Published:22 Jul 2013 8 PMUpdated:22 Jul 2013 8 PM  Sakthi Vikatan
Vikatan Correspondent
Wordsmith Balakumaran images: Padmavasan

1. Sivamuni, seeing the playful doe, felt a longing for love. That thought induced pregnancy in the doe. The subtle form of Sundaravalli, seeing the doe, became in the doe's womb, the indwelling fetus. The doe could not bear the fetus's weight and after a while, delivered the baby in a sweet potato pit and left. The baby cried, and the passing hunters picked up the baby, and since they found the baby in the potato pit (Vaḷḷi Paḷḷam = potato pit), they named her Valli. The two girls thrived well. ( The other girl was born elsewhere.)


  2. Murugan went to Indraloka and asked Indra to marry Valli. After the water ceremony, Indra offered Valli as Murugan's consort. The wedding took place. The celestials showered flowers on the couple.  (Valli incarnates on the earth with the same name.)


  3. ('This wedding was made in heaven' and now that wedding happens on earth.) Earth-born Valli incessantly thought of Murugan only. Murugan impersonating, an old man stood before her. Valli did not know the identity of the gaffer. Modestly, she invited him and asked him, "You have been tottering in the severe heat of the summer. What do you want?"


  4. Murugan in the guise of the old man: "Thirst, water, some fanning. Too hot," said the old man in a parched voice. Valli took water in a tumbler and poured it into the mouth of the old man. She fanned him with the end of the sari.


  5." Come near and fan me. Not enough draft," said Murugan. Valli moved close to him. Her fragrance beguiled Murugan. Naradar standing far away was enjoying the act by Murugan.  (Naradar was not a talebearer but a story teller and a participant.)


  6. The old man's inappropriate touching, holding the shoulder, and touching her is so many body parts because of his alleged infirmities bothered Valli.


  7. Valli: "Periyavare (Hey old man), you are misbehaving with (groping) me. I helped quench your thirst and alleviate your fatigue. In return for them, is this misbehavior appropriate?," Valli said in anger.


  8. The old man: "Not at all. Offering water to quench my thirst and alleviating my fatigue are noble deeds. But, when I saw you this close, my old memories came rushing in. (Remember, the impending earthly wedding happened in heaven before.) I like to marry you. Please do not take it amiss. I feel like touching you all the time." As the old man stepped beyond decorum, Valli stepped back and expressed her anger.


  9. Valli: "My wedding in my mind is a foregone conclusion."  ( I know who I want to marry.)


  10. The old man: "Is that so? Who is it?"


  11. Valli: "Murugan is the second son of Siva. I am waiting for him to embrace me so that I could marry him. I will not think of anyone else in my mind to touch. I thought of you as an honorable man. You talk dirty to a girl alone in the forest. You went beyond decorum. Could you stay away from me? If not, I will become a fierce person," said Valli, threatening and flailing a staff as if to hit him.


  12. The old man acted as if he was afraid. As if he was in a faint, he held onto the tree trunk. In his mind, he prayed to his older brother, Ganesa.


  13. Murugan impersonating the old man: "O all-powerful brother! I need your help immediately. You must help me marry this girl Valli who has waited over several generations to marry me. Employ a stratagem to draw her close to me. You have to draw and join her with me.


  14. Suddenly, Vinayakar (Ganesa) appeared as a wild forest elephant. Hearing the rustle in the floor, Valli turned and saw the moving of the tree trunks and the branches of the trees.


  15. Valli: 'What is this? The tree trunks are moving. What could cause this shaking of the trees?" In fear, she looked in all cardinal directions. A wild elephant, clearing the bush and breaking the trees, entered her premises. The elephant trumpeted. Fear overwhelmed her, and she ran and embraced the old man.


  16. The old man: "You told a little while ago you will not touch anyone other than Murugaperuman."





  17. Valli: "Yes! Fear drove me towards you. I am still harboring Murugan in my heart. I see Murugan in your form. No one can separate me from Murugan." She announced her position in a resolute and loud voice.


  18. Murugan liked her resoluteness and opposed his palms to his elder brother. The elephant disappeared and, Vinayakar appeared in its place.


  19. Vinayakar addressed Valli, "Who you embraced was not an old man but Kumaran, my younger brother. He is beauty, personified. Here is Murugan. Turn around and look."

  Valli turned around and looked.


  20. Murugan stood there: Spear in hand, a smile on his face, white stripes on his forehead, broad chest, red body, gold crown. Valli was ecstatic, bubbling with happiness but restrained with modesty, paying homage to Vinayakar and asking for his blessings. She rose and greeted her husband with opposed palms. She stood proudly by his side with his and her hands around each other's hip.


  21. Vinayakar blessed them, saying they were the perfect couple in appearance and in truth.


  22. Conventional wedding is proper and acceptable. Likewise, love marriage is of the highest acceptance. Vinayakar supported the wedding of Murugan and Valli.  She took the hand of Murugan, hearing Vinayakar's words of support and assurance. The couple roamed about in the forest and enjoyed themselves.  (Honeymoon in the forest. What could be more thrilling?)


  23. Not seeing Valli, the father and the hunters looked for her. His spies told him where they saw Valli with a strong man. The father went with his warriors to where Valli and the man were. Seeing the robust young man,  the father ran towards him. In the place of the man, he saw a Konrai tree (Indian laburnum) and his daughter.


  24. Father asked his daughter, "Where is he?" His daughter told him he became the tree. When the hunters tried to uproot the tree, Muruga Peruman called his cock, which raised a loud voice. Unable to tolerate the loudness and the quake, the hunters died. Valli was unhappy.


  25. Muruga Peruman: "Do not worry. We demonstrated our strength to the angry attackers. Let us go to Tiruthtanikai." Murugar took her to Tiruthtanikai and married her. Naradar came forward and blessed the couple.


  26. Knowing Valli was in grief at the hunters' death, Naradar pleaded with Murugar to resurrect the dead hunters, who, receiving Murugar's grace, resurrected from death. The hunters conducted the marriage in line with their customs and manners.


  27. Marriage with the consent of the bride's father or finding one's husband, living a conjugal life and then seeking the parents' permission: Which is right? Both are acceptable alternatives.


  28. Marriage is not just a ceremony. It is the fruit of Tapas or austerity. Marriage is just not mere rite of passage. It is a milestone in one's life. Marriage is like the tree yielding flowers and fruits.  There is no difference between a tree in the forest or the tree in the homestead.  The flowering and fruiting should happen at the right time. That is important. A meeting of the minds is important: So also the mutual love between husband and wife. Attaining a husband after an austerity is an objective. Having a good husband is the woman's goal in life.


  29. The duty of the man is to marry a loving woman with traditional ceremonies. Manliness is to wed a loving woman who does not care about opposition from any quarters. The beauty and conviction are not to entertain any mental reservation because of the parent's objections but to take the bridegroom's hands first and seek reconciliation with the parents later.


  31. Looking at it closely, Naradar's good intention and calculation turned out to be a good story and an example of justice in the world.


  32. The world pursues to this day Naradar's depiction of ways of marriage.