IS SILAPPADIKARAM A BRAHMANA KAVYA? (Post No.4615)- Part 3

 

IS SILAPPADIKARAM A BRAHMANA KAVYA? (Post No.4612)- Part 3

 

 

Research Paper Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 14 JANUARY 2018

 

Time uploaded in London  7-04 AM

 

 

 

Post No. 4615

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

WARNING: DON’T SHARE IT WITHOUT AUTHOR’S NAME AND  BLOG NAME. BE HONEST; OTHERS WILL BE HONEST WITH YOU.

PART 1 AND PART 2 WERE PUBLISHED HERE IN THE PAST TWO DAYS.

 

 

14.Matavi and Manimekalai

Matavi having heard all the tragic news shaved her hair and entered the Buddha Vihara. These people died because they heard this news from me; therefore I come to bathe in the holy waters of Ganges ( in order to purify myself). Long live you, O king of kings!

When Matalan finished, Senkuttuvan asked what happened to the Pandya kingdom.

 

Thus Matalan was used to give all the news about all the important characters in the epic.

 

15.One Thousand Goldsmiths Executed!

Matalan continued, “O King, you destroyed  in a day the nine umbrellas of nine enemy kings who joined together in an alliance against your brother in law Killivalavan. Listen! The victorious Ver Celiyan residing at Korkai offered a human sacrifice of one thousand goldsmiths in a day to the divine Pattini who had twisted off one off her breasts.

When Matalan gave all this information the sun set and then the court astrologer said, “ Long live the ruler of the earth. It is now thirty two months since we left Vanci.

 

  1. Fifty Tula Gold to the Brahmana!

When Senkuttuvan asked about the succession in the Cola kingdom, Matalan praised the Colas whose forefathers destroyed the three fortresses suspended in the sky (mythological story), who gave flesh to a kite to save a dove (mythological Sibi Story) would never move away from the righteous path , Senkuttuvan became very happy and said to the Brahmana,

“O Brahmana Matalan, please accept the gift of fifty Tulams of pure gold” equal to Senkuttuvan’s own weight (Tula Bharam).

 

17.BRAHMIN’S ADVICE TO SENKUTTUVAN!

Matalan in Natukar Katai

“Then a Cakkayan, a dancing expert from Paraiyur, which was famous for Brahmans versed in the four Vedas, exhibited for king’s pleasure, the dance known as Koticetam danced with Uma as part of Himself by the mighty Siva, while the anklet worn on his  beautiful feet tinkled.

In the Natukar Katai Matalan speaks:

“O King wearing a long garland of victory and possessing a huge army! O Lion of kings, who knows all that can be known from great men, dismiss your wrath! Ruler of the earth, may the days you have yet to live become more numerous than the particles of sand in the cool river An Porunai.

Pray do not dismiss my words! Even after passing through fifty years of your protection on this earth you do not perform religious sacrifice but continue to perform the sacrifice at the battle. Among your ancestors in this city one king distinguished himself by destroying the Katampu of the seas, another exhibited great prowess by carving the bow emblem on the Himalayas, another enabled a Vedic Brahmana in return for composing some poems, to ascend bodily to the higher world, another commanded the messenger of death not to take away lives indiscriminately but only in particular order; another Cera penetrated the golden region of the high mountain in the fertile kingdom of the Barbarous Yavanas. After adding two more ancestor king’s adventures Matalan says, “It is not necessary to point out to men of wisdom that youth will not last for ever. The goddess of wealth abides in your chest, for you see your own body covered with grey hairs. Even good souls in divine bodies may, it is just possible, enter human frames on earth. Souls of those who are born as men now may by chance be reborn as animals. Men are but actors on a stage, and will have no  enduring embody in only one fixed form. That life after death will depend upon deeds done in a previous birth is a significant statement which is not untrue”.

 

“O King of the powerful sword! I have chosen not to solicit rare gifts from you. I cannot suffer to see a good soul wrapped within a good body travel the path trodden by the common people of this vast world. O king who has crossed the limits of learning! you should therefore do that great and fruitful yajna with the help of sacrificial priests learned in the four Vedas in order you may gain that superior path which Gods extoll.

 

“If you say that good deed can be done tomorrow it may chance that your good soul trained in Vedic lore will leave your body even today.”

 

When the learned to tongue of the Vedic Brahmana, thus ploughed and sowed the seeds of divine wisdom in the kings’ ears, those seeds sprouted forth in right time.

