uraga and AlavAy

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sat May 8 18:58:00 UTC 1999

In my opinion, the description of the Pandya king as wearing a pearl necklace
on his chest and resembling 'king of the mountain' (Skt. adrirAja) is a
suggestive allusion to the story of mIn2AKSi who is born as the daughter of a
Pandya king, malayadhvaja pANtiyan2,  similar to umA being born as a daughter
of the king of the mountain. Considering the absence of any role for ziva in
the Madurai myths in cilappatikAram and the benign neglect of ziva in
paripATal, I think paripATal and cilappatikAram must pre-date Raghuvamsa or
5th century. The comparison of a person (tirumAl/viSNu) wearing a necklace
being compared to a mountain with a waterfall occurs in paripATal  13.11-12.
In earlier CT, a Pandyan king is described as having a chest desired by zrI
and wearing a necklace of pearls from his sea and sandal paste (aka. 13.1-6).
cilappatikAram 17.29 also has the Pandyan king wearing sandal, a necklace of
product of the sea (pearl?) and Indra's necklace and is equated with kRSNa.
Thus while earlier Pandyas were being linked with viSNu, in Raghuvamsa the
comparison seems to have zaivite leanings.

The name malayadhvaja for the father of mIn2AKSi has its own significance.
Traditionally, fish (specifically, carp) was the emblem of the Pandyas. The
introduction of a new symbol (only in texts) , the malaya/potiyil mountain,
is significant. One should note that the whole tiruviLaiyATal purANam is
depicted as being told by agastya, the sage of the malaya mountain. I think
the followers of the dakSiNAmUrti cult at potiyil/malaya mountain must have
succeeded  in converting some important sections of Madurai residents to
zaivism incorporating the locally popular female deity in the new mythology
they created. In this mythology Pandyan king and the carp-eyed goddess are
patterned after the parvata rAja and pArvatI. potiyil/malaya mountain which
had earlier been compared with Himalayas in CT is set as equivalent and
counterbalancing the Himalayas in the story of agastya. As followers of
dakSiNAmUrti, the teacher, naturally they create stories of Tamil grammar as
being taught by ziva who also participates in the scholarly activities of the
Tamil academy in Madurai. In short, I see the Madurai stories as providing
clues to the religious conversion of Madurai by those originally established
at potiyil.

S. Palaniappan

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