THE HISTORY OF PAZHOOR PADIPPURA


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Friday, 10 June 2011


LEGEND OF PAZHOOR PADIPPURA the Abode of Astrology

Pazhoor is a small village in Ernakulam district. There is a family in that village who are practicing astrology traditionally. Their old style house has a ‘Padippura’. (The houses constructed as per the ancient architecture of Kerala, will have two or three rooms constructed along with the gate. This structure is called ‘Padippura’ which means house at gate. This is meant for unexpected and unknown visitors, who need an accommodation for a night during travel). It is believed that the things predicted by the eldest member of this family, sitting in this padippura will be correct. Here is the legend behind this family becoming so famous in the field of astrology and this padippura becoming the abode of accurate predictions.

There was a great astrologer called Thalakkulathoor Bhattathiri. Once, he went through his own horoscope and to his surprise he came to know that he is going to loose his status in the society very soon. Bhattathiri was a Brahmin and according to the custom prevailed at that time a Brahmin will loose his status if he indulge in physical relation with a woman belongs to lower casts. Being an astrologer he knew that he can not avert the fate. Still he wanted to try. He decided to go for a pilgrimage. His plan was to be on move all the days so that there will be no chance of making acquaintance with women. Thus, he thought he can avert the fate.

He continued his journey and as the D day mentioned in the horoscope approached he reached the village of Pazhoor. It was on that night the destiny has kept the biggest shock of his life for Bhattathiri. So he decided to spend whole night with his friends. To pass time they have hired a snake boat (Traditional long boats of Kerala which are used in boat races) and started playing in Pazhoor river. They decided to spend the whole night in the river itself. So there will not be any chance for Bhattathiri to come across with a woman.

As the mid night came the climate has changed suddenly. Thick clouds formed above the sky and started raining suddenly. In heavy rain and storm their boat turned upside down and all had to struggle for their lives. Being a good swimmer, Bhattathiri managed to reach the banks. It was still raining heavily. Soaked in rain and shivering with cold he walked through the road ahead. He was known to that village and was not aware of the area. Still he walked till he saw a small light. Once he saw the light he changed his direction and walked towards it. As he reached there he found it to be house and the light was from a small oil lamb kept there in the padippura of that house. As he entered in that padippura he saw a coat which is kept ready with mat and bed sheets and a blanket. As he was so tired and was shivering he did not even bothered to inform the residents of the house about his arrival. He slept on that coat.

The head of that family was a drunkard. He came there in inebriated condition in the evening and had a conflict with his wife. He left the house in anger. So his wife was alone inside the house and she was waiting for him. As it was too late and as her husband had not returned, she came out of the house. As the small lamb went off in wind it was dark there. Still she could see somebody sleeping on the coat kept in the padippura. She thought it was her husband. He might have come late and as he did not want to disturb her might decided to sleep there. Being a loving wife she also went there and slept on the coat. As she did not want to disturb his sleep she did not bothered to wake him up.

It was still raining and cool wind was also there. As the lady slept beside him, though in deep sleep Bhattathiri could feel the warmth and he moved closer to her. She too was got tempted and finally they made it there. Once everything is finished, Bhattathiri realized that the fate won the battle. By that time the rain stopped and the stars started twinkling in the sky. He woke up and asked her who she was. Hearing his voice she understood that the man whom she slept with was not her husband. Realizing her mistake she got away from the coat and stood with bowed head and fear. Though she was not able to speak as she was shivering with fear she said.

“ I am a ‘KANIYAATTI’. ( Kaniyar is a non Brahmin cast and on those days when one’s profession was decided by his cast Kaniyars used to practice astrology among lower casts and the women of that cast were called as KANIYATTI) “As it was so dark I could not recognize you and I mistook you as my husband. It was a mistake and I beg your pardon”

Then Bhattathiri revealed who he was and told her about his findings in his own horoscope. Then he consoled her saying it was fate and no human being can escape it. Then he blessed her saying that she will give birth to a boy child from their relation and that boy will become a famous astrologer bringing all fortunes to her family. Then he left the place and went for continuing his pilgrimage as he did not want to return to his home after loosing his status.

Days have passed and as blessed by the Bhattathiri, that woman gave birth to a boy child. He completed his education as per the systems prevailed at that time and took astrology as his profession. Soon he became famous and even consulted by Brahmins.

