Showing posts with label Kerala. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kerala. Show all posts

Controversies of Kural by valluvar

Let us see some of the controversies sorrounding Kural.
Last 25 chapters
The last 25 chapters are split into two parts, premarital and marital love, separately, yet because of their different style there is controversy whether these chapters were part of the original work because many of principles in this chapters are contrary to what is discussed in previous chapters.
Very little is known conclusively about the life of Tiruvalluvar.As per Tamil tradition, he is believed to have lived some time before Tholkappiar .His wife name is vasuki.
Textile weaver
He is said to have been a textile weaver by profession, who led an austere life. His devoted wife was named Vasuki. The name Valluvan is ambiguous as well: it may have referred to his caste/occupation and may not have been his real name. There is a distinct caste to this day with this name, among the Tamils whose traditional occupation used to be textile weaving who trace their ancestry to valluvar. However, the question of whether the author was named after his community or vice versa, has never been satisfactorily answered.
Pope begins his introduction by discussing the issue of Thiruvalluvars caste. While Thiruvalluvar's biography was generally acknowledged to be legend, certain aspects of the legend were seen by most scholars as based upon historical fact. One of these was his low-caste origin. As Pope explains, the name Valluvar was an honorific, meaning teacher or priest, traditionally given by the paraiyar (the untouchables of the Tamil country) to the learned men of their community.
Truth is nothing is known about the author other than his name is valluvan.
Legends abound about the birthplace of Thiruvalluvar.
Mylapore (chennai)
According to one legend he is supposed to have been born and lived in Mylapore,an ancient part of present day Chennai city. Author lived in Pallava times,who also patronised jainism.
Another legend associates him to Madurai,the ancient capital of the Pandya rulers. This second legend probably has its origins due to the fact that Pandya rulers promoted Tamil by patronising a lot of Tamil poets and Thiruvalluvar is supposed to be one of them. In fact, some folklore cite that Tirukkural was introduced to the world by Tiruvalluvar in Madurai’s Tamil Sangam.
During the 9th century A.D. a Valluvanadu existed in Kerala. But exact location of valluvanadu is disputed.
The Valluvanadu of the Palaghat district was ruled by Valluvakon in the ancient times. In the laterdays Nairs who entered Kerala annihilated or assimilated the Valluvars of Palaghat and occupied the land. The king of Valluvanadu was called Valluvakonathiri Moopil Nair.The Valluvanad is associated with bravery as most of the Chavers or the suicidal army of Kerala was derived from the Valluvanad area. The Valluvanad Chavers participated in the Mamankam a festival held every twelve years in which, the Chavers tried to kill the Samudhiri the king of neighbouring kingdom even though they were quite aware impossibility and the possibility definite death.
Valluvandu- Wayanad
At Wayanad district the Valluvans are believed to have their kingdom at Valluvady near the Kerala Karnataka border. At Valluvady many artifacts of Valluvars including golden artifacts are believed to be found.
Valluvandu- Kanyakumari
There are also recent claims by Kanyakumari Historical and Cultural Research Centre (KHCRC) that Valluvar was a king who ruled Valluvanadu in the hilly tracts of Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. Though this recent claim comes through research, many questions remain unanswered.

