Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nurani Sastha Preethi songs-an introduction


Nurani Sastha Preethi songs-an introduction

By
P.R.Ramachander

Nurani   is one of the very famous Agraharams of Palakkad   Town with large number of Brahmin houses. The people who originally inhabited this Agraharam believe  that they have migrated to this village from Thiruvannamali of Tamil Nadu. It seems after their ancestors decided to settle in that place and when they were clearing the bushes in the western side of the village , The labourers who were from the nearby Harijan colony  heard a sound akin to the ringing of bells as well as  very aromatic perfume like scent. The Brahmins of the village were informed about this .  Further digging was done very carefully and three cylindrical stones as well as a flat stone were recovered from there.  The astrologers who were summoned to   find out what they are told that the Three cylindrical shapes were  the idols of Dharma Sastha and his two consorts, Poorna and Pushkala and the flat stone  was  that  of Bhagawathy  (Some say Malikapurathamma). The idols of Sastha and that of Poorna  and Pushkala were   installed in the Nurani   agraharam and the  the idol of Bhagawathi was installed in the harijan colony of Kaikuthu Paramba. The people of the Agraharam    built a temple for Sastha   along with his consorts.  Later they came to know that there was a Namboodiri in that place before the agraharam was built    and he was a great devotee of Aryankavu Sastha  . He used to visit the Aryankavu every year but when he became old and was not able to visit Aryankavu,  the Lord appeared in his dream and ordered him to  install his statutes in front of his house and worship them.  People of Nurani believe that these were the idols worshipped by that Namboodiri. The people of the village believe that all this happened more than 200 years earlier.  At  That time Ayyappan as a God was not popular among Brahmins of Kerala .  But Sastha with his consorts was very popular   in Thirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. There   are even today , large number of  Sastha temples  in that district. It is in one such village called Kulathoor which is near  Kallidai Kurichi town that  the practice of Sastha Preethi   originated.  This village had a group of Brahmins called Karanthayar  Brahmins. They were essentially business people and used to carry out   trade in various parts of  Kerala. In due course they first settled in  Ernakulam and later  In Trichur. (they were called Pondy Brahmins) . These  settlers   were called the Pondi Samooham in kerala.  One  of the members  of this samooham was  a family  of Kambangudi. It seems this family helped Swami Ayyappan by providing him food when he came   to hunt for a tigress. At That time it is believed   that  The Lord promised them that   he would be  with them wherever they go and would assist them.(Kambangudikku  naan adimai-I am a slave to the Kambangudi family) .  It was possibly  that this family which started   the Sastha Preethi as   we know it now.  It is  essentially confined to the Brahmin community . (A similar function  carried out by the Non Brahmin community is called  Ayyappan Vilakku. ) After the worship and singing songs extolling Dharma Sastha , a wholesome food is provided    to all the Brahmins. It seems in Kualthoor  where it seems to have originated  , the eighteen agraharams used to join together and perform it in a grand way .  It is not clear   when Sastha Preethi started being celebrated in Kerala  agraharams. Possibly it started in a small way  in the Pondi Agraharams  in Ernakulam. But the Grand Sastha Preethi which is being celebrated  in Noorani  must have originated from here. I am telling this because  , Most of the Sastha preethi songs are addressed to the Then Kulathoor Ayyan though  the villagers claim that they are celebrating it for the past    300 years. It is not at all clear about the format of the Sastha Pattukkal at the earliest times.  One of the great  Musician of Nurani called  Parameswara Bhagawathar who was in the court of King Swathi Thirunal Maharaja , has played a key role in collecting these songs.
    Most   of these songs are addressed    to the Thenkulathoor ayyan.  Many people still believe that    the Kulathoor that they are referring in Kulathoor  puzha.  But this is not so , because  in Kualthoor puzha Sastha is consecrated    as a child and not as one who was married to Poorna and Pushkala.  It is also interesting to note that  there is only one idol of the boy Sastha  in Aryan Kavu (Namboodiri  is supposed to have consecrated it based on this temple) , But  In Kulathoor Sastha temple which is near  Kallidai Kurichi    the sastha is with  his queens Poorna and Pushkala.   Another important aspect about Nurani Sastha  songs is that   they extol also  the  son of Sastha called Chella Pillai, and many couriers of Sastha Like Vella Kal bhootham, SAngili Sastha,  Yakshi , Karuppan and so on.  Chella Pillai and these   Bhootha courtiers of Sastha are not very popular  in the Ayyappan cult  of Sabari Malai. It is interesting to note that   they are mentioned and are also popular   in the KUlathhor temple  of  Kallidai Kurichi. Another interesting aspect of these  songs is that  almost all of them are in Tamil. Since the Palakkad Tamil is  not pure but to a certain extent mixed with Malayalam , the words in the songs are  mostly spelled in Palakkad Tamil . Except for one or two dhyana slokas   in Sanskrit, few Vanchi Pattu(Boat songs)  in Malayalam  , all the text is in Tamil. I had struggled to translate these songs in to English because of this . I am sure large number of mistakes are still there . I request readers   to point out these mistakes to me as comments or  by mail to my e-mail ID. I am requesting this because this great treasure of songs about Sastha which we have inherited must be preserved for posterity in a language that  they can understand. 

