Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 8 November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 21-12


Post No.3334


Pictures are taken from various sources; they are only representational; thanks.







Please read the first part posted yesterday and then continue here:-


Bride behind a curtain!

The bride’s parents now come forward and with necessary ceremonies, invest the bridegroom with the two skeins to form necessary full sacred thread up of a married man. A curtain is then fixed across the platform, and the bride is brought out seated in a kind of wicker-basket, and is then placed behind the curtain which separates the young couple so that they cannot actually see each other until later on in the affair.

Honey, Milk and Golden Sacred Thread

The bride’s father or mother then proceeds to give to the bridegroom a mixture of curds, milk ghee, sugar cummin, honey and other ingredients. This mixture is known as “mathuparkam”. A portion of it is placed in his hand and he proceeds to eat it. This is repeated three times. It is supposed to refresh him after the fatigue he has already gone through and also to prepare him for the further ceremonies. The bride’s parents then present the bridegroom with a beautiful cloth and other like things, including a kind of yagnopavitam (sacred thread), made of one golden and two silver threads. The youth then proceeds to array himself in the gorgeous presents.


Giving of the Damsel

The important ceremony called “Kanyaadaanam” (giving of the damsel) now takes place. This is done as follows:The bridegroom first makes the following declaration


“I of such and such a name, family and tribe, perform this taking of hands for the remission of my sins and for the satisfaction of the supreme God.”


The bride’s family priest then asks the bridegroom if he is willing to take so and so to wife. On his answering in the affirmative, the ends of the upper garments of the pair are tied together in what is called the “Brahma knot”. The priest in tying this knot says vishvéth tratét,” that is “You both must trust and be a prop to each other”. They sit thus tied together until it may be necessary for them to move away from the place where they are sitting, when the knot is loosed.


This tying of the cloths, is an important part of the marriage ceremony and is repeated at various stages of the proceedings. Certain presents of jewels and cloths one of which should be silk are now given to the bride by bridegroom’s father. The bridegroom then again makes a declaration of his willingness to accept the bride, and her father makes a declaration of his willingness to give her.


The bride’s mother then brings in a vessel of water with which her father proceeds to wash the bridegroom’s feet, sprinkling some of the water on his own head. He then takes the right hand of the bride which is underneath the curtain, and placing it in hand of the bridegroom, pours over the clasped hands some water from the vessel.

Whilst this is being done, the father with the help of his priest/purohita, repeats certain mantrams of which the following is a specimen


“This damsel laden with gold,

And adorned with jewels of gold,

I give to thee who art like unto Vishnu,

In the hope that I may attain the heaven of Brahma”

Kanyaam kanaka sampannaam kanakaabaranairyuthaam

Daasyaami vishnavebhyam brahmalokajigiishayaa


The pouring of water over the clasped hands is one of the most important ceremonies of the whole proceedings. After this is done, curtain which has hitherto separated the bride and bridegroom is re- moved, and they see each other, possibly for the first time in their lives.


An ox yoke

The parties may be very young. A very curious ceremony is gone through at this stage of the proceedings. An ox yoke is brought in and a cord made of darbha grass is tied round the waist of the bride by the bridegroom. This cord is supposed to represent one of those used to place round the neck of the ox when it is yoked. It is easy to see the origin and significance of the act. The yoke is now held over the bride in such a manner that one of the holes in it shall come right over her head The mangalasutram, to be presently described, i now taken and held under the hole through which water is poured by the bridegroom. The water trickles down the mangalasutram on to the bride’s head. During this the young couple are made to say to each other nati charaimani,” or “I will never leave thee.


Tying of Mangalasutram


The next ceremony is the important one of tying on the mangalasutram. This is a saffron coloured on the man thread or cord to which a small gold ornament is attached. It is fastened round the neck and hangs down in front like a locket. This is always worn by married women, like the wedding ring among Europeans, and it is never parted with, for any consideration whatever, until the death of either party. Thus, if a woman has not on the mangalasutram, is a sign of widowhood.


A beautiful cloth is now given to the bride by her father and she departs for a little in order to array herself in it; on her return she is accompanied by her female relatives. The bridegroom now takes the ‘mangalasutram’ and, with an appropriate declaration, ties it round the neck of the bride. Whilst this is being done, the musicians make loud noise with the instruments. Others who are present clap their hands. This is to prevent any sneezing from being heard. Sneezing is considered a very bad omen; and for fear any one might be seized with an attack during this important part of the marriage ceremony, the loud noise is made to drown so unlucky a sound.


The declaration which the bridegroom, prompted the by priest gives utterance to on tying the cord is as follows:


“This mangalasutram

For the lengthening of my life

Oh damsel I  tie to thy neck,

Do thou live for a hundred years.”

Maangalyam tantunaanena mama jiivana hetunaa

Kante badnaami subhage tvam jiivasaradaam satam


Whilst the ‘mangalasutram’ is being tied on,” the prohitas and those present chant the mangalashtakam, or eight marriage blessings. When the chanting is concluded some of those present throw coloured rice upon the couple, by way of blessing them.

(My comments: Very often it is discussed by the Tamils whenther tying the Thali/Mangla sutram/yellow thread around the neck is a native custom or borrowed one. To my surprise all the Tamil hill tribes use this Mangalasutram. They are all described as Dravidians)


One of the eight marriage blessings is as follows:

“The pearls in the lotus-like hands of Sita which shone like rubies

When poured on the head of Rama appeared white like jasmine flowers,

And falling over his dark blue body shone like sapphires

May those pearls thus used at the marriage of Rama give happiness unto you.”



An ornament called ‘bhashikam’ is also worn by the bride and bridegroom, when they are seated together at any time during the five days for which the ceremony lasts. This ornament is usually made of twigs and coloured thread and is worn tied on to the forehead by a string passing round the head. After the tying of the mangalasutram, the priest places a few grains of coloured rice into the hands of those present who in company chant as a blessing some verses from the Védas. After this, all present throw the rice on to the heads of the married pair. It may be that the modern English custom of throwing rice after a newly married couple arose from this Indian rite.


