[INDOLOGY] On the ācāras of Kerala non-brahmins (was Re: Question regarding Ācāryaśāpa)

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at aol.com
Thu Jun 8 01:27:18 EDT 2017

While the earlier discussion has been the cultural differences of Kerala brahmins, are there early discussions of the ācāras of Kerala non-brahmins, particularly persons outside Kerala? About 50 years ago, I heard an orthodox non-Kerala person say “Keraḷam vānara ācāram”. When I asked him why he said so, he said it was because of the history of polyandry in Kerala and he cited the story of Tārā, the wife of Vālin, as an example of a woman with more than one husband. I do not know the source of that saying. Recently, I came across an article that discusses the Western attitudes towards the status of women in Kerala society. (http://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/the-woman-who-cut-off-her-breasts/article17324549.ece <http://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/the-woman-who-cut-off-her-breasts/article17324549.ece>) The question I have is this, did people outside Kerala have such negative view of the Kerala society before the advent of the Portuguese or was it a colonial development?

Thanks in advance

S. Palaniappan
> On Jun 7, 2017, at 7:35 AM, Christophe Vielle via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> When I wrote in my second post:
>> It is possible that the portion listing the sixty four anācāras and corresponding to adhyāya 12, pāda 4 of the  Laghudharmaprakāśikā, was separately known as the Anācāra-nirṇaya
> (without having checked what Kane — or possibly David — says thereabout) I made this conjecture on the sole basis of Burnell's statement ( https://archive.org/stream/ordinancesofmanu00manu#page/n55/mode/2up <https://archive.org/stream/ordinancesofmanu00manu#page/n55/mode/2up> ) pointed out by Madhav: 
> "And in Malabar, Cochin and Travancore this [= the fact that "even among South Indian Brahmans numberless usual practices are opposed to the Sanskrit law"] is so much the case, that a small manual called the Anācāranirṇaya has been composed to enumerate them — fn: This tract is attributed to Çaṅkara of course (...)"
> Since no Kerala manuscript appears to bear this title. 
> Now in checking dharma texts entitled ācāraḥ, ācārasaṅgrahaḥ, keralācārasaṅgrahaḥ, found in catalogues, I came across a short tract entitled Ācāranirṇaya or Keralācāranirṇaya ascribed to Śaṅkarācarya (several MSS. in the KUML, apparently described in the Descr. Cat. Curator's Office Library as the no. 371B, i.e. in vol. 2 1938, unfortunately not at hand) which must correspond to Burnell's reference and deserves to be more closely regarding the Kerala… anācāras.
> Best wishes,
> C
> PS: correct the typo in my very first post (already giving the references usefully repeated by Parpola and Olivelle): "the Laghudharmaprakāśikā attributed to one Śaṅkara [not Śāṅkara], also known as Śāṅkarasmṛti."

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