Monday, June 28, 2010

Unitary culture from Valmeeki's times to Paripaadal times (World Tamil Conference series - 7)

In his inaugural address to the Tamil Chemmozhi conference, Mr Karunanidhi made a reference to the time of Mahabharatha war while eulogizing the greatness Uthiyan Cheralaathan. The 2nd verse of Purananuru praises Uthiyan Cheralathan as one who fed the armies of the war fought between a hundred (Kauravas ) and the Five (Pandavas.)

அலங்குளைப் புரவி ஐவரோடு சினைஇ,
நிலந்தலைக் கொண்ட பொலம்பூந் தும்பை
ஈரைம் பதின்மரும் பொருது, களத்து ஒழியப்
பெருஞ்சோற்று மிகுபதம் வரையாது கொடுத்தோய்!

This poem is interpreted by those who refuse to accept the antiquity of Tamil as a poetic exaggeration to praise a king with something that happened long before. The purpose of this mail is not discuss this accusation. I want to draw the atention to what Mr Karunanidhi has said. He has mentioned a time period for Mahabharatha war. He said that Mahabharatha happened at 1500 BC. Therefore Uthiyan Cheralathan also must have lived around that time.


"பாரதப்போர் பற்றிய குறிப்பில், புறநானூற்றில் பாண்டவர் ஐந்து பேருடன் 100 துரியோதனாதியர்களும் போரிட்டபோது, இரு பக்க படைகளுக்கும் பெருஞ்சோறு கொடுத்த காரணத்தால் உதியஞ்சேரலாதன் - சேரன் பெருஞ்சோற்றுதியன், சேரலாதன் என்று அழைக்கப்பட்டார். பாரதப்போர் நடைபெற்ற காலம் கி.மு. 1500 எனப்படுகிறது. அப்படியானால், இந்த சேரனின் காலம் கி.மு. 1500 ஆக இருக்க வேண்டும். இவையனைத்தும் தமிழ் இனம், தமிழ் மொழியின் தொன்மையையும் புலப்படுத்துகின்றன"

Some observations from this part of his speech :-

* Simultaneous existence of civilization of Mahabharatha characters in the north and Tamil civilization in the south. No animosity is seen among them. From Mahabharatha also we come to know that a Pandyan king by name Sarangadwaja had participated in the war. (Mbh.7.23.1149, Mbh.7.23.1155). So the Tamils of the South and the people of the north had lived in those times which Mr Karunanidhi calls as olden (தொன்மை) and unique for Tamils.

* Mr Karunanidhi who questioned the historicity of Rama accepts that Krishna had lived. He does this because a cross reference is found in Purananuru about the authenticity of Mahabharatha war.

In this connection I want to show a cross reference to a period where Rama lived - though not exact in nature as the Purnauru verse.
This reference enjoys a larger scope to substantiate that the entire Bharathavarsha followed a same culture and not that Tamils were older than the others.

This reference is to a concept called "veedhi" or 'theru" which literally means 'street' .

This reference is unique in another respect also.

It exactly says the planetary positions at the time that verse was composed. Mr Karunanidhi quotes 1500 BC as the time of Mahabharatha. We don't know how he arrived at that time. Continuing or living proof of when Mahabharatha happened is the continuing record of Time to the denomination of Ghati which is equal to 24 minutes - from the time Krishna departed from this world. As per this record 5,111 years had lapsed since Krishna departed. Researches have located the Mahabharatha times from the planetary position told by Vyasa before the onset of the war. The outcome of those researchers done by experts in that field such as Dr Narahari Achar has shown that Mahabharatah war happened 5000 years ago. The date of Indus civilization comes just after that.

I am not going into the nitty gritty of these science issues. What I am asking is why not Mr Karunanidhi initiate a scientific research to locate the time of the Paripadal based on the complete sky map given in that?

As per Parimelazhagar's commentary, this is how the planets were present on the day the poem was composed. It was the day before Pournami in the month of Avani. There is also the mention of heliacal rising of Canopus (Agasthya). It will be definitely possible to identify the time of this combination. When I checked the combination in astrology software, it goes back to times before 1000 BC!!

