Saturday, February 13, 2016

Whitish meals

Guruji's posts made me change my whole food eating habits. Long ago, all of a sudden he said, don't eat tomatoes, and i was breaking my head why did he say that. Now it makes sense. So this is for my guruji, without red coloured ingredients, only whitish food. Suraika is also ruled out. Will cut that out in subsequent versions.
Vaazhai poo for mor kootu
Salem's malai nellika

Top: L-R Vaazhai poo more kootu, Vaazhai thandu more kootu, nellika thayir pacchadi, kosambari
Bottom:L-R Curd, rice, poosanika kootu, Jawarisi/Saabudaana pal payasam

Vaazhai poo and Vaazhai thandu more kootu

  • Remove stigma, finely chop plantain flowers, transfer to buttermilk, so that it doesn't darken
  • Boil in slow flowers in slow flame with salt as per need
  • Once soft and cooked, add coconut paste
  • Do tadka with mustard seeds, curry leaves
Nellika thayir pacchadi
  • Boil nellika, once soft mash it (mixie or wooden matthu kattai)
  • Add curd, coconut paste
  • Add fried mustard seeds and curry leaves
Cucumbar kosambari
They serve this way in Raghavendra swamy mutt, Karnataka homes. In Thanjavur side, it is typically cucumber curd salad. Finally decided to make kosambari instead of curd salad.
  • Finely chop cucumber
  • Add soaked yellow moong dal and scraped coconut
  • Add fried mustard seeds and curry leaves, add salt before serving
Poosanikai Kootu
  • Boil finely chopped poosanikai in little water till soft and tender
  • Add coconut cumin seed paste
  • Add fried mustard seeds and curry leaves
Jawarisi pal payasam
  • Soak sabudana/jawarisi and boil till soft in milk
  • Add jaggery, ellaichi to boiled sabudaana and cashew, almonds, raisins fried in ghee
Today mom did all the cooking. Wanted to make coconut pepper chutney, butter jeera rice, coconut rice, white pulao, khas-khas payasam, left it, since mom was cooking. Wondering what else white dish i can offer guruji.

Weekend in village

Tecoma stans/Yellow bells/ Yellow trumphet/ sonnapatti

Chevvarali/kaner/kaaraveer/Nerium oleander

Sheer labour behind the food on plate

Panyaram on sunday with pepper coconut chutney
Same panyaram on saturday with pepper coconut chutney
Two days flew by, same panyaram yet mind craved for more. Maag cauvery snana, village surroundings. Sheer bliss!!!

சுண்டைக்காய் | बृहती | Turkey Berry | Solanum torvum

Sundaika flowers in backyard right next to water tank
This always available whenever i visit akka
Sundaika is one of the satvik vegetables says my guruji. Have always been used to eating sundaika from cousin's place which are never bitter. These non bitter ones grow intertwined with lots of kovai leaves and siru kurinjaan leaves. Akka's sundaika leaf edges are relatively less sharper compared to bitter ones.

Medicinal benefits:

  • medplants explains its use world over with its many regional names.
  • traditionalindianmedicine talks about its use for strengthening bones.
  • Good for getting rid of stomach gas, stomach ulcers

Sundaika flowers in closeup, as if yellow palms are folded in prayer
Found this early morning on the way from cauvery river, leaves are unlike backyard sundaika
Roadside sundaika
Roadside sundaika in the morning
Backyard sundaika growing intertwined with so many other plants

These ones are not bitter, leaf edges are markedly different
Poosanikai which had climbed up gooseberry tree

BIL climbed up on ladder to get three

Poosanika which had climbed gooseberry tree

In villages, prices of green leaves is quarter that of towns. So bought green leaves from seller who came near home. Poosanika was from backyard.

