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Posts posted by Raguraman

  1. Hare Krishna,


    "Guess I just found a racist. I hope that rational argumentation is not useless in such cases.



    Am I a "racist" ??? Wonder where u got that idea. Stating TRUTH is not being racist. I have given rational reasons based on Xavier's own statements that he is a religious bigot.


    "Just imagine how an average Catholic feels when he reads or hears that his favourite SAINT is being cursed. Average Catholics never read the facts about his life. He is just their object of veneration.



    I have given the reason before stating the fact that he is a "religious bigot". This fact should be known to all Hindus and catholics.


    "I did not curse them. Francis did.

    If he does so he is in line with the Bible that curses other religion from the very beginning. Damning other religions is the core of the Bible. Please note: I do not support this, nor am I responsible for the contents of the Bible.



    Who said that you cursed anything. I meant only Francis Xavier cursed and expected you to see some reason as you were trying to justify ignorance on the part of Francis Xavier.


    "The things about Reformation (Luther, Jan Hus etc.), Counter-Reformation and the Jesuites are taught in any average books on European History. I would like to add that my statement was ironical, what you can see in the context of the next phrase "So one surely can not expect lessons in religious tolerance from him. " But either you are not capable of understanding irony, or you do not want to. Sad in both cases. "


    Irony !!! Is it so. I did not get you as I did not read about European history. Anyway I was concerned about Francis Xavier's life in Asia. In that context Europe does not come into picture and I could not understand what yiu wrote.


    "Call a sheep a sheep. You are right.

    You should write a petition to the Pope. I guess you will be very succesful. In 1999 or so he declared saint John Scamander, who had persecuted the Czech who followed another style of Christianity (the Hussites) He killed them and burned their leader, Jan Hus.



    Calling Francis Xaver a religious bigot is based on fact.


    "So you are higher minded? I wonder how being higher minded and cursing anybody goes together, because to my understanding a follower of the vedic religion should be equally minded to everybody and everything. Say the truth, call it from the roofs, publish it, because it is urgently needed, inform others, but do not curse, because this is tamas-guna, Ignorance, at its best"


    I never said I am high minded. It is your imagination.


    "Say the truth" ???


    What do you think I was doing on my past posts.


    Again I have given reasons for you before giving out my conclusion.


    I stand on my conclusion that "FRANCIS XAVIER is low minded and a religious bigot" based on reading the views of Francis Xavier on Vedic religion. Xavier is no different than Pat Robertson. Can you deny this.


    Stating that fact does not mean that "I am a racist", nor does it mean that "I am immersed in tamo guna".


    If you still insist on cursing me then you are only confirming the fact that Francis Xavier is even several times lower than I am since atleast I have rational reason for cursing him while Xavier had none to curse Vedic deities.


    I wonder why you still consider him a saint after knowing the fact that Xavier is religious bigot, otherwise why all this argument going on between us.

  2. Hare Krishna,



    "Think about Francis Xavier what you want, cursing him is definitely no good style."


    O yeah !!! Cursing Vedic deities is very civilized and good style. You are reacting so much for a man was cursed. Just imagine how a Hindu feels when he reads or hears their GODS are being cursed.


    "Francis Xavier was a Jesuite, he belonged to the Pope's elite troop to re-establish the glory of the Catholic religion."


    By cursing Vedic religion and Vedic deities ????


    By the way what do you mean by "RE-ESTABLISH the glory of the Catholic religion". I think the church where you are going taught you some dubious version of history.


    "So one surely can not expect lessons in religious tolerance from him. "


    Agreed. This is true as these people cannot tolerate that other religions has some/more good in them. This is what I call religious bigotry.


    "However his writings are 500 years old and he spoke only for the Caths, so his writings cannot be used as a measure for the attitude of today's Christians."


    What are you talking about. It is a fact that the attitude of these Caths(particularly bishops etc) has not changed a bit with regard to vedic religion. This is based on my personal experience.


    Did you say his writings are specifically directed to catholics(Imagine if it were a Hindu cursing your deity and calling it a demon and giving this sermon to Hindus). Are you trying to justify "cursing of Vedic deities as demons". So in effect you are saying that catholics do read such garbage which unmistakably shapes their opinions(even these days) of the Vedic religion given the positon of Francis Xavier in Catholic church and the sainthood he has received. (I don't understand how anyone can call him a saint)


    This is very typical of low minded base people and this is what Francis Xavier did. Francis Xavier is a base personality at the most and I have a very good reason to curse him like that. But surely Francis Xavier had no reason to attack Vedic religion in the first place.


    "Today the Pope pretends not to reject the good in other religions. As for me, I cannot estimate whether there is actual rejection today. "


    Pope is no different than the rest of the bishops.

  3. Hare Krishna,


    Francis Xavier (Christians in India still consider him a saint) arrived in India in 1542.


    His life in India is given in detail in


    Title: Francis Xavier; his life, his times. Translated by M. Joseph Costelloe


    Volume II


    Author: Schurhammer, Georg, 1882-1971.


    Publisher: Rome, Jesuit Historical Institute, 1973-


    Here as I was just browsing through the book I found a story where Francis visits the temple in Rameshwaram. Then Francis describes the deities of the temple as demons(very similar to the modern evangelists like Pat obertson) and that every moment remonds him that he is in a heathen country.


    This guy portrays Brahmins as perfidous liars and subtle manipulators of popular ignorance and as the most perverse people in the whole world. Perhaps this is Xavier's frustration over his inability to convince the Brahmins to convert.


    The letters of Xavier is published in the following book. I am not aware of any english version.


    Epistolae S. Francisci Xaverii aliaque eius scripta, 2 vols., ed. G. Schurhammer and J. Wicki, Rome,1944-5.


    I am not aware why these Christians hate Vedic religion so much. Perhaps someone who is/was a Christian can explain better. Also I think Xavier did not have any idea what the Vedas are.


    Mu conclusion is that Francis Xavier is atmost a religious bigot.

  4. Hare Krishna,






    20. Those (sons) whom the twice-born beget on wives of equal caste, but who, not fulfilling their sacred duties, are excluded from the Savitri, one must designate by the appellation Vratyas.


    21. But from a Vratya (of the) Brahmana (caste) spring the wicked Bhriggakantaka, the Avantya, the Vatadhana, the Pushpadha, and the Saikha.


    22. From a Vratya (of the) Kshatriya (caste), the Ghalla, the Malla, the Likkhivi, the Nata, the Karana, the Khasa, and the DRAVIDA.


    23. From a Vratya (of the) Vaisya (caste) are born a Sudhanvan, an Akarya, a Karusha, a Viganman, a Maitra, and a Satvata.


    So I think all this nonsense about the Aryan-Dravidian divide is fabricated to serve the interests of British government during their stay in India. It has always been the interest of the Vatican and zealous christians to slander Vedic religion in one way or other. What better way to do this than make the venerable Rishis who provided Hindus with Vedas look like conquering barabarians. Religion always influences people the way they think. The best way to conquer India for the British is to destroy Vedic religion. The AIT does this exactly.

  5. Hare Krishna,






    20. Those (sons) whom the twice-born beget on wives of equal caste, but who, not fulfilling their sacred duties, are excluded from the Savitri, one must designate by the appellation Vratyas.


    21. But from a Vratya (of the) Brahmana (caste) spring the wicked Bhriggakantaka, the Avantya, the Vatadhana, the Pushpadha, and the Saikha.


    22. From a Vratya (of the) Kshatriya (caste), the Ghalla, the Malla, the Likkhivi, the Nata, the Karana, the Khasa, and the DRAVIDA.


    23. From a Vratya (of the) Vaisya (caste) are born a Sudhanvan, an Akarya, a Karusha, a Viganman, a Maitra, and a Satvata.


    So I think all this nonsense about the Aryan-Dravidian divide is fabricated to serve the interests of British government during their stay in India. It has always been the interest of the Vatican and zealous christians to slander Vedic religion in one way or other. What better way to do this than make the venerable Rishis who provided Hindus with Vedas look like conquering barabarians. Religion always influences people the way they think. The best way to conquer India for the British is to destroy Vedic religion. The AIT does this exactly.

  6. Hare Krishna,



    It is known that vedic people first knew about Lord Visnu through Vamana avatara(Visnu of long strides as given in Rig Veda).


    Lord Krishna refers to his Vibhutis in Geeta in the following manner.


    "Of the Adityas, I am Vishnu."


    Does this Vishnu refer to Vamana avatara since he was born as son of Aditi(Mother of Gods) and so Visnu is counted as one of the Adityas. Please comment on this.

