SV: SV: SV: Kinship systems

RM. Krishnan poo at GIASMD01.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Oct 30 16:49:14 UTC 2000

At 10:43 AM 10/28/00 +0100, you wrote:

>Can you tell me when do the words "Saivam"   and  "VaiNavam" occur in the
>Tamil literature. For example do they occur in the Prabhandam or Nayanmar
>works itself? or do they occur much later?
>As far as I can see these words are the Tamil translations of the English
>words Saivism and Vaishnavism. But the Tamil texts themselves were unaware
>of 'ism's. But still it would be interesting to know when do these two words
>in the sense of 'isms's appear in the Tamil texts

Dear Mr Vijayaraghavan,

Even though you chose not to reply to the questions I raised (regarding
customs common to Dravidians) in my earlier mail, I am still responding to
satisfy your curiosity.

The words 'Saivam' and 'VaiNavam' are Sanskrit rendering of the wholly
Tamil concepts. The Tamil rendering could be 'Sivam' and 'ViNNavam'.  [The
word 'Sivan' does not have any high sounding meaning. It is just the red
one. Similarly the word viNNavan means the black one. (I often used to
wonder why the red and black keep coming up in Dravidian practice
frequently; perhaps some tribal notions) This is how thirumAl is
interpreted in the simplest way.] Saivam as a religion is also termed as
'Siva neRi' or 'Saiva neRi'. As a literature term,  'Saiva vAthi' is known
to be used in the second century epic MaNimekalai.  See the
27th  kAthai  ('Samayak kaNakkar Tham ThiRam kEtta kAthai')  86th line

Saiva vAthi

en2Ravan2 than2n2ai vittu iRaivan2 Isan2 en2a
nin2Ra Saiva vAthi nEr patuthalum

It goes further to describe the Saiva Siddhantham .  Philosophical concepts
are also discussed by MaNicka Vasakar, whose time was conclusively
established as late 3rd century by MaRaimalai AtikaL  MaNicka vAsakar
entered into philosophical debates with Buddhist Monks from Sri Lanka. This
was indirectly referred to by the Sri Lankan Chronicle 'MahA vaMsA'.
Authoritative earliest Saiva Agama work is thirumanthiram by thirumoolar
(5th century AD) who is predated to thiru nAvukku arasar and thiru njAn2a
sambanthar by at least 150 to 200 years. Oft-quoted pA from thirumanthiram
where there is an explicit reference to the word 'siva lingkam' is as follows:

uLLam perungkoyil Un2utampu Alayam
vaLLal pirAn2Arkku vAy kOpura vAsal
theLLath theLivArkkuc cIvan2 civalingkam
kaLLap pulan ainthum kALA maNi viLakkE!

Now coming to vaiNavam, the term VaishNava in the tamilized form
'VaittaNavan' is used by PeriyAzvAr (8th Century AD). Please see Divya
Prabhandam  435.

'van2maiyaan2athu un2 kOyilil vAzum
vaittaNavan2 en2n2um van2mai kaNtAyE'

So one does not have to wait for the English to introduce us to the 'isms'.
We seemed to have been the earlier proponents. Incidentally, if you are
looking for the tribal practice of Saivam and VaiNavam and not
philosophical interpretations, then it goes still earlier to at least 5th
-7th century BC.  Tholkappiyam speaks of the ThiNai life in various regions
in nURpA 951 (akath thiNai iyal),

MAyOn2 mEya kAtuRai ulakamum
cEyOn2 mEya maivarai ulakamum
vEnthan2 mEya thImpun2al ulakamum
varuNan2 mEya perumaNal ulakamum
mullai kuRinjci marutham neythal en2ac
colliya muRaiyaal collavum patumE

(sEyOn as a concept is considered to be prior to Sivan and Murugan. and
combines both attributes, if the earliest tamil scholars' interpretation is
accepted) Further in puRath thiNai iyal (nURpA 1006), there is one more
reference to thirumAl:

mAyOn2 mEya man2perunj ciRappin2
thAvA vizuppukaz pUvai nilaiyum

I am  not quoting kataic cangam literatures, since they come much after
tholkAppiyam. (Incidentally Sangam literature is not devoid of
philosophical discussions. Pleas read the wonderful book in Tamil ' ulakath
thORRamum thamizar kOtpAtum' by Prof K.Nedunj ceziyan, 1996, manitham
pathippakam, kalainjar nagar, thiruchirappallai 21). SiVan and thirumAl are
variously referred to in the sangkam works; Often enough there are more
references to thiruMAl. (even balarAman is referred to) in these works.
There is also a poem  composed during kaLappALar times ( 3rd century AD)
quoted by the respected Tamil scholar Mayilai seen2i vEngkatasamy

iruLaRu thikiriyootu valampurith thatakkai
oruvan2ai vENta iru nilam kotuththa
nanthi maalvarai cilampa nanthi

where there is an unmistakable reference to mAl. Archeological experts have
also found Sivalingkams in kutimallam, kazAththUr, kutumiyAn malai
belonging to 2nd century BC. ( Please see C.R. Srinivasan: Kanchipuram
through the ages, agam kala pragasam, Delhi 1979, page 232; also see the
same author in Story of Buddism, P 243). Satavagana kings (SatakarNi) were
known to be Saivaites. Similarly SilappathikAram clearly establishes
senguttuvan to be an ardent devotee of SivA.

VaithIkam entered into the Tamil Country around 3rd Century BC.  It merged
somewhat with the local practices of old Saivam and VaiNavam  and gained
large acceptance only during Pallava times. Even earliest pallava was
called Siva Skantha Varman. It is during the Pallava time (4th, 5th and 6th
century AD) that organized translations of indigenous tamil works into
Sanskrit was done and originals were lost due to foolish practices. (Please
read 'Thamizaka varalARum paNpAtum/ by vE. thi. Cellam, maNivAsakar
pathippakam, 8/7 cingkar theru, pArimunai, chennai 600 108, published in 1995)

Recently Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan showed a reference to a translation work
(700 love poems) during HAlA SatakarNi. We don't know the whereabouts of
the original love poems. Sad indeed.

With regards,
IrAma. ki

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