Arisi pal payasam, keerai sambhar, poosanikai kootu, sundaika poriyal, puliotharai, curd
Sundaika Poriyal:
  • Splutter 1/4 tbsp mustards and curry leaves in oil/ghee
  • Add fresh green sundaika, add salt pepper as per taste and stir
  • Leave covered in slowest flame, it would be soft and cooked in 5 minutes
Poosanikai Kootu:
  • Boil poosanika pieces in adequate water and keep aside once soft and cooked
  • Splutter mustards, 4-5 pepper and curry leaves in ghee
  • Add boiled poosanika, cumin coconut paste, stir for a minute and take it off the flame
Keerai kootu:
  • Wash and cut green leaves
  • Boil cut leaves with soaked moong dal, a little turmeric, pepper salt in little quantity of water. 
  • Once cooked, take it off the flame and mash it well
  • Splutter mustards, curry leaves, cumin seeds,  in ghee
  • Add mashed green leaves dal paste

Akka made sundaika poriyal, amla poriyal, poosanika poriyal
Sundaika dal with agathi keerai chapathi with paal kollukattai

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Philosophy of Śrī Madhvācārya - B.N.K. Sharma

Notes from today's reading.


He talks about Maitreyī - Yājñavalky's samvada - "न प्रेत्य संज्ञास्ति इति" on how Maitreyī could not understand that there is no consciousness after death.

Madhva holds that the released retain their individual consciousness as released and rest in full knowledge of their deliverance from all misery:
आजन्ममरणं स्मृत्वा मुक्त्वा हर्षमवाप्नुयुः

According to Madhva, Aparokṣajñāna or direct vision of God in his aspect of one's Bimba, opens the door to spiritual redemption.

Madhva distinguishes four states of the fruits of Aparokṣa: (1) karmanāśa (2) Utkrānti or Laya (4) Mārga and (4) Bhoga

Madhva distinguishes between two kinds of anārabdha karma (karma that has not yet begun to bear fruit) viz., इष्ट and अनिष्ट. अनिष्ट is destroyed and इष्ट is credited to the account of released in mokṣa. The प्रारब्ध alone remains to be worked out. According to Brahmasūtras iii.4.16 reductions and concessions are possible wrt प्रारब्ध.

अपरोक्षज्ञानिन्/जीवनमुक्ता continues in his phyiscal frame till प्रारब्ध gets over.
The destruction of linga śarīra takes place along with four-faced brahman's

Jayatīrtha defines mokṣa in dvidalātmaka: आत्यन्तिकदुःखनिवृत्ति (destruction of sufferings) परमानन्दावाप्ति

Madhva system accepts fourfold distinction of mokṣa into Sālokya,  Sāmīpya, Sārūpya and  Sāyujya taught in Bhāgavata purāṇa. Vyāsatīrtha in this Nyāyāmṛta, mentions that these represent and ascending order of blessedness.


Jaina: ceaseless upward flight in Alokākāśa (nothing spiritual/divine about it to kindle heart of seeker)
Buddhists: nirvāna entry into mahāsūnya (forbidding in aspect)
Advaithic: same as buddhists except for absorption into Brahman (kartṛkarmabhāva)


Madhva discusses the famous text of Chāndogya अशरीरं वाव सन्तं प्रियाप्रिये न स्पृशतः
and establishes that it is only the material joys and pleasures that are regarded as disagreeable to mukta and ruled out while the intrinsic bliss of selfhood adn its enjoyment are accepted without reserve.

Sūtrakāra says that released souls can fashion at will (in conformity with God's will) suitable bodies of śuddhasattva or enjoy themselves with their own spiritual bodies composed of cit, ānanda etc. The released may rest in the contemplation of their own blessedness, contrast their present with past and feel thankful for deliverance. They may adore the majesty of God and sing his praises in thousand ways, offer sacrifices, only that nothing is obligatory there, no punishment if not done. Unlimited scope for spontaneous creative work of any kind - karma, jnana, bhakti

It is freedom from all conditions that distinguishes the life in Mokṣa from ordinary life. बन्धप्रत्यवायाभावे हि मोक्षस्य अर्थवत्तवम्, अन्यतथा मोक्षत्वमेव न स्यात् (Brahmasūtra bhāṣya iii.3.3) 

