[INDOLOGY] Sacrificial Tortoise?

palaniappa at aol.com palaniappa at aol.com
Thu Aug 1 00:15:22 UTC 2013


You may want to check out the following posts discussing this poem and agnicayana several years ago.


I would like to add two additional points in connection with the poem. At least by the 8th century, we see epigraphic evidence of a member of the brahmin-Vaidya family of high royal officials of the Pāṇṭiyan kingdom having the name Eyiṉaṉ. The family also had eclectic interests. This high status brahmin family seemed to be well-versed in music too. In contrast, brahmins involved in music in the Cilappatikāram are shown to be living apart.

Last August when I met Mr. Thottam Krishnan Nambudiri in Panjal in Kerala, I brought up this poem as the earliest mention of agnicayana in Tamil texts. At that time Mr. Nambudiri mentioned a Padma Purana story involving the tortoise and sacrifice. He did not recollect the reference. Seeking the reference, I posted the following message in Indology. http://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology_list.indology.info/2013-June/038136.html
Since I did not get any response to the post, I suspect it may not be in the Padma Purana. If it is found in any other Purana, I would appreciate the reference.



-----Original Message-----
From: George Hart <glhart at berkeley.edu>
To: indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:04 pm
Subject: [INDOLOGY] Sacrificial Tortoise?

Akanāṉūṟu 361 (probably dating to the first 2 centuries CE) mentions a sacrifice 
in which a tortoise is placed in a fiery sacrificial pit (tittiyam) for the gods 
"whose flowers do not fade" to eat.  This is also referred to 5 or 6 centuries 
later in the Cīvakacintāmaṇi (2878).  I have never heard of such a ritual and am 
wondering whether it is mentioned in Sanskrit.  The poem uses the image quite 
beautifully: a man separated from his beloved as he crosses the wilderness to 
get wealth addresses his heart, telling it that it must not think of her and 
must not be like the tortoise in the sacrificial pit longing for its cool, 
shadowed pond.  George Hart
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