by Dr. R.Nagaswamy
Publisher: Tamil Arts Academy.
Pages: 425, Pictures
Price: Rs. 800
Author’s preface:- Citing extensively from Ancient Sangam Tamil works and also the Ancient Tamil Grammar, this book establishes for the first time, that Tamil attained Classical status by adopting Vedic and Sanskrit traditions, especially with the help of Brāhmins in the formative stages. This work clearly demonstrates that Tamil rapidly progressed as a result of borrowing from Sanskrit and shows from the very beginning of its known history, the gods worshipped by the ancient Tamils were Siva, Vishnu, Krishna, Balarāma, Rāma, Kumāra (Muruga), Indra, Durgā, Kāli and others who were clearly the Vedic gods. The society was divided on caste basis as Brāhmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Sūdras and mixed castes. Most of the Tamils believed in the efficacy of Vedic religion in every field of Tamil life. They were guided by customs and manners prescribed in Vedic lore and performed Vedic yajñas in the domestic life. They were followers of systems introduced by Vedic Brāhmanas. All the kings like Cheras, Cholas, Pāndyas, Velir chieftains, and most of common people including a section of Vellālās who were called the upper castes (Mer kudi), studied Vedas and performed worship as prescribed. The fourfold division of the Tamil life of Kurunji, Mullai, Marudam and Neidal are mentioned in Bharata’s Nātya sāstra as kakhshyas division. The judicial administration was based on the principles of Dharma sāstras compiled by the Vedic rishis like, Yājnyavalkya, Vasishta, Nārada, Manu, Bhrahaspati, Parāsara and others. The civil administration was organized as mentioned in Vedic sabhās – village assemblies of elected representatives. The Tamil poetics as prescribed in Tolkāppiyam was adopted from Sanskrit sources, as for example Tamil phonetics, Alankāras like Upamā etc. Further the earliest readable script – Brāhmi, was invented by Brahmins and hence called after them as Brāhmi in the time of Asoka, in the Saraswati Valley.
The Tamils followed the eight kinds of marriages and the system of registration, specifically formulated by the Brāhmanas. The Eightfold marriage system of the Sanskrit tradition is referred to by Tolkāppiyam, in the karpiyal chapter on chastity. Disposal of the dead, funerary ritual, planting memorial stones etc are as stipulated in Sanskrit and Agamic literature. The temple worship in ancient Tamilnad followed the agamic ritual treatises. The aesthetics of music, dance and literature are based on Bharata’s Nātya sāstras and so was realization of rasas. The Tolkāppiyam grammar is rooted in the Vedic and Bharata’s Nātya tradition. The division of poetry as Aham and Puram are essentially based on dance tradition, as sringāram (Aham) and external exploits (Puram) and were meant for the two types of dances as Aha- kūttu and Pura kūttu. It seems that, like all other parts of India, where each region had its own dialect Tamil also had its own dialect, but with this difference that Tamil had an advanced dialect of its own which could assimilate incoming ideas quickly and flower into a beautiful classical language. There are irrefutable evidences to show that in the science of cosmology, Tamils adopted Vedic tradition. All the names of the Tamil months were named after the names of Stars in the Vedas, like Chittirai, Vaikāsi, Ādi (Āshāda), Proshtapada (Purattasi), Asvayuj (aippasi), Kriitikā, (Karttikai), Mriagasira (Marazi), Tishya (Thai), Māgha (makham), Palguni (Panguni). These names of the stars are found in the Veda and when each star is in conjunction with the full moon in the month it is named after that Astronomical phenomenon, Chiitirai star in connection with full moon that month is called Chittirai month. So are all the other months. Thus in the field of Language, Grammar, Poetics, Literature, art, Architecture, Music, Dance, Royal Administration, Judicial administration, and Social functions, Astronomy, Philosophy and Religion, the Ancient Tamils followed the Vedic Tradition and was greatly influenced by the Northern system. It is possible to reject this theory if one could throw out Tolkappiyam and the entire Sangam literature. At no point of time in Tamil history, there was any attempt to suppress the study of Tamil. The book is truly a path breaking exposition that places Tamil and Sanskrit interaction in proper historical and chronological perspective.