Caldwell and Pope dated the text to the 8th—10th centuries C.E., while the majority of Tamil scholars placed it in the late Sangam period whose period is disputed. Modern scholars like Zvelebil favour a date earlier than that of Caldwell and Pope to 7th century.
Caldwell argued that of Tamil was both the oldest and the least dependent upon Sankrit. But even while granting the antiquity of the language, he dismissed the antiquity of Tamil literature. The oldest of it could not be older than the 8th — 9th century C.E. Caldwell further questioned ancient Tamil society's exposure to the higher forms of civilization, such as art, science or religion, prior to the arrival of Brahmins; Dravidian religion, for instance, prior to their advent, had been a sort of demonolatry or primitive Shamanism.
If X mentions Y then Y is earlier, probably a hundred years earlier than X. This works well in some caes. Kural is mentioned in Silapathikaram and manimekalai.So kural is before that but silapthikaram date is also disputed. So how do you date kural.
Thirukkural does not adhere to the rules of Tholkappiyam, the Grammar book. This shows that this book has preceded Tholkappiyam which is not the widely held view.
Tiruvalluvar’s faith is disputed. There are claims he is Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and even christian , let us see.
  • The phrase `malar misai Ekinaan'that appears in the first chapter. Roughly translated:malar misai Ekinaan = one who went towards or reached the flower. If the meaning for the verb Ekuthal'is given . scholars say `malar misai Ekinaan' is Mahavira. It seems the iLangO adikaL in his work `silappadhikaaram' uses the same phrase to refer to Mahavira.
  • The third kural, in the first chapter is translated by Prof. P.S.Sundaran as: Long life on earth is theirs who clasp. The glorious flower-embedded feet In his notes he writes: "Flower-embedded feet may refer either specifically to Aruhan, the Jain God who is usually represented as standing on a flower, or to God in general whose seat is not only in haven, but also in the flower-shaped-heart of his devotees." "Aruhan" (Arhant) can be any one of the 24 Jinas.
  • Comparing the kural verse with a verse in Bhaktaamar Stotra, composed by Mantungacharya. The 44 verses of Bhaktaamar praise the first Jina (just like the first chapter of Thirukkural), as mentioned in the last quarter of second verse: ... stoshye kilaahamapi tam prathamam jinendram .. I will also praise the first Jina. The second half of the 32nd shloka is: paadau padani tava yatra Jinendra dhatth, padmani tatra vibudha parikalpayanti.. wherever you put your feet, gods create lotus flowers. mostof the verses of the first chaper can also apply to Gautama Buddha, since he is also "one who has conquered his five senses",however the mention of Aadi Bhagavan make it clear that it is the first Jina being praised.
  • Professor A Chakravarty identifies the author of the Tirukkural text as the same Kundakunda Acarya and identifies places in the South with him. He offer the opinion that the Kural was of his authorship, the only one he wrote in the local language of the Tamils among whom he lived and which he sent through a friend, or disciple of his to Madurai to get approval from the Tamil Sangam. But this theory of present date and has no basis.
  • Tamil tradition identifies an Eladhi Nayanar in close proximity to Valluvar, Under these somewhat negative proofs,Kundakunda might have fathered the work and might have underscored the relationship of Eladhi Nayanar with the Valluvar of the Kural for among his own many names Elacarya is given as one. But this is a legend of 13th century making in supporting antiquity of another lengend avvaiyar.
  • Section devoted to vegetarian food, the author distinctly condemns the Buddhist principle of purchasing meat from the butcher. Buddhists Say that they are not to kill with their own hands but may purchase meat from slaughter house. The author of the Kural in unmistakable terms points out that the butcher's trade thrives only because of the demand for meat. Butcher's interest is merely to make money and hence he adopts a particular trade determined by the principle of 'supply and demand'. Therefore the responsibility of killing animals for food is mainly on your head and not upon the butcher's. This is clear jain mind working against buddhist.
  • The Jaina commentator of the Tamil work called Neelakesi freely quotes from this Kural, and whenever he quotes, he introduces the quotation with the words "as is mentioned in our scripture". From this it is clear that the commentator considered this work as an important Jaina scripture.
  • Non Jaina Tamil work called "Prabodha Chandrodaya". This Tamil work is evidently modelled after the Sanskrit drama Prabodha Chandrodaya. This tamil work is in Viruttam metre, consist of four lines. It is also in the form of a drama where the representatives of the various religions are introduced on the stage. Each one is introduced while reciting a characteristic verse containing the essence of his religion. When the Jaina sanyasi appears on the stage, heis made to recite that particular verse from the Kural which praises the Ahimsa doctrine that "not killing a single life for the purpose of eating is far better than performing 1000 yagas". Kural was characteristically a Jaina work. Otherwise he would not have put this verse in the mouth of 'Niganthavadi' ( a Jaina).
  • The very arrangement of the book into 3 divisions (muppaal)is a vedic concept of Purusharthas, dharma, artha and kaama. He left out the 4 th division, Moksha, because adherence to the principles of the first 3 will automatically elevate one to Moksha or Liberation from the cycle of life and death.
  • The compartmentalization of the ‘adhikaras’ into the mystic number 108 for Dharma (aram) and Artha (poruL) also is indicative of a definite plan to present his bookon the vedic notion of spirituality. The choice of the term, ‘Adhikaram’ itself for the chapters is indicative of the vedic practice of Yatho-desa paksham – which means the spread of control / influence by itself and its own sake, that is, the message of Kural will spread by itself the message of Purusharthas.
  • The positioning of adhikaram, ‘voozh’ (destiny) after dharma (aratthu-p-paal)is also demonstrative of a Vedic influence. How-much-ever dharmic one may be, one can not stop or escape from the interference of ‘oozh’ or destiny is the message given at all ages, from Gita onwards (one has control over one’s actions only, not on the results) to Silappadhikaaram (oozh vinai urutthu vandhu ootttum)and this has been aptly given as a finale for Aratthu-p-paal.
  • The only source book he quotes for all rules is the ‘nool’The ‘nool’ that he often speaks in kural is the Vedas and he has repeatedly glorified the ways the ‘Saandror’ or Aryans.
    “kadan enba nallavai ellaam kadan aRindhu
    saandraaNmai mEr koLbhavarkku.”
    “saman seidhu seer thookkum kOl pOl amaindhoru paal
    kOdaamai saandrOrkku aNi”
  • Brahmins (anthanar) and Vyakarana sastras (725)are the respected ones he looks at, for any reference to acts of dharma.
  • Devas and their habit of receiving Havis from humans are often mentioned by him.
  • He disapproves animal sacrifice in yajnas but not yajnas themselves,giving indication of his leanings towards vedic practices and his willingness to usher in modifications – which is what sages too had said for kali yuga.
  • The Vamana avatara is clearly mentioned in kural 610 where he tells that the king must be like “ulagu aLandhaan”,Vamana in conquering worlds.
  • He makes a veiled mention of Rama’s valour in kural 773 for showing mercy to the enemy in the war field when he is down in spirits. Most important of these is his veiled reference to Rama in his opening verse.These ancient norms of poetry were aimed at spreading and preserving the greatness of the Lord or God who had been praised by the poet. The praise of the Lord to live long can not just be empty words but it also must incorporate certain features that help in making the Lord and his name immortal.We come across such norms in Choodamani nigandu, given as sutras and Thirukkaural had followed these ancient norms and had indicated his Lord, his Ishta devatha as Rama!! One will be surprised to know that these norms were in tandem with certain rules of astrology, meant for longevity and greatness!
  • Thiruvalluvar begins his book with a worship of god.The Akaara Brahman is indicated in his very first verse as also the Bhagam (6 qualities) of Bhagavan – a vedic concept.Akaara Brahmam is equated to Vishnu in Bhagavad Gita.
  • He has indicated his God – ishta devatha in this verse – ‘agara mudala..’
    It has been a practice in ancient times for the poets to reveal their God or Lord or the Lord of the song (paattudai-th-thlaivan)in their first verse as a puzzle. Thirvalluvar too had done that.
  • Vaiyapuri Pillai has said:"There are many couplets of the Kural that are either translations or
    adaptations of Manusmriti”, such as:
    - Kural 57 and Manusmriti IX:12
    - Kural 41 and Manusmriti III:78. This verse of smriti, Pillai points
    out, has been reiterated by Tiruvalluvar more than once.
    - Kural 396 and Manusmriti II:218 "
  • He talks about "destroying the five senses", which you can see in upanishads and bhagavat gita. Concept of multiple birth is a hall mark of Hindu dharma. Undoubtadly, TiruValluvar endorse future birth. Destruction of ego: this is another characteristic aspect of Vedic religion.
    Kural - 346
    Who kills conceit that utters 'I' and 'mine',Shall enter realms above the powers divine.
    He who destroys the pride which says "I", "mine" will enter a world which is difficult even to the Gods to attain.
    Kural - 348
    Who thoroughly 'renounce' on highest height are set;The rest bewildered, lie entangled in the net.Those who have entirely renounced (all things and all desire) have obtained (absorption into God); all others wander in confusion, entangled in the net of (many) births.
    Kural - 349
    When that which clings falls off, severed is being's tie;All else will then be seen as instability.
    At the moment in which desire has been abandoned, (other) births will be cut off; when that has not been done, instability will be seen.
    Kural - 350
    Cling thou to that which He, to Whom nought clings, hath bid thee cling, Cling to that bond, to get thee free from every clinging thing.
    Yama, the god of death, a Hindu entity
    E'en over death the victory he may gain,If power by penance won his soul obtain.Those who have attained the power which religious discipline confers, will be able also to pass the limit of Yama, (the God of death).
  • Kural-24 to Kural-27 is without any doubt part of the Upanishadic, Yogic and Tantric traditions.
    He, who with firmness, curbs the five restrains,
    Is seed for soil of yonder happy plains.
    Their might who have destroyed 'the five', shall soothly tell
    Indra, the lord of those in heaven's wide realms that dwell.
    Things hard in the doing will great men do;
    Things hard in the doing the mean eschew.
    Taste, light, touch, sound, and smell: who knows the way
    Of all the five,- the world submissive owns his sway.
  •  Deivanayagam, has claimed ' Porivaayil Aintavittan' has reference to Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself in human form with the five senses complete, on the symbol of the cross, so that humanity may be redeemed and ennobled towards an eternal life.

  • M Deivanayagam says Thiruvalluvar was a Christian and a disciple of St.Thomas and most of the Saiva Sidhantha and the vivid knowledge found in Thiruklural were nothing but the sayings of The Bible.
This is just attempt to spread christianity and there is no basis of this claim.
It is maintained by a well known Tamil scholar that the work is a faithful translation of the Dharmasastra by Bodhayana. Many Sanskrit words are found in this Kural and from among the traditional doctrines some are also treated therein. Let us see.

This Bodhayana Dharma Sastra, since it is based upon the traditional Varnasrama, keeps to the traditional four castes and their duties. According to this conception of Dharma, cultivation of the land is left to the last class of Sudras and would certainly be infra dig for the upper class to have anything to do with agriculture. The author of Kural, on the other hand placed agriculture first among the professions. For he says, "living par excellence is living by tilling the land and every other mode of life is parasitical and hence next to that of the tiller of the soil".
Another interesting fact mentioned in Dharma Sastras is the mode of entertaining guests by the householders. Such an entertainment is always associated with killing a fat calf; the chapter on guests in Bodhayana Dharmasastra gives a list of animals that ought to be killed for the purpose of entertaining guests. This is necessary part of Dharma and violation of it will entail curse from the guests in the firm belief of those who accept Vedic ritualism as religion. A cursory glance at the corresponding chapter in the Kural will convince any reader that Dharma here means quite a different thing from what it means in the Dharma Sastras of the Hindus. Hence we have to reject this suggestion that the work represents merely a translation of the Dharma Sastras for the benefit of the Tamil reading people

