Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Were Brahmins bad? – a sequel to Karunanidhi’s hate-Brahmin speech. (Part -1)
In his address at the beginning of the Centenary celebrations of the Dravidian movement, Karunanidhi made a statement that Brahmins must be made to 'shiver' or "be scared". ("பார்ப்பனக் கூட்டம் நடுங்க வேண்டும்"). This is an uncivil and objectionable statement that must be condemned by all right thinking persons. But none has objected to this so far. I believe this talk can be tried under the court of law but it seems that none had initiated that. There cannot be any vote- bank politics in not objecting to this talk, because no vote bank is going to be served or affected as Brahmins of Tamilnadu are just 2% now. No other community is going to get irritated if one objects to this in the media or in the court. If at all there will arise an objection, it will come only from the DK and the followers of Karunanidhi. But there continues to be a silence whenever Karunanidhi pitches up his hate inducing talks against Brahmins.
What the common man of Tamilnadu must know is that this kind of talks comes with two evils. One is that by creating hatred against the Brahmins, they are sowing the seeds of discrediting Hinduism itself. Whether one accepts it or not, the life of Brahmins in the past / until Dravidian ideology sprang up was centered on temples and preservation of Vedas and Hindu ideologies. By discrediting Brahmins as having harmed the people for ages in the past, this hate talk in effect discredits Hinduism itself.
The second evil is an extension of this first evil. In their attempt to discredit Brahimns and therefore Hinduism, these Dravidian ideologists are re-defining and mis interpreting the Tamil's past history which was basically a Hindu history. They have misinterpreted Sangam texts also to suit their anti-Hindu, anti-Brahmin, anti- intellectual and atheistic concepts. Karunanidhi has appealed to his followers to increase the readership for the magazines carrying this ideology. The more such anti-Brahmin baiting is published, better for them as that would scare the Brahmins away and would continue to make the common man believe the lies he and his men spread in the name of Dravidian ideology.
Why was this appeal made? What was the need for this appeal?
One reason is that people and particularly the younger generation are no longer ready to buy his Brahmin hatred. People have access to many information of the past which clearly shows that Brahmins were never a threat to them. More importantly his Aryan Brahmin theory does not have the support of archeology and other related branches which have established that there was no Aryan invasion and that Brahmins were rooted in Tamil nadu as sons of the soil.
The foremost example is found in his much trumpeted Silappadhikaram where three Brahmins played a crucial role. I doubt whether Karunanidhi has read the entire book of Silappadhikaram. Any normal thinking person cannot cast aspersions on Brahmins or on Hinduism if he or she had read Silappadhikaram in full. The very first chapter depicting Kovalan- Kannagi marriage was solemnized by Brahmins in a Vedic ritual. The people who attended the marriage rejoiced on seeing the marriage as a "Nonbu" (1) – a penance - that is how Vedic marriages are recognized as they are about a man and woman joining together to discharge the purusharthas of Dharma, Arththa and Kaama so that they can attain Moksha.
The nature and duty of the Brahmin can be understood from the talks of a Brahmin whom Kovalan and Kannagi met on their way to Madurai. This Brahmin was a native of a place called Maangaadu in the Chera kingdom. He had gone to Srirangam to worship Lord Ranganatha and was on his way to Thiruppathi to worship Lord Srinivasa, when he met Kovalan and Kannagi. He was asked by the couple to tell the route to Madurai. His reply reflected his mental nature and interests.
A person's character and fields of interest would be revealed in his talks. For example if you have a chat with a land-broker asking him to guide you to a place, he will give additional details of the places coming for sale in that area and would try probe whether you are interested in buying. A trader would give you additional details on where you can buy things. Like this, profession based interests of the people would be reflected in their talks. In other words, the people are capable of giving tips on those areas they are connected with.
This Brahmin did just that. He gave additional details on temple and Hinduism related ones in Madurai. The landmarks that he could give were also connected with temples. He could not relate a land or a field or a farm house as landmarks because he was not familiar with them and had no interest in them. This Brahmin gave additional details which were once again connected with his area of interest. For example he mentioned Azhagar temple of Thirumalirum cholai in his route map. He gave additional details of a cave in the hill of that temple. There were 3 ponds in that cave, each of them known for some special benefits. A dip in one would make the person gain the knowledge of Aindram, the Grammar work of Indra. (Tholkaappiyar wrote his Grammar work based on Aindram only). A dip in the second pond would bring back memories of the previous birth. A dip in the third pond would make the person realize his wishes. (2)
The irony is that Kovalan was prevented by a Jain monk who was accompanying him, from taking dips in these ponds. Like Karunanidhi she (the monk was a female) ridiculed the Brahmin's suggestions and the benefits of the dips in the pond. If only Kovalan had heeded the Brahmin's advice and taken dips in the ponds, he would have come to know of his previous karma which was actually the cause for his sad demise, even before that could happen. He would have become cautious and planned differently to avert the danger to his life. In that case Silappadhikaram would not have happened and Kovalan would have managed to survive. Later in the story this previous karma was revealed to Kannagi by Madhurapathi, the deity of Madurai, to help Kannagi to come to terms with the mishap she had. (3)
Kovalan faced another danger on the way which was once again cautioned earlier by this Brahmin. On the way he had to cross a forest. The Brahmin had cautioned that there was a 'Vana charini' in that forest giving trouble to those who entered the forest. To escape from her wrath, he suggested two mantras which were nothing but Shiva Panchankshari and Ashtakshari of Narayana. (4)
Kovalan did encounter the Vanacharini and did not disregard this advice of the Brahmin this time and chanted the mantras. (5).
