Tiruppavail of Saint Andaal – Pasuram 6

Long time, year after year, I resolve to translate one Song ( Paasuram ) a day from the Thiruppaavai, written by Saint Andaal ( the only female Viashnava Saint among the 12 Alwars ) . This year, after missing first 5 days I made an effort finally.

Find it below.

A humble offering at the feet of Saint Andaal .

புள்ளும் சிலம்பினகாண் புள்ளரையன் கோயிலில்
வெள்ளை விளிசங்கின் பேரரவம் கேட்டிலயோ
பிள்ளாய் எழுந்திராய் பேய்முலை நஞ்சுண்டு
கள்ளச் சகடம் கலக்கழியக் காலோச்சி
வெள்ளத் தரவில் துயிலமர்ந்த வித்தினை
உள்ளத்துக் கொண்டு முனிவர்களும் யோகிகளும்
மெள்ள எழுந்(து) அரியென்ற பேரரவம்
உள்ளம் புகுந்து குளிர்ந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

puLLum silambina kaaN
puLLaraiyan kOyilil
veLLai viLisangin pEraravam kEttilaiyO
piLLaay ezhundhiraay

pEy mulai nancundu
kaLLac cakatam kalakkazhiyak kaalOcci
veLLaththaravil thuyilamarndha viththinai
uLLaththuk kondu munivargaLum yOgigaLum
meLLa ezhundhu
“ari” enRa pEraravam
uLLam pugundhu
kuLindhElOr embaavaay.

Look ! The temple birds preach sweet !
Hear ! White conch blows forth primeval !
From inner sanctum of Holy Bird’s Lord !
Don’t you hear any ? Up my child !

Lord who drank from poisoned breasts,
Lord who kicked off monstrous killer carts,
Lord who reposes on waters atop serpent,
Lord the cause seed of the Universe,
Lord the image Yogis, Munis keep in,

To Him, do chanting ‘Hari’ in happy chorus,
To Him, do in-turned our hearts cool, abide,
To Him, Prayer mine, awake my dears you too !

Tiruppavai – 6 by Saint Andal


#Onam, a festival in #Kerala to honour erstwhile King Bali and Vamana, the Avatar of #Lord #Vishnu ~ A Poetic Symbolism

Childhood in Kerala growing up was a pleasant time. There were no mad rushes, lot of rain and then, Onam. Onam celebrated on the Thiruvonam (Shravana Nakshatram) star day is a festival that is steeped in Hindu Puranic lore. The story involves the great King Bali (sometimes referred to as Maha-Bali ) and Vamana ( an Avatar or Incarnation of Lord Vishnu ).

The Onam / Vamana Jayanti Story, What it was and what it has become …

The story as in many Puranic lores is of the classic clash of a devout, efficient, benevolent King who is an Asura ( literally, one is not-a-Deva ). The benevolent Asura King usually causes flutter in the Deva Kingdom ( It’s king being Indra ) forcing the Gods to incarnate, kill the Asura and rescue the Devas. The story of Onam here follows this same storyline; only as in the other stories the symbolism is hidden, deep and often missed when one keeps celebrating festivals superficially. In the case of Onam there has been a systematic over-simplification of festival. I remember in my childhood we use to keep Trikkaakarayappan (Vamana) and Mahabali (sometimes called Maveli) as little clay pyramids in midst of the flower arrangements (Pookkalam ) we used to do in our home portico. Over the decades, this has all but disappeared from the celebrations. There is hardly any mention of Vamana anymore, no clay pyramids, many do not know Thrikkakarayappan. Some years back there was even a needless political controversy when Vamana Jayanti (Birthday celebration of Lord Vamana) wishes were given on even of Onam. The simple fact is, Vamana Jayanti is celebrated in our households and many Vaishnava homes just as it was earlier. It is just that with increasing commercialisation, securalisation of Onam and making it a harvest festival Vamana Jayanti seems to have been forgotten. This is unfortunate as Vamana Jayanti is Onam itself. There is no Onam without Vamana as much as there is no Onam without Mahabali.