What scholars opine about Tirukkural.
  • There is a distinct intellectual relationship of  the Arathupal of Kural with  the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Parasara Samhitha, Srimad Bhagavatham, Rg Veda and 
  • Porutpal has very many similarities with Kamanthaka Neeti, Artha Sastra of Kautilya, Sukra Neeti, Bodayana Smrithi 
  • Kamathupal reflects many a thoughts from Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. (Sri V.R. Ramachandra Dikshidhar)
  • More than twenty five pure Sanskrit words have been borrowed from the Sanskrit Language and incorporated  in the body of the Kural by Valluvan as well as according to Mr.Vyapuri  Pillai  time it was written in the 6th century AD.  (S. Vyapuri Pillai)
  • Aran, Iyalbu, Ottrar, Duthar Adhikarams in Kural reflects the thinking of Kautilya's Artha Sasthra (S. Vayapuri Pillai) 
  • Valluvan did codify the Kural in the present format and there has not been much of any differentiation in presentation from its time of origin. 
  • What Kural says in Tamil has been told by various rishis in Sanskrit which can be found in the very many ancient philosophical literature available in India.  
  • One of the most important points to note is, in Kural Valluvan has never discussed the Tamils, by name, nor has he referred to the various Tamil  kings of the Chera, Chozha and Pandiyan dynasties and their histories.  In contrast, they are available in plenty in the Sangam Literature.
  • Valluvan has never used the word Tamil or Tamizhan in the Kural. 
  • Neither does Valluvan talk about the life and times of Tamilians in Tamilnadu, in his Kural.
Non Random Thoughts
S. N. Srirama Desikan, Research Scholar - Tirukkural published by Ganghai Puthaga Nilayam, Chennai 1991

Myth of Independent Tamil Culture

We have theory of North-South contrast and an unknown Dravidian substratum over which the layer of Aryan culture was deposited. This view is only milder than that of the proponents of a separate and secular Tamil Culture, who insist on a physical and cultural Aryan-Dravidian clash as a result of which the pure Dravidian culture got swamped.Let us analyze the History,

Politics of language translation and Identity
Rajagopalachari, a political activist and Tamil scholar coins a word ‘Yakkai Rasayanam’ to denote ‘organicchemistry’. The ‘Yakkai’ has ‘pure’ Tamil root while Rasayanam is culled from Sanskrit but of common use among Tamil people.Yakkai connotes ‘organized’ and alludes to ‘vitalism’ and ‘chief organiser’, that is God. So people find this not secular.
The current technical term in usage ‘Karima Vediyal’(Carbon Chemistry) was suggested by Chennai Magahana Tamil Sangam in 1938 is exorcised of any reference to ‘tradition’ and as matter of fact is very secular. The term Karima means ‘Carbon’ and Vediyal means ‘Chemistry’. However, the term Vediyal is a modern word coined from a root word ‘Vedi’ meaning ‘transmute’. The verb ‘Vethithal’ implies transmutation of baser elements in Siddha tradition of ‘alchemy’. The word Vedi also came to denote drug used by Siddha school of medicine, derived not from plant sources but from chemical source’. How did this secularization of coining of terms
come about? Let us see

Social historians posit that during 1930s there were One group represented the traditional elite - largely dominated by Brahmins and consisting of elite from upper caste Hindu section were characterized by their sympathy towards ‘tradition’- meaning Sanskrit traditions, and in politics advocating ‘Pan Indian Nationalism’. Another group was the Tamil Vellala and non-Brahmin upper caste elite, who articulated ‘Tamil identity politics’ drawing inspiration from the Tamil past. Thirdly, there were the Left/self-respect movements, which not only questioned the ‘past’ but also ‘invalidated’ it.

As the balance of power of the third group swelled in the public sphere during the 1940s; in the ensuing social upheaval, impact of the self-respect movement’s rationalism and the left ideology geared the ‘rediscovery programme’ in a direction of taking it to secular plane away from the‘past tradition’ or ‘indigenous religion’. Rationalism was privileged in the rediscovery programme. E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar) have very rigid ideas about the ancient history of Tamil Nadu. First, despite all evidence to the contrary,they still insist on the Aryan invasion theory in its most violent version, turning most North Indians and upper-caste Indians into descendants of the invading Aryans who overran the indigenous Dravidian s, and Sanskrit into a deadly rival of Tamil. Consequently, they assert that Tamil is more ancient than Sanskrit, and civilization in the South older than in the North. Once Tamil Nadu's Education minister said The Dravidian civilization is older than the Aryan. It is not uncommon to hear even good Tamil scholars utter such claims. Let us Analyse the evidences

Culturally, the megalithic people of the South shared many beliefs and practices with megalithic builders elsewhere in the subcontinent and beyond.

The earlier Tamil inscriptions were written in Kadamba script, Pallava grantha and Vetteluthu Inscriptions after the eighth century A.D. Contain characteristrics similar to the one now in vogue The Tamil script(see also Tamil Brahmi) infact flipflopped between Pallava Granta and Vetteluthu.

Vedic Gods and Vedic culture in Tamil Literature
Tolkappiyam (date) is modelled on the Sanskrit grammar of the Aindra school. Tolkappiyam adopts the entire Rasa theory as worked out in the Natya Sastra of Bharata. It also refers to rituals and customs coming from the Aryans,a word which in Sangam literature simply means North Indians of Vedic culture. Tolkappiyam states that marriage as a sacrament attended with ritual was established in the Tamil country by the Aryas and it uses the same eight forms of marriage found in the Dharmashastras. It mentions the caste system or fourfold jathis in the form of Brahmins, Kings, Vaishyas and Vellalas, and calls Vedic mantras the exalted expression of great sages. Tolkappiyam formulates division of the Tamil land into five regions (tinai), each associated with one particular aspect of love, one poetical expression, and also one deity: thus the hills (kurinji) with union and with Cheyon (Karthikeya); the desert (palai) with separation and Korravai (Durga); the forests (mullai) with awaiting and Mayon (Vishnu-Krishna); the seashore (neytal) with wailing and Varuna; and the cultivated lands (marutam) with quarrel and Ventan (Indra). Vedic gods are considered one with the tamil land. The emperor of Tamil poetry, Kambar, describes Sanskrit as the "devabhasa"

Ettuttokai abound in references to many gods Shiva, Uma, Murugan, Vishnu, Lakshmi and several other Saktis. The Paripadal consists almost entirely of devotional poetry to Vishnu. One poem begins with a homage to him and Lakshmi, and goes on to praise Garuda, Shiva on his majestic bull, the four-faced Brahma, the twelve Adityas, the Ashwins, the Rudras, the Saptarishis, Indra with his dreaded thunderbolt,the devas and asuras, etc., and makes glowing references to the Vedasand Vedic scholars. The Purananuru in addition sees Lord Shiva as the source of the four Vedas and describes Lord Vishnu as blue-hued and Garuda-bannered. A poem in Akananuru, declares that Shiva and Vishnu are the greatest of gods. Not only deities or scriptures, landmarks sacred in the North, such as the Himalayas or Ganga, also become objects of great veneration in Tamil poetry. North Indian cities are referred to such as Ujjain or Mathura after which Madurai was named. Court poets proudly claim that the Chera kings conquered North Indian kingdoms and carved their emblem onto the Himalayas. They clearly saw thesubcontinent as one entity.

