Tamil Hindu Encyclopaedia 43 -Tamil Ghost and Nymph பேய், பிசாசு, அணங்கு (Post No.11,596)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 11,596

Date uploaded in London – 28 December 2022                  

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Let us continue with Sangam Tamil’s fear and belief about Ghosts and Nymphs.

This is the second part on Tamil Nymphs.

2000 year ago, Tamils thought the nymphs are very beautiful, like the Apsaras from Deve loka/Heaven.

Some poets used them as similes to portray lady love.

A poet described a woman as beautiful as mountain beauties in

Ainkurunuru verse

‘வரையர மகளிர்‌ புரையும்‌’ சாயலள் , ஐயள் : (ஐங்‌.255-3/4)

xxx

They sang that divine women come to those hills and play and the flowers wither away and spread all over the place because of this. Kabilar of

Kurinjippaattu says this

வரை அர  மகளிரின்‌ சாஅய்‌, விழைதக.

விண்‌ பொரும்‌ சென்னிக்‌ கிளைஇய காந்தள்‌

தண்‌ கமழ்‌ அலரி தாஅய்‌, நன்பல.

வம்பு விரி களத்தின்‌ கவின் பெறு பொலிந்த

குன்று கெழு நாடன்‌ (குறிஞ்சி 195-199) KURINJIPPATTU

One would be reminded of Meghadutam poem of Kalidas. In fact, G .U .Pope and other scholars say that KURINJIPPATTU of Kabilar is an imitation of great poet Kalidas’ Meghadutam.

Xxx

One girl warns her lover not to cross the hills in night time just to see her, because the mountain people who offer food to such nymphs may mistake him for a nymph and get scared. See KALITTOKAI 52-9/10

மணம்‌ கமழ்‌ நாற்றத்த மலை நின்று பலி பெறூஉம்‌

அணங்கு என அஞ்சுவர்‌ சிறு குடியோரே: (கலி.52:9-10)

XXX

What the hill tribes offer to such mountain god is also detailed in

Natrinai 165-3/5 and Akam 348-2/10

*அணங்கொடு நின்றது மலை, வான்‌ கொள்க எனக்‌

கடவுள்‌ ஓங்கு வரை பேண்மார்‌, வேட்டு எழுந்து,

கிளையொடு மகிழும்‌ குன்ற நாடன்‌’ (நற்‌. 165:3-5),

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பயிர்ப்புறப்‌ பலவின்‌ எதிர்ச்சுளை அளைஇ.

‘இறாலொடு கலந்த, வண்டு மூசு, அரியல்‌

நெடுங்கண்‌ ஆடு அமைப்‌ பழுநி. கடுந்திறல்‌

பாபபுக்‌ கடுப்பு அன்ன தோப்பி வான்கோட்டுக்‌

கடவுள்‌ ஓங்கு வரைக்கு ஓச்சி, குறவர்‌

முறித்தழை மகளிர்‌ மடுப்ப, மாந்தி,

அடுக்கல்‌ ஏனல்‌ இரும்புனம்‌ மறந்துழி’ (அ௧.348:2-10)

Meaning

The hill tribes assemble and make a sweet fruit salad- similar to  Palani Panchamirtham –

They mix sweet mangoes and jack fruit in mountain honey and offer it. With it they offer toddy that was stored in bamboo pipes for some time to get fermented. Following this, the womenfolk offer the toddy to their men. They dance and dance forgetting themselves; they became drunk.

Xxx

Other passages in Kalittokai and Malaipadukadam describe the method of worship. The bards and their wives pay tributes by playing Kurinji raga/tune on

Yaaz/ lyre.  They are advised to do it. This shows that Tamils had very strong belief in such mountain gods and to avoid any trouble they must do it.

