Om ---- Amen

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 23 18:51:20 UTC 1998

Parpola, Asko, 1981. On the primary meaning and etymology of the
sacred syllable ôm. Pp. 195-213 in: Asko Parpola (ed.), Proceedings
of the Nordic South Asia Conference held in Helsinki, June 10-12,
1980. (Studia Orientalia, 50). Helsinki: The Finnish Oriental Society.

Summary of the main theses:
Original meaning: Om in the Vedic ritual = 'yes', om = tathâ = 'yes'
also in ordinary conversation, and in the Chandogya Upanishad ôm is
expressly said to be a word expressing agreement.
Etymology: < Dravidian âm < âkum 'yes' < 'it is (fitting, suitable)',
â labialized by the following m as Jaffna Tamil ôm < âm.

  In Tamil, Tirumantiram (5th century) is where Om occurs
  first. It says Om is a single letter and unique sound (naada).
   Om en2um OGkaarattuLLE oru mozi - tirumantiram 2676
   Om en2um Or ezuttuL nin2Ra Ocai pOl - tirumantiram 2874

  KantapuraaNam, a 12th century epic on Murukan legends,
  says Murukan/SubrahmaNya taught the meaning of Om
  to Brahma and 'Siva:

  Murukan teaching Om to Brahma:
   urai poruL en2a navila, mikaitta kaNkaLai vizittan2an2,
     veTkin2nan2, vikkit tikaittiruntan2an2, kaNTilan2
       ap poruL tiRan2E!   - kantapuraaNam 1-16-10

  Murukan teaching Om to 'Siva (his father):
   'mainta! emakku aruL maRaiyin2' en2n2At
     tan2 tiruc ceviyai nalkac, caNmukan2
       kuTilai en2n2um on2Roru patattin2
         uNmai uraittan2nan2. - kantapuraaNam 1-17-39

  Murukan is known as "God for his father":
  takappan cAmi, or svAminAthan. In the 14th century tiruppukazh,
  Murukan teaches the meaning of Om, the praNavam
  to 'Siva at more than 50 places. Tiruppukaz,
  is to Murukan what is seventh century "tEvAram'
  to 'Siva.

  AruNagiri, the author of Tiruppukaz, was an expert
  in Sanskrit. In fact, some tiruppukazs have many
  Sanskrit words. The rare seamless blending of Sanskrit
  words in Tamil was never possible before or after him.
  (See Zvelebil's The Smile of Murugan on Tamil literature
   for an essay on Arunagiri's talent. For the dates
  of books, I follow Zvelebil).

  AruNagirinaathar explicitly says "Om is Tamil; He teaches this
  to his father!"

  Example 1:
     kon2Raic caTaiyaRku
        on2Rait teriyak
     KoJcit tamizil

 "Siva wears red flowers from labernum trees;
  To him, Murukan explains the unique mantra, Om
  in Tamil".

  This occurs in a tiruppukaz starting as "ampotta vizi".
  This song is of akam/interior type (What her mother said
  will be the title by A. K. Ramanujan).

  Example 2:
   matittut tiNpuram cirittuk kon2RiTum
      maRattil tantai man2Rilil aaaaTi
   mazukkaik koNTa caGkararukkuc cen2Ru
      vaNTamzc col cantam on2Ru aruLvOn2E!

  "'Siva smiled and killed tripurams;
    He dances eternally in the sabhaa;
    To this brave father who sports an axe
    in a hand, Murukan went. And, he
    taught 'Siva the unique Tamil word, Om!"

  This occurs in a tiruppukaz starting as
  "nitikkup piGkalan2".

 Does these ancient Tamil legends indicate
 an awareness that Om is Dravidian?

N. Ganesan

Note: will check the tirumuruku aaRRuppatai
and paripaaTal, the first full-fledged bhakti
texts from India. tirumuruku is on Murukan
and ParipaaTal is on Murukan and Tirumaal (Vishnu).

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