Kural is often described as an Atheistic text a misconception. Valluvar's 1,330 mostly deal with ethics (aram), polity (porul) and love (inbam), following the traditional Sanskritic pattern of the four objects of human life: dharma, artha, kama, and moksha, the last implied rather than explicit. Still, the very first decade is an invocation to Bhagavan. The ocean of births can be crossed by those who clasp God's feet, and none else. The same idea recurs later, for instance in this profound thought, Cling to the One who clings to nothing and so clinging, cease to cling. The Kural also refers to Indra, to Vishnu's avatar of Vamana , and to Lakshmi, asserting that she will shower her grace only on those who follow the path of dharma. There is nothing very atheistic in all this, and in reality the values of the Kural are perfectly in tune with those found in several shastras or in the Gita

Shilappadikaram(Date) which relates story of Kannagi and Kovalan, it opens with invocations to Chandra, Surya, and Indra, all of them Vedic Gods, and frequently praises Agni, Varuna, Shiva, Subrahmanya, Vishnu-Krishna, Uma, Kali, Yama and so forth. There are mentions of the four Vedas and of Vedic sacrifices being faultlessly performed.In more than one place, writes V. Ramachandra Dikshitar, the first translator of the epic into English, there are references to Vedic Brahmans, their fire rites, and their chanting of the Vedic hymns. The Brahman received much respect from the king and was often given gifts of wealth and cattle. When Kovalan and Kannagi are married, they walk around the holy fire, a typically Vedic rite still at the centre of the Hindu wedding. Welcomed by a tribe of fierce hunters on their way to Madurai, they witness a striking apparition of Durga, who is addressed equally as Lakshmi and Sarasvati, the three Shaktis of the Hindu trinity. There are numerous references to legends from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Puranas.

After worshipping at two temples, one of Vishnu and the other of Shiva, the Chera king Shenguttuvan goes to the Himalayas in search of a stone for Kannagi's idol, and bathes it in the Ganges. Manimekhalai even though is a Buddhist work, it also mentions many Vedic and Puranic gods, and attributes the submergence of Puhar tothe neglect of a festival to Indra. Silapathikaram and Manimekhalai, which amply testify that what we call today Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism coexistedharmoniously. (See Also Divine Tamil)
As the archaeologist and epigraphist R. Nagaswamy remarks, The fact that the literature of the Sangam age refers more to Vedic sacrifices than to temples is a pointer to the popularity of the Vedic cults among the Sangam Tamils.

Agastya, the great Vedic Rishi, as the originator of the Tamil language. He is saidto have written a Tamil grammar, Agattiyam, to have presided over the first two Tamil Sangams, and is even now honoured in many temples of Tamil Nadu and worshipped inmany homes. One of his traditional names is Tamil muni. The Shilappadikaram refers to him asthe great sage of the Podiyil hill,and a hill is today named after him at the southernmost tip of the Western Ghats.

P. S. Subrahmanya Sastri says a knowledge of Sanskrit literature from the Vedic period to the Classical period is essential to understand and appreciate a large number of passages scattered among the poems of Tamil literature.In other words, Vedic and Puranic themes are inextricably woven into Sangam literature.
Ramachandra Dikshitar writes Either the people did not look upon religious distinctions seriously, or there were no fundamental differences between one sect and another

Historical Period
But here let us just take a look at the rulers. An inscription records that a Pandya king led the elephant force in the Mahabharata War on behalf of the Pandavas, and that early Pandyas translated the epic into Tamil. The first named Chera king, Udiyanjeral, is said to have sumptuously fed the armies on both sides during the War at Kurukshetra Chola and Pandya kings also voiced such claims of course they may be devoid of historical basis, but they show how those kings sought to enhance their glory by connecting their lineage to heroes of the Mahabharata. So too, Chola and Chera kings proudly claimed descent from Lord Rama or from kings of the Lunar dynasty, in other words vedic roots. Karikala, was a patron Vedic religion and while the Pandya king Nedunjelyan performed many Vedic sacrifices, and the dynasty of the Pallavas made their capital Kanchi into a great centre of Sanskrit learning and culture.

K.V. Raman summarizes says
The Pandyan kings were great champions of the Vedic religion from very early times According to the Sinnamanur plates, one of the early Pandyan kings performed a thousand velvi or yagas Vedic sacrifices. Though the majority of the Pandyan kings were Saivites, they extended equal patronage to the other faiths, and included invocatory verses to the Hindu Trinity uniformly in all their copper-plate grants. The Pandyas patronised all the six systems or schools of Hinduism. Their religion was not one of narrow sectarian nature but broad-based with Vedic roots. They were free from linguistic or regional bias and took pride in saying that they considered Tamil and Sanskritic studies as complementary and equally valuable.
Nilakanta Sastri goes a step further and opines, There does not exist a single line of Tamil literature written before the Tamils came into contact with, and let us add accepted with genuine appreciation, the culture of North Indian origin.

The Myth of Dravidian Culture
And yet, such statements do not go deep enough, as they still imply a North-South contrast and an unknown Dravidian substratum over which the layer of Aryan culture was deposited. This view is only milder than that of the proponents of a separate and secular Tamil Culture, who insist on a physical and cultural Aryan-Dravidian clash as a result of which the pure Dravidian culture got swamped. As we have seen, archaeology, literature and Tamil tradition all fail to come up with the slightest hint of such a conflict. Rather, as far as the eye can see into the past there is every sign of a deep cultural interaction between North and South, which blossomed not through any imposition but in a natural and peaceful manner, as everywhere else in the subcontinent and beyond.
M.G.S. Narayanan says
The Aryan-Dravidian or Aryan-Tamil dichotomy envisaged by some scholars may have to be given up since we are unable to come across anything which could be designated as purely Aryan or purely Dravidian in the character of South India of the Sangam Age. In view of this, the Sangam culture has to be looked upon as expressing in a local idiom all the essential features of classical Hindu culture. Swami Vivekananda says, The South had been the repository of Vedic learning.

It should now be crystal clear that anyone claiming a separate,pre-Aryan or secular Dravidian or Tamil culture has no evidence to show for it, except his own ignorance of archaeology, numismatics and ancient Tamil literature. There is no meaning in the word Dravidian except either in the old geographical sense or in the modern linguistic sense, racial and cultural meanings are as unscientific as they are irrational, although some scholars in India remain obstinately rooted in a colonial mindset.

The simple reality is that every region of India has developed according to its own genius, creating in its own bent, but while remaining faithful to the central Indian spirit,So is Tamil culture.

Origin of Word Tulu

Origin and meaning of the word Tulu has been disputed in literary circles since pre-Independance days. Dr. Palthadi Ramakrishna Achar(1999) has compiled the available historical information on the word ‘Tulu’ in his book ‘TuLu naaDu- nuDi’. Most of the appraisals, as remarked by Dr Achar, have been made considering Tulu as a character of the territory or the people rather than the language.
  1. In ‘Rajatha Peethapura Mahatme’(1913) it is described that a chieftain of Udupi called Ramabhoja offered Tulābhāra to the deity, to amend for the sin of killing a serpent. Tulābhāra is the offering of gold or other material (according to the status of the worshipper) equivalent to ones body weight. Thus the word Tulu has been suggested to have been derived from the Tulābhāra. The theory has not been accepted by experts since Rama bhoja appears to be an imaginary ruler unsubstantiated in the actual history of the land.
  2. Another similar legend in ‘Keralotpatti’(16th century work), an ancient work that originated from Kerala, describes the rule of one ‘Tuluban Perumal’ from Koteswara, Kundapaura area, who gave the name Tulunad for the area.This is again a figment of fertile imagination since there is documented evidence of any Tuluban Perumal ruling Tulunad.
  3. Dr B. A. Salettur derived the word ‘Tulu’ from the Kannada root ‘tooL’ which means to attack. Dr. Gururaja Bhat had discounted this suggestion since Tulu people were never attacked anyone nor had any expansionist ideals.
  4. Manjeswara Govinda Pai proposed that the word Tulu has been considered to have derived from the proto dravidian word ‘Tulai’ which means to row or play with water.
  5. Kudkadi Viswanatha Rai (cited in Dr Achar,1999) suggested that the Tulu has been derived from the phrase ‘Tullal naadu’, wherein ‘tullal’ means to wriggle or to dance. Native Mera or Muger tribes describe their marriage ceremony as 'tullal'. Yakshaghana dances.
  6. Dr. Gururaja Bhat proposed that the word Tulu is modified form of the term ‘turu’ that refers to cattle. Cattle herding and grazing is considered to be one of the earliest known professions in India. Cow-herders of Gujarat, also known as Yadavas are considered to be one of the early settlers in Tulunad. Haritha of Yadava clan was said to have ruled in Tulunad according to Harivamsha. However there are no solid evidences in favour of turu>tulu word conversion .
  7. ‘Tolahars’ were a royal clan that ruled a part of Tulunad. Tola>Tulu conversion has been thought of by some workers.
  8. J.Sturrock in his South Canara Manual ( Vol.I ) inferred that word Tulu possibly refers to the ‘soft’ nature of the local people, since the adjective “tuluve” is applied to the soft pulpy variety of jack fruit. However, this argument has not been accepted by experts like Dr. Gururaja Bhat.
  9. Sediyapu Krishna Bhat has pointed out that the word ‘Tulu’ is connected with water. ‘Tuluve’(jack fruit) also means ‘watery’ and that should be considered instead of the ‘soft’ implication. The other water related words in Tulu are talipu, teli, teLi, teLpu, tuLipu, tulavu, tamel and additionally in Kannada are tuLuku and toLe. In Tamil tuli means water drop and tulli means the same in Malayalam.Thus it can be concluded that the word Tulu implies ‘related to water’.
  10. The term ‘Tulu’ was also used as a clan name, as recorded in the Honnali inscription of Shimoga district, dated 1203AD. Dr. Gururaja Bhat has cited several personal names with Tulu as affixes like Tuluveswara, Tuluva Chandiga, Tulu Senabova, Tuluvi Setti, Tuluvakka Heggadati,Tulu Alva, Tulai Amma etc. as have been recorded in the inscriptions. In the Basrur (in Kundapur taluk) inscription dated 1401 AD, mentions a Tuluvi Setti donating land to maintain the routine expenditures of the Tuluveswara temple of Basrur. Besides, Krishnadevaraya, the famous emperor of Vijayanagar was said to be hailing from the ‘Tuluva’ dynasty.Thus we can conclude that the word ‘Tulu’ means ‘that connected with water’ and it is also name of a clan or group.
However the word Tulu is more global than we ordinarily imagine!

