Gajaasura and Tirumuular

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at WOLFSON.OXFORD.AC.UK
Sun Apr 26 14:15:20 UTC 1998

This is from the disguised "Siva's invective against
himself, in which he attempts to persuade Umaa of the impropriety of
her marrying one so repulsive as himself (Kumaarasambhava 5:66):

tvam eva taavat paricintaya svaya.m kadaacid ete yadi yogam arhata.h|
vadhuuduguula.m ca gajaajina.m " ca||
I referred to the edition of Naaraaya.namuurti (Wiesbaden 1980)
because it gives the text as read by the earliest commentator, the
Kashmirian Vallabhadeva.

Mahaabhaarata 13.17:47 too, refers to the episode (and 13.17:49cd
refers to "Siva's fondness for dance).

The I mentioned is unlikely to be southern.  Apart
from the circumstance that it survives exclusively in north-eastern
MSS, almost no quotations from it have been found in southern works.

I do not dispute that southern iconographies of "Siva's dances are
southern.  It is also possible that "Siva dancing makes his first
appearance in southern sources; but you have not proved that this is
the case.  What is the evidence for dating Appar, Kaaraikaalammaiyaar,
the Cilapatikkaaram, and the quotations in unnamed commentaries on
Ca"nkam poetry you mention to before the 6th century?

I have seen few accounts which review and weigh relevant evidence.
One such, for the dating of Kaaraikaalammaiyaar, is Franc,ois Gros'
Postface (esp. p.96ff) to the 1982 re-edition of Karavelane's <Chants
de'votionnels tamouls de Kaaraikaalammaiyaar> (Pondicherry,
Publications de l'Institut Franc,ais d'Indologie No.1).  You refer me
to secondary literature which you assume presents and weighs the
relevant evidence; but does it?

Just to substantiate my position that most hitherto suggested dates for
Tirumuular are improbable, I present the following anomaly.
The 5th of the 9 mantirams of the Tirumantiram deals principally with
j~naana, yoga, kriyaa and caryaa, and we find represented there most of
the views of these four that otherwise appear only in late South
Indian Saiddhaantika works, e.g.:---

I. The view that samayadiik.saa, vi"se.sadiik.saa, nirvaa.nadiik.saa,
and abhi.sekadiik.saa qualify initiands respectively for caryaa,
kriyaa, yoga, and j~naana (verse 1450).

II. The view that the four are paths known respectively as
taacamaarkkam (=Skt daasamaarga), sa_rputtiramaarkkam (=Skt
satputramaarga), cakamaarkkam (=Skt sahamaarga), and ca_nmaarkkam
(=Skt sanmaarga) (verses 1477--1506).

Now if the Tirumantiram were really written in the 6th-century, then we
must accept that we have here in a *Tamil* work the first attestation of a
nexus of ideas---with *Sanskrit* labels---that does not make its
appearance in any other related Saiddhaantika literature until at least 6
centuries later and at the end of a development that we
seem to be able to trace through Sanskrit sources that are later than the
6th century.  Some of the labels occur much earlier, but their meanings
are not the same: vi"se.sadiik.saa, e.g., is originally the initiation
that is given to a saadhaka (; nirvaa.nadiik.saa is that given
to a putraka (; abhi.sekadiik.saa is that given to an aacaarya.

I would be surprised if any plausible scenario could be outlined that
might account for this anomaly and at the same time retain a
sixth-century date for the composition of the Tirumantiram.

To sum up: I think you rely too trustingly on the assertions of
secondary literature.  I repeat:
*secondary literature is only as authoritative as the evidence it presents.*

Those weary of my lengthy messages will be relieved to learn that the
term here starts tomorrow and I am therefore not likely to be able to
contribute further to this discussion for some while.

Yours, Dominic Goodall.

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