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#890 - February 19, 2005 06:05 PM Hindu Culture
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Survey of Tamil & Sanskrit Dance Treatises of Tamil Nadu

by Virarajendra
http://www.forumhub/tnhistory


http://forumhub.lunarpages.com/hub/viewtopic.php?t=1813

The Tamil Dance Treatises presently available in Tamil Nadu

Among the Dance Treatises (Naattiya Noolkal) composed in Tamil by the great Dance Gurus of Tamil Nadu at different periods of it's early history, and that are available to us today are the follows:

(1) Paratha Senapathiyam - Author unknown, but bears the name of an earlier text in Tamil of the same name by Aathivaayilar (and not available to us today)
(2) Paratha Sangiraham - Aramvalarththan
(3) Maha Paratha Chudamani - Abridged translation of the Sanskrit text known as Maha Baratham by Sarangathevan, into Tamil by Somanathan
(4) Abinaya Tharpanam - Translation of the Sanskrit text on Abinayam by Nandikeswarer, into Tamil by Veerarahavaiyan
(5) Baratha Siththantham - In Tamil by an unknown author
(6) Silappathikaram - by Elango Adikal. The third chapter titled the "Arangettru Kaathai" of this great Tamil Epic of the second century A.D., provides enough informations on the original Dance Forms of Tamilnadu of that period. It also refers to a "Natya Nanool".

Further the commentator of this Epic namely Adiyarkku Nallaar too provides useful informations on the Dance Forms of Tamil Nadu of the relevent period.

There are few very late period Naattiya Noolkal composed in Tamil which are as follows:

(7) Baratha Sastram written by Arapaththa Navalar
(8) Abinaya Navaneetham written by Narayana Iyengar
(9) Abinaya Sarasampudam written by Narayana Iyengar

The Sanskrit Dance Treatises presently available in Tamil Nadu

Among the other Dance Treatises belonging to the earlier periods of India composed in Sanskrit, and are in use in Tamil Nadu are the follows:

(1) Natya Sastra - by Baratha Muni
(2) Barathanava - by Nadikeswara
(3) Abinaya Tharpana - by Nandikeswara
(4) Sangeetha Rathanakara - by Sarangatheva (only the last chapter deals on Niruththiya)
(5) Natyasastra Sangraha - by unknown author
(6) Niruththa Rathnavali - by Jayasenapathy
(5) Baratha Kosa - by unknown author
The "Kooththa Nool" - the only Sangam Period Tamil Dance Treatise available in Tamil Nadu.

In addition to the above we now have an original treatise composed in Tamil by ìSaaththanaarî known as the "KOOTHTHA NOOL", and belonging to the Sangam period of Tamil Nadu.

Among the Dance treatises composed in Tamil mentioned above, non of them refer to the cl***ification of the Dances that was in vogue in the ancient Tamil Nadu of Sangam Period as the Veththiyal and Pothuviyal
Veththiyal - Dance performed for the kings and nobles.
Pothuviyal - Dance performed for the common people.

This above cl***ification of Tamil Dances that existed during the Sangam & Kaappiam periods is clearly indicated in the great Tamil Epic - the Silappathikarem.

This same cl***ification is also found in the Kooththa Nool, which indicates the antiquity and the period of composition of this Dance Treatise, other than our deduction of same from the other contents in this treatise.

The other Sangam Period Tamil Dance Treatises presently lost in Tamil Nadu
Further in the Adiyaarkku Nallaar's commentry on Silappathikarem, he has mentioned the names of the other ancient original Dance Treatises composed in Tamil, which were availble during the Sangam period, but were not available even during the Adiyaarkku Nalaar's time in the twelth century A.D.

They are namely the,
(1) Baratham
(2) Akaththiyam
(3) Muruval
(4) Sayantham
(5) Kuna Nool
(6) Seyitriyam

All the above works on Tamil Dance Forms are now lost to us over a period of two millennium (2000 years). Adiyaarkku Nallaar's commentry on Silappathikarem also states that "......Natakath Thamil Noolaahiya Baratham, Akaththiyam muthalakavulla thon noolkal iranthana.....". From same it is clear that there had been a Tamil Treatise called Baratham earlier but lost even during his period.

Also the Barathasenaapathiyam of Athivayilaar which was available during the period too is lost to us today.
The discovery of the "Kooththa Nool" in it's Ola Manuscript form.

Adiyarkku Nallaar in his commentry on Silappathikaram has also made use of another Tamil Dancing Treatise that was available to him at his time known as Kooththanool. This treatise after disappearence for some time, very fortunately was brought back to light by the good efforts of Thiru S.Yogiyar of TamilNadu of our period. He discovered a copy of this treatise in Ola Manuscript form with few sections damaged badly beyond recovery. However the major part of this work has now been preserved.
Further Sangam Period Tamil Dance Treatises presently lost in Tamil Nadu, as gleaned from the Kooththa Nool.

From the Kooththa Nool it is very clear that during the time of Saaththanaar - the composer of this treatise, had access to the other original Tamil works on Tamil Dance Forms and Music namely the:

(a) Agathiyam by Agaththiyan
(b) Then Isai of Sikindi
(c) Perisai
(d) Narai
(e) Kuruku
(f) Kooththu
(g) Sayantham
(h) Kuna Nool
(i) Muruval
(j) Sayitriyam
(k) Thanduvam
(l) Nanthiyam
(m) Pannisai
(n) Thakkam
(o) Thaalam
(p) Thannumai
(q) Adal Muvoththu

A brief study on the contents of the Sangam Period Tamil Dance Treatise the "Koothatha Nool"

He confirms that it was based on these he composed his Kooththa Nool on the subject of Tamil Dance. This clearly indicates the antiquity of this treatise as that of the Sangam period.

The treatise has nine chapters. The first book on this treatise with text and detailed commentry of the first two chapters by Thiru S.Yogiyar has been put to print by the Tamil Nadu Sangitha Nataka Sangam. But before Thiru S.Yogiyar could write his commentry to the remaining chapters and put them too in print, he has p***ed away. The fate of the balance chapters is not known to us today.

I give below the brief details of the contents of all nine chapters as indicated by Thiru S.Yogiyar himself in the first part of the treatise already available in Print.
This masterly treatise in Tamil on the ancient art of dance is divided into nine books. The contents of each book are given below in a condensed form.

(1) Suvai Nool (Aesthetic Emotions)
Divine origin of dance, music, drama, the evolution of sounds, shapes and emotions both natural and aesthetic, their manifestation, in all their possibilities and limitations as a theoretical art and craft.
(2) Thokai Nool (Dictionary of Dance Forms)
108 Thandavas of Siva of which 12 are important. (Bangas & Abangas) Static and standind poses involved, 39 poses of the 12 Siva thandavas and the 12 types of dance derived from them developing altogether 144 dance patterns.
(3) Vari Nool (Folk Dances)
Pura Vari - dances representing varied natural phenomena in terms of "Inthinai" (five fold division of earth), Aha Vari - psychic dances pertaining to love, Mukha Vari personal, exhibitional and acrobatic dance in single and group patterns, Vasai Vari - ludicrous dances.
(4) Kalai Nool (Dancing Limbs)
This is the largest book and contains more than 1000 sutras on anatomical divisions of the human body, actions and poses of feet, toes heels, ankles, calves, knees, and thighs, standing leg poses, moving poses 360, 120, 300 and 90 single, supplementary, double and Nritya hand gestures and poses, actions of the neck, jaw, chin, ears, mouth, nose, etc and facial expressions plus their appropriate physical modifications, such as horripilations, tremors etc.
(5) Karana Nool (Combination of Dance Gestures)
120 Karanas with their appropriate mudras, sthanakas, and charis 90 kalasas (varpu) or angaharas, 9 thandavas in full and 6 lasyas.
(6) Thala Nool (Time Measure)
Thala samudra or the ocean of angas, grahas, murchanas etc (Iyal Thalam) 5 original thalas and 35 derived from them with their accompanying swaras and jathis, (Atta Thalam) 108 thalams of Agastya and 52 of others, their jathis, etc.
(7)Isai Nool (Music)
This books deplorably mutilated, still we get here only the arohanas and avarohanas of 30 extinct panns some of which are used by Thevarem Saints.
(8)Avai Nool (Theatre Architecture)
Theatre architecture, lighting, curtains, dress, theatrical effects, makeup, green room problems, etc.
(9) Kan Nool (Summation)

The aim of Dance, yoga through Dance, medicines, oinments and exercises to keep health and voice fit in tact, pranayama in dance, Dhyana (meditation) of dancers, Moksha.
This is the first book of its kind and stands out singular and distinguished in many respects.

The first part of this book with Thiru Yogiyar's commentry for the first two chapters of this treatise namely the Suvai Nool and Thokai Nool has been published (September 1968) in printed form by the Tamilnadu Sangita Nataka Sangam of Chennai. (Printed at Shanthi Press, 135, Pavalakkarath theru, Chennai).

It was very unfortunate Thiru Yogiyar died thereafter. The fate of the remaining seven valuable chapters of this treatise is unknown.

By way of this Hub Portal column, I request the authorities of the Tamil Dance & Music Institutions of Chennai, or the leading Dance exponents of Chennai, or individuals with the ***istance of the Tamilnadu Sangitha Nathaka Sangam of Chennai trace the present whereabout of the remaining chapters of the Kooththa Nool and publish same in printed form, and preserve this only original Tamil Treatise on Tamil Dance of the Sangam Period for the benefit of or Tamilians.

Now there are few sections in the first book of this treatise, available to us in the printed form, which I wish to reproduce below both in English for the benefit of those who wish to know of the,
(a) Antiquity of this treatise
(b) The other original Dance & Music treatises that were available to the author of Koothanool namely Saththanar during Sangam period.
(c) The antiquity of the concept of God Siva's form as Nadarajar
(d) The first available referance to the "Om" pranava manthiram to be found in any ancient Tamil Literary work known to us.

The readers could make use of them for their own research in the respective fields and make their own deductions with help of same.

(a)Manthira Maamalai yanthira thavisil
vadakku parithi kidakkap poamvali
nalvarkku Thanthira Nanmarai koorum
Kooththanum Kooththium iyatriya kooththaik
kandaan Akaththiyan kannuthal seppa
iyatrinaan Kooththin Ilakkana vaippe.

(b) Akathithiyan iyatriya Akaththiya
muthal nool, Sikindi iyatriya Thenisai sarbu,
Perisai, Naarai, Kuruhu, Kooththu,
Sayantham, Kunannool, Muruval, Sayitriyam,
Thanduvam, Nadhiyam, Pannisai, Thakkam,
Thalam, Thannumai, Adalmuvoththum,
valinool avattrin valivakai vahuththuk
kooththin vilakkam kuravan yane

(c) Oruthal uuntri oruthal yettri
oru kai mariththu marukai amaiththu
irukaiyil aakkamum iruthiyum yetru
aru-vuru aakkum ammai koothu aattap
peruveli nadikkum perumaan arulath
Thennavan venda munai nool aayinthu
Senthamil nilaththum ser pala nilaththum
vantha meik kooththin vakai elaam kandu
Kooththanoor Nanmukakooththan Saaththan
Veth Thavai ellam viyappath thanthathe

(d) Udukkaiyil piranthathu Om enum oliye
Om enum oliye naattiyaththu oliyam
Om enum uruve naattiyaththu uruvaam
Om enum unarve naatiyaththu unarvu
av vuv im enal athuve Om oli
av enal akame uv enal ulame
im enal isaiye iyalvathu thalam.

There are also further references to Siva, Sakthi, Thirumal and Murukan.

This treatise should be preserved,and efforts should be taken by all Tamil Fine Art lovers to bring the remaining portions of this great work on Tamil Dance in to print.



