Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Tamizh month of Margazhi (Dhanu in Malayalam)

Just marking this very special month 16 Dec to 13 Jan - my efforts at briefly collating several aspects of the month.
# Krishna says - (Gita, 10/35)
बृहत्साम तथा साम्नां गायत्री छन्दसामहम् ।
मासानां मार्गशीर्षोऽहमृतूनां कुसुमाकरः ॥
Meaning: "Among the hymns also (I am) the Brhat-Samna; among the meters I am Gaytri; among months, I am Margasirsa; and among seasons, I am the flower bearer (spring).

# Gita Jayanthi (birthday of the Bhagavad Gita) was observed on 9 Dec ("Agrahayana (Hindi: अगहन agahan) is a month of the Hindu calendar. In India's national civil calendar, Agrahayana is the ninth month of the year, beginning on 22 November and ending on 21 December. In Vedic times, this month was also known as Maargashirsha after the nakshatra (asterisms) Mrigashira.")

# Then we have the Thiruvaadira festival for Siva, also observed as the Aarudra Darshan. (10 Jan 2009)
(In Tamil Nadu, the day's speciality, after due worship of Siva, is the combination of the offering Thiruvaadirai Kali and ezhu-kaai Kootu. In Kerala (my state-in-law) the Thiruvaadira Kali refers to the dance kaikottukali performed by groups of ladies on the same day. The offering to the Lord is the Tiruvaadira Puzhukku)

# Throughout the month, temples (and most small screen channels) in Tamil Nadu resound with Aandal's Thiruppaavai
Listen to the poetess-saint's compositions explained here (Tamil). Or simply listen to Smt MLV's rendition of the divine composition
(for day 2 and later, use tpavai2 to tpavai30 in place in the url)

# Here is a Thiruvempavai link as well - listen to daily Margazhi Tiruvempavai discourses
Know the meanings of the 20 verses of Maanikkavaasagar

# Then it is the turn of Vaikunta Ekadasi, the day of symbolic opening of the doors of heaven to devotees. (7 Jan 2009)

# Think Margazhi and this tamil movie song comes to mind -
Kaalangalil Aval Vasantham

# On all mornings of the entire month, the customary kolams in front of houses will also sport a flower (placed in a ball of cowdung) at the centre


# For more interesting information on Margazhi see
- Tsunami Disaster Predicted By Astrology
- Bhairava Ashtami

PS: Reader Lipi has provided valuable corrections as well as informative and instructive links (please see comments hereunder) - quoted below for ready reference -

"Regarding calendars:
In the (Indian) traditional calendar system, we have two major types - Solar and Lunar. The Tamil calendar, among others (likely Punjabi, Assamese ...) is solar. The majority of the others is lunar (telugu, ...) It may be a good indication of what type of calendar it is, based on when they celebrate their new year (All yugAdi calendars are lunar. The rest must be solar - baisAki, vishu, tamizh new year ...)

The two links below should give an idea of Traditional calendar concept.
Solar and lunar calendar overview
Lunar calendar explained

For those who think the 'panchAngam' - 'having 5 parts', is unscientific and a waste of time, here is a document published in 1935, by an eminent Indian Mathematician.

The training of Indian Almanac Makers ..."
PS 2: The title was amended based on the above.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Indrani said...

Melodious collection of links.
I am sure that Kolam was done by you. It is beautiful.

16 December, 2008  
Blogger Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Swarna :)

Very informative post!

Lovely kolam. I used to see them in Chennai but in Kochi it is a rarity. Probably only the Tamil Brahmin community draws kolam here, I suppose.

Best wishes :)

16 December, 2008  
Blogger Kannamma said...

That is a good summation. We also place a lamp on the kolam. It is also believed that unmarried girls, if they recite thiruppavai early mornings, every day in Margazhi, will get a good husband. This follows the saying"thai piranthal vazhi pirakkum" - Some information for the next month.

17 December, 2008  
Blogger RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Nice one. And that song is one of the best ones, lyric-wise and melody-wise!

