven Gayatris and drinks holy water.

162 If the bhokta is having Aupasanam he should ask someone else to do it that evening.

163 On that night the Bhokta should not have stree sangamam, he should not give or take any other presents on that day.

164 He should not do Veda Adhyayanam on that day.

165 Kartha is prohibited from oil bath Streesangamam, haircut receiving Daskhina or Dhanam etc for the day of Sraaddham and next day also.(on the earlier day.. orikkal too)

166 On the Sraadha day non dwijas should not be given alms or food.

167 If the crow takes pindam facing east, you will have prosperity.

168 If the pindam is taken by crow facing south, diseases are predicted.

169 If taken facing west, travel is predicted.

170  If taken facing north, the prognosis is danger to life.

171. The indication of directon of biting the Pindam by the crow can be like a warning.

172  If the Bhokta vomits during sraadham , the ceremony is desecrated.

173 If the Pindam gets broken then also the Sraadham is lost.

174 The kartha can partake in Pithrusesham( the remaining food after feeding the brahmins in sraadham) even if it is Ekadasi.

175 Doing Sraaddham itself is equivalent to performing the Vrata on Ekadasi day.

176 The Jnaatis who are empowered to partake in Pithrusesham, should only smell the food on the Ekadasi day.. they need not eat Pithrusesham.

177 If the Jnaatis do it they will have the blessings of the pithrus and also the benefits of Ekadasi Vratam.

178 When people die they join the Divinity. So an eligible relative can partake in the Pitruseham of even youngsters who have predeceased him.

179  The ladies go to another gothram after marriage, but they are eligible to partake in the Pithrusesham of their father, mother and brother and such blood relations.

180 If a lady is a widow, she should not partake in pitrusesham as mentioned in 179.

181 Even there the pithrusesham of father-in-law, and maternal uncle are permitted to be taken.

182 After Sraadham many material become Sesham.. but paal, thayiru, ney, then(honey) do not become Sesham.

183 Vegetables also do not become sesham.

184 Even Jnaatis (after three generation) should not partake in the Sesham of the Edkodishta Sraadham ( 11th day death ceremony)

185 Jnaatis with only three days of Aasaucham should not usually partake in Pithrusesham (this will not include Maternal uncle, Athai, Athaan, Ammanji and their spouses, and Father-in-law and Mother-in-Law for males)

186 Pare Ahani tarpanam should be performed on the next day of the Sraadham.

187 There is no such Tarpanam when the Sraadham is for the mother while father is alive.

188 For Sapindeekaranam, Anumaasikam, Naandi, and Aattashraadhdham there is no Pare Ahani Tarpanam.

189   The Pare Ahani Tarpanam should be performed during the Braahma Muhurtam of the next day using the Darbhas and ellu( gingely) leftover after the Sraadham.

190 One should have a bath after performing pare ahani tarpanam..
191 Some are of the opinion that the Kartha should be awake all the night and in madi conditons so that he can perform the Tarpanam even before the bath as a continuation of the earlier day's rituals.

192. Some think that the Tarpanam at brahma muhurtam can be done after a bath.

193  If we have to perform a Tarpanam at Udayam or Saayamkaalam, the Sandhyavandanam should be performed first and then the Tarpanam.

194 If brothers have partitioned, then the sraaddhams should be done separately by each. If brothers are not partitioned and still are residing separately with different cooking, then again multiple Sraadhams should be performed.

195 Even if there are no assets to be partitioned if brothers are living together under the same roof partaking food in common then the sraaddham should be performed together.

196 It is not proper just to stay together on Sraadham day alone and let the Sraadham be performed by the elder alone.

197 The claim that the younger brothers can simply keep company when the eldest one performs sraadham would apply only when all the brothers are living together.

198.Some feel that if they cannot join with the elder brother, the sraadham performed by them will be ineffective... this is a debatable issue.

199 If father is gone and mother is surviving all the brothers can join together under the mother's roof and perform Sraadham together.

200 There will not be any displeasure for the Pithrus if the individual sons perform the sraadham separately.

‎201 The question raised by some that if a number of sons perform sraadham separately, where the Pithrus would go is not relevant. The Pithrus have attained Divinity and therefore they can be present in many places at the same time.

202 Even in sraadhams performed on the Thithi of ladies, the Homam and Aahuti is not given to the ladies.

203 The mothers(mother, grandmother, great-grandmother) can be invoked and can be offered Pindams.

204 The Homam if any is performed in the names of fathers(father, grandfather and great-grandfather).

205 For Amavasyai Tarpanam there is no invocation(varanam) only gingely and water are offered. Some perform Darsasraadham also.

206 The ellu should not be taken using the thumb and index finger. It is considered Raakshasam.

Sraadham during Mahaalaya paksham is considred great. The pithrus who deserve our affection but not our parents(Karunya pithrus) are offered Tarpanam in Mahalaya Paksham.

