Click here and here to see the earlier articles in this series.
Women in the Epics
Even in the major epics, women have had a tough time. They were blamed as the cause of misery in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata. At the same time, if we observe closely, it was actually the women characters who move and take the story to its logical conclusion.1 In fact women’s roles and characters generally dwarf their male counterparts in both epics. I’d love to see a deeper study on this.
Though Panchali was the main cause for the enmity between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, she was the one who redeemed the Pandavas through her powerful argument when they lost everything in the gamble. It was the boons given by King Drudharashtra to Panchali that ultimately gave the Pandavas their freedom.2
If it were not for Kaikeyi and Sita (along with Surpanaka) the entire Ramayana would stand still. Both Panchali and Sita epitomise the two side of a woman’s extreme nature: anger (revenge?) and patience. Continue reading
This is the bhajan that I wrote for my mother for her bhajan mandali. I still remember that incident. I went to Tiruvanikka (or Tiruvanikkovil) beyond river Kaveri, before Sri Rangam to visit that temple. The main goddess there is Akilandeswari, the consort of Jambukeshwarar (Siva). After I returned from the temple, as my mother was singing one of her mandali bhajans, I got some inspiration and recalling the darshan of Akilandeswari, I immediately wrote this song.
This is traditionally known as ‘padadi-kesa varnanai’ (describing the beauty from toe to head). This kind of poem is not limited to religion and several secular romantic songs were written in the same style. My mother kept a copy of the song with the ragas composed by her teacher after all these years, and I am typing it from her note:
O Mother who is adorned with gold on the breast; I adore your holy name;
Save me, the one who took a vain birth by removing my karmas
What kinds of karmas I have done to take such a menial birth worse than a dog;
I don’t know the reason and only Brahma can be blamed (for creating me like this)
All the births that I have taken are more than enough; I don’t want any more births
O merciful Sankari, save me (preventing from future births). Continue reading
281 புரிஞ்சுப் போச்சு
வேறெந்த எண்ணம் வேண்டாம்
உன்னோடு வாழும் போது
வேறெந்த கவலை வேண்டாம்
உன்னோடு நடக்கும் போது
வேறெந்த துணையும் வேண்டாம்
உன்னையே நாடும் போது
உலகத்தில் எதுவும் வேண்டாம்
தன்நிலை மறந்து வந்து Continue reading