  7. Hare Krishna,




    U asked many questions on Ramayana and on stories about Lord Shiva. Every Hindu knows that those acts apparently appears to be human in nature. According to vedic religion GOD himself comes among humans in the form of a human being or other creatures to teach men and women the true way of dharma. As far as Ramayana is concerned GOD himself appeared as per the wishes of the DEVAS(divine beings) to protect not only men but this whole universe from the evil which the race of rakshasas(Ravana's race) had caused. Rakshasas are not humans or Devas. Since he took a human form(only apparently) he had to behave like one. It does not mean HE is an ordinary human being. Only the best among men really know who HE IS.


    Fayarus, you can believe whatever u want. But your hypocricy and insincerity to know vedic religion comes to light always. You asked for the proof of bridge built by Lord Rama. Atleast 6 years back I saw on Sun TV(Tamil TV) that somebody had found a bridge made of stone (pebbles) near the coast of Rameshwaram. I do not have more information on this.


    Let me ask you a question.


    Did you ever ask yourself for the proof that whether Quran is really from GOD ??? Is Mohammed really a prophet ??? What proof do you have.


    I have the following reasons it is not from GOD. My aim is not to hurt anybody. But U asked for it.


    Is GOD so desperate to seduce people with presents of virgin women and even immortal boys.




    56. Al-Wâqi'ah



    And those foremost [(in Islâmic Faith of Monotheism and in performing righteous deeds) in the life of this world on the very first call for to embrace Islâm,] will be foremost (in Paradise).


    These will be those nearest to Allâh.


    In the Gardens of delight (Paradise).


    A multitude of those (foremost) will be from the first generations (who embraced Islâm).


    And a few of those (foremost) will be from the later time (generations).


    (They will be) on thrones woven with gold and precious stones,


    Reclining thereon, face to face.


    They will be served by immortal boys,


    With cups, and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine,


    Wherefrom they will get neither any aching of the head, nor any intoxication.


    And fruit; that they may choose.


    And the flesh of fowls that they desire.


    And (there will be) Houris (fair females) with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious),


    Like unto preserved pearls.


    A reward for what they used to do.


    There are many such verses. I do not wish to go through all that.



    8. Al-Anfâl



    (Remember) when your Lord inspired the angels, "Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes."


    So Allah, the almighty GOD himself, is asking (whatever this particular situation may be) his followeres to kill (striking at neck) those disbelievers and then smite their fingers and toes. This looks like a way of torturing the victims to me. Why is this GOD of yours so hell bent on torturing the disbelievers. Is he so unable to convince the poor human beings that he is the only GOD, that he chooses to convince them by torturing them. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna to fight against against those who cause adharma, but never tells Arjuna to torture and terrorize his enemies like it is described in quran.


    By the way why not Allah himself kill these disbelievers. What is the necessity to send a messenger(Mohammed) and then create followers through him and then ask these folllowers to kill them. It all seems foolish to me. One strike from a lightning will suffice.

  8. Hare Krishna,



    Since I do not have knowledge of sanskrit, I request help from members here to elaborate on different explanations given by different acharyas like Adi Sankara, Madhvacharya, Ramanuja etc. on the verses like Tat Tvam Asi etc. Acoording to some acharyas these verses explain identity and Bheda for others.


    It will be better if somebody gives the context(where and why such a verse appears) of these verses.


  9. Hare Krishna,


    Om Namah Shivaya,


    If anybody truly loves Lord Krishna, then he loves Lord Shiva automatically.


    Also the position of Lord Shiva can made clear from the following verse of Rig Veda samhita.




    With offerings I propitiate the branches of this swift-moving God, the bounteous Visnu.

    Hence Rudra gained his Rudra-strength: O Asvins, ye sought the house that hath celestial viands.(Rig-Veda:7-40-5)


  10. Originally posted by bhaktajoy:

    The Supreme soul has so difference between his body and spirit.How come Lord krishna be cremated?


    Lord Jesus Christ also ascended to spiritual world.


    Jai Radhe!


    [This message has been edited by bhaktajoy (edited 04-03-2002).]


    Hare Krishna,


    I also think so Bhaktajoy. But my question is how did such stories come. Obviously there has to be something in some scripture. That is why I asked what is given in Mahabharatha. Can anyone answer this.


    By the way I enjoyed reading what Ghari has quoted from Bhagavatham.


  11. Hare Krishna,



    I visited Dwarka 3 years back. There government run buses take you on a tour through specific areas. I visited a place called Gopi Talab near Dwarka(I think that is the way they pronounce). Usually a paid person accompanies these trips and he will explain history behind each place. According to that person Gopi Talab is the place where Gopis killed themselves (suicide) by jumping into that pond (These days it is almost a dried up pond) to escape from a bunch of thieves who attacked the Gopis. Arjuna was unable to protect the Gopis as he threw away a bone of Lord Krishna's body that was cremated.


    The following incident took place before the above mentioned incidents.


    Arjuna wanted to dissolve the ashes of Lord Krishna's body in the sea. When he was doing the same one piece of bone kept returning to him. In anger he placed it in his bow and sent it toward the sea. Along with the bone all his might went away and so he was unable to protect the Gopis.


    Cotinuation of previous story:


    After that incident Arjuna(also the Pandavas)was so dejected with his life that he accepted the Sannyasa order of life.


    I have heard that this is the same story written in Mahabharatha also.


    Can anyone tell me how true this story is?


    What is given in Mahabharata about how Lord Krishna leaves this world?

  12. Hare Krishna,



    This is the the only spiritual thread as far as I have seen in this section of spiritual discussion.


    I also came under his irresistable spell when I was fifteen years old. I am giving here below(Sripad Vallabhacarya



    M.S.Subulaksmi sang Sripad Vallabhacarya Madhurastakam and I used to listen to this song madly for a whole day when I was at home. Try to get this cassette if you can. I am sure you will love it.




    Sripad Vallabhacarya



    adharam madhuram vadanam madhuram

    nayanam madhuram hasitam madhuram

    hrdayam madhuram gamanam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    "His lips are sweet, His face is sweet. His eyes are sweet, His smile is sweet. His heart is sweet, His walk is sweet. Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness." (1)



    vacanam madhuram caritam madhuram

    vasanam madhuram valitam madhuram

    calitam madhuram bhramitam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    "His words are sweet, His character is sweet. His garments are sweet, His navel is sweet. His movement is sweet, His wanderings are sweet. Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness." (2)



    Sripad Vallabhacarya


    venur madhuro renur madhurah

    panir-madhurah padau madhurau

    nrtyam madhuram sakhyam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    " His flute is sweet, His dust is sweet. His hands are sweet, His feet are sweet. His dancing is sweet, His friendship is sweet. Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness." (3)


    gitam madhuram pitam madhuram

    bhuktam madhuram suptam madhuram

    rupam madhuram tilakam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    "His singing is sweet, His yellow dress is sweet. His eating is sweet, His sleeping is sweet. His form is sweet, His tilaka is sweet. Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness." (4)


    karanam madhuram taranam madhuram

    haranam madhuram ramanam madhuram

    vamitam madhuram samitam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    "His activities are sweet, His liberation is sweet. His thieving is sweet, His loving sports are sweet.his offerings are sweet, His peacefulness is sweet. Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness." (5)


    gunja madhura mala madhura

    yamuna madhura vici madhura

    salilam madhuram kamalam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    "His gunja-mala is sweet, His flower-garland is sweet. Is Yamuna is sweet, His ripples are sweet. His water is sweet, His lotuses are sweet. Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness." (6)



    gopi madhura lila madhura

    yuktam madhuram bhuktam madhuram

    hrstam madhuram sistam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    " His Gopis are sweet, His pastimes are sweet. His meeting is sweet, His food is sweet. His happiness is sweet, His etiquette is sweet. Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness." (7)


    gopa madhura gavo madhura

    sastir madhura srstir madhura

    dalitam madhuram phalitam madhuram

    madhuradi-pater akhilam madhuram



    "His cowherd boys are sweet, His cows are sweet. His herding-stick is sweet, His creation is sweet. His trampling is sweet, His fruitfulness is sweet.Everything is sweet about the Lord of sweetness."