At this stage of the proceedings the bridegroom duly prompted by the family priest, proceeds to per form a homam or sacrifice of fire. This is done in the sacred fire which is made and kept up in the centre of a prepared place, during the whole of the marriage festival days. The homam is performed by dropping into the fire certain kinds of twigs and rice and ghee. Mantrams are also repeated at the same time.



The next ceremony is called saptapadi or seven steps. This is the most important ceremony in the whole marriage rite, and in a court of justice this is the test ceremony by which it is decided whether a disputed marriage was completely performed or not. Manu also makes this the irrevocable act, upon which the rite is complete:–


“The nuptial texts are a certain rule in regard to wedlock, and bridal contract is known by the learned to be complete and irrevocable on the seventh step of the married pair, hand in hand. after those texts have been pronounced.” (viii. 227.)


The ceremony is performed as follows. The couple, holding each other by the hand, walk three times round the sacred fire, each circle being supposed to be done in seven steps. Whilst they are thus marching, the priest repeats a mantra, the bridegroom joining in with him if he is able to do so. The mantra is supposed to be said by the bridegroom to the bride and is as follows

Sakhaayo saptapadaa sakhaayo saptapadaa baboons

Sakhaayo te game yam sakhyaate mama gosh am

Sakhyaate ma yoshtaah

Samsayah a sankalpaavahai


By taking seven steps with me do thou become my friend

By taking seven steps together we become friends

I shall become thy friend

I shall never give up thy friendship

Do thou never give up my friendship

Let us live together and take counsel one of another


With this rite the marriage may be said to be indissolubly completed and, upon this, betel and fruits are distributed to those present, after which those who, through religious differences, cannot eat together with the household take their leave.


The women present then sing marriage songs, which are taken from the marriage songs of Rama and Sita. Whilst singing they hold small lamps in their hands and the lamps are fed with ghee.


(My comments: I have already written about the famous Tamil King Karikal Choza walked seven steps to say good bye too his guests. It is in Sangam Tamil literature. I have also written about the significance of Number Seven in the Indus valley seals. I have also referred to seven steps in the Vedas in my research articles)




Sometime after darkness has set in, the ceremony called Sthaalipaakam is performed. This is done as follows.

The company being assembled, a little rice is cooked in a small vessel on the sacred fire when, after several suppressions of the breath and repeating Om bhuh, Om bhuvaha, Om suvaha, the name of the three worlds of the Hindus, the bridegroom mention s the exact time that then is , naming the age, year, day and hour, and also the place where they are at the time. He then makes this declaration

I make this Sthaalipaakam, on behalf of this damsel, to please the supreme God.

After this is done, he sprinkles ghee over some of the cooked rice and, taking pinches of it up in his two fingers and thumb, performs a homam by casting it upon the fire. He does this several times, repeating the following mantra :-


Idam Na Mama= It is not Mine

Agnaye swaaha agnaya idam na mama

Agnaye svistakrte svaahaa agnaye svistakrta idam na mama


May this become a sacrifice to Agni, the God of fire.

To him this is given, it is not mine

May this become a sacrifice to him who fulfils our desires

This belongs to him, it is not mine

(Please see my article Idam Na Mama posted earlier)


Seeing Arundhati Star in the North


Before the bridegroom and the bride can take any food, the last ceremony of this first day’s proceedings must be done. The priest take s them outside the house and pointing out a very small star, bids them pay homage to it.  The star is near the middle one in the tail of Ursa Major constellation called Arundhati,


And the star is named after Arundhari, the wife of Vasishta, one of the seven rishis. The Arundhati is said to have been a pattern wife, and probably the ceremony is meant to draw the attention of the bride to that fact and to bid her follow so good an example.


(Arundhati is referred to in many places in Sangam and Post Sangam Tamil literature; Please see my earlier article on this subject)

After this the bride and bridegroom take food together from the same leaf. This is a rather noteworthy act, as it is the only time during their life when the husband and wife eat together. Ever after they will eat apart. The duty of the wife is to serve her husband whilst he eats, and when he has done, to partake what is left of the food, using as a plate the leaf from which her husband has just breakfasted or dined .


At the time when the bride and bridegroom are partaking their love feast, the family and guests sit down and partake of the marriage feast. Generally, a very large number come together for this.

First Day Ceremonies over.

To be continued……………….


Rare Pictures of Dravidians, Tamils and Tamil Nadu from A French Book (Year 1887)

Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 8 November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 6-09 am


Post No.3332




Please see the earlier two parts posted yesterday and day before yesterday.


Devadasi, Temple Dancer

Village women


Temple Dancers (Devadasis)


Dravidian warriors (Bhils)



Low Caste People (Palanquin bearers)

Irulas (Dravidians)


Irulas of Nilgris (according to foreigners, Irulas are Dravidians)

Dravidian Kotas of Tamil Nadu

Dravidian Todas of Nilagris,Tamil Nadu

Tamil Pilgrims


Minas of Rajasthan

to be continued……………………


Five Day Hindu Marriage- Part 1(Post No.3329)

Compiled and Edited by London Swaminathan


Date: 7  November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 14-30


Post No.3329



Pictures are taken from various sources.




Please see the first part posted yesterday.


A wife is a Gift from Gods was posted yesterday. Please read that and continue here: –


Rev. J E Padfield continues……………….


“I am now chiefly describing the customs of the Brahmins, who are more particular in ceremonies than other castes except, perhaps, the Vaisyas but at the same time, though the inferior castes may leave out various items of the ritual, the mode of procedure is very much the same amongst all orthodox Hindus.


Many marriages are arranged, especially between near relatives, when the boy and girl are mere infants, but when that is not done, the parents begin to look around for a suitable person when the proper time for marriage is drawing near. In such a case, if the father of marriageable boy hears or knows of a suitable match, he will select a fortunate day and then proceed to visit the parents of the girl with a view to preliminaries and to talk the matter over. He is ways careful to take with him his son’s horoscope, as the girl’s parents will want to see whether the youth was born under combination of the planets as to augur well for the future of the proposed pair.


