How doing things from the heart works?

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

How many times in life have been behind things that bring in stress but nothing else? 

Ever thought of stopping for a while and going within and checked if things are done from the heart? 

Ever felt so aligned with the heart, feeling satisfaction briming, sometimes overflowing? 

And by the end of the day consciously took a deep breath of satisfaction and had a sound sleep? 

If the answers are no for the above questions, the one stop solution is, all these happen when one does things from the heart.

And while doing things from the heart, people may not be recognised instantly. Because most things related to the heart are invisible. 

Say, one person sows a seed and waters daily. Just how roots are invisible, few things in life are invisible as well, but it’s power is enormous. And when one realises the power of the invisible roots he or she becomes more powerful. Whatever he or she does, others can sense a classic touch in their works. Can feel their soothing vibes when around them. That is the power of doing things from the heart. It serves you and all.

Here, in Periya Puranam there is the history of this Nayanmar. He is the 58th Nayanmar. Poosalar. The number of Nayanmars so far is 63 and why am I speaking from the last? I follow no order in this series. Just going by the flow. 

This history is close to my heart. This was part of my Tamil syllabus in my school days. So only with his life history I got to know about Periya Puranam and Nayanmars. Before analysing the contemporary aspects from his life history, a brief note about him.

Poosalar was a Brahmin Priest and was living in Thirunindravur, a place near Chennai. In other terms Chennai ku miga arigil. He was so devoted to lord Shiva and wanted to construct a temple for him. But he was poor and had no money to build a massive temple for his god.

So, everyday after his usual work, he would sit in meditation and imagined how he could build a temple for his beloved god. He dwelled deep into detailing to every aspect. He was into such a detailing that he took the same time that it takes to build a temple in reality. If it takes a month for a sculptor to carve out an idol for a pillar he took that time to carve in his heart. He ensured all the detailing was captured to perfection. Despite no one knew, other than him he went on to be sincere in his thoughts. 

People around him thought he was someone who used to sit and sleep every day. But he had his own plans and kept going with his hearty construction. 

Meanwhile, the Pallava ruler, the king of the land, King Kadavarkon was constructing a Temple in the capital city Kanchipuram. The temple is still there. Kailasanadhar Temple. He wanted to construct the temple in a way where Lord Shiva can come and stay from Mount Kailash, his dwelling place and take rest here as this temple would be much more comfortable than Mt. Kailash. The king was indeed proud about his concept. The temple was coming up grandeur. For the temple sculptures even his wife, the queen of the throne posed as dancing dolls. Such were the efforts that went into the construction. 

The illustration of the Temple built in heart depicting Poosalar’s life history.

The king had set the date for the consecration. It was festive all over the capital city. Poojas, ygyanyas were happening day and night. Just the night before the consecration, Lord Shiva appeared in the King’s dream. He said he cannot be in his temple for the ceremony the next day as he had to attend Poosalar’s consecration ceremony. The lord also asked him to change the date of the ceremony. The king was taken aback and wanted to know who Poosalar was and about his marvel construction. He changed the dates and set out to Thirunindravur. He searched for the new temple all around but couldn’t find one. He asked for people if anyone knew Poosalar. Everyone said he was someone who sleeps at noon, sitting. He met him and asked about his temple and Poosalar was astound. 

Because only he knew that the temple was constructed in his heart. He revealed the truth to the Pallava king. The Pallava king was stunned by his devotion. The king felt small as he realised the greatness of his heart. He was moved and said to him that his temple is small compared to the temple that he had build in his heart. People later built a temple in Thirunindravur to make Poosalar’s visualization a reality.

Even today the presiding deity in Thirunindravur Shiva temple is known as Hrudhaishwarar, the one, who lives in the heart. 

Coming to the contemporary aspect of history, in this busy world, people hardly connect with themselves. Looking at Poosalar, the one who had smeared the sacred ash all over his body, have shown what single minded devotion is and what doing things from heart can bring in. He visualized and it came into existence. His desire, his devotion was so strong that the universe heard his inner voice, helped him to achieve the same.