 

With a desire to enjoy the fruits of the harvest of virtue, the king with the resounding anklets, commanded the presence of those sacrificial priests who had completed their studies by listening to teachers belonging to a group of traditional interpreters of the four Vedas. They were asked to commence the festival of sacrificial rituals in the manner instructed by Matalan.

 

 

18.Matalan’s Last appearance in Varantaru Katai

 

Brahmana Miracle!

In the chapter Varanataru Katai there is a long anecdote where Devanti gives the history of Manimekalai, daughter of Kovalan and courtesan Matavi. Then Devanti was possessed by Pasanatan Cattan.

It is said that there are three girls in the crowd—twin daughters of Arattan Cetti and a little daughter of Cetak Kutumpi, a temple priest. If Matalan sprinkled the water of a divine pool on those girls, they would reveal their past births. Devantikai gave that water to Matalan which kept in his string-bag (Uri).

 

Seeing all this Senkuttuvan was lost in wonder and turned towards Matalan when he said with good cheer: ‘Hear this O King! Let all your ills disappear.

 

Then Matalan sprinkled the water on the three girls. They recited their previous births. Senkuttuvan looked at the face of Matalan, wearing the sacred thread on his chest, he blessed him: O King of Kings! Long may you live. These three were, in previous births, attached to the devoted wife of Kovalan, who seized the mad elephant’s tusk to release a Brahmana from the clutches of the mad elephant.

 

Matalan finished his speech with a good advice:

“It is not strange that people who do good things attain heaven and people who have worldly minds are reborn and that good and bad deeds have their own reward and those born should die, and those dead should be re born. Those are ancient truths ( Bhagavad Gita echo: Jaatasya hi dhruvo mrtyuh dhruvam janma mrtasya ca)

 

Matalan continues:

You (Senkuttuvan) were born through the grace of Him who rides on the sacred bull (Lord Shiva) and have won distinction as a king in this wide world, saw, clear as an object held in the palm of your hand, the fruits of righteous deeds and the forms of holy people. Long live from eon to eon protecting the earth! Live long gracious monarch!

 

Pleased with what the Brahmana Matalan said, the king endowed grants to the temple of the ever youthful Pattini who had twisted off her breast and there by raised flames which enveloped the noisy Kutal (another name for Madurai) of the great Pandyan Kingdom, much celebrated in poetical themes. He further ordered the conduct of daily festivals by instructing Devantikai to offer flowers, perfume and incense.

The monarch of the world circumambulated the shrine thrice and stood proffering his respects. Many kings including the Gajabahu of sea girt Sri Lanka participated in the festival.

 

Kannaki too when she burnt Madurai down asked the Agni Deva (Fire God) to spare Brahmins, old people, cows, chaste women, invalids and all good people.

19.Chief Duties of the Lady of the House

The chief duties of the lady of the house were giving of gifts to the deserving, the serving of the Brahmins and the entertaining of the ascetics and guests, as evidenced by Kannaki’s own words in canto XVI.II 71-3 Kolaikkala Katai

 

  1. Brahmin Ambassador and Brahmin Actors

There are more references to Brahmins throughout the epic

A Brahmin ambassador by name Kausikan delivered the message of Matavi to Kovalan and took back his message to his parents – Purancheri Irutta Katai

Brahmin actors (Kuutta Chakkaiyar) staged a show in front of Senkuttuvan- Natukar Katai

Keeranthai, a Brahmin, told his wife that Pandyan king would protect her when he went out of the city and that led to Porkai Pandya Story (Pandya with a Golden Hand)—Katturai Katai

Ilango says that Pandyan kings always hear the Vedic recital but never the justice bell (katturai Katai)

A Brahmin poet by name Palaik Kautamanar going to heaven with his body- Natukar Katai

 

Madurai is full of smoke from the Vedic Fire altars—Naatu Kaan Katai

Conclusion:

Hundreds of lines were attributed to Brahmin Matalan and he gave us lot of information to fill the gaps in the epic. Miraculous incidents happen in front of the Brahmana and the king Senkuttuvan. He commands the king to do Yagas and yajnas and the king readily obeys. Kannaki lamented that she could not feed the Brahmins and saints. She spared Brahmins when she burnt down Madurai. Parasaran- Dakshinamurthy anecdote showed the condition of Vedic education in Tamil Nadu. Kovalan could read s Sanskrit manuscript. Brahmins are praised as great scholars in Tamil (Vandamiz Maraiyor in Katturaik Katai; it speaks of the Brahmin who composed a poem on Chera king in Patitrup Pattu and went to heaven with his wife in his human body).

