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Vararuchi

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Vararuchi
See this site, Namboodari Web Site  for his detailed life description
Read a story about Vararuchi and Nand in Panchtantra Stories

There seem to be three Vararuchi -
(1) There was one in Kaanchee, Tamilnaadu in 13th century.
(2) There was one who was a literary man, and
(2) One was astronomer in Kerala in the 4th century -

Vararuchi of Kerala legend was also an astute astronomer believed to be the author of Chandra Vaakya (Moon sentences), a set of numbers specifying the longitudes of the Moon at different intervals of time. It is a set of 248 numbers for calculating the position of the Sun and the Moon. This work is also known by the name Vararuchi Vaakya. These numbers are coded in the Katapayaadi system of numeration and it is believed that Vararuchi himself was the inventor of this system of numeration. The name Vararuchi is associated with more than a dozen works in Sanskrit, and the name Kaatyaayan is associated with about sixteen works. There are around ten works connected with astronomy and mathematics associated with the name of Vararuchi.

Namboodari Web Site says that he was a great scholar in Vikramaaditya's court around 300 AD. He is said to be the son of Govind Swaamy. He has written two books on astrology - "Vaakyam" and "Paralpperu". Vararuchi is believed to be the author of Praakrit Prakaash, the oldest treatise on the grammar of Praakrit language. Vararuchi's name appears in a verse listing the 'nine gems' (Nava Ratna) in the court of one King Vikramaaditya. Vararuchi's name appears as a prominent character in Kathaa Saritsaagar ("Ocean of the Streams of Stories"), a famous 11th century collection of Indian legends, fairy tales and folk tales as retold by a Shaivite Braahman named Som Dev.

One day King Vikramaaditya asked him - "Which is the most important verse and the most important phrase in that verse in the whole Raamaayan, and the most important phrase in it?" When he could not answer, Vikram asked him to come back in 41 days with the correct answer. 39 days passed without a clue. On the night of the 40th day when he was lying under a tree, he got a clue from two spirits who had come there to see other spirits living in that forest. According to them the most important verse was the advice given by Sumitraa to Lakshman at the time of going to exile.

Raamam Dasharatham Vidih Maam Vidih Janakaatmajam
Ayodhyaa Maataveem Vidih Gachchh Yathaa Tathaa Sukham
Consider Raam as if He is your father Dasharath, Seetaa as your mother, and the forest as Ayodhyaa, may the journey be blessed one.

And the most important phrase in it is "Maam Vidih Janakaatmajam" (consider Seetaa as your mother). At the same time the birds also brought the unhappy tidings that "Vararuchi is destined to marry the girl just born in a Paraayan (low caste) family."

Vararuchi's Marriage and Life
Vararuchi is the father figure in a legend in Kerala popularly referred to as the legend of the twelve clans born of a pariah woman. After knowing the verse from Raamaayan, the next day Vararuchi returned the court of Vikramaaditya and told him the most important verse and the phrase in it. Everybody got very happy to hear it and the King gave him a lots of gifts. Vararuchi took this opportunity to kill that child saying that unless she was killed the whole kingdom will be under threat. So that girl was put in banana leaf raft and flowed in a river with a lighted torch at her head. Vararuchi got a sigh of relief.

Many years later, one day Vararuchi went to a poor Braahman's house to have food and told him the conditions of taking food to the Braahman, that a girl from inside indicated that his all conditions will be met. Vararuchi got very surprised at the same time he got very impressed by her intelligence that she could understand his complicated conditions. He was attracted to her and married her.

Vararuchi soon realized that she was the same girl who was floated in the river some years ago and nothing could change his Destiny. So he excommunicated himself from Braahman community because of marrying a low community girl. He set off for pilgrimage along with his wife. During the travel his wife gave birth to 12 children. Each time he told her to go into a dense forest, and after delivery he asked her if the baby had a mouth. If she said "Yes", he would say "God will give him or her his feed", ask her to leave the child then and there and proceed. The wife was so much grieved by this that when she delivered her 12th child she said "The baby has no mouth." So he allowed her to take that baby along with them.

Later when she wanted to breastfeed the baby, she found that the mouth was actually not there. It proved that when great people say something, it is true. He left the baby on a hill. All the children eventually were found, adopted and raised by families. Later they used to have get together at the eldest son's place on their father's Shraaddh day.

