DEIVATHIN KURAL # 115 (Vol # 5) Dated 20 Jan 2012
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 115 (Vol # 5) Dated 20 Jan 2012
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are proceeding from the last para on page No 711 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
635. If you have a house and given it as a donation to somebody, can you continue staying there after that? That is how Parasurama thought about the situation. “Having given away this land as a gift, it is not correct for me to stay here anymore. Let me find a suitable place for me to stay and do Tapasya”, he thought. Instinctively Kashyapa could read his mind. So, he further escalated the situation by saying, “Please do not think of claiming ownership on any part of the land that you have gifted away. Better go outside the outer borders of this land.” Parasurama started out. He went to the Western Ghats on the western borders of the whole of South India and reached the Sahayadri Mountain peak known nowadays as Aanaimalai or Elephant Top. Close to the western side of the mountains was the sea. Those days there was no Kerala or Malayala Desam, but only water of the seas.
636. Parasurama spoke to the Samudra Raja (the Lord of the Oceans), “All the lands that I had captured have been given away in charity, as I have endowed them to Kashyapa. So I cannot live anywhere on the existing lands. I cannot also die or go to the heavens as I am one of the Chiranjeevis! (As believed, there are supposed to be seven immortal human beings known as Chiranjeevis. They are namely Aswaththaama, Bhali:, Vyasa, Krupa, Parasurama, Hanuman and VibhishaNa.) There is a command of God that I should do Tapasya forever for the sake of the well being of the whole world, like an everlasting machine that continues praying! Under the situation I seek your benign help for some spatial adjustment. By withdrawing yourself a little away from these mountains, can you kindly create some ground on the west of these ranges of mountains, for me to live?”
637. Samudra Raja who was ordered to control his waves when Rama had to construct the land bridge on the straits between India and the island of Lanka decided to help Parasurama. Knowing Parasurama to be a Brahmin very quick to take offence, he wished to give Parasurama as wide a margin as possible. So, Samudra Raja told Parasurama, “Dear Sir! In your hands you hold that Parasu (Axe) which you got from doing Tapasya to Parameswara. Throw it as far as possible in the ocean and I shall recede that much away, up to the point beyond where the water drops are thrown up to by the impact of the axe and make all that land available to you.” Accordingly Parasurama threw the axe in to the ocean as far as possible. Water from the impact splashed in all directions many miles in the N-S direction and less in the E-W axis. All that area was exposed to the Sun and the sea withdrew. That is the Malayala Desam or Kerala aka Parasurama Kshetra. Initially populated by fisher folk talking an unorganized cacophony of languages. Parasurama did not wish to be the only one doing Tapasya in such a vast area. So he decided to bring in and settle a whole lot of Brahmins who would be doing their share of Vedic activities of Homa, Pooja, Japa, Upaasana and other such Karma Anushtaanaas.
638. Brahmins of Tamil Nadu and Tamil Language in Kerala. From the land of the Sozha Kingdom he invited Brahmins known as Sozhiyas to this new land of his creation. They were Tamil speaking Dravidian Brahmins as any other community in Tamil Nadu. Brahmins are not alien to Dravidians but as much sons of the soil as others. There is nothing as Dravida caste. There is only a Dravida Desam. Everybody living there including Brahmins are Dravidians only. The Brahmins who have gone to North India are called by the name of ‘Dravid’. The Brahmins who came down South from the North India are called the ‘Vadamas’! There was no influx of foreign tribes from outside India through the Khyber Pass into India as claimed by some.
639. The very fact that some North Indian Brahmins are called by a special name of Vadamas (meaning northerners), indicates that the existing Brahmins in the south were very much southerners, isn’t it? The whole of Bharath Desh was one race of people only with a variety of tribes. The differentiation if at all was based on the type of land in which they lived such as the fertile riverine plains, forest areas, hills, semi deserts and deserts. The Aarya and Dravida differentiation on a so called influx of the Aryans from the North across the Khyber Pass was a British motivated fraud on the Indian People, in their vested interest of ‘Divide and Rule’ policy. Since all our schooling and education is by their English based system, we have come to believe in their concoctions and disbelieve in our own Puranas and Itihaasaas! Then within the country, we have had the so called ‘Paguththu Arivu’ movement of the so called Re-formers of the society and Religion; who have exploited the scam created by the Britishers, to their convenience! OK, let it be.
