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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Arundhati wins; Vishwamitra defeated!

 Arundhati  was one of the celebrated women of ancient India. Though   born in a low caste she was elevated to the highest status  due to her   chastity. Ancient Tamil Sangam poets who lived 2000 years
 ago praised   her sky high. They said she was the symbol of chastity.  Every newly  married couple must see her in the sky just before First  Night. She is   seen in the Sapatarishi constellation (Ursa Major or Great
 Bear  constellation). It is a double star system which is seen as  Vasishta and   Arundhati by the Hindus.

 Seeing  Arundhati or looking at the star on the first night debunks  Aryan-Dravidian Race theory. Tamils respected her like North  Indians   from the remotest period. Sangam Tamil poets and later Tamil  epic poets  referred to her in scores of places. Ramayana and  Mahabharata referred  to her with the same respect.

 There is a  very interesting story about Arundhati. Ancient Hindu women were very intelligent and educated in the scriptures. Once   Vasistha invited his arch enemy Vishwamitra for a feast on a  Srardha 
 day. On the day of Srardha, the departed souls are  propitiated. Brahmins   and saints were fed on the day. The guests are worshipped  as the   representatives of the departed souls. Vishvamitra promised
 to   participate on one condition. He insisted that he must be  served with   1008 curries (side dishes). Vasishta knew what he was up to. He told him   that he would inform his ‘home minister’ Arundhati as
 she was in charge  of the guests.

 The fight  between Vishvamitra and Vasishta began on the day  Vishwamitra tried to snatch the wish fulfilling cow from  Vasishta. He  was badly punished for this. He clashed with Vasishta on  many more 
 occasions. At the end he did great penance and was certified  as Brahma   Rishi by Vasishta himself.

 Vasishta  informed Arundhati the condition laid by Vishwamitra. She   did not bother. On the day of Srardha , Vishwamitra came and  sat at the   dining hall. But to his disappointment he saw only 10+  curries on the 
 plate (plantain leaf). When he angrily questioned Vasishta,  he told him  to put the question to Arundhati as she was in charge of the  ceremony.  Before Vishwamitra questioned her, Arundhati recited a  popular sloka 
 (couplet) which made Vishwamitra  speechless. What did  Arundhati tell him?

 कारवल्लि शांत चैव वज्र  वल्लि शतत्रयं  पनसं षट् शतंचैव  श्रार्धकाले  विधीयते
 Kaaravalli  satam chaiva vajra valli satatrayam   Panasam shat satam chaiva sraardhakaalE

 “If  someone serves at the time of Srardha, karela/bitter gourd  that  is equal to 100 items, Pirandai that is equal to 300 curry  items and the   Jack fruit that is equal to 600 items. That is the rule for  the   ceremony.”

 Srardha= ceremony to  pay obeisance to the departed souls.Kaaravalli = bitterguard
 Vajravalli  = Pirandai (Cissus  quadrangularis)

 Panasam =  Jackfruit

 She served these  three vegetable dishes along with 8 more items on   the plate. So it came to 1008 items. Vishwamitra was happy  at the   explanation from the chastest woman in the  world.

 Women are  projected as more intelligent than men in Hindu scriptures.   Savitri defeated Yama, the God of Death. Gargi (800 BCE)  questioned   Yajnavalkya, the first philosopher in the Upanishads. Tamil
 poetess   Avvaiyar was bold enough to challenge the powerful Tamil  kings. Draupadi   argued her case like an attorney when she was dragged to  the court of   Duryodhana. Many queens fought the foreign invaders. Great  beauties like  Padmini, Queen of Chitoor, jumped into fire instead of  molestation by   the foreign invaders. Ganga Devi was the oldest war  correspondent who   accompanied her husband when he invaded ‘foreigner infested’ South   India. Rig Veda had more than twenty poetesses who lived 3500 years ago.
 Sangam Tamil literature had more than 25 Tamil poetesses  who lived more   than 2000 years ago. No part of the world had such a galaxy  of  poetesses! We had great mathematicians such as  Lilavati!

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