Written by London Swaminathan


Date: 28 October 2017


Time uploaded in London- 18-41



Post No. 4345

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.


Following stories in the Brahmanas are symbolic stories. They show that the Vedic Hindus were very intelligent and advanced in civilization. They talk about gold, goddess of speech, amicable solution, unity among good people etc.


“The Gods and Asuras contended together. The Gods were hostile to one another. Striving with one another for superiority, they parted into five divisions, Agni with the Vasus, Soma with the Rudras, Indra with the Maruts, Varuna with the Adityas and Brihaspati with the Visvedevas. They then reflected, ‘we are subject to our enemies, the Asuras, because we are hostile to one another. Let us unite our bodies; and whoever shall show enmity to another, let him be separated from his body. Hence anyone among our persons who have bound themselves together by an oath, who first commits an injury, falls into calamity. When a man joins in the oath ‘tananaptra’ for the purpose of overcoming his enemies, he conquers,  and his adversary is overcome.

–Taittiriya Samhita Ashtaka 6

Aitareya Brahmana 1-24 has the following story:-

The Devas were afraid, surmising the Asuras might become aware of their being disunited and seize their reign.  They marched out in several divisions and deliberated. Agni marched out with the Vasus and deliberated; Indra did go with the Rudras; Varuna with the Adityas; and Brihaspati with the Visvedevas. Thus all, having severally marched, deliberated. They said, ‘well let us put these our dearest bodies in the house of Varuna the king (water); he among us who should, out of greediness, transgress this oath, , not to do anything which might injure the sacrifice, he shall no more be joined with them’. They put their bodies in the house of Varuna. This putting their bodies I the house of Varuna the king became their ‘tananaptram (joining of bodies). Thence the Asuras could not conquer the gods’ empire, for they had all been made inviolable by the enemy”.



Angiras Vs Adityas

In the beginning, there were two kinds of beings here, the Adityas and the Angiras (both children of Prajapati). The Angiras then were the first to prepare a sacrifice, and having prepared the sacrifice they said to Agni. “Please announce to Adityas there would be a Soma sacrifice tomorrow and you will be the minister.


The Adityas spoke to one another and wondered why should they be ministering in the sacrifice. Then they decided to have one Soma feast on their own. They brought together the material for sacrifice and told Agni, “you have announced a Soma feast for tomorrow”. We have decided to have one today itself and let Angiras be the officiating priest. They sent back the Angiras a messenger about the feast.


But the Angiras were very angry with Agni. You went as our messenger and why didn’t you say ‘no’. The blameless chose me and I could not say ‘no’. The Angiras then officiated for the Adityas. This is called Sadhyakri. They brought Vach (goddess of speech) to them for their sacrificial fee. They aid, we cannot accept her. If we accept her we will be the losers. So it remained incomplete. Then they brought Surya (Sun) to them and they accepted him.

Whereupon the Angiras said, “we are fit for the sacrifice office; we are worthy to receive fees. Hence a white horse was the fee for the Sadhyakri. On the front of it was a golden ornament.


Now Vach was angry. It asked in what respect is that one better than I? Then she went away from them. Having become a lioness she went on seizing upon everything between those two contending parties, the gods and the Asuas. The gods called her to them and so did the Asuras. Agni was the messenger of the gods and one Sharakshas for the Asura-Rakshas. Being willing to go over to the gods, she said, ‘What would be mine if I were to come over to you.

“The offering will reach you even before it reaches Agni”. She then said to the gods, “Whatsover blessing you will invoke through me, all that shall be accomplished on to you. So she went over to the gods”—Satapata Brahmana 3-5-1-13



Mind is the Ocean

In the same Brahmana Vach is credited with  another service: “ Mind is the ocean. From Mind, the ocean, the gods, with Vach for a shovel, dug out the triple sciences, i.e. the Three Vedas. Wherefore this verse has been uttered – Sat Brah5-5-2-52



Ganesh who ate the Prasad: Strange Stories from Tamil Temples-Part 2 (Post No. 3120)

ganesh lanka

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 4 September 2016


Time uploaded in London: 11-30 AM


Post No.3120


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.



Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu celebrate Ganesh Chathurthy on grander scales than other states in India. And in the same way more temples are here for Vinayaka (Ganesh/Ganapathy) with lot of local stories. One speciality about Tamil Nadu is that some of the stories are over thousand years old. We have Ganesh stories associated with Tamil Saint Sundarar of eighth century CE.


