Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 61 of (Vol 2) of 17 Dec 2007.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 61 of (Vol 2) of 17 Dec 2007.

(Note 1. We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be! Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1950's and early 60's.

(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 60 (of Vol 2) of 14 Dec 2007.)

39. In the previous e-mail, I had spoken about, how all the 1000 branches of Saama Veda, was widely prevalent in Tamil Nadu. Out of them, now the majority are from the branch known as, 'Gowthumam'. But in the past. the 'Jaimini / Talavakara' was more in use. In the Chola Kingdom, the Saama Vedi Brahmins were known as 'Sozhiyar', whose fame was spread far and wide. Even at the far end of Pandya Kingdom, in deep South, in Thirunelveli, there are Sozhiyars, who are Talavakaara Saama Vedi brahmins. These, Sozhiyars can be taken as the oldest lot of Brahmins of Tamil Nadu. The reason I am saying so, is due to the fact that, there is another sect of Brahmins in Tamil Nadu known as 'Vadamas'. What are these 'Vadamaas / Vadamaal' brahmins? They are those who came down from the North India. Those Brahmins already living here were 'Sozhiers' and those who came down South from the North India, were Vadamaars. We can gather that they are mainly from around the places on the banks of the Narmada River.

40. Some people are of the opinion that, all the Brahmins of Tamil Nadu are from the North and that in very old times, there were no Brahmins in South India. This can only be ignorance or 'vested interest'! The very word 'vadamar' is proof of the fact that only some Brahmins are called by that name and that there were Brahmins before that in Tamil Nadu. It automatically means that except for those Brahmins identified as having come from the North, all others were native to this part of the world! Those old natives were known as 'Sozhiyars'. There is clear proof that the 'Vadamas' were from the banks of the Narmada River. Till day in their daily prayers of 'Sandhya Vandanam', they chant; "...narmadaayai namah praatha: narmadayai namo nishi...namosthu narmade thubyam paahi maam visha sarpata: II...". This means that, in the morning and night, they are prostrating to that river Narmada, (which originates from the Vindya Hills,) asking to be protected from the fear of snakes!

41. Amongst the Sozhiyars, there was a somasi Nayanaar, one of the 63 deified Naayanmaars / Siva Bakthas. Somasi does not mean the eatable 'sweet samosa'. It is a title 'Somaiyaji', for having done the Soma Yaga. Sri Ramanujacharya's father was also a 'Somaiyaji', known as 'Kesava Somaiyaji'. For all such people, Saama Vedam is special. So in Tamil Nadu, there were a substantial number of Brahmins, following Talavakara Saama Vedam in Chola and Pandya Kingdoms. Then, what was the state of affairs in the Chera and Pallava Kingdoms? Actually, in very old times, there was no Pallava dynasty. Chera, Sozha and Pandya were generally contemporary dynasties. Pallavas came much later in time, out of portions of Sozha (mainly) and Chera Kingdoms territorially. So they were all predominently 'Sozhiyars' only. Vadamas, who came from the North, remained in the Northern part of Tamil Nadu only. Actually, they got another surname as 'Outhara Vadamas'. That is, those Vadamas, who remained in the Northern part of Tamil Nadu, compared to those who had spread all over. There were some Saama Vedis amongst them. Anyhow, we are not much concerned about the Pallva Samrajyam, because of the fact that, they are of a much later period. The question is as to whether, Brahmins and Vedas way of life are imports from the North or were integral to what is Tamil Nadu?

42. Now let us look at the Chera Dynasty and the areas under them (Ref to para 34 ). Now-a-days, these areas are collectively known as Kerala and the language is Malayalam. While talking about Tamil, Telugu and Kannada; I left out Malayalam because like the Pallavas and Vadamas, this language too is a later day happenstance. Till say a thousand years back, Kerala was part of Tamil Nadu and the Language was Tamil. Then only the language evolved out of Tamil. It is the Western Ghats which give a unique identity to this part of the country. The Tamil 'zha', which became 'da' in Telugu and 'lla' in Kannada; remained as 'zha' in Malayalam. What we call 'puzhai' in Tamil, is called 'puzha' in Malayalam. What is our 'Aalappuzhai' and 'Ambalappuzhai' are almost the same, 'Aalappuzha' and 'Ambalappuzha', in their language.

43. So leaving the Malayalam language, let us look at their Veda Adhyayanam in that part of the country. Malayali Brahmins are called the Namboodiris. For many generations, they are very religiously doing Adhyayana. Amongst them, there have been followers of all the three main, Rik, Yajus and Saama Vedas. Especially, they are mainly of the Talavakaara branch of Saama Veda. Though, this branch has almost disappeared in Tamil Nadu, giving place to the Gowthuma branch, here in Kerala, this Talavakara branch is still holding on. There is a trditionally famous family of 'Paanjaan Manai' amongst them, who are also of the Talavakaara branch. Amongst them, the 'da' and 'lla' is still 'zha', as in Tamil Nadu, since that place was originally part of Tamil Nadu only!