[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited December 09, 2006).]

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#891 - June 17, 2005 03:49 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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Posts: 99
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Vedic Roots of Early Tamil Culture

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.


Map of some settlements of archelogical importance in Tamil Nadu

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?) 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.

Conclusion
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.

References
* 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 : cole Fran®Ýse d’Extr°«-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¡1 & 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.


à‚‚þþþþpì

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#892 - November 14, 2005 03:44 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
I'd advise you to read the Mahabharat and other Puranas to get an understanding of morality or the lack of it in ancient India. The prudishness that we see in India today is the effect of Mughal
domination. Take for example, the hue and cry over scantily dressed women. If you look at sculptures in Khajuraho and paintings of Ajanta, you will find that both men and women moved around with frontal nudity i.e. both sexes did not cover their upper body though they did adorn it with several ornaments.

You would also do well to read the mythical story of Madhavi, the ancestor of Ram, daughter of Yayati and mother of kings like Shibi, and the one who sent her father Yayati back to heaven. Madhavi had
sexual relations with four kings producing two sons from each. After this there was a swayamwara in which everybody vied to marry such a beautiful and talented damsel who had proved her worth. Please also read secular texts like Vikramorvashi, Parvatisambhava, Dasakumaracharita. Kalidasa's description of Parvati in Kumarsambhava will open your eyes.

This hypocritical morality which is at complete variance with reality in the golden age of Indian culture must go. In any case, this old fashioned attitude is also one of the reasons no young person wants to be identified as a Hindu today. But of course that doesn't matter to people who live in the 19th century!

Harsh

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#893 - November 25, 2005 12:59 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
Women in Indian History
Thursday, November 24, 2005

The views below are expressed in my individual capacity in my efforts to re-examine Indian history for appropriate precedents that might be relevant to life today. I have been selective in my read of the past and would confine myself to my own tradition in the interest of brevity. I would argue that women played a key leadership role in Indic history be it intellectual endeavor, politics or religion, one that needs to be revived to reinvigorate contemporary Indian civilization.

For instance, women helped define the Vedic tradition. Lopamudra took on the sage Vishwamitra to argue the cause of the marginalized. Apala Atreyi is one rishi or sage who refused to marry, authored segments of the Rig Veda and participated in the fire ritual. Ghosha too preferred a life of spinsterhood and composed hymns to the gods.

Vishvavara, Romasha and Vach stand out as other Vedic women rishis. The Rig Veda in 1,000 BCE celebrated women who distinguished themselves in battle. These include Vadhrimati, Vishpala, Mudgalani and Shashiyasi. The Upanishads in 700 BCE refer to independent-minded thinkers such as Gargi Vachaknavi and Maitreyi who challenged key philosophic points and helped elucidate the central tenets of Vedanta. This is the earliest known instance of women's participation in established intellectual discourse in the world.

Panini, the Sanskrit linguist of the 5th century BCE coined a specific term, Upadhyayi, for women teachers of religion. He also refers to women students of the different branches of the Veda, i.e the Katha school, the Rig Veda school, the Taittiriya school etc. The Mahabharata asserts that Arundhati, wife of the great sage Vashishta, matched her husband in scholarship. The ancient custom of swayamvara where a woman chose her man, attests to a more liberal age. These examples illustrate the role of women in defining the Vedas, the intellectual node in the Hindu world.

Likewise, the concept of Stri Rajya implies women administrators. Women participated in public life although sidelined more often in the past.

Prabhavati Gupta, the daughter of Chandragupta Vikramaditya, ruled as regent for 13 years in the 5th century CE. She issued a charter describing herself as a devotee of Vishnu. History is witness to the energetic statespersonship of Queen Didda of Kashmir in the 10th century. Inscriptions describe Akkadevi, the Chalukyan provincial governor of the 11th century, as fierce in battle where she commissioned the construction of temples and promoted education.

Sembiyan Mahadevi, the aunt of Rajaraja Chola and devotee of Siva, renovated and built Saivite temples in her own right. She initiated works of charity and bestowed land to several temples. She made endowments to support artisans, craftsmen and musicians attached to such religious institutions.

Kundavai, her niece and stalwart of Saivism, established a free hospital at Tanjore and set aside extensive lands for its maintenance. She dedicated temples and conferred costly gifts on each.

Rudramba Kakatiya, an Andhra ruler of the 13th century, promoted the welfare of her subjects. She constructed irrigation tanks and canals, granted concessions to merchants to promote trade and industry, built hospitals, provided for their maintenance and patronized several villages. She belonged to the Pasupata sect and expressed a deep faith in Siva. One witnesses herein the role of women in administering the land and supporting religious institutions.

Women made extensive and direct contributions to the wave of personal religious devotion that swept the Hindu world in the late classical and medieval ages. Bhakti often entailed a rejection of marriage in the quest for religious communion. Karaikkal Ammaiyar of Tiruvalangadu sang in praise of Siva in the 6th century CE while Andal of Sri Villiputtur composed hymns of Vaishnavite devotion, a century later. Akkamahadevi is known for her simple and practical aphorisms in the Kannada language in the 12th century CE. These reflect an intense devotion to Siva and are conspicuous in the development of literature in Karnataka. Molla, a potter's daughter from Nellore, created a Telugu Ramayanam using a simple, chaste and vigorous style. Lal Ded, a Saivite mendicant ascetic, is significant to Kashmiri literature. She defined a true saint as one who helps others and embodies compassion. Mirabhai, the medieval Rajput princess, stated her preference for personal piety over lifelong wedlock, rejected suttee and was seminal to Hindi literature. Women joined the bhakti movement and contributed to the Hindu understanding of godhood. Such participation empowered them in a society otherwise male dominated.

Most civilizations have not had such a feminist inheritance. Indic civilization stands out in this regard. Yet, it has also had a fair share of a harsh patriarchy, be it suttee, the skewed legal texts and societal bias. It is now time to reclaim this earlier inheritance to replace the stilted and obsolete patriarchy that has come to dominate our religion, our economy and our politics. Unless and until we reinvigorate this dormant feminist capital, we would be fated to continue playing second fiddle to the West.

by Jaffna

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#894 - November 28, 2005 04:14 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang
This is how court ladies looked like in early medieval India.


Picture of an Ajanta Gupta Dynasty Princess



Picture of Kushan court lady in Begram

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#895 - October 27, 2006 09:37 AM Re: Hindu Culture
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A Discussion on Hindu Attire in Pre-Modern Times

http://www.svabhinava.org/HinduCivilization/Dialogues/***ualityFemaleBody-frame.php

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited October 27, 2006).]

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#896 - November 29, 2006 09:26 AM Re: Hindu Culture
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Effects of Food on Body and Mind


Acidification of the body increases toxification of the body, which
leads to body being less resistent to deseases - both contagious
ones and the ones generated internally due to genetic factors.

Many of the foods that we eat have an acidifying effect in varying
degrees. While grains, beans etc. are acidifying they are less
acidifying compared to animal products which are all more acidifying
in comparison - starting with milk as we move to eggs and meats
acidification increases. Alchohol and tobacco are most acidifying,
much more than even meats.

(I am purposely not using the word acidic, some foods might be
acidic in nature but would have an alkalising effect inside the body
and vice-versa. For eg, orange juice or vinegar which both have a
highly alkalising effect inside our bodies.)

Therefore the deal here is to make sure that sufficient alkalising
products are imbibed in order to neutralise acidification. As long
as the higher acidification due to meat is being addressed by
alkalisation processes, I dont see it as a great problem. It is
easier to control acidification in vegetarian diets obviously, but
non-veg diets can also be neutralised if prepared with required
alkalising additives.

Spices, herbs and vegetables like ginger, garlic etc. are
alkalising, and perhaps this is why in India meat preparations are
always very spicy. Omlettes are usually made with lots of onions and
green chillies and black pepper which are all very alkalising.

People doing certain tasks need more muscle strength, and muscles
build using proteins and exercise. Plant sources of proteins like
dals and beans come along with lot of carbohydrates, so it is not
always possible to consume one's required amount of protien from
plant sources since one can get 'filled up' fast due to the presence
of carbohydrates. Nuts that are relatively low in carbs are
expensive. A lot of athletes and body builders today claim to be
vegetarians, but they have access to carbs-free/low-carb whey and
soy protein supplements. I am sure our rischshaw pullers cannot
afford such supplements.

Health is a function of mind, and mind is influenced by health. If
body is maintained in a detoxified state much of the time, the mind
will be at peace.

One of the basic approaches to good health in the Indian system is for
having a well-working digestive and elimination system, in order that
toxification of body is avoided. And this is emphasised whether one is looking
to control obesity or diabetes or cholestrol or arthritis or even cancer. And
most of the times the reccommendations for daily diet that acheives a good
digestion, detoxification, metabolism, avoidance of water-retention etc. was all
about using various spices - ginger, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cummin,
mustard, fenugreek, asefetoda, turmeric etc. All these reccommended spices and
herbs were also listed as extremely alkalising substances in the acid-alkali
sites.

There are now several books on this acid-alkali diets, my guess is that this
new approach is inspired from Indian and other indegenious nutritional wisdom.

There are many sites offerring food cl***ifications based on this
acid-alkali parameter, one can just try google.

http://www.angelfire.com/az/sthurston/acid_alkaline_foods_list.html

http://www.crohns.net/Miva/education/acid_alkaline_foods.shtml

http://www.naturalhealthschool.com/acid-alkaline.html

Roughly, all fruits, vegetables and spices are alkalising, all animal
products are acidifying, all grains, beans and lentils are acidifying, some nuts
are acidifying - eg. peanuts, cashews while some are alkalysing - eg.almonds.

Most importantly, I am not reccommending an obsessive approach toward this
or any other diet. East diet suggestion gives some insight into how food and
body work together, and from all these suggestions we choose what is appropriate
for us as tips to keep the body working in peace and harmony.

Most diets, including this one, finally come down to the sensible advise of
less meat, more fruits and vegetables. The importance of spices is what is
missed in many of these diets IMHO.

The following article decsribes the role of acids and alkalis in our body,
it is basically a sales pamphlet (for some richly alkalising organic vegetable
powder) but the introductory information is useful.


http://www.oasislifesciences.com/en-us/images/stories/Documents/StephenCherniske\
/acidalkalinemysterysolved.pdf

Sugrutha

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited November 30, 2006).]

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#897 - December 06, 2006 12:15 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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FOOD AND NOURISHMENT: SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVES

..While the discussions and teachings about food and nutrition has changed over the years and
also we see variations in the teachings in the ancient Indian
thoughts of acid and alkaline foods and those of the west about
Vegetarian and meat eating habits, I would like to put my thoughts on
this subject in this group. Now that this topic has opened up, I would like to write something very
important that concerns the well being of all of us who are of Indian
Race [Both the so-called Aryan and Dravidians - if you may].

In spite of all controversies, ALL those who belong to the Indian
Subcontinant, the North, the South and the surrounding States, have
the peculiar genetic factor to consider as opposed to those of the
European, Arab, African and East Asian Racial groups. Our
nutritional requirements are not exactly the same as for other racial
groups. As one has to understand that most research stadards set by
Americal and British Medical ***ociations and the US agencies and
Nutrition council are calculated according to the norms of an Anglo-
saxon Male aged 25 to 45 year olds, based on those research studies.
Only recently few studies are specially made for the Female gender
and for African-Americans. Also, many of the research studies often
gets biased by their culttural and traditional values and religious
beliefs. Some of these studies get tainted by vested interst like
American Beef Industry, Corn and Olive oil industry. During British
rule in India we often heard from doctors about bread, eggs, olive
oil and apples from the British education, while these British and US
researchers had no concept of vegetarian diet of the east which
included dairy products or coconut or palm oil or mustard oil. When I
first came to US they taught me that Cholesterol levels upto 300 is OK,
while I used to teach in India earlier that we need to keep the level
to 200 to 230. I was apointed to the stae commission for Minority
Health Care by the Governor - when the realisation occured that
minorities have different sets of healthcare rules.