Nambiandar Nambi was a famous Saivaite who compiled the Saivaite books. He was credited with rediscovering the Tamil Thevara Hymns hidden in the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. He got the clue only from a Ganesh statue on the banks of a river in Tirunaraiyur. When he was a boy he used to accompany his father to the temple. One day his father could not go to the temple for his regular daily Puja (worship) and so the work was entrusted to Nambi. He went to the temple and did the Puja like his father and offered the Prasad (cooked food) to the God. But the Stony Ganesh never opened his mouth. Innocent Nambi thought that it was his erroneous Puja that made the Ganesh to shut his mouth. So he started banging his head on the granite stones of the temple in frustration. Suddenly Ganesh came out of the rock and ate the food offering he brought from home. From that day he was called Polla Pillayar (the naughty Ganesh). It is believed he was the one who guided Nambi to Chidambaram to find the Thevaram Hymns.

vinayaka girls

Sundarar and Gold coins

Following story is from my previous post:-

Teleportation Miracles in Hindu scriptures

Posted on 6 March 2013

“Sundarar was one of the great Four Saivaite saints of Tamil Nadu. He lived in 8th century AD. Like other three saints he also did several miracles. One of the miracles involves teleportation. Sundarar was empty handed when he went to Vriddhachalam temple near Chennai. He was always generous in asking, in fact demanding.  He never acted like a beggar while he was begging. He sought “only gold” whenever he prayed for money. Knowing his status Shiva was also generous in giving. When Sundarar prayed for gold coins Shiva gave him 12,000 gold coins. Money always comes with problems. How to carry such a big load safely? was Sundarar’s worry. His home town Tiruvarur is not nearby. Again he went to Shiva for a solution. He told him to throw them in to the river Manimutharu and collect them at the Kamalalayam Tank in Tiruvarur temple! If it was hard earned money Sundarar would have hesitated, but it was money that came easily. So he left them in the river and went to Tiruvarur.


Sundarar told his wife Paravai that he was going to collect the coins from the local temple tank at Tiruvarur and asked her to accompany him. She would have thought that Sundarar had gone mad. But yet like a faithful wife, she followed him with lot of doubts in her mind. Sundarar stood on the banks of the vast tank (biggest temple tank in Tamil Nadu) and started singing hymns praising Lord Shiva. Surprise! Surprise! All the 12,000 coins came out intact as if they were minted under the tank!

Vridhachalam also known as Tirumudukundram is situated between Chennai and Trichy very near Viluppuram.”


And here comes our Ganesh!

When Sundarar threw the money into the river, he tested the god coins whether they were real gold coins. He made the Ganesh as a witness for all his activities there. So the Ganesh is called Maatru Uraiththa Pillayar, meaning Ganesh who tested the fineness of the gold coins.

ganesh making2

Uchchi Pillayar of Trichy

It is unusual for a Ganesh temple to be located on a hill top. And in Trichy we have a very famous temple on the top of a hill. Since he is at the top he is called Uchchi Pillayar (Ganesh at Top)


Manakkulam (Pondicherry) Vinayakar

Vinayaka means one who has none above him. He is the leader. Manakkulam Vinayaka very near the beach in Pondicheri is famous for two reasons. The greatest of the Tamil poets of modern era is Bharatiyar. When he fought for independence of India, he used to hide in the French ruled Pondicheri of Tamil Nadu (now it is a separate state). He used to worship at the temple and he sang hymns on this Ganesh naming his in poem as Manakkula Vinayaka. Thus Manakkulam Ganesh became immortal in his poems.


The second reason was that the French rulers of Pondicheri never liked big crowd assembling in front of the temple and making ‘noise’. So they threw the Ganesh statue into the sea. Surprise! surprise! The stony Ganesh (Manakkulam Vinayakar) was there in his original place the very next morning. When it came to the knowledge of the surprised authorities they helped Hindus to build a temple. Till today he is attracting a large crowd.

ganapathy rangoli

To be continued……………………….

