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Day 57: Manjadikuru (The Little Red Seeds)

Do you guys know about Manjadikuru ? They are the little red seeds. For anyone who is from God's own country or is familiar with Kerala wouldn't have missed this. There is something special about holding them, playing with these seeds. Usually, most homes will have a small 'uruli' or a bowl filled with these beautiful and shiny red seeds. In most Krishna temples in Kerala, you will come across a small 'uruli' with Manjadikuru. People believe that it is lucky to take these seeds with both hands and just play with them when you visit a temple. Some even leave a couple of coins as they do this.  In Guruvayoor (my favorite place), you can see a big 'uruli' with manjadi. 


Manjaadikuru-Vishukani at home
Picture Courtesy: Meena Arvind
So, why and how did this become prevalent ? It goes back to a story from the past. Many years ago, there lived a poor lady in northern Kerala. She was an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayoorappan (Krishna) and always wanted to visit Guruvayoor.  She could not afford to buy any offering (nivedyam) for the Lord. As she was wondering what to take with her, she saw these tiny little seeds her backyard. She started collecting them and even polished and made sure every seed was neat and safe. Once she collected enough to fill a small pouch, she decided to embark on her quest. Walking through the dense forests and crossing rivers and streams, she took many days to reach her destination. 

On the first day of every month (Malayalam month), the local town leader visited the temple. The town leader also offered an elephant to the temple every month. The day this devotee reached the temple was the first day of the month. The town leader's strong and hefty security guards and soldiers tried to keep commoners away to make way for the elephant and the town leader. As they saw this poor and tired looking devotee, they pushed her away. She lost her balance and fell down with the pouch, that now scattered the red seeds all around. At the same moment elephant also went berserk. The town leader had never seen anything like this ever. He was perplexed and started praying to Krishna to help calm the elephant and the situation. Like an answer to his prayer, there was a loud voice that reverberated the temple premises. The voice asked for those red seeds and for that sweet devotee. The town leader understood how much the Lord loved his true devotee and helped her collect the scattered seeds. He also arranged for this lady to walk to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Once, the lady went inside, the elephant became calm and people realized how strong and true her devotion was. From then on, these seeds are a part of Guruvayoor and the His love for His devotees. May be this simplicity is what makes these seeds special and beautiful.

Now going back to the seeds, they are very specific to Southeast China and India. Red Sandalwood (Adenanthera Pavonina, the botanical name), is the common name of this tree. These seeds are called Circassian seeds. The tree belongs to the legume family and these are the only ones that give the best and the most beautiful seeds on earth. These seeds have a similar weight and in the olden days were used by goldsmiths as a standard for weighing precious metals and diamonds. Nature is always fair and beautiful!

Usually, I refrain from writing posts on a specific religion, however, the beauty of 'manjadikuru' is such that, it denotes the power of true devotion. It is about that simplicity in thoughts and a sincere heart. Simple is always beautiful.

The movie
Note: Do watch 'Manjadikuru' Malayalam movie by Anjali Menon (Bangalore Days fame). It is a brilliant movie  (it was her debut movie).  The nostalgic connection and the simplicity of a child's mind is all tied together with the memories strewn around as 'manjadikuru'! One of my favorite on Malayalam movie list! 
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