Now, coming to the points: Vegetarian diet is and always wholesome
and complete if certain rules are followed - that it must have dairy
products like milk and buttermilk added. Westerners often mistook
Vegan diet to Asian Vegetarian diets. Indian need by habit much less
proteins about 40 gram as opposed to Africans and Anglos who are used
to a high protein meat diet. Have youever seen an adult Chinese using
dairy products or order a milk containing food in a Chinese
restaurant - all of them have lactose intolerance. So they need to
consume Fish and chicken. Italians eat lots of Cheese and milk
products and so they eat very little meat in their diet.

About Acid-Alkali problems - our understandings has to change. In a
healthy individual, the body [blood and tissue] Acid-base balance is
kept very balanced @ a pH of 7.4 at all times by the respiration and
kidney acting to correct them. While most fruits are alkaline
including oranges as they form sodium and pot***ium citrate in the
body and make the Urine alkaline - except Cranberry juice and most
meats cause more acid in the body through lactic acid and uric acid
and several others, these do not cause any changes in the person as
the human body in healthy state can adjust and modify them well.
Similarly, body can covert starch to fat and protein when needed,
though few aminoacids are essential. Only in advanced cases of
respiratory failure, kidney failure and very severe diabetes with
ketoacidosis, the Acid-base balance becomes a real problem.

So, what is the final word on the problems?

1. Indians have a very high incidence of Coronary heart disease and a
large number of them are dying of heart attack, both men and women,
at a very young age. The incidence is about 4 times or more compared
to Africans and Europeans who consume meats. So, what ever the world
research says, they need to be vegetarians or reduce their meat
intake to the minimum. Dr Eugene Braunwald, who is the top
Cardiologist from Boston [I spoke with him once and discussed about
this] says that if a person has coronary heart disease and has
cholosterol problem - ask him to become a vegetarian. Then why do
some Indians who are vegetarians get heart attack - becuse they
consume too much ghee, have strong family history and would have had
their heart attack earlier of they were meat eaters.

2. Indian are lately becoming diabetic in large numbers due to
insulin resistance - every one is a diabetic or potential diabetic
unles proven otherwise and unless preventive actions are taken early.
This added, because of the prosperity of the post-Independance
India and excess consumption of starches. They need to eat more green
vegetables and reduce rice, wheat and potatoes. They need to do
regular exercise. Please see my website www.aiyernet.com for details...

Dr. Bala N. Aiyer

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#898 - December 09, 2006 05:22 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
TAMIL IDENTITY


Q: I observe that Tamil identity, (unlike for instance the Japanese identity) is not legally bound. It does not guarantee any rights or privileges. Tamil identity does have any exterior symbolism (unlike Sikhs or Muslims). Tamil identity is fostered locally, and other than language there exist no other valid unifying force. Moreover, Tamil institutions are weak or non existent, and any services rendered by them are superficial.

What is your comments regarding the above observations?

A: There are symbols but we have through omission dropped those symbols. Lead amongst the symbols would the "Vanakkam" gesture, the vaetties, thundus, sarees and paavadais we wear.

Other amplifiable icons include:-

1) Karuvapilai (curry leaves)
2) Sound of Mrdangam (essential at wedding)
3) Pongaloa Pongal (cascading foam layers when boiling milk especially on Pongal day)
4) Kolam
5) Thosai
6) Ittly
7) Uluthak Kanji
8) Vaepa Ilai
9) Vaala Maram
10) Kolusu
11) Thaali Kodi
12) Thulasi
13) Vetthala Paaku
14) Pottu
15) Vibuthi
16) Karna Kayiru (sp?)
17) Kayili
18) Vaesti (vertti or dhoti) (and saalvai or cloth worn over the shoulder)
19) Komanam
20) Sari (seelai) (and chattai or blouse)
21) Paavaadai (long skirt) (and thaavani or half saree)
22) Kudam
23) Chembu
24) Kuthu Vilakku
25) Man Chatti
26) Ammikkal
27) Malligappu
28) Mookuthi
29) Vella sari (white saree)
30) Omathani
31) Manjal
32) Amaavaasai
33) Nel Alaippu
34) Maalai
35) Saambaar
36) Rasam
37) Paasipayiru Kanji
38) Uluntha Vadai
39) Kadala Vadai
40) Thalappaa (turban)
41) Oppaari
42) Avarakaai Panthal
43) Elumicha Palam
44) Pongal Soaru
45) Pulicha Saatham
46) Tayir/Moar
47) Om
48) Mayil (Pea****)
49) Kaanda Kavundi (game)
50) Samanam (sitting position)
51) oorukai (lime pickle)
52. moar milakai (green chilli boiled in moar)
53. vadakam
55. vazai illai
56. kolukkaddai
57. mothakam
58. ural, ulakkai
59. vaikkarisi ( the raw rice they put after a person die)
60. Arukarisi ( rice they use for blessing in the weddings
61. arukukam pul
61. pasu (cow)
62. sanam(cow dung)
63. mani
64. panneer
65. kattkandu
66. aalaththi
67. sambirani
68. katpooram
69. panchankam

Author Unknown

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited December 26, 2006).]

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#899 - March 21, 2007 04:07 PM Re: Hindu Culture
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang
Folk Dances in Tamilnadu

http://www.travelmasti.com/domestic/tamilnadu/dances.htm 

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#900 - September 23, 2007 12:10 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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Posts: 99
Loc: KL
The 16 Signs of hte Hindu Bride

weddings.iloveindia.com


INDIA, September 21, 2007: For an Indian bride the wedding day is the most important day of her life. She has lots of expectations and hope for this day. Most of the girls in our country have lots of dreams for this day since it marks the beginning of their journey into womanhood.

Everybody wants to look best on this day. Different kinds of beauty rituals are ***ociated with this day as her female friends and relatives spend the whole day preparing her for the occasion. The full beautification consists of sixteen parts from head to toe. On this very special day of her life she wants to look the best. She epitomizes beauty on this special day. The bride's solah shringar starts from the top with her hair and ends with her toe.??First her hair is washed and oiled and adorned with flowers and other ornaments for the hair. It is decorated with borla, a conical shaped ornament for the head. Than a paste of turmeric, oil, and gram flower is used as a scr ub and a cream for the bride's hands and arms. Then her forehead is decorated with a mang-tikka or bhor ornament, which is worn along the hairline. The face is also adorned. And the eyes are highlighted with kajal to give a beautiful effect. Make up is applied on face with powder and lipstick. A nose ring is worn. It can be made of gold, pearl or diamond. In some regions and community nose rings are never removed, and they become symbol of married woman like mangalsutra.

Earrings are also worn on ears. They are of different shapes and sizes. Necklaces of different designs and sizes are worn around the neck. It can be of different lengths short, long or choker or collar type. The bride also wears floral garland. On hands, bangles and bracelets are worn. It is the most visible part, so bangles and bracelets are one of the most important adornments worn by the bride.

Bangles can be of different kinds. They can be made of gold, silver, iron, ivory, gl***, ceramic or other metals depending upon the custom and rituals of the particular region. Armlets are also worn on the upper arm, which can be made of different metals. Mehndi designs are made on the hands and feet. On the waist elaborate gold or silver belts are worn. The belts serve the purpose of keeping the bride's sari in place. And last but not least the toes are also adorned. Various kinds of toe rings are worn that can be simple or elaborate looking. The bridal sari is considered the most important part of solah shringar. It is always red in color because red is considered auspicious. The sari usually has rich and heavy embroidery with gold and silver threads some also has beads work on it.

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#901 - October 05, 2007 12:21 PM Re: Hindu Culture
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Posts: 99
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Numbers, Quantities and Scales in Tamil

1 = ONDRU
10 = PATTU
100 = NOORU
1,000 = AaYIRAM
10,000 = PATTAYIRAM
100,000 = NOORAYIRAM
1,000,000 = PATTU NOORAYIRAM - million
10,000,000 = KOODI
100,000,000 = ARPUTHAM
1,000,000,000 = NIGARPUTAM - billion
10,000,000,000 = KUMBAM
100,000,000,000 = KANAM
1,000,000,000,000 = KARPAM - trillion
10,000,000,000,000 = NIKARPAM
100,000,000,000,000 = PATHUMAM
1,000,000,000,000,000 = SANGGAM - quadrillion
10,000,000,000,000,000 = VELLAM
100,000,000,000,000,000 = ANNIYAM
1,000,000,000,000,000,000 = ARTTAM - quintillion
10,000,000,000,000,000,000 = PARARTTAM
100,000,000,000,000,000,000 = POORIYAM
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = MUKKODI - sextillion
10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = MAHAYUGAM


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_large_numbers

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#902 - December 05, 2007 10:27 AM Re: Hindu Culture
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Posts: 99
Loc: KL

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#903 - December 09, 2007 10:32 AM Re: Hindu Culture
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang
Hindu Calendars and Astrology


http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HinduCalendar/

Dear Avtar Kishen Kaul,

I don't know much about astrology but from what you write it seems that:

1. the 30 Hindu calendars have been calculated wrongly and we are celebrating
festivals on the wrong days,

2. predictive astrology is a greek import and not vedic,

3. predictive astrology based on inaccurate Hindu calendars is even more grossly
in error.

Am I correct?

Pathma

.

.


Namaskar!



Yes you are correct!

These (Western) astrologers, out of sheer ignorance, are still
calling the arbitrary twelve equal divisions of the sky, starting
from the Vernal Equinox, as Aries, Taurus etc. though they have
absolutely nothing to do with the actual constellations of similar
names. And to crown it all, the astrologers the world over call it a
Tropical zodiac! For astronomers, however, the word "Tropical" is
meaningless and irrelevant in respect of the word zodiac!

In India, on the other hand, the Vedic Rishis had a different system
of dividing the "skies" into prominent divisions! These divisions
were known as nakshatras corresponding to the names of prominent
stars. To start with, there were twenty-eight divisions (inlcuding
Abhijit) and they were of unequal dimensions. At a much later date,
these divisions were reduced to twenty-seven and that also equal
divisions for computational ease. These nakshatra divisions also
were unrelated to Greek constellations and therefore Rashis!

These nakshatra divisions also served as "Markers" of specific ages
for India! E.g., when we read in the Yajurveda, "Kritkasu agniam
adadeeta...." i.e. "One must get consecrated in Kritikas, they do
not deviate from the East though all other nakshatras do deviate,
they are many in number" we come to the conclusion that since the
VE was in a division of nakshatras known as Kritikas sometime
between 1900 BCE and 1300 BCE, that compilation could have taken
place during that period. Similarly, the date of the Vedanga
Jyotisha by Acharya Lagadha can be fixed as around 1400 BCE on that
very basis, as Kritika is the first nakshatra in that work.

We find in this case also that just as the seasons or the VE have
nothing to do with Aries etc. constellations similarly neither the
seasos nor the VE have anything to do with nakshatras! They (both
seasons and constellations/nakshatras) are quite unrelated to one
another!

As clarified above, for astronomers, the word "Tropical" vis-a-vis
the zodiac is meaningless! Same is the case with "sidereal"!
The Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn are arbitrary
names/terms without having anything to do with either the
constellation Cancri or Capricuornus, just as the First Point of
Aries has absolutely nothing to do with the constellation Aries!

It was actually a strange coincidence that in about second/first
century BCE, when the Vernal Equinox left the Constellation Aries
for Pisces, the Winter Solstice left Capricornus to enter
Sagittarius and the Summer Solstice left Cancer to enter Gemini
constellation and that is why the name "Tropic of Cancer"
and "Tropic of Capricorn" or "First Point of Aries" got stuck to
them!

