Research Article Written by london swaminathan
Date: 7 February 2016
Post No. 2518
Time uploaded in London :– 17-35
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First part of this article under the title, “Are Australian aborigines Tamil Hindus?” was posted yesterday.
Adi Shanakara in his Baja Govindam sang ‘Punarapi Maranam, Punarapi Jananm’. And Krishna said it even before Shankara, in the Bhagavad Gita, Jatasya hi druvo mrtyur, dhruvam janma mrtasya ca’ meaning “For the one that is born, death is certain and certain is birth for the one that has died”.
This is a fact known to everyone in the world. But putting it in literature or scripture shows how much one is concerned about it. Like Hindus, aborigines of Australia put it in their folklore or oral literature.
This is what they say about death:
All humans must die; When death came to the Tiwi islands we had to start the burial ceremonies………….. and make sure they entered the spirit world in the right way……………placing the burial poles around graves of our dead…………..
Placing burial poles around the grave has been practised by the Hindus for long. Even now bereaved Brahmin families bury the stone in their garden or in a public place in the crematorium. If ascetics die a Linga is erected or a basil plant (Holy Tulsi) is raised on the grave of the person. Hero stones (Nadu Kal) were common in ancient Tamil Nadu. In Karnataka they had Masti kal/stone.
In short, burial pole was erected for everyone in the ancient Hindu world, but slowly this custom disappeared. Australian aborigines were doing it like us. Their talk about the dead entering the spirit world in the right way is also in the funeral mantras of the Vedas. Most of the mantras request the heavenly spirits to lead the dead in the right path. Those who read the translation of the funeral mantras will understand it.
Lot of Sanskrit words, but with different meanings, are found in aborigines. One group of people called themselves Dhurga people. The word Tunga is used for pole. In Sanskrit it means tall, elevated.
Bhu Suktam: Ode to Mother Earth
Vedas praise the earth as mother. Ancient Hindu seers praised the wind, water, fire etc. The Bhu Suktam of Atharva Veda is not only a great poem but also a valuable source of Vedic life. It refers to the earth’s flora and fauna, geographical features, climate, minerals and the diversity of people. In the same way aborigines say about their land
“It is my father land, grand father’s land, my grand mother’s land. I am related to it. It gives me my identity. If I don’t fight for it I will be moved out of this and I will lose my identity”.
Even the Tamil poet Bharati in his patriotic poem on India says the same thing (Enthaiyum Thayum kulavi irunthathu in naade……)
Another aborigine says, I feel with my body, with my blood. Feeling all these trees, all this country. When this wind blow, you can feel it. Same for the country. You feel it. You can look, but feeling that make you”
This is similar to the Vedic mantra
May the winds bring us happiness. May the rivers carry happiness to us. May the herbs give us happiness. May night and day yield us happiness. May the heavens give us happiness. May the trees give us happiness. May the sun pour down happiness. May the cows yield us happiness. (Madhu Vaata rdaayate………Taitriya Aranyaka)
Vedic seers and the aborigines wanted to strike harmony with nature. For them the earth and the trees are not just objects. They gave equal respect to everything.
Listen, Hear, Think (Ngara)
Vedic poets and Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar emphasized that one must listen to good things. Thiruvalluvar begs to the people ‘ listen to at least to something good’ (Enaithaanum Nallavai ketka). Rig Veda says “Let noble thoughts come to us from every side” (RV 1-89-1)
Australian aborigines said the same thing and called it ‘Ngara’.
“From the day we are born we are taught ngara. We listen to elders. Hear what country is saying. And think how our actions will impact on living things. Ngara is the path to knowledge, wisdom and survival. Elders carry the knowledge of science and technology, medicine and astronomy, ecology and creative arts”.
Astronomy of Aborigines
Indigenous people of Australia had very good knowledge of stars, planets and their movements. Vedas have innumerable references to stars and planets. Some are hidden in symbolic language. Just to teach astronomy we linked our stories to Pole Star (Dhruva Nakshatra), Canopus (Agastya star), Tri sanku (Southern Star), 27 Stars’ love affair with the Moon, particular favouritism to Rohini etc.
Aborigines also had some stories and like Stonehenge of England, they have stone circle Wurdi Youang in Victoria. Modern research reveal lot of new things about the aborigines. Their geographical knowledge was amazing and they knew the nook and corner of the vast continent. Without their help, the white people would not have moved into the interior lands.
There are more similarities in making fire, with the Vedic Hindus which we look at the third part of this series.