Anyone having the know how to decipher the time is welcome to use these details of this verse (Paripadal 11)

The uniqueness that I want to highlight is something else.

This verse speaks about "street"

விரி கதிர் மதியமொடு, வியல் விசும்பு, புணர்ப்ப,
எரி, சடை, எழில் வேழம், தலையெனக் கீழ் இருந்து,
தெரு இடைப்படுத்த மூன்று ஒன்பதிற்று இருக்கையுள்___
உருகெழு வெள்ளி வந்து ஏற்றியல் சேர,
வருடையைப் படிமகன் வாய்ப்ப, பொருள் தெரி 5

புந்தி மிதுனம் பொருந்த, புலர் விடியல்
அங்கி உயர் நிற்ப, அந்தணன் பங்குவின்
இல்லத் துணைக்கு உப்பால் எய்த, இறை யமன்
வில்லின் கடை மகரம் மேவ, பாம்பு ஒல்லை
மதியம் மறைய, வரு நாளில்____வாய்ந்த 10

பொதியில் முனிவன் புரை வரைக் கீறி
மிதுனம் அடைய, விரி கதிர் வேனில்
எதிர் வரவு மாரி இயைக என இவ் ஆற்றால்
புரை கெழு சையம் பொழி மழை தாழ,

Parimelazhakar gives description of three streets namely Mesha veedhi, Rishabha veedhi and Mithuna veedhi.
The 2nd line of the above verse speaks about the 3 veedhis - Rishabha veedhi identified by Krittika (Pleiades) , Mesha veedhi by Bharani and Mithuna veedhi by Arudhra.

Like many issues of Hindu culture and religion, this also can be explained by astrology only.
One can find the explanation for the veedhis in Prasna Marga by Neelakanta.
One of the 6 prasna rasis called Chatra rasi can be determined by means of veedhi only.

These 3 veedhis are the streets transited by the sun.
The globe or the zodiac is divided into 3 parts.
The upper part is the Northern street starting from Rishabha (Taurus) to Simha (Leo). When the sun moves in these 4 signs, it is said to move in the northern veedhi or Mesha veedhi.

The 4 opposite signs namely Pisces and Aries (meena and mesha) on the one end and Virgo and Libra (kanni and Thulam) on the other end forms the ecliptic or the middle path or madhya veedhi. When the sun moves in these signs it is said to move in Rishabha veedhi.

The 4 signs of the zodiac starting from Scorpio to Aquarius form the Dakshina veedhi or the Southern street. This is known as Mithuna veedhi. When the sun is in any of these signs it is said to be in Mithuna veedhi.

In prasna astrology, the chatra rasi is determined from Veedhis. For this the Arudha lagna (the time of questioning) is noted. the person's natal lagna is also noted. The number of signs from Arudha lagna to natal lagna is counted. Now the position of the sun is noted. It is noted on the basis of veedhi - Mesha, Rishbha or Mithuna - at the time of prasna. If the sun is in Mesha veedhi (Taurus / Gemini / Cancer / Leo) , then the number arrived above must be counted from Mesha - to locate the chatra rasi. If found in Rishabha veedhi (Pisces / Aries / Virgo / Libra ), the number is counted from Rishbha (Taurus) and is located in Mithuna veedhi ( Scorpio, Sagittarius / Capricorn / Aquarius), the number is counted from Gemini.

For example, if the Arudha lagna is Aquarius and the natal lagna is Leo, count from Aquarius to Leo. the number is 7. Suppose the sun is in Taurus at that time, then it means it is in Mesha veedhi. So count 7 signs from Mesha (Aries). Libra will be the Chatra rasi.

I am giving all these explanations to show the utility of Veedhis in this culture. (Prasna astrology and sakuna astrology were prevalent from times of antiquity.) In the above quoted Paripaadal verse, the poet has located the planets first on the basis of veedhis. He had mentioned first the planet of the Mesha veedhi. That planet was Venus in Taurus. (Readers must carefully read the explanations given above and must not get confused with the 2 -way application of Aries and Taurus) Then he mentioned the planet present in Rishabha veedi - Mars in Aries. Then he mentioned the planet present in the Mithuna that signifies Mithuna veedhi. That was Mercury in Gemini.

