Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

A special Recipe for the Ultimate Bliss ~ Semiya Payasam

Bhukthi means nourishment. While nutritious food is needed to sustain us for everyday activities and the maintenance of this physical body, a different kind of Bhukthi is necessary to satisfy our cravings to realize the true happiness in ourselves. Constant indulgence in the name of God (Bhakthi) provides the nourishment to realize the bliss of boundless divinity in the ego-limited humans.

This relation between Bhakthi and Bhukthi thus goes deep and this concept is brought to the people in beautiful poetry and song by many saint musicians of India.

Saint Purandara Dasa, the father of Carnatic music has created song and music the way to achieve the happiness which we all seek. He has composed innumerable songs called keerthana’s, full of wisdom and devotion eternalized in the hearts of people. His message of morals is handed out in easily understandable form, woven together with stories from the epics, along with beautiful expressions and analogies. No wonder his songs have pleased, inspired and guided people since more than four hundred years.

Stamp Commemorating Sri Purandara Dasa
Stamp Commemorating Sri Purandara Dasa

God is the source for infinite happiness and he has infinite names, infinite forms and is ubiquitous. For Purandara Dasa, God is Purandara Vittala in whose form he saw all other manifestations or avatars of God like Rama, Krishna, Shiva and Hanuma.

The spiritual song “Rama nama payasakke” is quite popular and sung by many in their own versions. It was written in the beautiful south Indian language of Kannada which is said to be as enchanting as the fragrance of kasturi. Saint Purandara Dasa elicits the great bliss in chanting the name of the God Vittala in “Rama Nama Payasakke“.

The keerthana explains with an easy analogy on how to obtain the spiritual bliss or Ananda with a recipe to make payasam.

The keerthana goes like this:

Pallavi: rAma nAma pAyasakke krSNa nAma sakkare viTTala nAma tuppava kalasi bAya capparisiro
Charana1: ommAna gOdiya tandu vairAgya kallali bIsi summane sajjige tegadu kammana shAvige hosedu
Charana2: hrdayavembo maDikeyalli bhAvavembo esaraniTTu buddhiyinda pAka mADi harivANake baDisikoNDu
Charana3: Ananda Anandavembo tEgu bandidu kaNIrO Ananda mUruti namma purandara viTTalana neneyiro

Purandara Dasa sings, “O people, indulge in the lip-smacking-good payasam called Rama nama, which is made sweet with the sugar called Krishna nama and is richly folded with the ghee called Vittala nama”.

Then he describes the meticulous details needed to make this special payasam from the scratch.

First obtain wheat flour of honor. Grind it in the mill of detachment. Make the dough called simplicity and draw thin semiya noodles from it.

In the pot called your heart, boil the noodles with the milk of feelings. Cook it then with the wisdom of worship.

Add the sweetness of Krishna’s name as sugar, and the nourishing richness of Vittala’s name as the ghee and lo you have your lip-smacking-delicious payasam.

Purandara Dasa even describes the proper method to enjoy the delicious payasam. He beckons us to serve it on a large platter and enjoy it. When burps emanate out of fulfillment, he asks us to remember the name of God Vittala who is the embodiment of immeasurable happiness and ecstasy.

Through this keerthana, purandara dasa gave us a recipe to live an ideal life. To live our life with honor, come through the grinds of materialistic attachments with austerity, and obtain the raw material for happiness using the simple method of devotion. Allow the feelings of joy and love boil in our heart wisely, and celebrate every moment of our life bit by bit contemplating God’s grace with gratitude. That is the ultimate sweet bliss!

Makara Sankranthi Shubhakankshalu!

Semiya, Sugar, Ghee, Milk, Cashews and Draksha ~ Ingredients for Payasam

Rakthi Raga for Bhukthi ~ Semiya Payasam

Article Contributed by Madhuri Akkenepalli (Friend of Mahanandi)
Photos by Indira Singari
Previously on Rakthi Raga for Bhukthi:
Of Being and Becoming ~ Ragi Idlies by Janani Srinivasan

Saint Purandara Dasa on Wiki.
Audio Links to “Rama Nama Payasakke”:
by Sreemathi Sudha Raghunathan and Vijayalakshmi Subrahmaniam

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Bhakthi~Bhukthi,Madhuri Akkenepalli,Naivedyam(Festival Sweets),Semiya,Sugar (Monday January 14, 2008 at 1:11 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

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22 comments for A special Recipe for the Ultimate Bliss ~ Semiya Payasam »

  1. Hi Indira,
    Love this semiya payasam always especially with these thin semiya cooking time is very less and tastes divine.

    Comment by vineela — January 14, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

  2. Hi,
    I was just thinking about making Kheer and was searching for the recipe. I know how to make it, but wanted to look how you have made it. As if like a answer to my query, you just posted the the pics and the article.

    Comment by Sumana — January 14, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

  3. Makara Sankranthi Shubhakankshalu dear Vineela.
    Yes, semiya payasam is easy to prepare and tastes divine.

    Hi Sumana: I hope you will let me know how it turns out for you. Happy Kheer making.