In this sense it challenges many unfounded pedestrian speculators’ assertions of Tamil culture not based on any academic discipline, but subjective and self-seeking writings. The book calls for a deeper study of Tamil literature following multi-dimensional academic discipline and scientific approach. The book appears as a publication of the Tamil Arts Academy that has established a reputation for authenticity and hopes this will stimulate further in depth studies in all aspects of Tamil culture. The author will be very happy if any of the point raised is proved wrong, based on factual material and will stand corrected. I am thankful to Ravi of Jai Ganesh Offset printer, who has taken great pains to see this book through the press. Lastly there is one request to the reader not to start with an emotional approach but to look with the rationalistic and critical mind and I am sure you will be rewarded.
Director of Archaeology, Tamilnadu Retd,
Former Vice-chancellor of Kanchipuram University,
Visiting Proffesor, Javaharlal Nehru University New Delhi.
Aryakkuttu at Thiruvidaimarudur
Thiruvidaimarudūr near Kumbhakonam, Tanjore district, is a famous Śiva-kṣhetra The temple of Siva as Mahāinga swāmi is sung by Tevāram saints and has been in continuous worship from around the 6th cent if not earlier. This part was under the control of Pallavas from the middle of 6th cent An incomplete inscription found on the main wall, now completely lost, dated in the Kali era 4083,equal to the 13th regnal year of the Chola, Parakesari Uttama chola , refers to Kancanur a nearby village, in the then Nallārrur nādu. Kancanur was also called Simhavishnu caturvedi mangalam. The inscription was left incomplete. However the record is important for it furnishes two historic facts that Kancanur was also called Simhavishnu Caturvedimangalam named after Mahendra Pallava’s father, who ruled in the middle 6th cent, which is in the heart of the Chola country, was firmly under the Pallavas then. This is corroborated by the Pallan-koyil copper plate of Simha-varman, the father of Simha-vishnua in whose plate, Simha-vishnu is credited with the conquest of lands up to the banks of Kaveri. It seems Palaiyārai became the capital of the Pallavas in the Chola country. It is of interest to note that Mahendra Pallava I (590-630 CE) is also associated with this region is seen from this inscription. It is important to mention Mahendra was contemporary of the Saiva saint Appar swamikal who sang delightful Tevaram. His younger contemporary was Jnānasambandar who spread Tamil through Tevāram music. Mahendra himself was a great lover of music and Dance he created a new raga called Sankirna jati. And also two outstanding Dance dramas in Sanskrit named Mattavilāsa prahasana and Bhagavad ajjuga both were to be enacted in temples as offerings on festivals. Both of them were intended for Aryak-kuttu. The Mattavilāsa prahasana by him is enacted till date in Kerala temples by a group of dancers called Chakkaiyārs and that they enact only Aryakkuttu to this day. This tradition has been very much alive in the 6th cent onwards.
The earliest record found in the temple was that of Pallava ruler Nandivarman II (SII III ) Nandivarman’s activity in this region near Kumbhakonam is found in Nathan koil (Palaiyari ) which itself was called “Nandipuram”, after the king. It is not unlikely that that another Pallava king is also referred to in this region, He was the victor of Tellaru, who was the father of Aparājita Pallava who had the title Rāja mārtānda. Nadi III, his father, himself had the title “Kumāra mārtāndan” who gifted 65 kalanju of gold for burning a perpetual lamp. This record was originally reorded on a stone slab. This temple was rebuilt in the time of 4th year of Parāntaka Chola early in his reign -910 CE. During that reconstruction, a copy of the record was made, and the stone was used for the foundation. So when the temple was reconstructed the Merchant guild of Thiruvidaimarudūr, the village sabhā of Tiraimūr, the temple priests, the Administrator of the temple, and the temple accountant, who were to examine the affairs of the temple, found that the stone on which the original record of Nandi was engraved was used as a foundation stone and that a copy of the same made before such a use. They now ordered that the record should be re-engraved on the stone wall after reconstruction. The record says the Administrators met in the “Nātaka sālai” of the temple of Thiruvidai-marudūr. It is an illustrious example of care and scrutiny of ancient records of the temple which were copied and re-engraved in temples. The record also shows that the temple has attracted the attention of the Pallava rulers from the 6th to 9th cent.
This record shows that there was a regular Nātaka sālai in the temple of Thiruvidaimarudur where some of the transactions regarding the administration of the temple was deliberated. There are two records of the time of Aditta Karikāla, the elder brother of Rājarāja I. who conquered the Pāndya and assumed the title of Parakesari, who captured the head of the Pāndya – “Pāndyan talai konda Ko Parkesari”. Both the records are dated in his 4th regnal year. The first record registers the provisions for enacting Sanskrit drama in the temple mentioned as “Aryak-kuttu” in the record. The endowment was examined by the Official Sirringan- udaiyān Parāntaka muvendavelān, a high ranking Royal Officer mentioned as “Koyil nāyakam”, the village assembly of Tiraimūr, the merchant guild of Thiruvidai-marudūr, and the temple attendants who met in dance hall, Nātaka sālai, of the temple and deliberated the endowment. The royal order stipulated that proper apportionment for the enactment of “Aryak kūttu” by Kirti-maraik-kādan alias Thruvellaraic-cākkai, for which purpose one veli of land including Padukkaiceri pattu in the land of Vilāngkudi, a temple land, a devatāna, for that purpose. The said dancer should perform the dance drama from the succeeding year onwards, one dance drama performance on Taip-pusam festival and after the day of Tirthavāri, immersion fcestival perform drama for three days. He should also perform the dance drama in the Vaikāsi Thiruvadirai festival starting from the next day of the festival. He should perform these seven performances in the dance hall, Nātaka sālai where they met. He was entitled to receive 14 kalams of paddy for these performances from the temple treasury for his troupe. If he does not receive this paddy from the temple treasury he should be paid double that quantity. The inscription is left unfinished beyond this point. This record is an illustrious endowment showing king’s involvement in maintaining dance festival called in the record “Āryak kūttu” in the temple and arranging a perpetual endowment for the same. The service was to be conducted by the village assembly, the temple priests, the Merchant guild, and Royal Officers, with the stipulation that failure should be compensated by paying double the amount allotted.
The performance was to be done for seven days in a year from a particular day of festivals and the point that deserves to be noted was that the artist was called Cākkai. Cākkais are the Cākkiyārs who perform to this day Sanskrit dramas in Kerala temples. As this tradition has survived only in Kerala it is generally believed that this art is exclusive to Kerala but it was popular in different parts of Tamilnadu as evidenced in inscriptions. Also please note that Sanskritt was an active living language in Tamil nadu. An inscription in the great temple of Tanjore shows Sanskrit drama was being enacted in Tanjore as well under the Cholas. Another point of Interest is temples in Tamilnadu had Nātaka sālais where dramas were enacted and that they formed part of temple complex. ( South Indian Inscriptions Vol III, no 202)
A new service was started in the temple of Thiruvidaimarudūr creating an enactment for singing the Thirup-padiayams and also arranging for the dancing girls of the temple to sing in the 9th year of Vikrama chola, the son of Kulottunga II. The service was called “Bānap-peru” (Bānap-pani) This was a royal appointment issued by Vikkrama chola and a certain Irumudi Cholan alias Acancala Peraraiayan was appointed to do the service. He was already singing in the temple and this new service was added to the existing one. He was to get paddy and kāsu in addition to his earlier pay. The record states that he was to sing in the God of the Thiruvidaimarudūr temple and direct other Bānas for arranging the Dancing girls to sing (Thiruvidai marudur udaiyārukku pādavum , ikkoyil Taliyilārai pāduvikkavum ikkoyil Devaradiyārai pāduvikkavum Bānapperāka). The Bānas were great singers from the Sangam age and we find the Bānas, Yāl Bāna was a close friend of Jnāna-sambandar and again we find the Bānas were appointed in the Great temple of Thanjavaur. According to this inscription the service should be added to the temple service and the Bāna should be paid one kalam of paddy per days should be paid to the Perariayan for singing. He should be allotted one residence as Bānak-kudiyiruppu as before. It is also interesting to note that there were classes of dancing girls serving in the temple a) Taliyilar and b) Devaradials. The order which conferred the service in perpetuity on this singer and his descendants was to be documented and recorded on the stone wall of the temple. As it was the direct order of the king, a number of Royal Officers had signed the document. The record also gives the names of the Chief priest of the Thiruvidaimarudūr temple at that time as Thiruchirrambalap-Bhattan, the chief Accountant of the temples as Kundaiyur Kilavan, and the Chief Administrator as Mulankudaiyān and the maintainer of the Streets (Thiruvithi) as Anbukkarasu. We find such a post to maintain the streets was existing in interesting. Further the records mention two classes of Women singers (Dancing girls ) named Taliyilār and Devaradiyārs and they are mentioned in later inscriptions as well. It may be mentioned that Taliyilār claimed superiority in caste hierarchy and propbaly married and lived with one erson as is the case Paravai the Dancing of Thiruvarur who married Saint Sundaramurti nayanār in 8th cent. She belonged to Taliyilār family. It is interesting to note that the singing service is called Bānapperu.
The Final Knowledge
This work will come to a close with the important Taittiriya Upanishad which is a part of the Taittiriya Āranyaka, appearing in three parts as the seventh, eighth and ninth Prapataka, which go by the name Sikshā valli, Anandavalli and Brighu valli. They were also called by other names like the second one called as “Brahma Ānandavalli”. Yet another names for them are Samhitā, Yajna, and Vāruni vidyas, but the most popular one for the first one is Sikshā-valli, several hymns in the firsr part associated with a number of seers like Maha camasya, Rathitara, Pauru Sisthi, Nāka the son of Mudgala and finally Trisanku each emphasizing one or other aspect of discipline as for example Mahā-camasya emphasized Brahmam (Mahah), Rathitara emphasized Satyam, Paurusishti emphasized Tapas, and Naka emphasiseed Learning and teaching (svādhyaya and Pravacana). The sage Trisanku experienced that the I in the individual is like the life in the tree, the fame of it is like the peak of a hill, is extreme purity in existence; It is resplendent as the brightness of sun and the abode of truth in soul.” All these experiences of the sages are one and the same and that is the truth about Brahmam. Having taught this the teacher advices the student with a remarkable counseling.
Then Taittirya Upanishad belongs to Taittiriya school of the Yajurveda,. It is divided into three sections called Vallis. The first is th Sikshā valli. Sikshā is th first anga-subject of the six Vedāngas (limbs or auxiliaries of the Vedas).The second is the Brahmānanda valli and the third is the Bhrigu valli. These two deal with the knowledge of the Supreme self -Parmātma Jnāna.” According to Sanskrit traditions the six limbs of the Vedic studies are the 1) Sikshā, 2)Vyakarana, 3)Chandas,4) Niruktam, 5)Jyostisahm, and 6) Kalpam. Thus Sikshā is the first and important limb of Vedic studies and relates to Phonetics, and Pronunciation. It begins with the statement “we now begin with explaining Sikshā: Varnas (letters) Svara, its strength, Mātrās, and their continuity and combination are the rhythmic recitation”.
Sikshām vyākhyāsyāmah; varnas svarah; mātra balam; sāma snathānam.
Radhakrishnan translates this passage as “We will expound pronunciation of letters or sounds, pitch quality, force or stress, articulation, and combination; This is called the section on Sikshā” According to this, the first lesson on Vedānga begins with the study of letters.
The most ancient Tamil Grammar Tolkāppiyam incidentally begins with “Eluttu” the letters. A study of this chapter shows Tolkāppiyar wrote his work when Brāhmi script had already come into vogue in Tamailnadu for he wrote about both the written script and phonetic sound. How Tolkāppiyam deals with the phonetic sounds is brilliantly analyzed by P.S.Subrahmanya Sastry, in his work “An Enquiry into the relationship of Snaskirt and Tamil, published by the University of Travancore, 1946, Chapter II. His following remarks are worth recalling at this point.
Many technical terms relating to Phonology, Morphology, Poetics and Prosody had already existed before his time and Tolkāppiyar should have made use of them. His text tells us not only this, but he has also made use of his knowledge of the Vedas Sikshās,the Prātisākhyas, the Nirukta, Sanskrit grammar, Sanskrit science of poetics, Dharma Sāstras, the Kāmasutra, the Artha sāstra etc. In the chapter on the production of Sound he refers to the four phases of speech sound Parā, Pasyanti, Madhyamā and Vaikahari mentioned in the Rg Veda and tells us that in his work he deals with only the last Vaikhari and those who wish to learn them from Antanar Marai (Vedas of the Brāhmins). Prof Sastri refers to Sutra 102 of Eluttatikāram of Tolkāppiyam.
Ellā eluttm —-
ahattelu vali isai ariltapa nādi alavir kodal Antanar maraitte” It is necessary to note that PS Sastri wrote when much inscriptional material especially about the script was not discovered. A large number of Brāhmi inscription have come to light in recent times and need to be studied in relation to Tolkāppiyam. The earliest inscriptions are found in Brāhmi script that may be ascribed to first cent BCE. As Tolkāppiyar mentions script he may be assigned to first cent CE. The following sutras of Tolkāppiyam refer to written script.
meyyin iyarkai pilliyodu nilayal ie. The natureof consonant is to appear with a dot.
Pulli illā ellā meyyum uru urvāki akaramaodu uyirttalum, enai uyirodu urupu tirindu uyirtalum āyir iyala uyirtal āre. All consonants without dot, appear with modifications to their forms except the syllable of the first varga like “ka” which has only its basic form without any change.
The graphic form of script is “Eluttu” in Tamil which is also used to denote its phonetic sound. So Naccinārkkiniyar, the commentator says that Eluttu stands for both written and phonetic form. “Elutap-paduvatālum eluppap-patuvatālum eluttu”. i.e Eluttu is so called because it is written and is also pronounced. The root “Elu means both raise (sound) and write/draw.
The Vedic Brāhmanas were obliged to serve as judges in village courts and that calls for a knowledge of Dharma Sāstras for him. 18 major Dharma Sāstras like that of Manu, Yajnya valkhya, Vasishta, Nārada, Brhaspati and others were available for study then. The Dharma sāstra insists on the written document for ownership rights and other transactions for deciding disputes. Similarly knowledge of Numerals and Arithmetic is required for all transactions like laying yaga kundas, construction of residences, trade, Royal treasury and administration, etc. The Vedic brāmhanas were to study both written script and numerals. They were also considered as effective ambassadors. When they learnt the Vedas, the knowledge of phonetics and pronunciation was necessary. There is a tradition of calling the Vedas “unwritten text” Elutākkilavi which some scholars mistook and wrote that (Vedic ) Brāhmanas were against written script. This Elutākkilavi applies only to the learning of Vedic texts and not against other subjects -vidyas like dharma sāstra, mathematics, astronomy, royal administration etc. There are three words in the Vedas namely Bhuh, Bhuvah, and Suvah which are used extensively in Vedic recitations and rituals. A certain Maharishi Cāmasya realized and introduced another Vyāhriti called “Mahah” as the fourth Vyāhritih. These terms had multiple layers of meaning given in the Upanishad itself. The meanings of each layer are:- a) Bhuh means earth Prithvi; bhuvah means space ākāsah; Suvah means the whole universe and Mahah means Aditya – sun. It is from Sun all beings grow b) Bhuh means Fire Agni; Bhuvah means Wind Vāyuh; Suvah means Sun and Mahah means Moon Chandramāh. It is from Moon all luminaries shine brightly. c) Bhuh means Rig veda; Bhuvah means Sāma veda; Suvah means Yajurveda and Mahah means Brahmam It is from Brahmam everything attain pre-eminence. d) Bhuh means vital breadth – Prānah, bhuvah means apāna out-breadth air vyāna diffused breadth and mahah means Annam food.