The horoscope is document drawn up by the family priest at the birth of every boy, and a girl, showing the date and even the moment of the birth and the state of the planetary system at the time. This document always carefully preserved for future reference. If the horoscope is favourable, preliminaries are talked over and financial arrangements made. Sometimes, particularly if the expectant bridegroom should be unpromising or old and a comparative stranger, the friends of the girl, on his sending a go-between, may try to drive a bargain and squeeze money out of him.


Sometimes when a rich old man loses his wife, the parents of a young girl will take means of intimating to him their willingness to give him their daughter for a consideration. This however, is considered very improper and is against the letter of the law.


“Let no father who knows the law, receive a gratuity, however small, for giving his daughter to marriage; since the man who through avarice, takes a gratuity for that purpose is a seller of his offspring” (Manu, iii. 51)


Notwithstanding it is not uncommon for the bride’s parents to demand a sum of money, sometimes comparatively large, from the boy’s friends before they will consent to a match. This is very like selling the girl and is the thing guarded against the above quotation. The dowry given by the parents of the bridegroom to the bride, in the shape of jewels, which goes with the bride when she goes to her new home, is besides and over and above the money in question. The name given to the arrangements for this money gift to the girl’s parent is one which means bargaining; and when there are several applicants for her hand, it often becomes very much like an auction in which the highest bid is held out for.


My Comments:–

REVERSE VARADAKSHINA: In Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil literature we see this type of Stri Dhana (dowry). But when the female ratio in the population was high the boys demanded dowry unlike the olden days. Now the wheel is turning a full circle. The girls are demanding lot of things or putting too many conditions before marriage because they have become a rare commodity now. For every 1000 men in India we have only 900 to 950 women only)


Rs 700 Dowry/Varadhakshina !

“I quote a case that is said to have recently (year 1908) happened in South India. which is, I am informed, only one of many that are of more or less frequent occurrence in one part or another. A certain poor Brahmin agreed to give his daughter, nine years of age, to the son of one of his own caste. The sum of money agreed upon in this case was Rs. 700 which was handed over to the girl’s father and the ‘prathanam’ or betrothal ceremony, actually took place. Within a couple of months, a more wealthy suitor appeared on the scene, and offered Rs. 1,000, which sum was duly paid over, and a second prathanam was performed. The matter came to the ears of the first party and he took legal steps to stay all proceedings, and obtained an injunction from the Law Court, pending the hearing of a suit. The case duly came before the Court, and it resulted in the girl’s father having to refund the Rs. 700 to the first suitor for his daughter, besides paying the costs of the proceedings. After this the girl was finally married to the son of the one who gave the larger sum.


This unlawful custom of a father’s receiving money in return for thus giving his daughter appears to prevail mostly amongst Brahmins. Ordinarily, amongst other Hindus, there is an interchange of gifts by way of dowry from the bride’s father to the bridegroom, and from his father to the bride. These dowries usually take the shape of jewels clothes, brass and copper household vessels and the like. The nature and value of these mutual gifts is all settled at the interview between the parents and friends before the prathanam (betrothal). Jewels are also given to the bride by her father to be her sole property; and, in some cases, if a young wife dies without issue, these jewels are returned to him.


When a marriage is arranged between a young couple, preliminaries are settled to the satisfaction of parties concerned, a suitable day is fixed upon for the formal engagement, or betrothal. The day fixed upon must be a lucky one, and it is not settled without consulting either an astrologer or the priest.


Nischayathartham -Betrothal

At the pre-arranged time, the father of the boy with a friend or two, not the boy himself proceeds to the house of the girl’s father, who then calls together a few friends, and his priest. It is also the proper thing to have musicians at this entertainment. The boy’s father then produces certain presents he has brought for the girl, such as jewels, cloths and ring. These things are handed over to the girl in the presence of them all, and she is arrayed in all the finery. The ring, which is of a peculiar shape, is carefully kept all through life. It is put on the third or ring finger, and the elders present are called upon to bless the girl which they do saying

“may you like Lakshmi be happy and prosperous”.


At the close of the ceremony, betel is distributed to the guests and rose-water is sprinkled over them.  After this, when, with the aid of the astrologer, a suitable day for the marriage has been fixed, the friends depart and the betrothal is complete. Like an ‘engagement’ amongst Europeans, this prathanam is not necessarily a binding ceremony, that is, it possible for in the event of any obstacle arising, for this betrothal to be broken.



Auspicious Five Months!


The time chosen for the actual performance of the marriage should be in one of five months beginning from February. It is not that marriages cannot be performed at other times during the year but this is considered the most propitious time. It is probable that this idea took its rise from convenience, for during the period in question, there is little agricultural labour to be done and, as the crops also have been harvested, money is in hand for the expenses that must be incurred.


Proceeding to Bride’s Place

At the time fixed upon, the bride’s father has his house cleaned up and decorated, and a pandal, or a large open booth, is erected in front and at the back of the house to accommodate the guests and friends. Permission must be obtained from the authorities to erect these pandals, and a tax is levied for the permission. The bridegroom’s father sets out from his abode to go to that of the bride. He takes with him the bridegroom, a great part of his household, his own purohita/priest and other friends. It is made a great holiday and these visitors always have a band of musicians with them to cheer them on the journey.


Five Gods in Five Vessels as Witnesses!

On approaching the home of the bride the party array, themselves in their best finery, the band strikes up and all await the coming out to meet them of the bride’s parents and friends. Before going out to meet the party, the bride’s father, if the parties are Brahmins, proceeds to the north-east of the village in search of some earth from the hillocks made by white ants. This he takes home and, having prepared a space in the room where the chief marriage ceremony is to be performed five earthen or metal vessels with it and places them in a row. In these and vessels he plants nine different kinds of grain sprinkles them with milk and water, repeating a mantram. The grain thus treated quickly sprouts during the days of the ceremonies.


Five of the gods are invoked and requested to be present as witnesses at the ceremony namely Indra (the god of storms Varuna (the god of the waters), Chandra (the moon) Yama (the god of death), and Brahma. This ceremony confined to Brahmins. The saying of the mantram is a necessary part of the proceedings.


The mantra is

Bhumir Dhenur Dharani loka dharinii

The earth like the cow bears all things and supplies all things.