14 comments:

  1. The sastha temple in Kallidaikurichhi is near the Mudaliappapuram agraharam and it is in the village of kallidaikurichi. the lord is known as poorna pushkala sametha kulathooril ayyan. even today the sastha preethi happens there in adi masam and this year it is on aug 9, 10 and 11. the kambangudi family also hails from kallidaikurichih and from thondivilagam agrahaarm. each year different agrahaarams have responsibility for conducting the sastha preethi. the karanthayaar paalaya barhmana samooham fols shifted to mattanchery and there in the month of tai the sasthapreethi is conducted. you are right air and the sastha preethi in kallidaikurichi is going on for 900 years. the rule is anybody who conducts sastha preethi anywhere has to send kannikai to the sastha in kallidai. all references are in varavu paatu and other songs are to the sastha in kallidai kulathooril ayyan. the sastha preethi their is a 3 days affair and please do attend the sastha preethi if possible. ten kulathooril ayyan sharanam..

    ReplyDelete
  2. sorry about the typos on the previous comment. i have seen Shri Sunil's book and there is one reference there about kulathupuzhai panchakam. if i am right there is no kulathupuzhai panchkam but only kulathoor panchagam and it is a reference to the lord in kallidaikurichi. btw i am Kallidaikurichi Ramesh Subramnanian and have been doing bhajans for 18 years now primarily sastha paatugal. i have performed the poorna pushkala klayanam at tondikulam for 3 years and have had the bhaagyam of singing the varavu paatu at kallidai sastha preethi for 5 years now. all his blessings..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for your informative article. parurvenky@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ramachander Sir, Will be grateful if you could let me know to find the schedule of next Kulathoor Ayyan Sasthapreethi. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa Annadhaana prabhuve saranam ayyappa

    ReplyDelete
  6. At Thane ayyan has blessed us..in Vartaknagar Sastri nagar abode..ayyane nin adimai ....saranam ayyappa

    ReplyDelete
  7. Swamy Saranam
    Kulathur Ayyan Thunai.

    My humble namaskarams to you for your elaborate and Commendable work . I , Hari Veeramani , hail from the Kambangudi family and my grand father Shri Hariharasubramanian Shastrigal was in Chelakkara ( your native place) and migrated back to Kallidaikruchi around 1915 and was a Vedanta Shironmani . His elder Brother Shri Sundaram lived in Chelakkara.
    My father Shri Veeramani & uncles are all Senior Guruswamys and live in Mumbai now.
    Although I have been attending Sastha Preethis from a young age of 8 years, I always had a desire translate the 'Dharma Sastha Varavu' songs sung during the Sastha Preetis. I had a Tamil book written by Shri Vishwanatha Sharma in 1995.
    With the blessings of Lord Dharma Sastha and all Guru Swamis, I have attempted to to translate it in ENGLISH. I intend to publish a blogspot on the Sastha Varavu songs sung normally/popularly takes 1 - 2hours( concise version) in sasthapreethis I have attended in Mumbai, Kallidaikurichi,Bangalore ,Cochin, Allepey , Dubai, Abudhabi, Muscat etc. I plan to divide the article into 4 parts.

    1. Ganapathy Sthuthi( Kunjara Vadana)
    2. Viruttam- 5
    3. Avathar Viruttam- 8
    4. Viduthigal - 24

    This will be a good guide for our future generations to know the meaning of the songs sung during Sastha Preethi. This transalation effort has been a very satisfying experience for me as the Lord made me refer get knowledge/understanding about his leelais written by our forefathers.
    I seek your permission to mention your name in My grateful acknowledgements and also seek your permission and blessings to include your transalated texts where relevant instead of reinventing the wheel. I pray that I am able to attend Nurani Sastha preethi. Most of the varavu songs refer to Kulathuril Ayyan who is in Kallidakurichi. May father has been attending the sastha preethi for many years in Kallidaikurichi & I also also request you to atend it

    ReplyDelete
  8. My blessings to you. I know one Veeramani Chami of your family who was in Chelakkara . I have heard about SriHariharan who was registrar of St;John's Medical college in Bangalore I do not know whether you know that the Harivarasanam song was written by a great person of your family If I can in any way help you , I would do it. I have a Xerox of songs on Ayyappa by your family members from Chelakkara. I am 75 and live in Bangalore. You can sent me e mail to ramya475 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Please refer

    http://stotraratna.sathyasaibababrotherhood.org/in15.htm

    To see my translations of Ayyappa stotras. You have my permission to add anything you want from what I have done .PLease acknowledge the source.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Swamy Saranam. Chami anna whom you are referring is my grandfather's elder brother.Shri Hariharan( St Johns) is my periappa.. Thanks for your permission. I shall acknowledge the source. I am aware that Harivarasanam was written by Kambangudi Kulathu Iyer.
    I also spoke just now to Shri Venky Mama( chinna ambi mama's son) from Chelakarai (age 75) who stays near my house in dubai and we meet in all religious functions.He has conveyed his regards to you. I shall email you shortly.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can please inform the date of Sastha Preethi day at Noorani.Thaks

    ReplyDelete
  12. I do not belong to Noorani and live in Bangalore and so I do not have this infoprmation, sorry

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete