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Mattu Pongal/Kanup Padi day of POngal Festival

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Jan 15 2002 - 19:27:05 PST


Dear BhakthAs :

If Bhogi PanDigai and SankarAnthi are for the celebration of
the ancient practise of saluting Indhran through BhOgi
PaNDikai (Indhra VizhA)  and Soorya NaarAyaNa through
Pongal festival ,the final day of this three day celebrations
is known as Mattu Pongal  to recognize the Maadus 
(domestic cattle) ,which play a key role in an agricultural 
society  . 

What is Indhran VizhA (BhOgi)? Who is Indhran? 
Before adiyEn gets into the main topic of Maattu Pongal 
and the significance in the Vedic parlance , let me comment 
briefly on Indhran Vizha and who that Indhran is !

Indhran is not the chieftain of DevAs , when we celebrate
BhOgi. He is the one defined as " idham karaNAth" .He is 
the Lord , who does the most . The root Indh means to be
powerful. He is the most powerful among the Powerful.
He is not that IndhrA , the head of DevAs , who challenged
the Lord during the Govardhana Giri incident, recognized 
the Lord as His Lord and performed Govindha PattAbhishEkam
to demonstrate his status as the servant of the Lord.

That the Supreme Lord Sriman NaarAyaNan is the Indhran is 
revealed by the Veda Manthram of Rg Vedam (X.89.10):

IndhrO dhiva Indhra IsE pruTivyA 
IndhrO apaam Indhra ith parvathAnAm
IndhrO vrughAmindhra inmEdhirANAmindhra:
KshEmE yOgE havya Indhra:

That the Lord has the ChEthanams and achEthanams as His 
sarIram is a cardinal doctrine of VisishtAdhvaitham .
This manthram salutes this feature of the Lord and 
goes beyond to say that He is the embodiment of Yogam, 
Yaj~nam and KshEmam. This all pervasive and omnipotent
Lord is the one referred to in Rg Vedam , whenever 
it refers to Indhran. That is the Lord , who is saluted 
on BhOgi day.

The Four Footed and the Two-Footed: Vedic Views
Coming to the main topic of this day's posting ,
Man and his universal kinship to the wide spread animal
kingdom as part of the world that he inhabits. His prayers
include them also as in the famous ShAnthi Paadam invoking 
dhvipadhE and ChathushpadhE . In Our Vedic traditon , 
prayers for the well being of one and all including 
the two-footed and the four footed (sam dhvipadhE 
sam chathushpadhE ).

Man is recognized as a component of the fraternity of 
all chEthanams including some domesticated creatures ,
which the Vedam  identifies as Graamya Pasu .These are 
five in number: (1) asva (horse) , (2) gO (Cow), 
(3)aja(goat) , (40 avi (ewe) and (5) manushya (man)!

Reference in Purusha Sooktham to GrAmya pasu
Purusha Sooktham , which appears in all the four Vedams,
describes the origin of Graamya Pasus form the Cosmic
sacrifice :

tasmAdh Yaj~nAth sarvahutha: sambhrutham prushadhAjyam
PasUn thAgumschakrE VaayavyAn AaraNyAn grAmyAsccha yE
--Rg Vedam: 10.90.8

(meaning ): From this Yaj~nam , curds and butter were 
produced. From the same Yaj~nam , three categories of 
animals were born: (1) VaayavyAn ( birds and flying animals 
of midspace), (2) grAmyAn ( cattle and domesticated 
animals) , (3) AaraNyAn ( wild animlas). 

The Tenth Manhtram of Purusha Sooktham goes on to explain
that the same Sarvahuth Yaj~nam arose animals having two rows 
of teeth: Horse, Cow and Goat :

TasmAdh asvA ajAyantha yE kE chObhayAdhatha:
gAvO ha jag~nirE tasmaath tasmAjjAthA ajAvaya:

Vedic Instructions to respect Domesticated Cattle
Vedam points out these animals belong to the human 
family and as such " deserve attention , kindness ,
care and protection ". 

Atharva Vedam in its Pasu-vardhana Sooktham elaborates on
animal husbandry.Atharva Vedam also presses the need our
(human) care and affection for the grAmyAs : 

yE grAmyA: pasavO visvaroopa virupA: santhO bahudhaikaroopA:
vAyushDAnagrE pra mumOkthu: dEva: prajApathi prajayA samrarANa:
ATarva Vedam: II.34.4.

Mattu Pongal Day is to show our recognition and affection 
to the Cattle and decorate them with garlands of netti ,
apply kumkumam on thier foreheads and give good food.
Bulls get their own special treatment in jallikkattu 
and other games. 

Kanu Pidi
On Mattu Pongal day, Kanu Pidi is a traditon that 
the ladies and young girls of the house follow.
They make cooked colored rice and place them on
the steps of PushkaraNi or upper floor and in open
spaces so that the birds can feed themselves .
The women also pray for the well being of brothers .
Even ThAyAr performs Kanu Pidi although She has 
no brothers to think about but as the Jagan MaathA
interested in every creation of Hers , She provides
food symbolically for " the VaayavAnAm "(Birds).
In Thirukkudanthai, Sri KomaLavalli ThAyAr 
in the company of Her friends , SithA PirAtti 
from Raamar Koil and Sri Vijayavalli ThAyAr from
ChakrapANi Temple place kanu Pidi on the steps of
PoRRAmarai KuLam ( the Temple Tank of Sri KomaLa valli).
As a PaDi ThANDA Pathni ( one who does not step out of
Her Husbnad's Koil Limits) , Sri KomaLa Valli stays
within the western Gopuram steps and has Her Archakar 
peform the Kanu Pidi.The Other Two ThAyArs step out 
and enjoy their archakars place the Kanu Pidi .
It is a beautiful sight to see all the thre ThAyArs 
from the three Temples together and bless us .  

The Vedic Views are Universal and the mattu Pongal and
Kanu Pidi fit into this overall order of things from
the Vedic stand point .

Vishu Thai Sukla Paksha DhvithIyai, SraVaNa Nakshathram
Oppiliappan Koil  VaradAchAri SadagOpan/SaThakOpan 

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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