By Kumar Punithavel
April 11th, 2006 is Panguni Uthiram:
Many frequently consider the Hindu as a religion of renunciation. They believe that to be good Hindu religious person, one has to renounce the world. But the truth is Hindu religion expect a person to evolve in his spiritual path. A person is expected to go through four stages namely, Bramhachariya, Gragastha, Vanaprastham and Sanyasom. These stages are Bachelor, Householder, philanthropic and lastly renunciation. Of these four stages the householder’s life is considered the most important one and the best. The great philosopher and poet Thiruvalluvar in his great book Thirukural as forty seventh couplet says;
‘In nature’s way who spends his claim domestic days,
‘Mid all that strive virtue’s crown hath foremost place’
To lead an ideal natural married life is the greatest striving after happiness on the earth.
This is the reason all the deities of Hindu pantheon are portrayed with a consort!
The Panguni Uthiram festival falls in the month of ‘Panguni’ (March/April). This month is special because the star Uthiram and Pornami (full moon) occurs together. On this day it ia said following celestial marriages said to have taken place.
1. Marriage of Parvathi to Parameswaran.
2. Muruga wedded Devasena.
3. Sri Ranganathar wedded kothai who is also known as Andal.
4. As per Valmiki Ramayana, Sita’s marriage to Rama too took place on this day.
On this day in temples these celestial wedding ceremonies of these deities are re enacted, which has a great significance. It is believed that an year in human life is equivalent to one day in the life of celestial being. Thus our gods are setting a silent example of having a wedding every day in celestial calendar! One should note; they marry the same consort every day. The Hindu religion expects a person be faithful and loving, to their partners as they were on their wedding day. This has great significance these days where there are pre nuptial agreements before the wedding and separation the very next day after the wedding.
There are other miracles that have happened on this day. The great Tamil Saiva Saint Sudarer wanted to celebrate this day with his wife Paravaiar by providing the Sivanadiyars all what they wished, to their heart’s content, and needed much money for the same.
To meet this desire of his wife Paravaiar, the Saint went to the shrine at Thiruppuhaloor and worshiped the presiding deity lord Shiva. Even after pleading by worship and not getting the money, he felt sad and sleepy. He did not want to spend the night at the near by thirumadam (pilgrims rest), but decided to sleep under the gopuram of the temple. He took some burnt clay bricks, which were kept out side for the renovation of the temple, and used them as headrest and slept.
When he awoke in the morning, he was astonished to find the clay bricks had turned to gold bricks! He praised the God Shiva of Thiruppuhaloor’s mercy, with a Thevara pathigam (Song).
In the life of Saint Sambanthar too a miracle took place on this day. In the village of Mylapoor lived a Chettiar named Sivnesar. He had a lovely daughter Poompavai. Hearing the greatness of the young Saint Sambanthar she fell in love with him and wanted to marry him. But misery struck and she died of snakebite while plucking flowers for pooja. It is said, on this day the saint is said to have made her rise from death, by offering the wonderful Thevaram Poompavai. However, he refused to marry her, as he had given her a new life he is fit to be called her parent and not husband!
These festivals not only remind the devotees to their duty towards their partners, but also give an opportunity to educate our children of good values and also teach the history of the great religion. It is sad an average Hindu child knows of the miracles that have happened in other religions than of its own. The reason for this is, there is no mission to promote the religion.
After all ‘good wine needs no bush’!!