ANCIENT TAMIL HINDU SAINT WHO BURNT HIMSELF IN ATHENS! (Post No.5072)

Statue of Augustus

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

 

Date: 3 JUNE 2018

 

 

Time uploaded in London – 14-05

 

Post No. 5072

 

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ANCIENT TAMIL HINDU SAINT WHO BURNT HIMSELF IN ATHENS! (Post No.5072)

Monk Zarmanochegas who accompanied an Indian embassy from King Pandion to Roman Emperor Augustus  (63 BCE to 14 CE) reached Rome by 19 BCE. Later this Monk Zarmanochegas amazed Athens by burning himself to death publicly. Some people thought that he was a Buddhist. They changed the name Zarmanochegas into Sramanacharya. The identification is not certain. The Greeks did horrible things to the words they borrowed and the names they reproduced.

 

My research shows that he was a Hindu saints from Tamil Nadu. The reason being we don’t have enough evidence in ancient Buddhist literature to show that they burnt themselves when their life mission was finished. But in Hindu literature we have umpteen references to show that they ended their life in this way when their mission was fulfilled.

Kabila, the Brahmin poet who contributed highest number of Tamil verses in the Sangam literature, burnt himself to death after he married two daughters of ancient Tamil philanthropist Pari of Pa

rambu country. Even today we can visit his memorial Kabila Rock near Thirukkovilur in Tamil Nadu. He lived around First century BCE or CE. At the same time this Hindu burning himself in Greece also happened. So Kabilar might have inspired him. Moreover the saint/monk accompanied a Tamil ambassador from Pandya King. So the saint must be a Tamil one.

 

saints burning themselves happened from Ramayana Times. Sabari a hunter woman saint and many other saints of Ramayana days burnt themselves after seeing Rama, thinking that they can straight away go to heaven or attain salvation.

 

Kumarila Bhatta, a great scholar and contemporary of Adi Shankara burnt himself to death. When Adi Shankara came for a debate , Kumarila told him that it was too late and sent him to another scholar.

A Hindu saint visited Mayan civilization , taught them good things and burnt himself to death. He told them that he would come back again. After several centuries when he Christian robbers came from Spain that generation thought that he must be the expected saint. But those plunderers looted the innocent Mayan civilization and took all the gold to Spain.

 

Following is my article posted on 12 July 2014:-

Five Ascetics who Entered Fire: Vedavati, Sabhari, Sarabhanga,Kabila, Quetzalcoatl

 

Five Ascetics who Entered Fire: Vedavati, Sabhari, Sarabhanga,Kabila, Quetzalcoatl

Research Article Written by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1168; Dated 12th July 2014.

Hindu epic Ramayana is unique in many ways. One of the unique things about the Ramyana is “self immolation”. It is very interesting to know that women ascetics existed in the days of Ramayana and they did enter the fire and sacrificed their lives when they thought that the date of their departure had come. This is one the boldest things, we can see only in the Hindu world. Here we see a continuity of Upanishadic age sages like Gargi and Maitreyi. They did not feel any body pain when they entered the fire due to their Yogic practice.

Sita did not fear to enter fire to prove her purity. Kumarila Bhatta, contemporary of Adi Shankara, did not hesitate to burn his body slowly in the middle of husk lighted on all four sides. Tamil poet Kabila did enter fire after fulfilling his noble mission. Aztec saint Quetzalcoatl (may be a Hindu saint) did sacrifice his life in fire.

Goddess Uma did penance by standing in the middle of Five Fires (Panchagni). Many a saints including Bhageeratha did Panchagni penance. Bharata and Angatha tried to enter the fire thinking that they lost their in their mission. This is a Hindu ritual. When one completes something noble, one enters fire. When one failed to achieve to fulfil something, they enter the fire ritually.

