Aravindakumari, the Goddess of wealth is ever resident on a lotus. The lotus is our national flower and is a symbol of prosperity. It is used in our prayers. Srividhya Raghuraman of Kovaipudur is keen to promote the lotus, "I want every house to have a lotus plant. The idea is to spread positivity and prosperity. I wish to plant lotuses in at least 108 temples. Our family is domiciled in Coimbatore (India) and I wish that one of the water bodies in the city known as the ecological capital of Tamil Nadu is full of blooming lotus flowers. I have about 200 varieties of the lotus with me and I offer about 70 varieties to my clients. Lilies are also brought up in my farm at Mayiladuthurai and also my home in Kovaipudur. My work with the flower of fortune began in 2013. We returned from Saudi Arabia and later moved over to Coimbatore. Our flower farm uses cow dung and compost only. We do not use chemicals. I interact with internationally known breeders from around the world. My visits to Thailand had been fruitful. These flowers occupy about four hours of my time on a day to day basis and I must spend about two weeks periodically in farm at Mayiladuthurai. It is full time work in Mayiladuthurai. We are trying to get some land in Coimbatore District to make my work easier," spoke Srividhya while showing her lovely bottles full of colourful lotuses.
Srividhya Raghuraman is the daughter of Jaya and Muthuswamy of Jayaradha Industries, Mayliaduthurai. Her father founded the company around 1963 and was the first to pioneer the commercial wet grinders for hotel establishments. He had named the company after the name of his wife Jaya and his sister in law Radha, the wife of his brother Vaidyanathan. Father Muthuswamy lives with Srividhya. The lady behind the lotus farms got married to Raghuraman in 1988 and had bought 100 rose plants for her father in law during her honeymoon. "My father in law R. Rajagopal was a petroleum industry person and had worked with companies like Burmah Shell and Bharat Petroleum. He had created a lovely garden at home in Chennai. He had vegetables and a huge number of roses those days. We decided to get him more from Coonoor on our way back from Ooty. In fact my husband carried the rose plants in the railway station. Both my father and father in law were my motivation. My husband supports me financially and takes care of my father when I stay in the farm at Mayiladuthurai," smiled Srividhya while arranging a few of the pots in her terrace.
The family kuladeivam (deity) happens to be Karkodanathar and Kaivalli Thayar of Kodangudi. The Goddess is very special for she has a 'Jaya Chakram' and 'Sri Chakram' on either of her sides. His Holiness Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi had made these observations long ago. Srividhya had done her education from Diwan Bahadur T. Rangachariar National Higher Secondary School and this school was known to begin the day late on the day of the new moon (Amavasya).
Srividhya has worked with a number of lotus hybridizers around the world. She has been to Thailand a few times and is now able to cultivate the 1000 petalled lotus and a lily which changes from white to violet to pink. Srividhya states that the Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam talks about this kind of a lotus. She offers 1008 lotuses to Devi Lalitha in Thirumeeyachur on every Chithra Pournami. Now she is going to offer 1008 flowers to Padmavathi Thayar at Thiruchanur (Tirupati). She has now developed the yellow lotus and wants to offer it at the 'Pottramarai kulam' (Golden lotus pond) in the Madurai Meenakshi Temple. “This is a very special lotus and is most suited for the Meenakshi Temple,” added Srividhya.
One is reminded of the movie song ‘Ayiram Thamarai Mottukale' while taking a look at the several lotus and lily ponds created by Srividhya. She spoke about the wick made out of fibre from the lotus plant. It was supposed to add to the prosperity and wellbeing of the family when lit on a regular basis. The lotus seeds, known as Thamaraimani, was used for prayers or as a rosary. It was to be kept in the cash box or worn by the seeker. One type of rhizome was used to make chips provided it did not have a sprout.
Srividhya spoke about the prayer done with the recitation of the auspicious Kanakadhara Stotram by Adi Shankara, "We have to draw 21 lotuses with rice powder, and they have to be five petalled. A coin is to be placed on each of these drawn lotuses. The aspirant has to place one real lotus on each of the ones drawn while reciting the verses. One has to apply turmeric and Kumkum on each of the flowers thus placed. Fridays are the best for this prayer and it will surely add to the wealth of the family," Srividhya spoke about the lotus festival that takes place in June - July at China. Her friend from abroad was keen to see the lotuses in India during his visit.
The lady goes on to talk about the sacred verses of Abirami Bhattar, the composer of Abirami Andhadhi - a 100 verse song in praise of the deity at Thirukadaiyur. The Goddess is said to sit on a red lotus. She wishes to plant that particular lotus in the Thirukadaiyur Temple pond. Srividhya spoke about the several varieties of lotuses and lilies. "The pink cloud is a good variety that can be cut and sold. It can realize Rs.50 per flower and will stay for about a week. The yellow lotus Jinri will fetch up to Rs.100 per flower. I wish to create a number of lotus farmers. They are much in demand at the time of festivals and weddings. Lotus tea is another product which I savoured during my trip to Thailand. "Srividhya is the first person to introduce micro bowl lotuses and the 1000 petalled lotus in India. Her many varieties of lilies are simply superb and are a feast for the eyes. She has customers all over India and Monday is the day for dispatches. The Facebook has made Srividhya very popular and she has set her venture up quite well due to the same.
Saraswathi sits on her white lotus, Gayathri sits on a lotus and Gajalakshmi is surrounded by lotuses and elephants. Lotus signals prosperity. The eyes, hands and feet of Lord Vishnu is said to be lotus like - Thamarikannan (lotus eyed), Padha Pankajam (lotus feet). Brahma is said to proceed with creation from the lotus that had sprung out of the navel of Lord Vishnu and hence Vishnu is known as Padmanabha (the one who has a lotus on his navel). Lord Narayana is also known as Tamaraimanalan, one who is wedded to the Lakshmi who is represented through a lotus. She is also known as Padmini, the one who sits on a lotus. Lotus is known through several names in India - Kamalam, Pankajam, Ambujam, Aravindam, Sarojam, Jalajam, Neerajam , Vaarijam Thoyajam , Padmam, Pundarikam etc., Deities are also named as such - Sengamalavalli. Lord Narayana is known as Rajeevalochan or the lotus eyed one.
PC: R. Vimala
Srividhya and Raghuraman are blessed with Aishwarya and Ashwin Kashyap. She is keen to open her lotus resort to the public by the January of 2021. The lotus cultivator spoke further, "I Pray in front of the plant and it gives out a bud the very next day. It is the grace of Goddess Lalithambika of Thirumeeyachur, the birth place of Sri Lalitha Sahasranamam. I visit the temple during my trips to my farm in Mayiladuthurai. The flower of fortune has given me an opportunity to get an identity for myself and has also added to the quality of my life."
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