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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sri Parthasarathi Chithirai Brahmothsavam ~ Hamsa Vahanam Day 3

 On  third day of  Chithirai Brahmothsavam of Sri Parthasarathi Perumal [24th April 2016]  – it is Garuda vahanam in the morning and  ‘Hamsa Vahanam’ in the evening .  The  Thiruvallikkeni  Hamsa vahanam is one of the heaviest among the vahanams.  The bird is known for its purity and powers.  Thirumangai Mannan in his ‘Thirunedunthandagam’ draws a reference to the Hamsa bird.:  

மின்னுமாமழை தவழும் மேகவண்ணா *  விண்ணவர்தம் பெருமானே! அருளாயென்று** அன்னமாய் முனிவரோடு அமரரேத்த *   அருமறையை வெளிப்படுத்த அம்மான் தன்னை"........
சர்வேஸ்வரன் முனிவர்களும் தேவர்களும் ஸ்தோத்திரம் செய்ததற்கு இணங்கி ஹம்சரூபியாய் அவதரித்து அருமையான வேதங்களை வெளிப்படுத்தி அருளினார். 
The Hamsa is a familiar leitmotif in Indian art, literature, sculpture and textiles. It is an aquatic bird that resembles a goose or a swan. It is reputed to eat pearls and to be able to separate milk from water and drink only pure milk.  The Hamsa represents the perfect  harmony between spirituality and life.  Hamsam is attributed qualities of  purity, detachment, divine knowledge, cosmic breath (prana) and highest spiritual accomplishment.

Some call it a legendary bird akin to a Swan and some writers contend that goose is more Indian than a swan, without ever realising that climatic conditions, migratory pattern, aves behaviour could all have changed substantially over centuries. The bird Hamsa represented in our culture is reputed to eat pearls, has the capacity to separate milk from water and drink only pure milk.  What humans would ever aspire to ~ discarding all impurities.  The Hamsa represents the perfect  harmony between spirituality and life.  It was indeed a grand purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni and here are some photos.

Would have heard of metaphorical phrase ‘swan song’ denoting a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. The phrase refers to an ancient belief that swans (Cygnus spp.) sing a beautiful song in the moment just before death, having been silent (or alternatively, not so musical) during most of their lifetime.  That is based on Western poetry, without much of scientific basis though….

Miles away in Houston, Texas, where major flooding was reported recently, a midwife hitched a ride on an inflatable swan to deliver a baby. An expectant mother had early labour, the midwife could not execute her plan of involving kayak.  Upon realising that she could not carry her equipment wading through water, she reportedly boarded an  inflatable swan till the end of the street, then getting on to a pickup truck.  Flooding in the Houston area has left eight people dead  earlier this month. Over 1,100 residences are reportedly  damaged and more than 1,000 water rescues have been reported.

While people find it hard to accept whatever is stated in scriptures, the close relationship between a man and a swan has been revealed in a story that appeared in ABC news.  A swan had earlier been injured from flying into a chain link fence, and was nursed back to health by a man who later transported it to a sanctuary.  The man a TV presenter visited the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset later after a few years, the bird was reunited and exhibited that it had not forgotten the act of kindness and was captured displaying its gratitude.

'I pulled it to my chest and somehow it felt comfortable or safe, and within minutes it just surrendered itself. It literally took its neck and wrapped it around mine,' Wiese told ABC News. 'It's a wonderful moment when an animal totally trusts you,' he added.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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