சக்தி விகடன் - 29 Jul, 2007 Sakthi Vikatan

            சிறுகதை A short Story  Posted Date : 06:00 (July 07,2007)

What is the difference between God and man?  A Short Story.
Expanded version of the stories by
Veeraswamy Krishnaraj



Traditionally for worship, we regard God as male and Sakthi as female.

Except for Fish and Boar incarnations, the other incarnations are largely in the form of man.  Sivaperuman, Parvathi, Vinayakar, Murugan…appear in human form. Incarnation as God on earth, entails holy feet, holy hands as the determining features. They are superior and transcend man’s counterparts. This is difference between man and God.

Suketu wanted a son, performed austerities but begot a girl (Tatakā with the strength of 1000 elephants) by the boon of Brahma. She married a prince Sunda and begot two sons Marīcha and Subahu. Sunda died from the curse of Agastya.  With the husband dead, Tatakā with her son Marīcha went to kill Agastya, who cursed her to become an ugly cannibal and him a Rākṣasa by transmutation

Her son by Agastya's curse became a demon.

Tatakā lived in a forest near Ganges, known as Forest of Tatakā. She devoured the trespassers. The forest dwelling Rishis were the recipients of her wrath, including Viśvāmitra. She and her son Subahu destroyed the Yagnas raised by the Rishis by contaminating them with blood and flesh. Viśvāmitra went to king Dasaratha complaining about Tatakā and seeking help. The king sent his teenage sons Rama and Lakshmana to protect Viśvāmitra and his Yagnas.

Tatakā was sighted by Viśvāmitra, who asked Rama to kill her. Rama hesitated because the perpetrator was a woman. He mutilated her by cutting her hands. She immediately disappeared into thin air literally and attacked them in her incorporeal form.

Viśvāmitra reminded Rama that as a prince he was duty-bound to kill the enemies of seekers of justice. The moment Rama saw her, he pierced her heart and down and dead Tatakā was the next moment. Rama received the blessings of forest sages.     Veeraswamy Krishnarakj

The Bhakti literature explains these differences very minutely. In the human form of MahaVishnu as Rama, his persona resemble that of man. Muni Viśvāmitra took Rama to safeguard his fire sacrifice. The Muni asked Rama to kill Thatakā . The Sattvic Rama thought, “Is she not a woman? Can I kill her?” 

Viśvāmitra: She is not a woman. She is an ogress! Kill her forthwith.”

Upon receiving the orders from the Muṉi, Rama took an aim at Thatakā with his arrow and killed her.


Because of killing of the strong ogress, the Muni understood the Amāṉuya Sakthi (superhuman) of Rama. Rama, Lakmaṇā and the Muṉi walk towards Mithilā. Rama’s foot falls on a huge boulder. Immediately the rock morphs into a woman. Seeing this transformation, Rama asks “Who is she?” Viśvāmitra sys, “She is Akalikai. The woman morphing into a stone from Gautama Muni’s curse, transformed back again into a woman upon the fall of Rama’s foot on the stone. That is when Viśvāmitra realizes that Rama was a Supreme Being.

Below are Visvamitra, Rama, Lakshmana and Ahalya. Ahalya petrified by the curse of her husband Gautama attains redemption by the dust from the feet of Rama, the redeemer.

Gautama-Ahalya-Indra. Ahalya’s petrification.  By Krishnaraj

Brahma created Ahalyā by taking all that is beautiful in the universe and putting them together and creating Ahalyā to smash the pride of Urvashi, the foremost beauty in heaven and earth. The basic substance in her creation was water. Yes, we are all 60% water. Ahalyā means unploughed. Several meanings are attributed to the name. There are several stories about her origin.

Brahma gave Ahalyā to the care of Sage Gautama until she attained maturity. Gautama takes Ahalyā to Brahma once she attains menarche. Brahma impressed by Gautama's sexual restraint gives him permission to marry her. Indra, the chief of gods became jealous and felt all beautiful women are his to have and hold.