There is a big difference between suicide and this ritual sacrifice. Here they enter the fire after announcing to the whole wide world that on such and such day they would do it for a particular noble cause. It is not because of depression or agitated mind. There is another type known as Sati, where in the women who lost their husbands climb the funeral pyre. There is another type of sacrifice where women like Chitoor Rani Padmini along with her friends entered the fire to save their modesty.
Here is a short list of great ascetics who immolated themselves:

Sharabhanga :

Rama, after slaying the demon Viradha, visited the hermitage of Sharabhanga. He told Rama that he rejected Indra’s invitation to visit Brahmaloka, knowing that Rama was visiting the place. He also directed Rama to Sutikshna’s dwelling. He requested Rama to stay with him till he casts off his body as a snake casts off its slough. Then Sharabhanga prepared a fire and poured clarified butter therein. The sage entered the flames and assumed a youthful form and ascended to Brahma’s abode (Source: Aranya Kanda, Chapter 5)

Sabhari:

She was waiting to see Rama. When Rama went to her in the middle of the forest; she gave him berry fruits and roots which were bitten by her. She did this to give the sweetest ones to Rama. Since Rama knew her motherly love, he did not reject it. She belonged to the caste of hunters. That tribal woman guided Rama and Lakshmana to lake Pampa an Rishyamuka mountain.
“Having received permission from Rama to depart, Sabhari, wearing matted locks, robes of bark and a black antelope skin, cast herself into the fire, thereafter rising into the air like a bright flame. (Chapter 74, Aranya Kanda).

Vedavati:

Vedavati was the daughter of Rishi Kusadhwaja. When Ravana was passing through the forests in the Himalaya he met Vedavati, a damsel of great beauty dressed in acetic garb. When Ravana wanted to marry her she told him that she would marry only Vishnu. But Ravana boasted to her about his heroic deeds and touched her hair with a bad intention. Enraged by this, she cursed him that he would be destroyed by her in her next birth (as Sita) and entered fire before him. When she entered the fire celestial flowers fell around her (Uttara Kanda, Ramayana)

Tamil Poet Kabilar:

Kabilar, a Brahmin poet of great character, who lived in the Sangam Age ( First three centuries CE) was a good friend of a generous chieftain Pari. When the mighty Tamil kingdoms laid a siege around his kingdom Kabilar boldly supported Pari. The three Tamil kings of Sera, Choaza, Pandya kingdoms killed him by deceit. Then Kabilar took his two daughters to all the chieftains begging them to marry them. No one dared to earn the enmity of the powerful Tamil kings. At last, one chieftain took care of those girls and Kabilar, having fulfilled his mission, entered the fire. There was a memorial stone in the place known as Kabilar Stone near Tirukoyilur on the banks of River Pennai. There is an inscription with this story in verse (Source Dr R Nagasamy’s Tamil book ‘Paamaalai’).

Bharatha, Rama’s brother, was desperate to see Rama after his 14 year banishment. When he did not arrive on the appointed day Bharat was about to jump in to ceremonial fire. But Rama arrived by his divine Supersonic jet from Sri Lanka and saved his life. When Angathan and other monkeys could not find Sita in their search mission, they contemplated sacrificing themselves in fire. This is a typical Hindu approach.

 

Aztec Saint’s Self Immolation

Aztec civilization (750 CE to 1500 CE) in South and Central America had a mysterious person with the name Quetzalcoatl. There were two people with the same name which resulted in lot of confusion. He was a demiurge, priest, ruler conceived by virginal birth years after his father’s death. He was ruler of Toltecs for twenty two years. He lived in Tula, lost a civil war, fled with a good sized Toltec force. He set sail into the open sea on a particular date Aztec calendar with a prophecy that he would come back on the recurrence of that date.

Centuries after this date, Spanish man Herman Cortes landed on the coast of Mexico on 4th March 1519. Aztec king Montezuma believed that god and saint Quetzalcoatl had come back in the form of a white man. He was given royal welcome. But Cortes, Columbus and his band of explorers brought disease, death and destruction to the wonderful Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilizations. They plundered the whole of South America and took tons of gold to Spain and Portugal.

Quetzalcoatl means ‘feathered serpent’ or ‘precious twin’. He is one of the most important Aztec deities, although he has origins in pre Aztec cultures. There was a historical king in the same name that was expelled from Tula, the Toltec capital in 987 CE. According to one version he reached the Gulf of Mexico and immolated himself, to be reborn as the planet Venus. He predicted that he would come back. He may be a Hindu saint who practised such rituals in ancient India.

 

–Subham–

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