Monday, June 22, 2020

Indic Past Series 6: Skanda’s time before Holocene, established through Tamil sources.

The 6th part of the Indic Series focuses on establishing Skanda’s time by means of Tamil sources. In the earlier episodes it was established that Skanda lived during Younger Dryas following the end of Ice Age. The gradual increase in insolation came to an abrupt end when a comet smashed on the earth causing a temporary black out that resulted in drop in temperature resembling a mini Ice age. The time of the comet hit is speculated to be around 10,800 BCE or 12,800 BP (with 2000 CE as the base year).

Till now no one had thought that India was also impacted by this comet. In the current episode evidence is produced from Mahabharata (in Vasishtha’s narration) on cometary fragments falling on India also. This appears in the oft repeated event of transference of Rudra’s Tejas or energy by Agni Deva to Ganga which she could not bear. While the other sources such as Valmiki Ramayana and Kumara Sambhavam had stopped with this, Vasishtha had given extra information by which it is known that some of the fragments of the comet had landed on India. Further discussion on where the fragments landed will be done in in another episode.

The comet-hit had caused a sudden drop in temperature, known as the period of Younger Dryas in science circles. It lasted for about thousand years between 12 900 to 11 700 BP. Skanda had lived within that span of time. This time period of Skanda is corroborated by the inputs given in the Sangam age text by Nakkeeranaar.

There were three Sangam periods; the last one presided by the Pandya King Ugra Peruvaɻuti. The time period of this king is established by means of Jambai inscription of Adiyaman Neduman Anji, a contemporary of Auvaiyyar who attended the Rajasuya yajna conducted by the Chola King Perunarkilli where she met Ugra Peruvaɻuti!

All these three being contemporaries – Adiyaman, Auvaiyyar and Ugra Peruvaɻuti - we are able to derive the date of the last Sangam by the date of Jambai inscription given as 2nd century BCE by the epigraphists. Taking 100 BCE as the time of the last Sangam assembly, the dates of previous two assemblages are derived based on Nakkeerar’s version.
It is found that the 3rd Sangam commenced around 2050 BCE and the 2nd Sangam around 5750 BCE. Both Ramayana and Mahabharata had occurred when the 2nd Sangam was on. This places the upper limit of Ramayana at 5750 BCE.

The 1st Sangam had started around 10,190 BCE by which we derive the date of Skanda at 12,190 BP with 2000 CE as the base year. This date falls within Younger Dryas. This also establishes that the long duration of Tamil Sangam is not a fabricated one but true to the core.

The Sangam details are proven by a cross reference from Mahabharata where Krishna had stated that the king of the Bhoja-s had conquered the Pandyas by his learning (Vidya Balam). This could only be about publishing his composition in the Sangam Assembly. Krishna had accompanied this this king on that occasion is what is understood from Nakkeerar’s version that Krishna attended an Assembly of the 2nd Sangam.

More on Younger Dryas evidence in the next episode…

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Indic Past Series 5: Skanda, the progenitor of Vedic culture

The 5th part of the ‘Indic Past’ series focuses on the next part of Markandeya’s narration on Skanda’s life that brings to the fore the until-now-unrecognized fact that the first ever Vedic Homa was conducted by none other than Skanda. This was encapsulated in story form of Svaha approaching Skanda to conduct her marriage with Hutashana, the Agni Deva.

After pointing out the finer differences between Hutashana and Adbhuta, the video describes the union of Svaha with Hutashana which is nothing but the first ever Vedic Homa. With the help of a verse from Taittriya Brahmana on the meaning of Svaha and from Valmiki Ramayana on wife as the Atman of the husband, it is explained why the Homa was regarded as the marriage of Svaha with Hutashana (Agni).

‘Havyam’ and ‘Kavyam’ were the first Homas done by Skanda as per Markandeya. They were Ahavaniya and Garhapatya respectively. From the Tamil tradition of Skanda having taught Pranava mantra to Shiva it is deduced that Aum-Upasana transformed into Aupasana, the first Homa to be done twice every day following one’s marriage and throughout one’s life. Skanda had initiated this soon after his marriage with Devasena and with the intention of bringing peace in Nature by mutual help (Paraspara Bhava) of give and take between Devas and human beings. It is likely that Skanda had initiated Agnihotra too.

Of the three sons of Agni and Svaha outlined by Vayu Purana, Pavamana (Kavyam) and Suci (Havyam) were ‘born’ in Skanda’s times. Pavaka (Dakshinagni) was born later.

The present practice of singing Samans at the time of creating Agni for Kavyam using Arani sticks must have started at Skanda’s time, when the cool climate of Younger Drayas must have made making Agni a difficult and laborious task.

Similarly the taking over of the Ahavaniya rituals by Yajur Vedic Adhvaryu must have been there at Skanda’s time indicating the presence of Saman and Yujur verses even at that time.

In support of these views, it is pointed out that this society had continued from even before Skanda though the Homa cult started with Skanda. Four other Vedas were there at that time – which will be discussed in a future episode – personalities like Dhruva, the son of Uttanapada had existed before Skanda, in Cakshusha Manvantra (Little Manvantra) and the idea of 27 star zodiac had already existed before Skanda. There is every possibility that singing Samans and uttering Yajur mantras in worship could have existed then though those verses may no longer be in existence now.

Further proof of Skanda as progenitor of Vedic Homa is drawn from the Tamil Sangam text called Tirumurugatru-p-padai that describes the 6 faces of Skanda as representative of six works that Skanda was known for. Among the 6 works, the 3rd one represented by the middle face of Skanda is that of watching and guiding the Vedic Homa.

A comparison with this is drawn from Markandeya’s version on the middle face of Skanda as that of a goat, always watched by his mother Shakti. In this context of explaining why Skanda’s head was that of a goat, it is also made out why he came to have too many mothers – Ganga, Agni, Krittika, the six rishi patni-s and Svaha.

The goat face is also linked with Homa ritial – of Agni deva riding on a goat or a ram. Ultimately for the purposes of granting longevity and progeny, the Homa cult was started by Skanda who as Shanmukha is always watching over the proper performance of Homa through his middle face.

The final question is where the first Homa was done. The regions around Tiruchendur are discussed. Further fine tuning is done by picking out the places on the basis of Last Glacial refugial rice growth since 20k years ago, since rice is essential for Aupasana and Agnihotra.  

Triuchendur scores in this regard besides the regions of SE Asia. Rice growth is conspicuously absent in North West India where Sarasvati and Sindhu were flowing. The upper limit of this (rice) date is 9k BP found south of Gujarat where marine archaeological finds are available since 9k years ago, but this evidence is absent in Sarasvati and also Gangetic region. So the spread of the Vedic cult in these regions have happened since or after 9k years ago and not before. Further discussion on this will be in future episodes.