His 12 children's sons names are found thus - These twelve sons are: Mezhathol Agnihotree (Braahman, supposed to have lived between 343 and 378 CE), Paakkanaar (Parayan, a very low caste), Rajakan (washerman), Naaraanathu Bhraanthan (Elayathu, a lower class Braahman), Kaarakkal Maatha (high caste Nair), Akavoor Chaathan (Vysyan), Vaduthala Nair (Nair Soldier), Vallon (Thiruvalluvar of Tamil Naadu), Uppukottan (Muslim), Paananaar (Paanan, a very low caste of country musicians), Perumthachan (carpenter), and Vaayillaakkunnilappan (deity).

Vararuchi of Kathaa Sarit Saagar
Kathaa Sarit Saagar was written by a Shaivite Brahman Som Datt in 11th century. Vararuchiís story is told in great detail in the first four chapters of this great collection of stories. The following is a very brief account of the some of the main events in the life of Vararuchi as told in this classic. It emphasizes the divine ancestry and magical powers of Vararuchi

Once Paarvatee pleaded Shiv to tell her a story which nobody had heard before. So after much persuasion, Shiv told her a story of Vidyaadhar. Nobody could hear that story that is why Paarvatee asked Nandee Jee to guard the door. When Shiv was telling the story, a trusted Gan of Shiv named Pushpdant appeared at the door and asked Nandee to let him enter, but Nandee refused. So using his special powers Nandee entered the room unseen and heard the whole story. Pushpdant told that story to his wife Jayaa and Jayaa, in turn, told the same story to Paarvatee. Paarvatee got very angry at Shiv, she said to him - "You told me that you were telling a story which was not told to anybody else except me, but Jayaa knows it." Shiv meditated and knew that Pushpdant overheard it and told it to his wife Jayaa. Hearing this Paarvatee filled with rage and she cursed Pushpdant to take birth on Prithvi. Both Pushpdant and Jayaa fell on Paarvatee's feet and asked her when her curse would end? Paarvatee said - "A Yaksh named Suprateek, who has been made a Pishaach by the curse of Kuber, is residing in the Vindhya forest under the name of Kaanaabhooti. When you will see him, and calling to mind your origin, tell him this story; then only you will be released from this curse."

Thus Pushpadant was born on Prithvi under the name of Vararuchi in the city called Kaushaambee in the house of a Braahman named Som Datt and Vasu Dattaa. Vararuchi was also known as Kaatyaayan. At the time of his birth there was a heavenly pronouncement that because he will have interest (Ruchi) in the best (Var means the best) thing, that is why he would be known as Varauchi. It was also anounced that he would be a world-renowned authority on grammar. Vararuchi was divinely blessed with a special gift - who could get anything by heart by hearing only once. In course of time Vararuchi became a student of Varsh along with Indra Datt and Vyaadi. Though Vararuchi was defeated by Paanini in a test of scholarship, Vararuchi by his hard work excelled Paanini in grammar. Later Vararuchi became a minister to King Yogaanand of Paataliputra.

Once he went to visit to the shrine of Durgaa. Goddess Durgaa, being pleased with his austerities, ordered him in a dream to go to the forests of the Vindhya Parvat to behold Kaanaabhooti. Proceeding to Vindhya, he saw that Paishaach Kaanaabhooti, in stature like a Shaal tree, surrounded by hundreds of Pishaach. When Kaanaabhooti had seen him, he respectfully clasped his feet. Kaatyaayan sat down immediately and spoke to him - "You are an observer of the good custom, how have you come into this state?" When Kaanaabhooti finished his story, Vararuchi remembered his own origin, and exclaimed like one aroused from sleep - "I am that very Pushpadant, hear that tale from me." and Vararuchi told all his history from his birth at full length. Vararuchi then went to the tranquil site of the hermitage of Badaree. There he, desirous of putting off his mortal condition, resorted for meditation with intense devotion to that goddess and she, manifested her real form to him, and told him the secret of that meditation which arises from fire, to help him to put off the body. Then Vararuchi, having consumed his body by that form of meditation, reached his own heavenly home.

Vararuchi in Panchtantra Stories
A Panchtantra Story about Vararuchi and King Nand

* Some say that there was a Brahman named Vidyaa Saagar and he married four women from four Varn as according to Dharm Shaastra that a Braahman can have 4 wives. So he got Vararuchi from his Braahman wife, Vikramaaditya from his Kshatriya wife, Bhattee from his Vaishya wife and Bhartrihari from his Shoodra wife. Thus Vararuchi, Vikramaaditya, Bhatti and Bhartrihari were brothers.

 

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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Contact:  sushmajee@yahoo.com
Updated on 10/20/12