The bride’s father and friends, with the family and priest, go out in a body to meet the bridegroom and his party. When they meet there is a mutual exchange of civilities, such as gifts of betel, sprinkling one another with rose-water, and then rubbing upon the hands, neck and chest of each other some sandal wood paste.


Finally, the guests are conducted to a lodging, previously prepared for them. This lodging must not be in the bride’s house, for that would considered very improper. The marriage ceremony may commence on the evening of the arrival of the bride groom and the whole affair lasts for five days.


Auspicious Bathing


The hour for the ceremony of the actual marriage has to be carefully fixed so as to be at the most propitious time. It may fall during the day or the night time. A little before the time fixed upon, party assembles in the apartment near the place where the grain is sprouting. The bridegroom is then duly bathed. This bathing is called blessed or fortunate bathing (MANGALA SNANAM). After this, seated on a slightly raised platform, previously prepared for the occasion, dressed in his ceremonially pure clothes and facing the east, he prays to Ganésha (the god of obstacles) to be propitious. An image of Ganesha is placed there, if one can be procured; otherwise they place a lump of turmeric  made into a paste to represent him.


After this he performs a ceremony of purification called punyahavachanam.  Meanwhile the bride in another part of the house, has been going through much the same kind of thing. She has been bathing and worshipping Ganesha and also Gauri the wife of  Siva, or Laksmi, the wife of Vishnu. Which one it is depends on the religious sect of the parties.


To be continued…………….



Rare Pictures of People of India from 1887 French Book (Post No. 3328)

Picture of Pundit of Udaipur


Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 7  November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 6-21 am


Post No.3328



Pictures are taken from various sources.




Queen of Bhopal

Warriors of Rajasthan

Hindu woman from Bombay



Dancer from Kashmir

Soldiers of Kashmir


Assamese women from the Hills


Naga Leader

I will post more pictures tomorrow.





A Wife is a Gift from the Gods- Manu Smrti (Post No 3325)

Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 6  November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 18-08


Post No.3325



Pictures are taken from various sources.





HINDU MARRIAGES (vivaha)—Part 1


(Following is the edited version of  Hindu marriage from the book The Hindu at Home written by The Rev. J E Padfield, published in 1908. He has described the five day marriage in Brahmins’ houses 100 yeaars ago in detail. I will post it tomorrow)

“The nuptial ceremony is considered as the complete institution of women, ordained for them in the Veda, together with reference to their husbands (Manu, ii. 67.)


HINDU laws and regulations on the marriage question take it for granted that all men and women must marry. It is only those who may be suffering from disqualifications of mind or body that do not marry. There are no old bachelors or old maids amongst the Hindus. It appears quite clear that in Vedic time there was some liberty of choice amongst both men and women, as to their partners; for it is thus written.


Love Marriage in not wrong!


“Three years let a damsel wait, though she be marriageable; but, after that term, let her choose for herself a bridegroom of equal rank.

If, not being given in marriage, she chooses her bridegroom, neither she nor the youth chosen commit any offence.


But a damsel, thus electing her husband, shall not carry with those her the ornaments which she received from her father, nor given by her mother or brethren: if she carries them away, she commits theft (Manu, ix. 90-92.)

A thirty year old man should marry a twelve year old girl who charms his heart, and a man of twenty four, an eight year old girl; and if duty is threatened, he should marry in haste.

A husband takes his wife as a gift from the gods, not by his own wish; he should always support a virtuous woman, thus pleasing the gods- 9-94-96

Vedic Age and Modern Kali Yuga


But whatever liberty may have existed in respect in ancient times it very certain that such is not the case now. The institution of child marriage has entirely destroyed that liberty.


Amongst Brahmins, and Vaisyas, a boy cannot be married until he has invested with the marks of the twice-born (upanayanam), though they are often married immediately after that event. Girls must be married before puberty and usually it is done  whilst they are quite young.


Marriages can only take place between those of the same caste and the same sect. there are also prohibitive degrees of tribe and family which marriages are not allowed. Amongst the larger sects this does not act much as an obstacle but amongst the smaller ones it often causes great difficulty.


There are also natural likes and dislikes, some of which are thus alluded to by Manu, and which evidently point to a period when marriages were settled at a more natural age, and in a more natural manner.


Don’t marry Talkative Girl!


“Let him not marry a girl with reddish hair, nor with any deformed limb, nor one troubled with habitual sickness, nor one either with no hair or with too much, nor one immoderately talkative, nor one with inflamed eyes.


“Let him choose for his wife a girl whose form has no defect, who has an agreeable name, who walks gracefully, like a swan, or like a young elephant, whose hair and teeth are moderate respectively in quality and in size, whose body has exquisite softness.” (iii. 8 and 10).


The two institutions of polyandry and polygamy exist in India. The former cannot be said as a Hindu institution; indeed it is utterly opposed and  abhorrent to very spirit of  Hinduism.  It is practised by such unorthodox Hindus as the Todas of the Nilgiris and the Nairs of Western Coast. But it is only a local and in no sense a universal custom.


Polygamy, however, is a true Hindu institution, and it is duly legislated upon in the various codes. Manu lays down the law as follows:

For the first marriage of the twice born classes, a woman of the same class is recommended; but for men who are driven by desire to marry again women in the direct order of the classes are to be preferred.

(iii. 13)


This only alludes to a state of things in those early Vedic days; in this Kali Yuga or degenerate age, though a man may have, and in some cases, should have, more wives than one at the same time, it can only be within strictly recognized caste limits.

One Wife from Each Caste!


One of the stories in the Vickramarkacharitra turns upon the fact of a Brahmin being allowed to take to wife a woman from each of the four castes. Now, however, no one, especially a Brahmin, dares to marry outside of his own caste; but, within these  limits, there are circumstances under which it is rather incumbent upon a Hindu than otherwise to take a second wife.


When can you marry a Second Wife?


Should his wife prove barren, or should all the male issue die, then very often, the husband will be pressed by the wife herself to re-marry, so that there may be surviving male issue, and thus the reproach of the family be wiped away and the future salvation of those concerned fully assured. This concession is, however, guarded round with conditions, some of which are thus stated by Manu:–


“A barren wife may be superseded by another in the eighth year, she whose children are all dead in the tenth, she who brings forth only daughters in the eleventh, she who speaks unkindly without delay.” (ix. 81.)

