Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pillaiyar kuthu and Thorpukaranam

We Indians follow a lot of cultural and ritualistic practices. They differ from region to region. Our respected elders formulated and practiced many customs based on their native knowledge and wisdom and strongly backed by scientific truths. These practices were inducted into their daily life in the form of rituals and beliefs. Perhaps, the reason why our elders never suffered from life style diseases and led a de-stressed life. These have been practiced from many generations and our elders who respected their elders never questioned these practices and blindly followed them without reasoning.

But with our generation, things have changed, our fast paced life style do not allow us to practice many of these rituals. Moreover, We question elders and would like to know the significance and scientific reason (if there is any) behind all these practices and In today’s rocket science age, are these practices still relevant?

If they are relevant, it is our moral duty today as parents, to pass the baton of Indian cultural values to the gennext, all those values that have been cherished and nurtured so far by our ancestors, lest they get drowned under the skilful marketing tactics of the west and the Chinese values.

I have decided to post all these cultural and ritual details with their scientific reasoning as and when I source the authentic details, under the label culture, so that it may be a ready reckoner for my children and their friends at a later date.

Hindus strongly believe that before starting any work, if they pray to Lord ganesha, there wouldn’t be any hurdles till they accomplish their task.

While praying to Lord Ganesha ‘Pillaiyar kuthu’ and ‘Thorpukaranam’ are performed. These are two exercises performed by tamils (like namaskar)when they see Lord Ganesha on roads, temples or houses.

Pillaiyar is the tamil name for Lord ganesha and kuttu is the tap. In this you tap your temples(side of forehead) with your fists. This act helps in stimulating the nerve points which helps in retaining your memory.

Thorpukaranam -- Thorpu is hands and karanam is ear in Sanskrit. This is a form of sit up, done by catching your left ear lobe with your right hand and your right earlobe with your left hand. This action is performed 108 times. This exercise which has been blended into our culture is supported by science.

This action of touching the earlobes activates the pressure points on our ears, thus making our right and left brains active. This is more effective when performed for a longer duration and hence 108 times.( will make a separate post on the auspicious 108)

This exercise is now renamed and popularized as ‘Superbrain yoga’ and introduced in many medical schools in the west


  1. Nice. We (I) never accept anything without questioning unless there is a scientific basis for it. But we/I find that many of our practices are based on good and sound principles - it was simpler to link it to religion to make people follow it, rather than explain scientifically. A very simple example - sipping water from a glass. Putting your mouth to the glass was discouraged - and why not? Science tells us that saliva is a quick way of transmitting diseases, though we were only told it is 'echil' or 'jhoota' (I can't think of an English equivalent)

  2. 'Superbrain Yoga'?? Seriously?? Wow!!

  3. @raji, yes, i had a post made on echil also long back in feb( a passage to Thanjavur). Ours is a tropical country where germs spread very fast and hence the concept of echil. The reason with which elders in the family justify the concept of madi.

  4. @uma. yes, seriously. brain yoga is a part of the syllabi at yale university of medicine. It was in the news.

  5. You are true and it is sad that all those rituals are disappearing fast. Well-written.

  6. I am sure namaskaram(flat prostration on the ground) would be having a yogic significance..