In all this pell-mell of making it more secular, more harvest and less Hinduism, more commercial and less spiritual, more literal (Rich Noble Asuric King subdued by Brahmin Vamana and rudely pushed underground ) a narrative that suits the more left-leaning, liberal-leaning of the political spectrum has been woven into this mixture.

It is important that ancient India, it’s traditions cannot be painted with same brush. It is also important that one goes in to the original Sanskrit texts to reference stories of Mahabali and Vamana and read for oneself the narrative.

The Onam / Vamana Jayanti Spiritual Symbolism

Now is the time to resurrect the Vamana Jayanti Tradition, It’s symbolism, the true stature of MahaBali the Noble King. My poetic attempt at is below…

What is Onam without Thrikkakkarayappan , the Vamana ?

Symbolism Note : The reference to “Wild Sugarcane tasting ripe and sweet” is a reference to a Saivite Saint from Tamil Nadu, Pattinathaar or Pattinathu Swamigal. He was told by the Lord that he will attain Samadhi when the wild sugarcane tastes sweet. He used to go to the grove and taste sugarcane everyday to see if the day of his Moksha had come.


Guru Poornima

Guru Poornima is an auspicious day in the #Hindu calendar. This is a full moon day where one pay obscience to the guiding , pervading unmanifest force who by his kindness manifested to guide people in the ocean of Samsaaram ( cyclical the bodily identity existence and it’s travails )

My prostrations to my Guruji Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda unto whose lotus feet these lines i submit.

To he whose beam lights my path,
To he whose wisdom guides my plan,
To he whose prana moves this sod-born,
To he whose clay moulded this shroud,
To he whose kindness lifts this shroud,
To he this dissolves in, his kindness allowing,
To him this prostrates, ten thousand times

Happy Guru Poormina

General Others Poems

Free Will and Fate – the Macbeth conflict

Free will versus Fate has been always a subject of debate between the believers and non-believers. They seem to conflict as free will would mean that fate is null and void and vice versa. On the one hand God is pictured as the all powerful fate controller and orchestrator of all things and on the other he seems to have given the beings a free will and a necessity of make an effort, an independent effort, towards doing whats good. These seem to be at odds with each other as the ‘independent’ would mean that its a realm where God doesn’t have control over. The conflict for the believer whether to put in hard work and free will to attain anything in this world if everything is already preordained by God. So whats’ it ? Free will, effort, or its all just fate ? Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharishi on this topic when probed as said (words to this effect), “inquire as to to whom is the fate and who does the work. When this is inquired and found out then one will know that there is no fate and no willing“. Sad-Dharsanam of Sri. Kaavyakanta Ganapathi Muni alludes to this conflict of Fate versus Free will and asks us to enquire to whom this fate and free will is for . The answer would be the body which is different from the ‘self’. By this self-inquiry (Vichaara) on attains Self-realisation. Sad-Dharsanam is the Sanskrit translation of Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Tamil work UllathuNaarpathu. Sad Dharshanam by Sri. Kaavya Kanta Ganapati Muni
Sad Dharshanam by Sri. Kaavya Kanta Ganapati Muni
My lines …. #Poetry #Poem #WillPower #Fate #MacbethOf Free will or Fate : A conflict for the believer whether to put in hard work and free will to attain anything in this world if everything is already preordained  by God.
On Free Will or Fate : the spiritual conflict of the believer
General Others Poems

Of Happiness

Happiness, as in the context of a Hindu (a cultural, subcontinental cultural expression, rather than a narrow religious term) is something that was thought about my the brightest minds. 

Essays,Books, Schools, Religions have been built and nurtured on it’s name. Avatars created, Saints glorified. 

Yet, for an average human in present day world with it’s plentiful amenities and material distractions, happiness seems as elusive as before; sometimes more so. The Hindu always felt its something that comes from within, our very nature, its always there, not something that’s got from outside. Our cravings, which trouble our mind and if obtained satisfy it merely gives us temporary mental satisfaction which subsides the waves of restlessness in our Chitta (A yogic term, mind-space would be a close translation) which allows the pre-existing happiness to shine through. 