Some people may not feel connected with any god as it’s their belief system. But they look up to the Universe. As one does things from the heart, the entire universe conspires to achieve it. When it is for the greater goodness and is positive its power is many folds and is good for the seeker and the entire mankind. 

Poosalar slept in peace, led a peaceful life. Though he had little, his heart was large. A normal middle class man has much more than him in terms of materialism. 

We have Money to buy things. 

We have food on the table, a roof over the top. We have some savings. 

We have a beautiful family.

But all it takes is a deeper connection with ourselves. 

It is not necessary that we have to sit in meditation all day and visualize building a temple. We can just be aware of the useless thoughts and tweak them as purposeful ones. 

Though not easy it is still possible with consistency. 

Once achieved, we can distinctly see the difference in the way of life, the Quality of thoughts and purity in deeds. We can sense satisfaction brimming. Ultimately, can sleep better.

Happy Sunday! 

With Love,

Rukmini 

References: 

  1. Suki Shivam About Poosalar Nayanar – https://youtu.be/HZpuqs5w9zY
  2. 63 Nayanmar Varalaru, Shri Swami Sivanandha, Rasipuram Deiviga Vazhkai Sanga Veliyeedu 
  3. Wikipedia
  4. The temple structure is a recreation from YouTube video tutorials of Balaj Arts.
  5. The Shiva Lingam’s base design is an inspiration from the Youtube channel drawing kolors.

Periya Puranam – A History And Beyond

“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” Michael Crichton

Hello All,

Hope you are doing good. With lock down there is no way out on weekends. Sometimes it’s difficult but at times it does constantly remind me that there is a way in. And to learn or know something new, Sky’s the limit.

Hailing from Srirangam called Bholoka Vaikundam, I know very little about Nayanmars. Do not ask me if I know more about Alwars. I do not know them as well. But I have seen Alwars frequently during Thiru Adhyayana Utsavam also known as Pagal Pathu, Ra Pathu Utsavam, here in Srirangam which is celebrated during Vaikunda Ekadashi every year. But I have never been to Arubathi Moovar Vizha which is the famous festival in Mylapore every year in the month of Panguni. 

So, I thought I should start knowing more about Nayanmars. Hence writing about Nayanmars. And when it is about Nayanmars, it’s nothing but Periya Puranam that strikes my mind. As I learn about them I would like to share with you for two reasons. If you know about Nayanmars please do comment on this blog and let me know if the story is right or wrong. Another is to send some spiritual vibes which are more positive and powerful. And I guess we need this with the situation we are in. 

So, now straight into the introduction for Periya Puranam. 

Periya Puranam is also called Thiruthondar Puranam. It is 12th in the list of 12 Thirumurais (Panniru Thirumuraigal). These are 12 sacred texts of Shaivites. And this Periya Puranam is a treasure, a collection of life histories of all the 63 Nayanmars. This was compiled by Sekkizhar in the era of Kolothunga Chola II, King Anabaya Chola. 

Sekkizhar was the prime minister and poet in his court. Kolothunga Chola II was dazzled by the work Seevaga Chindamani. The work is about how a prince Seevagan conquers his kingdom back, by marrying eight dames exhibiting his heroics and errotics, gains the support of those kingdoms and becomes powerful. Ultimately, he renounces his kingdom realising the impermanence of the world and becomes a hermit. 

But King Anabaya Chola was stuck with the materialistic part of the work beyond the balance. Which naturally happens for any human. All that matters is to be aware of it and strive for balance. But the Chola king has gone so deep to make him aware of his off balance state. To put him back on track, Sekkizhar, a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva wanted to pen about Nayanmars. 

Some Illustrations Depicting Periya Puranam and Sekkizhar. Illustrations inspired from the pins Enrich Minds and 123RF from Pinterest.

To lead a peaceful life being spiritual helps. Too much erotica could spoil and ruin one’s life to destruction. And if a King goes off balance, the entire kingdom is at stake. So Sekkizhar travelled places to collect evidence and life histories of all the 63 Nayanmars. 

