DiyArs crowd (throng of devotees) around PeriyavAL. Men on one side and women on the other.
On that day PeriyavAL talked about 'easy' things and was drowning the devotees in the flood of humour and laughter.
Suddenly he turned towards the men's side and asked, "Who among you knows cooking?"
The men, including those who had not even peeped into their kitchen, said in a single voice, "Yes, I know it!"
"How would you prepare the kuzhambu (sAmbAr)?" was the next question.
The man who was first in the queue started saying: "Dissolving tamarind in water, then adding red chili powder and salt to it; the mixture should be boiled well and then served."
The man standing next said, "The mustard and red chillis should be first seasoned in some oil, then after the tamarind-salt-chili powder mixture is boiled, boiled dhal should be added to it, and after the whole thing boils once, the coriander and curry leaves should be added..."
Another man said, "The tamarind and red chilis both should be ground with water in the ammi (grinding stone) and then salt, boiled dhal and a pinch of asafoetida added to the mixture which must be boiled well..."
Thus some of the men narrated many wonderful ways of the recipe. Then PeriyavAL's turn came up.
"All of you are great jnAnis! Those who have forgotten their ahamkAram (ego). For my part, I am still trying (to accomplish) it."
What does PeriyavAL say?
"The reason for people to get confused is the thought of tAn (me). All of you people have no thought of that tAn! Only the tamarind-salt-chili-asafoetida stay in your memory. The thought of tAn never came up. Isn't this the state of jnAnis?" (PeriyavAL was alluding that they forgot to mention about the vegetable added to the kuzhambu which has the name tAn--sd).
The ADiyArs stood as rock statues at the foothills of the Kailash mountain.