Fish and Guests smell in Three Days!(Post No.2608)

nam sappadu

Research article written by london swaminathan

Date: 7 March, 2016


Post No. 2608


Time uploaded in London :–  16-16


( Thanks for the Pictures  ) 




(for old articles go to OR; 


Hindus consider guests as Gods. ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (Treat guest as god)  – is a Vedic dictum. It is in Taittirio Upanishad. Hospitality is a great virtue and Sanskrit and Tamil ethical literature have got lot of couplets and proverbs praising Hospitality. To illustrate their points they have lots of stories as well. But at the same no one is encouraged to abuse it. There are interesting proverbs in Tamil:

1.First day food is served in a big banana leaf (Talai Vaazai Ila)

Second day food is served in your hand (Kaiyila)

Third day food is served on the floor (Taraiyila)

You can note the Tamil rhyme ila, ila, ila at the end of each sentence.

banana leaf big

Long banana leaf called Talai Vaazai Ilai (in laws are given a feast on such leaves)

I am not surprised to see the same thought in an English proverb: Fish and guests smell in three days.

There are more proverbs to emphasize this point:

2.The first day a guest

The second day a guest

The third day a calamity (Indian Proverb)


3.Do not wear out your welcome

4.A constant guest is never welcome


5.Long visits bring short compliments (Chinese proverb)

6.The guest who outstays his fellow guests loses his overcoat (Chinese proverb)

There are some sayings on uninvited guests:-

7.An unbidden guest knows not where to sit.

8.An unbidden guest must bring his stool with him

9.Who comes uncalled, sits unserved.


Indian weddings are held in big halls (Kalyana Manadaps). I myself have seen some people pretend to be from the bride’s side or bridegroom’s side. But when the time for group photos come they simply slip out!

2 thinnai veedu

But in general, guests are most welcome in Hindu culture. In the olden days all the houses in Tamil Nadu, had sitting space (pial) in the front part of the house. The land lord will come out and call for the guests before he sits for dinner. But later it became a fake ritual. There are lot of humorous stories about the pretending land lords/house holders.

Following are the sayings in support of hospitality:

10.If a man receives no guests at home, when abroad he will have no hosts (Chinese proverb).

(This is based on Karma theory. If you do good someone will do you good).

11.Good will and welcome are your best cheer.

12.He that is welcome fares well.

13.Welcome is the best dish.

(It is very true. After cooking the best dishes, if you don’t show respect to the guests, all your work is a waste of time).

14.Such welcome, such fare well

15.It is a sin against hospitality, to open your doors and shut up your countenance.

bananaa leaf meals

Following article was posted in 2014.

Be a Guest in India!

Written by London swaminathan
Post No.1182; Dated 19th July 2014.

If you are a guest in India you will receive special treatment. Hospitality is the hallmark of a good householder. It is one of the Panchayajnas. Of the Pancha/five Yajnas/Duties, Manushya Yanja is one. This means feeding the fellow humans. Whether they are poor or rich, if they knock at your door you must not turn them down. In the olden days people used to go out to the street and look for guests at the lunch time. Then they will go for the dinner or lunch.

Ilango, author of Tamil epic Silappadikaram, says that the heroine Kannagi worried that she was not able to welcome the guests. Sita in Kamba Ramayana, also echoed the same feelings.

Great Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar says,

“The only purpose, of a family life of virtue and wealth,
Is to command the means of extending hospitality to the guests – (Kural 81)

“Even the nectar of immortality is not to be consumed
Without sharing with the guests waiting outside — (Kural 82)

“He who daily entertains the guests who go to him will never be ruined by poverty– (Kural 83)

Story from Mahabharata

A good story that illustrates the greatness of hospitality is in the Mahabharata. When Yudhistra performed the Rajasuya Yajna, thousands of people were fed. When everyone was satisfied there appeared a mongoose and challenged Yudhistra. Half of its body was in golden colour. It rolled on the leftovers of the guests. When Yudhistra asked the reason for it, the mongoose told him a story.

“A hungry man approached a poor man’s house for food. Though the poor man had prepared full meal after a very long time, he readily offered his food to the guest. When the guest was not satisfied, his wife and son offered their shares. When he left the hose I just rolled on the left over food and half of my body turned gold. From then onwards I had been visiting lot of places where food was donated. But my body never turned gold. I am greatly disappointed that even here my body did not turn into gold. This reduced the ego of Yudhistra.

Guests are welcome in any country. But in ancient India, they were considered Gods. This was true from the land’s southern most end Kanyakumari to northern most Kashmir. If anyone wants to be a guest one should be a guest in India — in ancient India! Tamil and Sanskrit literature have got a lot of proverbs or sayings about Atithih/Guest.

