Friday, March 21, 2008

Purpose of begetting children - Aryan view of the Tamils

No Aryan – Dravidian divide. It was one Aryavartha (16)

This country of ours known as Aryavartha

had been one

and continues to be one in its culture, life style and beliefs.

Until the 15th post in this series we have seen how the North and the South India

had been one, with particular reference to Rameshwaram and Ram Sethu,

which stand as a symbol of the unitary culture of this nation.

We also saw how the term Aryan is very much a descriptive one

which was glorified in Tamil texts, particularly in Thirukkural as ‘saandrOn’.

Aryan is known as a conduct, as an epitome of virtues

which have been listed well in Thirukkural.

One of the famous poets of yore, named Pisiraandhaiyaar,

was once asked why his hairs did not grey in spite of his old age. (1)

As his reply he listed certain good things such as

having a good ruler in his country, a good wife and children

and a good number of ‘sandrOr’ (Aryans) living in his place,

that made him not to grow old with grey.

Let us further move on to other issues of Aryanism that was prevalent in Tamil lands,

thereby proving that this part of India was very much part of Aryavartha

and not a Dravida

(dra in Sanskrit has its roots in the meaning ‘to run’ and vida to ‘place’

-dravida therefore means the place to run to or the place where (they) ran to

or took shelter, in its implied meaning.)

The Tamils had been very much inhabitants of this part of Aryavartha

and were very much part of the Aryan culture,

that was based on Sanatana Dharma of Vedic principles.

The most important issue that I wish to take up here to substantiate this claim

is those related to Pithrus.

The many articles on this issue posted so far are about the practices of the Vedic society.

Issues related to pithrus or departed ones are unique for every culture.

Human beings across the civilizations and across the courtiers

during different time periods

may have been similar with respect to aspirations, wishes, emotions etc.

But in the sphere of beliefs and activities related to the dead,

civilizations / cultures differ markedly from other civilizations and cultures.

But one can not find such differences within India,

once known as Aryavartha or the land of Aryans.

From Ganga to Sethu, the sacred places for doing pithru kaaryam were spread.

All people irrespective of varnas (there were no castes in the ancient society)

did pithru kaaryam and are still doing pithru kaaryam.

The pithru kaaryam was taught as an obligatory duty as early as in the student years.

It is known from the Taittriya Upanishad

that before proceeding to teach the student that

the mother is god, the father is god etc

(Mathru devO bhava, pithru devO bahva..),

the teacher told the student the importance of pithru kaaryam.

The student was reminded that he must not forget to do the oblations

to devas and departed ones.

“Deva pithru kaaryaabhyaan na pramathidavyam(2)

Never forget to do deva-pithru kaaryam was the order by the teacher.

Pithru kaaryam was the core issue around which

the Dharma itself was woven in those days.

When Arjuna refused to fight with Kauravas in Kurukshethra,

he referred to this aspect as the main issue.

If the kith and kin were to be killed in a war, that leads to kula-naash.

When there is kula naasham, the kula dharma also will be destroyed.

When kula dharma is destroyed, the kula-sthree is affected

When the woman gets affected, the oblations to pithrus will get affected. (3)

Outwardly this has been understood by many as though

women have been held responsible for the ultimate destruction of Dharma

and practices in Dharma.

But the reality is that in any war,

it is the woman who bears the maximum brunt.

The woman who loses her husband or father in the war,

becomes the first and the easy target for the winners.

She is molested, made a dependant or left in destitution.

When that happens, her family system – if she had any children – also gets affected.

As a result, the system of pithru-kaaryam is also hampered.

In this way, Arjuna finds a direct relationship

between wars and destruction of Dharma that is pivoted on pithru kaaryam.

Since pithru kaaryam was the life-line of continuing equilibrium in Nature

as explained in the post “The rationale behind oblations done to departed ancestors”,

this is said to be so.

It will be interesting to know that this formed the core issue of concern

for the rulers in ancient Tamil lands too!

It is a well known fact of history that the three kings of Tamil lands,

namely, the cholas, the Cheras and the Pandyas

were constantly at war with each other.

The expansionist tendency was very much in their blood.

This again was an Aryan trait, seen by the way Duryodhana was justified

for doing every trick to grab the lands of Pandavas.

As per dharma sastras, Duryodhana was not wrong

in aspiring for the wealth and land of Pandavas.

It is justified for a king.

It is justified for a king to win the opponent’s land by dice game too.

That is why Yudhisttira also agreed to play the dice game.

Had Yudhithtira won the game, the war would have anyway happened,

because it was legitimate for the Kauravas to go on war

to get back what they lost in the game.

Such was the rule of this land,

-the rule of this entire Aryavartha.

Such was the rule of the Tamil kings.

They were constantly on the prowl to expand their territories.

This concern about destruction of kula-dharma, kula-shtree and pithru kaaryam

was also held by them.

But they even went a step further than the Pandavas

and made it mandatory for the invading king not to disturb this dharma.

Not disturbing this dharma means not touching or harming the women

and not killing those who have no issues to do pithru-sharaddha.