Another condition, not absolutely binding in all cases, is that the first wife should consent to the remarriage. It is not difficult to understand how reluctant a woman would naturally be thus to have a sharer in her husband’s affection.


The desire, however, for male issue, indeed the absolute necessity for a son, either born or adopted, is so overpowering that it is not so unusual a thing as might at first be supposed, for a woman, at all and any risk to her own personal happiness or the family, to strongly desire her husband to seek out another woman and bring her to his home.

Cousin Marriage!


Amongst the Telugu people ‘menarikam’, which means that a youth should marry his mother’s brother’s daughter, and a girl should marry her father’s sister’s son. Failing such relationships, the choice is left free, that is free within the proper limits of caste and sect.


There are, however, some sects of Brahmins who are opposed to this menarikam rule, thinking the blood-relationship is too close for marriage.


There is another bar to marriages amongst Hindus that does not exist amongst Europeans, and that is that a younger brother cannot marry until the elder one is married. Neither can a younger sister marry  before the elder one is disposed of. This is not a mere custom,  it is according to what is strictly laid down in the code. Manu says


Five people go to hell!


“He who makes a marriage contract with the connubial fire, whilst his elder brother continues un married, is called a parivetru and the elder brother a parivitti. The parivetru, the parivitti, the damsel thus wedded, the giver of her in wedlock and fifthly, the performer of the nuptial sacrifice, all sink to a region of torment (Manu, iii. 171, 172.)


To be continued…………………..



Rare Pictures of Thanjavur Plates and Pots from 1887 French Book (Post No. 3324)

Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 6  November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 15-23


Post No.3324



Pictures are taken from various sources.












Bull Fighting by Kallans (Post No.3318)

Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 4  November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 6-59 AM


Post No.3318



Pictures are taken from various sources; they are only representational.


Source: THE LAND OF LINGAM by Arthur Miles, Year 1933


“The Kallan girl often chooses her husband for valour. The horns of the fiercest bull are festooned with flowers, and the animal is turned loose amidst the frightful din of wild music and tom- toms. Excited by the noise and the onlookers, the bull charges about wildly, snorting and bellowing. The would-be bridegroom must recover the flowers from the bull’s horns, and it is considered a very great disgrace to be injured in so doing.


In former days all weddings were preceded by bull-fights. The girls who were to be married stood on a balcony over looking the enclosure, and watched their sweethearts give an account of themselves. The men were dressed in garlands of red and purple flowers, and before the contest prayed to the gods whose images were placed under the trees. The drums were beaten until the animals were infuriated, when at a given signal the men leaped into the enclosure and tried to seize the bulls, each youth selecting the bull whose colours belonged to his sweetheart. Many an unfortunate youth would be gored, and others, although wounded and bleeding would essay again and again to spring on to beasts’ backs to  bring them to the ground. The men who acted as judges, when they gloated sufficiently over the ghastly spectacle, announced that the fight was over. The victors afterwards met their brides-elect in another enclosure, which had been prepared for dancing. Often girls had to attend several fights before their chosen ones (there were different men on each occasion) came out alive.


Cousin Marriage


In  the opinion of the Kallans the best alliance is between man and his first cousin on his father’s side. Disparity in ages is considered of no consequence. A boy of fifteen should marry such a cousin, if she happens to be thirty or forty and if he has no cousin he should marry his aunt. When a wedding has taken place, the bridegroom’s sister goes to the bride’s house and takes the bride home with her to a feast that has been prepared. For the celebration sheep will have been roasted and a goodly supply of toddy bought. When everyone is intoxicated, the bride and the bridegroom go to their own house.


During the first year of their marriage the bride’s mother is supposed to present the pair with rice and chickens, pots, cocoanuts, and cloth, as often as she can afford the gifts. It used to be the custom for the bride and bridegroom to stand side by side during the marriage ceremony, and to sell all the wedding presents to the assembled guests, the money brought by the sale becoming the bride’s wedding portion.


Infant marriage is permitted amongst the Kallans, but it is not popular because it entails a present which must be given by the parents of the bride to the contracting pair until after the first year of the conjugal state. In adult marriage the time is shortened, and consequently the expenditure is less. For the betrothal ceremony the consent of the maternal uncle is necessary.


A pregnant woman, during the seventh month of pregnancy stands before her sister-in-law with bent head, while the sister-in-law pours the milk of a cocoanut down her, the pregnant woman’s, back. Sometimes patterns are traced on her back with turmeric paste before the liquid is poured. On the same date the husband decorates a grindstone with paste tracings, a blessing on his wife, and prays that she may have a male child as strong as the stone. When a child is born the entire family is under pollution for thirty days, during which time entrance into a temple is forbidden.


This caste performs circumcision. It is uncertain how this practice came into being.

Before any undertaking they place one red flower and one white flower in front of their idol, the white bloom signifying success. A child is asked to pick up one of the flowers, and if the red one is chosen, the undertaking is abandoned for the time.


Their local gods are carried through the streets on the sacred vehicle at the car festival, and their god Aalagarswami, exhibits the long ears characteristic of their caste.


It is said that if the men of this caste are successful in a marauding expedition, they put some of their ill-gotten gain before the god in the local shrine. The banks of the River Vaigai swarm with Kallans at their great annual festival, when the god Alagarswami is draggee through the steets. No blood is spilled as Alagarswami is a vegetarian, but ack of sanguine offering is due more to Brahmin influence than to Alagarswami’s vegetarian propensities.



Tree Devils

The Kallans believe that certain trees are occupied by devils, and under such trees they make offerings to the demon inhabitants. Rice and milk are left for the devils at night and a little fire is lighted in order that they can see the offerings. To-day, if such a tree grows in the jungle, and is consequently off the beaten path, a sheep or a goat is sacrificed and its blood spilled at the roots. When an animal offered, the devil will come out of the tree and enter the body of the worshipper, who becomes the devil’s mouthpiece and predicts what is going to happen in the near future. When the spirit of darkness has had his say, he returns to his tree and the worshipper recovers his senses.


