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A 'mArgazhi' diary: some reflections-2

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Sun Dec 19 1999 - 23:00:19 PST

Dear friends on the bhakti-list,

Yesterday (19th december,1999, 'Vaikunta-ekAdasi')
adiyEn was also reminded of one other significant
thing by 'gOdA-pirAtti' and coincidentally it was
through the 'pAsuram' of the day, the 4th one
beginning with "aazhi-mazhaikannA onru nee kai-kara
vEl...".

In this verse the nubile "aayarpAdi" dames clearly
point out to us that one of the principal objects of
the 'mArgazhi-vratam' is that it is a Prayer for
plentiful rains... 

Indeed, adiyen feels that on the strength of this 4th
verse alone the"tiruppAvai" clearly deserves to be
celebrated as the unique "rain-song" of the
Srivaishnavas.

Every people of every culture in the world have a
celebrated "rain-song". The African Mumbasi have one;
the Maoris of New Zealand have one; the many native
Indian tribes of North AMerica like the Cherokees and
the Apaches had 'rain-songs'; the ancient Incas of
South America had 'rain-songs'.

Now, why should people have had 'rain-songs' over the
ages? Why indeed? Why should we pray for rains?

Man can desalinate the oceans for water. He can dig
into the bowels of the earth for it. He can explore
the planet Mars for water sources. He can try and
"rain-seed" the clouds in the skies all he wants...
Yet, from the beginnings of Time till today, Man
condition of abject dependence on the rain-gods
("parjanya") for rains and water... that condition of
dependance remains unchanged.

You can invent 'alternate' sources of energy like
solar power and wind power. You can invent 'alternate'
food-sources like synthetic protein and starch. But
the ingenuity of Man has still never (and probably
will never) be able to come up with anything remotely
resembling "alternate water". 

And there is nothing really too like "alternate rain"
in this world... or the other...So Man must pray and
will always have to pray ...for the rain.

Which is why the ancient Upanishads (PrasnOpanishad
2-10) in their wisdom long, long ago said:

"yadAtvam abivarshasi athemAh: prANatE prajAh:
 Anandarupas tishthavti kAmAyAnnAm bhavishyatiti "

"When thou pourest down, O Rain, then these creatures
breathe and live in a state of bliss. And their bliss
springs from the hope their homes will for all times
abound in food according to their heart's desire."

The Upanishads speak the truth always, don't they? 
Indeed, for if there is one single thing on earth that
keeps the world going, it is the hope that the future
of Mankind is safe because somehow there will be
plentiful food going around for all creatures on the
planet for all eternity! And how else but by plentiful
and timely rains can this great Hope of Mankind be
sustained?

Tiruvalluvar writing in his Kural went even further
than the Upanishads. He said that the rains are not
merely the source of food but of essential humanity
too. "No rains, no humanity", says Tiruvalluvar.

"dhAnam tavam-iranndUn thangA viyanUlagam vAnam
vazhangA thennin"... meaning,
"Neither charity nor tapas (self-discipline and
austerities) will abide on the wide earth if the
heavens should hold back their showers!".

In a land barren of rains where is the question of any
higher human pursuits like the quest for Truth, Beauty
and Transcendence? Where is the question of things
like "pAvai-nonbu" and "neerAtam" and "vratam"? Where
is place for human charity and goodwill in a land
where the earth is scorched and not a blade of grass
grows?

Our dear saintess AndAl-pirAtti, raises all these
wonderful but tacit questions through her 4th verse
which in adiyen's personal opinion is
"adhButham"...the most marvellous "pasuram" of all. It
not only dazzles in the literary sense but also makes
one sit up and think about even modern day
environmental concerns!

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran


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