dakSiNAmUrti story

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 14 17:23:58 UTC 1999

The CT text, maturaikkAJci has a Buddhist connection also,
acc. to the medieval commentator, NaccinArkkiniyar of
BharadvAjagotra and Maturai.

 kAmar kavin2iya pEriLam peNTir
 pUvin2ar, pukaiyin2ar, tozuvan2ar paziccic
 ciRantupuRam kAkkum kaTavuT paLLiyum         (maturaikkAJci 465-7)

Translation:"Beautiful ladies of mid-age take care
of the divine paLLi by decorating/worshipping with
flowers, incense and make it noble/splendid".

NaccinArkkiniyar (14th century AD) says that "kaTavuT paLLi" in this
CT text line refers to a "Buddhist paLLi" (*pauttap paLLi*).
Reference: u. vE. cAminAtayyar's pattuppaaTTu edition.

 *"Siva or alternately for Buddhists, Avalokitezvara inspires
Agastya to write Tamil grammar*. This teaching takingplace
in Mt. Potiyil is attested for millennia. The legend that
"Siva or alternately Avalokita inspiring Panini is of
South Indian origin also. Reference: my postings under
"Where was Panini inspired?" in Indology.

What a pleasant surprise to find that Art Basham was also
thinking along the same lines:
 A. L. Basham (The Wonder That was India, p. 308) says, " A further
 form in which the god is worshipped is known as the "South-facing"
 (DakSiNAmUrti) (pl. LXVIII); in this aspect he is the universal
 teacher, depicted in an informal pose, with one foot on the ground
 and the other on the throne on which he sits, and with one hand
 raised in a gesture of explanation. This form of ziva
 perhaps owes something to Buddhist inspiration."

Two  verses from tirumantiram, one of the oldest Tantric works in
 India, show Zaivite-Buddhist syncretism.

cErntu iruntEn2 civa maGkai tan2 paGkan2aic
cErntu iruntEn2 civan2 AvaTu taN tuRai
cErntu iruntEn2 civa pOtiyin2 nIzalil
cErntu iruntEn2 civan2 nAmaGkaL OtiyE (tiru. 140)

JAn2at talaivitan2 nanti nakar pukku
Un2am il on2patu kOTi yukam tan2uL
JAn2ap pAl ATTi nAtan2ai arccittu
yAn2um iruntEn2 nal pOtiyin2 kIzE      (tiru. 142)

In the first verse ziva is said to be staying in the shade of the
"zivabodhi" tree. The commentators take it to be pipal tree but we
 cannot be certain if tirumUlar is not calling banyan tree by the
term zivabodhi. But the use of the term bodhi indicates a
buddhist precursor.

In the second verse, bodhi is not qualified by any modifier.
Here the author is said to have been under the same tree.

Earlier texts show DakSiNAmUrti sitting under a banyan tree.

Naccinarkkiniyar was thinking of a Buddhist PaLLi in MaturaikkAJci.

Art Basham, who probably did not read Tamil at all, made an
educated guess that DakSiNAmUrti's sitting posture and
 Avalokitezvara's sitting posture are related. Art was right!

N. Ganesan

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