Q: intervocalic -k- preserved as intervocalic -g-

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 20 00:03:40 UTC 1999

RM Krishnan writes :

>These pro-sukra Brahmins practiced a modified form of vedic
>yagnas. They also included many native practices including that of Agamas
>originating in the south. These people
>were called Brihacharanas. They settled first around Thiru ANNamalai, about
>125 kilometres from the present CheNNai. Subsequently, when Buddism and
>Jainism became popular in the Magath kingdom (600BC-200Bc) and perhaps the
>entire north and northeast India, quite a number of pro-Brhaspathi
>Brahmins, especially from Kashi (BeNAras), also moved into the south and
>further into Tamilnadu. They were called the vadamAs (northeners). Even
>today, philosophically there are differences between the two groups and
>marriages are entered into reluctantly. There is now a gradual assimilation
>between the two groups, due to modern influences.

I'm not at all sure this reflects the true reason for the friction
between Vadamas and other brahmins in Tamil Nadu. As far as I've
observed the 'superiority' of the Vadama, springs mostly from the
perceived closer connection to Vedic culture and Samskrutam, than
the other brahmins in Tamil Nadu (probably because they were the last
to come into Tamil Nadu).

But note that the bruhacharanam, AshtashAstram, VAthimA etc are
themselves stauch smarthas and followers of Adi ShankarAchArya. And
considering the strong anti non-brahmin attitude which is revealed
in samskrutic and especially VedAntic literature concerning the
non-eligibility of non-brahmins to study the Vedic literature, the
argument that they were anti-Vedic or anti-Brhaspathy doesn't find
much support.

And also there's hardly any evidence that the non-vadamas married
into non-brahmin groups. There are as casteist as the vadamas. And
though there's some reluctance for marraige alliances between the Vadamas
and non-vadamas, it's not unusual either.

That RAmanujAchArya was a vadama and probably quite a few of his
immediate followers (VedAnta DesikA too) were Vadamas and that
it's generally considered that the Vadamas would *mature* into
Vaishnavism (read VisishtAdvaitam), might have been one of the
reasons for the friction between vadamas and other brahmin sects.

But also note that the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, has had some Vadamas
as ShankarAchAryas too. The present pontiff Jayendra Saraswati, too,
I think is a Vadama.

And Vadamas don't look down upon other Tamil smarthas only. I've even
heard vadamas who reside in Palaghat, speak with contempt about
Namboodaris too! And Madhvas and also Vadama Iyengars too don't find
much favor.

I think it's just a case of the "one who's preserved the pure tradition".

So reading an Aryan-Dravidian clash in the friction between Tamizh
brahmins is stretching it a bit too far!

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