Once, a Brahmin approached him. He was eagerly waiting to have boy child. But unfortunately all the children his wife delivered were girls. At that time the Brahmin’s wife was pregnant and he wanted to know whether it will be a boy child this time. The young astrologer agreed to help him and went to that Brahmin’s house. As he reached there an old man clad in saffron clothes was sitting in the portico. Brahmin introduced him as a gypsy saint who is wandering all over. Brahmin told the young astrologer that this saint has come the day previous to his house and requested for permission to stay there for two days. After exchanging pleasantries with the saint the astrologer started a short ritual. At the end of it he sat in meditation with closed eyes for a while and without opening his eyes he uttered.

“Hey Brahmin, this time too you are unlucky. Your wife will give birth to a girl child.”

It was a shock to that poor Brahmin. It was not that his hatred, but the thoughts of getting daughters married prevented him from having girl children. Moreover if he does not have a boy, family will end with himself and there will not be anybody to conduct rituals after his death. So he requested the astrologer to find some remedy to have a boy at least next time for which the astrologer said nothing. Then the saint interfered in their conversation and told that he too knew a little bit of astrology and as per his knowledge it will be a boy this time the wife of the Brahmin going to deliver. This started a debate between the young astrologer and the saint. At last the saint asked the Brahmin to allow him to stay there till the delivery date of his wife and he will see that the lady gives birth to a boy. Brahmin allowed it and the astrologer went back saying that his predictions will never fail.

Days have passed. On the day when the Brahmin’s wife is expected to deliver, the young astrologer too came there. As both the saint and the astrologer were waiting to see the result of their predictions, they heard the loud voice of a servant who was shouting that their cow too about to deliver. Then the Brahmin asked both of them about the calf. Astrologer told that it will have a white patch on the forehead. Then the saint interpreted him saying that it will not be with a white patch on the fore head but with white hairs on the tail.

As they where eagerly waiting the cow delivered. To the surprise of the young astrologer it was an ox with white hairs on the tail. And in the case of Brahmin too the prediction of the young astrologer went wrong. His wife gave birth to a boy child. The feelings of the astrologer can not be described. This was the first incident where his predictions went wrong. More than the fear of losing his credibility, he worried about what went wrong. He was so sure that he did the studies as per the texts he learned and he performed all the rituals before giving a prediction. Then he suspected the identity of the saint. He was sure by that time that this gypsy is not an ordinary man. And this saint must be his father Thalakkulathu Bhattathiri, he thought. Because he knew that nobody can predict so accurately other than his father. Somehow he mustered courage to ask the saint about his identity. To his surprise, this time his calculation was right. The young astrologer was so happy to meet his father for the first time in life. He insisted that his father should come to his home. Bhattathiri agreed and they proceeded to pazhoor. On the way he asked his father about the wrong predictions. In reply Bhattathiri told him that it was lack of observation power that resulted in wrong predictions. When a fetus is less than three months old a Brahmin can change its gender. That is the power of Vedas he learned.
“So never predict about the gender of the fetus if it is less than three month old”. He advised his son. Again he pointed out that when the calf was inside the womb of the cow its tail had come to its head and he mistook the white hairs as white patch on the fore head. Like this they talked a lot of things about astrology as they walked on the way to home. As they reached home, the young astrologer’s mother was happy to see Bhattathiri once again after so many year. But the memories of that rainy night made her shy and she could not face him at first. Still she played a good host to Bhattathiri.

Enjoying the hospitality of his son and his mother, Bhattathiri stayed there for two days. Then he decided to leave the home for continuing his pilgrimage. He never stayed at a place for more than a day after that night’s incident. The only exception was his stay with that Brahmin during the pregnancy of the Brahmin’s wife. But his son was in no mood to leave him. His mother, who became a widow by then, was also of the opinion that Bhattathiri should live the remaining life with them. As he was not able to resist their request filled with love Bhattathiri too decided to stay back there. He spent his remaining days with his son, giving him advises in astrology. As the time passed Bhattathiri realized that his time is approaching for leaving this world. He told his son about it and asked him not to cremate his body instead he asked his son to bury his body in the padippura where he had physical relation with the kaniyatti on that night.
“So my soul will remain there forever. And all the predictions you and your coming generations are making will be accurate if you are making it sitting inside that padippura.” Saying this Bhattathiri went to the padippura and laid himself on the floor. Within seconds he died.

As per Bhattathiri’s directions, his son buried his body inside that padippura. It is believed that even now Bhattathiri’s soul is there  and the predictions made inside that padippura by the family members will be accurate.