Monday, December 27, 2010

Austere Avvaiyar - Part 2

The first thing that everyone remembers on hearing the name Avvaiyar is Aathichudi. Aathichudi is said to have been written by the later Avvaiyar. Aathichudi stands as a crown for tha works of Avvaiyar. Its simplicity and the moral values it inculcates has a wide acceptance among people. It is so simple that is even taught to kids just out of kindergarten, and even used by people as quotes during their ordinary day to day talks or speeches.

Aathichudi has 109 verses explaining the morals. The beauty is that it is organized in such a way that each verse is in the order of the vowels (Uyir Ezhuthu), consonants (Mei Ezhuthu) of the Tamil alphabets and the combinant alphabets (Uyir Mei Ezhuthu).

அறம் செய விரும்பு    
Aram seyya virumbu
Desire doing righteous deeds

ஆறுவது சினம்    
Aaruvadhu Sinam
Anger is to be controlled

இயல்வது கரவேல்    
Iyalvadhu Karavael

Help others in whatever ways you can

ஈவது விலக்கேல்    
Eevadhu Vilakkael
Never prevent others from providing charity

உடையது விளம்பேல்    
Udaiyadhu Vilambael

 Never proclaim/boast what you have

ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல்    
Ookamadhu Kaividael

 Never give up the confidence and hope

எண் எழுத்து இகழேல்    
Enn Ezhuthu Egazhael

 Never despise learning

ஏற்பது இகழ்ச்சி    
Yaerpadhu Igazhchi

 Accepting alms (begging) is despicable

ஐயமிட்டு உண்    
Ayyamittu Unn
Share your food with the needy, before you eat

ஒப்புர வொழுகு    
Oppuravu Ozhugu
Act virtuously

ஓதுவது ஒழியேல்    
Odhuvadhu Ozhiyael

 Never stop learning

ஒளவியம் பேசேல்    
Ouviyyam Paesael

 Never gossip about others

அஃகஞ் சுருக்கேல்    
Akkam Surukael

 Never cheat on quantity of items you sell

The name Aathichudi is because of the head verse is in praise of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganapathy, who is adorned with the Aathi flowers.
ஆத்திசூடி  அமர்ந்த  தேவனை
ஏத்தி  ஏத்தி  தொழுவோமே

Aathichudi Amarndha Devanai
Yaethi Yaethi thozuvomae


meaning, we will praise the The God (Lord Vinayaka) who sits in the lap of the Lord (Lord Shiva) who wears the Aathi flowers

The simplicity of these verses are not only easy to comprehend but also easy to remember. Very easy for learning kids, that they remember through out their life.

Another work, the Kondrai vendhan, is also by the later Avvaiyar, which is similar to the Aathichudi in many respects. The same one-liner style, along with the order of the alphabets makes it easy to read and remember too. This is praise of Lord Shiva, who is adorned with the Kondrai flowers, and Lord Vinayaka. Usually all Tamil poems being with a song that is in praise of the poet's favourite God. This verse is called the Kadavul Vaazhthu. Now, the verses from Kondrai Vendhan.
கொன்றை  வேந்தன்  செல்வன்  அடியினை
என்றும்  ஏத்தி  தொழுவோம்  யாமே

Kondrai Vendhan Selvan Adiyinai
Endrum Yaethi Thozhuvom Yaamae
We will ever worship and praise the Son (Lord Vinayaka) of the Lord (Lord Shiva) who wears the Kondrai flowers.
அன்னையும்  பிதாவும்  முன்னறி  தெய்வம்
Annaiyum Pidhavum Munnari Dheivam
The mother and the father are the Gods to be realised first
ஆலயம் சென்றடல்  சாலவும்  நன்று
Aalayam Sendridal Saalavum Nandru

 It is good and noble to worship the God in temples
இல்லறம் அல்லது  நல்லறம்  அன்று
Illaram Alladhu Nallaram Andru
It is ignoble to not follow a peaceful marriage
ஈயார்  தேட்டை  தீயார்  கொள்வர்
Eeyaar Thaetai Theeyaar Kollvar

 The belongings of the miserly will be plundered by the evil-minded
உண்டி  சுருங்குதல்  பெண்டிருக்கு  அழகு
Undi Surungudhal Pendirukku Azhagu

 Reducing the quantity of food intake, by women is good for them
ஊருடன்  பகைக்கின்  வேருடன்  கெடும்
Oorudan Pagaikkin Verudan Kedum
Hostility with the society/country will destroy everything one has right from the root
எண்ணும்  எழுத்தும்  கண்ணென  தகும்
Ennum Ezhuthum Kannena Thagum

 Education and knowledge is like the eye for everyone
ஏவா மக்கள்  மூவா  மருந்து
Yaeva Makkal Moova Marundhu

 Children who do the right things without the parents' guidance are like curative medicine
ஐயம்  புகினும்  செய்வன  செய்
Aiyyam Puginum Seivana Sei

 Even under impecuniousness do your duties
ஒருவனை  பற்றி  ஓரகத்து  இரு
Oruvanai Pattri Oragathu Iru
Marry one and be loyal the spouse
ஓதலின்  நன்றே  வேதியர்க்கு  ஒழுக்கம்
Odhalin Nandrae Vedhiyarkku Ozhukkam

 Discipline is more important to a priest than uttering the sacred hymns
ஔவியம்  பேசுதல்  ஆக்கத்திற்கு  அழிவு
Auviyam Pesudhal Aakkathirkku Azhivu

 Gossiping is destructive to one's fame
அஃகமும்  காசும் சிக்கென தேடு
Akkamum Kaasum Sikkena Thaedu

 Earn cultivation lands and the money soon in your life

The beauty of these verses are their simplicity and the greatness of the values they inculcate in such curtness. Moreover, all of these are easy to remember as they have been composed in the order of the Tamil  Alphabets, that one can easily related to these verses based on the alphabets.

Children and kids find it very easy to take it by heart, also explaining these to them does not take much effort as they are easily understood.

I will try to post the meaning of the other verses too in the upcoming posts. The complete verses can be downloaded here.

There are more fascinating songs by Avvaiyar that served as technological insights to great construction feats like the Brahadeeshwara Temple at Thanjavur. We will see those in the upcoming posts.

More to come, until then...