This episode alone contains many revelations on the Tamil's past, Hinduism as Tamil's religion and the tendency of Brahmins in general.
· The existence of a lost land of Kumari comes to be known only from this Brahmin. (6). Although such references are found elsewhere in the Tamil texts, this Brahmin's version is very clear and forthright.
· The existence of caves and ponds at Azhagar malai near Madurai provides scope for research.
· The existence of Vishnu temples at Sriramgam and Thiruppathi even as early as 2nd century CE is made known from this Brahmin's words. The appearance of the deities of these places is clearly explained by him. Inspite of this, a controversy came up from the 6th century onwards about the identity of the deity at Thiruppathi (Lord Venkateshwara) which lasted till Ramnanujacharya's times. With the information in Silappadhikaram we are able to say with certainty that the deity of Thiruppathi was Venkateshwara for all times in the past and not Shiva or Durga or Muruga as people had claimed.
· It is also known from the discourse by the Brahmin that Shiva and Narayana mantras had existed even as early as the 2nd century CE. This contradicts the claim of Dravidian writers that Hinduism was a 'thrust' one and came to existence only during the Bhakthi movement of 8th century onwards.
· Though the Brahmin had suggested the 5 lettered (Shiva) and 8 lettered (Narayana) mantras for chanting, Kovalan chanted the "Paavai mantra" (Paavai – female), that could probably a mantra for Durga. (பாய் கலைப் பாவை மந்திரம்)
This is a matter for research by Hindu theologists . There is a possibility that Shiva and Narayana mantars as told by the Brahmin were known as Paavai Mantra in olden days, because Durga or shakthi or Lakshmi or Kali is hailed as the inner self of all the three deities of the Hindu trinity. (7)
· Vana chaariNi mentioned in this particular episode is a Sanskrit word. There are many Sanskrit words in Silappadhikaram and other texts including Thirukkural. Contrary to what the Dravidian chauvinists say, Tamil has had a liberal sprinkling of Sanskrit words and ancient poets had used them.
This particular chapter alone shows what the Brahmins were known for, how the other religions (here Jains) have scuttled the Hindu beliefs from early times and how Hinduism and Hindu practices were very much part of Tamil's life even 2000 years ago.
Karunanidhi used to enthrall his audience with love stories of Attanaththi and Adhi mandhi – a narration of which is available from Silappadhikaram and its ancient commentaries. (8) He would glorify the anger of Kannagi in having challenged the King and setting fire to Madurai. But he had cunningly hidden scores of other information such as the ones given above and infact brain washed the people with opposite views on these issues all these years. He has done selective use of Tamil texts to keep the people in the dark on a variety of issues because knowledge of them would expose the lies that he and his cronies have been telling all these years.
The prominent examples are Tholkaappiyam and Thirukkural. These two are the highly revered texts by the Tamils. But an average Tamilian does not know that that the authors of these two works had Sanskrit names. Tholkappiyar, the author of the famous Grammar work, Tholkaappiyam was a Brahmin by name Thrinadhoomagni born in Bhrigu's lineage. Nacchinaarkkiniyar, the commentator of Tholkaappiyam was also a Brahmin born in Bharadwaja Gotra. No one knows Thiruvalluvar's original name. But a verse written by the 12th century commentator Neminathar suggests Thiruvaluvar's name as "Maathaanubhangi" (9). There is an opinion that this name referred to his wife. Whatever it may be, the fact is that Maathanubhangi is a Sanskrit name, meaning 'the one who goes behind or in the steps of mother'.
Thirukkural was classified by Thiruvalluvar into the 3 parts with the Tamil equivalents of Dharma, Arththa and Kaama – the Purusharthas of Hinduism. The individual chapters are given the name "Adhikaaram" which is a Sanskrit word for authority or governing-rule. There are 2 types of Adhikaara, Nirapeksha and Yathochitha. The former is absolute authority similar to the authority of a king whereas the latter happens by itself by virtue of its propriety. Thirukkural wields Yathochitha adhikaaram by making the reader understand the dos and don'ts of life and act accordingly. This shows that Thiruvalluvar has named the chapters as Adhikaaram by the nature of the preaching he is making. Similarly Kovalan- Kannagi's life history has been named by its author as "Silappadhikaaram" – the Adhikaaram of Silambu, the anklet. The anklet forms the centre of the story, for it is because of that Kovalan was killed.
