Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tamarai - Part IV: Wealth or Poverty?

  • Tamarai’s family has become wealthy, but there is one big sorrow. She and her husband have had no children despite their many years of marriage.

  • Tamarai is a frequent visitor to the family goddess temple. She keeps asking herself why she has to suffer such a terrible misfortune.

  • Even the family’s fine farm animals have not borne offspring.

  • Feeling sad without children, Tamarai decides to visit her brothers. At least she can enjoy watching their children for a short time! She has a jewelery maker prepare some ornaments as gifts to take with her.

  • Tamarai sets out with a several servants. She is hoping to find the old palace where she was raised. She reasons that this should still be where her two brothers live.

  • When Tamarai reaches her old home she is beaten by the palace watchman and not allowed entry. Her reputation as a “barren woman” has preceded her. She discovers that she is greatly feared.

  • Tamarai is angered and hurt. In a vengeful mood, she decides to show her brothers her true power.

  • So Tamarai calls on Lord Shiva, asking him to send her a ball of fire.

  • Soon a fire ball descends from the heavens and lands in her right hand.

  • She throws the fireball at the family watchman.

  • But Tamarai doesn’t stop there. She also places a death spell over all of her brothers’ children.

  • The family is very distressed, believing that all their children have suddenly died.

  • However, the family’s temple priest soon works out a compromise. He tells the two brothers that they must apologize to their sister. They were wrong to order the watchman to beat her and prevent her entry.

  • Hearing the apology, Tamarai relents and lifts the spell from all six children.

  • Happy to reawaken, all six children quickly spring back to life.

  • Then Tamarai returns home with her servants. But she is afraid of what will happen when Kunnutaiya sees her many bruises. After all, he told her not to go in the first place.

  • Kunnutaiya finds Tamarai hiding under her sari and quickly realizes she has been beaten. He is angry, as expected.
[<==Back to Part 3]

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tamarai - Part III: The Great Harvest

  • Tamarai and Kunnutaiya soon begin to plough and to plant seeds on the modest piece of land they have been told they can use. They hope for a good crop.

  • Kunnutaiya goes to fetch seeds from his clansmen. But when Tamarai sees them she knows they have been cooked. It is a trick. She is afraid they will never sprout.

  • Kunnutaiya looks at the crop, which is growing well. But he feels there is something odd. He can not put his finger on the problem.

  • Tamarai has a strong intuition and she quickly discovers that their maize plants have jewels inside each pod. These are not just regular grains!

  • Soon some neighbours are called to help with the harvest. But they are asked to only cut the stalks. They are not to open the cobs. The couple will do that themselves.

  • Tamarai begins the task of opening up each pod. It is hard work. She calls on Lord Vishnu for help.

  • Soon Tamarai and Kunnutaiya’s baskets are full of lovely jewels.

  • But then Tamarai hears some noise outside. She discovers that many beggars have come to their door.

  • Kunnutaiya does not want to give their new wealth away, but Tamarai is very generous. She offers something to every single beggar! By the time she is done the family baskets are empty!

  • But Lord Vishnu has been watching! He has seen that Tamarai’s heart is full of goodness. So he secretly refills each and every basket!

  • The jewels are too numerous to count! The family is wealthy once again!

  • Tamarai wants to use their new wealth to build a small palace. Kunnutaiya agrees. Lord Vishnu comes to show them the spot where the old palace once stood. They will build there!

  • The new palace has been built. The couple now thank (and pay) the many workers who have done such a good job!

  • Payment is done “in kind.” Tamarai hands the lead worker a small bag of real pearls!

  • The nearby Chola king is invited to the ceremonies that celebrate the family’s palace completion. The Chola is pleased. He shows Tamarai and her husband new respect. Indeed he gives them a fine title: “Ruling Family of Ponnivala.”

  • Tamarai and Kunnutaiya are now well-respected. They have become King and Queen of beautiful Ponnivala!
[<==Back to Part 2]

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tamarai - Part II: Her Marriage and Early Years in Ponnivala

  • Tamarai has now grown into a lovely young woman. She is now sixteen years old, but she still loves to sit in her simple garden swing.

  • Kunnutaiya, the servant and shepherd boy who works for Tamarai’s family, has fallen in love with her.

  • Despite Tamarai’s brothers’ objections Lord Vishnu helps arrange a marriage between Tamarai and Kunnutaiya. She is led to the spot in the forest where the wedding will occur.

  • The wedding place is by an old temple. Lord Vishnu, in disguise, leads the way. No family members will be present.

  • Now Lord Vishnu takes on his normal appearance and marries the couple himself.

  • Vishnu magically produces two flower garlands and has the couple place them around each other’s necks, as is the wedding custom.

  • But then Tamarai’s family sends insulting wedding gifts: a dried up old cow and a blind goat, as well as other unwanted things.

  • Tamarai explains the meaning of these gifts to her new husband. They are symbols that say “don’t you two ever come back here.”

  • The two leave on a journey to find Kunnutaiya’s homeland, Ponnivala. They are happily married but sad that they have been treated like this by Tamarai’s family.

  • Tamarai and Kunnutaiya struggle, walking a very long distance in the sun and in the rain.

  • Eventually, after many days, the couple see two temples in the distance. This tells them that they have finally arrived in the land of Ponnivala.

  • Tamarai’s first desire is to clean the old family temple and get it back into a clean and pleasing condition.

  • Next Tamarai helps her husband build a small hut where they will live.

  • Tamarai helps sort the lumber and work out the details of their house design.

  • The women of the area bring Tamarai some of the necessary items for cooking. She thanks the two ladies for their kindness and starts to organize her new home.

  • Finally the house is ready. The couple have even purchased a cow!
[<==Back to Part 1]

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tamarai – Part I: A Beautiful Birth

  • Once, long ago, a beautiful woman spent her time praying near a lotus pond. She was hoping that the gods would grant her a child.

  • She was very determined. She prayed like this for months on end.

  • Shiva and Parvati looked down and saw the woman who was praying so hard!

  • These two gods decided to take the form of deer and then played together.

  • At the end of their play a magical drop of liquid fell onto a lotus bud that was growing in the pond below, near the praying woman.

  • It landed on this lotus flower with perfect accuracy.

  • Soon the flower opened and a beautiful baby could be seen lying inside.

  • The praying woman now opens her eyes. Upon seeing such a beautiful child she stretches out her arms and lifts it up!

  • After so many years of praying, the woman could not believe her good fortune!

  • The lovely girl that was found in the lotus is named Tamarai, the name of the flower her mother found her lying on.

  • Tamarai loves her swing which hangs in the family garden. She sits on it every day!

  • She spends every afternoon here, enjoying the open air and swing’s gentle movement.

  • Tamarai also loves birds, especially the doves that hang around her garden.

  • She feeds these birds every day, and listens to their soft cooing sounds.

  • And so, like this, Tamarai grows to become a beautiful young girl indeed!!