Antaka Vadham


The story of Antaka Vadham, from the Mārkaṇdēya Purāṇa, describes how the unhappy, since childless, holy man Mṛkaṇdu asks the god Lord Viṣṇu for a son. This is finally granted under the condition that the exceptionally gifted son will die when turns 16. So, on Mārkaṇdēya's sixteenth birthday, Antaka,  the god of death appears and comes to collect the promised soul. In his desperation the clueless son flees into the temple and asks the god Lord Śiva for help. Enraged by the threat to his devotee, he kills Antaka with his trident.


The second part is the critical but often quite humorous observation of a society in which death does not exist. Neither human nor animal can die. There are no rules anymore. Hardship and misery rule everyday life. Towards the end it becomes clear: only through the cycle of birth and death is life on earth at all possible.


Antaka Vadham was written by Kunchan Nambiar in the Śtankan Thuḷḷal style and is among the less popular stories by this 18th century poet. My performance on February 19, 2005, at the well-known Śiva temple in Ernakulam / Kerala, was the first time it was presented in Malayāḷam and on stage after a gap of several years. With my translation into German, which I have been performing regularly since August of 2006, this story is saved from being forgotten and made accessible to people from our culture sphere for the first time.


Hartmut Schmidt

Harianu Harshita

Tel. +49 761-623 47
E-mail: info@thullal.com

Druckversion | Sitemap
© Hartmut Schmidt | Harianu Harshita