You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1998

thiruk kannan kudi part 9 - thiru mangai thiru arangath thirup paNi - part 1

From: Sampath Rengarajan (srengara_at_ford.com)
Date: Sat May 30 1998 - 13:20:34 PDT

This   part  mark the  start of the mini  series  on  thirumangai's
efforts  in  helping  raise the funds for  building  the  Srirangam
temple walls. Since thirumangai is travelling to thiruk kaNNan kudi
and  the next  few  posts  are the thiruk kaNNan kudi related these
form part  of  the thala purAnam for thiruk kaNNan kudi and as well
the part of his parO upakAram in building Sri Renaganatha temple at
Srirangam.

kappalil  pAthi  pAkku

Once there was a vAnikak kappal  (trading ship or popularly  known
as sea liner)  that was coming from  SriLanka  carrying a cargo of
paaku  (betel  nuts)  pothi  (sacks).  i.e.  sacks of betel  nuts.
Thirumangai   and  his  parivAram  (his  shishyALs  or  disciples)
happened  to travel in this ship upto  nAgap  pattinam.  (probably
from  uRaiyur).  On seeing them and their  sAthvikam  the merchant
gave  room for them to  travel  even  though  that  was  mainly  a
commercial  liner.  Once the ship set off from the port,  (uRaiyur
was a port) One of  thirumangai's  shishyAn  or disciple  known as
thOlA  vazhakkan,  started to chew  betel  leaves  and betel  nuts
(chewing  "veRRilai  paakku" or thAmboolam a common  practice even
today in Tanjore district formerly known as chola kingdom).

thoLa  vazhakkan  took one betel nut and broke it into two  pieces
and chewed one half of it.  He smiled at the merchant  and said to
him  "Sir, I am  leaving  this one half of this  betel nut in your
ship.  Please  return  it to me  when we  reach  the  shore".  The
merchant laughed at him and replied, "why not ?  We will do return
it".  Then thOlA  vazhakkan  said,  "Sir, can you also  provide me
with a note ?".  The merchant looked at his youth and decided that
he is just making fun.  On a sea journey  such  entertainment  are
critical  to keep  the  enthusiasm  for  both  the  crew  and  the
passengers.  He enjoyed the company of these sAdhus and especially
the  company  of thOlA  vazhakkan.  So he said to him,  "You are a
funny  person as well, why not ?  I will provide you with a note".
He took a "oLai suvadi" or "kaimuRi" "Palm leaves" and wrote in it
and gave it to thOlA  vazhakkan.  tholA  vazhakkan  kept it safely
with him.

Once the ship docked,  tholA  vazhakkan  demanded  one half of the
betel nut cargo as his share.  The  merchant  and thOlA  vazhakkan
argued for a while until the port  authority  turned up for sungam
or tariff.  thOlA vazhakkan presented his case to port officer and
demanded for his share of the cargo.  When asked for proof,  thOlA
vazhakkan  presented  the "kaimuRi" or "chit" or note (in tamil it
is popularly known as (seettu ie seettu ezhuthi kodutthArgaL means
they made a written note) in which the merchant had written by his
own hand writing the following.

"En kappalil  umakku pAthip pAkku uNdu" ie., "You have half of the
pAkku or betel nut from my ship".  Since it is a written  note the
officer  ruled that thOlA  vazhakkan be given his due share and he
oversaw the unloading personally and escorted half of the share to
thOlA  vazhakkan.  Shell  shocked  by this the  merchant  was very
upset.  Then thOlA  vazhakkan it seems explained to his personally
that the  proceedings  of the sale of this  cargo  will  goto  the
construction expenses of the Alayath thirup paNi in Srirangam.  At
this moment due to divine grace the  merchant  realized  his fault
that a rich  person  like him must have  volunteered  in the first
place to such  kaimkaryam.  He considered  their  company with him
during the sea travel as a bAgyam.  Then it is  believed  that the
merchant  offerred them with more money for the construction  from
his own half share of the cargo as well.

Sri lOka nAyaki samEtha Sri lOka nAyakan thiru vadikaLE
saraNam
Sampath Rengarajan

note:  Whether  this is a true  story or not, the  message is such
that  only  a few  are  given  with  the  bAgyam  of  serving  Sri
Ranganathar.  Sri  Rangantaha  temple is a treasure  that does not
happen every century or every place.  There is an opportunity  for
north American Indians to take part in this kaimkaryam.