One swamy Sri U. So, adiyen requested Sri U. Sundararaja iyengAr swamy srirangavAsi now who is a well respected authority in our sampradhAyam. This article is an attempt to document those valuable questions and answers. It is an effort to document what is mentioned in sAstram in this regard.
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There are several members of family and many friends of mine too who simply can barely survive the first half-hour of the waking day without first downing the customary steaming cup of what they regard as the life-giving brew.
For many of them a cup of coffee is more satisfying, more energising than full breakfast of any kind continental, tandoori, American, Buddhist In the days of my childhood, there used to be a different sort of brew other than coffee which was made mandatory for young, school-going members of the family.
Very early office-goers too used to favour it. I am not sure if Swami Desikan included it in his "AhAra-niyamam" Anbil can throw light on it. The unusual cold brew is known even today in some Tamilian houses as "pazhai-yathu". In most households in those days, womenfolk always deliberately erred on the safe side in cooking rice for supper. If they had 12 members in the family to feed, the quantity of rice they cooked would actually be sufficient to feed at least The excess rice they reckoned would insure them from the contingency of unexpected guests or up-country relatives who in those days would suddenly drop by without notice.
More often than not such "excess rice" would remain unconsumed. Instead of dumping it down the trash-can as is done these days the womenfolk used it for preparing "pazhai-yathu"! Before retiring for the night, the "excess unconsumed rice" would be decanted into a large earthen pot. The pot would then be filled with water to a level that ensured the rice lay submerged. The pot would then be covered and left in a corner of the kitchen. Overnight due to a process of mild fermentation the mix of "cooked rice and water" will churn into a rich cold brew called "pazhai-yathu".
The next morning, the womenfolk will retrieve the brew from the pot, drain the water away, rinse the rice with rarefied yoghurt and serve it with a dab of salt and generous dollops of delicious "lime-pickle" Believe me I have consumed lots of "pazhai-yathu" in my life I have had lots of "pazhai-yathu" and I can tell you from experience it is simply delectable fare! Because its ingredient is "cooked rice" carried forward from the previous night, the cold brew is called in Tamil as "pazhai-yathu" I suspect it has no credentials whatsoever Mukkur Swami II once speak of the brew in highly reverential terms!!
I was dumbfounded by this absurd assertion and asked him how this could be so. Similarly in Pushkaram in Rajasthan, The Lord is said to be "jala-rupiyan" Again in NaimishAranyam in Uttar Pradesh the form of Lord Narayana is said to be seen in the dark, lush and lovely woods there He appears to us as "vana-rupan" there. Lastly, in the holy streams of Gandaki in Nepal, we know, Narayanan appears in the form of "salagrAma" So why should it not be possible for the Lord to appear before us in the form of "ahAra", too?
I was stumped by this argument of Mukkur Swami. Deep down it made me vaguely recall too the familiar Vedic incantation, "aham-annam-aham-annam Does poor Narayana deserve the relegation of being equated with such a lowly form of cold, SriVaishnava house-hold brew?
Is it not unpardonable "bhagavat-apachAram"? Mukkur Swamy. Therefore I conclude the brew is verily the form of the Lord Himself. He is known as the "old-Groom" in SriVaishnava theology and poetry It is known to this day only to "bhaktA-s" who are extremely few in number and rare to find in the world. Similarly, the numbers of people who truly know the nutritional worth and delicacy of the "pazhai-yathu" are very scant durlabham". In the villages even today farmers are known to consume this brew in the morning and proceed to their fields for harvest where they labour for hours under the scorching sun.
It is the special nutritional properties of "pazhai-yathu" consumed by them which sustains them through the day and prevents de-hydration. Similarly worship of Lord Narayana in the small hours of the morning, we know from our faith, protects us from the "samsAric" heat of the day Shed thy coolness on me who am scorched by the summer-heat of the 3 afflictions tApa-traya Your good "pazhai-yathu" too is a sort of "jalE-sayAnin" Ever since I heard Sri. Mukkur Swamy on the "pazhai-yathu", everytime I see a bowl of the cold brew I am inclined to first worshipfully prostrate before it It is unfortunate one can never speak in the above terms about the most popular hot brew in the world your good old coffee.
coffee, AhAra-niyamam and Sriman Narayanan
One swamy Sri U. So, adiyen requested Sri U. Sundararaja iyengAr swamy srirangavAsi now who is a well respected authority in our sampradhAyam. This article is an attempt to document those valuable questions and answers.