GEOMYTHOLOGY, THE NEW BRANCH OF SCIENCE

There are many myths carried forward by generation to generation, which may have some substance, not necessarily as described in the stories.

In India, there is the story that Bhageerath brought Akashganga to the plains of Uttar Pradesh.

Once upon a time, during the last ice age, the whole of the Himalaya region was covered in perpetual snow. When the snow melted, the water in the Khatmandu valley in Nepal exerted such tremendous pressure that it broke through the mountains and flowed into the plains below. This possibility cannot be ruled out.

In living memory, I can mention two events that may not find a mention in the books.

One is the cyclone, which devastated areas in Trichur district of Kerala State in 1940 -41

The damage caused is still remembered by my elders.

Another one is only mentioned by the generation before me. It is referred to as the flood of 99, meaning the Malayalam era 1099, corresponding to 1923-24, ten years before I was born. The next year or so, our ancestral home was partitioned.

Recently, I was told that R. Kurumalipuzha once flowed by the Koodalmanikyam temple of Bharat at Irinjalakuda, till it got diverted northward, following a huge flood, more than a millennium ago. There is one aarattu (dip in the river) of the deity in this river once in a year, which cannot be explained otherwise.

A new branch of science has come into existence in America, to establish scientifically, the authenticity of a myth or to refute it. This is Geomythology.

INDICTMENT OF GUJARAT GOVERNMENT

The Experts’ Committee set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, in its second interim report, has indicted the government machinery for its egregious failure on almost all aspects studied, according to The Hindu.

It is no surprise. The Sardar Sarovar project on the Narmada river has been continuously opposed by Medha Patkar and her associates, not only on grounds of environmental damages, but also because of the miserable condition of the villagers who were forced to evacuate their land and houses. Most of them are still to be resettled.

Ultimately the whole dam will become redundant, like most other huge dams all over the world, as pointed out by various reports, but the government has no eyes to see it.

TRUE FRIENDSHIP IS A BLESSING

In the capitalist system, true frienship is a casualty.

One reason is taht people have to move, necessarily in search of better prospects. Neighbours do not know each other.

In the good old feudal system, all things are settled in advance. You know your future. Just follow the trade of your father. The only change is for girls when they get married. This is done early and you can develop new friends in the husband’s house.

Friendship is free and undemanding. There are no inhibitions; you can talk about even your secrets which you dare not speak out to your spouse or even parents.

If you can develop friendship with your spouse, it is something blissful.

Proper understanding and sympathy are the corner stones of true friendship. As Mark Twane said, if you do a good thing all will support you; he who supports you, even when you are wrong, is a true friend.

DONATE DEAD BODY TO THE NATION

There was a furore in the Rajasthan assembly because a dead body, sent for post mortem disappeared, while the relatives were waiting for it, for doing the last rites. It turned out that the body was sent to a private medical college, presumably for a consideration.

Of course, it was wrong. Whatever is done, should be with the consent of the relatives.

But some larger questions have to be discussed. Even when a body is not recieved, as in an air accident, the rituals can be done. So why waste a body, if it is useful? It is a question of attitudes and some misconceptions about the soul and its salvation or some such things.

There are primitive people who eat the dead body. In the high seas, it is just thrown into the sea, to be eaten away by creatures in the sea.

There should be a campaign for making the public aware of the need for donating the body to the Nation, especially the eyes.

I wish to record my will to donate my body.

FARMERS OF WYNAD SHOW THE WAY

I had suggested that farmers should get at least Rs. 21per litre for milk.

Now I find that, in Wynad district, in Keralam, they have stopped giving milk, as a protest against low procurement price.

I hope the government will heed to their demand and increase the price.

GODS AND GODDESSES ARE ENJOYING DAILY BATH IN THE OPEN PONDS

I am now observing the pattern of ten aarattu (dip in ponds and rivers) of various Devis and Gods, during the pooram festival season.

In order to understand it, you should know their routine life.

Every morning, the poojary bathes the idol in water and then in milk. This is known as abhishek. In Tamilnadu, abhishek in various other media like a mixture of honey, plantain, etc. are also common. Shiva is fond of abhishek with tender coconut water. He is always hot and abhishek is the best way to please Him.

After the morning bath, they are fed. This is pooja. In Keralam, red rice (unpolished) is common. Milk pudding, appam, ada etc. are also offered. The pooja is done at noon and  in the evening also.

When free, gods give darshan (audience) to the devotees.

During ten days of festival season, the deity is taken out by the poojary, and paraded outside the temple on the back of the elephant, in surrounding villages. Any family can offer a large measure of paddy, filled in a para (a measuring vessel made of wood, cylindrical in shape, which was in use during feudal days), in the court yard or on the road itself, purified by smearing cow dung and in front of the lighted oil lamp. This is a good source of income and is now carried in a small truck or cart.

Normally the image is fixed to a semicircular wooden plank, decorated with brass pieces, plated with gold and the poojary has to hold it during the sojourn, sometimes for hours together (even six to ten hours, as the deity cannot be placed anywhere except in a temple). He can drink water, but how does he piss? I put this question to a tantry who said they have to hold it all the while.

At some point during the journey, the villagers arrange pooram. During pooram, the elephant carrying the deity, will be in the centre, with equal number of elephants on either side, so that the total number will remain odd. There will be drum beating for about three hours and fire works in the end.

After that, the deity will be bathed by the poojary in the open, either in a pond or in a river, when all devotees, irrespective of caste, are allowed to dip in the water, at the same time as the poojary dips himself, along with the deity. For this purpose, a small one is used, as the original image is permanently installed in the sanctum of the temple. This mass bathing is called aarattu.

When a pooja is done outside the temple, it is called irakipooja. Only a few families are allowed to do this. During irakipooja, the poojary can refresh himself.

Ammathiruvady (Mahalakshmi of Oorakam ) has only one irakipooja, at my ancestral home, the day before Arattupuzha pooram, this time on 28-3-1o