Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Goddess of Naamakkal

When I was Chief Justice of Madras High Court I asked the lawyers in Court one day : " Is there a Goddess of Naamakkal ? "

One very senior lawyer, Mr. Tyaagarajan, stood up and said " Yes, My Lord, there is a Goddess of Naamakkal. With my senior Mr. K. Parasaran ( who was earlier the Attorney General of India ) I have visited many temples in Tamilnadu, including the temple of the Goddess of Naamakkal, known as Namagiri Thaya ".
I asked that question because I had read in the biography of the great Indian mathematician, Srinivas Ramanujan ( see ' The Man who knew Infinity ' ), that often Ramanujan solved mathematical problems in a few minutes, which even the greatest mathematicians in the world like Hardy or Littlewood would take hours, if not days, to solve.

When asked how he did this, he would say " I got the solution by a vision of the Goddess of Naamakkal "

Ramanujan credited his acumen to his family goddess, Mahalakshmi of Naamakkal. He looked to her for inspiration in his work, and claimed to dream of blood drops that symbolised her male consort, Narasimha, after which he would receive visions of scrolls of complex mathematical content unfolding before his eyes.

According to Ramanujan, she appeared in his visions, proposing him mathematical formulae, which Ramanujan would then have to verify. One such event was described by him as follows:

"While asleep, I had an unusual experience. There was a red screen formed by flowing blood, as it were. I was observing it. Suddenly a hand began to write on the screen. I became all attention. That hand wrote a number of elliptic integrals. They stuck to my mind. As soon as I woke up, I committed them to writing "

Unfortunately during my tenure as the Chief Justice I could not visit that temple.
But, though an atheist, I would like to have darshan one day of the Goddess of Naamakkal.

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