Coming to the war and kula-sthree issues,

the poetess Nettimaiyaar, while praising the Pandyan king,

Palyaaga shalai Mudu-kudumi Peruvazhuthi,

singles out 5 issues that this king was very well known for.

This King although known for his expansionist tendency and had won many a war,

had always stood by Dharma in that,

he took care not to harm the 5 types of beings (4)

They were the cattle,

The Brahmins,

The womenfolk,

The sick and

Those people who were not blessed with sons to do pithru shraddha!!

“Then pula vaazhnarkku arum kadan irukkum

pon pOl pudhalvar peraadheerum”,

says the poetess.

The poetess does not just say issueless- people.
She characterizes them as those who have not been blessed with sons

who will remove the pithru ruNam or pithru kadan to those in the South (pithru lokam)

If such a person who has not yet got an issue goes on war and is killed,

his lineage gets cut with him.

Instead if such a person is spared to live on,

there will still be some chance that he will get progeny sometime in future.

Bringing an end to one’s lineage by one’s action such as war

was considered to be against dharma.

So care was taken that the above types of people

were kept away from the violence of war.

This has also been reflected in the famous grammar work, Thol kaappiyam.

Thol kaapiyam lists down certain persons

who are not to be harmed by the invading king.

They are the lazy ones, those who have no sons, the old, the disabled, those named as a female and the disarmed ones.

“sirappudai arasiyalaavana:

madindha uLLatthOnaiyum,




peN peyarOnaiyum, padai izhandhOnaiyum, piravum

etthanmai udaiyOnaiyum kollaadhu viduthal.(5)

The special note about the verse in PuranaanUru is that

it was written more than 5000 years ago.

This 11 line verse actually contains 5 information of interest to us

in our present context of discussion.

The ones on not harming women and issueless ones were discussed here.

The ones on cattle and the festival of Indra (munneer vizhavu)

which again depict Aryan practices will be taken up at an appropriate context.

The 5 th information is about the king’s land which got sub-merged later.

The poetess praises the king for eternal fame –

for as many years as the number of sands of the river PahruLi of his land!

Pahruli was existent during the times of Tamil sangam -II

The 2nd Tamil sangam was presided by none other than Krishna of Dwaraka.

After that, this river and the lands adjoining it went under water,

when the southern sea surged.

So this poem must have been written either at the time of Krishna or

before the time of Krishna.

But none of the 5 verses found in PuranaanUru on this king

makes any mention of Krishna.

This king was very popular for the numerous homas he had done.

His name itself was a title for the many yajnas he had done.

When such specifics are found mentioned in the poems,

the visit of dawaraka-pathi can not have escaped the poet’s attention.

But since such mention is not there,

it can be assumed that this king preceded Krishna!

Krishna’s times is now accepted to be around 5000 years ago.

The marine excavations off Dwaraka have established that the city

existed more than 5000 years ago.

The astrological indications coupled with textual references

have also established that Krishna lived more than 5000 years ago.

(Information on these lines will be posted next).

Moreover, this is a country of continuing civilization

that a meticulous maintenance of records of time is being kept,

as per which we are presently in the 5109 th year of Kali yuga

which started after the demise of Krishna.

There are numerous works such as the ones by Varaha mihira and Bhaskara

where they have clearly stated the time of their works and their age

in the order of kali-yugaabdhi and in terms of saka varusha.

These are unassailable evidences of the progress of years of this Kali yuga, in particular.

As per these evidences, Krishna lived more than 5000 years ago.

And PahruLi river exited only until his times.

So the poem in discussion was written 5000 years ago

and the dharma in terms of not harming the women and the issueless ones,

indicating the stress laid on pithru kaaryam was

the Supreme Dharma for Tamils 5000 years ago.

Even the disrobing of a woman, the daughter-in-law (Draupadi)

that was reported in the Kaurava’s court, during the times of Krishna

could never even be imagined in Tamil lands.

There is not a single report of such dishonor done to a woman

in the court of a Tamil king.

Instead the king had fallen dead on coming to know of the misdeed

done to a woman (kaNNagi).

Such was the high order of values that was prevalent in this part of Aryavartha.

Again PuranaanUru brings out another verse

which tells about the supreme importance given for begetting sons

for the sake of doing pithru kaaryam.

When the Chola king KOpperum Cholan decided to go on Vanaprastha

(this again is an Aryan practice based on ashrama dharma),

his friends too wanted to join him.

One of them was a poet, Potthiyaar.

But the king refused to accept him to join him in vanaprastha

(where he will sit on fast, facing the North)

because the poet did not have issues.

He told the poet to be with his wife, get children and then join him.

This is expressed by the poet (6)

who came to see the place where the king died in vanaprastha.

Begetting children for the sake of doing pithru kaaryam

is thus a dharmic practice for Tamils too,

making them no different from those in the rest of Aryavartha.

(to be continued)

(1) PuranaanUru -191

(2) Taittriya upansihad (1-11.2)

(3) Bhagawad Gita (1-40 to 43)

(4) PuranaanUru -9 (aavum, aaniyal paarpana maakkaLum..)

(5) Tholkaappiyam (sutra 10-6)

(6) PuranaanUru -222

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