Turtles in Vedic Sacrifice and the Dravidian concept of sacrifice

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun Jul 12 04:11:04 UTC 1998

In a CT poem, the longing of hero's heart for the company of his beloved is
compared to the desire of the turtle in/near the vedic sacrificial pit with
rising fire, for the pond with (cool) shade.

kariyA pUvin2 periyOr Ara
azal ezu tittiyam aTutta yAmai
nizal uTai neTu kayam pukal vETTAGku
uLLutal Ompumati in2i nI muL eyiRRu
cil mozi arivai tOLE pal malai
vevvaRai marugkin2 viyan2 curam
evvam kUra iRantan2am yAmE              (akanAn2URu 361.10-16)

The word used for the vedic sacrificial pit is "tittiyam". Can anybody tell me
the corresponding Sanskrit word?

Interestingly, the poet uses the word "vETTAGku" (from the root vEL- to
desire) to indicate the turtle "desiring"/"seeking" the pond. The same verb
could also be used to indicate "sacrificing". From this, it looks as if the
Dravidian concept of the sacrifice (vELvi) was that it was desire-based and
not praise-based. In view of the techniques of suggestion employed in these
poems, the hero's suffering in the hot dry land away from his beloved in the
course of seeking his fortune is like a sacrifice.

S. Palaniappan

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