Two things are understood from this.

(1) The Deep presence of astrology in Tamil society.

(2) Starting the system from Mesha or Aries.

This must be noted by Mr Karunanidhi who believes that the Tamil new year starts in Thai (Sun in capricorn ). It is told that the northern sojourn of the Sun happens in the veedhi starting from Taurus. The sun will be in the Northern latitudes only during those months. It is not told that the northern veedhi starts from Makara. The turning towards north happens then. But the sun's northern journey will be from Taurus to Leo. That part is signified as Mesha veedhi. They would not have called it Mesha veedhi unless Mesha (Aries or Chitthirai) was considered as the beginning for all practical purposes.

Another understanding is that whatever be the status of precession of equinoxes, the globe receives the sun's light only in this fashion. (north, middle and south)

Let me now take up the actual purpose of posting all these information.

The utility of Veedhis followed by astrologers had existed in the time of this Paripaadal.

The reference to the veedhi is found in Valmeeki Ramayana also !!

In yuddha khanda 22-72, Kavi Valmeeki describes the Sethu that was built just then as the 'Swathi padam" that runs in the center of the sky.

sa nalena kR^itaH setuH saagare makara aalaye || 6-22-72
shushubhe subhagaH shriimaan svaatii patha iva ambare |

The commentary for this verse explains the 3 veedhis and the Swathi padam as the Madhya veedhi.

The explanation for these 3 veedhis is also given in Vayu purana.

In sanskrit these 3 veedhis are known as "uttara , madhya and dakshina " or as " Arshabhi, madhyai and Ajakavi" The stars Hastham, Chitthirai and Swathi form the Madhya veedhi. (Kranthi veedhi or the ecliptic or the regions close to the equator) (Tamil commentary by AV Narasinhachari, Tamil edition of Valmeeki ramayana, 1935 edition).

Ram Sethu shone as the Madhya veedhi - as Swathi padam. The specific reference to swathi is because it is swetha - shining like white. It also signifies the Madhya veedhi.

This goes to show that the tradition of referring to the veedhis is as old as Ramayana and also the times of Purana.

The tradition that was known and followed by the people of Rama's times - or by "Aryans" - (for better understanding by Mr karunanidhi) had existed in Tamils society also!! That tradition continues even today by astrologers. This tradition shows that Rama and Sethu were historical facts just as the paripadal poet and the tradition of worshiping Vaigai of the South (told as Paavai nonbu in that paripaadal).

Mr Karunanidhi takes delight in quoting rasa anubhavas from sangam texts on the meeting between lovers (in his concluding speech today).
Didn't he take note of this Paripadal verse?
Didn't he see the astrology of that verse?
(I can explain the rationale of the explanation given by the poet in that verse to an all-Indian attitude towards certain rituals connected with arrival of rains. I will cover them in a later post.)
Didn't he stop to think what is Mesha veedhi etc?
Didn't it occur to him why the term Mesha veedhi was used and not Makara veedhi (if the sun's northern soujourn is to start in Thai)?
Didn't he think that it is more appropriate to summon scientists to locate the time of this poem that clearly mentions planetary positions, than to depend on some disputable works from Mr Parpola?

He has accepted that Krishna had existed while highlighting the glory of Uthiyan Cheralathan .
What would he say for the similarity in the prevalence of a concept on Veedhi in Tamil lands and also in Rama's times?

Don't they show that from North to South, the facets of knowledge (here astronomy and astrology) had been one and the same?


Unknown said...

Karunanidhi does believe in Jotisham and it might well be that his beliefs stemmed from Sangam texts. How else can one explain his Manja Thundu
He believes in Krishna because his house is just opposite Krishnar's temple in Gopalapuram - Krishna is watching him all time - Had there been a Ramar temple, who knows Karuna would have accepted Rama too

Anonymous said...