source: Tulu Research

Myth of Cheraman Mosque

Cheraman Juma Masjid is a mosque in Kodungallur in the Indian state of Kerala. Believed to be built in 629 AD by Malik Ibn Dinar, it is considered as the oldest mosque in India, and the second oldest mosque in the world to offer Jumu'ah prayers. Constructed during the lifetime of Muhammad, the bodies of some of his original followers are said to be buried here. Unlike other mosques in Kerala that face westwards this mosque faces eastwards.

Let us analyse the Facts

Keralopathi Account(16th century AD)
As the tradition goes, a Chera king, Cheramanperumal of Kodungallure, left for Mecca, embraced Islam, and accepted the name Thajudeen. He married the sister of then King of Jeddah. On his return trip, accompanied by many Islamic religious leaders, led by Malik-ibn-Dinar (RA), he fell sick and passed away. But he had given introductory letters for the team to proceed to ‘Musiris’ (Kodungallur, the Chera capital. The visitors came to Musiris and handed over the latter to the reigning king, who treated the guests with all respect and extended facilities to establish their faith in the land. The king also organised help for the artisans to build the first Mosque at Kodungallur, by converting Arathali temple into a Juma-Masjid. It was build in 629 A.C., and the area around it had been ear-marked for the team’s settlement. This is said in Book called Keralopathi, not anywhere. But there are different versions of Keralopathi giving different accounts. In one version he converted Buddhism.

Scholarly visitors
None of the early or medieval travelers who visited Kerala has referred in their records. Thus Sulaiman, Al Biruni, Benjamin of Tuleda, Al Kazwini, Marco Polo, Friar Odoric, Friar Jordanus, Ibn Babuta, Abdur Razzak, Nicolo-Conti – none of these travelers speaks of the story of the Cheraman’s alleged conversion to Islam.

No cheraman in 7th century AD
Sreedhara Menon authoritatively states that Kerala never had a king called Cheraman Perumal and quotes Dr. Herman Gundert, the German who composed the first Malayalam-English dictionary and the grandfather of Herman Hesse for this. But there seems to have been a Cheraman Perumal, whose history is overlaid by legend. According to Saiva tradition, he had an association with a Sundaramurti, the last of the three hymnists of Devaram. This Cheraman Perumal vanished in 825 A.D, about 200 years

A mention of the Cheraman Perumal legend appeared in the 16th century book Tuhafat-ul Mujahidin by Shaik Zainuddin, but he too did not believe in its historical authenticity. But later cut and paste historians seem to have forgot to add his disclaimer.

Source :Varnam

Date of Karikal chola

Date of Karikal Chola
Karikalan is one of the most legendry kings of Tamil literature. His legendry status include.
  1. Building kallanai or Grand anicut.
  2. Waging a war on North India and Etching the chola emblem on the Himalayas
  3. Making Kanchi the capital of Cholas
Though many place the date of Karikalan to 2nd century AD. There is no historical inscription to confirm this. Let us analayse the literary sources to see the date.

Cilapathikaram is the most ancient literary work to speak about Karikalan. This work says karikalan is Maternal Uncle of Cheran Cenguttuvan. To look further on this kindly follow the link
When we cannot establish the date of Cilapathikaram how can we date karikalan using this.

Here is the dating frenzy gone mad. The pattinappaalai is dated to 1st century BC to 1st century AD, But the king mentioned in work is dated 2nd century AD. That is author praises a king and gives vivid accounts who is born 100 years later Let us not go to another myth of antiquity of tamil article. Written by Uruttirankannanar the work talks about mostly karikalan and puhar.
Let us see info about him.

One inscription throws a different light about uruthirang kannanar A mandapa was donated to kannanar by Karikala . Around 1200 AD Sundara pandiyan ransacked the whole of chola kingdom. He destroyed all forts, palaces etc. but left this one single mandapa untouched. There is a detailed inscription in thiruvellarai - in the form of a Tamil poem – which records this. Though it was a chola who donated the gift, it was a gift for a Tamil poet - uruthirang kannanar - that's all pandiyan considered. Did a mantapa donated by Karikala survived 1000 years. Most unlikely, the date of the above poet cannot be taken for dating karikalan.

Kalingathu Parani
Kalingathu parani was composed at the time of Kulothunga chola (1070-1120). Kulothunga was chalukyan prince who crowned himself as chola king. The difference between the said date of karikala and composition has to noted here.

Ponniyn selvan
Most of the myths about cholas and tamil in general are from this book, Ponniyn selvan written in 20th century. Making the cholas great legendry builders, fighters and naval power belong to this book. The author carelessly twists the historical facts to suit his theories. Most tamil people get their history from this book and naturally gungho about their language and history.

The first inscription to date are copper plates of Udayendram, This is in 10th century AD ,so the king who ruled cannot be remembered only after 700 years and not any where else, that should be strange. Because medieval cholas start around 9th century AD. Also see article here link2 about telugu chodas.

So there is no definite date for karikalan, Tamil historians follow circular logic in dating , they say karikala is 2nd century AD and so the authors should be around that time. And in another instance the literary works are of that age, so the king should be that age. If karikalan cannot be dated around 9th century and 10th century AD , why date him to 2nd century AD , he can be dated to 7th and 8th century AD.

Ancient Pandya kingdom - Location

The Early Pandyas of the Sangam period were one of the three main kingdoms of the ancient Tamil country, the other two being the Cholas and the Cheras. Most of the information about the Early Pandyas comes to us through literary sources. The capital of the Early Pandyan kingdom was initially Korkai, around and was later moved to Kudal (now Madurai) during the reign of Nedunj Cheliyan I. The Medieval Pandyas kingdom is well documented and replete with archeological evidence. But the Early pandyas was not.

Let us analayse the early pandyas, how they came into history.

Sangam LiteratureMaduraikkanci (761-763), by Mankudi Maruthanaar contains a full-length description of Madurai and the Pandyan country under NedunjCheliyan III. Netunalvatai (9th century AD)(in the collection of Pattupattu) give a glimpse into the society and commercial activities. One expert has said, since in one sentence in this poem there is a mention of a vembu flower adorning the spear of the hero, he could be identified to belong to the Pandya dynasty, but it is not certain. until 8th century Kanchi was referred as madurakanchi and Madurai was called Koodal,so we do not know if the said city and dynasty are same.

Descriptions of three major kings of Tamil nadu Chera, chola, pandya and minor chieftains called Velir are found in the Akananuru and the Purananuru collections (both 9th century AD). The second poem by Mudinagarayar addresses the Chera king Uthayan Cheralaathan and praises him for his feeding the armies at the Kurukshetra war. This is an obvious anachronism suggesting a king of the early Common Era Tamil country had a role to play in a mythological battle of the Mahabharata epic. Based on this one poem, there have been attempts at dating the Purananuru poems to around 1000 BCE or older. Which as we can see is full of legends and inaccuracies. Akananuru was compiled by Rudrasarman at the behest of the Pandya king Ukkiraperuvazhuthi. This also contains poems from Perunthevanar(9th century AD).

Silapathikaram and Manimekalai Both these works deal with pandya kings extensively. But dating has always been a issue. refer link1

Meenakshipuram edictEventhough Meenakshipuram edict is said to refer nedunjeliyan , there is noway to verify authenticity of the inscription. And the inscription does not refer to pandyas or nedunjeliyan.

Ashoka edictAshoka edict mentions coda pada satyaputo , ceraputo. Experts says pada in edict means Pandyas , but we do not know for sure. Since no other evidence suggest this. Kautilya when discussion about his southern country karnataka does not say anything about kingdoms beyond that.

Hathigumpha inscriptionsThe Hathigumpha inscriptions of the Kalinga King, Kharavela, (c. 150 BCE) refers to the arrival of a tribute of jewels and elephants from the Pandu king. We have nothing other than that.

Singhalese chronicle Mahawamsa claims that King Vijaya (c. 543 BCE) married a daughter of the Pandu king Kulasekaran, to whom he was sending rich presents every year. Let us see what dipavamsa(4th century AD) say about this, it says Pandu king kulashekara , does not specify whether he is from tamil nadu or he is tamil king. This might be an attempt to link up with Pandavas.

Foreign sources
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. 60 - 100 CE) describes the riches of a 'Medura Regia Pandionis ': ...Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea about five hundred stadia, and is of another Kingdom, the Pandionis. This place also is situated on a river, about one hundred and twenty stadia from the sea....

The Chinese historian Yu Huan in his 3rd century text, the Weilüe, mentions a The Kingdom of Panyue:"...The kingdom of Panyue is also called Hanyuewang. It is several thousand li to the southeast of Tianzhu (Northern India)...The inhabitants are small; they are the same height as the Chinese..."

The Roman emperor Julian received an embassy from a Pandion about 361.

The 1st century Greek historian Nicolaus of Damascus met, at Damascus, the ambassador sent by an Indian King "named Pandion or, " to Caesar Augustus around 13 CE.

PandionPandion Historians dispute term pandion and they say it is porus that is mentioned not pandyas

There are numerous pandu kings in India , both Big and small. Each is an attempt to link up with Pandavas in mahabharata.

Pandyas of West Coast of karnataka
Pandya Bhutala pandya devipandyaAs per Bhutala Pandya Charitam – A Sanskrit book with 13 chapters - Bhutala Pandya’s rule begins at 77 A.D in Barkur as capital in south canara district of Karnataka. Their rule also included parts of Kerala. They are also mentioned in Puranas. Many claim the western sources and the indian sources mentioned refer to Pandyas in south canara. It is interesting to note that the kingdom of Bhutala Pandya was the first to have a delegation of Chinese traders in this part of the Vijayanagar Empire. Chinese porcelain relics can still be found in the temple built by Bhutala Pandya in Barkur (now in Udupi district). Many argue that the ambassador to Rome was from Bhutala pandya kingdom.

Siri Paddana
Antiquity of the Siri paDdana dates back to the period of Tamil Sangham literature. There are several Pali proper nouns in the Siri paDdana that show the backdrop of Buddhism during the composition of the oral epic. Buddhist elements have also been recognized in the environs of Tamil Sangham. The word Sangham (=association) itself is a word associated with. Analogy between the Siri paDdana and the story of Kanaki in Sangham literature suggests that both epics were two different regional versions been built on the same story element. As noted by Peter Claus “there are some tantalizing similarities between the Siri cult and that of Pattini, and also between the Siri legend and that of Kanagi (Pattini)”.The similarity of story element in the Sangham Kanaki and Tulu Siri, leads us to conclude that the composition of Siri paDdana was contemporary of Tamil Sangham literature. Many words in cilapathikaram are of tulu origin.

Barkur in Tulu nadu.
Greek and Roman sources say lot of about the ports of barkur, Kalian, Malpe,Olokhoira(which tamil scholars mention as korkai, tulu people call it as alavakhedu in South canara)

Medieval chera kingdom is Tulu
Medival chera kingdom we know is a Tulu origin. The Namboodaries are from Tulu nadu and they established the chera kingdom. Many of the sangam works are by Chera kings.

Chetty (chettiyar) Tale
The Nagarathar are migrated towards Pandya kingdom(707AD). The reason is that one of the Chola kings fell in love with one of the nagarathar girl, but the King refused to marry her. The nagrathars requested the King to marry her, but the king was very stubborn. Therefore the whole women community gave up their life and the men moved to the Pandya kingdom. The Pandian welcomed the Nagarathars and asked them where they wanted to live in his land. The nagarathars opted for the Chettinad Area. The Pandian wanted the community to grow and therefore he requested the nagarathars to marry again. Therefore they married the girls from the Saiva Vellalar community from Tirunelveli area. May be that is the reason they still have the practice of addressing the dad as Appachi, mom as Aatha, granny as Appatha / Aaya & granddad as Ayya.

Nagarathar, presently known as Nattukottai Nagarathars, are believed to have originated from Chandrapuri in the former Naganadu. There appears to be no authentic record in writing for said belief, excepting what has been handed down to our ancestors by word of mouth, especially 'Thalattu Padal' which itself has taken twist and turn over the years and has lost its originality. Our 'Isaikudimanam' (marriage deed) also bears testimony to our origin wherein it refers to 'Nagavalla…..' Location of former Naganadu is also debatable. Some of our Nagarathars say it is the border between Kerala and Tamilnadu. So many argue that it is the evidence of ancient trade with Rome Greece and South canara

PandavasThe most famous Panadavas has been mentioned in many literary souces , many are pronounced differently. Many say most of the ancient inscriptions refer to pandavas.

so we are not able to come to any conclusion on Ancient pandyas. Many of Sangam literatures who mention Pandyas are after written after 7th century AD. Many of the inscriptions referring to pandyas may not refer to pandavas. Many similar sounding names and trying to attach themselves to Pandavas has made the task of seprating myth and reality very difficult.

Date of Shankara

Date of Shankara the great saint of Hinduism is always been controversial. Dates ranging from 5th century BC to 9th century AD. Let us analyze the dates.

Internal Evidence
The most important internal evidence comes from Sankara's verbatim quotation of Dharmakirti, the buddhist logician. Hsuan Tsang , the Chinese pilgrim, who visited India in the time of Harshavardhana, king of Thanesar (606 - 647 CE), gives clues to Dharmakirti's date. He also mentions Bhartrhari , but not of Sankara. It follows that Sankara is post-Dharmakirti, and possibly post-Hsuan-Tsang also.