Thinking of how an anklet wields Adhikaara, we are taken into a research mode into olden Sangam texts. From the Sangam texts, it is known that young girls used wear anklets until they got married. It was a kind of indication that they were under the control or care of parents. This reminds us of the Manu's dictum of the state of women in 3 stages – under the care of parents, then husband and then her son. Just before the marriage, this anklet was removed in a ceremony called as "Silambu Kazhi nObu" (10). This seemed to be peculiar to Tamil's culture and not found in other parts of the country.
When Kovalan almost became a pauper and needed money to start a business, Kannagi gave him the anklet to be sold to raise money. The anklet which was supposed to signify protection and care, became the very cause of death of Kovalan and suffering for her and ultimately became the nemesis for the people of Madurai . A symbol of protection became a cause of destruction. The story around the anklet brings to the memory of people the various instances in the life of Kovalan and Kannagi on what could have been done and what could have been averted thereby wielding an Adhikaaram on so many virtues and lessons of life. The fact that this term has been chosen by Tamil's two most respected authors show that Sanskrit was never disregarded by the Tamils of yore. These two works also are best examples of Hindu way of life and Dharma. But how many Tamils know this? Karunanidhi and his men never allowed the commoner to know them, and they publicized their version of these books tinged with their Dravidian ideologies.
A commentary to Thirukkural widely read and popular among the people until Dravidian chauvinists came up, was the one by the 10th century author 'Parimelazagar'. It shows how the entire book of Thirukkural is a Hindu Dharma sastra. But Dravidian chauvinists dismiss this commentary because Parimelazhagar was a Brahmin and the commentary explains Thirukkural as Hindu sastra written in Tamil. Karunanidhi and his men cannot deny the Hindu nature of Thirukkural, so they are ready to project the author, Thiruvalluvar in any other identity but not as a Hindu. For them Thiruvalluvar could be a Jain or even a Christian, though the image of Thiruvalluvar dated around 14th or 15th century, unearthed in Mylapore in Chennai showed him wearing the sacred thread of the Hindus. (11)
The common man in Tamilnadu does not know all this so because he can have access to only the information and commentaries written by the Dravidian writers with their own version soaked in Aryan invasion, Sanskrit dominance and Brahmin hegemony. Fortunately with increasing access to internet, people are able to have access to the old Tamil texts and know for themselves the truth behind his anti- Brahmin, anti- Hindu and atheistic insinuations. Nevertheless he and his men continue to write canards as before, but no one is reading them. That is why he is calling people to patronize such magazines. In the process he wants to 'remind' people of the 'atrocities' of Brahmins.
(to be continued)
(1) Silappadhikaram – 1-53
(2) Silappadhikaram – chapter 11
(3) Silappadhikaram – chapter 23
(4) Silappadhikaram – chapter 23 "அருமறை மருங்கின் ஐந்தினும், எட்டினும் வருமுறை எழுத்தின் மந்திரம் இரண்டும்", (lines, 128 & 129)
(5) Silappadhikaram – Chapter 23 (lines 193 to 198)
"வியத்தகு மறையோன் விளம்பினான் ஆதலின்
வஞ்சம் பெயர்க்கும் மந்திரத்தால் இவ்
ஐஞ்சிலோதியை அறிகுவன் யானெனக்
கோவலன் நாவிற் கூறிய மந்திரம்
பாய்கலைப் பாவை மந்திரமாதலின்
வனசாரிணியான் மயக்கம் செய்தோன்"
(6) " வடிவேல் எறிந்த வான்பகை பொறாது
பஹ்றுளி ஆற்றுடன் பன்மலை அடுக்கத்துக்
குமரிக் கோடும் கொடுங்கடல் கொள்ள"
(7) "Nava durgaam Maha kaaLeem Brahma Vishnu Shivaathmikaam" an ancient Lakshmi Sthothra rendered by Lord Shiva.
(8) Silappadhikaram – Chapter 21- lines 10 to 15 and "Poompukar Charukkam" in Pattinaththu-p- Pilliayar Puraanam.
(9) "உப்பக்க நோக்கி உபகேசி தோள்மணந்தான்
உத்தர மதுரைக்கு அச்சென்ப- இப்பக்கம்
மாதானுபங்கி மறுவில்புலச் செந்நாப்
போதார் புனல் கூடல் அச்சு" (நேமிநாதர்.)
(10) Aingurunooru 311 & Kurumthogai -7.
"நும்மனைச் சிலம்பு கழீ இயரினும், எம்மனை வதுவை நன் மணம் கழிகெனச் சொல்லினெவனோ." (ஐங்குறு நூறு)