Please have your individual articles on the World Tamil Conference and links thereto placed/listed in the right column of your blog. This would facilitate easy access for those of us who visit often. I hope others provide cross links to your articles.

Kindly continue the excellent coverage on the post-conference 'Dravidian' politics of literature. It is thought provoking and useful for all of us.

jayasree said...

Thanks Mr Sarangarajan and Mr Romesh for the comments. The label "Tamil conference" that comes at the end of the post gives the link to other posts in this series. I intend to write some more posts in this series. Please stay connected.

Unknown said...

After reading this post, i came across two excellent posts connecting paripadal,purananuru and ramayana.

The paripadal verse 19 is said to describe ahalya scene in thiruparankundram paintings.

Similarly a poet in purananuru compares sita kidnapping episode.

paripadal verse reference with ahalya scene refrence from pullamangai sculptures


So now why not ask karuna to accept rama too?

Not sure whether you missed these,because these are direct references to rama

jayasree said...

Dear Asthika,

Thanks for the info.
There are solid references to Ramayana in Puranauru, Agananuru and Silappadhikaram.I have not written them in this post as this post was about a highlighting a tradition of "veethi" that was widely prevalent in Bharath from Valmeeki times to Paripadal times.

As for the Paripadal reference to Ahalya, I would say a more interesting clue is there in that poem on Chitthirai or Mesaha maasam as the beginning of the year. I have given that reference in my article on Chitthirai as Tamil New Year written in You can read it here:-

The verse on Ramayana in Puranauru 378 - describes the vanaras playing with the jewels thrown by Seetha while she was abducted.

இலம்பா(டு) இழந்தஎன் இரும்பேர் ஒக்கல்
விரல்செறி மரபின செவித்தொடக் குநரும்
செவித்தொடர் மரபின விரற்செறிக் குநரும்
அரைக்(கு)அமை மரபின மிடற்றுயாக் குநரும்
மிடற்(று)அமை மரபின அரைக்குயாக் குநரும்
கடுந்தெறல் இராமன் உடன்புணர் சீதையை
வலித்தகை அரக்கன் வௌவிய ஞான்றை
நிலஞ்சேர் மதரணி கண்ட குரங்கின்
செம்முகப் பெருங்கிளை இழைப்பொலிந் தாஅங்(கு)
அறாஅ அருநகை இனிதுபெற்(று) இகுமே
[புறநானூறு: 378:13-21]

The Agananuru verse 70 makes a reference to the Pandian kingdom at the time of Ramayana. It tells about sitting under a banyan tree engrossed in thought on the war in Lanka. Some writers think the sea shore mentioned here is Dhanush koti.

நம்மொடு புணர்ந்த கேண்மை முன்னே
அலர்வாய்ப் பெண்டிர் அம்பல் தூற்றப்
பலரும் ஆங்(கு)அறிந்தனர் மன்னே; இனியே
வதுவை கூடிய பின்றை....
வென்வேற் கவுரியர் தொல்முது கோடி
முழங்குஇரும் பௌவம் இரங்கும் முன்துறை
வெல்போர் இராமன் அருமறைக்(கு) அவித்த
பல்வீழ் ஆலம் போல
ஒலிஅவிந் தன்(று)இவ் அழுங்கல் ஊரே”. (அகநானூறு:70:5-17)

அ·தாவது, “உன்னைத் திருமணம் செய்துகொள்ளும்முன் அவருக்கும் உனக்கும் இருந்த காதலைப் பற்றி ஊர்ப் பெண்கள் ஊரார் பலரும் அறியுமாறு அலர் (கிசுகிசு!) பேசிச் செய்தியைப் பரப்பினர். ஆனால், திருமணம் ஆன பின்னரோ [நிலைமை வேறு];
வெற்றி தரும் வேல் ஏந்திய கௌரியர் குலத்துப் பாண்டியருக்குரிய மிகப் பழமையான தனு*ச்கோடியில் முழங்கும் பெருங் கடல் அலைவீசும் துறையில் வெற்றியன்றி வேறேதும் அறியாத இராமன் தன் இலங்கைப் படையெடுப்புப் பற்றி ஆராய்வதற்காக ஓர் ஆல மரத்தடியின் அடியில் அமர்ந்திருந்தான்; அப்போது அமைதியை வேண்டி ஆல மரத்தில் அமர்ந்திருந்த பறவைகளை ஒலியெழுப்பாமல் இருக்கச் செய்ததுபோல், ஊர் அமைதியாகிவிட்டது!” என்றாள்.