Disputes and petty crimes occurring in the caste are usually settled by some member in authority. This dignitary frequently is one who, because he has acquired more money than any of the others, has won the respect of his people. Fines he inflicts are credited to the caste fund, and as this fund must be augmented the attentions of the police are not solicited.



Read my old article:-

BULL FIGHTING: Indus Valley to Spain via Tamil Nadu by London Swaminathan, 21 January 2012





British M.P. visits 7 Hindu Temples on New Year Day! (Post No.3313)

Angus Robertson and Bob Blackman, British MPs and Friends of Hindus.


Written  by London Swaminathan


Date: 2  November 2016


Time uploaded in London: 18-57


Post No.3313



Pictures are taken by London swaminathan.


Gowri Prabhu of Hare Krishna Temple doing Prayer

We had the Deepavali (Diwali) celebrations in the British Parliament in London on behalf of the Hindu Forum of Britain on Wednesday the 26th of October 2016. As an executive committee member and Chairman of the Chaplaincy Board of the Hindu Forum of Britain, I attended the crowded meeting. We celebrate the Deepavali every year in the Parliament. This year minister Priti (Pretty)  Patel (Secretary of State for International Development) along with several MPs and Lords attended the event.


As usual every speaker reminded us that it was the celebration of victory of good over evil, wisdom over ignorance, light over darkness. All the speakers referred to Rama’s return to Ayodhya, but none referred to Krishna’s victory over Narakasura of Assam(Kamarup). Krishna’s story is more popular in the south of India.


The most interesting thing is that Bob Blackman MP and the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group of Hindus, told the meeting that he visits eight Hindu temples every year on the New Year day and this year he has decided to visit at least nine temples, if possible more than nine. He leaves home around 7 am on the New Year day and visits the temple until midnight! He received thundering applause when he said this. Minister Priti Patel said that she was proud to be a British Hindu.



President of HFB Mrs Trupti Patel

Angus Robertson MP and SNP Westminster Group leader said that he wanted to confess one thing. Since he is from Scotland he said that Scotland is darker than other parts of Britain during Deepavali period and he wanted more Hindus to come to Scotland to lit up the place with more lamps. He received a big applause. He also mentioned that less number of Hindus live in Scotland than England.


The newly appointed Hindu to the House of Lords, Lord Jitesh Gadhia said that he took the oath with Rig Veda in his hand because it was the oldest scripture and has common prayers for all. He also received a big applause.


Since Kashmir day was celebrated a few hours before our function, Kashmir Maharaja’s grandson also came to the event with the MPs from that meeting. He was honoured because his granddad was the one who signed the treaty to stay in the Union of India. Many of the speakers praised the British soldiers and the Indian soldiers who are fighting a common enemy – the Muslim terrorists.

(Extreme right) Grand son of Maharajah of Kashmir

Sine Prime Minister Theresa May was busy with government  affairs her Deepavali Message was read by Bob Blackman.


Hindus are the biggest ethnic minority in the British Armed forces. Lot of MPs thanked the Hindus for developing the country economically and physically protecting the country.

The event was well attended and well organised by the HFB President Mrs Trupti Patel and Secretary General Ms Panna Arjan Velaria Mlod. A souvenir was also released on the day. Entertainment was provided by young artistes.


Minister Priti (Pretty) Patel is interviewed by TV people near the hall

Sai School of Harrow Students singing



Classical Indian Dance Vs Dance in the West (Post No.3306)

Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 31 October 2016


Time uploaded in London: 6-05 AM


Post No.3306


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks to Facebook friends.



Following is the superficial comparison of classical dance in the East and the West by Arthur Miles




“In the West the dissociation of art and the Church has left a chasm which neither can bridge. Whatever lofty idealism it is always judged as alone, and is never linked with a spiritual thought which might have inspired it.


In the East art and devotion are one and the same, it would be impossible for the West to make the dance other than theatrical, for the restlessness of cities demands amusement and diversion, and seeks to achieve forgetfulness in spectacular thrill. When Eastern dances are taken to the West it is for the sake of novelty and amusement, and consequently at once a false note is struck. The authenticity of the dance is lost; Indian dancing being essentially a rite, a symbol of the race spirit.


The dance has been one of the chief forms of religious expression in India since the beginning of her history. The earliest Vedic scripture mentions the divine singers, the dancing nymphs, and the players of musical instruments, and chants to the various gods were accompanied by dancing. Siva was the first dancer, and his the dance of creation, the ecstasy of motion, the preservation and destruction of cosmic energy.


Krishna danced and played his flute, while women, overcome by his music and his dancing, left home and husband to follow him. Lakshmi, the Hindu Venus, the goddess who was born from a lotus and the consort of Vishnu, was the dancer of heaven. Arrayed with anklets and bells she won the acclaim of the heavenly court and taught the apsaras (the heavenly nymphs) to dance. The eight energies were the saktis of Indra’s court, before they degenerated into the disgusting spectacles they are to-day.


The early Hindus spiritualized their emotions. Everything emanated from one divine source, namely from God. In ancient India dancing and music were supposed to regulate the emotions, to winnow from them any chaff which did not originate in the spiritual idea.


Brahma, the creator, entered into divine meditation and brought forth the arts of music, dancing, and drama. His nayaka (dancing master) had a character without blemish, and only people who were without ty and clean of mind were permitted to witness the dance.


Emotions in Dance

The emotions were classified as sringara, the sex emotion, which lies at the heart of creation; vir, heroism; karuna, compassion; adbhuta, wonder: hasya, laughter; bhayankara; bibhatsa, the grotesque; raudra, the terrible;shanti,peace; dasya, devotion; sakhya, friendship; vatsalya, paternal feeling; madhura, romance.  And all these have their symbols in the dance.


Kama, the Indian Eros, represents awakening and desire, and his is the dance of spring, the dance of love. In his dance he uses five arrows to pierce the five senses.