44. Thus in Malayalam and in all Tamil palm-leafs of Talavakaara Saama Veda, this ubiquitous 'zha', is to be found everywhere including in the oldest hand printed copies. Thus, this Talavakaara branch of the Saama Veda, has been there in Tamil Nadu from time immemorial, and the pronounciation of 'zha' has been there as no where else, originating in the Veda Adhyayana and spreading in all spoken and written expressions.

45. Nachchinaarkku Iniyar, who has written his explanatory notes for Tholkappiyam of the Tamil Sanga period, talks of Thaithreeyam, Poudiyam, Talavakaaram and Saamam; as though they are the four Vedas. Though he is talking of the branches of the Vedas, as Vedas themselves; the point that is clear from his comment is that, Talavakaaram, though only a branch was famous enough in his time, to be considered as a full fledged Veda. Thaithreeyam is a branch of the Krishna Yajur Veda and Poushyam / Poudiyam is the Kousheedaki Brahmanam of the Saankhayana branch of the Rik Veda. What he calls the Poudiyam is the 'Pouzhiya' of the Azhvar's song; once again connecting the link between 'da' and 'zha' in Tamil. So, my point is clear that, in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the characteristically special letters of the regional languages have all mutually and reciprocally influenced and in turn been influenced by Veda Adhyayana of that branch of the Veda that was predominant in that region.

46. What I have said about the so called Dravidian South India, I am going to extend to cover the National and Inter-National levels too! Now, if we take the North India, they use a 'ja' for 'ya' in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and further North and 'va' for 'ba' in Bengal. Actually in Bengal, they consider that 'va' and 'ba' are almost equal and interchangeable. In Tamil too we have a tendency to change 'pa' into 'va', such as 'Veettumar' for 'Bhishmar' and 'Veeman' for 'Bhiman'. We are not too particular about this change as Bengalis are. They have actually changed ' Vanga vaasi' into 'Banga Baasi'. (Actually the trend went to such a rediculous extent, that even words that should have been starting with a 'pa' were converted to a 'va'. Sometime back, reportedly they created a Parishad to research this and bring back some sanity. They went to the other extreme and even words that should be started with a 'ba' normally, became a 'va'. Thus '...banga bandu...', became, '...vanga vandu...'.)

47. In North, in other States too, this 'va' to 'ba' change occurs. Like Bihar is actually a 'Vihar' only! It is a State full of Buddha Viharas. 'Rash Bihari' is actually 'Rasa Vihari'. Why does this change from 'va' to 'pa' occur? In the 'Prathi Sakhyam' of that branch of the Veda in practice there, instructions are there to do so! That rule they applied not only for the Veda Adhyayana, but to all spoken and written words of their language of communication. Afterall, in the society, the Brahmins had the reputation for being well read and so could and did influence the pronounciation and spelling, as required in the 'prathisakhyam' of the Vedas. This is proof of the fact that, the rules of the 'Siksha Vidhis', were influential enough and were being sincerely observed and followed in the whole Nation!

48. As I said earlier, in the whole country, it was the Yajur Vedam which was and is more prevalent. In this, in the North, it is 'Sukhla Yajus' and in the South, it is 'Krishna Yajus'. One of the branches of Sukhla Yajus, specially widely observed in the North is, Madhyantina Saakai. In it's Prathisakhyam, it is given that, 'ja' could replace 'ya' and in place of 'sha', you could use 'ka'. So in our Purusha Sukhtam, where we say, "...yat purushena havisha...", the North Indian says, "...jat purushena havika...". Used to our way of chanting that part of the Veda, on hearing it, we are likely to feel that he is making a mistake and even get annoyed! We are likely to think that only we are protecting the purity of the Vedas; whereas, what he says is with the approval of the 'Siksha Sastram'!

49. As I said earlier, these changes are between closely related sounds. Even in Tamil, 'ya' and 'ja' are next-door neighbours! 'Java' island is called 'Yavakam' in Tamil. Normally we change 'ja' into 'sa', like 'jambu' becomes 'sambu'. But when 'ja' occurs in between like, 'Ajan and Pankajam', we tend to change it to, 'Ayan and Pankayam'. 'Sa and sha' are similar. So if 'sha' can change to 'ka', what is, 'chei' in Telugu is 'kai' the hand in Tamil! To do is to work. That is, 'chei' in Tamil and 'kar' in Hindi. And since the hand is the one which does all the work, 'kar' ('to do', in Sanskrit and Hindi), in Tamil is the hand 'kai'.

(The discussion on Seeksha / Siksha as the first of the Six Parts of the Vedas, 'Shadang', will continue for one more e-mail.)




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