Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Shiva, the mighty architect!

They say God tests his devotees. Lord Shiva was no exception. He often created situations that tired and tested the skills and patience of his devotees.

One such incident was the ‘Pittuku Mann Sumandha Padalam.’

When translated, it means the occasion when Shiva carried sand in exchange for some sweet powered rice!

The water level in the river Vaigai rose and entered into the Pandiya Kingdom. The King summoned his ministers as it was an emergency situation.

After discussing with them, the King ordered that every household should send one member to help build the bank.

According to legend, the original bank was built by Lord Shiva himself and he wanted to test the King and therefore created the flood-like situation.

Upon hearing the King’s orders, one old lady was troubled. She was living all alone and could send nobody for building the bank. She prayed to Lord Shiva and Shiva visited her house in the form of a small boy.

The old lady requested him to partake in the bank building activity on her behalf. The boy agreed, but told her that since he was very hungry, he would eat something and then go.

He told her that he would consider that as his pay! The old lady had nothing but ‘pittu,’ or sweetened rice powder.

Shiva told her to give the loose powder as advance. After eating the loose ones, he wanted to rest a bit, before joining the others in the task. He wanted to eat the shaped ones after completing her work.

When he reached the river bank, Shiva, instead of helping the others, started playing and throwing sand around. He irritated the others who were working seriously. Word was sent to the King about the boy who was caused hindrance to the progress of the work. Finally the King himself came to the scene and after questioning the people around, he ordered his ministers to tie up the boy to a pole. He then whipped the boy to teach him a lesson.At this point Lord Shiva appeared before the King and set the bank right. The water receded and the Kingdom was saved. The King repented his mistake and prostrated before the Lord.

Lord Shiva not only taught the King the correct way to reconstruct the broken bank, he also brought out subtler points that we must not miss.

Before passing an order, the King has to ensure that people in his kingdom are in a position to carry out the orders. The King had not taken into account, old women living alone, before asking every household to spare a member. The Lord, in a very diplomatic manner, made the King aware of the situation in his Kingdom.

Author’s note:

Pittu is rice powder sweetened with jiggery. It is a very healthy and wholesome food. Eating even a little of this gives energy to do hard physical work. Here’s how you can make puttu/pittu easily.

Soak a cup of raw rice for 20 minutes. Spread it on a clean cloth till it dries. Powder the rice. Place a tawa/wok on the stove and add the rice powder. Keep stirring the rice powder until you smell the aroma. It may take about 8 to 10 minutes (on a slow flame, which is highly recommended). Seive the powder and sprinkle water slowly and mix the rice powder with the water. When you hold the powder tightly in your palm it should hold the shape. It you break it, it should be breakable. Steam the powder by placing it on a thin, clean cloth.

After roasting the flour on the wok, this is how it looks...

Sprinkle water and knead well...
When you shape it up it should hold...

When you break it, this is how it looks...

Sieve well before steaming...

The prepared flour is ready to be steamed...

Steam it, preferably in a clean cloth...

Add some jaggery to hot water and let it boil. When you add the syrup in a bowl of cool water, you should be able to roll it into a ball. Remove the jiggery syrup and mix it slowly with the steamed rice powder. Add ghee, fried cashew and cardamom powder.

The jaggery syrup can be rolled into a ball...

‘Puttu’ or ‘pittu’ is a tasty and wholesome food, which even the Gods relished!

A healthy and wholesome meal, fit for the Almighty!