The dance of Durga signifies the mother aspect, and is the harvest dance, the dance of fulfilment. An old Indian legend relates that when the saint Rishabha Deva saw a dance per formed by Nilanjasa, a woman dancer in the service of the god Indra, he lost all desire for the world and retired to Kailasa (Siva’s heaven) to meditate upon eternal bliss.


Sri Chaitanya, a famous dancer of the sixteenth century, used to go about singing hymns in the praise of Krishna, and, continually thinking of the god, he was moved to execute some of the most beautiful dances the East has ever seen. Many who witnessed his performance became his pupils and devotees.

Tandava and Lasya


Dancing is divided into two types, known as Tandava and Lasya. Tandava is the expression of intense excitement and characterizes cosmic activity, divine and heroic. The conquest of evil and the attainment of bliss are moods of the Tandava. The prekshani mood of Tandava is a movement of the limbs without facial expression, and might be compared to the Noh dance of Japan, which is an Eastern adaptation of the masque dance of early Greece. Siva expresses himself in the Tandava of which his dance of joy, his evening dance, his dance to slay evil and ignorance, his dances with his two consorts, Uma and Gauri and his dance of death in the burning ground, signifying the soul’s release from illusion, are all phases.


The dance of Kali (one of Siva’s wives), the slayer of demons with garlands of skulls and death dealing weapons, also belongs to the Tandava, as does the dance of Krishna which expresses ecstatic and supreme joy.


Lasya is the mood of desire, and in this movement the expression is amorous and the gestures inviting. It is the dance of the woman before her lover.


The buffoon dance has its place in Hindu ritual, and is called the rudushaka

The dance Macabre is known as the bhringi, and Siva’s skeleton attendant dances it in the burning-ground. Hindu art, having originated with the gods, was taught to mortals by the rishis. The attainment of spiritual power is associated with certain postures of the body capable invoking inner vision, and Yoga was the growth of the early dance rituals.


The Nautch dance and the Manipuri dance of Bengal have been influenced by the Moghul and later schools. In these dances more attention is paid to the stepping of the measure than to the hand and arm gestures. The Indians are the only dancers who can be graceful on the flat of the foot, and so flexible are their feet, they convey the impression of dancing on the toes. The costume of the Nautch has taken on something of Western influence, the skirt being very wide and sewn with glittering spangles. Transparent veils are waved to create an effect.

Snake Dance and Peacock Dance


The Ajanta dance has toe movement, and in this it differs from most of the dances in India. It is the dance usually copied by Western devotees, and the dance of attraction is favourite phase of it. This movement seeks to disturb meditations of Lord Buddha, and betray him to the emotions. There are puzzling contrasts in the Ajanta, which are intended to portray good and evil. There is much head movement, and the arms are waved and folded in a series of gestures. Inspired by the Hindu dances and Western ideas, the Indians have evolved a new style of dancing. There is a snake dance, a peacock dance, a sword dance, and many others. In the peacock dance, which I watched in Bengal, powder was spread on the floor and the dancer, when her dance was finished, had traced the movements of the peacock in the powder. This dance entirely depends upon the movement, and lacks the expression or the of the classical dance.


In South India alone have the original dances been preserved. The temple dance of the Devadasi is seen in the south, and watching it might be attending the Dionysia of Greece, when the whole country was in a state of sanctity, under taboo, or in the grip of heroic drama. We see Clytemnestra waiting to slay Agamemnon as he returns from Troy; the hate of Medea and the slaying of her children; the love of Phedra and Hippolytos. We see the vestal virgins tending their god – worshipping him, singing to him, dancing for delight. We see the pure, natural dance of joy, with its roots in the ritual; the only dance that in the true meaning of the word can be called classic.


The ancient people knew that before you could perform a rite, something must be actually done. You could not content yourself in merely thinking about anything. Here they called on the law of magic, and perhaps it is a law, one the fundamental laws of the universe. We however have allowed it to become the weapon of charlatans.


All ancient religions were founded upon such a law –namely on formula, chants, and cadence; as might we say, on an enchantment produced by voice and sounds. There was not enough faith behind the desire for rain to make corn to grow, or to cause the soul to pass from the body. Accordingly, the fall of the rain, the sowing of the seed, the soul’s release all had to be danced. The mind required to be impressed by the movement of the body, in the same way that to-day the mind is impressed by prayers and services.


The ancient people worked themselves up with pantomime, as we work ourselves up with prayers and poetry. Their war dance and hunting dance stood in the place of our prayers. They occurred before the event, when something was desired, and again when something was finished or fulfilled.


The dances were performed at fixed times, until they became rites, and were closely associated in the mind with the object for which they came into being. The corn dance was associated with corn, the rain dance with rain, and one was seen in terms of the other. We must not forget that if our own forms are more practical, they are nevertheless ritual; for it is across the bridge of ritual we must pass to religion, science, art, or anything that needs a formula.


Adivasi dance in the Nilgris, South India

The ecstasy and triumph in Siva’s dance of creation were founded, no doubt, upon an expression of pure joy which had nothing to do with pleasure. The dance of pleasure came later. More and more sensuality entered into the dance with each succeeding generation, until it became the dance of lust, the present ………. sakta.


The cessation of the Hindu dances (with the exception of the Sakta) would be a great loss to art. The ……. words of some of the songs could be changed without weakening the stories they tell”.







Adivasi women from Dinamalar newspaper

Compiled  by London Swaminathan


Date: 28 October 2016


Time uploaded in London: 12-56


Post No.3297


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks


According to foreign “scholars”, all dark-skinned people, particularly tribal people, are Dravidians. But I have been saying that they are neither Dravidians nor Aryans, because no such thing is found in Sangam Tamil literature and Vedic literature. According to foreign writers these were the people once occupied Indus valley cities; but I have been arguing these people have nothing to do with Indus valley Civilization. These were the people who have been living in tis country from Bhimbetka Cave (Madhya Pradesh) days along with the Vedic culture. There are hundreds of tribes in India with different customs. There is no uniform culture. The surprising thing about the tribes is that they tie MANGALA SUTRAM (Thaali in Tamil) around bride’s neck. So, following piece gives a severe blow to Aryan-Dravidian theories—swami


Following is an excerpt from ‘The Hindu at Home’ written by Rev J E Padfield written in 1908.