The present Hindu calendar is not a Hindu calendar at all! It is
neither a Christian calendar nor even a Muslim calendar! It is just
a calendar by "Vedic astrologers" for "Vedic astrologers" and "of
Vedic astrologers". Since we have innumerable types of "Vedic
astrologers" as well, like "Lahiri Vedic astrologers", "Ramana Vedic
astrologers", "Fagan Vedic Astrologers" or even "Muladhara Vedic
astrolgoers", we can say that it is a calendar by "Lahiri Vedic
astrologers" but for all kinds of "Vedic astrologers", whether
Lahiri or Ramana etc. Unfortunately, it is this very "Lahiri
Calendar" which is being foisted on the entire Hindu community!

Thus to call it a Hindu calendar is an insult to the real Hinduism
and the real Hindus! Ironically, this insult is an addition to the
injury of our own "high profile scholars" claiming that it was the
so called Lahiri zodiac that was exported to Babylon etc. from India
several millenia back! They are actually under the grip
of "Vamadevas" and you can say that theirs is actually, "His
Master's Voice" instead of their own independent judgement!

The real Hindu calendar i.e. the real Vedic calendar is actually the
most scientific one as it has absolutely nothing to do with the
zodiac and there is therefore no confusion like "Tropical"
or "Sidereal" zodiac or rashis etc.

Since it has nothing to do with constellations, obviously it has
nothing to do with precession either!

For example, if the Uttarayana was the shortest day of the year in
10,000 BCE, it will be the shortest day of the year in 10000 AD as
well! And it was this very Uttarayana that was the start of the
solar New Year as per the Vedanga Jyotisha in 1400 BCE! Lunar
synodic months were pegged to the same, like the first New Moon
after Uttarayana being called as the start of lunar Magha Shukla
Paksha and so on!

As it is a calendar directly rlated to seasons, the Winter season
i.e Shishir Ritu also starts from Uttaryana as per the same Vedanga
Jyotisha!

As clarified above, Uttarayana etc. have nothing to do with the so
called Tropic of Capricorn etc.

The names of Vedic months, unlike the names of Christian months, are
not regnal like July after Julius Caesar or August after Augustus
Caesar etc. but Tapah is the name of the month of Uttarayana since
Winter in India was/is a season suitable for Tapasya! And that is
the name of the second month of Shishira Ritu (Winter Season) --
Tapasya!

The Hindu year/Era does not have a starting year either! It may be
a drawback according to some but it is actually the greatet strength
of this calendar! We do not call it "Hejira" since no ruler
or "prophet" had a "hejira" during the Vedic days! Similarly,
there is no confusion like BC or AD since the Hindu calendar is not
dedicated to any particular "prophet". It is thus an unbroken and a
sort of eternal/natural calendar in perpetuity when a solar New Year
always starts either on Uttarayana or Vernal Equinox or even
Dakshinayana, with a lunar New Year also being related to the
seasons!

Lunar tithis like Pratipat, Dwitiya etc. are an integral part of
Hindu culture/calendar! For example, we do not celebrate birthdays
in accordance with Gregorian calendar but lunar tithi! Rama's
birthday is known as Rama-Navmi and so is Krishna's Jayanti known as
Janmashtami!

People have been asking  for a format of the Vedic calendar which should be used these days.  Following are the broad outlines of the solar months vis-à-vis seasons and the two Solstices and Equinoxes:
 
From - to               Month          Ayana and Ritu (Season)
 
Dec. 21 to Jan 20     Tapah/Magha/Thai                Uttarayana, Shishir Ritu                     
Winter Solstice   (Uttarayana day) on Dec. 21
Jan. 21 to Feb 20      Tapasya/Phalguna/Masi               “         Winter
Feb 21 to March 21      Madhu/Chaitra/Panguni              “     Vasanta  Ritu
March 22 to April 20    Madhava/Vaishakha/Chitrai        “          Spring
Vernal Equinox (Vasant Sampat) day  on March 21
April 21 to May 21      Shukra/Jyeshtha/Vaikasi               “       Grishma Ritu
May 22  to June 21         Shuchih/Ashada/Ani                  “           Summer
Summer Solstice (Dakshinayana day) on June 21
June 22 to July 22      Nabhah/Shravana/Adi                  Dakshinayana, Varsha Ritu
July 23 to August 22    Nabhasya/Bhadrapada/Avani           “       Rainy season
August 23 to Sep. 22     Isha/Ashvina/Purtai                          “     Sharad Ritu
Autumn Equinox (Hemant Sampat) day on September 23   
Sep 23 to Oct 22        Urja/Kartika/Aripasi                               “    No English equii.
Oct 23 to Nov. 21       Sahas/Margashirsha/Karthiga              “     Hemanta Ritu
Nov. 22 to Dec. 21      Sahasya/Pausha/Margali                     “       Autumn
 
The starting days of months can be plus/minus one to two days sometimes, depending on the type of year, i.e. whether leap or normal and the time of transit of the sun, i.e., whether after midnight or before midnight etc.
Shukla paksha of Lunar months of similar names always starts with the first New Moon after the solar ingress. For example, Chaitra Shukla Paksha is always the first New Moon after the month Madhu i.e. solar Chaitra.  Krishna Paksha of the lunar months starts with the first Full Moon before the solar ingress for the states of Northern India like J&K, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar etc. i.e. Chaitra Krishna Paksha will start earlier by fifteen days of Chaitra Shukla Paksha in these areas whereas for other states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka etc. it will start with the first Full Moon after the solar ingress of the concerned month i.e. in these states Chaitra Krishna Paksha will start after fifteen days of Chaitra Shukla Paksha.
The months starting with Krishna Paksha are known as Purnimanta and the months starting with Shukla Paksha are known as Amanta.  Both the systems have references in the Vedas.  

These (Western) astrologers, out of sheer ignorance, are still
calling the arbitrary twelve equal divisions of the sky, starting
from the Vernal Equinox, as Aries, Taurus etc. though they have
absolutely nothing to do with the actual constellations of similar
names. And to crown it all, the astrologers the world over call it a
Tropical zodiac! For astronomers, however, the word "Tropical" is
meaningless and irrelevant in respect of the word zodiac!

In India, on the other hand, the Vedic Rishis had a different system
of dividing the "skies" into prominent divisions! These divisions
were known as nakshatras corresponding to the names of prominent
stars. To start with, there were twenty-eight divisions (inlcuding
Abhijit) and they were of unequal dimensions. At a much later date,
these divisions were reduced to twenty-seven and that also equal
divisions for computational ease. These nakshatra divisions also
were unrelated to Greek constellations and therefore Rashis!

These nakshatra divisions also served as "Markers" of specific ages
for India! E.g., when we read in the Yajurveda, "Kritkasu agniam
adadeeta...." i.e. "One must get consecrated in Kritikas, they do
not deviate from the East though all other nakshatras do deviate,
they are many in number" we come to the conclusion that since the
VE was in a division of nakshatras known as Kritikas sometime
between 1900 BCE and 1300 BCE, that compilation could have taken
place during that period. Similarly, the date of the Vedanga
Jyotisha by Acharya Lagadha can be fixed as around 1400 BCE on that
very basis, as Kritika is the first nakshatra in that work.

We find in this case also that just as the seasons or the VE have
nothing to do with Aries etc. constellations similarly neither the
seasos nor the VE have anything to do with nakshatras! They (both
seasons and constellations/nakshatras) are quite unrelated to one
another!

As clarified above, for astronomers, the word "Tropical" vis-a-vis
the zodiac is meaningless! Same is the case with "sidereal"!
The Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn are arbitrary
names/terms without having anything to do with either the
constellation Cancri or Capricuornus, just as the First Point of
Aries has absolutely nothing to do with the constellation Aries!

It was actually a strange coincidence that in about second/first
century BCE, when the Vernal Equinox left the Constellation Aries
for Pisces, the Winter Solstice left Capricornus to enter
Sagittarius and the Summer Solstice left Cancer to enter Gemini
constellation and that is why the name "Tropic of Cancer"
and "Tropic of Capricorn" or "First Point of Aries" got stuck to
them!

The present Hindu calendar is not a Hindu calendar at all! It is
neither a Christian calendar nor even a Muslim calendar! It is just
a calendar by "Vedic astrologers" for "Vedic astrologers" and "of
Vedic astrologers". Since we have innumerable types of "Vedic
astrologers" as well, like "Lahiri Vedic astrologers", "Ramana Vedic
astrologers", "Fagan Vedic Astrologers" or even "Muladhara Vedic
astrolgoers", we can say that it is a calendar by "Lahiri Vedic
astrologers" but for all kinds of "Vedic astrologers", whether
Lahiri or Ramana etc. Unfortunately, it is this very "Lahiri
Calendar" which is being foisted on the entire Hindu community!

Thus to call it a Hindu calendar is an insult to the real Hinduism
and the real Hindus! Ironically, this insult is an addition to the
injury of our own "high profile scholars" claiming that it was the
so called Lahiri zodiac that was exported to Babylon etc. from India
several millenia back! They are actually under the grip
of "Vamadevas" and you can say that theirs is actually, "His
Master's Voice" instead of their own independent judgement!

The real Hindu calendar i.e. the real Vedic calendar is actually the
most scientific one as it has absolutely nothing to do with the
zodiac and there is therefore no confusion like "Tropical"
or "Sidereal" zodiac or rashis etc.

Since it has nothing to do with constellations, obviously it has
nothing to do with precession either!

For example, if the Uttarayana was the shortest day of the year in
10,000 BCE, it will be the shortest day of the year in 10000 AD as
well! And it was this very Uttarayana that was the start of the
solar New Year as per the Vedanga Jyotisha in 1400 BCE! Lunar
synodic months were pegged to the same, like the first New Moon
after Uttarayana being called as the start of lunar Magha Shukla
Paksha and so on!

As it is a calendar directly rlated to seasons, the Winter season
i.e Shishir Ritu also starts from Uttaryana as per the same Vedanga
Jyotisha!

As clarified above, Uttarayana etc. have nothing to do with the so
called Tropic of Capricorn etc.

The names of Vedic months, unlike the names of Christian months, are
not regnal like July after Julius Caesar or August after Augustus
Caesar etc. but Tapah is the name of the month of Uttarayana since
Winter in India was/is a season suitable for Tapasya! And that is
the name of the second month of Shishira Ritu (Winter Season) --
Tapasya!

The Hindu year/Era does not have a starting year either! It may be
a drawback according to some but it is actually the greatet strength
of this calendar! We do not call it "Hejira" since no ruler
or "prophet" had a "hejira" during the Vedic days! Similarly,
there is no confusion like BC or AD since the Hindu calendar is not
dedicated to any particular "prophet". It is thus an unbroken and a
sort of eternal/natural calendar in perpetuity when a solar New Year
always starts either on Uttarayana or Vernal Equinox or even
Dakshinayana, with a lunar New Year also being related to the
seasons!

Lunar tithis like Pratipat, Dwitiya etc. are an integral part of
Hindu culture/calendar! For example, we do not celebrate birthdays
in accordance with Gregorian calendar but lunar tithi! Rama's
birthday is known as Rama-Navmi and so is Krishna's Jayanti known as
Janmashtami!

With regards,
Avtar Krishen Kaul
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HinduCalendar/


[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited December 09, 2007).]

