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Stories

Puḷindῑ Mōkṣam

 

The story of Puḷindῑ Mōkṣam originates from the Śiva Purāṇa, an ancient text on the god Lord Śiva, and was retold by the poet Kunchan Nambiar in the Parayan Thuḷḷal style. He took the opportunity to interweave some partially stinging criticism of how the priest castes behaved themselves - especially towards the Parayans, a caste of untouchables, and whom he dedicated this type of Thuḷḷal to. The wealth of social criticism and philosophical images as well as the unpopularity of the topic - at least as seen by the Brahmans - kept this and the further eight stories in the Parayan style off most of the Keralese stages up to this very day.

 

A king explains an important ritual (Pūja) to a hunter. The hunter lets his wife participate. One day he cannot find any Bhasmam, the ash of a burnt deceased person, which is a necessary part of the ritual. His wife Puḷind offers to burn herself in order for the ritual to continue. She convinces her "shocked" husband through a very philosophical description of bodily decay, speaks about the separation of body and soul and the divine presence in everything.

 

As simple, "primitive" people the hunter and his wife subsequently are bestowed with Mōkṣam, the gift of release from the cycle of reincarnation by the god Lord Śiva. This puts a pillar of the caste system in question which states that the soul must go through a spiritual development which culminates in the priest cast, which is seen as the pinnacle of this evolution.

 

Puḷindῑ Mōkṣam was the first text that I translated into German. I have been performing this text since October of 1995.

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Hartmut Schmidt

Harianu Harshita

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

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