INDOLOGY Digest - 10 May 1999 to 11 May 1999 (#1999-55)

Mani Varadarajan mani at SHASTA.STANFORD.EDU
Fri May 14 23:18:22 UTC 1999

> > Yes,  there  are  a  lot  of  "AyyangArs"  in  KarnAtAka  who  belong
> > to  the  non-triad  group.  [...] In  fact
> > many  can  trace  their  roots  to  their  ancestor  who  accompanied
> > RAmAnuja  from  Srirangam  for  his  12  year  exile  in  KarnAtaka.
> > The  HebbAr  and  MaNDyam  AyyangArs  are  converts  to
> > Shri-VaiShNavism.  The  HebbArs  were  originally  Hoysala-KarnATaka
> > SmArta  brahmins.  The  MaNDyams  are  Jains  whose  ancestors  RAmAnuja
> > defeated  at  King  BiTTideva's  court.

I don't think there is much proof that the Mandyam
Sri Vaishnavas are descended from Jains.  While it certainly
is a possibility, I am certain that the Mandyams themselves
will contest it, since they consider themselves descendants
of those who fled with Ramanuja to Karnataka.

It is also unlikely that converted Jains were accepted as
brahmins into Ramanuja's fold.

> What about the Hemmiges?

I am a Hemmige Sri Vaishnava.  (For those who do not know,
Hemmige is a small village in the T. Narsipur Taluk, across
the Kaveri from Talakkad.  This is the main village.  Over
the years, eight villages in the Mysore area have come to
be populated by the Hemmige Iyengars.) We are descendants of
Sri Vaishnavas from Kanchipuram, and our dialect of Tamil
attests to this.  Many peculiarities of Kanchipuram
Sri Vaishnava Tamil are evident in Hemmige Tamil, which
is a mixture of this old Kanchipuram dialect, Sanskrit,
and Kannada.  In addition, the temple at Hemmige is
of Varadaraja Swami, the same as at Kanchipuram.

The story conveyed to me by a senior Hemmige Sri Vaishnava
was that 800-900 years ago, the king wanted some brahmins
in his kingdom, so he invited several families from Kanchipuram
and gave them an agrahaara at Hemmige.  As you can see, this
migration is independent of Ramanuja's stay in Melkote.

Hemmige is an exclusively Sri Vaishnava village as
far as brahmins go.  The rest of the population is Lingayat.


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