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#904 - January 28, 2008 04:22 PM Re: Hindu Culture
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
Star Of Mysore Online wrote:


Makara Sankranti

Makara Sankranti is the harvest festival of India.
Sankranti means transmigration of Sun from one zodiacal sign (Rashi)
to the other. There are 12 Rashis. Similarly, there are 12 such
Sankrantis in all. But the transition of Sun from Dhanu Rashi to
Makara Rashi (Sagittarius to Capricorn) is celebrated as Makara
Sankranti. It marks 'Uttarayanaramba', the starting of Uttarayana
(holy period) which means northern movement of Sun or beginning of
sun's northward glide on the zodiacal chart, marking the decline of
winter.

People of diverse cultures from different parts of India
celebrate Makara Sankranti in different names and ways based on
their tradition reflecting the cultural ethos of the land. This
harvest festival is also a form of thanks giving to mother-nature
and the farm animals for assisting in reaping a good harvest.

In order to show their appreciation for mother nature
and animals, farmers pray to the Sun and offer him the first meal
prepared from the harvest. The cow which assisted the farmer in
ploughing his land is bathed, coloured in turmeric, fed with rich
food and then finally taken on a parade.

It is believed that this festival has been celebrated
since the time of Aryans and is looked upon as the most auspicious
day by the Hindus.

Makara Sankranti is also known for pongal (sweet rice)
and yellu (a mixture of jaggery, peanuts, sesame etc). During this
festival mixture of jaggery and sesame is distributed to neighbours,
friends and relatives to show affection. The jaggery signifies love
and the sesame signifies friendship.

Though, the festival is celebrated differently in
various parts of the country, the use of sesame is common
throughout. In some States Makara Sankranti goes on for four-days,
while in Karnataka it is a one-day festival. The Sankranti dishes
also vary from State to State. But the rice based pongal is for the
most part the same through out the country.

In Maharashra it is celebrated as Til-gul

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#905 - March 23, 2008 10:20 AM Re: Hindu Culture
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20080328250610000.htm

FRONTLINE

Volume 25 - Issue 06 :: Mar. 15-28, 2008
ASTRONOMY

Medieval mistake
BIMAN NATH
The story of India's faulty calendars.


IMAGINE having a faulty wristwatch that ticks slightly faster than it should. You may ignore the small difference it makes, but if it is not set right then after a while the watch may show noon when it is still morning. Then suppose you refuse to correct it and do something absurd, and call morning our �noon�. The traditional Indian calendars have become just such an absurdity today. They are slowly going out of sync with the seasons � by �ticking� faster than they should � and they have already accumulated an alarming gap.

Fifty years ago, a new calendar system was introduced in India � called the Indian National Calendar � to correct the faulty traditional ones, but we hardly use it; most of us are even blissfully unaware of it. In the meantime, the calendars in use have become more and more out of step with the seasons just like the faulty wristwatch. Today, the time gap stands at roughly 24 days � almost a month.

That is why Makara Sankranti, which is actually the day the sun shines overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn (Makara), that is December 22 (the winter solstice), is celebrated in the middle of January. Most of us often wonder about the significance of January and Makara, unaware of the fact that the fault lies with our calendar system, that it cannot keep step with the seasons. It is like looking out at noon and trying to understand why we call it morning because our watch says so.

And it is all because of a mistake made in the medieval times. Moving faster than the seasons, Indian calendars jump ahead by a whole day in roughly 60 years; so they must have accumulated the present gap of 24 days in approximately 1,450 years. The calendars of today came into use circa 5th-6th century C.E. This was the time when the siddhanta (conclusive) system of astronomy was being formulated. There was a lot of debate and discussion at that point of time about a crucial issue, but somehow the prominent astronomers chose to disregard the truth and our calendar system is paying the price for it. The issue was about a discovery made in 2nd century B.C. in Greece, and something that medieval astronomers in India could have easily checked instead of indulging in wordy debates. ..........



Starting point

It is natural to take one of these four days � two equinoxes and two solstices � as the starting point of a year. According to some historians, people of the Indus Valley civilisation took the autumnal equinox (September 22), or the first full moon after it, as their New Year day. A seal from Mohenjodaro has been interpreted by scholars such as Asko Parpola as depicting New Year celebrations. It shows seven ladies, possibly denoting Krittika (Pleiades), and a figure between two branches of a tree, possibly denoting the star Vishakha (shakha meaning branches). During the equinox at that epoch, the sun used to be against the star Vishakha (in Libra, whose symbol, incidentally, is a Balance).

Later, two traditions developed, one with the winter solstice (December 22) and another with the spring equinox (March 21) as the beginning of a new year. When the ancient Vedanga Jyotisha system of astronomy was discarded in favour of a new system � a process that took five centuries, from the 1st to the 6th century C.E., to settle down � it adopted the spring equinox day as the beginning of a year.

Next, to have a reliable system of calendars, one should be sure about what a year means. If the spring equinox day marks the beginning of every year, a year has to be the time between two consecutive spring equinox days. In fact, experimental methods described in Siddhanta books give a way of measuring this length of time (called a solar or tropical year). ..................



Confused astronomers

Yet, there seems to have been a major confusion in the minds of the medieval astronomers. Varahamihira (505-587 C.E.) mentioned the phenomenon (�ayana chalana� � motion of the �ayan�, year) in his book Brihat-samhita, but he suggested that one should verify it through actual observations. Half a century later, Brahmagupta categorically judged the idea wrong in his book Brahma-sphuta-siddhanta.

Some astronomers thought that the precession did not constitute a cyclic but an oscillatory motion� so the shift in the calendar would decrease and increase periodically, and some others thought it was so small that one could ignore it. Much later, in the 10th century C.E., a few astronomers, such as Munjala and Bhaskaracharya, observed the correct shift but by that time our calendar system had become so deeply rooted in the older methods that it was not changed.

As if this was not confusing enough, later astronomers chose to record the positions of the stars in both traditions, with and without the shift due to precession (the sayana and nirayana system), but kept the calendar system rooted in the medieval times. This state of affairs suggests not carelessness but confusion.

The reasons for this confusion are not clear. On the one hand, the methods described in the Siddhanta books for the determination of the length of a year clearly show that medieval astronomers were calculating it according to seasons and not according to the stars. But their measure of a year � roughly 365.2588 days � was closer to the length of a year according to the stars (365.2564 days) than the seasonal year. The difference between their adopted value and the year according to the stars is about 3 minutes, and about 23 minutes off from the correct value. So it appears that they meant one thing (seasonal year) but measured something else (sidereal year), albeit with a bit of an error.

Why did they stick to the year according to distant stars while setting up the calendar system? Clearly, the reasons have to do with something more than the level of astronomical knowledge in medieval India, which was otherwise sophisticated.

The usual explanation given for the decline in Indian medieval science � that the rise of Brahminism after Sankaracharya led to a split of hand and brain and started a paradigm shift away from active experimentation � is probably irrelevant here; it was still the heyday of Nalanda and other Buddhist monasteries when the debate was going on, during Brahmagupta�s time, for example. (The school of thought in vogue in Nalanda at that time was the Yogachara philosophy, a kind of Kantian idealism, of negating reality; the famous Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang, or Hieun Tsang, came to study it in Nalanda in the early 7th century C.E.)

Another idea, originally of J.D. Bernal, is that the intellectual stimulus vanished once the stimulus of economic progress had dwindled. Historically, when the Siddhanta system was set in place circa 6th century, the political landscape of the subcontinent was changing rapidly. The Gupta empire had ended, and even during the rather peaceful reign of Harshavardhana (590-647 C.E.) several regional authorities � from Shashanka in Bengal to Pulakesin and the Pallava kings in the South � were striving to assert their power.

Amidst the chaos caused by military adventurism, the medieval trade guilds suffered losses. Some scholars have inferred from the manner Brahmagupta ignored his contemporary scholars in his book (circa 628 C.E.) that Indian mathematics and astronomy had split into various rigid schools of thought by his time. Is the confusion in our calendar due to this growing divergence at this stage? What were the political and economic reasons for this?


Various calendars

Irrespective of the reasons of the original sin in our calendar system, we seem to be stuck with it forever. There are a variety of calendars in use now, but all of them suffer from this generic defect.

Some regions � States in the north, the east, and Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south � use a solar calendar, in which months are either 30 or 31 days long.

In some other regions � Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat � people use a mix of lunar months (of 29.5 days) with a solar calendar.

In the solar calendar, the New Year begins in mid-April, and in the luni-solar calendar it is celebrated on the last new moon (Amavasya) day before the New Year in the solar calendar. So, all these calendars are anchored to the solar calendar, and they are all slowly shifting out of their seasonal contexts because of the precession of the earth�s axis.

The fact that the length of the year is not an integral number of days � it is, to be precise, 365.2422 days, or roughly 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes � makes the task of any calendar maker hard. How does one take into account the fraction of a day? We could not possibly announce the celebration of New Year at some particular hour one year, and then at a different date and time (being precise about the minutes and seconds); that would usher in a state of permanent chaos.

How is it done elsewhere in the world? First, one defines a year with 365 days, and then inserts appropriate corrections to take care of the missing hours and minutes. In the Gregorian calendar (adopted in the Western world in 1582), the year is taken to be 365.2425 days, and we add an extra day every four years (on the leap year), and then discount a leap year once every century, except after four centuries, so that year 1900, say, is not a leap year but 1600 and 2000 are leap years, and then again have a leap year every 4,000 years (so that year 4000 is a leap year).

All these small nuts and bolts make sure that the calendar keeps the spring equinox on March 21 for at least 20 millennia, after which one will need some extra corrections. Our traditional calendar makers still vouch by the medieval Siddhanta books, which specify 365.2564 days, which is off by about 20 minutes.


Reforms committee

The Government of India set up a committee to reform our calendars in 1955 with the renowned physicist Meghnad Saha as its chairman. It surveyed the existing calendars and the methods of corrections adopted in each, and concluded that �the Hindu calendar... is a most bewildering production of the human mind and incorporates all the superstitions and half-truths of medieval times.... In spite of these errors, very few have the courage to talk of reform... the beginning of the year is now wrong by nearly twenty-three days, the result of accumulated error of nearly 1,400 years.�

The committee went on to lament �We are content to allow religious life to be regulated by the encyclopaedia of �errors and superstitions� which is called the Hindu almanac, and to regard it as a scripture.�

The committee recommended that the year should start on March 22 and the first month should be called Chaitra instead of Vaisakh � so that the difference between the old dates and the new dates would be approximately 6 (= 30-24) days.

The Indian National Calendar was adopted in 1957 based on its report, and if one followed its recommendations � similar to the conventions in the Gregorian calendar � then it would stand corrected for several millennia to come.

But this National Calendar is hardly used anywhere outside the confines of the pages of gazettes or broadcasts of All India Radio, while lay people remain blissfully at the mercy of traditional calendar makers.

It is true that people take time to adopt new calendars; the Gregorian calendar took many years before a large number of countries adopted it. England was wary of adopting the recommendations of the Vatican, and finally relented after two centuries (in 1752 A.D.). One could argue that the delay by half a century in India is not too hopeless, but with no debates or discussions taking place, it seems unlikely that India�s traditional calendar makers will change their attitude in the near future.

The medieval hangover of Indian calendars continues, and we deny it the remedy it badly needs. �


Biman Nath is an astronomer and a writer. His first novel Nothing is Blue about medieval India will be published by HarperCollins (India) this year.





http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20080328250610400.htm

Volume 25 - Issue 06 :: Mar. 15-28, 2008
ASTRONOMY

Reform panel recommendations

THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

Meghnad Saha, who headed the Calendar Reform Committee. A 1934 picture.


IN the preface to the Report of the Calendar Reform Committee (published in 1955), the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote: �I am told that we have at present thirty different calendars, differing from each other in various ways, including the methods of time reckoning. These calendars are the natural result of our past political and cultural history and partly represent past political divisions in the country. Now that we have attained independence, it is obviously desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic, social and other purposes and that this should be based on a scientific approach to this problem.� ................