These four Vyāhritis are explained as above by the Upanishad and in which Mahah stands for Aditya, Chandrama, Brahmam, and Anna the four vital requirement of men. Veda stand for lerning process. So the ultimate in Veda is called Brahmam. All these are called as the mystic utterance of the Veda “OM”. This Upanishad praises everything as Brahmam identical with Om. This shows that the first prsna of this Upanishad is devoted to emphasizing Brahmam and is therefore rightly called Brahma valli
Omiti brāhmanah pravakshyan branhmopāpnavan brahmaiva bhavati.
It is because of this unity, the Vedic scholar is called a “Brahmana”. The student who studies this concludes the first part of this Upanishad as “I salute Brahmam Om namo brahmane”.
In this connection there is interesting information provided by Naccinārkkiniyar in his commentary on the study of Vedas and Vedāngas by Brāhmins of Tamilnadu. According to Naccinārkkiniyar the six limbs studied by the Tamil Brāhmins were Nirutta (Niruktam)study of vedic terms, Vyākarana that deals with the grammar of Vedic terms and also worldly usages like Aintiram, Kalpas like that of Bodhāyaniyam, Bhāradvajam, Apastampam, Atreyam,and others; Ganitham Mathematics like that of Nārāyaniyam and Varāham; Chandam classical poetics, and Brahmam standing for Eluttu āraycci”. In this list Ganitham stands for what is called in sanskrit sources as Jyotisham that satnds for astronomical calculations. But the most important point for our study here is the name is “Brahmam” (piramam) mentioned standing for Eluttārāycci which means both written and phonetic sound. This is a clear example of Tamil Brāhmins learning both written script and phonetic letters. The question arises what is the connection between Eluttārāicci and Brāhmam?
We have seen that the first lessons on phonetic letters is called Sikshā-valli in Taittirya Upanishad. We have also seen that this section teaching Varna letters emphasizes “brahmam” So Naccinārkkiniyar gives the name Brahmam to Sikshā valli which by this time included written script as well – Eluttu. Naccinārkkiniyar is an extraordinary commentator who cites hundreds of examples for the sutras but almost all of them are from Sangam literature and none from later period there by showing his primary concern as a stickler to tradition. The tradition of calling Sikshā valli as Brahmam two thousand years ago, is preserved for us by Naccinārkkiniyar, because of the importance given to Brahmam in that first section. It is certain that the study of script and Phonetic letters were very closely and largely used in the learning of Vedic Brāhmanas and so the script itself is came to be called Brāhmi i.e of the Brāhmanas. It naturally was also called Bammi in Prakrit.
Scholars who have studied the Brāhmi script has shown that it was designed for Sanskrit phonetics like the varga sounds and invented by those well versed in Sanskrit. There is also a 7th Cent Chinese annals that mentions the Brāhmi and Kharoshti scripts were invented in India which shows that Brāhmins who used to study the phonetics of Sanskrit invented this script. We may add that Panini’s Vyākarana came into vogue in the North West Frontiers of India and this school was very active in that region.