Gautama and Ahalyā lived by a river with her aged husband.  Indra arrived to the Ashram, when Gautama was bathing in the river. Indra came in the guise of Gautama and seduced her.  Ahalyā unknowing of Indra's disguise, gives in to his advances to have sex with him thinking she was having sex with Gautama

Gautama discovering her encounter questioned her why she did not notice Indra's mannerisms (different from his. One text says she finds her lover was an impersonator half way during the act.) cursed her to become a stone with a promise of redemption by Ram's foot falling on the rock. Why stone? She acted like a rolling stone not sentient of the difference between him and Indra. Indra ran away as a cat. He cursed Indra to lose his testicles. Further, his body by Gautama's curse carried the tattoos of a thousand vulvae. Indra became the poster boy of illicit sex.


Ahalya (right bottom, seated in a red sari and rising from a stone, bows with folded hands to Rama (left) who is seated with Vishvamitra (centre) on a stone under a tree, in front of her. Lakshamana stands on the right. 

‘Hereafter, the grief of the humanity will go away.  The purpose of Ramāvathāra having been fulfilled, the world of beings will thrive. Rama’s persona proves he is the Supreme Being. That I understand.’ So, said Viśvāmitrar.

The following poem plays on the word வண்ணம்  (Vaṇṇam).

இவ்வண்ணம் நிகழ்ந்த வண்ணம் 
இனி இந்த உலகுக் கெல்லாம் 
உய்வண்ணம் அன்றி மற்றோர் 
துயர்வண்ணம் உறுவ துண்டோ
மைவண்ணத் தரக்கி போரில் 
மழை வண்ணத்து அண்ணலே உன் 
கைவண்ணம் அங்கு கண்டேன்
கால் வண்ணம் இங்குக் கண்டேன்

இந்தப் பாட்டில் எத்தனை வண்ணம்! ஒவ்வொன்றுக்கும் வெவ்வேறு பொருள்:

This poem illustrates the different meanings of the Vannam.

இவ்வண்ணம் நிகழ்ந்தவண்ணம் = இப்படி நடந்தபடியால் = It happened this way
இனி இந்த உலகுக்கெல்லாம் = இனிமேல் இந்த உலகம் முழுமைக்கும் = Hereafter this world allover
உய்வண்ணம் அன்றி மற்றோர் துயர்வண்ணம் உறுவது உண்டோ = நல்லது அல்லாமல் வேறு துயரங்கள் வந்துவிடுமோ? = Apart from wellness, what grief will befall
மை வண்ணத்து அரக்கி போரில் = மை போன்ற கரிய நிறம் கொண்ட = Collyrium-colored

அரக்கி தாடகையுடன் போர் செய்தபோது = Ogress Thātaki, When fighting with
மழை வண்ணத்து அண்ணலே = கார்மேகத்தின் நிறம் கொண்ட ராமனே = Nimbus-cloud-Colored Lofty God
உன் கைவண்ணம் அங்கு கண்டேன் = உன் கையின் அழகை (செயலை) அங்கே பார்த்தேன் = I saw the beauty of your hands (the beauty of his deed).
கால்வண்ணம் இங்கு கண்டேன் = உன் காலின் அழகை (செயலை) இங்கே பார்த்தேன் = I saw the beauty of your leg.

When the leg of Rama stepped on a rock, it transformed into a woman relieved of a curse to become a stone long ago.  


It happened so, hereafter this whole world will not suffer grief  but enjoy wellness. When there was a war with collyrium-colored ogress Thatakā i, O nimbus-cloud-colored Rama, I saw your handsome hands (the deeds).  I saw the beauty (and grace-offering) of your leg here

This is Kamba’s poetry. Killing of Thatakai and the release of Akalikai from her curse are the changed events. The Mui realizes, ‘This is how God differs from man.’  With his hands, man pays homage, gives, embraces… Simultaneously in an act of opposition, he will kick with his foot, grinds and destroys.

If God thinks of destruction, he destroys by discharging an arrow, wielding the sword, hitting with the club, and launching the discus. If he thinks of offering grace, he confers with his holy feet and embrace with his hands Rama destroyed Thatakā i with his hand and conferred grace with his feet. That differential deed made us realize he is the Supreme Being. There is proof of this in the ancient Tamil literature.

Nakkīrar says, ‘Muruga holds and supports his servitors by his holy feet. He destroys his opponents with his long thunder-and-lightning-like arms. Man embraces with his hands and kicks with his feet; God embraces with his feet and destroys with his hands.