  13. Hare Krishna,





    Vedic Roots of

    Early Tamil Culture


    By Michel Danino


    Summarized versions of this paper were presented at the Naimisha Vedic Workshop, “Looking beyond the Aryan Invasion,?organized by Naimisha Foundation at Bangalore on March 12-13, 2001, and at the National Seminar on Origins of United Vedic Culture organized by Pragna Bharati and sponsored by the Indian Council of Historical Research at Hyderabad on March 17-18, 2001.*


    In recent years attempts have been made to cast a new look at ancient India. For too long the picture has been distorted by myopic colonial readings of India’s prehistory and early history, and more recently by ill-suited Marxist models. One such distortion was the Aryan invasion theory, now definitively on its way out, although its watered-down avatars are still struggling to survive. It will no doubt take some more time—and much more effort on the archaeological front—for a new perspective of the earliest civilization in the North of the subcontinent to take firm shape, but a beginning has been made.


    We have a peculiar situation too as regards Southern India, and particularly Tamil Nadu. Take any classic account of Indian history and you will see how little space the South gets in comparison with the North. While rightly complaining that “Hitherto most historians of ancient India have written as if the south did not exist,?1] Vincent Smith in his Oxford History of India hardly devotes a few pages to civilization in the South, that too with the usual stereotypes to which I will return shortly. R. C. Majumdar’s Advanced History of India,[2] or A. L. Basham’s The Wonder That Was India[3] are hardly better in that respect. The first serious History of South India,[4] that of K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, appeared only in 1947. Even recent surveys of Indian archaeology generally give the South a rather cursory treatment.


    The Context


    It is a fact that archaeology in the South has so far unearthed little that can compare to findings in the North in terms of ancientness, massiveness or sophistication : the emergence of urban civilization in Tamil Nadu is now fixed at the second or third century BC, about two and a half millennia after the appearance of Indus cities. Moreover, we do not have any fully or largely excavated city or even medium-sized town : Madurai, the ancient capital of the Pandya kingdom, has hardly been explored at all ; Uraiyur, that of the early Cholas, saw a dozen trenches ;[5] Kanchipuram, the Pallavas?capital, had seventeen, and Karur, that of the Cheras, hardly more ; Kaveripattinam,[6] part of the famous ancient city of Puhar (the first setting of the Shilappadikaram epic), saw more widespread excavations, yet limited with regard to the potential the site offers. The same may be said of Arikamedu (just south of Pondicherry), despite excavations by Jouveau-Dubreuil, Wheeler, and several other teams right up to the 1990s.[7]


    All in all, the archaeological record scarcely measures up to what emerges from the Indo-Gangetic plains—which is one reason why awareness of these excavations has hardly reached the general public, even in Tamil Nadu ; it has heard more about the still superficial exploration of submerged Poompuhar than about the painstaking work done in recent decades at dozens of sites. (See a map of Tamil Nadu’s important archaeological sites below.)


    But there is a second reason for this poor awareness : scholars and politicians drawing inspiration from the Dravidian movement launched by E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker (“Periyar? have very rigid ideas about the ancient history of Tamil Nadu. First, despite all evidence to the contrary, they still insist on the Aryan invasion theory in its most violent version, turning most North Indians and upper-caste Indians into descendants of the invading Aryans who overran the indigenous Dravidians, and Sanskrit into a deadly rival of Tamil. Consequently, they assert that Tamil is more ancient than Sanskrit, and civilization in the South older than in the North. Thus recently, Tamil Nadu’s Education minister decried in the State Assembly those who go “to the extent of saying that Dravidian civilization is part of Hinduism?and declared, “The Dravidian civilization is older than the Aryan.?8] It is not uncommon to hear even good Tamil scholars utter such claims.


    Now, it so happens that archaeological findings in Tamil Nadu, though scanty, are nevertheless decisive. Indeed, we now have a broad convergence between literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidence.[9] Thus names of cities, kings and chieftains mentioned in Sangam literature have often been confirmed by inscriptions and coins dating back to the second and third centuries BC. Kautilya speaks in his Arthashastra (c. fourth century BC) of the “easily travelled southern land route,?with diamonds, precious stones and pearls from the Pandya country ;[10] two Ashokan rock edicts (II and XIII[11]) respectfully refer to Chola, Pandya and Chera kingdoms as “neighbours,?therefore placing them firmly in the third century BC ; we also have Kharavela’s cave inscription near Bhubaneswar in which the Kalinga king (c. 150 BC) boasts of having broken up a “confederacy of the Dravida countries which had lasted for 113 years.?12] From all these, it appears that the earliest Tamil kingdoms must have been established around the fourth century BC ; again, archaeological findings date urban developments a century or two later, but this small gap will likely be filled by more extensive excavations. But there’s the rub : beyond the fourth century BC and back to 700 or 1000 BC, all we find is a megalithic period, and going still further back, a neolithic period starting from about the third millennium BC. While those two prehistoric periods are as important as they are enigmatic, they show little sign of a complex culture,* and no clear connection with the dawn of urban civilization in the South.


    Therefore the good minister’s assertion as to the greater ancientness of the “Dravidian civilization?finds no support on the ground. In order to test his second assertion that that civilization is outside Hinduism, or the common claim that so-called “Dravidian culture?is wholly separate from so-called “Aryan?culture, let us take an unbiased look at the cultural backdrop of early Tamil society and try to make out some of its mainstays. That is what I propose to do briefly, using not only literary evidence, but first, material evidence from archaeological and numismatic sources as regards the dawn of the Sangam age. I may add that I have left out the Buddhist and Jain elements, already sufficiently well known, to concentrate on the Vedic and Puranic ones, which are usually underemphasized. Also, I will not deal here with the origin of South Indian people and languages, or with the nature of the process often called “Aryanization of the South?(I prefer the word “Indianization,?used in this context by an archaeologist[13]). Those complex questions have been debated for decades, and will only reach firm conclusions, I believe, with ampler archaeological evidence.



    Vedic & Puranic Culture—Material Evidence


    Culturally, the megalithic people of the South shared many beliefs and practices with megalithic builders elsewhere in the subcontinent and beyond. Yet certain practices and artefacts were at least compatible with the Vedic world and may well have prepared for a ready acceptance of Vedic concepts—a natural assimilative process still observable in what has been called the “Hinduization?of tribals. Thus several cists surrounded by stone-circles have four vertical slabs arranged in the shape of a swastika.[14] The famous 3.5 metre-high figure of Mottur (in North Arcot district), carved out of a granite slab, is “perhaps the first anthropomorphic representation of a god in stone in Tamil Nadu.?15] Some megalithic burials have yielded iron or bronze objects such as mother goddess, horned masks, the trishul etc. As the archaeologist I. K. Sarma observes, such objects are


    intimately connected with the worship of brahmanical Gods of the historical period, such as Siva, Kartikeya and later Amba. The diadems of Adichanallur burials are like the mouth-pieces used by the devotees of Murugan.[16]


    The archaeologist K. V. Raman also notes :


    Some form of Mother-Goddess worship was prevalent in the Megalithic period [...] as suggested by the discovery of a small copper image of a Goddess in the urn-burials of Adichchanallur. More recently, in Megalithic burials the headstone, shaped like the seated Mother, has been located at two places in Tamil Nadu.[17]


    Megalithic culture attached great importance to the cult of the dead and ancestors, which parallels that in Vedic culture. It is also likely that certain gods later absorbed into the Hindu pantheon, such as Aiyanar (or Sastha), Murugan (the later Kartik), Korravai (Durga), Naga deities, etc., were originally tribal gods of that period. Though probably of later date, certain megalithic sites in the Nilgiris were actually dolmen shrines, some of them holding Ganesh-like images, others lingams.[18] Megalithic practices evocative of later Hinduism are thus summarized by the British archaeologists Bridget and Raymond Allchin :


    The orientation of port-holes and entrances on the cist graves is frequently towards the south. [...] This demands comparison with later Indian tradition where south is the quarter of Yama. Among the grave goods, iron is almost universal, and the occasional iron spears and tridents (trisulas) suggest an association with the god Siva. The discovery in one grave of a trident with a wrought-iron buffalo fixed to the shaft is likewise suggestive, for the buffalo is also associated with Yama, and the buffalo demon was slain by the goddess Durga, consort of Siva, with a trident. [...] The picture which we obtain from this evidence, slight as it is, is suggestive of some form of worship of Siva.[19]


    About the third century BC, cities and towns appear owing to yet little understood factors ; exchanges with the Mauryan and Roman empires seem to have played an important catalytic role, as also the advent of iron. From the very beginning, Buddhist, Jain and Hindu[*] streaks are all clear.


