Self-sacrifice, funerary temples, and Pallava inscriptions

Palaniappa Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sat May 9 16:14:15 UTC 1998

On  Sun, 25 Jan 1998 15:56:11 -0800 Mary Storm <umadevi at SFO.COM> wrote:

<<Dear N. Ganesan,
Thanks for your comment. I've read N. Subrahmanian's article. I have
been working on this for 4 years, so at this point I have run across
numerous south Indian references to self-sacrifice in poetry and
inscriptional material, but it is always interesting to find something
new. The Chola reference you mention is also supported by imagery. Do
you have any knowledge of pertinent Pallava inscriptional evidence
(there is, of course a great deal, of sculptural imagery) ?
Your idea about medical reasons for self-sacrifice are interesting, and
may indeed have been the impetus for some oblations. I think, however
that most self-oblations stemmed from religious fervor or even military
bravado rather than medical necessity.
Thanks for your help,

In the course of my research on potters, I have come across this Tamil
inscription on self-sacrifice of Pallava times. I do not know if she has it
already. The reference is SII vol.12, no.106. It also has a picture of the
sculpture also.

"This inscription of Kampavarman, dated in the 20th year, is engraved above
the figure of a person holding his severed head by the tuft in his left hand,
while the right hand grasps a sword (Plate VI). It registers a gift of land
made by the UrAr of tiruvAn2mUr to paTTai-pOttan2 for the pious act of
okkoNDanAgan2 okktIndAn2 paTTai-pOttan2, probably his father, in cutting off
flesh from nine parts of his body and finally his head as an offering to the
goddess bhaTAri, i.e., durgA."

This inscription is in Mallam, Gudur taluk, Nellore District of Andhra
Pradesh.  This inscription, set up by the villagers themselves, seems to
indicate that they were Tamil-speaking at that time.

Inscription No.159 of the same volume, deals with a paLLippaTai temple.
"vikkiramacOzanallUr is here called paLLippaTai, but in No. 275 of 1913
belonging to jaTAvarman sundara-pANDya I dated in the 14th regnal year it
bears the alternative name of akkan2-paLLippaTai. From this it may perhaps be
inferred that the remains of the elder sister (akkan2) of vikrama-cOza were
interred here and that the village called after the king as
'vikramacOzanallUr' was founded at this locality."


S. Palaniappan

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