Astronomical Details
Various Sankara-vijaya texts are not of much use. The details in one work contradict those in another. Dates ranging from the 5th cent BCE to 8th cent CE have been calculated on the basis of such astronomical details. One further complication is that some astronomical information is said to have been obtained from works which are not available anywhere in India. So no firm conclusion can be drawn based on this.

Records of Mutts
Whether Sankara established any Mutts at all has been questioned. Paul Hacker attributes the tradition of four amnaya-maths at Sringeri, Puri, Dvaraka and Joshimath to Vidyaranyasvamin. The native oral tradition, takes the history of these four Mutts,each associated with one of the four geographical directions and one of the four vedas, to Sankaracarya himself. The dasanami sannyasi-sampradaya, with its various akhadas in northern India, accepts affiliation only with these four mutts. There historical evidence for the existence of the oldest dasanami akhadas as early as the 9th cent. CE. It is immaterial whether Sankara established them himself or whether these four mutts developed naturally at the places where the four famous disciples of Sankara lived and taught. Of these four mutts, the Joshimath title had long been vacant, till it was revived in 1940 CE. So, it does not have many ancient records. The Dvaraka and Puri mutts have, in the past, claimed a date of 5th century BCE for Sankara. This is partly based upon a dating of a grant by a king named Sudhanva who is supposed to have been a contemporary of Sankara. Nothing else is known about this king, and the grant itself has not been dated with any accuracy.And Dvaraka and puri mutts have patchy histories, with periods when there were no presiding Sankaracaryas.

Sringeri Mutt
Sringeri mutt in karnataka has been the only mutt of the original four which has had an unbroken succession of mathadhipatis, as southern India has not experienced as many political upheavals as the north. The Sringeri mutts record states that Sankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of Vikramaditya. The record does not give any clue about the identity of this king. Some 19th century researchers identified this king with the famous Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty, thereby postulating a date of 44 BCE for Sankara. Gap of 700 years was then assigned to Suresvara. The later successors in the Sringeri list can all be dated reasonably accurately from the 8th century downwards. If one identifies the Vikramaditya as a member of the Western Chalukya dynasty, which ruled from Badami in Karnataka. The Chalukya dynasty reached its greatest fame in the time of Pulakesin II, who defeated Harshavardhana. There were two kings named Vikramaditya in this Chalukya dynasty - Vikramaditya I ruled in the late 7th century CE, while Vikramaditya II ruled in the early 8th century. It is more reasonable to identify the Vikramaditya of the Sringeri record with one of these two Chalukyan kings, who ruled from Karnataka, rather than the northern gupta king, whose empire did not include southern India. This interpretation of the Sringeri record is also consistent with the internal evidence from Sankara's works.

Mutt Politics
In addition to these four original mutts, a number of other advaita mutts have come into being over the centuries, some of which are quite well-known. These mutts either started out as branches of the original institutions, or were set up as independent monasteries by notable sannyasis of the dasa-nami order. With the proliferation of such mutts came a number of "traditions," many of them conflicting with one another in details. some of these mutts also claim to have been established by Sankara himself., Some of them also claim 5th century BCE to be the date of Sankara.

The intimate connection of the founders of the Vijayanagara empire with the Sringeri mutt, and the competition by other mathadhipatis in the south for similar honors as traditionally accorded to the Sringeri Mutt. Every southern Mutt with a claim to be the "original" one wants to deny Sringeri's chronological primacy. This denial only has the effect of reinforcing the fact that Sringeri has been the most important advaita mutt for centuries. As such, their conflicting claims about Sankara's date have to be evaluated in the context of their political motivations in putting forth such dates.

Kanchi Mutt
Fifth advaita mutt at Kanchipuram is very active today, does not mean that it has always been so, nor does such activity lend any special credibility to its claims to antiquity. The political influence and prestige that a Mutt enjoys today also do not confer any legitimacy to such claims. It is inconceivable that the dasa-nami-sampradaya would have overlooked a fifth mutt in choosing its affiliations. Claims to historicity that are made in a spirit of political one-upmanship seldom stand up to serious scrutiny. There is no necessary correlation between the modern activity of an advaita mutt and its claimed antiquity.


Gaudapada is ParamaGuru of Shankara. Guru Govinda was Shankara's guru. So if we find the date of Guru, we can arrive at the date of Shishya. Gaudapada lived after the major Buddhist writers especially, Vasubhandhu, Nagarjuna, aryadeva (disciple of Nagarjuna) whose work he clearly reflects. In the 6th century work of Bhavaviveka, there is a direct quotations from Guadapada. Bhavaviveka was junior contemproary of Dharmapala whose date is confirmed by Chinese travellers in 5th century AD. So he has to be earlier than that, that is 5th century AD.  Traditional advaitha list Gaudapada is student of Shukdeva who in turn was student of Ved Vyasa of Mahabharata. We can even argue bhavaviveka and Gaudapada are arguing from same source. Many also argue that Gaudapada is a institution not a person. To cut short the discussion, we can say that Gaudapada lived around 5th century AD. When shankara says Gaudapada to be his paramaguru, we have to take the context. Guru Govinda padacharya was shankara's guru and his guru greatest Guru is Guru Gaudapada. In this context we can see shankara comes around 800 AD date.

The official date accepted currently is 788-820 CE, and the Government of India celebrated the 1200th anniversary of Sankara's birth in 1988. This date is largely based upon one traditional view prevalent in India.

Who are Sangam Cheras

There are two cheras . Sangam cheras and Medieveal cheras.

Sangam Cheras
Early cheras were in Tamil Nadu in what is today Karur, Coimbatore,Erode and salem districts in Tamil Nadu. Had their capital in Vanchi, present day Karur. The only source available for us regarding the early Chera Kings is the anthologies of the Sangam literature. There is a lot of dispute on the age of sangam literature. The internal chronology of this literature is still far from settled. The Sangam literature is full of names of the kings and the princes, and of the poets who extolled them. Despite a rich literature that depicts the life and work of these people, these are not connected history to history so far. Their capital is stated to be modern Karur in Tamilnadu and were also called Kongars.

Ganga rule
If we see other rulers at that time. Gangas who also ruled some parts of kongu nadu(Karur, Coimbatore,Erode and salem districts in Tamil Nadu), do not show any signs of presence of Cheras in the neibhourhood. Even though they ruled same parts of Kongu nadu in tamil nadu at the same time as sangam cheras, they did not have any conflict or any relation with cheras that is puzziling and is one of the reasons of dismissing the sangam sources.

Epigraphic sources
  1. Ashoka girinar inscription say keraputo
  2. Periplus of erythraeon sea mention Muziris cited as musiri in sangam literature
  3. Ptolemy refers to Muziris, Nelcynda and tyndis in kingdom of keraputra
  4. Pugalur (Aranattarmalai) inscription. This inscription refers to three generations of Chera rulers Adam Cel Irrumporai, his son Perumkadungo, and his son Ilamkadungo. But this inscription is highly disputed.
  5. Jambai inscription tells about atiyaman found in sangam literature. Also this inscription is highly disputed.
  6. GajaBahu synchronism, which we have discussed in silapathikaram article
The sangam literature has a name for people of kerala - malayan, most literatures at that time mentions keralites as malayan and cheras are mentioned in their respective king names like ori, Ayi, poriyan,Cheral, Kuttuvan, Irumporai, Athan and Kothai.

Aihole inscriptions mention kadamba rulers in kerala

So there is no clarity on the sangam chera rule. By sangam anthologies the date should be around second century AD. The Ganga rulers seems no knowledge of them. Many of the sangam works have loopholes like Gajabahu synchronism. Eventhough the sangam literature talks of chera rulers, the rulers in inscriptions called themselves as ai's , ori's. The foreign sources mention about ports of west coast. We do not know if chera is kerala in ancient times. The only sources girinar inscription of ashoka talks about keraputo, again we do not know it means kerala or chera. so the arguement continues.