Why did Ilango do it?

Why did Ilango do it? did he write a Brahmana Kavya? My opinion is that he did not exaggerate anything. He described the real condition of second century CE Tamil Nadu where Brahmins commanded great respect. They could command great and mighty kings like Senkuttuvan. They could guide them what to do for the welfare of the community. Through Parasran-Dakshinamurthy anecdote, Ilango not only showed that even a child in a remote village of Tamil Nadu could recite Vedas perfectly, but also Brahmins were unselfish and could donate their wealth for the Vedic children. Ilango was the first poet in Tamil to show the weddings conducted by the Brahmins in front of fire.

 

Silappadikaram was the most popular epic. It was the only epic which based its story on a pure Tamil theme.

Paranar and other poets of Patitrup Pattu, one of the 18 books of Sangam Tamil literature, confirmed all that was said by Ilango. There is no doubt that the history second century Tamil Nadu was a golden period in the history of Tamil Nadu.

 

References:

The Cilappatikaram,Prof. V R Ramachandra Dikshitar,The South India Saiavasiddhanta Works Publishing Society, Tinnelvelly Limited, Madras,600 001, 1978

Akananuru, Varthamanan Pathippakam, A Manikkanar,Chennai- 600 017,1999

Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Anna, Sri Ramakrishna Mutt, Chennai-600 004,1965

 

 

–Subahm–

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. This is a valuable and fruitful piece of vital and constructive, and even corrective research.
    There are two ways in which Silappadikaram can be considered to be cognate with Brahmins.
    !. BRAHMANICAL : thematically aligned with Brahmanical ie Vedic ideals and practices.
    Silappadikaram seeks to expound three truths:
    – One cannot escape the consequences of one’s past Karma
    ஊழ்வினை உறுத்துவந்து ஊட்டும்
    – Dharma will punish the ruler who fails to rule justly
    அரசியல் பிழைத்தோர்க்கு அறம் கூற்றாகும்
    – Dutiful wife would be honoured by the sages and noble persons.
    உரைசால் பத்தினிக்கு உயர்ந்தோர் ஏத்தல்
    It does not take much effort to see that the three themes above are entirely Brahmanical in import.

    2. BRAHMINICAL : containing Brahmin characters performing or fulfilling important parts /functions of the story as it develops.
    As you have shown in these papers, the clear Brahminical connections are so evident throughout the epic.
    Over the years, many false and incorrect notions and fancy theories have been spread about this epic in Tamil Nad. One of them is that this is a Jain epic. One does not see any iota of evidence for this view in the epic itself. Throughout, it depicts Hindu practices, extols Vedic DEities, praises Vedic learning, scholars and rituals. Towards the end, the learned Brahmin reminds the mighty Chera king about his long reign , and as life is uncertain, advises him to take to a life of Yajna ! ( not renunciation as Jains are wont to do!, or mere temple worship!) [ In contrast, just see how deeply Manimekalai is involved in discussions of Buddhist themes!]
    But such is the power of falsehood and political influence ( at least in the short run) that two generations of Tamil students have grown with such wrong notions enforced and acquired through the compulsory educational system, controlled and directed by the state. As education is equated with schooling, and since most people cease to learn or study anything serious after leaving school or college, such wrong notions once learned last lifelong. It is extremely difficult to challenge such entrenched notions or the vested interests , as even the popular press will only allow pro-establishment thoughts. In such circumstances, research papers like yours are extremely valuable.
    An epic has multiple facets, and a fair assessment should deal with all elements. It is not necessary to whitewash or ignore or minimise some to highlight others. May be, Silappadikaram deals with the life of a common man ( in contrast to that of a noble), touches on the lives of Tamil kings and kingdoms ( instead of legendary heroes) etc But it also deals with life as it was lived in the 2nd century AD – a life in accordance with Hindu dharma, in which Brahmins had a vital role.
    By the way, it is interesting to note what the master-mind of the Dravidian movement had to say about it:
    பெண்ணடிமைத் தனத்தை வலியுறுத்தும் நூல் என்றும், “விபசாரத்தில் ஆரம்பித்து பத்தினித்தனத்தில் வளர்ந்து முட்டாள்தனத்தில், மூடநம்பிக்கையில் முடிந்த பொக்கிஷம்” என்றும் ஈ.வெ.ரா. சிலப்பதிகாரத்தை விமர்சித்தார்.
    [ It reinforces the idea of subjugation of women, begins with prostitution, grows by portraying wifely virtues and ends as a treasure of foolishness and superstition.]

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