yugas and colours

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sat Oct 31 23:08:31 UTC 2009

We have to distinguish between the date of individual poems and the date of 
 the anthologies. The chronology of Classical Tamil Poetry and the books of 
 Tolkappiyam need to be revisited in light of new evidence.
Iravatham Mahadevan's dating/staging of Tamil Brahmi I and Tamil  Brahmi II 
in his "Early Tamil Epigraphy" has been revised now. Mahadevan also  agrees 
with the revision. See p. 213 in "Pottery Inscriptions of Tamil Nadu - A  
Comparative View" by Y. Subbarayalu in  ,Airavati, Varalaaru.com,  2008, 
p.209-248. Subbarayalu  also says Tamil Brahmi II and Tamil Brahmi  III need to 
be considered as belonging to the same stage. 
Subbarayalu's note "If the TB-I/TB-II classification loses its  
chronological basis, then Mahadevan's dates given to the rock inscriptions, at  least 
to some, on the basis of this classification would need some revision. For  
instance, the Jambai inscription of Atiyan Nedumaan A~nci, which is assigned 
by  Mahadevan (2003, p.399) to first century CE should be more appropriately 
put in  about 200 BCE or even earlier. However his overall dating does not 
suffer as it  is supported by other pieces of evidence" is very important 
for dating the Tamil  poems. Atiyan Nedumaan A~nci is the hero praised in many 
Classical Tamil  poems.
Also, in light of the Tamil confederacy mentioned in Hathigumpha  
inscription (1st century BCE) as well as suggested by Akam 31, which I had  discussed 
in the list earlier, we have to evaluate the possibility of some poems  to 
be dated at least to the first century BCE. (We can  safely disregard the 
theory of Pandyan kings organizing a number of poets  to cook up/invent 
Classical Tamil poetry in the 9th/10th century CE.) 
With respect to the dating of Tolkappiyam, in his "Early Tamil Epigraphy",  
Mahadevan had failed to take into account an important paper by Rajam  
Ramamurti,in IJDL."The Relevance of the Terms mey, o_r_ru, and pu.l.li to the  
System of Tamil Morpho-Phonemics," IJDL, V. 9, no. 1, 1982, 167-183. I 
pointed  this out during Mahadevan's book release event at Harvard in 2003. .The 
point is  the date of at least the first book of Tolkappiyam should most 
probably  precede any occurrence of the dotted consonant in epigraphy. (I have a 
 draft of a note discussing this but never got around to publishing it.). 
It will be interesting to see if this reevaluation of dating of  Classical 
Tamil poems has any impact on the date of individual poems in  Paripaa.tal 
In a message dated 10/31/2009 10:54:09 A.M. Central Daylight Time,  
glhart at BERKELEY.EDU writes:

Of  course it's CE, not BCE.  None of the Tamil works can be dated to   
BCE -- though we do have inscriptions from the first couple  centuries  

The Tamil is

paaz ena kaal ena  paaku ena onRu ena pari.3-77
iraNTu ena muunRu ena naanku ena aintu  ena pari.3-78
aaRu ena eezu ena eTTu ena toNTu ena  pari.3-79
naalvakai uuzi eN naviRRum ciRappinai pari.3-80
ce kaN kaari karu kaN veLLai pari.3-81
pon kaN paccai pai kaN maaal  pari.3-82

(Malten's transcription)

"Black" is from kaari,  ultimately from karu, the standard word for  
"black."  "Dark" is  maal, which can mean "blackness" or "greatness,"  
"great man,"  "Visnu."  "Dark one with green eyes" could also mean   
"Green-eyed Visnu!" -- which might make more sense, as "black" has   
already been used.  The word for "green" can also mean  "yellow."

George Hart

On Oct 31, 2009, at 8:00 AM, JKirkpatrick  wrote:

> I'm curious as to what are the words for "black" and "dark"  in
> this typology?
> The usual colors cropping up in such  typologies are white, red,
> yellow, and  blue/green/black.
> JK
> =============
> On  Behalf Of George Hart
> Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:04  AM
> From ParipaTal 3, about the 3rd or 4th century  BCE:
> Your wonder is such that you are counted through four  kinds of
> eons: zero, quarter, half, one, two three, four, five,  six,
> seven, eight, nine!  Black one with red eyes!  White  one with
> black eyes!  Green one with golden eyes!  Dark one  with green
> eyes!
> George Hart
> On Oct  30, 2009, at 11:10 PM, Dominic Goodall wrote:
>> Dear  all,
>> Can anybody tell me whether the notion that  Vi.s.nu changes
> colour in
>> each yuga predates the  Bhaagavatapuraa.na?
>> BhP_10.08.013/1 aasan var.naas  trayo hy asya g.rh.nato
> 'nuyuga.m
>> tanuu.h
>>  BhP_10.08.013/3 "suklo raktas tathaa piita idaanii.m
>  k.r.s.nataa.m
>> gata.h
>> I find it in a few  passages excluded from the critical text of
> the
>>  Mahaabhaarata, e.g.
>> 13*0002_01 ya.h "svetatvam  upaagata.h k.rtayuge tretaayuge
> raktataa.m
>> 13*0002_02  yugme ya.h kapila.h kalau sa bhagavaan k.r.s.natvam
>>  abhyaagata.h
>> Does anybody know of any demonstrably  early references?
>> Dominic  Goodall

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