Published:09 Sep 2019 8 PMUpdated:09 Sep 2019 8 PM  Sakthi Vikatan
சக்தி கொடு! – 12 Give Sakthi - 12
சக்தி விகடன் டீம் Sakthi Vikatan Team
வி.ஆர்.சுந்தரி, ஓவியம்: பாரதிராஜா Authoress: V. R. Sundari. Painting: Bharathiraja.

1. When Puraṭṭāci (Mid-Sep — Mid-Oct) month arrives, you know what the street scene is like in town. Our friends, acquaintances, men on the street, the educated, unlettered, the rich, and the rest wear turmeric-tinged clothes, sport Tiruma Kāppu (wearing the Vaishnavite Nāmam on the forehead body and limbs) on the forehead and body parts.  They carry globular water vessels decorated with Nāmam and flower strings and go street by street chanting ‘Govindā, Govindā.’ 

2.  The devotees collect alms at least from seven households announcing the holy name of Govinda. These devotees walk many miles up the Tirupathi mountain, obtain reverential Darsan of Perumāḷ, contribute and return home. Let us explore the reason for the Puraṭṭāci month’s event. 

3.  King Thoṇḍamāṉ had an inordinate Bakthi to Ēzhumalaiyāṉ (The Lord of the seven hills). To reflect the depth of his devotion, he built a magnificent temple and made arrangements for Archaai (worship, offering) with gold flowers.


4.   The worshipful services took place according to Sāstrais injunctions. One day, as usual, when the king performed the services, mud flowers, along with the gold flowers, fell in the sanctum.

5.   The king felt out of sorts. He felt something was amiss. From then on, he offered worship guardedly with nothing left to chance. It happened again: The mix of the mud and the gold flowers fell.

6.  The king’s mental anguish heightened. How did the mud flowers come pouring down? It is a holy play of Perumāḷ, the Lord of the hills, to alleviate the difficulties of his servitor.

7.   Bhīmaiyā, a potter who lived in Kuruvai village, is a man of high morals and never had a desire to take other people’s property. He always chanted, ‘Govindā, Govindā.’

8.     Though he was the repository of ethical conduct, he was born with a handicap: a congenital clubfoot. Yet, he prepared the mud pots with care and eagerness.

9.     Though he had a physical handicap, his mind and soul were pure with no deficiency. He worshipped daily Tiruvēṅkadava and received Darsan of the Lord of the Hills on a Saturday in the month of Puraṭṭāci (mid-Sep to Mid-Oct).

10.     Though the cellphone is scratched and dirty, you will still get the connection with an intact SIM Card in it. Likewise, though there is a physical handicap, the magnetic mind of the potter, the repository of good qualities, drew Perumāḷ to him.

11.     Yes! The Lord of the Hills came looking for the servitor.

 12.    The Lord of the seven hills came in the potter’s dream, presented to him a view of his holy feet, and disappeared. That day was Puraṭṭāci, Saturday, early in the morning.

13.   The potter had horripilation and tingling in his body.


 14.     Is  Bhīmaiyā not a potter? He made a mud idol of Ēzhumalaiyāṉ. It was a carefully hand-molded Vigraham with an abundant and pure Bakthi, gone in its making, and so had the manifestation of the deity in the idol.

15.    The potter worshipped daily the holy clay idol of Ēzhumalaiyāṉ with offerings of flowers. Besides that, he observed Viratam and prayed every Saturday, the day of the first dream Darsan.

16.    When he made his clay pots, the thoughts dwelled on Mālava. Sometimes, he draws Mālava’s form into his mind; those times, he was not self-aware and regarded clumps of clay as flowers and performed Archaai with them.

17.    The ingrained habit of worship with clay lumps as flowers became a daily routine without his self-awareness. Let him worship the Lotus-Eyed (=Kamalakkaṇṇa) with chunks of clay as flowers.

