Monday, March 8, 2010


VARARUCHI: This is the story of Vararuchi, a great Brahmanan Scholar in the King Vikramaadithyan's court, (around 300 AD) highly learned in all the Saasthrams (sciences). He is said to be the son of famous Govinda Swamy and the author of "Vaakiam" and "Paralpperu", two treatises in "Jyothissaasthram" (Astronomy), both of which were then popular in the Kerala region.

One day, King Vikramaadithyan asked Vararuchi as to which is the most important verse, and in it, the most important phrase, in the entire Ramayanam epic. When he was unable to answer correctly, the king ordered him to come back with the correct answer in 41 days. Vararuchi approached many scholars but still could not come up with the correct answer. On the night of 40th day, as he was resting under a banyan tree, he got a clue to the answer from two spirits which had come there in the form of Kaalameni birds to visit two spirits of the forests who were residing on that tree. According to them, the most important verse was the advice given by Sumithra to Lakshmanan, when Sri Raman, Seetha and Lakshmanan started for forest exile.

"Ramam Dasaratham vidhhi, maam vidhhi Janakaatmajam
Ayodhya mataveem vidhhi, gaccha thaatha yattha sukham"

(Consider Raman as if he were their father Dasarathan, Seetha as mother and the forest as Ayodhya; may the journey be a blessed one).

And the most important phrase in it was "Maam vidhi Janakaatmajam" (Consider Seetha as your mother). At the same time, the birds also brought the unhappy tidings that Vararuchi, the great Brahmanan, is destined to marry the girl just born in a Parayan (very low caste) family.

Vararuchi then returned to King Vikramaadithyan's court and recited this most important verse of Ramayanam which greatly pleased the king who presented Vararuchi with felicitations. Vararuchi used this opportunity for escaping from his fate and convinced the king that unless that child is put to death, the entire kingdom will be under threat. Accordingly, the little girl was traced, kept in a small raft (made out of banana plant peelings) with a lighted torch stuck on its head and floated in the river.

One day, many years later, Vararuchi, during one of his travels, went into a poor Brahmanan's house for food. When Vararuchi set some preconditions (in code language) for taking food there, a girl from inside assured that all the conditions will be met. Impressed by the intelligence of the girl who could understand the complicated conditions he had put forth and the perfect arrangements she made for him, he was attracted to her and married her.

Vararuchi soon realised that the girl he married was the same one who was sent afloat in the river, and that none can change the course of destiny. It was an Antharjanam (Namboothiri wife) of Narippatta Mana of Kodumunda village on the northern bank of Nila (Bharathapuzha) across from Thrithala who had found the floating girl and had raised her.

Thereupon Vararuchi proclaimed ex-communication for himself from the Brahmanan community, due to his marriage with a low caste girl. Along with his wife, Vararuchi started on a pilgrimage.

During Vararuchi's travels along the Nila river, his wife had given birth to twelve children. Each time he told her to go into a denser part of the forest and upon delivery, asked her if the baby had mouth. If she said yes, he would say, "God will feed it if it has mouth", and would ask her to leave the child there and then proceed. Grieved by these, when the 12th child was born, she lied and said the baby did not have a mouth, upon which he permitted her to take the child along. But when she was about to breast-feed it, the mouth was actually not there, proving that the words of great personalities do indeed become real. Vararuchi then deified the child on a hill, which is called "Vaayillaakkunnilappan" (Hill Lord without mouth), near the place Kadampazhipuram (in the present Palakkad dist.).

The children left out in the forest were subsequently found, adopted and raised by families belonging to different communities, recognised one another as they grew up, and used to get-together at the Illam (residence) of the eldest son, Mezhathol Agnihothri, on their father Vararuchi's death anniversary (Sraadham) - so goes the story or myth. These twelve sons are: Mezhathol Agnihothri (Brahmanan), Paakkanaar (Parayan, a very low caste), Rajakan (Washerman), Naaraanathu Bhraanthan (Elayathu, a lower class Brahmanan), Kaarakkal Maatha (high caste Nair), Akavoor Chaathan (Vysyan), Vaduthala Nair (Nair Soldier), Vallon (Thiruvalluvar of Tamil Nadu), Uppukottan (Muslim), Paananaar (Paanan, a very low caste of country musicians), Perumthachan (carpenter), Vaayillaakkunnilappan (deity).

After the "Prathishta" of "Vaayillaakkunnilappan", Vararuchi is believed to have undergone Samaadhi at Mannoor, to get "Moksham", though there is another version that he continued his pilgrimage.

Most of these twelve families still exist in the southern part of Palakkad district (Shoranur, Pattambi and Thrithala areas). Recently, on 30-11-97, all of them met in Vemancheri Mana, the Illam (residence) of Mezhathol Agnihothri, near Thrithala.

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