Following are the sayings in Sanskrit on the Guests from ‘’Suktisudha’’ (Chinmaya International Foundation Publication):

“A guest, though he be boorish, deserves to be welcomed by the discerning – Valmiki Ramayana 5-1-119

“Hail the guest as God (Atithi Devo Bhava, Taittiriya Upansishad 1-20)

“Even though it be a foe who has come home, appropriate hospitality to him is a must – Hitopadesha 1-50

“Hospitality bears no fruit in the hereafter, but verily in this life itself – Kathasaritsagara

“It is the duty of a householder to honour the guest according to his capacity — Kathasaritsagara

“It is befitting to receive the visitor with due honour — Pratinja Yaugandharayana of Bhasa

“For all, the guest is of paramount importance “– Canakyaniti 6- 45




More Stories about Wives!


Written  by London Swaminathan

Article No. 1966

Dated 1 July 2015.

Uploaded at London time: 15-37

I have already given some stories about wives of Socrates, Milton etc., in my earlier post “Easy way to become a Philosopher”, posted on 15th June,2015

1.Here are more stories:

Swami Rama Tirtha had been to Japan, America and other places. On his return to India his wife went to meet him. In the course of the talk, the wife questioned him, “During the tour in foreign countries far away from me, did you at any time remember me?”.

I have already given some stories about wives of Socrates, Milton etc., in my earlier post “Easy way to become a Philosopher”, posted on 15th June,2015

To this the great Swami gave the characteristic reply, “Is it necessary to remember about my nose? Since it forms a part of my body I need not think of it now and then. So also, since you are a part of my universal body, there is no need for me to think of you as someone separate from me.”

ram tirth 2

2.Story from a Tamil Proverb

The story goes that a certain man who was the important person in a town lost his mother. A lot of people came to console him and said, “O, Your mother was a great person. She was a mother to everyone. Now the village will be like a motherless child”. This is the Tamil way of consoling. One of the youths among the crowd was a fool. He did not know anything, but just pretended to be intelligent by imitating everyone. He also said the same thing to the grieving VIP. It went on very well for a time. But one day another important person in the town lost his wife. Now that he knew what to say in such a bereavement, he first went to express his condolences. He blindly followed the previous condolence message, “ O, Your wife was a great wife. She was not only wife to you but was the wife of whole village. Now the village looks like a wifeless husband”. The people who watched him saying this thrashed him and threw him out!


3.Dr Johnson about Wife

Of a lady more insipid than offensive, Dr Johnson (1709-1784, English Writer) once said, “She has some softness indeed; but so has a pillow. For my part, I do not envy a fellow one of those honey- suckle wives; as they are but creepers at best, and commonly destroy the tree they so tenderly cling about”

4.Clever and Stupid Wives

When a surprise was expressed at his choice of a wife, Talleyrand (French Bishop, politician and diplomat) replied: A clever wife often compromises her husband; A stupid one only compromises herself.

5.Film Star’s Wife

By mistake a letter directed to a newly married film star was delivered to the house of a poor working man. Upon being opened, it proved to contain a threat that unless a substantial sum of money was paid, his wife would be kidnapped. The working man immediately wrote a reply, “Sir, I don’t have much money, but I am very much interested in your proposition”

6.Wife or Money?

A niggardly farmer lost his wife and scrimped as much as he could on each phase of the funeral expenses down to the bitter end, when he lingered in the graveyard after the mourners had gone, and asked the grave digger, “How much do I owe you?”

“Ten dollars”, said the gravedigger, who was just beginning to fill in the grave.

“That is too much for such a light sandy soil”, said the farmer speculatively

“Light sandy soil or rich loamy soil, ten dollars”, said the grave digger firmly, “or up she comes”.

The farmer hastily paid.


7.Army Officer’s Wife

A French general’s wife, whose tomngue lashing ability was far famed, demanded that an old servant, who had served her husband during the wars, be dismissed.

“Jacques”, said the general, “go to your room and pack your trunk and leave- depart”.

The old French man clasped his hands to his head with dramatic joy.

“Me — I can go!” he exclaimed in a very ecstasy of gratitude.

Then suddenly his manner changed as with the utmost compassion he added, “But you my poor general, you must stay”.


8.Disobedience to Husband

A celebrated French preacher, in a sermon upon the duty of wives, said: “ I see in this congregation a woman who has been guilty of the sin of disobedience to her husband, and in order to point her out to universal condemnation, I will fling my breviary (Book containing Daily Hymns) at her head”.

He lifted his book, and every female head instantly ducked.



Stories behind Five Tamil Proverbs


Compiled by London swaminathan

Article No.1908; Dated 3 June 2015.