    Among the earliest evidences, a stratigraphic dig by I. K. Sarma within the garbagriha of the Parasuramesvara temple at Gudimallam,* brought to light the foundation of a remarkable Shivalingam of the Mauryan period (possibly third century BC) : it was fixed within two circular pithas at the centre of a square vastu-mandala. “The deity on the frontal face of the tall linga reveals himself as a proto-puranic Agni-Rudra?20] standing on a kneeling devayana. If this early date, which Sarma established on stratigraphic grounds and from pottery sherds, is correct, this fearsome image could well be the earliest such representation in the South.


    Then we find “terracotta figures like Mother Goddess, Naga-linga etc., from Tirukkampuliyur ; a seated Ganesa from Alagarai ; Vriskshadevata and Mother Goddess from Kaveripakkam and Kanchipuram, in almost certainly a pre-Pallava sequence.?21] Cult of a Mother goddess is also noticed in the early levels at Uraiyur,[22] and at Kaveripattinam, Kanchipuram and Arikamedu.[23] Excavations at Kaveripattinam have brought to light many Buddhist artefacts, but also, though of later date, a few figurines of Yakshas, of Garuda and Ganesh.[24] Evidence of the Yaksha cult also comes from pottery inscriptions at Arikamedu.[25]


    The same site also yielded one square copper coin of the early Cholas, depicting on the obverse an elephant, a ritual umbrella, the Srivatsa symbol, and the front portion of a horse.[26] This is in fact an important theme which recurs on many coins of the Sangam age,[27] recovered mostly from river beds near Karur, Madurai etc. Besides the Srivatsa (also found among artefacts at Kanchipuram[28]), many coins depict a swastika, a trishul, a conch, a shadarachakra, a damaru, a crescent moon, and a sun with four, eight or twelve rays. Quite a few coins clearly show a yagnakunda. That is mostly the case with the Pandyas?coins, some of which also portray a yubastambha to which a horse is tied as part of the ashvamedha sacrifice. As the numismatist R. Krishnamurthy puts it, “The importance of Pandya coins of Vedic sacrifice series lies in the fact that these coins corroborate what we know from Sangam literature about the performance of Vedic sacrifices by a Pandya king of this age.?29]


    Finally, it is remarkable how a single coin often depicts symbols normally associated with Lord Vishnu (the conch, the srivatsa, the chakra) together with symbols normally associated with Lord Shiva (the trishul, the crescent moon, the damaru).[30] Clearly, the two “sects”—a very clumsy word—got along well enough. Interestingly, other symbols depicted on these coins, such as the three- or six-arched hill, the tree-in-railing, and the ritual stand in front of a horse, are frequently found in Mauryan iconography.[31]


    All in all, the material evidence, though still meagre, makes it clear that Hindu concepts and cults were already integrated in the society of the early historic period of Tamil Nadu side by side with Buddhist and Jain elements. More excavations, for which there is great scope, are certain to confirm this, especially if they concentrate on ancient places of worship, as at Gudimallam. Let us now see the picture we get from Sangam literature.


    Vedic & Puranic Culture—Literary Evidence


    It is unfortunate that the most ancient Sangam compositions are probably lost for ever ; we only know of them through brief quotations in later works. An early text, the Tamil grammar Tolkappiyam, dated by most scholars to the first or second century AD,* is “said to have been modelled on the Sanskrit grammar of the Aindra school.?32] Its content, says N. Raghunathan, shows that “the great literature of Sanskrit and the work of its grammarians and rhetoricians were well known and provided stimulus to creative writers in Tamil.... The Tolkappiyam adopts the entire Rasa theory as worked out in the Natya Sastra of Bharata.?33] It also refers to rituals and customs coming from the “Aryans,?a word which in Sangam literature simply means North Indians of Vedic culture ; for instance, the Tolkappiyam “states definitely that marriage as a sacrament attended with ritual was established in the Tamil country by the Aryas,?34] and it uses the same eight forms of marriage found in the Dharmashastras. Moreover, it mentions the caste system or “fourfold jathis?in the form of “Brahmins, Kings, Vaishyas and Vellalas,?35] and calls Vedic mantras “the exalted expression of great sages.?36]


    The Tolkappiyam also formulates the captivating division of the Tamil land into five regions (tinai ), each associated with one particular aspect of love, one poetical expression, and also one deity : thus the hills (kuri?i ) with union and with Cheyon (Murugan) ; the desert (palai ) with separation and Korravai (Durga) ; the forests (mullai ) with awaiting and Mayon (Vishnu-Krishna) ; the seashore (neytal ) with wailing and Varuna ; and the cultivated lands (marutam) with quarrel and Ventan (Indra). Thus from the beginning we have a fusion of non-Vedic deities (Murugan or Korravai), Vedic gods (Indra, Varuna) and later Puranic deities such as Vishnu (Mal or Tirumal). Such a synthesis is quite typical of the Hindu temperament and cannot be the result of an overnight or superficial influence ; it is also as remote as possible from the separateness we are told is at the root of so-called “Dravidian culture.?


    Expectedly, this fusion grows by leaps and bounds in classical Sangam poetry whose composers were Brahmins, princes, merchants, farmers, including a number of women. The “Eight Anthologies?of poetry (or ettuttokai ) abound in references to many gods : Shiva, Uma, Murugan, Vishnu, Lakshmi (named Tiru, which corresponds to Sri) and several other Saktis.[37] The Paripadal, one of those anthologies, consists almost entirely of devotional poetry to Vishnu. One poem[38] begins with a homage to him and Lakshmi, and goes on to praise Garuda, Shiva on his “majestic bull,?the four-faced Brahma, the twelve Adityas, the Ashwins, the Rudras, the Saptarishis, Indra with his “dreaded thunderbolt,?the devas and asuras, etc., and makes glowing references to the Vedas and Vedic scholars.[39] So does the Purananuru,[40] another of the eight anthologies, which in addition sees Lord Shiva as the source of the four Vedas (166) and describes Lord Vishnu as “blue-hued?(174) and “Garuda-bannered?(56).[41] Similarly, a poem (360) of a third anthology, the Akananuru, declares that Shiva and Vishnu are the greatest of gods.[42]


    Not only deities or scriptures, landmarks sacred in the North, such as the Himalayas or Ganga, also become objects of great veneration in Tamil poetry. North Indian cities are referred to, such as Ujjain, or Mathura after which Madurai was named. Court poets proudly claim that the Chera kings conquered North Indian kingdoms and carved their emblem onto the Himalayas. They clearly saw the subcontinent as one entity ; thus the Purananuru says they ruled over “the whole land / With regions of hills, mountains, / Forests and inhabited lands / Having the Southern Kumari / And the great Northern Mount / And the Eastern and Western seas / As their borders....?43]


    The Kural (second to seventh century AD), authored by the celebrated Tiruvalluvar, is often described as an “atheistic?text, a hasty misconception. True, Valluvar’s 1,330 pithy aphorisms mostly deal with ethics (aram), polity (porul) and love (inbam), following the traditional Sanskritic pattern of the four objects of human life : dharma, artha, kama, and moksha—the last implied rather than explicit. Still, the very first decade is an invocation to Bhagavan : “The ocean of births can be crossed by those who clasp God’s feet, and none else?44] (10) ; the same idea recurs later, for instance in this profound thought : “Cling to the One who clings to nothing ; and so clinging, cease to cling?(350). The Kural also refers to Indra (25), to Vishnu’s avatar of Vamana (610), and to Lakshmi (e.g. 167), asserting that she will shower her grace only on those who follow the path of dharma (179, 920). There is nothing very atheistic in all this, and in reality the values of the Kural are perfectly in tune with those found in several shastras or in the Gita.[45]


    Let us briefly turn to the famous Tamil epic Shilappadikaram (second to sixth century ad), which relates the beautiful and tragic story of Kannagi and Kovalan ; it opens with invocations to Chandra, Surya, and Indra, all of them Vedic Gods, and frequently praises Agni, Varuna, Shiva, Subrahmanya, Vishnu-Krishna, Uma, Kali, Yama and so forth. There are mentions of the four Vedas and of “Vedic sacrifices being faultlessly performed.?“In more than one place,?writes V. Ramachandra Dikshitar, the first translator of the epic into English, “there are references to Vedic Brahmans, their fire rites, and their chanting of the Vedic hymns. The Brahman received much respect from the king and was often given gifts of wealth and cattle.?46] When Kovalan and Kannagi are married, they “walk around the holy fire,?a typically Vedic rite still at the centre of the Hindu wedding. Welcomed by a tribe of fierce hunters on their way to Madurai, they witness a striking apparition of Durga, who is addressed equally as Lakshmi and Sarasvati—the three Shaktis of the Hindu trinity. There are numerous references to legends from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Puranas. After worshipping at two temples, one of Vishnu and the other of Shiva, the Chera king Shenguttuvan goes to the Himalayas in search of a stone for Kannagi’s idol, and bathes it in the Ganges—in fact, the waters of Ganga and those of Cauvery were said to be equally sacred. Similar examples could be given from the Manimekhalai : even though it is a predominantly Buddhist work, it also mentions many Vedic and Puranic gods, and attributes the submergence of Puhar to the neglect of a festival to Indra.


