Origins of Caste System in Ancient India

S Krishna mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 20 22:09:26 UTC 1998

You wrote:
<<This story is remarkable in its resemblance to the Tamil story of
ciRuttoNTar,the Pallava general who is said to have sacked vAtApi, the
cALukyan capital,and who is said to have offered his son as food to
ziva. He is one of the 63 zaivite saints known as nAyan2mAr. Is the
Chilaya story in Kannada or Marathi?How old is this story?>>

  No direct reply to this question, but............

My experience has been that over a period of time, one notices that
there is a certain amount of repitivity in some of the stories
of saints related to the Bhakti movement from different parts of India.
It could be(am COMPLETELY speculating here) that stories
of one saint from one part of India could have been influenced by a
legend of another part of India where by the  two stories( with the
difference of the name) take on a striking resemblance
...D.P.Chattopadhyay discusses this feature in a modified
form where one has the collapse of various persons by the same name
( in different chronological ages) into one.

  Other examples of this i.e. saints from different parts of India
having surprisingly similar stories are:
1. There is a  similarity in the stories  about both Chokha Mela of
Maharashtra ) and tiruppANAzhvAr the AzhvAr saint in terms
of a temple priest( pandharpUr in the former case, zrIrankam in the
later) hitting the bhakta on account of his low caste and the
temple doors not opening/blood on the cheek of the diety(I've heard
both versions about the tiruppANAzhvAr story). The temple doors open
/bleeding stops only after the priest acknowledges his error and the
devotee is brought into the presence of the diety.

2. Disappearance/becoming one of the devotee with the diety- tirupp
ANAzhvAr in zrIrankam, mIrAbai in dwaraka( one of the stories about her

3. Thieves conspiring to steal material/property belonging to the bhakta
and God intervening to protect it-  happens to the rAmcaritmAnas of
Tulsidas in Hindi literature, again to tyAgarAja.
If one were to include sinking material written by the bhakta/sinking
the bhakta himself, it also occurs in the cases of kabIr, the bengali
poetchanDidAs and also the marAThi saint (EknAth if I remember right,
whose bhAvArth rAmayaNa was thrown into the indrAyaNI and given back by
the indrAyaNI herself).

4. Lighting of lamps through devotion alone- occurs in the case
of nambi nandigaL, the nayan2mAr and again in the case of the Sai baba
of Shirdi.(I realise that the later has nothing to do with the bhakti
movement but note the resemblance in the legend)

5. Rejection of a woman being the cause of rejecting the world and
turning to spirituality - occurs with both tulsidAs and the telugu
poets vEmana& kSEtrayya and also one of the AzhvAr saints ( one of the
samskrt names for this gentleman is vipranArAyaNasvAmi, though the more
popular tamil name slips my mind)

6. God performing a miracle in order to demonstrate the quality of
devotion of a particular bhakta- he comes in person to be a witness
at the trial of his devotee Gopal( as in the sAkshigopal temple in
Orissa), turns around 180 degrees from his usual position and gives
darsana to kanakadAsa in uDupi( i.e. the kanakana khiDkI episode)
and makes one of his ornaments adorn Narsinh Mehta, the Gujarati poet.
In a modified form, this also occurs in the life of puranadaradAsa the
kannaDa saint.

7. Intervention in person to save a bhakta who has been accused/guilty
of theft of money from the public exchequer/king- mANikkavAcakar , the
tamil  nanyan2mAr as  well as bhadrAcala rAmadAsu, the telugu poet.

8. Princesses turned poetesses rejecting their husbands and proclaiming
themselves the brides of God- the kannaDa poetess mahAdEviyakka as well
as mIrAbai of rAjAsthAn.

  The bhakti movement does have surprisingly similar stories in various
parts of India.


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