भक्तिर्ज्ञानं तथा ध्यानं मुक्तानामपि सर्वशः।
साधनानि तु सर्वाणि भक्तिज्ञानप्रवृद्धये।
नैवान्यसाधनं भक्तिः फलरुपा हि सा यतः॥ 
(Madhva, commentary of BrhUp i.4)

Madhva has brought together certain texts beraing upon nature of life in the released state. Most important being:
सर्वे नन्दन्ति यशसागतेन सभासाहेन सख्या सखायः
अक्षण्वन्तः कर्णवन्तः सखायो मनोजवेष्वसमा बभूवुः

Some enjoy with women, some praise lord, some exclaim words like hāvu, hāvu, some practise yajya as per purvaabhyasa, some have darshan of pitradi, some play with suddhasattva nirmitta sarira, some dance, some play instruments - 11 such points as per author of Madhvasiddhantasara.

Next weekend:

The rights and liberties of the freed are constitutionally defined and properly safeguarded by the principle of undictated harmony (satyakāmatā) of their nature. There is no room for discord or jealousy there. Each one has his reward and each feels so happy and full to the brim: like bowls and pitchers, rivers and seas filled to capacity.

Concept of svarūpānandatāratamya. Every released soul is perfect in its own way; but the perfection (pūrṇatva) of each is distinctive, sui generis. It is an expression of self hood.

It is a conception which applies to spiritual life the principle of peaceful co-existence and fellowship to the whole community of the released souls and guarantees to each one of them the fundamental right to exist sui juris and to be in a position to have complete and distinctive enjoyment of its own selfhood and Svarūpānanda in communion with Brahman.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dwidala in Akka's home

Akka has kaimanam, that some women have, imparting special taste to anything she prepares. Came for cauvery pre dawn dips for karthik navami and it was sheer ambrosia after usual pepper rice with arvi in pg for dwidala.

Agastya Palye, agathi keerai

Poovam vaazhai poo

Mango rice, Coconut pepper chutney, agathi keerai poriyal, vaazhaipoo poriyal, curd

Amla fresh from backyard

Sundaikai poriyal, arai nellikai poriyal, chow chow poriyal, curd
Mango Rice recipe
Splutter mustard, cumin seeds in ghee
Add shredded raw mango, turmeric, salt pepper to taste
Shallow fry, leave it covered for a minute

Coconut Chuntey Recipe
Shred coconut, add pepper, salt to taste, tadka with mustard and curry leaves

Am used to take each stigma separately. Akka removed the maroon coverings in on go, and removed all the stigma in a jiffy.

Vaazhaipoo poriyal Recipe
Cut plaintain flowers
Do tadka with mustards, cumin seeds, curry leaves in ghee
Stir cut plantain flowers, add salt pepper
Leave it covered in slim flame for 10 minutes without adding water

Agathi Keerai poriyal Recipe
Tadka with mustards, cumin seeds in ghee
Add cut agathi keerai and stir for a minute
Add pepper, salt, turmeric, add water as required
Leave it covered for 30 minutes in slim flame
Add shredded coconut

Realized quite late that sundaikai is allowed in dwidala as well as shaak
Sundaikai Poriyal Recipe
Tadka with mustards, cumin seeds, curry leaves in ghee
add cut/uncut sundaikai
Add salt, pepper, turmeric and stir for a minute
Leave it covered, without adding water, for 15 minutes

Arai Nellikai Thokku recipe
Tadka with mustards, curry leaves in ghee
Add shredded nellikai, turmeric, salt, pepper powder
Stir, don't add water, leave it covered in slim flame for 5 minutes
This is yum with curd

Chowchow poriyal
Tadka with mustards, curry leaves in ghee
Add chopped chow chow, turmeric, salt, ground pepper
Stir, don't add water, leave it covered in slim flame for 20 minutes
Add shredded coconut

Monday, September 7, 2015


Akka's home by 3.33

Started off at 3 pm itself, much against the wishes of my team mates, so that i could hit bed by 10 pm at akka's home. Mom was to meet me at akka's place. Lady pickpockets stole mom's purse on the way and mom's reasoning was she travelled on her birth nakshatra (same as lord Krishna) on ashtami. Salem's 3.33 reached in 3 hours 23 minutes. It was another bus trip from Salem. This time, i again travelled further thankfully only 20 minutes before returning. Didn't bother to check yatra panchAng or travel timings. It was pouring heavily and we got thoroughly drenched by the time we reached home. Akka had got castor oil for cleansing tummy before fasting.