Following are the relevant verses,

வரை உறை தெய்லம்‌ உவப்ப, உவந்து,

குரவை தழீஇ யாம்‌ ஆட, குரவையுள்‌

கொண்டு நிலை பாடிக்காண்‌ (கலி.39:27-29) KALI

xxx

செரு மிக்குப்‌ புகலும்‌ திருஆர்‌ மார்பன்‌

உரும்‌ உரறு கருவிய பெருமலை பிற்பட,

இறும்பூது கருவிய இன்கூரல்‌ விறலியர்‌

நறுங்கார்‌ அடுக்கத்துத்‌ குறிஞ்சி பாடி, _

கைதொழுஉப்‌ பரவி, பழிச்சினிர்‌ கழிமின்‌

(மலைபடு.356-360) MALAIPADUKADAAM

XXX

FOREST GODS – ARANYANI OF RIG VEDA

Like the Vedic people, Tamil Hindus saw Gods everywhere. We have beautiful Aaranyani Sukta in the Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world, and the Bhumi Sukta of Atharvana Veda.

A poet recounts what he sees in Chera country, modern Kerala state in South India. Commenting on Pathitruppaththu lines, one commentator says,

Big forests in your country have become temples; small forests become your army camps. Because of this all the mountain paths are free of troubles (from animals and robbers).

xx

Porunaraatruppdai poet relates the singing bards go to forests everyday and praise the gods there. The womenfolk sing and the menfolk play on Yaaz / lyre with rhythm to suit their songs.

Following is the verses

காடே கடவுள்‌ மேன: புறவே

ஒள்‌ இழை மகளிரொடு மள்ளர்‌ மேன;

ஆறே அவ்‌ அனைத்து (பதிற்‌,13:20-22)

xxx

பெடை மயில்‌ உருவின்‌ பெருந் தகு பாடினி

பாடின பாணிக்கு ஏற்ப, நாள்தொறும்‌.

களிறு வழங்கு அதிர கானத்து அல்கி,

இலைஇ ல்‌ மராஅத்த, எவ்வம்‌ தாங்கி,

வலை வலந்தன்ன மெல்நிழல்‌ மருங்கில்‌,

காடு’உறை கடவுட்‌ கடன்‌ கழிப்பிய பின்றை –

(பொருந. 47-52)

xxx

Compare them with the Vedic Suktas

“Now the poet moves to dark tropical rain forests where tigers and lions roam.  And also the uncivilised, uncultured cannibals- the demons known as Rakshasas.

Bhumi sukta Verse 50 mentioned ghosts or demons unknown to us today- Arayas, Kimidins. We know the Picasas and Rakshas from later literature. Strangely the poet mentioned the Gandharvas and Apsaras in the hated list. It may be due to that they distract one from good path. They were the heavenly singers and dancers. Ancient people believed that they take various forms , come to earth and fool people or trap people into bad habits”.

Xxx

Stanza 51 described the beautiful birds and the stormy monsoon days. Rig Veda also referred to Forest fires. Here we see the flames in the sky- thunder and lightning – and flames on the earth, -the forest fires.

Along with some scenes from the civilized cities the poet shows us the tropical rain forests. A true picture of earth!

Xxx

Ode to Forest Goddess from Rig Veda

Probably this is the oldest and most beautiful poem on Forest. The scent of the forest, the sounds heard in the forest, the strength of the forest (she doesn’t need to plough and cultivate), the vegetarian food of the forest queen, the title as Queen, the status as Goddess- all such words and epithets show great appreciation for the forest.

 Here is the poem:- Ode to Forest Goddess

1. GODDESS of wild and forest who seems to vanish from the sight.

     How is it that thou seek not the village? Art thou not afraid?

2. What time the grasshopper replies and swells the shrill cicala’s voice,

     Seeming to sound with tinkling bells, the Lady of the Wood exults.

3. And, yonder, cattle seem to graze, what seems a dwelling-place appears:

     Or else at eve the Lady of the Forest seems to free the wains.

4. Here one is calling to his cow, another there hath felled a tree:

     At eve the dweller in the wood fancies that somebody hath screamed.

