Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mom’s Eightieth Birthday

My mom celebrated her eightieth birthday on 24th February 2008, at our ancestral house, Parimanathu Kovilakom in Cherthala in the Alleppey District of Kerala.

Eightieth birthday is also known as Aseethy, in Sanskrit.

Nalini Rama Varma

In earlier days, on popular occasions like marriages, Shashtiabdapoorthy (Sixtieth birthday) , Sathabhishekam (Eighty-fourth birthday having seen one thousand full moons) etc, lyrical best wishes, known popularly as “Mangala Pathram” in Malayalam, used to be read in praise of the subject by relatives or acquaintances with poetic skills.
This time, Dinesa Varma of Kattil Kovilakom, Thiruvizha who is a cousin, taken to spirituality and blessed with poetic skills,-presently known as Acharya Sree Visakham Thirunal- wrote and read the following “Mangala Pathram”which was greatly appreciated by all those assembled there.
My duty here is to reproduce the same below for those interested. Just as the many finer aspects of life go unnoticed, the art and habit of writing and dedicating Mangala Pathram also is dying. An amateur English translation by me will help those with lesser command over the Malayalam language to catch the nuances.

Mangala Pathram in Malayalam

Rama Varma

Parimanathu Kovilakom, a view from the south.

Sarpa Kavu -place of serpent worship in the woods-

English Translation of the Mangala Pathram.

Lyrical Best Wishes originally written and read in Malayalam on the eightieth birthday of Nalini Rama Varma of Parimanathu Kovilakom , by Dinesa Varma of Kattil Kovilakom( Acharya Sree Visakham) on 24th February 2008 .

1. My mind, like an ape on the branches of the woods, swings with happiness on sighting the eighty petals that blossom on aunt Nalini*,the lotus.

2.RamaVarma, the uncle and the immaculate man, is not only the husband of the aunt, but is one who has gone much beyond. He is a true general who has braved and broken a thousand moonless nights of this vast ocean of maya#, of desires and temptations.

3.Both of them, like the object and its shadow, used to be omnipresent at all functions of others, about which there is little doubt. Because of this, multitudes of all good people have assembled here to celebrate this auspicious day.

4.When we assemble at Parimanam+, the abode of fragrance, to celebrate this occasion, special fragrance spreads everywhere. Inside the house, fragrance is from the kitchen and outside; the fragrance is spread from the Kavu, the ancient woods in which the serpents are worshipped.

5. Without doubt, you are blessed; your health also is very good just as the serene mind. Oh, mother! Let your Sree Visakham wish you to live here this way for very long with all good fortune and happiness.


* Nalini, in Sanskrit/Malayalam, means lotus
# Maya in Sanskrit denotes the illusionary life.
+Parimanam is the name of the residence. In Malayalam it also means fragrance

Dubai, 6th March 2008.


Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Well Happy bday to your mama then. You keralites have strange and intriguing customs, but it all looks really fascinating!!

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Laksmi,

Thanks for your comment. I was on holidays in India and was at my
ancestral home to see my mom and Dad. I told of your greetings to a
grandma and she sends you her blessings.

I too have a daughter , elder to you, doing her B.Arch in Chennai and
to you , little child, let me give you my blessings to grow yourself
as a "great lady."

Murali Uncle

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