River water was full and it was wonderful to stand neck deep in waters and take dips praying. Cauvery current was manageable. Seeing me take 108 dips, the kids nearby started taking 108 dips as well. There was a police van near the river to combat caste based clashes during festivities. Curfew was imposed in the village, but thankfully all went well. Made a sarvato bhadra mandala kolam copying from laptop much to the amusement of neighbours who commented on missing little krishna's feet.

Akka wanted to spare the oil hence she made neivedya kolukattais on wood fire instead of gas stove. End of the day, it was akka's home. Didn't want her to strain making murukku and seedai, so let her do whatever she wanted to offer.

After a midnight prayer to rohini moon and krishna, we hit the bare floor with the cocks mercilessly waking up us early morning with their crowing ruckus. Mom joined me for another final trip to river with dips in swift flowing water and we returned home to find buttermilk with amla and ginger to break fast. Had done EFT on friday itself so that i could break fast on sunday. Helped akka with making agathi keerai chappatis and gorged in previous day evening's kolukattais. Akka made idlis for the family, since with the festivities, agastya keerai was not allowed for the family.

On Sunday, just ate the whole day till tummy burst. Sundaika was surprisingly not at all bitter.
Kollukattais, agathi keerai chappathi, sundaika moong dal, pal kolukattais

Monday, August 17, 2015

Madurai by Seshadri express

My compartment had babies, toddlers and kids of all ages. Reminded me of Kempty falls, where hundreds of kids were present in one place. The breast feeding mom travelling by herself, announced that she had to get down at Thirunelvezhi. Was wondering how come she is wearing black. Early morning, when she was apologizing sorry papa to the crying baby and alighting, it didn't register my sleepy mind.

Hawkers shouting alwa alwa made me wonder, what is this place before Madurai that sells halwa just like in Thirunelveli. Was lying in side upper and wondering why on earth a guy was watching so many snaps of women's hair and backside. When he realized am watching, he quickly switched on the goddess wall paper. I woke up around 6:23 am and decided to get down thinking anyway destination is sometime past 7 am and the whole compartment is empty, let me come down. The first station name i saw was Valliyur and the train stopped at a place between two hills and windmills. On the way i saw clouds sitting on the mountains. Was just gazing at the windmills and a young couple sitting on the platform with their baby.

At last around 7 am decided to ask the guy in the compartment as to when Madurai will come. He said, we had crossed it long before. Was surprised and quickly alighted and asked the uncle on the platform and i got the same answer. Realized busstop was the other side, so had to get down the other side, cross the track and climb up to platform.

There was a Nagercoil lady who said Nagercoil was hardly 15 minutes away in train and she described how different it was from Virudhunagar where she was born. She said who ever came from Virudhunagar to Aralvaimozhi caught wheezing and how people here took bath in rivers instead of closed bathrooms. She was visiting her mom leaving her husband alone because Aralvaimozhi acclimatized husband could not survive Virudhunagar's scorching heat. She kept on stating urangAdhe and asked the ladies next to me to tell me the stop. Got a ticket in Coimbatore express which was arriving in a while and reached brother's new place close to 2 pm instead of 3-4 am. In a way good, bro had to work even on independence day and am glad he did not have to get up so early. Bro's new place was a fine structure, new building and we could see Thiruparankundram hillock from his terrace. Mom came around 9 am on Sunday and we finally left my brother peacefully around 6:30 pm. Mom in one place, sister in another, brother in another and me in another. God only knows if we could ever spend a festival together.