    As the archaeologist and epigraphist R. Nagaswamy remarks, “The fact that the literature of the Sangam age refers more to Vedic sacrifices than to temples is a pointer to the popularity of the Vedic cults among the Sangam Tamils.?47]


    I should also make a mention of the tradition that regards Agastya, the great Vedic Rishi, as the originator of the Tamil language. He is said to have written a Tamil grammar, Agattiyam, to have presided over the first two Sangams, and is even now honoured in many temples of Tamil Nadu and worshipped in many homes. One of his traditional names is “Tamil muni.?The Shilappadikaram refers to him as “the great sage of the Podiyil hill,?and a hill is still today named after him at the southernmost tip of the Western Ghats.


    It would be tempting to continue with this enumeration, which could easily fill a whole anthology. As a matter of fact, P. S. Subrahmanya Sastri showed with a wealth of examples how “a knowledge of Sanskrit literature from the Vedic period to the Classical period is essential to understand and appreciate a large number of passages scattered among the poems of Tamil literature.?48] Others have added to the long list of such examples.[49] In other words, Vedic and Puranic themes are inextricably woven into Sangam literature and therefore into the most ancient culture of the Tamil land known to us.


    Historical Period


    The historical period naturally takes us to the great Pallava, Chola and Pandya temples and to an overflowing of devotional literature by the Alwars, the Nayanmars and other seekers of the Divine who wandered over the length and breadth of the Tamil land, filling it with bhakti. But here let us just take a look at the rulers. An inscription records that a Pandya king led the elephant force in the Mahabharata War on behalf of the Pandavas, and that early Pandyas translated the epic into Tamil.[50] The first named Chera king, Udiyanjeral, is said to have sumptuously fed the armies on both sides during the War at Kurukshetra ; Chola and Pandya kings also voiced such claims—of course they may be devoid of historical basis, but they show how those kings sought to enhance their glory by connecting their lineage to heroes of the Mahabharata. So too, Chola and Chera kings proudly claimed descent from Lord Rama or from kings of the Lunar dynasty—in other words, an “Aryan?descent.


    As regards religious practices, the greatest Chola king, Karikala, was a patron of both the Vedic religion and Tamil literature, while the Pandya king Nedunjelyan performed many Vedic sacrifices, and the dynasty of the Pallavas made their capital Kanchi into a great centre of Sanskrit learning and culture. K. V. Raman summarizes the “religious inheritance of the Pandyas?in these words :


    The Pandyan kings were great champions of the Vedic religion from very early times.... According to the Sinnamanur plates, one of the early Pandyan kings performed a thousand velvi or yagas [Vedic sacrifices].... Though the majority of the Pandyan kings were Saivites, they extended equal patronage to the other faiths ... [and included] invocatory verses to the Hindu Trinity uniformly in all their copper-plate grants. The Pandyas patronised all the six systems or schools of Hinduism.... Their religion was not one of narrow sectarian nature but broad-based with Vedic roots. They were free from linguistic or regional bias and took pride in saying that they considered Tamil and Sanskritic studies as complementary and equally valuable.[51]


    This pluralism can already be seen in the two epics Shilappadikaram and Manimekhalai, which amply testify that what we call today Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism coexisted harmoniously. “The sectarian spirit was totally absent,?52] writes Ramachandra Dikshitar. “Either the people did not look upon religious distinctions seriously, or there were no fundamental differences between one sect and another.?53]


    That is also a reason why I have not stressed Buddhism and Jainism here. Those two faiths were no doubt significant in the early stages of Tamil society, but not as dominant as certain scholars insist upon in an attempt to eclipse the Vedic and Puranic elements. Buddhism and Jainism did contribute greatly in terms of religious thought, art and science, but faded centuries later under the flood of Hindu bhakti ; their insistence on world-shunning monasticism also did not agree very well with the Tamil temperament, its cult of heroism and its zest for life.


    In any case, this superficial glance at Sangam literature makes it clear at the very least that, in the words of John R. Marr, “these poems show that the synthesis between Tamil culture and what may loosely be termed Aryan culture was already far advanced.?54] Nilakanta Sastri goes a step further and opines, “There does not exist a single line of Tamil literature written before the Tamils came into contact with, and let us add accepted with genuine appreciation, the Indo-Aryan culture of North Indian origin.?55]


    The Myth of Dravidian Culture


    And yet, such statements do not go deep enough, as they still imply a North-South contrast and an unknown Dravidian substratum over which the layer of “Aryan?culture was deposited. This view is only milder than that of the proponents of a “separate?and “secular?Dravidian culture, who insist on a physical and cultural Aryan-Dravidian clash as a result of which the pure “Dravidian?culture got swamped. As we have seen, archaeology, literature and Tamil tradition all fail to come up with the slightest hint of such a conflict. Rather, as far as the eye can see into the past there is every sign of a deep cultural interaction between North and South, which blossomed not through any “imposition?but in a natural and peaceful manner, as everywhere else in the subcontinent and beyond.


    As regards an imaginary Dravidian “secularism?(another quite inept word to use in the Indian context), it has been posited by many scholars : Marr,[56] Zvelebil[57] and others characterize Sangam poetry as “secular?and “pre-Aryan?58] after severing its heroic or love themes from its strong spiritual undercurrents, in a feat typical of Western scholarship whose scrutiny always depends more on the magnifying glass than on the wide-angle lens. A far more insightful view comes from the historian M. G. S. Narayanan, who finds in Sangam literature “no trace of another, indigenous, culture other than what may be designated as tribal and primitive.?59] He concludes :


    The Aryan-Dravidian or Aryan-Tamil dichotomy envisaged by some scholars may have to be given up since we are unable to come across anything which could be designated as purely Aryan or purely Dravidian in the character of South India of the Sangam Age. In view of this, the Sangam culture has to be looked upon as expressing in a local idiom all the essential features of classical “Hindu?culture.[60]


    However, it is not as if the Tamil land passively received this culture : in exchange it generously gave elements from its own rich temperament and spirit. In fact, all four Southern States massively added to every genre of Sanskrit literature, not to speak of the signal contributions of a Shankara, a Ramanuja or a Madhwa. Cultural kinship does not mean that there is nothing distinctive about South Indian tradition ; the Tamil land can justly be proud of its ancient language, culture and genius, which have a strong stamp and character of their own, as anyone who browses through Sangam texts can immediately see : for all the mentions of gods, more often than not they just provide a backdrop ; what occupies the mind of the poets is the human side, its heroism or delicate emotions, its bouncy vitality, refined sensualism or its sweet love of Nature. “Vivid pictures of full-blooded life exhibiting itself in all its varied moods,?as Raghunathan puts it. “One cannot but be impressed by the extraordinary vitality, variety and richness of the poetic achievement of the old Tamil.?61] Ganapathy Subbiah adds, “The aesthetic quality of many of the poems is breathtakingly refined.?62] It is true also that the Tamil language developed its own literature along certain independent lines ; conventions of poetry, for instance, are strikingly original and more often than not different from those of Sanskrit literature.


    More importantly, many scholars suggest that “the bhakti movement began in the Tamil country [and] later spread to North India.?63] Subbiah, in a profound study, not only challenges the misconceived “secular?portrayal of the Sangam texts, but also the attribution of the Tamil bhakti to a northern origin ; rather, he suggests, it was distinctly a creation of Tamil culture, and Sangam literature “a reflection of the religious culture of the Tamils.?64]


    As regards the fundamental contributions of the South to temple architecture, music, dance and to the spread of Hindu culture to other South Asian countries, they are too well known to be repeated here. Besides, the region played a crucial role in preserving many important Sanskrit texts (a few Vedic recensions, Bhasa’s dramas, the Arthashastra for instance) better than the North was able to do, and even today some of India’s best Vedic scholars are found in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.* As Swami Vivekananda put it, “The South had been the repository of Vedic learning.?65]


    In other words, what is loosely called Hinduism would not be what it is without the South. To use the proverbial but apt image, the outflow from the Tamil land was a major tributary to the great river of Indian culture.