Most of the Nayanmars were leading a normal middle class life yet were strong about their spiritual seeking and their devotion to Lord Shiva. Despite hurdles, they were strong willed to go with their conviction.

Periya Puranam is a treasure as it clearly reveals about the time, place, the way of living of all Nayanmars. And Nayanmars are not from the same caste or sex. They are from all castes, creed and sex. The book is an epitome of Inclusiveness.

The book says that devotion, god, the elements of nature is for all. All that it requires is a heart full of love, conviction and purpose.

Most quotes on History say that it is a waste of time to read them and urge people to create one rather. But in Reality, one can read, relate and be inspired from History. And Periya Puranam not only says about devotion to God. Along with that it clearly emphasizes on love, compassion, acceptance. These aspects of life seem trivial but are difficult to put in practice in real life. But Periya Puranam is all about these little things that matter in life through the life histories of Nayanmars. 

So Periya Puranam is much more than to be seen as history as such. 

Planning to read and write about Nayanmars in the coming weeks as well. Hope things go as planned. 

Happy Week ahead! 

With Love,

Rukmini

References

www.shaivam.org

Periya Puranam Aaivu Nool, Vijaya Publications

Kannadasan – A Phenom

Kannadasan is one of the greatest philosophers this world has seen. He is widely known as lyricist in Tamil Cinema world. But he has given wonderful spiritual works. His greatest spiritual work is ‘Arthamulla Hindu Madham‘ – ‘Meaningful Hinduism’ is the rough translation. The book is of 10 volumes. He has written many other books like Yesu Kaviyam, Thai Paavai, Manavasam etc on spiritual genre. Many of his songs quench the philosophical and spiritual thirst of his listeners.

This post is about 4 beautiful songs written by Kaviyarasar Kannadasan. All the four songs are from the same movie but are of 4 different situations within the same story line. There is this iconic movie Thiruvilaiyadal, released in the year 1965. The movie is a mythological one which is based on the divine games played by Lord Shiva, to show the devotion of his devotees to the world. Many yestergen people love this movie. Even today the movie is fresh. It does act as one the references to delve into the divine plays of Lord Shiva. It leaves the viewers with a curiosity to know more on Nayanmars and their devotion. 

In the year 1965, with no great advancements on technology, the art direction, the screenplay, the writing and the direction by AP Nagarajan was at its best. The movie depicts few chosen Divine plays of Lord Shiva. 

In olden days, musicians, poets were greatly revered. There were competitions with fellow musicians from other lands and as one loses himself, he and his country would become the slave of the musician. Such was the rule in the Sangam Era. The musician becomes the musical king and is gifted with loads of money, gold, rare gems and the win is documented as he conquers the kingdom with his music. The last part of the movie is all about this. 

Picture taken from Wikipedia Images

Long story short for people who haven’t seen the movie. And for Tamil speaking people it’s close to impossible to miss the movie. Still just about the plot before delving into the songs.

There was a composer Banapathrar in Pandiya Kingdom. A great devotee who sings on Lord Shiva. He is known for his humility and devotion. Another singer, his contemporary, Hemanatha Bhagavathar, he being a head strong personality, with his musical talent kept conquering many kingdoms. And he comes to Madurai Kingdom to showcase his talent and conquer. The king seeked the help of his court musicians but seeing Hemanatha Bhagavathar’s performance they backed out . King’s last resort was Banapathrar and he was ordered to compete against Hemanathan. 

Banapathrar surrendered to Lord Sundareshwara, the presiding deity of Marudai, to safeguard him and his Kingdom from becoming a slave. The Lord wanted to teach a lesson to the head strong singer. He disguised himself as a wood seller and rested himself on the front ward of Hemanathan’s bunglow that night and sang a divine song which made him realise that he is just a speck of dust in this universe. Hemanatha Bhagavathar was fumbled and learns that the wood seller is the student of Banapathrar and elopes out of the kingdom, stating that he is the slave of Banapathrar and Madurai Kingdom. 