Asoka Maurya (3rd cent BCE) in whose time the script emerges was the Governor of this province when he started his career as a young prince before he went to Avanti and then became the Ruler of Māgada. He was an enterprising king who had already the knowledge of writings in Greek (Balkan states) and Persia that had Aramaic script. It is not unlikely that he was responsible in encouraging the Sanskrit scholars to invent a script for his administrative and judicial functions. Asoka’s edicts have been found in Greek and Aramaic characters are known. Also he used Kharoshti script which also emerges in that region from that times onwards. So he preferred the use of Brāhmi in his kingdom upto Māgadha and Kharoshti in NWFP. Asoka’s instruction to enter all the gift made by his queen should be entered in her name, in one of his edict, shows that he was using it in his administrative and judicial systems. I have shown in the chapter on “Brāhmins and Brāhmi under Asoka”, that the Dharma he preached was the same as the Sikshā valli of the Taittirya Upanishad, which teaches the study of letters.
It is necessary to point out that the Tolkāppiyam has a prologue Payiram written by Tolkāppiyar’s co student Panam pāranar who categorically states that Tolkāppiyam fully followed a grammar named Aintiram “Aintiram nirainta Tolkāppiyam”. We have seen that Naccinārkkiniyar says the Vyākarana studied by the Tamil Brāhmins in their study of Vedas was Aintiram which deals with Vedic tradition.
Aru angamāva (Shadanga) ulakiyal collai olittu Vaidika collai ārayum Nirukta; avvirandaiyum (ulakiyal and Vaidikam) udan arayum aintiram todakkattu vyakaranamum; bharadvajam, bodhayanaiym, Apasthambam, Atreyam mudaliya karpangalumNarayaniyam, Varhammudaliya ganitangalum elttārāycyākiya biramamum,, Ceyyul ilakkanamākiya Chandamum ām (Naccinārkkiniyar ‘s commenaray on Tolkāppiyam sutram 75, in Purattinai).
Also Naccinārkkiniyar in his commentary on Ahattinai of Tolkāppiyam mentions that the nomenclature used by Tolkāppiyar was the ones used by Agastya in his Tamil grammar Agattiyam. He further state “These technical words were coined by Agastya”. So the terms Ahattinai, Purattinai, etc used in Tolkāppiyam were wholly Vedic terminology. It should be remembered that the Early Pandyas repeatedly claim that their ancestors learnt both Sanskrit and Tamil from Agastya. All evidences in Tamil and Sanskrit point to the fact that the Tamil and Tamil society followed Vedic Tradtions.
The Vedic Roots of Hindu Iconography
[A new book with title The Vedic Roots of Hindu Iconography by Dr. R.Nagaswamy has been published in 2012, by Kaveri Books with Bib Details: xxvi+230p, (155) b/w pls, (33) col pls, bib, ind, 26 cm.]
About the book:- The Nature manifests itself in innumerable forms, colours and quality each with a propelling power to bring multitudes of these forms and each form fascinates the poetic mind that creates a lovely imagery in everlasting poetry. The Indian mind living in the midst of nature in days of yore poured forth such immortal poems we call Vedas i.e understand. We hear frequently in the Vedas a phrase “Ya Yevam Veda” i.e one who knows this understands. Behind all these multiple forms are the images with multiple hands, multiple legs, multiple faces and beyond, as Visvarupa with thousand names, Sahasra-naman or even million names laksharccas are in fact many in one, and one in many. So when the Hindus worship many gods they worship the universal power beyond lands, languages, forms, race, colour, sex, or times and that is the concept of Hindu Godhood. It is only ignorant who will call such a concept “immersed in darkness”. The Hindus loudly proclaimed Critical knowledge itself is god Vijnaanam Brahma. And that concept is Brahmam i.e. ever expanding knowledge, Vijnana, different from the Creative power called, Brahmaa, and that was the contribution of the Vedas.