Uploaded at London time: 20-56


Tamil language is rich in proverbs. There are more than 20,000 proverbs. Percival, Rev.J.Lazarus and Herman Jensen had compiled and published them hundred years ago. Later lot of books appeared in Tamil; but there are lot of proverbs not included in these volumes. There is scope for lot of research as well. They have to be compiled subject wise and compared with proverbs in other Indian languages.


Some of the proverbs have some stories or interesting anecdotes behind them. I have given below only five proverbs with the stories behind them. It can be compared with proverbs in other Indian languages.

1.His own deeds will burn him, and a cake will burn the house

(Tan vinai tannaich chudum, Ottappam veettaich chudum)

Pattainathu Adikal was a great saint and poet. He used to eat with men of all castes. High caste Hindus did not do such thing in his days. So when his sister saw this, she was very angry. She tried to change his ways; but Pattinathar saw every one equal following the Upanishadic dictum Sarvam Brahma Mayam ( God is in everything), tat tvam Asi (You are That) and Isavasyam Idam Sarvam….. (Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord).

But his sister was not convinced with his explanation or behaviour. She thought him better dead and so baked a cake with poison in it and gave it to him. Hindu saints had power to know what was happening around them. Knowing his sister’s bad intention and took the cake and threw it on the roof of her house. And he said the words in the proverb. By a miracle it set the house on fire. Thus the evil woman’s plan was spoiled.

2.The Old Woman finished her Ten miles, and so did the Horse

(Kizaviyum Kadam, Kuthiraiyum Kadam);kadam is ten miles.

The story is that a man having performed the proper religious ceremonies hastily mounted his horse and set off for heaven. At the same time an old woman performed some ceremonies, with all her heart slowly and carefully, and her real piety brought her to heaven before the man on horseback.

There is an equivalent English saying, “God knows well which the best pilgrims are”.

Actually this happened in the case of Avvaiyar and Sundaramurthy Nayanar. When Sundaramurthy Nayanar and Cheraman Perumal Nayanar travelled to heaven using their elephant and horse, Avvaiyar was there before the two devotes who were using the fast track. When they asked how come that old lady was before them, she told them that she prayed to Lord Ganesh (elephant headed God) who lifted her with his trunk and placed her at the entrance of the heaven. This proverb covers that anecdote as well.


3.To you Bebe, and to your father Bebe

(Unakkum Bebe, unga Appanukkum Bebe)

A man pressed by his creditors was advised by a friend, to whom also he owned money, to escape from their importunities by feigning madness. The debtor accordingly did so replying to them all like a madman. He just said bebe, which is a nonsense word without any meaning. The plan was successful and the creditors were cheated. Then the friend asked that the debt due to himself should be paid. But he himself received the treatment he had advised the deceitful debtor to use to others. The proverb is also used about children who have no respect for others.

Equivalent English proverbs:

Trickery comes back to its own master

He falls into the pit, who leads another into it.

4.This is the law of my caste, and this is the law of my belly

(Ithu en Kulacharam, Ithu en vayitracharam)

Potters are predominantly Saivaites. But the potters in Sri Rangam were asked by the Vaishnavaites to put the Vaishnava mark on their foreheads; otherwise the Brahmins won’t buy their pots for the temple. One clever potter, having considered this difficulty, after making the Saivaite symbol (Vibhuti/Holy Ash) on his forehead made a big Vaishnava mark on his stomach. When rebuked for so doing by a Brahmin, he replied as above.


5.Like the jester that was bitten by a snake

(Pakadiyai Pambu Kadithathu Pola)

Applied to one who so often tells lies that if he happen to speak the truth no one will believe him. Or to a child that constantly feign sickness to avoid going to school, and is not believed to be ill when it is really sick. Once the jester was bitten by a snake and he cried for help. No one believed him. They thought he was just joking. It is similar to Crying Wolf Story in Aesop fables.

We have a similar story in India. A boy shouted for help saying that the tiger was coming. When the villagers gathered with all the weapons he was just laughing. He did it a few times and one day he encountered a real tiger. When he cried for help no one came forward thinking that he was trying to fool them once more. The tiger mauled the boy to death.

1.தன் வினை தன்னைச் சுடும், ஓப்ட்டப்பம் வீட்டைச் சுடும்

2.கிழவியும் காதம், குதிரையும் காதம்

3.உனக்கும் பேபே, உங்கப்பனுக்கும் பே பே

4.இது என் குலாசாரம், இது என் வயிற்றாசாரம்

5.பகிடியைப் பாம்பு கடித்தது போல