Free Press Journal

The Great Sacrifices – Tamil King Pari



V Gangadhar longs for the good, old days when people and kings were ready to give up their near and dear ones and prized possessions. Those were the days of Great Sacrifices. The present is so different, finds out V GANGADHAR.

There is a cry from all over India for a return to the good, old days when Women were chaste, men were brave and ready for any sacrifices. Epics were full of episodes on the sacrifice theme within the family, kingdom and what not. The kings and queens led from the front on the sacrifice front, the nobility of a man was judged on the kind of sacrifices he was ready to make.

To summarise, life was just one great sacrifice. Yet, a lot of people were greedy and Indians led the others. People wanted long life; in fact immortality and the few of the Indian saints who were gifted with such boons sacrificed their divine gifts. The DMK and the AIADMK leaders of Tamil Nadu were leaders on the sacrificial front though it was difficult to understand why they threw away such wonderful gifts. What did they want in return? More precious gifts?

Take the case of famous Tamil King Pari known for his generosity and gift-giving nature. Throughout his life he prayed, did penance, obtained divine gifts which he gave away! He was recognized as the most generous king in the region. Once King Pari prayed for the ultimate gift, a fruit which would provide him with immortality. Pleased with his penance, the gods appeared before him, told him they were pleased with his prayers and asked him what he desired as a gift.

The gods were aware of Pari’s gife loving nature. Once during the course of an extra-long penance which stretched into months. King Pari had left his golden chariot very close to some bushes. At the end of his penance when he opened his eyes he discovered that hid golden chariot had disappeared, obviously eaten up by the thick growth of thirsty plants. Pari did not bother, walked away leaving his chariot to the thirsty plants

When Pari was in penance the world was in thrall because it did not kmow what he would demand from the gods. Another time after yet another marathon instance of Tapas, King Pari demanded and received a divine gift which would provide him with immortality. After he received the divine gift, Pari was assailed with self doubts on his suitability to accept the gift and concluded he was not. He searched high and low for a better person and finally discovered the great Tamil poetess, Avvaiyar and presented her with the divine fruit. The legend days that Avvaiyar lived for hundreds of years enriching Tamil literature and culture with rich poetry.

That was in the good old days. Today, such a charity may not work.Can you think of any modern human being who would give away a divine gift which would endow on the recipient the gift of immortality? Not many people these days would give away such a costly gift. But there are noble spirits. One of them is Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who had been gifted with an expensive foreign ‘hublot’ watch worth Rs 70 lakhs, gifted by a friend, Can anyone deny this was a noble gesture like that of King Pari?  Which modern Chief Minister would part with a watch so costly and so unique to measure accurate time during the assembly walkouts, ‘dharana’ and so on.

The Karnataka Chief Minister’s noble act stands alone and he joins the ranks of King Pari and poetess Avvaiyar. In fact it was a nobler act than giving away the chariot to jasmine plants.