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

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 25 22:58:03 UTC 1999

Dear Mr. Krishnan,

>The earlier migration group, (probably the BrihatcharaNam) got very much
>aligned with the Tamil traditions (dropping some of their own original
>traditions and modifying certain others) and the last (mainly Vadamas) less
>so during the Sangam period.

This is one of this things that I thought might not be true. That's why I
highlighted that Brhacharanam are very staunch smarthas and that even early
VedAntic literature doesn't seem too tolerable towards

Brhacharanam itself means the Great Migration ie brahmins who migrated
South from the North. So to identify non-brahmins from the south as
brhacharanam makes little sense.

>There might also have been conversion from Tamil intelligentia into

That non-brahmins were inducted into brahminism and early brahmins
intermarried with non-brahmins is favored by pro-AI theorists, to justify 1.
the dark complexion of some brahmins and 2. the fair complexion of some

History supports no such theory. When even the Buddha himself
was considered by the brahmins only as an equal and sometimes
even as inferior, I don't see much support for the theory that
brahmins would've looked favorably upon non-brahmins down south.

Read the Manu - is there any justification for such claims like
inter marraige or induction into brahmanic ranks? Pride of birth
is an essential feature of brahmanism and one of the main reasons
for the heriditary nature of the caste system. According to the dharma
shastras, a brahmana is one who's born of brahmana parents. If the mother is
of a lower caste, the child acquires the caste of his/her mother.

When even today, in modern secular India, such intermarraige is heavily
frowned upon, is there any indication, if one reads the dharma shastras,
that it could have been otherwise in the rigorously orthodox past?

Also consider the indignation of smarthas even today, who accuse
RamanujAchArya of taking in non-brahmins into the brahminic fold.

There might be some truth to this considering that the two branches
of Vishitadvaitam - Vadakalai and Tenkalai - in philosophy and tradition
seem to justify it. For the first with its greater emphasis on the
Samskrutic tradition, its 'intelligent' devotion and adherence
to the Vedic ritualistic tradition is more faithful to Ramanuja and the
Vedic tradition, than the Tenkalai which seems to be lean more towards the
emotional outpourings of the Alzhwars and Tamizh. Also note that the
Vadakalai don't intermarry with the Tenkalai.

>I now quote from Prof.N.Subrahmanian (The Brahmin in the Tamil

This is no proof for the authenticity of such claims.

>"Now, the first arrivals created a sympathetic interest among the native
>Tamil wise men many of whom converted themselves to Brahminism through a
>sociological process proved possible by Visvamitra. The early arrivals
>settled down in certain important centres to pursue their hieratic
>activities and along with the converts who followed the
>Brahmins in every respect like wearing the sacred thread, performing the
>yagas etc., established the TamilBrahminical tradition. This was the
>earliest phase of Sanskritisation in the Tamil country.

Speculation seems to be rule in Indology, especially if it supports the AI
theory! Is there any textual evidence to support such claims?

>I only said that one group identified themselves with Asuras (who, as
>Parpolo had suggested, could also have been Indo-Europeans but merged into
>the dravidian sub-strata) rather than with DEvAs (who were the later

Please can we have some textual evidence for this? (And I don't mean
Subrahmanian's book!). Let's see some evidence from Vedic or older
Tamizh texts.

>This is the basic premise for me to suggest a different etymology of the
>name 'Agastya',

What generally starts out as a suggestion, generally gets blown out
of proportion. Later the origin is forgotten and finally you have
people suggesting Dravidian loan words in the Rg Veda!

>But still you cannot stop somebody from studying.

Yet when one reads early VedAntic literature and the dharma shAstras,
it is obvious that this was the practice.

>Through out the history in the south, there has always been brahmins like
>RamanujAchArya tolerating this un-holy practice of baptising the heathen by

Specifics please. Even the few saints who tried to do that were
not really successful. Ramana Maharishi, who is himself
pretty knowledgable about the history of Tamil Nadu and its
brahmins, remarks that though a few saints did try to convert
non-brahmins into brahmins, the former themselves didn't have
the confidence to accept the mantle. And also the orthodox
brahmin groups, generally with the support of their Shankara
mathams, heavily opposed such conversions.

As for Ramanujacharya's conversions, even a milleneum later
the smarthas still remember! And they don't accept Iyengars as
true brahmins.

But such problems doesn't exist within the smartha fold. The
Vadama makes no such accusation at the other smarthas. His only point is
that he's purer than the rest as he came in later.

>To say otherwise of conversions would be against history.

Please explain how?

>All this earlier frictions between different sects of brahmins (including
>vadamAs, non-vadamAs and converts, coloureds, pure
>and impure etc.) does not prevent them to become stauch smArthAs.

To be a staunch smartha, you should have the support of the Shankara
mathams, which if you know, are ultra orthodox, when it comes
to preserving brahminic culture. So being a staunch smartha requires
a brahminic background.

>I have not clearly alluded to any marriage alliances. At the same time, it
>might be a sweeping statement to say that there is non-evidence for that.
>Classical example could perhaps be the SivAcharyas in the temples. These
>are the people who have been often ostracised because of their defence of
>Saivism and earlier Tamil traditions.

But are the SivAchAryas authenticated as brahmins? And even if they
are, do they inter marry with non-brahmins?

And even if it is so, just citing one particular set of people,
doens't justify the original claim that brahmins intermarried or
inducted non-brahmins. The same way, the smarthas don't approve of
the Vaishnavas (Iyengars). But that doesn't mean that the Iyergars
intermarry with non-brahmins.

And just because one is a follower of Saiva SiddhAnta or likes Tamil
traditions, doesn't mean one is not looked kindly upon in brahmanic
circles. The great Appaya DIkshitar was both, yet is honoured in
brahmanic circles.

>The mix of the traditions could be through simple routes of
>assimilation, namely  when you are in Rome, you do as Romans do.

It's not so simple as that. For the brahmin, assimilation means
bringing others to accept the Vedic world view. And it's seldom the
other way round.

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

>I think, it is quite a sweeping statement. Perhaps you are reading between
>the lines.

If I did, please forgive me. My twin points of argument is against
the claims 1. that brahmins intermarried with non-brahmins or there
was induction of non-brahmins into the smartha fold and 2. that the
inter smartha conflict in TamilNadu is due to the pro or anti
brhaspati, reasons.

>Let us put the facts straight. The dravidians were only in the sub-strata
>and the conflict I suggested was between two groups of Aryans.

I've no problem with this - except that I don't agree that the conflict was
on the lines that you suggested - a pro-Brhaspati Vs a pro-Sukhra groupings.
More plausible is a Brhaspathi and even purer Brhaspathi conflict.

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