Two women who transformed through Buddism's truth about life - Manimekalai Tamil epic

Women who transformed through Buddha

This history happened in south India [Tamil Nadu state] in 2nd century A.D.

Puhar was a well-known port town which connected east and west to Chola dynasty.

River Cauvery merges with sea here.

There lived 2 great merchants who traded with many East Asian nations and they were very rich.

They have a son called Kovalan and daughter Kannagi.

Both got married.

But meanwhile Kovalan felt in love with the royal dancer Madhavi. She came from a rich prostitution family but she lived only for this man and both of them gave birth to a daughter called Manimekalai.

But in due course of time, Kovalan and Madhavi broke up in love and Kovalan came back to his wife. To initiate a fresh life they left to Madurai [One of the oldest city in world]

Kovalan took Kannagi's anklet [jewel to wear at foot] and tried to sell. But he was mistaken as a thief and killed by Madurai king without inquiry.

Kannagi went to the court and proved that her husband was not the thief and she too shed her body.

Kovalana nd Kannagi were put into this tough time because of the action of their previous birth which they had in present Singapore [Singapuram]

They were the king and queen who killed a merchant mistaken as a spy from China without inquiry.

The merchant's wife cursed the king and queen died by killing herself.

When Kovalan-Kannagi;s parents heard the incident, both mothers died and fathers realized the impermanence of life, body, wealth and took abode under a great Buddist monastery in Puhar. They handed over all their wealth for charity through the Buddist monk - Aravana adikal [In Tamil Language a bukshu is named as adikal]

Then they left to city Vanji [Modern Kodungalore in Kerala state in South India] where they stayed in Sakhya Muni Monastery and became monks. Kovalan's fore fathers have donated funds to erect that Buddha vihar [temple] and also gave funds to Tibet Buddha temples say the history.

Madhavi heard the tragedy of Kovalan and Kannagi and she also started realizing the impermanence of life. She had great transformation through local Buddist monastery and she gave up all her wealth, awards and joined as Buddist nun along with her only daughter Manimekalai [at the age of 18]

Manimekali went to Manipallava Island [Rameshwaram near SriLanka] to take special lessons about Buddism and she was blessed with the sacred bowl [Aumdha surabi - bowl of ever flowing food] on Buddha poornima day [Vesak]

She came to Puhar served handicaps, orphans, destitute and also gave great lessons about thamma to prisoners and transformed them.

King and people could not digest this and Madhavi's mother advised her to leave the monastery. She also compelled Manimekali to take the royal prostitution. But mother and daughter with the Buddist tutor left the Puhar city.

Manimekalai left to Vanji, met her father's father and got many lessons from various schools of religions. She also worshiped the tomb of Kannagi and Kovalan and left to the great city Kanchipuram in north Tamil Nadu where Ashoka built 100ft tall Buddha sthupa and 10,000 monks lived. Kanchipuram was the greatest site for East Asian Buddism learning from where tutors left to all nations. Manimekalai with her mother settled in Kanchipuram. She started the ''Amudha surabi'' organization and served the society and followed the path of Buddha thamma.Kanchipuram has also been visited by Yuan swang from China in 7th century A.D.

Mother and daughter well understood the impermanence of life and they had underwent the greatest transformation through Buddism and started following the thamma.

Serving the destitute, orphans, handicaps, and prisoners has been well initiated by Manimekalai before 2000 years.

Today these 2 women as Buddist nuns stand before the society for a healthy service life.

With regards,

Dr.Madeswaran - Ph.D [Tamil]

Teacher and public speaker

Reference: Silapathikaaram and Manimekalai [win epics of Tamil Language] – 2nd century A.D

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