Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Princess Tangal Part I: Birth

  • Tangal was born a special little girl. Her mother had walked all the way to the very top of the Himalayas to find Lord Shiva’s famous Council Chamber. There she knelt before the great god and begged him to give her children. Shiva’s heart softened and he responded with kindness.

  • Lord Shiva looked around and thought of the seven lovely virgins (the Kannimar) whose spirits were active and close by. He called these seven girls and chose the youngest of all. She held a place of honor and occupied the center position in their line up before him.

  • This lovely young woman was transported into the center of the god’s Council Chambers by Lord Shiva’s great power. Once she was standing there Shiva checked her ancestry in his accountant’s book.   

  • Satisfied by what he saw, the great Lord raised his right hand and caused her spirit to center itself there. Then, with his special force, Shiva sent this young girl’s essence to Tamarai and made it to settle gently in her womb.

  • Tamarai was praying hard. At the important moment when the young girl’s spirit reached her she felt something warm enter her belly. That feeling was concentrated at a special spot, exactly the place where her belly button was located.

  • Nine months later Tamarai gave birth. There were actually three small lives in her womb, and the first two were twin boys. These boys came out first, with Lord Vishnu’s help. Nobody saw this happen, except the goddess Celatta who quickly grabbed those male children. She whisked them off to a hidden cave under her temple. Tamarai was wearing a blindfolded at the time and she knew nothing about this! But then came a third child, a little girl whose name would become Tangal, which means “the little sister.” Tangal was born in the normal way that all other children are born, and a local midwife was there to gently grab her.  

  • The new baby got a gentle set of pats from the midwife who knew all about how to handle new born babies. She had to make sure it was breathing properly.   

  • Then the midwife, whose name was Kuppi, dried the child and wrapped a clean cloth tightly around this tiny new born baby. These are things that anyone helping out with a wonan’s childbirth, there at the palace, would have done. What was unusual was that this queen was blindfolded!   

  • Now Kuppi removes this cloth from her eyes!

  • Tamarai looks down and is shocked. She was expecting two boys. But she can see that the child she is holding is a girl!

  • Tamarai looks up to the heavens and calls on Lord Vishnu: “Why has this fate been written on my forehead?” she asks. “Who will inherit our beautiful Ponnivala lands if there are no boys born to me who we can raise in our palace?” Tamarai believes this is outcome of her long pregnancy must be due to the will of the gods. Nonetheless, she feels very sad.

  • Gradually, however, Tamarai comes around to accepting fate. She loves the daughter she has. The little baby girl is kept in a traditional swing-cradle that hangs from the palace ceiling. She is treated well.

  • Soon the little girl begins to drink milk from a tiny tea pot that her mother holds for her. She is well-nourished and she is growing quickly.

  • After some time the Ponnivala king and queen arrange a temple ceremony for their dear little daughter. This is the day she will be given a name! The family priest is called and all the proper offerings are laid before the family goddess. Kunnutaiya and his wife Tamarai sit down in front of the sacred fire. Tamarai holds her young daughter tenderly in the crook of her arm. She is given a simple name, Tangal. It means “younger sister.” But where are her elder siblings. No one knows that any such children exist… except the goddess who is hiding them! Perhaps the king and queen made this decision on their daughter’s name as a result of wishful thinking? Or, perhaps they think of her as a little goddess, an earthly manifestation of the young Kannimar virgin Tamarai once met briefly during her moments in Lord Shiva’s Council Chambers? She was said to be the youngest of seven sisters.

  • Kunnutaiya and Tamarai love their little girl dearly. Soon they commission the local artisans to make her a special swinging cradle. This is a lovely little chariot for her to grow in. the cradle is decorated with jewels and the couple ask that it be painted a pretty golden color.

  • The king is enchanted by his little princess. He enjoys teaching her to walk.

  • And Tangal reciprocates his affection. She loves to run into the arms of her loving father.

  • It is a happy time in the palace. Little Tangal is growing up and s learning something every day. Each evening Kunnutaiya celebrates his good fortune by raising his daughter high in his arms. His eyes align directly with hers and he smiles broadly. He is proud of her!

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