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Kuzhambu, Rasam & Life

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Thyagarajan, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: KUZHAMBU, RASAM & LIFE :hello:

    (Discussion of diluted philosophy)*


    A great monk sitting under the deep shadow of a large tree began his pedagogy about life to his disciples. He quizzed them about two of the staple South Indians’ meal:

    “Is there any distinction between Kuzhambu & Rasam? Both are prepared using tur dhall, tamarind, salt, mirchi powder & a dash of asafoetida”.

    Just such a naive question - thought perplexed disciples; but when Guruji is asking, there must be something subtle to it than that just meets the eye.


    One young disciple in the front boldly answered,
    “ Guruji, sambar is mixed with cooked rice, eaten first where as rasam rice is always eaten after that”.

    The monk gently smiled and himself answered the puzzle . “Oh my dear! In sambar one can expect one or more vegetables. In rasam there is none.”


    At this juncture, the young disciple who had answered previously said in all haste but in confident tone
    “But Guruji- in lunch served in our mutt, rasam do contain red tomato”.
    Then with a gentle smile Monk softly clarified to him, “My dear son, but in botany, red tomato is a fruit”.

    He proceeded to elaborate further the food philosophy, “ when a person filled with ego, his mind is turbid like Kuzhambu ( tamil word meaning both sambar and perplex).But when mind is devoid of ego, it transforms into a calm and peaceful one akin to unstirred crystal clear rasam. Just to reflect this idea or analogy, in your daily meal, you have sambar & rasam”.

    “We have a unique eating culture in South India.

    Feast provided in wedding celebrations and in other festivals at home and temples, one would find items of food that are served and eaten in a particular order. Kuzhambu (sambar) is eaten first and then followed by rasam and next payasam( kheer) & finally the outstanding buttermilk”.

    “This unique eating culture one may find only in South India. The “ego” that grips the person from head to foot turns him to “rejoice” (? ) in his perpetual perplexity”.

    “The eating of Kuzhambu (sambar) exemplifies this. When this is cleared, mind is still in agitation but after eating thelivu rasam ( rice), it gets more clarity.


    “What follows after eating rasam-rice, is experience of bliss - often exclaimed as ‘heavenly’.
    They are known as payasam(kheer), buttermilk, sweets, etc. “.

    “Butter milk has its own distinctive features. One remembers Tamil New Year Day, when at the end of reading the almanac butter milk served with added tadka, ginger, green mirchi, and curry leaf . In whatever form it is taken, it never fails to provide contentment, a soulful feeling to follow”.

    “In milk is hidden curd, butter, ghee & butter milk. The last stage is butter milk that is akin to reaching the lotus feet of Lord”.

    “Beyond this stage there is nothing more to expect. It indicates, the conclusion of the meal and it is just time to get away and proceed to wash hands.”

    Hence, as explained by monk - life lessons are reflected in our South Indian eating culture too.


    *(An attempt in retelling the anectode from one of Maha Periavals bhashyam)
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    iyerviji, MalStrom, Deepika23 and 5 others like this.
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  2. anika987

    anika987 Finest Post Winner

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    Awesome!
     
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  3. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    I have listened to Mahaperiyava's talk in 1956-57 in Thiruvanaikoil about Sambar-rasam and South Indian method of dining.Kannadigas serve rasam first even twice.But their rasam is a thick syrup like our sambar.
    jayasala42
     
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  4. sln

    sln Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Thyagarajan,
    Rasam means essence."Pibare Rama Rasam rasane Pibare Rama rasam"-a beautiful carnatic song says drink the nectar of Rama to ward off all evils. Rasam also means taste.Onga vazhkaiyile nadandha rasamana vizhayangal irundhal sollunga[Any interesting turn in your life]-the interviewer asks.Squeeze the rasam out of my statement and understand the philosophy says the spiritual guru.In corporate parlance it means executive summary. Making
    Rasam is is the pinnacle of culinary skills.In earlier days prospective cooks had to demonstrate their skills in making rasam before being hired.Rasam is a matter of showing respect to the guest.In many houses they make only kuzhambu and rasam is a mandatory addition when a guest joins you.Unlike kuzhambu, Rasam lends itself to addition of various herbs for tackling,stomach upset,cold and cough etc.More than anything else Rasam gives you the satisfaction of a complete meal.In the current scenario it is not kuzhambu and rasam but kuzhambu or rasam. This subject is a delightful deviation from the horrendous array of grasshoppers,eesels,beetles etc virtually placed in my dining table yesterday.Grateful thanks. SLN
     
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  5. Anusha2917

    Anusha2917 Finest Post Winner

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    :clap2::clap2:
    But missed your signature line.

    God loves Rasam, Kuzhambu and life.
     
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  6. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Oh my god loves South Indian cuisine. Thank you for filling it here and for the applause.
    Regards.
     
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  7. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. Yes indeed it is break from other delicacies of non veg.
    Regards.
     
  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: I agree madam sister. My Basavangudi Periamma in bangalore during those days prior to serving sambar would ask would you like Saru first ?
    Thanks and Regards.
     
  9. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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  10. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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