    It should now be crystal clear that anyone claiming a “separate,?“pre-Aryan?or “secular?Dravidian culture has no evidence to show for it, except his own ignorance of archaeology, numismatics and ancient Tamil literature. Not only was there never such a culture, there is in fact no meaning in the word “Dravidian?except either in the old geographical sense or in the modern linguistic sense ; racial and cultural meanings are as unscientific as they are irrational, although some scholars in India remain obstinately rooted in a colonial mindset.


    The simple reality is that every region of India has developed according to its own genius, creating in its own bent, but while remaining faithful to the central Indian spirit. The Tamil land was certainly one of the most creative, and we must hope to see more of its generosity once warped notions about its ancient culture are out of the way.




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    * I am grateful to Dr. K. V. Raman (also to Drs. Iravatham Mahadevan, K. V. Ramesh and S. Kalyanaraman) for kindly suggesting some of the sources I have used, and for providing me with important clues ; of course I am solely responsible for my treatment of them and the conclusions I suggest. May I add that this admittedly incomplete overview is aimed mostly at the educated non-specialist Indian public, and that I am myself a student of India, not a scholar.


    (In this Web version, I have removed here all diacritical marks to avoid confusions; they will be restored in the published version.)


    * I use the word “culture?in its ordinary meaning, not in the technical sense used by archaeologists, i.e. the totality of material artefacts of a particular category of settlement.


    [*] The word “Hindu?is as convenient as it is unsatisfactory ; I use it in a broad sense that encompasses Vedic, Epic, Puranic culture, but without being exclusive of Buddhist or Jain faiths.


    * In the district of Chittoor (A.P.) near the present Tamil Nadu border ; this area was then regarded as part of Tamilaga (which extended as far north as present-day Tirupati).


    * Sangam texts are notoriously hard to date and there is among scholars nearly as much divergence of views as with Sanskrit texts. Thus some date the Tolkappiyam as late as the fifth or sixth century AD.


    * I dare say that many more ancient texts remain to be discovered among palm-leaf manuscripts in Tamil Nadu or Kerala (many of which are being mindlessly lost or destroyed for want of active interest). For instance, I was once shown in Kerala, among many ancient texts, a thick palm-leaf manuscript of a Ramayana by ... Vyasa. (Some traditions do mention it, but it has been regarded as lost.) Post-Independence India has been prodigiously careless in preserving its cultural heritage.




    [1] The Oxford History of India, 4th ed. revised by Percival Spear (reprinted Delhi : OUP, 1974-1998), p. 43.


    [2] R. C. Majumdar, H. C. Raychaudhuri, Kalikinkar Data, An Advanced History of India (Madras : Macmillan, 4th ed. 1978).


    [3] A. L. Basham, The Wonder That Was India (Calcutta : Rupa, 3rd ed. 1981).


    [4] K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India (New Delhi : OUP, 4th edition 1975).


    [5] K. V. Raman, Excavations at Uraiyur (Tiruchirapalli) 1965-69 (Madras : University of Madras, 1988).


    [6] K. V. Soundara Rajan, Kaveripattinam Excavations 1963-73 (New Delhi : Archaeological Survey of India, 1994).


    [7] See The Ancient Port of Arikamedu—New Excavations and Researches 1989-1992, vol. 1, ed. Vimala Begley (Pondicherry : ?ole Fran?ise d’Extr?e-Orient, 1996).


    [8] As reported in The New Indian Express (Coimbatore edition), 12 April 2000. The occasion was a debate on “saffronization of the education system,?and the full first part of the quotation is : “The RSS has gone to the extent of saying that Dravidian civilization is part of Hinduism....?


    [9] For a good overview of the archaeological picture of ancient South India, see K. V. Raman, “Material Culture of South India as Revealed in Archaeological Excavations,?in The Dawn of Indian Civilization (Up To c. 600 BC), ed. G. C. Pande (Delhi : Centre for Studies in Civilizations, 1999), p. 531-546.


    [10] K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, p. 84.


    [11] Uttankita Sanskrit Vidya Aranya Epigraphs vol. II, Prakrit and Sanskrit Epigraphs 257 BC to 320 AD, ed. K. G. Krishnan (Mysore : Uttankita Vidya Aranya Trust, 1989), p. 16 ff, 42 ff.


    [12] Ibid., p. 151 ff.


    [13] R. Nagaswamy, Art and Culture of Tamil Nadu (New Delhi : Sundeep Prakashan, 1980), p. 23.


    [14] B. Narasimhaiah, Neolithic and Megalithic Cultures in Tamil Nadu (Delhi : Sundeep Prakashan, 1980), p. 211 ; also in Bridget and Raymond Allchin, The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan (New Delhi : Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 331.


    [15] B. Narasimhaiah, Neolithic and Megalithic Cultures in Tamil Nadu, p. 203.


    [16] I. K. Sarma, Religion in Art and Historical Archaeology of South India (Madras : University of Madras, 1987), p. 33.


    [17] K. V. Raman, Sakti Cult in Tamil Nadu—a Historical Perspective (paper presented at a seminar on Sakti Cult, 9th session of the Indian Art History Congress at Hyderabad, in November 2000 ; in press).


    [18] William A. Noble, “Nilgiris Prehistoric Remains?in Blue Mountains, ed. Paul Hockings (Delhi : OUP, 1989), p. 116.


    [19] Bridget and Raymond Allchin, The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan, p.339-340.


    [20] I. K. Sarma, Religion in Art and Historical Archaeology of South India, p. 35.


    [21] Ibid. , p. 34.


    [22] K. V. Raman, Excavations at Uraiyur, p. 84.


    [23] K. V. Raman, Sakti Cult in Tamil Nadu.


    [24] K. V. Soundara Rajan, Kaveripattinam Excavations 1963-73, p. 111-112.


    [25] Iravatham Mahadevan, “Pottery Inscriptions in Brahmi and Tamil-Brahmi?in The Ancient Port of Arikamedu, p. 295-296.


    [26] K. V. Raman, “A Note on the Square Copper Coin from Arikamedu?in The Ancient Port of Arikamedu, p. 391-392.


    [27] R. Krishnamurthy, Sangam Age Tamil Coins (Chennai : Garnet Publications, 1997). The following examples are drawn from this book.


    [28] K. V. Raman, “Archaeological Excavations in Kanchipuram? in Tamil Civilization, vol. 5, N? & 2, p. 70-71.


    [29] R. Krishnamurthy, Sangam Age Tamil Coins, p. 26.


    [30] Ibid., p. 46-47, etc.


    [31] Two important studies in this respect are : Savita Sharma, Early Indian Symbols (Delhi : Agam Kala Prakashan, 1990) and H. Sarkar & B. M. Pande, Symbols and Graphic Representations in Indian Inscriptions (New Delhi : Aryan Books International, 1999).


    [32] K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, p. 130.


    [33] N. Raghunathan, Six Long Poems from Sanham Tamil (reprint Chennai : International Institute of Tamil Studies, 1997), p. 2, 10.


    [34] K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, p. 130.


    [35] Tolkappiyam Marabus 71, 72, 77, 81, quoted by S. Vaiyapuri Pillai in Life of Ancient Tamils.


    [36] Tolkappiyam, Porul 166, 176, quoted by K. V. Sarma, “Spread of Vedic Culture in Ancient South India?in The Adyar Library Bulletin, 1983, 43:1, p. 5.


    [37] K. V. Raman, Sakti Cult in Tamil Nadu.


    [38] Paripadal, 8.


    [39] Paripadal, 3, 9, etc..


    [40] Purananuru , 2, 93, etc. See also invocatory verse.


    [41] The last three references are quoted by K. V. Sarma in “Spread of Vedic Culture in Ancient South India,?p. 5 & 8.


    [42] Quoted by K. V. Sarma in “Spread of Vedic Culture in Ancient South India,?p. 8.


    [43] Purananuru, 17 as translated in Tamil Poetry Through the Ages, vol. I, Ettuttokai : the Eight Anthologies, ed. Shu Hikosaka and G. John Samuel (Chennai : Institute of Asian Studies, 1997), p. 311.


    [44] Tiruvalluvar, The Kural, translated by P. S. Sundaram (New Delhi : Penguin, 1990), p. 19.


    [45] For more details on Tiruvalluvar’s indebtedness to Sanskrit texts, see V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar’s study of the Kural, as quoted by P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar in History of the Tamils (Madras : reprinted Asian Educational Services, 1995), p. 589-595.


