Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kunnutaiya Part VIII: Becoming a Father

  • Kunnutaiya’s wife Tamarai is now nine months pregnant. The day of her delivery is fast approaching.

  • When Tamarai’s labour pains begin, Kunnutaiya rushes to call Kuppi the midwife.

  • After some time Kunnutaiya hears the cry of a baby. The midwife Kuppi confirms that a child has been born.

  • But when Kunnutaiya enters the birthing room he is shocked. There is only a baby girl. The couple both thought Lord Shiva would gift them sons.

  • Nonetheless, the kind Kunnutaiya is content and shows plenty of love towards his new daughter.

  • But the jealous clansmen soon notice the absence of sons. They arrive, beat the couple up and send them into exile.  

  • Tamarai is taunted and insulted. These rude men wish to humiliate her.

  • As a result of the clansmen’s aggression the couple are forced to leave their beloved kingdom.

  • Reaching the forest, Kunnutaiya and his wife locate the palace of the hunter king. He offers them food, but the couple refuse to eat, angering their would-be host.

  • The hunter king sends the couple away, asking them to stay, instead, in a humble hut near his horse corral.

  • There is no money. Kunnutaiya’s wife Tamarai is forced to work as a day labourer in order to support the family.

  • Tamarai’s sore hands are ample evidence of the humiliation the couple feel.

  • Finally the goddess Celatta arrives. She says she has brought them two sons.

  • Celatta and her brother Vishnu bless the Ponnivala family, which has suddenly been enlarged.

  • The couple return to their old palace home but find it is now in terrible disrepair.
[<==Back to part 7]

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kunnutaiya Part VII: The Pilgrim

  • Kunnutaiya and Tamarai start their pilgrimage. Soon they find a she-boar sleeping on their path. Tamarai kicks it. In response, it vows to bear a son whose future destiny will be to kill the couple’s own twin boys-to-be!

  • After a time Kunnutaiya tires due to this very long journey. He feels he cannot go on.

  • So Lord Vishnu, who has been watching their progress, appears and offers to help the struggling couple.

  • Despite Vishnu’s help Kunnutaiya soon tires again. Tamarai ends up having to carry him on her back.

  • Finally Vishnu realizes Kunnutaiya cannot go on. So he gently takes the life-spirit from him.

  • Vishnu turns Kunnutaiya’s body to stone, as a way of preserving and protecting it.

  • But Vishnu also separates out Kunnutaiya’s life-spirit. He stores that in a special golden box for safe-keeping.

  • Now Kunnutaiya’s body has become a stone. He will safely wait here, at the base of the staircase to Kailasa, for Tamarai’s return.

  • Alone, Tamarai finally reaches Kailasa and enters Lord Shiva’s Council Chambers where she begs the Lord for the gift of children.

  • Having been promised her wish, Tamarai returns to where she left her husband. Now Vishnu gives Kunnutaiya back his life.

  • The couple make their way back to the land of Ponnivala as fast as their feet will carry them.

  • Now the couple thank the magical wasps that have protected their palace and ask them to fly back home.  

  • Once home, Tamarai gives out the magical water that Lord Shiva gave her in a golden pot, drop by drop. This water causes all the living creatures of Ponnivala to become fertile once more.

  • Kunnutaiya and Tamarai then supervise the repair and cleaning their old palace. Now they begin to enjoy their new life there.
[<==Back to part 6]

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kunnutaiya Part VI: Community Building

  • Kunnutaiya and his wife now turn to performing good deeds. They sponsor many building projects and ceremonies.

  • The biggest of their joint investments is the building of a huge festival chariot for the Ponnivala goddess Celatta.

  • Inside the cart is a lovely golden statue.

  • There are costumes, drama and many performances.

  • There is also plenty of music, helping to provide a happy atmosphere.

  • But now some disgruntled artisans try to trick the couple, telling them that the goddess herself is asking for a demonstration of their devotion.

  • These men say announce that the goddess wants the king and queen of Ponnivala to lay their own heads under the cart’s huge wheels.

  • But the two are saved! The cart briefly flies and the brave couple are saved. Many artisans are killed instead.

  • Next Kunnutaiya and his wife are asked to lay out a banquet for beggars.  

  • Kunnutaiya and Tamarai invite a large number of hungry people to their palace.

  • The beggars sit in long rows and are fed very well.

  • The couple’s last task is to light a lamp of hope on a very high pillar and ensure that it burns for many days.

  • Next Tamarai and Kunnutaiya pack some food and say goodbye to the residents of Ponnivala.

  • Lord Vishnu sends an army of wasps to watch over the now empty palace.

  • Kunnutaiya and Tamarai now set off on a twenty one year long pilgrimage to heaven. After all their good works, Tamarai is hoping to speak to Lord Shiva directly and ask that he gift them children.  

[<==Back to part 5]

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kunnutaiya Part V: A Challenging Marriage Partnership

  • Kunnutaiya rules as a good king. His workers respect him.  

  • Kunnutaiya gives orders gently. He also plays a key role in helping to resolve local disputes.

  • But Kunnutaiya’s wife, Tamarai, is deeply unhappy. There have been no children born in the family palace.

  • Tamarai also notes that the horses have no colts and the cat has no kittens. There is barrenness everywhere!

  • Tamarai wants to visit her brothers’ children. Kunnutaiya warns her not to go, fearing trouble. But Tamarai is determined, saying she has a right to visit her natal place.

  • In preparation, Tamarai has jewelry made for each of her brothers’ children. They will be a kind of substitute for the child she wishes she had herself.

  • When Tamarai later returns and tries to hide, Kunnutaiya quickly discovers that she has been beaten. He had warned her earlier that her brothers once told her never to go back to her birthplace, where they now live. He suspects their hand in this violence.

  • Kunnutaiya is angry, saying that Tamarai disobeyed him by going to her natal home. He orders her to leave the palace.

  • Tamarai now contemplates suicide. She orders the artisans to build a high pillar surrounded by sharp stakes.

  • When Tamarai climbs this tower Lord Vishnu appears and talks to her gently, persuading her to descend safely.

  • Vishnu also talks gently to Kunnutaiya, who is now feels guilty about ordering Tamarai to leave.

  • Vishnu brings the couple together in front of the Ganesh temple. He tells them they must work together.

  • Acting as an astrologer, Vishnu reads from a palmleaf book, listing the many good acts the couple must perform that will benefit others.

  • Vishnu tells them they are to dig wells along Ponnivala’s many roads to benefit thirsty travelers.

  • They must also to build shelters where workers can rest away from the hot sun.

  • Vishnu concludes by changing the couple’s fundamental perspective about what is important, moving them away from negatives to thinking very positive thoughts.

[<==Back to part 4]