This book explores this expanding knowledge from the Vedic period to recent times in time and space that would dispel many misconceptions. It was Agni, the fire that was the most visible power to which everything was reduced at the ultimate analysis. The first few articles therefore deal with Agni, the fire of Vedas. The Sun, Moon and the fire are the primordial energies. The fire has two inherent powers the consuming heat energy and Illuminating-beneficial energy, which they called on one hand as Rudra and on the other Vishnu. Rudra and Vishnu both inseparably exist in one and the same Fire. So the Harihara emerges as an influential form in the early centuries. Similarly Rudra is like the father and the benevolent energy of the same fire, insuperable, is called Mother Devi Parvati, the male and the female in one and the same form as Ardhanari. Similarly the abode of this inseparable powers called the temple is within man and outside him in the world and both are called the temples “Visvasya Ayatanam”. Most of the important iconographic visualizations arise from such syncretic forms That are dealt with in this volume as for example the concept of linga or Varaha, gives you so many layers that are properly focused that would come as revelations. Bhairava and Krishna are one.. Similarly the creaitive power was also added to Siva and Vishnu who are adored by millions of Hindus as Virinchi Narayana Sankaratmans. At another level some individual manifestations like Andhakasuravadha or Nataraja are rooted in Vedic understanding of darkness and light. The writings of some that there was no worship of feminine power in the Vedic age, is shown in this volume as pedestrian, worthy of outright rejection. Similarly some hold that the Muruga Kartikeya is exclusive and the earliest god of the Tamil is disproved and shown here as a Sanskrit word “Mrgya” in prakrit form and is a pan Indian deity. It is also shown that the concept arise from the sons of Rudra and the River Prishni of Punjab which later merged into a great river lik six bodies of Shanmukha merging into one, later as the son of Rudra and Ganga. The origin of Rama and Krishna and their place in the chronological perspective is detailed with epigraphical evidence and disproved some of the abysmal ignorance of some professorial claimants. Each article in this volume is thought provoking, originl and linked to the factual utterances Vedic Rishis which is absolutely necessary for those who seek proper approach to the subject.
Relationship Between Tamil and Sanskrit
Affinities and Oppositions – September 12-14, 2007
From left to right: François Gros; Jean-Pierre Muller; Jennifer Clare; Kannan.M
The Aim of this Conference is to explore the historical relationship between two classical languages of India and also to initiate a new dialogue between these two cultures from a multidisciplinary perspective in the present socio cultural context.
Tamil culture quaffs through the centuries from two sources, one being pan-Indian Sanskrit and the other regional but no less ancient, its brilliant debut the Sangam Corpus: two “classical” languages for a single culture, alternately following the song which has been taken up progressively in the second millennium by other regional, and especially Dravidian, literatures.
Echoes from Kashmir sound in the Tevaram and, if Vaisnavas are divided over the two languages, the songs of the Alvars are accepted unanimously as a Tamil Veda.
The medieval commentators formulated the poetic rules of Tamil literature, sometimes integrating it into the Sanskrit tradition the better to affirm its status. The exploits of the Chola kings are celebrated in inscriptions by both Sanskrit prasasti and Tamil meykkirtti.
A little later, Arunakiri Natar played with equally virtuosity on the verbal register of the two languages, though this game is a tradition practised mainly by a bi-lingual elite. The Buddhists and Jains have their Sanskrit derived source texts in Pali and Ardhamagadhi but it was Tamil they chose for epic masterworks.
Both linguistic registers make their contribution to all technical literature to the extent that it would be possible, seemingly, to attain mastery of the sastra by intensive practice of either one of them.
Two deep currents then have coexisted down the centuries, conscious to be sure of their differences, but never in major conflict. This happy equilibrium was broken, however, in the middle of the 19th c. due mostly to political factors; the confrontation culminated in the resistance of Tamil in the face of Hindi, perceived as being imposed by the North on a South driven onto the defensive.
How may the harmony history suggests to us be retrieved, if not through the systematic development in all domains of the knowledge and perception of the common sources of our culture?
The method used will be to provide a neutral, common platform for discussion and brainstorming amongst scholars specialized in various fields of Tamil and Sanskrit such as Grammar, Linguistics, Lexicography, Philosophy, Literature and History.