Monthly Archives: February 2015

Son of the Nation

The ‘son’ is called ‘putra’ as he takes his parent across from hell called ‘put’ — put tarati putra. So every son is under an obligation to do this seva for his parents. But there are few sons who can do this service and also take across several things by their noble service.

One such PLATINUM* opportunity is now knocking at the door of Rahul Gandhi. Yesterday I learned that Rahul has gone outside India to reflect upon all the failures of his party. But he should not let this PLATINUM opportunity slip away to take across hell not only the democracy in India but also his poor mother who deserves a retired life with her grandchildren. Continue reading

Finding the (Un)Hidden Meaning

When I look back on my first Bhakti Theology Song, it doesn’t make any sense to me. The last two stanzas don’t have compatibility with the first two. Often, as I got the first word or sentence, I would continue to write as the words came to my mind.  The song ended asking for bhakti, though I began with Jnana. Of course I can say that the culmination of true Jnana is bhakti, and this is what I conveyed in this song too. But this is the way several later commentators and followers try to reconcile the contradictions which appear in the text or the teaching of their gurus and acharyas.

Out of my experience I can say that we should not try to dig out too much doctrine or theology from poems that, especially from bhakti and romantic poems. Exaggeration and too much of imagination is part of every poem. As Vairamutthu wrote (for a film) ‘Lie is the beauty to a poem’ as kajal (in Hindi; mai Tamil) gives beauty to the eyes (கண்ணுக்கு மையழகு; கவிதைக்குப் பொய்யழகு). Continue reading

Bhakti Theology Song A

Let me begin with my song on Murugan, though this is not the first poem that I wrote. I don’t remember the date exactly, but I wrote it when we were living at Trichy North Rock Fort street (circa 1972).

Our co-tenant was a staunch devotee of Murugan.  As a retired person, every day he would do puja for more than four hours from 7 to 11 am.  His wife and daughter would help in cleaning the old flowers, arranging new ones, preparing Prasad to offer etc. They kept a big framed picture of Murugan with his two consorts.

After his bath, the man would begin his puja by chanting many slokas, mantras and singing beautiful bhajans. His daughter would join in singing with him, before leaving for her work. We had one separate room on the first floor, where I did my studies, but we could hear their singing since the house was very small without any partition.

One day, when I was doing my regular college studies, I heard the singing and got some inspiration and the first sentence of this song came in my mind. As it continued to echo in my brain, I stopped my studies and immediately wrote it down on the backside of my paper:

ஞானம்தான் அருள்வாயே
ஞானப்பழமே முருகா
அஞ்ஞானத்தை  நீக்கிடுவாய்
ஆறுமுக வேள்முருகா

மெய்ஞானம் தான்வேண்டும்
மேதியினில் புகழ்வேண்டும்
அஞ்ஞானம் நீக்கியென்னை
ஆட்கொள்ள வரவேண்டும்

விஞ்ஞானப் பாதையிலே
உலகு விரைந்து சென்றாலும்
உன் ஞானப்பார்வையன்றி
ஒருபொருளும் விளங்காது

தத்துவமும் பேசவில்லை
தர்க்கம்செய்ய வரவில்லை
தத்தளிக்கும் மனதினிலே
பக்தி மட்டும் வேண்டிநின்றேன்

Give me wisdom
Muruga whose is ‘Jnanappazham’.1
Six-headed Muruga bearer of a spear.
Remove my ignorance

I want true wisdom
I want to become famous in the world
Come and rule over me
by removing my ignorance

However the world moves fast
In the path of science
Without your darshan of wisdom
Nothing makes sense

I am not talking any philosophy
I didn’t come to argue with you
I only request bhakti
In my turbulent heart.

1972, திருச்சி (Trichy)

 

Endnotes

1. Like all other deities, Murugan too has many names.  This name ‘Janappazham’ should not be translated as ‘wise fruit’.  When he failed to get the fruit from his parents in the competition with his elder brother Ganesha, he became upset and went to Palani to live there alone. Then Awaiyar, the famous Tamil poetess tried to pacify him by pointing out how he opened her eyes by asking the question ‘whether she needs hot or cold fruit’.

[This is another story. As Awaiyar become proud about her knowledge, in order to humble her, one day Murugan, in the form of a shepherd, sat on the branch of a fruit tree.  When Awai asked him to drop some fruits for her, he asked her whether she needs ‘hot or cold fruit’.  Not understanding this and also to tease him, she asked for hot fruit. When Murugan shook the branch, some ripe fruit fell on the ground. When Awai picked up some and blew the dust off of it, Murugan asked with a laugh ‘Are they too hot’?  Then Awai realized how ignorant she was before a shepherd.]

At that time Murugan revealed her who he was. So when Murugan become upset about not getting the fruit from his parents, she praised him by saying ‘being a Janappazham’ where is the need of an ordinary fruit for him.

 

Women vs. Men, Part 2: A Woman’s Seventh Sense

In my earlier article, I quoted the sloka yatra naari pujate; tatra ramate devata (where women are worshiped gods dwell there)1. I want to continue with some of my observations in my life rather than from scriptures.

 

Fighting for their place

It is a sad fact (and reality) that though women actually run the entire life of a family, they don’t receive proper recognition in our textual tradition. Though there are a few references, the way they are denigrated eclipse those few passages in which they are glorified.2 It is only in modern literature and particularly in visual media like cinema and TV serials that their worthiness and contribution is brought forth to some extent.

In India, their struggle isn’t easy. Even in the West where women enjoy more rights, they had to fight for them. Women got the right to vote in England only after a long and violent fight for it. In India women still fight a lot for their legitimate space in public life. For example although there are several village women presidents, their husbands run the office as their proxy. 2015 was the first year that separate women soldiers representing all three forces marched separately in the Republic Day Parade (and that because the theme was as set as ‘Nari Shakti’ (Women’s Power)). I still remember the various debates and discussion about including women in Indian army, particularly in placing them in combat on the front lines. Continue reading

Delhi Debacle

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This was demonstrated by the Delhi election results of 10-2-2015. If the AAP just won with a majority or with two-thirds as predicted by Prof. Yogendra Yadev, people like us would have never shared this kind of thought as we are that interested in politics. But the Delhi debacle forced me to share my view here.  This is what I wrote in my diary on 6-2-15:

Continue reading

Women vs. Men

Another rhetorical but useful debate on Vijay T.V. on 18-1-15 (9.00 to 11.00 pm, anchor Gopinath) on the same old topic of the relationship between husband and wife. This time the main theme was “Should a husband impose his own idealism at home without giving space for his wife?”

As expected, the wives shared their complaints about the husbands not understanding them and their needs. They complained about the dictatorial nature of husbands and how he would impose his idealism not only on the wife but also on the children.

The husbands shared why they wanted to mould and shape not only their wives but also the children to have a better life and make the best use of their time. They also shared their grievances about the lack of understanding and cooperation from their wives, not respecting them personally or professionally. Continue reading