A Hindu, views all material happiness as temporary and bitter sweet since all material pursuits are attaching us with action and thoughts in the direction which opens us up for Karma.

So for a  Hindu, happiness is our native state which we have muddled with our desires and pursuits. 

of Happiness
Of Happiness
Of Happiness

Ode to The Monkey

India’s tryst with Yoga is deep rooted in symbolism and runs deep into its spiritual classics, poetry, theory, ritualistic practice, grand-mother story telling and visual art forms. The pervasive, repetitive and at times outwardly silly, unreal, mythical symbolism is probably one of the factors that has prevented the pillages, marauders and missionaries from destroying what India now offers to the world. They probably thought its too silly to be having anything worth annihilating.

Breath, the Monkey mind are common symbolisms in the epic written by sage Valmiki – The Ramayana. Hanuman,  the ‘monkey God’, is literally  Hanu (kill) and Man (mind).  He is the symbol of Yoga and since he is the son of Wind ( Vaayu-Putra) . He is also the symbolism for halting the mind, going beyond it by practicing breathing techniques and meditation which enables the union of estranged devotee ( the Sita, literally born of earth) and eternal soul (Rama, The God, literally one who charms) held apart in an Island by the forces of darkness ( habits of body, mind and the Ego )

All observing non-changing soul bound is thus dipped into the erroneous identity with the body by the chord of breath. This identity can be reclaimed by tracing its origins back via the breath, the Hanuman, and killing the mind enables the realization that one is nothing but the never changing, unborn, undying unary eternal soul.

This is union we seek. This is the union that brings peace.

To the Monkey Mind and quietening breath which kills it then , 



I am Shiva : A tribute to an unmoving belief

It has been a tough month for the home state of Kerala, which is grappling with the worst flood in a century.  It has been a testing time for humanitarian work, for beliefs, for politics … for everything.  Theories abound as to what caused the floods ranging from human disruption of natural ecosystem, divine wrath, Solar Minimum year, weak El-Nino/a effect, a mix of these and several other variations of these theories.

I distinctly remembered on morning in #Palakkad as it rained. This was before the floods. The first day of several that were to follow that first drenched and then drowned the state. As I drove from Coimbatore, a border city of Tamil Nadu to Palakkad, Kerala for work at about 8 am. As I drove past the western ghats I saw that the rain clouds hung so low and it was an eerie drive to say the least. Never in my memory have I seen clouds so low. I knew something was amiss. I called my wife and told her something was not right. Nothing however prepared me or my state for what was to come.

The rains started barely minutes after I drove into Palakkad. It had been drizzling the night before, but it just got heavier and heavier. Pounding continued for 2 days and flooded north Kerala first. Then it subsided for a day over Palakkad on Saturday leaving it in floods, something that the natives bragged they’d never seen.

But still nothing prepared Kerala for the destruction they were about to witness in the coming week. Rain pounded Kerala (especially middle Kerala) in coming days and left it battling floods, death and destruction.

In midst of the destruction speculation emerged that this maybe a divine wrath (specifically of Sabarimala deity Ayyapan) and other exhorting people to ‘pray for Kerala’. Needless to say, the non-believers camp rejected these with their own rebuttals and even some going to the extent to labelling prayer as useless. Their argument being that prayer at this hour of crisis is useless. What is required is working hands at ground zero.

Of course, these arguments represent a variant of the believer non-believer clash that has been there since time immemorial. At times of crisis like this where any argument of a merciful divine force does not appeal with rampant, apparently unreasonable destruction all-around, it is a time to reflect on ones belief.

These lines were penned before the flood, on the day of heavy rains in Palakkad that preceded the flood. Even just seeing the rains it was amply clear that something was grossly wrong. These rains were not normal. I knew it as going to be trouble. The lines was also partly meditative, as I prayed for rain to ease.

These lines are a tribute to the constant tug of war in nature and in spirit that tests our beliefs : whether it be theistic or atheistic. Man constantly asks God, but…

This was also penned before, this a tribute to the my home state.