uraga and AlavAy

Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 11 16:46:39 UTC 1999

Palaniappan wrote:
>Alavay is a compound made up of Alam and vAy where Ta. Alam means
>banyan tree and Ta. vAy  should be interpreted as "place". Thus
>AlavAy means "the banyan tree place" in much the same way "alaivAy"
>(aka.266.20) refers to "place of waves". Originally it seems to have
>meant only a location inside Madurai and not the whole of Madurai.
>What is the significance of the banyan tree place?
>That is where dakSiNAmUrti is located along with his disciples.
>The importance of dakSiNAmUrti cult in the mythology/history of
>Madurai, Potiyil, Agastya, and Tamil grammatical, literary, and
>aesthetic traditions has not been fully recognized by scholars till

                 Chevillard wrote:
                 How do you link this with Akam 181 (16-17)
                 which seems to mention the presence of Shiva
                 (of the 4 veda-s)
                 in a place called AlamuRRam (Banyan Yard?)
                 which is apparently connected with pukAr
                 and the Chola?
                 nAn2 maRai mutu nUl mukkaN+ celvan2
                 AlamuRRam kavin2 peRa+ taiiya

Shiva and the Banyan tree are connected not only in AlavAy (Madurai),
AlamuRRam (pukAr), but also to places, AlanguDi, AlangADu (cf. Tevaram
verses). The Dakshinamurti theme, His peaceful aspect and relationship
 to Banyan tree, Teacher of all Arts is very special to Tamil
religion, both in myth and sculpture, atleast from the sangam era.
Continuation of ancient  traditions much before Tamil came to be

Vedic knows Shiva as Rudra and as an 'outsider'. The peaceful concept
of ziva, the Universal teacher sitting under the banyan ie.,
Dakshinamurti was new to Sanskrit. When this aspect was integrated
there via agamas, Shiva in this mode cam naturally to be named
Dakshinamurti,  'the Lord from the South'. Usually, South is the
direction of Death and hence no reason to call the peaceful, supreme
teacher  as Dakshinamurti. Relevant literature finds it hard to
explain the meaning of Dakshinamurti and hope my explanation helps.

V. Iyer

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