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