208 Such Karunya Pithrus are periyappa, chithappa, elder brother, younger brother, athai, maternal uncle, periyammai, chithammai, akka thangaikal, their children, deceased wife, father in law, mother in law, athimbyaar, maattuppon, brother in law, teacher, master and friend. See how great our traditions are sometimes..we are given opportunity even to offer tarpanam to our departed friends and loved relatives.

209 The sraadham is not only to propitiate our pithrus. Many other deities are also pleased.

210 Homam gives pleasure to Devas.

211 Feast to brahmns give pleasure to other inhabitants of Swargaloka.

212 Offering of pindam pleases the inhabitants of Yamalokam.

213 The annadaanam on that day gives pleasure to the inhabitants of the earth.

214 The leftovers give satisfaction to Pisaachas

215 The vikiraannam gives satisfaction to the inhabitants of Hell.

216 The Pindam offered to the crow pleases our Ajnaatha Pithrus or unknown relatives who have died.

217 Sraadham is a great sacrifice.

218 The Prasadam of Pithrudevas will give us wealth, further progenies in the clan, health, knowledge, knowledge of the earlier janmaas, liberation or mukthi etc.

219 If we do not perform sraadham the Pithrus may curse us.

220 The curse of the Pithrus is very dangerous

221 One has to be very careful not to incur the curse of the Pithrus as also parents and elders who are alive.

222 Panchagavyam is a mixture for self purification if there is any apprehension about the purity of the environs.

223 Panchagavyam is also an important ingredient in the Abhishekam for shiva with Sri Rudram..

224 The sacred nature of panhagavyam is given in this sloka..
yattwagasti gatham paapam dehe thishtathi maamake praasanam panchagavyasya dahtwagnirivendhanam....
यत् त्वगस्थिगतम् पापं देहे तिष्टति मामके 
प्राशनं पञ्चगव्यस्य दह्त्वग्निरिवेन्धनं--
whate​ver sins committed by me are holding fast even to my skin and bones, may be removed from me on drinking panchagavyam, as though the lighted fire is burning to ashes all the fuels.

225 The five primary ingredients of panchagavyam are 

the milk of the cow,
the curd from cow's milk, 
ghee from cow’s milk,
 the dung of the cow 
and the urine of the this, for dilution water routed through darbha can be added.
226. The mixture is called panchagavyam because it contains five ingredients derived from the cow.

214 Varuna resides in the urine of the cow.

227 Agni resides in the cowdung.

228 Vaayu resides in the curd

229 The moon resides in the milk

230 The Sun resides in the ghee.

Panchagavyam has to be taken on the day before Sraaddham.

231 Ladies who has the impurity after delivery should take Panchagavyam to become free of it.

232 Panchagavyam is a potent medicine.

233 If it is taken for 41 days continuously even a patient of epilepsy will be relieved of that ailment.

234 There are mantrams for adding each ingredient.

235 The proportion of the mixture is 

1.cow's urine 100 gms(one palam)
2. cowdung of the size of a medium thumb
3. 300gms of curd 
4. 700 gms of cow's milk 
5. 100gms of ghee 
and 100 gms of darbha jalam.

236 The milk will remove poverty, curd will provide us with children, cows urine will remove sins, cowdung will give us health, and ghee will give us moksham.

237 All the fourteen worlds are residing in the body of the cow.

238  Mother Laksmi is residing in the cow's  hind portion

239 It is a great fortune to have the darshan of a cow in the morning.

240 Gift of a cow is considered to bring the ultimate fortune to the donor.

Shubhamastu.. sree Krishno rakshathu. may Krishna bless us.

(based on Smrithi mukthaphala chandrika and local traditions recorded and oral)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Beauty of the Black

Beauty of  the Black

Dark clouds are murmuring in the twilight sky..
The forest landscape is rendered black with thick growth of rosewood trees.
The cowherds, and that dark boy too, are assembled in those thickets
Nanda tells Radhika.. “This timid boy is afraid of darkness and the night.
.Therefore you carry him home”
That nubile damsel carries that ever naughty urchin on her laps and moves towards home.
On the way, in the banks of Yamuna with water flowing dark and deep
In the bowers adorned with dark shooting branches, the boy grows as a youth
And Radha and Madhava play there the secret games of love
May that love protect us
(From Gita Govindam)
मेघैर्मेदुरमंबरं वनभुवः श्यामाः तमालद्रुमैः
नक्तं भीरुरयं तदेव तमिमं राधे गृहं प्रापय
इत्थं नन्दनिदेषतः स्थलितयोः प्रत्यग्रकुञ्जद्रुमं
राधामाधवयोः जयन्ति यमुनाकूले रहः केळयः
meghair medhuram ambaram vanabhuvaH shyaamaaH tamaaldrumaiH
naktam bheerurayam tadeva tamimam raadhe griham praapaya
ittham nand nidesathasthalithayoh pratyagrakunjadrumam
raadhamaadhavayoh jayanti yamunaakooley rahah kelayaH..