5. The Goddess never slays, unless some murderous enemy approach.

     Man eats of savoury fruit and then takes, even as he wills, his rest.

6. Now have I praised the Forest Queen, sweet-scented, redolent of balm,

     The Mother of all sylvan things, who tills not but hath stores of food.

Same Poem in Sanskrit……………………….

The method of addressing is followed even by the 2000 year old Tamil Sangam poets: The poet says Aranyaanii! Aranyaanii! Tamils used such repetitions in Purananauru verses–195, 228, 256, 285, 301 etc

10.146.01   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

अर॑ण्या॒न्यर॑ण्यान्य॒सौ या प्रेव॒ नश्य॑सि ।

क॒था ग्रामं॒ न पृ॑च्छसि॒ न त्वा॒ भीरि॑व विंदती३ँ ॥

araṇyāni ǀ araṇyāni ǀ asau ǀ yā ǀ pra-iva ǀ naśyasi ǀ

kathā ǀ grāmam ǀ na ǀ pṛcchasi ǀ na ǀ tvā ǀ bhīḥ-iva ǀ vindatīm̐ ǁ

10.146.02   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

वृ॒षा॒र॒वाय॒ वद॑ते॒ यदु॒पाव॑ति चिच्चि॒कः ।

आ॒घा॒टिभि॑रिव धा॒वय॑न्नरण्या॒निर्म॑हीयते ॥

vṛṣa-ravāya ǀ vadate ǀ yat ǀ upa-avati ǀ ciccikaḥ ǀ

āghāṭibhiḥ-iva ǀ dhāvayan ǀ araṇyāniḥ ǀ mahīyate ǁ

10.146.03   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

उ॒त गाव॑ इवादंत्यु॒त वेश्मे॑व दृश्यते ।

उ॒तो अ॑रण्या॒निः सा॒यं श॑क॒टीरि॑व सर्जति ॥

uta ǀ gāvaḥ-iva ǀ adanti ǀ uta ǀ veśma-iva ǀ dṛśyate ǀ

uto iti ǀ araṇyāniḥ ǀ sāyam ǀ śakaṭīḥ-iva ǀ sarjati ǁ

10.146.04   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

गामं॒गैष आ ह्व॑यति॒ दार्वं॒गैषो अपा॑वधीत् ।

वस॑न्नरण्या॒न्यां सा॒यमक्रु॑क्ष॒दिति॑ मन्यते ॥

gām ǀ aṅga ǀ eṣaḥ ǀ ā ǀ hvayati ǀ dāru ǀ aṅga ǀ eṣaḥ ǀ apa ǀ avadhīt ǀ

vasan ǀ araṇyānyām ǀ sāyam ǀ akrukṣat ǀ iti ǀ manyate ǁ

10.146.05   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

न वा अ॑रण्या॒निर्हं॑त्य॒न्यश्चेन्नाभि॒गच्छ॑ति ।

स्वा॒दोः फल॑स्य ज॒ग्ध्वाय॑ यथा॒कामं॒ नि प॑द्यते ॥

na ǀ vai ǀ araṇyāniḥ ǀ hanti ǀ anyaḥ ǀ ca ǀ it ǀ na ǀ abhi-gacchati ǀ

svādoḥ ǀ phalasya ǀ jagdhvāya ǀ yathā-kāmam ǀ ni ǀ padyate ǁ

10.146.06   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

आंज॑नगंधिं सुर॒भिं ब॑ह्व॒न्नामकृ॑षीवलां ।

प्राहं मृ॒गाणां॑ मा॒तर॑मरण्या॒निम॑शंसिषं ॥

āñjana-gandhim ǀ surabhim ǀ bahu-annām ǀ akṛṣi-valām ǀ

pra ǀ aham ǀ mṛgāṇām ǀ mātaram ǀ araṇyānim ǀ aśaṃsiṣam ǁ

to be continued…………………………………

Tags- Tamil ghosts, Forest ,God, Nymphs, Mountain,

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