640. The Brahmins from Tamil Nadu are comfort loving used to the moderate climate of the area. As you go north both heat and cold can be extreme. So people of other areas are comparatively capable of withstanding harsher climates and adjust to any extremes. The Tamilnadu people especially the Brahmins are not like that. What I am saying is applicable to olden days, whereas today on the one hand the Brahmins in Tamil Nadu are themselves treated as untouchables; while on the other hand they have gone totally against the code of conduct of what a Brahmin is supposed to do and what he is required not to do! Contrary to his Dharma, he has become greedy and is ready to adjust to any extremes of not only climate but language, custom, food habits, dress and culture, whether it be U.S.A. or Russia, Saharan desert or Icelandic tundra!
641. Those comfort loving Sozhiyas from the banks of Cauvery River on arrival in Kerala were out of their elements literally. Endless rains, overflowing rivulets, with wet grounds full of mire everywhere, it just did not suit them at all. They were afraid of telling Parasurama who had a reputation as being quick to take offence. They were actively considering running away from there, secretly on the quiet. He knew all that. Let us just change one of their customs and they can never get back to their mother land after that, he thought. On the pretext of giving them a special identity, he made them wear their hair in their head differently. Normally Brahmins in Tamil Nadu shave off the front portion of their head above the temple and let the hair at the back grow abundantly long. Their long tresses are then cared for, oiled, braided and rolled into a knot at the back of their heads. This is known as Kudumi which would typically identify them. Parasurama introduced a twist in this custom. He made them wear what is known as ‘Oordva Shika’, in which the back of the head is shaved off and the hair on the peak of the head is permitted to grow long, which is tied in to a knot to fall forward just on top of the temple! Till date Namboodri Brahmins of Kerala follow this system only.
642. But the Sozhiyas thought that this one small change in the identity will not be such a hindrance in their acceptance back in Tamil Nadu, when there is no difference in the other customs and traditions. So, most of them did go back to the banks of Cauvery River once again and were accepted with open arms as expected. But the Oordva Shika remained on top of the head, giving raise to the proverb, ‘Sozhiyan Kudumi does not shake easily’, to mean that he does not listen to others suggestions and also that he is not easily ruffled! Parasurama’s plan however, had back fired. So, he imported Brahmins from Andhra and Karnataka en-mass and as a precaution, out of the 108 Aachaaraas that are there for the Brahmin, he changed some 64 of them to give them totally a new traditional identity. This worked and for generations they started staying there. They are known as Namboodri Brahmins, stricter in their observance of traditional Aachaaraas, than Brahmins elsewhere in the whole of India! There is a book by the name of ‘Keralotpatti’. I have given you the details from that book and a few PuraNas.
643. Amongst Namboodri Brahmins there were only a few Sozhiyas left. Rest were all Telugu and Kannada Brahmins. In Telugu, ‘Illu’ is a house or home and the word for that in Kannada is ‘Mana’. In Tamil we have both ‘Illam and Manai’ for one’s house. Amongst Namboodri Brahmins some claim to belong to so and so ‘Mana’ and some others as belonging to such and such ‘Illu’. Our AachaaryaaL’s household is said to be ‘KaippaLLi Mana’. My research on the subject leads me to believe that his ‘KaippaLLi Mana’ must have been from those ancestors of Sozhiyas from Tamil Nadu. This I will touch upon some time later. There could be one question in your minds. If the Namboodri Brahmins were mostly from Kannada and Telugu background and others were mainly fisher folks from the Arabian Sea islands with some local dialects; how is that Malayalam as a language contains a mix of words from mainly Tamil and Sanskrit languages?
644. The Malayala language evolved some 1,000 to 1,200 years back only. Before that Tamil was the main stay. Still some of you can say, ‘How can it be?’ I will answer that. No society can be complete only with Brahmins and fisher folks. There has to a king, army, traders and so on. Most of these were Tamilians only. The mountain ranges of Western Ghats are literally hugging the Tamil Nadu from North to South with many passages between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. From time immemorial Tamilians are known to trade across the oceans and their reach included Sri Lanka, Burma, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, most of East Asia and Western shores of Africa and the islands in between. So, the point to be noted is that the major population in Kerala after Parasurama created it were Tamilians who had moved there from across the Sahayadri Mountains.
(To be continued.)
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