    [46] V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar, Cilappatikaram (Madras : 1939, reprinted Chennai : International Institute of Tamil Studies, 1997), p. 57,


    [47] R. Nagaswamy, Art and Culture of Tamil Nadu, p. 7.


    [48] P. S. Subrahmanya Sastri, An Enquiry into the Relationship of Sanskrit and Tamil (Trivandrum : University of Travancore, 1946), chapter 3.


    [49] See for instance : K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, “Sanskrit Elements in Early Tamil Literature,?in Essays in Indian Art, Religion and Society, ed. Krishna Mohan Shrimali (New Delhi : Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1987) ; K. V. Sarma, “Spread of Vedic Culture in Ancient South India?in The Adyar Library Bulletin, 1983, 43:1 ; Rangarajan, “Aryan Dravidian Racial Dispute from the Point of View of Sangam Literature,?in The Aryan Problem, eds. S. B. Deo & Suryanath Kamath (Pune : Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, 1993), p. 81-83.


    [50] K. V. Raman, “Religious Inheritance of the Pandyas,?in Sree Meenakshi Koil Souvenir (Madurai, n.d.), p. 168.


    [51] Ibid., p. 168-170.


    [52] V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar, Cilappatikaram, p. 53.


    [53] Ibid., p. 58.


    [54] John Ralston Marr, The Eight Anthologies ?A Study in Early Tamil Literature (Madras : Institute of Asian Studies, 1985), p. vii.


    [55] K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, “Sanskrit Elements in Early Tamil Literature,?p. 45 (emphasis mine).


    [56] John R. Marr, “The Early Dravidians,?in A Cultural History of India, ed. A. L. Basham (Delhi : OUP, 1983), p. 34.


    [57] Kamil Zvelebil, The Smile of Murugan : On Tamil Literature of South India (Leiden : E. J. Brill, 1973), p. 20, quoted in Ganapathy Subbiah, Roots of Tamil Religious Thought (Pondicherry : Pondicherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture, 1991), p.6.


    [58] Ibid.


    [59] M. G. S. Narayanan, “The Vedic-Puranic-Shastraic Element in Tamil Sangam Society and Culture,?in Essays in Indian Art, Religion and Society, p. 128.


    [60] Ibid., p. 139.


    [61] N. Raghunathan, Six Long Poems from Sanham Tamil, p. 32.


    [62] Ganapathy Subbiah, Roots of Tamil Religious Thought, p. 5.


    [63] N. Subrahmanian, The Tamils—Their History, Culture and Civilization (Madras : Institute of Asian Studies, 1996), p. 118.


    [64] Ganapathy Subbiah, Roots of Tamil Religious Thought, p. 160.


    [65] Swami Vivekananda, “Reply to the Madras Address,?The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (Advaita Ashrama, 1948), p. 278.



  14. Hare Krishna,




    A reply to Frontline’s cover story

    by Profs. Michael Witzel,

    Steve Farmer & Romila Thapar

    (13 October 2000 issue)


    By Michel Danino


    Note : The above reply to Frontline was not published, even though several subsequent issues carried readers?letters and supplementary articles.


    The two articles in Frontline’s cover story (October 13 issue) regrettably show more prejudice than scholarly objectivity, and call for the briefest of answers on several distinct points : 1) the horse question in the Harappan civilization ; 2) N. Jha’s and N. S. Rajaram’s proposed decipherment of the Indus script ; 3) the relationship, if any, between the Harappan and the Vedic worlds ; 4) the deeper question of “Indology?vs. Indian civilization.


    1) Objective readers will agree with Profs. Witzel’s and Farmer’s convincing demonstration that the so-called horse seal included in Jha’s and Rajaram’s book is unlikely to have depicted a horse at all. But a “fraud?or an over-enthusiastic error ? Witzel and Farmer imply that the distorted seal is central to Jha’s and Rajaram’s work, but a look at their book shows it only occupies a minor place in their scheme of things. In my opinion, the reproduction (fig. 7.1a) is, more likely, a bad digital enlargement of a bad scan of a poorer original than the one Witzel and Farmer give us p. 7 ; on the whole, the shapes remain faithful, but the “artist’s reproduction?(fig. 7.1b) is certainly not legitimate. No one is above error, not even Witzel who mistranslated a Sanskrit text to make it hint at a migration into India (see Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate by the Belgian linguist and historian Dr. Koenraad Elst for details).


    Prof. Romila Thapar’s remark that “if the horse had been as central to the Indus civilisation as it was to the Vedic corpus, there would have been many seals depicting horses?is simplistic. The Harappans did not include all the animals around them on their seals—they had cows and camels, for instance, yet did not depict them ; on the other hand they depicted the unicorn and a three-headed creature, which did not exist physi­cally. The seals were not meant to be a zoological catalogue, and until we can read the Harappans?mind and culture, we can only try to guess reasons for the presence or absence of a particular animal.


    As regards the horse itself, Witzel and Farmer quote the late Prof. S?dor B??yi, but omit his important conclusion about “the possibility of the occurrence of domesticated horses in the mature phase of the Harappa culture, at the end of the 3rd millennium B.C.?(South Indian Studies 13, 1997, p. 300). Apart from B??yi, Indian archaeozoologists Bhola Nath and A. K. Sharma had earlier reached similar conclu­sions. Let us not forget that not even five per cent of all Harappan sites have been exca­vated—the question of horse remains will doubtless remain open for some more time.


    2) Witzel’s and Farmer’s objections to Jha’s proposed decipherment of the Indus script are twofold : One, that trying to read Sanskrit on the seals shows the work of “Hindutva revisionists? by that criterion, respected archaeologists such as Dr. S. R. Rao, Dr. M. V. N. Rao and others, who had much earlier proposed decipherments linked to Sanskrit, will probably have to be stuck with the omnibus Hindutva label ! Two, a valid objection that the Jha’s decipherment leaves too much room for interpretation; yet that is not a sufficient ground to dismiss Jha’s work altogether, for our view of the Harappan script is probably distorted by the brevity of the inscriptions. What if Harap­pans had longer texts on cloth, wood, reed, or any other degradable material ? Such texts (even a few dozen words long) would clearly restrict the freedom of interpretation, even with Jha’s method, and would have given the necessary background to make shorter texts clear to the Harappans (just as the modern Hebrew script, devoid of vowels, can be ambiguous if a reader only had a word or two, but ceases to be so with more words). In the end, the reader is left wishing for an impartial and open-minded critique of Jha’s and Rajaram’s proposed decipherment rather than this kind of character assassination.


    3) All three writers are emphatic that the Vedic age came much later than the Harappan, and that any attempt at equating the two can only come, again, from the fevered brains of “Hindutva propagandists? This is absurd as well as misleading, for the connection (or lack of it) between the Harappan and the Vedic (or “Aryan? worlds has been a matter of scholarly debate for decades, perhaps ever since John Marshall remarked in 1931, ?The Harappan] religion is so characteristically Indian as hardly to be distinguished from still living Hinduism.?More recently Colin Renfrew, a well-known British archaeologist, remarked (in his Archaeology and Language ?the Puzzle of Indo-European Origins) : “It is difficult to see what is particularly non-Aryan about the Indus Valley civilization.?Indeed, several symbols depicted on the seals or other artefacts, such as the bull or a mother-goddess, are reminiscent of Vedic themes ; Raymond and Bridget Allchin, British archaeologists of rather conservative leanings, concede in their Origins of a Civilization ?the Prehistory and Early Archaeology of South Asia that a seal from Chanhu-daro does seem to depict the marriage of Heaven and Earth, a theme central to the Rig-Veda. The seals also portray numerous deities seated or standing in yogic postures, and figurines in various yoga asanas have been found (e.g. at Lothal), which shows that yoga was part of Harappan culture. And what about the fire-altars found in several Harappan cities, reminiscent of Vedic rituals ?


    Parallels do not end with artefacts. Prof. Romila Thapar’s assertion that “there are no descriptions of the city in the Rigveda [...] that could be applied to the Indus cities? is astonishing : can she be unaware of claims to the contrary by respected archae­ologists, such as Dr. R. S. Bisht, excavator of Dholavira in Kutch, where he found “a virtual reality of what the Rig-Veda, the world’s oldest literary record, describes? Bisht is also a deep Vedic scholar, and in a masterly article “Harappans and the Rigveda : Points of Convergence?in the recently published Dawn of Indian Civilization, he quotes over 500 references from the Rig-Veda to build his case that not only town-planning but various kinds of Harappan habitations are depicted in the Veda. Thapar also seems unaware that the Rig-Veda does make frequent mention of shipping, trade, and other ingredients of Harappan life. As the historian B. K. Ghosh pointed out in 1958, “The Rgveda clearly reflects the picture of a highly complex society in the full blaze of civili­sation,?a picture as consistent with the Indus civilization as it is inconsis­tent with pastoral nomads just arrived from Central Asia.