In Silappadhikaram at 2 places the reference to Ramayana comes.

மதுரைக் காண்டம் - புறஞ்சேரி இறுத்த காதை

பெருமகன் ஏவ லல்ல தியாங்கணும்
அரசே தஞ்சமென் றருங்கான் அடைந்த
அருந்திறல் பிரிந்த அயோத்தி போலப் ( line 63-65)

(The city of Pukar suffered due to the exit of Kovalan just as how Ayodhya suffered due to the exit of Rama)

மதுரைக் காண்டம்: ஊர் காண் காதை

தாதை ஏவலின் மாதுடன் போகிக்
காதலி நீங்கக் கடுந்துய ருழந்தோன்
வேத முதல்வற் பயந்தோ னென்பது
நீயறிந் திலையோ நெடுமொழி யன்றோ ( line 45-49)

In this, Gavunthi adikal tells Kovalan if he does not know the story of the one who left for the forest on father's orders and then lost his wife. The veiled reference is to Ramayana.

All these are prior to Kamban.

jayasree said...

For your information, all these references have been submitted to the SC in Ram Setu case.

jayasree said...

Another info, the 'veethi' info from Paripadal and its astrological significance showing predominance to Mesha rasi has been given by me to the lawyer engaged in opposing the TN Govt order on transfer of Tamil New Year to Thai.

Unknown said...

Thanks mam for all the info. Was sure yoy woudnt have missed it,esp considering you had a series on paripadal. But was in doubt only because of the way the intro was a linking the reference to karuna.

"Mr Karunanidhi who questioned the historicity of Rama accepts that Krishna had lived. He does this because a cross reference is found in Purananuru about the authenticity of Mahabharatha war.

In this connection I want to show a cross reference to a period where Rama lived - though not exact in nature as the Purnauru verse."

Its these senctences that put me in doubt.

Thanks mam for the info you provided to lawyers.

Its sad that courts take such a long time over the important issue, esp considering that govt can decide when it wants to celebrate new year but has no right to decide when hindus and temples celebrate new year. Hope this years incident in raeshwaram not allowing panchagam reading opens eyes of court.All signs including your jyotish showing signs of impending govt change and we dont have a decision yet. sad state of affairs.

That apart what struck me was from pullamangai insriptions,the paripadal verse(be it 6th ad as one person claims in his book or 1000bc as you point) to kamban - people in tn region did not change the story as per valmiki ramayan.

Over the years the same story came through. So that negates the notion that valmiki ramayan was thrusted on people as no attempts have been made to make story same as valmiki ramayan

There was a separate tradition of ramayan being passed through the word of mouth untill kamban chose to put it to paper.

I also noticed your reference to one valmikiyar. I did come across one 18 siddhar by name valmikiyar.
Dont know if poet and this siddhar are one and same or same as Valmiki rishi but as you say does signify that Valmiki was held high.

Also no one has made any attempt to explain the plethora of Valmiki associated temples and places near chennai. No other region has these many temples or places associated to him

Why choose chennai region when so many regions were available in TN.

every possibility that Valmiki may have come on a trip down along with Sita and lava,kusha considering Sita told rama she wanted to see those places again.

Infact in the Vaikunda perumal temple adjoining Kuchlavapureeshwarar temple in Koyambedu, there was a palm leaf manuscript of Sanskrit Ramayan in the temple.

The archakar had taken it out of the safe(godrej bureau green colour) and shown it to me and my father and we spent few minutes with it. This was way before the temples became famous, say 15 yrs back.

Now currently no one know where the manuscript went, archakars say they have no idea. Sad again.