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Friday, February 9, 2024

Thai Amavasai 2024 ~ கருங்கண் தோகை மயிற்பீலி

Today is Thai Amavasai and at Thiruvallikkeni Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman shone in resplendent splendor .. .. .. and  today too, He wore ‘peacock feathers”.  Peacock, any of three species of resplendent birds of the pheasant family, Phasianidae (order Galliformes). Strictly, the male is a peacock, and the female is a peahen; both are peafowl. 


கருங்கண் தோகை மயிற்பீலி அணிந்து .. அருங்கலவுருவின் ஆயர் பெருமான்


Periyazhwar describes Krishna  ~ that of subjects of Gokulam getting stranded on seeing the  beautiful cowherd Lord  adorned with peacock feathers having dark centre spots, and many jewels ….. when His mellifluous music pervaded, it was not only devotees even  the trees stood enchanted, and rained streams of nectar, poured flowers, and bent their upper branches in every which way the stood.   Recently, I had posted on மயிற்பீலி  along with some photos of the Kanu parvettai purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni  whence  Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman adorned attractive  ‘peacock feather’.


The peacock occupies a prominent place in history, mythology, edicts, paintings, sculpture and coins. The blue peacock has often been carried from its original home, India, by traders, travellers, nobles, kings and conquerors. The God Indra’s horses are said to have hair like peacock feathers (mayura-roman) and tails like peacocks (mayura-shepya).  In Hinduism, Lord Krishna adorns peacock feather while the vahana of Lord Karthikeya is peacock.  Some three thousand years ago, the Phoenicians took it to the Pharaohs of Egypt. King Solomon had a fascination for it! The Greek philosopher, Aristophanes, and other writers of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, have mentioned this magnificent bird. Details about the bird came to light when Alexander took back with him from India to Greece some 200 peacocks in about 326 B. C.   According to Greek mythology, Jupiter's mischievous and ill-natured wife, Juno, pulled out hundred eyes of the demon Argus and transplanted them on the tail of her favourite bird, the peacock. Another mythical story runs that when God created the peacock with ornamental feathers, the seven ' Deadly Sins ' protested against such special favours towards this bird. He, therefore, set the eyes of the ' Sins ' on to the feathers, the yellow eye of Envy, the red eye of Murder, the green eye of Jealousy and so on, and liberated the bird. 

Among the birds in India - there are over 2,000 of them - the most magnificent, the most fascinating and the most brilliantly coloured one is the peacock, our National Bird. This splendid bird with its gorgeous plumage and majestic dance, is a familiar sight all over the country. It brings to mind various cherished images and rhythms in life on account of its close association with our art and literature, folklore, religion, legend, rituals and ceremonials. Rigveda, the most ancient Sanskrit text, contains several references to the virtues of the peacock. Legend links it with Lord Krishna who adorns His head with its plumes. In the culture of other countries also it occupies a prominent position. This beautiful bird belongs to the family of pheasants (Phasianidae) and is broadly related to partridges.  

The peacock is known by many names. The common Sanskrit name for it is Mayura, which means a killer. It implies that the peacock is a killer of the killer - the snake. Some of its other names in Sanskrit are Neelakantha, Bhujangabhuk, Sikhi, Kekin, Meghananda, Sikhandin and Candrakin. In Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Marathi, the peacock is called Mor, a derivative from Mayura; in Kannada, Navilu; in Telugu, Nemati; in Tamil and Malayalam, Mayil; in Sinhali, Monara; and in Persian, Taus. In French, it is called Paon; it is Pavo in Latin and Greek. Its zoological name is Pavo Cristatus, which in Greek means peacock with a crest.  

The coloured, external body features of the peacock are suggestive and have invariably been given symbolical names. The Sanskrit term Sikhi or Sikhavala (possessor of the crest ) suggests dignity, novelty and pride. The white patch under the eyes is an artistic touch on the face of the bird, which distinguishes it from its cousin, the Burmese Peacock. For this characteristic, the Indian peacock is called Sitapanga (that which has white outer corners of the eyes ), signifying purity of mind and soul. The blue neck and the breast, adding greatly to the bird's beauty, give it the name Neelakantha (the blue-necked). Since the peacock is a serpent eater, it is believed that the reptile's venom has turned its neck and throat blue. The peacock's most famous ornament is the elongated tail covert. This cluster of feathers also gives it the name Kalapin, alluding to diversity in unity amongst the people of this land.  

These long feathers bearing the peacock's 'eyes' at their distant ends give it the name Candrakin. These ' eyes ' it is believed, were bestowed on the peacock by the war god, Indra. The bright colourful body-cover and wing feathers lend it the names like Chitrapicchaka, Barhina, Barhin ( possessor of brilliantly coloured variegated feathers ). The Sanskrit names Pracalakin and Sikhandin ( possessor of a quivering and dancing tail which is a slave of the body ) are apt as we find that the peacock glides swiftly through thickets and obstacles, carrying its long and heavy train without any impediment.  

Here are some photos of Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman from today’s purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar

PS :  the attributes of peacock excerpted from the book ‘Peacock, our National Bird’ by Ajit Kumar Mukherjee.   

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