A few important recommendations of the committee were the following:

(1) �The Shaka era should be used in the unified national calendar.� (The year 2008 A.D. corresponds to 1929-30 Shaka.)

(2) �The year should start from the day following the vernal equinox day.� (This falls on March 22 in a common year and March 21 in a leap year.)

(3) �A normal year would consist of 365 days while a leap year would have 366 days. After adding 78 to the Shaka era, if the sum is divisible by 4, then it is a leap year. But when the sum becomes a multiple of 100, it would be a leap year only when it is divisible by 400, otherwise it would be a common year.�

(4) Chaitra �should be the first month of the year, and the lengths of the different months would be fixed as follows � Chaitra (30 days; 31 days in a leap year), Vaishakha (31), Jyaishtha (31), Ashadha (31), Shravana (31), Bhadra (31), Ashvina (30), Kartika (30), Agrahayana (30), Pausha (30), Magha (30) and Phalguna (30).�

(5) �The day should be reckoned from midnight to midnight of the central station (82.5� East Longitude and 23� 11 minutes North Latitude) for civil purposes, but for religious purposes the local sunrise system may be followed.�

On the issue of beginning the year with Chaitra and not Vaishakha, the report explains that: �The dates of festivals have already shifted by 23 days from the seasons in which they were observed about 1,400 years ago as a result of our almanac-makers having ignored the precession of equinoxes. Although it may seem desirable that the entire amount of shifting should be wiped out at a time, we consider it expedient to maintain this as a constant difference and stop its further increase. As a result, there would at present be no deviation from the prevailing custom in the observance of the religious festivals.�

It went on to add: �This recommendation is to be regarded only as a measure of compromise, so that we avoid a violent break with the established custom. But it does not make our present seasons in the various months as they were in the days of Varahamihira or Kalidasa. It is hoped that at not a distant date further reforms for locating the lunar and solar festivals in the seasons in which they were originally observed will be adopted.�

R. Ramachandran

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#1496 - January 27, 2012 03:05 PM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
webmaster Offline
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
Fractions in Tamil

From 1 to 1/2,323,824,530,227,200,000,000 they had specific name for each fraction. Amazing!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/58954



Edited by webmaster (January 27, 2012 03:06 PM)

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#1515 - January 27, 2013 10:47 AM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang
Changing culture, changing Dharmas

Cement was invented in 1800. Before that all had earthen floor smoothed by mud, which required sweeping often. Macadamised roads were invented in 1820. Before that it was just gravel roads. Both came to India very late. Wearing shoes and slippers too is a recent phenomenon. In the beginning people were beaten for wearing shores, out of caste, and following western ways, mocked for wearing shirts and ties and imitating westerners. We endured all this calling of anti Indian, anti Hindu, etc.

We walked barefoot from our homes on the temple on the gravel street, something turned muddy due to rain. On reaching the temple we washed our feet before stepping in. Washing of feet was a temple entry ritual. Today we have tiled floors, we wear shoes, get into the car and drive on tarred roads to the temple parking lot. Yet many still wash their feet before temple entry. The need to wash our feet has passed, yet we maintain the ritual.

We crush rice and use it to draw kolams as a yantric ritual, so that the birds and ants may eat the rice. Today the rice is ground fine in a blender and is of no use to ants and birds.

We used to have an ammi kal, attu kal (stone grinders) and a wooden ural/ulakkai for pounding. These are stone age tools and part of our cultural items and revered as Ledchumi. Today we use blenders and electric grinders, and have no use for stone age tools.

Burning ambers were taken from the home of the deceased to the crematorium to light the pyre. Today we have the lighter and electric burners, yet ambers are still taken to the pyre as a ritual.

If we go through our cultural rituals one by one, we'll find that many are obsolete as the need has passed, yet still practiced mindlessly.

Here are some tamil/south cultural items/rituals which may be past its time.

13) Vetthala Paaku (chewing betel leaves and areca nuts)
19) Komanam (loin cloth)
22) Kudam (metal pot)
23) Chembu (brass pot)
25) Man Chatti (earthen pot)
26) Ammikkal (stone grinder)
49) Kaanda Kavundi (game)
55. vazai illai (banana leaves)
58. ural, ulakkai (wooden pounder)
61. arukukam pul (a type of grass used in rituals)
62. chaani(cow dung)
65. kattkandu (raw sugar cubes)
69. panchankam (traditional calendar)

Dharmas

In the agricultural age most people were directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture, dairy farming or fishing, these being the primary economic activities. The men tilled the land and the women and children helped out during harvesting. The needs and wants of that age were few and basic for survival. The role of men and women revolved around these basic economic activities; men entirely dependent on the land, and women on the men, to raise and support the family. From here evolved purusha and stree dharma, core concepts in Hinduism, where at its most basic, the men worked to support a daily and the women stayed home to raise the kids.

Today society has evolved to be far more sophisticated and urban based, there is mobility and migration, we are far removed from the land, and our needs and wants have increased tremendously. The structure of the economy has changed and advanced healthcare and advanced education are requirements.

The most basic requirement for a family unit is a home, but due to high populations, and limited land resources, buying a decent home has become the first formidable challenge to a family ,especially in highly developed cities. It is almost no longer possible for a family to buy a home with just one income producing person per household. Today we need two incomes per home to accomplish this. The wife has to work! Which means women have to be tertiary educated and skilled in a career, meaning a university or polytechnic education, to acquire a decent paying job. This is a revolutionary and historic change!

A modest 1,000 sq ft three bedroom room house costs $150,000 in suburban areas, and in urban areas in developing cities like Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Beijing it costs $250,000. This is outside the reach of most of middle class society! So exorbitant are the costs that people, whose average income is $500 per month, choose to remain single. In China alone 170 million adults are unmarried, as a home is too far outside their reach in their lifetime. That is 1 in four men, who would probably never have a chance at marriage and a home. India itself in the cusp of a property price explosion in the cities, and buying a home will be difficult for a young couple. Heart surgeries and advanced medical care are out of the question for 90% of the population in any country! The story is the same in nearly every developing nation.

While facing similar but less acute problems than the developing world, the developed world on the other hand is restructuring towards a social distributive justice based economy. In other words, a welfare state like in Canada, Scandinavia, and like Obama's Healthcare. Under this system, the productive population, that is those in the 18-55 age group, support the rest of the weaker sections of society, including children and free education till postgraduate levels, healthcare for all, pensions for senior citizens and full support for the handicapped. Today healthcare and education, which takes the biggest bite from the budget, is far, far more expensive than it was 40 years ago.

This distributive justice system works if every member of the productive population work. If some segment of the population, say, women, do not work for extended periods (other than for infant raising), then it undermines the whole scheme of distributive justice. Women working is a must, for the home and for society!

Ashrama dharma is frivolous in this age. Varnashrama has already been discarded contemptuously (and outlawed), and men and women work freely in any environment, freely changing careers in their lifetimes. Agriculture, the hotbed of conservatism and casteism, now contributes only 20% to the economy, and will further reduce to less than 10% in this decade. The internet revolution makes all of India into a semi-urban one.

The economy and the modern rights based society dictates the dharma of today, the new dharma for both men and women. With both partners working and being equal contributaries, both have an equal say in the management of the family and household. Another core part of the agricultural era Hindu culture, stree dharma as we knew it, is left behind in the last century, where it rightly belongs.

*Working in the house as a homemaker is not considered productive work, as there is no contribution to the economy, no taxes are paid and no social service contributions made. However if two housewives work in each other's home for a market based salary, that is considered productive work, as taxes and contributions will be paid.

Pathma

.





Edited by Pathmarajah (January 27, 2013 10:56 AM)

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#1522 - May 07, 2013 02:32 PM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang

305 million Dalits, 25% of population, 1 in 4 Indians!


According to the Census, Scheduled Castes are notified in 31 states and UTs and
Scheduled Tribes in 30 states. There are altogether 1,241 individual ethnic
groups, etc. notified as SCs in different states and UTs.

The number of individual ethnic groups, etc. notified as STs is 705. There has
been some changes in the List of Scs/STs in states and UTs during the last
decade.

The SC population in India now stands at 201.4 million, which is 20 per cent
more than the last census.

The ST population stands at 104.3 million in 2011 � 23.7 per cent more than
2001.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indias-total-population-is-now-1.21-bn-sex-rat\
io-worst-in-haryana/1109737/0

The Adivasis followed by the SCs are the fastest breeders, followed by the
muslims.

Pathma

.

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#1523 - May 07, 2013 02:41 PM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang

The source of poverty and a source of women abuse


Everything shows up, everything can be explained. There are no secrets as to why
things happen, why Indian society is the way it is.

Only 25% of Indian women work. That is one in four. Three out of four women do
not work and are homemakers. That is approximately 250 million women, 37% of the productive labour force not
gainfully employed.

This is still a traditional society of the agrarian age. It has not yet
made the transition into a modern industrial and services based economy. Imagine
a nation of 250 million people, not working.
What kind of economy and society would they have? Exactly like India!

http://www.gallup.com/poll/158501/china-outpaces-india-women-workforce.aspx

"Results for India are based on *face-to-face* interviews with approximately
20,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted between 2009 and 2012. For results
based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence
that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point."

Keep in mind there is only 1% error. No doubt in rural areas there is
underemployment - women helping out in planting and harvesting, animal husbandry
in the home. These are part time jobs.

The report got it right on culture. They refer to it as 'cultural expectations'
and 'social norms' to be politically acceptable. But we all know what we are
talking about - culture keeps Indian back.

"Traditional cultural expectations have played a part in keeping educated women
out of the labor force; as a recent World Bank report noted, throughout the
South Asia region, "social norms for women's role in the economic sphere" may
weaken their incentive to participate."

In case you have missed it, this is an indictment of Indian culture.

"However, women's participation in the formal economy will help determine how
well India will be able to convert its "demographic bonus" into economic gain.
Here, Gallup's global data demonstrate China has a distinct advantage: The
country's female labor force participation is among the highest in Asia, while
India's, like those of most south Asian countries, is among one of the lowest."

What it means is India is unable to convert its demographics (women's workforce)
into economic growth and poverty eradication. Reason? Culture is in the way.

"The most recent UNESCO statistics put the literacy rate among Chinese females
at 91%, approaching the 97% rate among Chinese men. This rate of literacy far
exceeds that in India, where half of women are literate, along with
three-quarters of Indian men. Indian women are less likely than Chinese women to
receive even a basic education -- and those Indian women who do achieve higher
levels of education are less likely to apply it in a full-time job."

Meaning, the more educated an Indian women is, the less likely she would hold
have a permanent career. Education for Indian women is just to facilitate
marriage; thereafter it is wasted! Staying at home with the broom and pan and
producing a Rani Laxmibhai is stree dharma. Even today the Indian male T-Rex holds
this view.

By whichever index one looks at, India is at the bottom 10 nations in the world.
Please ask yourself why India is worse than sub-saharan Africa or Indonesia.
What is that in their culture that we lack? Here are a number of report cards to
disrupt your sanity. Sorry, no report cards for number of Ranis' produced.
Important video - watch in full.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B3rT6nC81eY

Being not a part of the productive labourforce straightaway contributes to a low
standard of living for the average family, and national poverty. Poverty will
not be eradicated until at least 80% of the women are gainfully employed. 250
million women working will add to consumerism and fuel the economy.

The Indian economy today is $2 trillion. If we take a low Rs 10,000 wages per
month, 250 million women working will add $600 billion to the economy.

A women working is empowered. She has a job, money in her hands, a bank account,
retirement savings, colleagues across the board, access to lawyers and women
NGOs, a smartphone and information at her fingertips - inspires independence and
confidence. It would be difficult to rattle and abuse such a woman. A women not
working is a dependent. Imagine a man without a job and car. He can't move.