18.    Let us go back to the king Thoṇḍamāṉ, unhappy with the shower of gold flowers with pieces of clay.

19.    “Perumāḷē, Govindā! How is it that the lumps of clay, mixed with gold flowers, fall during Aiyēṉ’s worship?  How are you going to alleviate this problem? Bhagavan appeared in the dream of the frazzled king.

20.  “Bakthā! (Devotee). The worship offered by a potter gives me happiness. You go and witness the potter’s worship. You will discover the reason for the changes taking place during your worship.” Saying such cryptic words, Bhagavan disappeared.

21.  The dream faded and ended. Having received the explanation from Bhagavan himself for his mental anguish, will the king remain quiet? The king decided to pay a visit to the potter, as commanded by Bhagavan. Thinking that if he went with his soldiers, there will be an unnecessary excitement and pose an impediment to his task on hand. He went with no entourage.

22.    Then, Bhagavan appeared in the dream of the potter and said, “Bakthā! On the day others hear of the greatness of your devotion, I will reward you with Mukthi (liberation). He disappeared soon after that.


23.    Having arrived at the potter’s stall, the king remained out of sight of the potter and surveilled his activities. The potter, as usual, sat before the clay model of Tiruvēṅkadava’s idol, made his clay pots, kept his eyes closed, sprinkled the clay flowers, and worshiped him.

24.   The king, looking at the potter, was overwhelmed with distress. His eyes were brimming with tears. 

25.    ‘I worship with gold flowers. Who could be the better of the two?  I thought in that vein. This potter’s worship is purer and better. Vēṅkatava came to give me this dream visual and offer his grace and blessings. He showed me the purer form of worship,’ said the king to himself.  Coming from his hiding place, he rushed to the potter and embraced him.

26.    The king said, “Ayyā! Vēṅkatava accepted your worship.” The king narrated the dream visual he had of God. A tingle passed through the body of the potter.

27.    The potter shouted, “Perumāḷē! You gave me grace and blessing to receive liberation.” That moment itself, the potter received Mukti (liberation).

28.  Witnessing this event, he returned to his palace with a joyous heart. He installed his son as the regent, left for the sacred mountain, put his mind to worship of the Lord of the hills, and attained Mukti.

29.   Though the potter had a physical disability, his mind and soul were pure with no deficiency but full of devotion. Is it not true that God paid him a dream visit on a Saturday in the month of Puraṭṭāci and conferred on his blessings and grace?

30.  Holding the custom, on every Puraṭṭāci Saturday, the servitors in remembrance of Tiruvēṅkadava observe the Viratam. They carry the vessel from house to house, supplicate for God’s grace, and beg for alms. The rich and the educated participate in this observance of the Viratam.

 31.   Likewise, on Puraṭṭāci Saturday, a multitude of devotees go on foot up the Tirupathi hill. That is still a sight to see even today.

32. Among us, many entertain a thought with contempt: ‘Shucks! Puraṭṭāci is upon us. These vagabonds show off streaks of red and white Nāmam on their foreheads, carry vessels in the hands and go begging from house to house.’

33.   Just stop and think!

 34.   Would we usually wear yellow sarongs (= துண்டு), sport Nāmams, go to seven or eight houses and ask for alms? 

 35.   That the servitors ask for alms is a sign of shedding ego and an attempt to obtain God’s grace. Whether or not we go on peregrination to Tirupathi, and receive Darsan of the Lord of the seven hills, we should not mock the pilgrims. That itself guarantees us God’s grace.

36.   Let us sing the praise of Puruṣōtthaman (Viṣṇu, the Supreme Being) and receive boons and grace.

News: December 11, 2019. Earlier, ISRO Chairman K Sivan offered prayers at the Tirupati Balaji temple in Tirumala before the launch of satellites from PSLV C48.  While speaking to media, he said that PSLV C48 is a historic achievement by ISRO, as this is the 50th launch for PSLV and the 75th launch from Sriharikota.

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