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Oh! Parama Sukham – Chapter 16

An elderly lady, my sambandi’ s mother holding my grand child, Divyaa, her 4th generation progeny, close to her chest.. See how proud, satisfied and happy she is !
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Appa gifted mundu (dhothi ) for all those participated in the kaikotti kali and Kochumadhavi was one among them. She took it to Venku ayyan, placed at his feet and prostrated. “For me, why ?” He wondered.” I called you ‘animal'”,  she apologized  “you should not curse me, you are a brahmanan “. Poor venku was overwhelmed by joy .

”  The nine kinds of soaked serials ceremoniously in the small earth pots by sumangalies, is to invoke the blessings of ashtadigpalakas, guardian angels of all the eight corners , for a healthy life and progeny” Appa continued, 
“the ‘suttipodu’ or moving the coloured globules of cooked rice and lamps  in circular motion around you both and throwing the rice balls in all direction was to guard you against evil spirits “
“Are there any evil spirits even now?” I asked, dad.
“I really do not know, but our elders believed so ” he replied, ” anyway why take risk ? There might be some envious eyes anywhere “
” What harm can they do us?”

“Look, imagine there is a father who has not succeeded in finding a boy for his daughter. He may feel,’how lucky Krishnaiyer is ?” Our elders were anxious that even such air of disappointed should not harm the couple.”  

”The stage is getting ready for ‘kanyadhanam'” Appa alerted, “you will be welcomed now to the dais, offered seat and Amman will wash your feet.” 
 ” I will not be comfortable if Amman, who is almost of your age, touches my feet and wash.” I told dad .

“You are Mahavishnu now  and behave like the God ” 

” Behave like God ? ” I questioned  him. ” I can behave like a  crooked politician or even act on a stage donning proper costume, as Sree Ram or Krishna but sitting before an elderly person, behave like a God ! No, Appa, impossible ”  I said . 

“OK . Athimbar, can’t you sit like an idol ? ” Lalitha unnecessarily intervened, ” It is my father who is treating you as a Mahavishnu swarropi and he will consider you as a god, His bhavm is important is “. 
 
” You are taking sensibly for the first time, sister in law” I applauded her,”When we do pooja for an idol, our bhavam is what counts and not that of the idol “

“Don’t sit like an idol ” Appa instructed, ” repeat the mantrams vaadyar recites and don’t isturb him with your queries. I will explain the meaning later “

The Sanskrit word ‘Vivaham’ for wedding , I presume, originates from “Vahathi’ or carrying. The husband and wife, apart from sharing happiness and unhappiness,  also carry the responsibility of maintenance of each other and together they carry the responsibility of maintaining the family and meet their obligations towards the society. It is not just an agreement to live together. The mantras,  apart from covering the spiritual aspect, aptly and adequately covers mundane affairs too.


” Have a good heart and win the heart of your husband, parents and relatives by your behaviour”.These were the words I uttered to the bride, when I faced her on the dais,for the first time. How meaningful ! And continued, ” be devoted to God and be kind to humans and animals, which save you ” 
While that simple minded Amman, a suddha brahmanan, vaideekan, sat before me on the floor, bent his head and washed my legs, I silently chanted, ‘Narayana, Narayana ‘ so that the service he did for me really reached the one to whom it really belongs to, though the maeaning of the mantra I recited as dictated was, ‘let this water washing my feet destroy the evil spirits which are against this union. Let me have Brahma tejaz “


Amman’s face was shining. He  would not have had any problem, as I faced for he, had the sankalpam  supported by the mantram that, ” I am offering this seat to him, who is Mahavishnu himself. See how important ‘bhavam’ is ! 


The ‘kanya’ was a given as ‘dhanam’. The rights of the asset received as  ‘dhanam’ was fully with the receiver. The wife, those days completely depended on her husband and his family. A cow given as a dhanam to a brahmanan had to be with him only; so was a gold coin . So was  the wife. If you ask, was a girl a cow or a coin, I have no answer. But ‘dhanam’ was a much respected word those days. Dhanam opened the gates for salvation.There were great kings in our mythology like Mahabali, Sibhi chakravarthy and Karna who sacrificed their very life to keep up their vows on dhanam . So, giving a kanya in dhanam was not throwing away an unwanted stuff. It was a pious act, propagated by sastras  and practiced by great souls.The best asset was selected for giving and worthy receiver was chosen. 
 Now, educated and employed girls could go back to their parents or live independently .They have the means for that, which their ancestors never had. The girl, given  to her husband, completely identified herself with the husband’s family. My atahi, came back to her mother’s place after 60 years of marriage from Tanjore. By then, her mother was not their, not even the house which she left . My wife’s athai who became a widow soon after her wedding at the age of ten or eleven became a part of her brothers’ family and took care of a huge family, performed the wedding of her younger siblings and looked after their wards and again another generation. I know an elderly woman, who came from kerala as a bride to Sreekakulam in Andhrapradesh, some seventy years ago couldn’t go back to her place even once. In the initial days, she had no money, then she was entangled with her family duties and by the time her children grew up and was prepared to spend any amount for her to visit her place there was none
in the place of her birth whom she could recognize or who would recognize her. I have some relatives who saved every pie to educate their children who are now ready to take them all over the world. But what is the use ? The elders are unfit to travel, either the urine flows nonstop or do not flow at all.
Placing darbai on  the bride’s head, seated on her father’s lap and a mini yoke over that was all symbolic again, then placing a gold coin, after prayer to Indra to remove diseases if any from her body,followed by a prayer again shows how much care was taken to ensure that the bride was made fit by all means to become a wife and shoulder higher responsibilities. All these may look absurd now but remember the husband was accepting a big responsibility and only divine grace, he had to depend upon. Now we have many things to support us, wealth, education,job, power,  and so on and above all the woman who comes along with us can look after herself and if necessary, look after us too.
When the bride reruns to the dais wearing the ‘koorapudavai’ after mangalasnanam( auspicious bath ) when again the ‘golden waters from which  the sun and fire appeared’ were invoked, I tried a darbai chord around her waist saying, ‘ this girl who has prayed for long life for her husband, healthy and intelligent children and a healthy body for herself to serve others, stands before Agni ready to follow me  in my religious pursuits. To sanctify the marriage with her, I am tying this sacred durbai around her waist “





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