    Comment by Indira — January 14, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  4. Hi Indira,
    Wish you A Happy Sankranthi. You have a great website and you impress with the presentation.
    I live in the Seattle area and I am new to the blog world.
    Please let me know your comments and advice if you get a chance to visit my site.

    Comment by Sarada — January 14, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  5. Hello Indira

    Sankaranti Subhakankshalu. The simplicity of the payasam is enthused with brilliant presentation. I love the way the semiya bunch looks ..tied up and ready for release 🙂 Thank You! One Question – what is the semiya called in US? I dont get that kind in our nearby Indian stores. Can you please let me know.

    Comment by Aparna — January 14, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  6. Hi Indira,
    this looks wonderful. I love this dish for the simplicity of it. we made it just today 🙂 .
    Thanks for sharing it with your wonderful pictures, that bowl is getting all my attention everytime I visit your post :))

    Comment by Pooja — January 14, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

  7. Sankranthi wishes to you and Vijay, Indira!

    I just wanted to drop a line in appreciation of this post. I was thoroughly delighted by Janani’s ragi post with the purandaradasa krithi, and this one evoked similar feelings.

    Between these guest posts, Veena’s column and your regular ones, you do a great job of creating and maintaining the ‘spirit’ (for lack of a better term) of this blog

    Comment by aa — January 14, 2008 @ 8:42 pm

  8. Great one Madhuri..awesome pics!

    Comment by kalva — January 14, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

  9. A very happy pongal to your family and friends, Indira! The neivedyam of payasam with the wonderful article is soul-satisfying. You deserve lots of appreciation for such guest posts. I have always made Semiya payasam with the white variety of vermicelli… this looks worth a try:)

    Comment by Latha — January 15, 2008 @ 12:22 am

  10. Hi Indira,

    Happy Pongal…

    Comment by Menu Today — January 15, 2008 @ 2:19 am

  11. Dear Indira, greetings for Sankranti. That payasam of yours looks delicious, and I’m sure it tastes wonderful too! Thanks for the beautiful photo of the ingredients, and the keerthana of Purandaradasa! You have the amazing ability to give these little gifts to virtual friends and even strangers! Here in Maharashtra, of course, til-gud is the traditional celebration today.


    PS – did I ever tell you, your Diwali photo came to me on an internal company e-greeting last year! I don’t know who got it and how (they had not acknowledged the photo source, but I recognized it!). It’s not nice to steal anyone’s photo, of course, but flattering in a way…

    Comment by Uma — January 15, 2008 @ 2:37 am

  12. Payasam looks delicious.
    Greetings for Sankranti

    Comment by Happy Cook — January 15, 2008 @ 5:42 am

  13. Happy Sankranti Indira! THanks for the recipe and writeup.

    Comment by padmaja — January 15, 2008 @ 6:59 am

  14. Thanks aa,Kalva,Latha,Uma and Padmaja for your nice words. I am very glad you liked the article.

    Many thanks to Indira for posting it along with gorgeous pictures of the semiya payasam.

    Happy Sankranthi.

    Comment by Madhuri.A — January 15, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  15. Hey Indira,

    Happy Sankranthi (or Pongal in my neck of the woods).

    The semiya payasam would have been dish of choice for today, but I instead opted to try out your recipe for coconut burfi.

    It tastes great,although a tad brittle as I probably over heated the syrup to hard ball consistency!


    Comment by Advaitin — January 15, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

  16. Hi Indira! Happy pongal (sakranti)! Beautiful writeup!

    Comment by Kalai — January 15, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  17. Happy Sankranthi Indira..

    Comment by Archana — January 15, 2008 @ 5:48 pm

  18. Happy Sankranti Indira. The keerthana and the payasam both are fantastic. I love that keerthana. It just took me back to our music class days where our dearest teacher used to teach those keerthanas with their meaning. Lovely post, loved it 🙂

    Comment by Lakshmi — January 15, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  19. Thank you all for the wishes, I wish you the same as well. Also, thanks for your appreciative words about this post.

    Madhuri A: Thank you for contributing such beautiful article. It just feels great to read such good words on festival day.

    Happy Sankranthi Uma. Til-gud, another good thing on Sankranthi.
    about the card – I sure missed a chance to become a rich blogger.:) Next time, forward me, then we can contact a copyright lawyer.:)
    That photo gave us some grief during Diwali time. Google and Yahoo pasted it on the front page in Search, and lot of folks started to hotlink. With festive spirit, we kept it avialable to all freely, but the site server crashed twice due excessive bandwidth consumption during that month. Good times.:)

    Comment by Indira — January 15, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

  20. Hearty wishes to you and Vijay too! A wonderful writing of the keerthana and the recipe. You made me getinto deep inside to enjoy the bliss of the keerthana. Many thanks dear Indira!

    Comment by Nirmala — January 15, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

  21. The pictures in this website are outstanding…makes me want to go and touch the food on the screen 🙂

    Really good job! Specially for ppl like me who is away from mom and just learning to cook.

    Comment by Shweta — February 6, 2008 @ 11:25 am

  22. Hi Indira,
    Thank you and Madhuri for this great post. Would definitely remember Swami Purandara Dasa and Lord Sri Rama next time when I make Payasam.

    Comment by Puja — July 15, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

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