    Finally we have the evidence provided by the Sarasvati river which dried up in stages until it disappeared around 1900 BC. Archaeologists, e.g. the Allchins, J. M. Kenoyer, Gregory Possehl, and most Indian archaeologists, accept the identification between the Vedic Sarasvati and the Ghaggar-Hakra valley which runs through Haryana, Rajasthan, and Pakistan’s desert of Cholistan. This identification is “well-established,?to use Witzel’s and Farmer’s frequent phrase (see their rule No. 2 about “respect for well-established facts?. Then how could the Rig-Veda praise the Sarasvati as a “mighty river?if its composers arrived on the scene much later ? Gregory Possehl puts the problems squarely when he remarks in his recent Indus Age : The Beginnings : “This carries with it an interesting chronological implication : the composers of the Rgveda were in the Sarasvati region prior to the drying up of the river and this would be closer than 2000 bc than it is to 1000 bc, somewhat earlier than most of the conventional chronologies for the presence of the Vedic Aryans in the Punjab.?In fact it should be much before 2000 BC if we accept the Rig-Veda’s description of the Sarasvati as flowing “from the mountain to the ocean?(7.95.2), Once again, the debate will go on, and raising the Hindutva bogey will do nothing to advance it. (Incidentally, was B. G. Tilak, who advocated an Arctic origin for the mythical Aryans, not a staunch defender of Hindutva ?)


    4) If Rajaram and Jha are such worthless scholars as the writers constantly imply, why don’t the latter rather spend their energies engaging in a serious scholarly debate with a Renfrew or a Rao, a Bisht or a Possehl ? Is it because they are ill-equipped to do so ? Clearly, the Harappan-Vedic question is far more complex than the three professors are telling us, and cannot be solved by their sweeping assertions which ignore much archaeological and other evidence in disregard of their own golden rules Nos. 1 and 3.


    As regards rule No. 4 about “independence from religious and political agendas,?it is unexceptionable. But in that case, why don’t the writers protest against the perverse misuse of the defunct Aryan invasion theory (or its new avatar of “Aryan migration? by Marxist, Dalit, Christian and Dravidian groups ? When Asko Parpola declared in a World Tamil Conference that today’s Tamilians are the descendants of the Harappans, that was fine ; when K. N. Panikkar, who describes himself as a “Left histo­rian? publicly defended the Aryan invasion theory at a recent student congress, that is fine ; but when one quotes solid evidence from reputed archaeologists to reject such half-baked claims, one is a “Hindutvavadi”—where is the logic ? And why are outdated Indian textbooks, which still speak of Aryan and Dravidian races, of Aryans invading India and destroying the Indus civilization, allowed to continue stuffing the brains of Indian children with such antiquated nonsense ?


    The demand underlying both articles is that none except holders of university chairs should have a right to discuss issues related to India’s ancient past. That demand is untenable. Knowledge has never been the exclusive property of academia. If in addi­tion Indologists (a very hazy term) are unwilling to tap living sources of knowledge on Indian civilization from genuine Indian scholars, pandits, and (why not ?) yogis, and hasten to dismiss all historical data derived from traditional sources, they should not be surprised if they find themselves isolated in their ivory tower. More importantly, Western or Westernized Indologists subconsciously try to impose a purely Western intellectual approach which, despite its great usefulness as a tool, fails to fathom India’s non-intellectual content. Recall for instance Thapar’s characterization (in her History of India) of the Rig-Veda as “primitive animism? of the Mahabharata as the glorification of a “local feud?between two Aryan tribes, or of the Ramayana as “a description of local conflicts between the agriculturists of the Ganges Valley and the more primitive hunting and food-gathering societies of the Vindhyan region?(sic !). Such a shallow, reductionist look at one of the profoundest cultural heritages in the world is too often (though not always) the bane of Western academia. It can only leave many Indians dissatisfied and in search of more perceptive alternatives that do not belittle the Indian psyche.


    Michel Danino


    (Sent by e-mail 9 Oct. 2000)

  15. Hare Krishna,



    Thankyou for your help(Everyone). Atleast now I know there are many versions of Valmiki ramayana and yes I went to that mohemeddan site unfortunately. Are there many versions of Satapatha Brahmana as well. I did not find many books from google search. Perehaps somebody could suggest an authentic version of this scripture.

  16. Hare Krishna,



    Dear Laksri,


    Again I say, I do not have any knowledge of sanskrit. The verses mentioned are according to the references I have given. I simply reproduced those verses from those books. Unfortunately I have only these books in our university. I simply want the corresponding verses to be translated correctly. Otherwise please suggest some good books on Valmiki Ramayana and Satapatha Brahmana.

  17. Hare Krishna,



    I do not know Sanskrit. I referred to some books(al of them have only translations and no sanskrit verses). Here are some of them.



    Title:The Ramayana of Valmiki:AN Epic of ancient India

    Volume I: BalaKanda


    Translated by: Robert P. Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland


    Princeton University Press:Princeton New Jersey


    Kanda 1(Balakanda), Sarga 13, Verses 24-33


    24. The prescribed victims- snakes, birds, the horse, and aquatic animals- were bound at the place of immolation; each was dedicated to a specific divinity as is set forth in the ritual texts.


    25. The priests then bound them all to the posts in the manner set forth in the ritual texts. Three hundred beasts in addition to Dasaratha's jewel of a horse were bound there to the sacrificial posts.


    26. Kausalya walked reverently all around the horse and with great joy cut it with three knives.


    27. Her mind unwavering in her desire for righteousness, Kausalya passed one night with the horse.


    28. The priests- the hotr, the adhvaryu and the udgatr- saw to it that the second and the junior most of king's wives, as well as his chief queen, were united with the horse.


    29. Then the officiating priest, who was extremely adept and held his senses in check, removed the fat of the horse and cooked it in a mannner prescribed in the ritual texts.


    30. At the proper time and in accordance with the ritual prescriptions, the lord of men then sniffed the fragrance of the smoking fat, thereby freeing himslef from sin.


    31. Then acting in unison, the sixteen Brahman officiating priests threw the limbs of the horse into the fire, in accordance with ritual injunctions.


    32. In other sacrifices, the oblation is offered upon plaksha tree, but in the horse sacrifice alone the apportionment of the victim is made on a bed of reeds.


    33.The horse sacrifice is known as the three-day rite for both the Kalpasutra and the Brahmanas refer to the horse sacrifice as a rite lasting for three days. On the first day, the Catustoma rite is to be performed.


    Is this tranlation right ?


    Can anybody interpret verses 27,28.


    I also referred to another book tranlated by an Indian. The corresponding verses are almost equivalent.


    Title: The Ramayana of Valmiki


    Translated by: P.Lal


    Vikas publishing House PVT LTD.


    I did not have time for writing down the translations of Satapatha Brahmana from the following book.


    Title: The Satapatha Brahmana: According to the school of Madhyandina School


    Translated by: Julius Eggeling


    Edited by: Max Muller


    Publisher: Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi


    Can anyne translate the following sanskrit verses (Taken from the above book)


    13th Kanda, 5th Adhyaya, 2 Brahmana, Verses1-10


    "Utsakhya ava gudam dehi"


    "Nirayatyasvasya sisnam mahishy upashthe nidhatte 'vrisha vagi retodha reto dadhatv' iti mithunasyaiva sarvatvaya"


    What is the meaning of the word "mahishi" ?


    If anyone has the translations of verses 1-10 please provide it.

  18. Hare Krishna,



    I do not know why my post got deleted. I did not browse for a few days.


    This is my question again.


    Can anyone translate and interpret the following verses.


    1. Valmiki Ramayana - 1:13:24-33


    2. Satapatha Brahmana - 13:5:2:1-10


  19. Hare Krishna,


    Dear Shri J.N.DAS,

    I have read your interpretation of the Gomeda Yajna and found it satisfying. Can you please explain the Asvamedha Yajna likewise. I found some material Asvamedha Yajna in the internet and found it very very disturbing. I know it is not true but I need to know more about these Yajnas. Can you suggest me some good books on various kinds of Yajnas. I will be very delighted to read on these subjects and please suggest only Enlish books(I do not know Sanskrit).

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