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How can He refuse to eat ..?

"Why don't you eat at least a little of this.. is it not sweet enough? Does it not appear tasty for you? Unni, You have to understand I am also just a small boy like you., and I cannot make the neipayasam the way my father makes"

The five year old was sitting in the Sanctum  where that naughty Child Unni was also standing,. unmoving, an idol as He is.. The idol had just been given an oil bath and has been rubbed with vaka(herbal shampoo) and adorned with fresh flowers. He was covered with sandal paste and wore a loincloth made of red silk, and carried a golden fllute in his hand.. 
The child had come to look after the comforts of Unni His father was running temperatue and there was no one else at home except this young boy to perform the worship.. His father had told him about the procedures to follow and the child, who really loved Unni, had followed the instructions to the dot..He was now sitting inside the closed doors of the Sanctum, with the lord and himself facing each other all alone.
It was time for the Lord to eat..

The Lord did not appear to listen.. 
But the child could understand the whims and fancies of another boy.. After all, he himself had sulked before his mother for long times before taking the food.. and he knew how much his mother persuaded him with love to eat each morsel of food.. So this Child also requires a lot of persuation..
"Unni, I know that the food may not be as tasty as that prepared by my father. So I have brought some pickles and condiments from home to add taste".
The child took out a coconut shell containing a few pieces of mango pickles, as if he was producing a trump card.. His mother had often done this trick with the little priest  himself..
But still the Lord did not move.. Time was slipping away and panic was gripping the child.. 
He thought,"In my childish ignorance, I have not done anything properly, and Unni is angry.. What can I do?"..Unni is so cute and nice.. But he had heard from his mother that Unni can be very naughty and could be very adamant too.. All thar the child could do was to cry his heart out ..
" Unni, if you do not eat, my father would scold me and punish me for not taking care of you properly.. True, I am very inexperienced and inadequate as I am a mere child.. But are you not a boy too? Okey, if you do not eat, I will just sit here before you crying all the time and will not move away or open the door, come whatever may."

Unni the child knew, how innocent, but how equally adamant a child of his own  age could be.. So he did not allow the impasse to continue.
 Unni opened up his palm and said, 
" You just give me the neipayasam, little by little in my hand.. I will eat only if you also eat along with me."
So the two children finished of the entire neipayasam, plantains, malar, , everything..
 Unni did not fail to taste with relish the pickled mangos.
Meals over, the young priest opened the doors of the sanctum and placed out the empty urulis and other vessels..
The Variar, Maraar and Nambissan, as also the Kizhshanthis were waiting outside in anxious expectation.. The food offered to God would go to feed them sumptuouly.. They were already in some irritation as the young thirumeni was taking too much time to offer naivedyam
They were simply shocked to see the vessels containing naivedyam completely empty, the food eaten and the vessels  polished clean and empty ..
"What have you done Kochuthirumeni, you were sitting there eating all the naivedyam?"
"Not exaclty.. I was feeding Unni.. He is really very naughty.. He ate the food only after a lot of petting and persuation and that too after I agreed that I would also share food with him"
Replied the young priest.
The employees of the temple could not believe it.. The god eating the offerings? 

The young thirumeni was lying..
So they made a beeline to the house of the Melsanthi, the father of the young priest. 
The child repeated what all he had already said.
The senior priest could not believe it..
 He had offered naivedyams to the idol innumerable times..
 But not even a small speck of food has even been eaten by the Lord. 
It was simply incredible.. 
The child was telling a lie.
"I will teach you a lesson.. Let us go before Unni himself.."
Ordered the senior priest.

"They were all in front of Unni. The father was presenting thrashes to the child at regular intervals and the child was crying..
"Show me how the idol ate the food,",, the senior priest was shoulting..
The boy just saw Unni standing there, silent and wearing an enigmatic smile.
"Tell my father what you did, Unni" begged the child..
But Unni was maintaining a measured silence.
However when the beating continued, Unni could not keep quiet any more.
Finally enough was enough.,Unni could not help shouting out,
" If you are punishing the boy for eating the naivedyam, you have to punish me first Thirumeni.. I have eaten the food and the child ate a little only becuase I refused to eat the food if he did not take some of it too."

"I ate it all because I could not disappoint my little friend."

That Unni is also called Guruvayurappan..

Sanctum.. the central room of a temple where the idol of the God is placee
neipayasam.. porridge made of rice, jaggery and ghee..
Melsanthi.. the chief priest
Kizhshantis.. the junior priests
Variar, Marar, Nambissan.. the hereditary temple employees.
Malar ..Puffed rice
Naivedyam Offering of food for God 

Uruli... the bell metal vessel where food is made
Thirumeni   the respectful reference to the priest or a nambuthiri brahmin
Kochu thirumeni... the young thirumeni,