Hitherto I have been speaking of things as they are in the Telugu country. Farther south, in the Tamil speaking parts, there many varieties the marriage rites amongst the various aboriginal tribes.


Vellalar and Milk Bowl

The Karakat Vellalans, for instance, who live on and near the Palani Mountains in South India, have very peculiar marriage customs. The ceremony is performed in a booth (Pandal), erected for the purpose before the house door of the bride. The bride and bridegroom are seated on the floor with their faces towards the east. A lamp kept burning on a stool near where they sit, whilst a measure of grain and a rude image of Ganésha made of cow dung, is placed near them. After both have prostrated themselves before the symbol, the bride- groom receives the mangalasutram from some of the relatives present, which he proceeds to tie around the bride’s neck. At the same time a bowl of milk is brought, in which a few leaves of the peepul tree have been steeped. The relatives on both sides then sprinkle some of this milk upon the heads of the pair.


The newly-married couple then prostrate themselves before their several relatives, and the day’s ceremony is concluded with a feast and a formal distribution of betel. This concludes the marriage ceremony. On the following day the bridegroom gives a grand feast, when various marriage presents are distributed to the bride and her relatives.


Maravans and Conch Shells

Amongst the Maravans, a people dwelling mostly in the extreme south-east of the peninsula, the marriage ceremonies are very strange and unusual. After a marriage has been agreed upon by the principal members of two families, a few of the relatives of the intended bridegroom go to the house of the bride, and then, with or without her consent and, even perhaps without having sought the consent of the bridegroom they tie upon her neck the mangalasutram whilst conch shells are blown loudly outside They then escort the bride to the house of her husband. A feast is given which lasts for several days.


Processions are formed through the streets and a cocoanut broken before an image of Ganésha. These and a few other one ceremonies conclude the marriage rites. There is one curious custom which must be noted when these people have not the means to pay for the feast and other expenses. They simply tie on the mangalasutram, upon which the parties live together as man and wife. The other ceremonies, however, must be gone through at some time or other, when means admit of it. Should the husband happen to die before the defect has been supplied, the friends and relatives at once borrow money, if they have none by them, and proceed to complete the marriage ceremonies in the presence and on behalf of the corpse. The dead body supposed to be the bridegroom is placed on a seat with the woman by it. After this gruesome ceremony, the mangala- sutram is taken off the woman and she is free, as a widow, to remarry.


Kallans and Boomerangs

Amongst the Kallans, an important caste in the south, a marriage alliance depends upon consanguinity, and it is entirely irrespective of the wishes of either parties to the contract, or even of their parents. When a wedding has been fixed upon, the sister of the bridegroom, with a present in her hand, goes to the house of the parents of the bride and ties some horse-hair around the bride’s neck. She then takes her, accompanied by some of her relatives, to the house of the bridegroom where a feast is prepared. After the feast the pair are conducted to the house of the bridegroom where a solemn exchange is made of vallari thadis or boomerangs. Another feast is then given in the bride’s house, and the bride is presented by her parents with some rice and a hen. The bride and bridegroom, now husband and wife, then repair to his home and the marriage ceremony is complete.


Tottiyans and Bullock-sadle


There is a caste of cultivators in the south called Tottians, who perform their weddings as follows. Two booths are erected, outside the limits of the village, and in each of them is placed a bullock-saddle, and upon these are seated the bride and bridegroom, whilst the relatives and friends congregate around. The attendant priest addresses the assembly, after which the price of the bride, usually so much grain, is carried under a canopy of white cloth to the house of the bride’s father. This procession, which is heralded by music and dancing, is met by the friends of the bride who receive the grain, and they all go together into the house. Here betel is distributed and mutual congratulations exchanged, after which the whole party is led to the bride’s booth by the priest.


Arrived there, the priest receives at the hand of the bridegroom a small chain of black beads and a tiny circlet of gold. The priest then proceeds to tie the chain round the bride’s neck and attaches the circlet of gold to her forehead, with which ceremony the marriage is complete. This is succeeded by the usual feasting, without which it does not seem possible for a marriage to take place anywhere.




There are people of a very low status like the Poleiyans, for instance, whose marriage ceremony merely consists of a declaration of consent made by both parties at a feast to which all the relatives are invited. I now proceed to describe the nuptial rites of the hill tribes of Southern India which are of the most simple and primitive character.


Todas: Foot on Bride’s Head!


Amongst the Todas early betrothals are common, and the agreement is ratified by an interchange of buffaloes. When the time comes for the marriage to be consummated there is another exchange of buffaloes.

The only ceremony is that the woman bows down before the man and he places his foot upon her head. This humiliating acknowledgment of submission on the part of woman is not what one would have expected in a tribe where polyandry is practised. The wife is installed in her position by proceeding to perform some household duties, such as cooking and drawing water.


The Kotas, a tribe dwelling on the slopes of the Nilgiri Hills, perform their marriages in the following manner. It is usual for the couple to be betrothed when they are quite young and, when the girl becomes of a marriageable age, she is sent for to the house of her future father-in-law. The usual marriage feast is given, followed by music and dancing, and the ceremony is concluded by the bridegroom’s mother tying the mangalasutram round the bride’s neck.


Kurumbas: No Marriage rites!!

Amongst the Kurambas, who are also dwellers on the Nilgiri slopes, there seem to be no marriage rites whatever. When a couple decide to come together, or even after they may have been living together for some time, a feast is given to their friends and the marriage is complete.


With the Irulas, another Nilgiri tribe, there is no marriage ceremony, neither is there any previous betrothal. When a youth comes of age to choose a wife, he finds one for himself and the matter is ended.



The Badagas, who are dwellers on the Nilgiri plateau are said to be the descendants of Canarese colonists. Amongst this people marriages are contracted without any special rites and the marriage tie is held by them very loosely. After a couple have agreed to come together, a time of probation is allowed during which either of the parties may draw back and decline to go further with the connection. A man may make several of these temporary alliances before definitely decides upon a partner for life. There is some feasting when a definite alliance has been agreed to, and that is all there is by way of rites and ceremonies.