Besides, with so much of modern kitchen appliances, one need not spend more than
45 minutes in the kitchen to cook a complete meal, meaning anyone including men
can cook. Modern appliances and recipes on Ipad can replace the woman in the
kitchen.

My wife too was a dedicated homemaker, but that was in the 80s and 90s. As
recently explained, today it would be nearly impossible for 90% of families
anywhere in the world to enjoy a middle class lifestyle and buy a home without
two incomes per household.

It is the old social order that prevents the country from eradicating poverty.
The old social order with its basic consumerism, is a poor economy. Imagine the
consumerism of a Indian family in 1900 and one in 2013; the difference is the
modern family has very much more needs, becoming a high consumerist society. The
250 million non-working women represent a weak consumerist society. I hope you
see the point I'm making here. The higher the consumerism, the higher the
productivity, and the higher the affluency of a society. And vice versa. That
explains India's national poverty.

Where will they work? The added new consumerism itself creates new jobs. But
consumerism has to take place first, then the jobs are created. The working
women will spend or invest the earnings, and *that* creates jobs. It is a
Catch-22 situation and the cycle has to be broken. I calculated that 250 million
women taking a bus to town for a meal once a week will requires 80,000 extra
buses and 120,000 new restaurants and create 2 million jobs directly! Now
extrapolate 2 times and 4 times a week. That is the power of consumerism on
items already available in India and not a rupee of forex outflow.

Women do not exercise this power and the nation remains poor. On the contrary it
is seen virtuous that the women remains at home and cook and not
spend money. It comes back to culture! Culture keeps India poor. Like I said,
there is no secret. We just refuse to see it because Indian culture is in
*danger*. Scary.

Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice


Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative
ideologies
, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and
resistance to change
, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice...

(substitute racism with casteism and sexism)

http://www.livescience.com/18132-intelligence-social-conservatism-racism.html

A social order not keeping in step with the modern economy and a liberal society is what gives rise to
poverty and the attendant social ills. We have a 19th century society grappling
with a 21st century economy. The old social order, anachronistic today, has to
give way to eradicate poverty and abuse of women. This would be a navyashastra.

Pathma

.


Edited by Pathmarajah (May 07, 2013 02:51 PM)

Top
#1524 - May 07, 2013 02:43 PM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang

A Civilised Society

Recent Rape in Indian Society

"The problem is one of mental depravity, one of psychopathy, the problem is one
of mental sickness and that is not going to be sorted out by anyone resigning,"
he said."

http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-ready-to-quit-but-will-that-s\
top-rape-delhi-police-commissioner/20130422.htm


There is no other secret to it. This is the current prevalent culture - sexual
deprivation -> moral depravity and psychopathy (mental disorder). It is
widespread and persistent. The two men who raped the 5 year old actually wanted
to go to a prostitute but had no money and turned on the girl. They were
sexually deprived, then immediately became morally depraved. Same story
everywhere, everytime.

This is the price of a conservative society. I wonder how long India would be
willing to pay the price. Probably a long time, at least a hundred thousand more
5 year olds are victimised. Because even an admission of fatal lapses in
morality, a gaping hole in their culture, is not forthcoming! They still think
Indian culture is great, and that these incidents are mere nuisances. It is this
mass mindset, that breeds indifference, is the problem.

A pre-requisite of a civilised society is law and order, and protection for
one's family and property. This is absent in India. On this score we cannot say
India is a civilised country. The police (anywhere) cannot offer protection.
They can only investigate after the fact. It was for this reason guns were made
available to everyone as a right in the wild west.

India is in this category. It is up to women and dalits to protect themselves.
Girls should be trained how to handle a gun in the 11th grade. Military
conscription for all women must be considered.

If we want to break the conservatism in the country, the taboos, the myths, the
superstitions, the conventions, the gender imbalances, sexism, the racism, the
casteism, we have to get the girls out of the house, train them in small arms
and to operate in teams as a platoon. After living and training together for 3
months, eating, sleeping, bathing and cross marching together in the nude,
mental seals would have been shattered and India will never be the same again.
Their Regiment will always be their lifelong fallback and no one will be able to
mess with them.

India is under-policed, 130 officers for each 100,000 population, when the UN
recommended ratio is 220. That means India is short of 1.1 million police
officers, just to adequately keep law and order. I recommend India hire 1
million women police offers, as afterall they are the victimised group, outside
the police station and inside the police station too.

Apart from the above, one third of Indian districts with a population of 200
million is ungovernable due to insurgencies by Adivasis. Imagine a nation of 200
million without a police force! This is outside the scope of the normal police
force. To address this requires a special paramilitary police field force, a 1
million all or mostly dalit force of rifle carrying officers. Dalits are also
the victims and marginalised, and therefore they should handle this problem.

There has to be a surge in security measures for a generation before bringing it
down. Only after these measures and there is reasonable law and order can we say
India is a civilised country. Employing 2 million people will contribute to
construction and consumerism, energise the economy and not a single rupee leaves
the country as forex loss.

I make these recommendations because the Indian govt is long brain dead and
policy paralysed.

Pathma

.


Edited by Pathmarajah (May 07, 2013 02:56 PM)

Top
#1528 - May 07, 2013 02:59 PM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang
Poverty in India

A Gujarati industrialist visited me in Kuala Lumpur 12 years ago, and was
astounded at the scale of development and inquired about it. I explained in some
detail.

We had rubber, tin and palm oil for a hundred years which we exported and earned
forex. We prospected in 1972 and have some oil so have no energy imports. In
1970 we opened our country to multinationals with 100% foreign ownership and by
1975 we were the largest exporter of integrated circuits and semiconducters, and
by 1985 we were the largest exporters of air conditioners. In 1971 we opened a
casino and money from the region flowed in, and exchanged hands many times in
the country.

Why didn't India do this? Because their leaders at all levels were dumb and
arrogant.

Then I explained, Africa has lions and safaris, and so has India. But India has
tigers but Africa does not. Europe has castles, palaces and snow sports. So has
India but they have huge temples, sun, sea and beaches which Europe does not. If
we follow this line of thinking, we see that whatever the world has, India has,
but what India have, the rest of nations do not. Malaysia has nothing, not even
history of more than 500 years.

And yet, India receives 5 million tourists but Malaysia, with nothing to speak
of, receives 32 million tourists today, and China 55 million. Why? Why are
people avoiding India?

Among tourists, 70% of the big spenders are businessmen, the rest are families
on budgets. If India can figure out what are the businessmen going to do at
night, then the tourists will come and they will drag their families along with
them. In India, entertainment is largely absent. No entertainment, no tourism!

The biggest industries in the world are food, illegal drug trade and energy.
Next are gaming, entertainment and tourism, the latter two are large scale
employers.

Gaming - at the high end is casino card game gambling, which should be avoided.
At the middle level is video games and slot machines. At the lower lever is
lotteries and betting. A very large industry; in Japan just video gaming is
larger than the entire automobile industry, in the USA this industry is larger
than the music and movie industry. Casinos can be allowed on cruise ships once
they operate outside territorial waters.

Entertainment - this is a large industry which includes hotels, nightlife, pubs,
cafes, karaokes, cabaret shows, discos, massage parlours, dance halls, pool and
snooker bars, theme parks, sea sports, snake charmers, all sorts of charlatans,
etc - a long list. At the seedier end is sex workers, a small part of a very
large industry.

tourism - hotels, travel and tours, golf and sea resorts.

I explained to the Gujarati friend that to accomodate 32 million tourists and
their tantrums we have 3,500 hotels of seven, six, five, four and three star
standards, all cramped in a small state the size of say, Tamilnadu. He could not
understand that there were 300 five star hotels in Kuala Lumpur alone, that I
didn't know them all, and he had to give me directions to the hotel.

Gaming is largely absent in India and tourism is nothing to speak of.

If India allowed gaming outlets (not casinos), I recon the need would be 3-5
million franchise outlets each employing 7-9 staff. That is employment for 40
million people, with money exchanging hands each week, and 5 new instant
millionaires each week. Money changing hands fast is what makes the economy move
and create employment.

If entertainment is allowed to flourish, it will provide 40-70 million jobs, as
it is labour intensive. Cooking, cleaning and washing, production of food and
drinks and serving takes a lot of workers. And it is the forte of the women!

No entertainment, no tourism, so there is no need to speak of attracting
tourists for now. The tourists know where to go and it is not to India. It is no
secret why multinationals prefer Bangkok and Singapore for regional offices.

There is a price to pay for denying entertainment. It is lack of jobs, poverty,
and lack of work opportunities for women. The end result of that chain is abuse
of women. The assault on women is directly related to the issues discussed here.

With so many forms of entertainment available, there is no need for 'eve
teasing.' And with so much employment opportunities available, truly empowering
women, there is no need for women to tolerate any abuse. So we have no cases of
dowry demands, post marriage dowry demands, and burning or killing of spouse for
non performance. And being a liberal society there is little stigma attached to
divorces and a singles lifestyle. Indeed, young women today are questioning,
'why do we need men?'

Google searches says south asia is a sex starved subcontinent, and with growing
internet coverage the demand will explode. It may be the starving men that abuse
the women.

With 600,000 sex workers by official count, but 1.2 million by unofficial count,
now revised to 1.5-2 million, whereas international agencies place it at 3-8
million sex workers, India is a world leader in the sex trade, so they hardly
need encouragement.

http://www.targetmap.com/viewer.aspx?reportId=10544

But that industry has to be legalised and regulated or else women endure more
abuse and stigma. The culture should be such that all honest work is recognised
with no stigma, and only parasitic culture is frowned upon. A sex worker is not
a parasite. An astrologer living on the fears and hopes of people, with no
contribution whatsoever, except false hopes and more fear, would be a parasite.

The public and media doesn't seem to properly acknowledge the problem. Physical
and verbal abuse and harassment of women is nonchalantly passed off as
'eve-teasing' as if innocuous, to dilute the effect, being in a state of denial,
when it should be rightly termed as sexual assault or sexual violence, a sexual
crime! This is no teasing, this is assault and violation!

One of the most indicting statements was made here recently. Let me quote it:
"Almost every girl/woman in India will have at least one story of assault, abuse
or worse."

That is 600 million women sexually assaulted. Would we be too far wrong assume
it was perpetrated by the other 600 million men? Such widespread practise that
affects nearly all women, persistent over the decades, must necessarily be
classed as 'contemporary culture'. This is Indian culture *today*, to assault
and batter women.

This is the real culture that is being practised, and not the one we read in the
books which is a make believe thing that masks the reality. I am not talking of
the book culture of Sita and Madhavi (Idealism) which is paeaned endlessly, but
the real culture that is practised (Reality). It is a psychologically disturbed
society. This is what India finds hard to admit. Therefore they cannot solve the
problem.

Indians better stop hiding behind apologetics and sophistries, and quickly
realise what the rest of the world thinks of them.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/stoi/special-report/Incredibly-uncomfort\
able-India/articleshow/19159248.cms

Where is this real culture embedded in? In the conservative culture.

The Indian woman's servility to customs and traditions partly provides space for
this abuse to take place. The men use the culture to impose their will and
dominance. If women were to make it clear, not in words but in little gestures
and demeanor, that, "I am not of your culture, I am a non-conformist", then the
space is closed.

Would an Indian man impose his will on say, a caucasian, AfroAmerican or Chinese
spouse? There you are! Assuredly they get the finger. These are just tiny men bossing
on Indian women.

India is experiencing a clash of eras; a 19th century conservative, prudish
India is grappling with the liberal 20th century, and they don't know quite how
to make the transition. They cannot make the transition into the 21st century
until they become a liberal society, where human rights is a reality and not on
paper.

