The Story of Chilaya (was Re: Origins of Caste System in Ancient India

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at UNICE.FR
Fri Mar 20 17:33:51 UTC 1998

S. Palaniappan wrote

>"Cannibalism? - The Story of Chilaya
> .....
>This story is a fableised recollection of cannibalism amongst the Aryans. Had
>it not been so it need not have been incorporated into a legend that was
>supposed to be believed by lay people."
>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?

        I don't believe such story to have any link with the cannibalism,
but to absolute devotion to the God(s).
        They are many examples of it in various civilizations:
1) the biblical sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham (happy end).
2) the sacrifice (tophet) of eldest sons by Phoenicians (bad end).
3) in Greece, Tantalos, wishing to honour the Gods invited to a lunch, give
them his son Pelops to eat (happy end for Pelops, bad for Tantalos).
        This last story (and Cronos eating his children) was interpreted by
the psychoanalysis as an unconscient fear of children to be eated by their
parents. In any case, the cannibalism is a very different ritual destined
to acquire some of the powers of the victim (strength of ennemy, wisdom of
elders, &c.).

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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