17 December, 2008  
Blogger lipi said...

Swarna,

I am pleasantly surprised to see your current post (Not politics / not reform / not economy) :) While I am not an expert, I would like to straighten out a couple of points here.
Regarding calendars:
In the (Indian) traditional calendar system, we have two major types - Solar and Lunar. The Tamil calendar, among others (likely Punjabi, Assamese ...) is solar. The majority of the others is lunar (telugu, ...) It may be a good indication of what type of calendar it is, based on when they celebrate their new year (All yugAdi calendars are lunar. The rest must be solar - baisAki, vishu, tamizh new year ...)

The two links below should give an idea of Traditional calendar concept.
Solar and lunar calendar overview
Lunar calendar explained

For those who think the 'panchAngam' - 'having 5 parts', is unscientific and a waste of time, here is a document published in 1935, by an eminent Indian Mathematician.

The training of Indian Almanac Makers ...

Cheers!
(I got the hyperlinks right this time, I think :) )

17 December, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Thanks, all
Kannamma - each month is so special!
Lipi, I stand instructed!
(about hyperlinks - you will get there soon! :) )

18 December, 2008  
Blogger kallu said...

Swarna, nice post. Thinking this is a special month wrapped in special religious ritual and celebrated in song makes me overlook the cold and the mist and the rain.
Is that your kolam? Lovely but makes me feel guilty Im not even trying.:-)

18 December, 2008  
Anonymous Mysorean said...

A slight history on Solar Panchangam. At the turn of the century, Solar panchangams in Tamil Nadu interpreted the Sun vs the earth relationship in stellar space in two different ways. Solar Panchangams hence differed from each other depending on which school of interpretation they followed. It was the late Kanchi Shankaracharya who brought the two schools together- no mean task, and from the consensus achieved the Kanchi Kamakoti Panchangam emerged and has remained the authoritative solar panchangam standard. If this was not done, for example, identifying the date on which the annual ceremony (Sraddham) for a deceased relative fell each year was often disputed
bringing great distress to families concerned. Among the many achievements of that great Sage of Kanchi, this was one.
There was no such problem in lunar interpretation. All Panchangas published in Karnataka follow same interpretation for centuries. As some one born and grew up in Mysore, I was constantly aware of the difference between the two systems.
Fortunately even in those days there were astrologers in Mysore who knew both systems as there was a sizeable core of Tamil families since the days of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar.

As far the Pavamannippu song, then it was said, Kannadasan (he was a widely read person)wrote it well aware of what Lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita.

The case of Telugu panchangas is the same. Thyagaraja aradana date in January, I was told follows the lunar system as he was of Telugu origin.

19 December, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Kallu, joint efforts - my role is usually 'colour filler' :)
Mysorean - Appreciate your additional inputs.

19 December, 2008  
Anonymous Mysorean said...

All learned astrologers prefix their calculations with the terms Sauramana
(Solar-based)or Chandramana (Lunar-based). Hence Chandramana-based Thyagaraja Aradhana falls every year on 'Pushya Bahula Panchami', that is the 5th day of the waning Moon in the month of Pushya, which normally falls in January.

20 December, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear swarna,
came across you when i was looking at vishnu sahasranamam and it's power. thanks for all the beautiful stuff that you are sharing through this blog. very enlightening. i must tell you that i have experienced this power personally as i used to read this when i was pregnant(7 yrs ago) with my first born. he was born premature and just the power of this great shloka alone made his strong and when we wa 3 and half was diagnosed with leukemia and again the power of vishnu sahasranamam and maha mrityunjaya mantra saved him and i am sure he will be good always with the sholkas being heard everyday by him.
thanks once again
sandhya

23 December, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Mysorean, thanks again for the additional input.
Sandhya - may more people experience the power of faith, just as you do.

23 December, 2008  
Blogger sam said...

Free Online Tamil Calendar Comprehensive and authentic tamil daily calendar for 2009. Easy to search functionality provided, to find the date you wish to get the data. Find the Hindu, Muslim or Christian festivals and government holidays.

03 January, 2009  
Blogger Kat said...

The kolam looks great. Congrats.

15 January, 2009  

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