In the movie, there are 4 songs involved for this particular part of the movie. 4 sung in different moods and by different persons as per the plot. But all the 4 songs were penned by Kaviyarasar Kannadasan. Just a brief analysis on each song, change of moods that he has brought up into each of them with so much grace.

First is Oru Naal Podhuma – The song sung by a stalwart, Sri. Bala Murali Krishna on vocals, in the plot by Hemanatha Bhagavathar. The song depicts all about Hemanathan. Each line of the song is of different raga. The raga comes in words as well as in the tune. Such a musical treat by KV Mahadevan. Few lines that says what kind of person he is. “Endhan Kalaiku Indha Thirunaadu Samam Aaguma“, means “Is this kingdom equal to my talent?” The song ends with “Isai Deivam Naan Ada“, “I am the music god” he proclaims. 

The song shows what kind of person he is! Head strong and full of pride. 

Next is “Isai Thamizh Nee Seidha Arum Saadhanai“. This song says the mindset of Banapathrar is sung exceptionally well by TL Mahalingam both on onscreen and the vocals. Banapathrar is summoned by the king to contest against Hemanatha Bhagavathar. He surrenders to lord and ask him to safeguard from the impending assault for the kingdom. He sings “Verukku Neer Ootri Vilaikindra Iraiva! Un ooruku pazhi nerdhal unakindri enakillai“. “The one who grows a plant by watering the roots, if your kingdom is defamed it isn’t my fault. It’s yours.” Banapathrar argues with the lord as he fears the kingdom becoming the salve for the talent of Hemanathan. Banapathrar faints after the song and lord Shiva descends as a wood seller. 

As a wood seller the lord sings a philosophical song stating that he sings to ease out the pressure of work. The song “Parthal Pasu Maram” sung by TM Soundarrajan is a perfect philosophical song which simply summaries human life, desires in a span, less than four minutes. Each line tells the smallness of life that we live on this earth in comparison to the everlasting space and time. He sings about firewood but it suits human life and body; ending Pallavi with “Theeyil Itta Kariyum Minjuma“, meaning if put in fire only ashes remain both firewood and human body. Each stanza speaks about uncertainty of life in style. He doesn’t sell much at dusk and reaches Hemanathan’s place to spend that night, starts to sing in mosquito bite. 

The final divine song, “Pattum Naanae, Bhavamum Naanae“, “I am the song. I am the Bhava”. He hits the bullseye in the next line. “Paadum unnai naan paada vaithenae“. “It’s I who make you sing” sings the lord who disguised himself as the firewood seller. A beautiful rendition by TM Soundarrajan on vocals. Hemanathan surrenders and flies Madurai. 

Look at the change of moods, various situations over the plot. Single man has written all of the songs bringing the essence of character, aesthetically. Headstrong, ticked. Surrender and devotion, take it. Philosophy of life, have it in 20 lines. The voice of the divine, yeah here it is! says Kannadasan. He is able to speak as all. Even God himself.

It is usual for a poet, writer to write about things that had affected him greatly. There would be at least traces of it in each of his work. But only few writers outgrow and come up with excellence in all genres without letting their wounds bleed over their words. 4 different songs with such diversity and eloquence is possible only for Kannadasan.

Each of the songs is a gem of its kind. One cannot write better than what he has given. Such a phenomenal piece of art! 

The post is to celebrate Kaviyarasar Kannadasan’s birthday. 

A poet, a writer dies but his creations are immortal. It not just stays but makes people transcend from mere existence to living life to the fullest.

Happy Birthday! 

With Love,

Rukmini

To hear all the four songs, click on the below links. 

Oru Naal Podhuma – https://youtu.be/E__5KziNzB0

Isai Thamizh Nee Seidha Arum Saadhanai – https://youtu.be/UyTfKgHjC0c

Paartha Pasu Maram – https://youtu.be/NWDum95MyuQ

Paatum Naanae – https://youtu.be/LxXS3JgpwMI