My friend could not say when India will wake up from its self induced coma. He
said 'soon' absent mindly. That was 12 years ago.

Pathma

.


Edited by Pathmarajah (May 07, 2013 03:09 PM)

Top
#1529 - May 07, 2013 03:19 PM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang
The so-called ‘Great Indian culture’

There is something wrong in Hinduism, but nothing that cannot be corrected. It
is just that some shastras have to be relegated to the attic as absurdities in
the 20th century.

But there is something seriously wrong with Indian culture. This is the virus
affecting all of Indian society. I'm glad others are beginning to see it, and
more than that, speak about it.

A medieval India in a modern era
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/a-medieval-india-in-a-modern-era/artic\
le4302422.ece?homepage=true

"The Delhi gang rape incident has been in news since the past few days and
almost everyone seems to be quite shocked by the brutality and inhumanity with
which the unfortunate incident took place. Well, I am not shocked. Yes, you got
that right. I am not shocked. What else can we expect in a patriarchal,
male-dominated, women-battering society where girls are killed even before they
are born?

The constant craving for sons, the adherence to some rotten practices of the
so-called `Great Indian culture' like female foeticide, dowry, the purdah
system, and the deprivation of the girl child from good food, nutrition,
education, health, entertainment and freedom, are only a few examples of how the
Indian woman is treated as an unwanted sub-human species in her own country.

The subjugated status of women is evident right from the seemingly harmless
cultural practices like taking the husband's family name after marriage to the
more violent practices like honour killings and rapes."

Hindu ethics demands servility by women. I told my daughters to wear their high
heel shoes inside the house and not succumb to servile culture. I don't think
any mother in law will bother my daughters.

These last few years I have studied several aspects of Indian culture including
language, ethics, customs, dances, music, musical instruments, cuisine, eating
and table habits, marriage conventions, etc., and found that nothing can taken
into the 21st century, or it will die a natural death. Anything that does not
take the world by storm and go viral, a hit among the youth, will die. It is the
youth that carries forth the culture but nobody wants it.

For Indian languages, including tamil, to survive, it has to be simplified,
grammer relaxed and the script simplified, so that any Brazilian, Korean or
Bantu can learn 200 words and speak the language in a matter of hours. I don't
see that happening. In its current form there is no chance for survival past
this century.

Nobody is interested in Indian attire, Indian dances, music, sangeetham or
musical instruments. They will all go the way of many cultural dance forms of
various nations, ceremonial performance only. If the youth are not willing to
buy $200 tickets to watch a performance, that musical or dance is destined to be
extinct.

Indian food is imbalanced, cholesterol laden, poor and primitive eating habits,
and the end result is 60% of the Indian population is malnourished, resulting in
shrunken heads, stunted growth, average IQ 81 for the last 30 years (US 100,
China 103), thin limbs, bloated stomach indicating bacteria.

It is the same for every aspect of Indian culture if one cares to study it - it
is dysfunctional and incongruent with the knowledge, ethics and standards of
today.

Apologists

I expect Indians to be offended by what I write. These are sensitive discussions
and the reaction is normal; affrontage, defensiveness, apologia.

This is how its done: first label a person positively - anti Hindu, anti Indian,
pseudosecularist, commie, leftist, mullah, jihadi, evangelist, christist,
hindutvadin, brahminist, dravidianist, eurocentric, american imperialist running
dog, chicom (chinese communist), on CIA payroll, etc. The attempt is to box a
person and paint him as the enemy. Next is to demonise him, mob wolfpack style.
Indian media has perfected this art.

This has vedic ancestry; to label persons as brahmin, vaishya, mleecha, etc. In
the christian world it is to call challengers as the anti-christ. In islam it is
the kafir and deviationists.

The thing to note in that the attempt is to deflect and detract deceptively. It
is a deceptive-person-at-work, and these are his tools. Other times negative
labelling is done; non-Hindu, non-shaiva, etc., which is not so bad.

There is no focus on the discussion itself - is the Indian culture obsolete and
has no place in the 21st century? Norwegian and Canadian courts think so.

I did not allude that western culture is 'superior'. I said most of Indian
culture is obsolete and cannot be brought into the 20th century because it is
anachronistic, backwardness photo-freezed and capsulised as 'culture'. Since it
is touted as Indian/Hindu 'culture' we mindlessly defend and promote it. Is head
shaving of widows and forced to wear white sarees culture, and therefore we
should uphold it?

Consider this; the various dharmas (ashrama, varnashrama, stree and purusha) are
not in compliance with and is in conflict with the Human Rights Convention with
its sweeping equalities and freedoms for all 3 genders. One cannot uphold for
human rights and dharma at the same time.

Consider another; Indian cuisine and table habits have to be revised to make it
wholesome, balanced, nourishing and in keeping with international etiquette. If
these changes are made then it is no longer 'Indian food' and mannerisms. We eat
with fork and spoons, as in a plane, as in state dinners.

Another; bharata natyam has to be revised again to re-introduce sringara
(eroticism). Without sringara, it is lame and tame and does not evince interest
in the masses. Additionally we need to introduce modern secular themes, modern
poses and steps, as well as modern attire rather than the currently used 12th
century costumes, if we are to attract a large fan base and inspire the youth at
large. The competition is Rihanna, Beyonce and Korean-pop and we have no answer
to Gangnam Style. Kolaveri is lame. Either we capture the imagination of the
youth, or lose it all. If we cannot garner a hundred million hits, we might as
well not bother.

Its going to be tough to usher traditional Indian dance forms into the 21st
century except as a cultural art form still subsisting in the 21st century for
tourists in much the same way as native American Indian war dances.

Inspite of all the musical instruments that we have, nobody is even thinking of
an Indian philharmonic orchestra.

If we develop a criteria based on human rights, modernities and practicalities
of what to keep and what to throw away, we'll find very little will make it
through. For instance, we may want to keep sarees and salwar kameez. But who is
going to wear it except for ceremonial use? In my country not a single Indian
women was without a saree in the 70s all the time. Today not a single Indian
woman wears the saree, except for ceremonial purposes. That is twice or thrice a
year. One part of culture wiped out in a single generation!

One smart Hindu temple introduced compulsory Hindu attire for temple visits with
the men shirtless, and the result was loss of 80% of devotees, who preferred to
stand outside and worship in the passing. Today, except for a few men, it is
almost exclusively women devotees. This is the intelligence of Hindu old men
sitting in a committee who are lost in time, none of whom can distinguish
between a handphone from a remote control device. They must be dreaming of their
village life in Mannaarkudi back in the 50s.
I say that if the youth want to visit the temple in jeans and baseball caps,
just let them in!

But Indians have changed!

Luckily we have already got rid of so much of our culture; the rare sati,
corrupted devadasi system, removal of non-remarriage of widows and divorcees,
the removal of kudumi (tuft), child marriages, not wearing of shoes, sandals,
pants, shirts and blouses, Hindu family law, womens' inequality (on paper),
removal of caste (on paper), wailing at funerals (oppari), etc.

Does any Indian women keep a hair bun (kondai) these days? There you are, one
more tradition vanished! We have really come so far in just one century. Indians
today would scarcely believe how their forefathers lived at the turn of the 20th
century. At that time in 1900, westerners referred to Indians as savages. Today
with hindsight, even we modern Indians find that a reasonable characterisation.
I have no hesitation to say my grandmother's culture was basic and beastly but I
understand that they did not know better.

Now if we follow through on this line of thinking, and hold up all aspects of
Hindu culture to today's international standards and ethics, we will find that
almost none of Hindu culture would measure up, or it is waiting to die a natural
death due to lack of patronisation or indifference. Indian migrant workers here
consume beef and pork routinely to themselves break their mould and I encourage
them to break away from mental servility. So I can tell you what Indian society
would like in 15 years.

Culture is meant to change and
adapt with the times, and in this age comply with universal values.
Unfortunately many Indians are resisting change or slow to adapt and conform,
wasting a lot of time clinging on to old values. I am merely telling Hindus that
the old is gone, change is inevitable and the more rapid the better. I see a
universal culture emerging.

Pathma

.





Edited by Pathmarajah (May 07, 2013 03:29 PM)

Top
#1530 - May 07, 2013 03:31 PM Re: Hindu Culture [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 397
Loc: Penang

Changing Dharmas


In the agricultural age most people were directly or indirectly engaged in
agriculture, dairy farming or fishing, these being the primary economic
activities. The men tilled the land and the women and children helped out during
harvesting. The needs and wants of that age were few and basic for survival. The
role of men and women revolved around these basic economic activities; men
entirely dependent on the land, and women on the men, to raise and support the
family. From here evolved purusha and stree dharma, core concepts in Hinduism,
where at its most basic, the men worked to support a daily and the women stayed
home to raise the kids.

Today society has evolved to be far more sophisticated and urban based, there is
mobility and migration, we are far removed from the land, and our needs and
wants have increased tremendously. The structure of the economy has changed and
advanced healthcare and advanced education are requirements.

The most basic requirement for a family unit is a home, but due to high
populations, and limited land resources, buying a decent home has become the
first formidable challenge to a family ,especially in highly developed cities.
It is almost no longer possible for a family to buy a home with just one income
producing person per household. Today we need two incomes per home to
accomplish this. The wife has to work! Which means women have to be tertiary
educated and skilled in a career, meaning a university or polytechnic education,
to acquire a decent paying job. This is a revolutionary and historic change!

A modest 1,000 sq ft three bedroom room house costs $150,000 in suburban areas,
and in urban areas in developing cities like Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Beijing
it costs $250,000. This is outside the reach of most of middle class society! So
exorbitant are the costs that people, whose average income is $500 per month,
choose to remain single. In China alone 170 million adults are unmarried, as a
home is too far outside their reach in their lifetime. That is 1 in four men,
who would probably never have a chance at marriage and a home. India itself in
the cusp of a property price explosion in the cities, and buying a home will be
difficult for a young couple. Heart surgeries and advanced medical care are out
of the question for 90% of the population in any country! The story is the same
in nearly every developing nation.

While facing similar but less acute problems than the developing world, the
developed world on the other hand is restructuring towards a social distributive
justice based economy. In other words, a welfare state like in Canada,
Scandinavia, and like Obama's Healthcare. Under this system, the productive
population, that is those in the 18-55 age group, support the rest of the weaker
sections of society, including children and free education till postgraduate
levels, healthcare for all, pensions for senior citizens and full support for
the handicapped. Today healthcare and education, which takes the biggest bite
from the budget, is far, far more expensive than it was 40 years ago.

This distributive justice system works if every member of the productive
population work. If some segment of the population, say, women, do not work for
extended periods (other than for infant raising), then it undermines the whole
scheme of distributive justice. Women working is a must, for the home and for
society!

Ashrama dharma is frivolous. In this age, learning, continuing professional
education, is a lifetime duty. I study more now than I did as a school student.
A 83 year old aunt of mine who is still researching and lecturing here has 2 Ph
D's and 7 bachelor degrees gathered over a lifetime. Varnashrama has already
been discarded contemptuously (and outlawed), and men and women work freely in
any environment, freely changing careers in their lifetimes. Agriculture, the
hotbed of conservatism and casteism, now contributes only 20% to the economy,
and will further reduce to less than 10% in this decade. The internet revolution
makes all of India into a semi-urban one.

The economy and the modern rights based society dictates the dharma of today,
the new dharma for both men and women. With both partners working and being
equal contributaries, both have an equal say in the management of the family and
household. Another core part of the agricultural era Hindu culture, stree dharma
as we knew it, is left behind in the last century, where it rightly belongs.

*Working in the house as a homemaker is not considered productive work, as there
is no contribution to the economy, no taxes are paid and no social service
contributions made. However if two housewives work in each others home for a
market based salary, that is considered productive work, as taxes and
contributions will be paid.

Pathma

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