Friday, August 01, 2014

Tamarai - Part V: From Sadness To Good Works

  • Tamarai is upset and depressed. Her brothers have not treated her well. When Kunnutaiya sees her bruises he is angry. He feels his in-laws have insulted him too. So he tells Tamarai to “get out of the house.”

  • Tamarai is so sad now that she wants to kill herself. She asks the artisans to build a tower for her directly in front of the family’s two temples. She has decided to climb it and jump off.

  • Tamarai slowly climbs the steps of the tower, one by one. She is determined to end her unhappy life.

  • At last she reaches the top. She is about to jump. But suddenly Lord Vishnu appears. He calls to her and talks her down to safety.

  • Vishnu asks her to come and stand near the Ganesh temple. He then talks to her gently.

  • Vishnu begins by reading to Tamarai from a palm leaf almanac. Its words predict that she will not bear children for seven generations. He then tells her he has a plan. First she is to return to the palace and rejoin her husband.  

  • Vishnu counsels Tamarai’s husband separately. Kunnutaiya is also troubled by the fight he has had with his wife.

  • When they are finally back together Vishnu appears and instructs both Tamarai and her husband. He has a long list of good deeds they must perform together. Only then will their wish for children come true.

  • Tamarai and her husband now begin to carry out many good deeds. First they build a well for thirsty travelers.

  • They also build a shelter where people can rest and converse in the shade, away from the hot sun.  

  • They construct places where animals can find water to drink.

  • They order storage pavilions raised on finely cut stone pillars designed to protect freshly cut grain and hay.

  • They provide shelters for the hard-working animals of Ponnivala too.

  • Tamarai and Kunnutaiya also have a fine temple cart built to honor their family goddess Celatta. They have a plan to pull around her temple at the time of her yearly festival.

  • But some deceitful locals tell the couple the goddess wants them to put their own heads under the cart’s front heels. Happily, when they do this the cart flies and their lives are saved!

  • After all this hard work, Vishnu next tells the couple to prepare a huge feast. They are to feed all the beggars in Ponnivala, and even beyond!

  • Tamarai herself is responsible for distributing the food to all of her hungry guests.

  • Finally, the couple set a perpetual oil lamp on the top of a high tower. It will light up the night the sky and symbolize their hope for children.

  • When all this is done Tamarai and her husband pack some cooked rice and prepare for a long journey. They are gong to make major pilgrimage, walking all the way to the gates of Lord Shiva’s famous Council chambers high in the Himalayas.

[<==Back to Part 4]

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