Myth of Saint Thomas India Visit.

The chief items of information contained in C.A. Simon's writings are as follows:
  1. St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Christ (a disputed fact), came to India in A.D. 52 with Habban, a foreign trader.
  2. He landed at Maliankara (Cranganore) in Kerala, preached the Gospel, wrought miracles, and got many converts.
  3. Then he came to Mailepuram (Mylapore), then went to China, after some time returned to Maliankara, and from there came again to Madras where he spent the rest of his life teaching, preaching and drawing a large number of the oppressed and the suppressed into his fold.
  4. He performed miracles which made the local king Mahadeva offer him a place near the seashore where the old church of Mylapore now stands.
  5. His conversion activities incensed the orthodox and enemies from their rank vowed to finish him.
  6. He had therefore to hide himself in a cave at the Little Mount near the present St. Thomas Mount (about five kms. away from Mylapore).
  7. Finally, he was murdered there, i.e., at St. Thomas Mount, by those fanatical enemies.
  8. His body was brought to Mylapore and buried in A.D. 73 at a spot which was forgotten for many centuries.
But the greatest miracle was to occur in 1523, nearly fifteen hundred years after the saint was supposed to have died. That was the rediscovery of the tomb and remains of the murdered saint by the priest in charge of the Mylapore church for building a new church—pieces of bones, a skull, a vessel containing mud supposedly from the place where the saint's blood was shed, and a spearhead of the shape of an olive leaf fixed on a wooden shaft.

Wonder of wonders! Even after about fifteen centuries these remains, including the stick, had not become fossilized or crumbled into dust, but could be got intact and buried at an undisclosed place in the church. That church was damaged beyond recognition in the course of the battles waged round it during the rivalry between the Dutch, the French, and the British and Hyder Ali. (Strangely, the Portuguese are not said to be involved in it, perhaps because they were the heroic defenders) At last in 1893 the present Santhome Church with Gothic architectural excellence was built. (It must be by the Portuguese and none else.) The papal seal over this whole story was stamped in 1956 when Pope Pius XII gave it recognition as a Minor Basilica , all the four major ones being outside India.

while some Christian historians doubted the very existence of an apostle named St. Thomas, some others had denied credibility to the Acts of Thomas, I am more concerned about the visit of st. Thomas and his stay here. Let us now analyze the facts.

1.The respected Mylapore archaeologist Dr. R. Nagaswami, who has worked on San Thome Cathedral with the Jesuits, tells of the destruction of Jain and Buddhist temples along with all of the buildings of the Kapaleeswarar Temple on the Mylapore beach. Before him the Portuguese historian Gaspar Correa describes a holocaust that extended from Mylapore to Big Mount, south of the Adyar River. Even the St. Thomas protagonist Archbishop Arulappa admitted that Hindu temples once stood on the sites now occupied by St. Thomas–related churches in Madras, at Mylapore, Saidapet, and Big Mount now called St. Thomas Mount.

2.the Protestant missionary Claudius Buchanan, writing in the last century, in Christian Researches in India, says, "The nation in general are called St. Thomas Christians in all parts of India, and it imparts an antiquity that reaches far beyond the Eutychians and Nestorians or any other sect... I am satisfied that we have as good authority for believing that the Apostle Thomas died in India as that the Apostle Peter died in Rome."

This "good authority" is of course no authority at all. There is no historical evidence that St. Peter died in Rome or that St. Thomas died in India. The assertion that the appellation "St. Thomas" Christians is used in all parts of India and imparts an antiquity, is simply not true. Syrian Christians were not called St. Thomas Christians until after the fourteenth century and that too by Roman Catholic missionaries in Malabar. Claudius could as easily argue that Syrian Christians come from Syria because they are called "Syrian" Christians. He would be closer to the truth.

3.the Roman Catholic historian Fr. A. Mathias Mundadan, writing in the early 1980s, in History of Christianity in India: From the Beginning up to the Middle of the Sixteenth Century, says, "Our effort should be to concentrate on the common, basic content of the tradition upheld by the various versions and couched in many unnecessary flourishes. The investigations made ... into the western tradition and different aspects of the Indian tradition give me the impression that the central content stands out in clear relief, namely St. Thomas the Apostle preached, died and was buried in South India."

Fr. Mundadan is saying that he supports the Portuguese tale introduced into India in the sixteenth century and imposed on Mylapore by fraud and force of arms, even though it is known to be a fabricated tradition. This suggests that his position is political rather than academic. He has done his research with a foregone conclusion in mind and has reached the inevitable result. It is typical Roman Catholic scholarship and until the story of St. Thomas is taken out of such hands and looked at in its totality, which includes the traditions of the Hindu society in which it survives, we will never know the full truth of St. Thomas and India.

4.There is yet more reasoning for St. Thomas in India, which is often presented to laymen by motivated clerics. It is a psychological device to put the unwary St. Thomas doubter on the defensive. It is called the "Why not?" argument. Duncan Forbes uses it in his book The Heart of India, more in an attempt to convince himself than his reader. He writes, "And why not believe?... There is really no reason why St. Thomas should not have come here. The route between the Roman world and India, which was Romes source for large quantities of fine muslins, pearls and spices, was well established."

The route between Rome and India was indeed old and established and the travellers went the other way too, to Alexandria and Rome from India. But the possibility that St. Thomas could come to India from Palestine does not prove that he did so. The possibility does not even make for a probability. We are looking for historical proof—travellers' tales just don't constitute proof; they only excite the imagination.

5.the Acta Indica by P.V. Mathew. It has everything in it to make a good nights read—exploding meteors over Malabar and Prophet Mani of Persia camping at Kanchipuram—but it doesn't have St. Thomas buried in Mylapore. P.V. Mathew believes that St. Thomas came to Malabar but not to Mylapore and asserts that the Mylapore story is a Portuguese invention. Not willing to leave well enough alone, he then asserts that Prophet Manis disciple Mar Ammon is buried in Mylapore instead. This Mar Ammon, according to P.V. Mathew, is now worshipped in Tamil villages as Goddess Mariamman, that Prophet Mani is worshipped in the same villages as God Subramanian, and that the Pallavas were really Persians.

6. Papacy: Its Doctrine and History (Voice of India, New Delhi, 1986) the historian Sita Ram Goel writes about the St. Thomas myth:

Some Catholic scholars have been busy for many years marshalling literary and archaeological evidence in an effort to prove that St. Thomas came to India in 52 A.D., converted some Hindus in the South, and was killed by Brahmins at Mylapore in Madras while giving the Good News to the local people.
7.some historians have seriously doubted the very existence of an apostle named Thomas. Distinguished scholars like R. Garbe, A. Harnack and L. de la Vallee-Poussin have denied credibility to the Acts of Thomas, an apocryphal work on which the whole story is based. Some others, who accept the fourth century Catholic tradition about the travels of St. Thomas, point to the lack of evidence that he ever went east beyond Ethiopia and Arabia Felix. The confusion, according to them, has arisen because the ancient geographers often mistook these two countries for India.

8.Stephen Neill in his History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to 1707 A.D. published by the Cambridge University Press, England, as late as 1984. He says,'A number of scholars, among whom are to be mentioned with respect Bishop A.E. Medlycott, J.N. Farquhar and the Jesuit J. Dahlman, have built on slender foundations what can only be called Thomas romances, such as reflect the vividness of their imaginations rather than the prudence of rigid historical critics.' Pained by the spread of this spurious history among large sections of Indian Christians, he observes,'Millions of Christians in India are certain that the founder of their church was none other than apostle Thomas himself. The historian cannot prove it to them that they are mistaken in their belief. He may feel it right to warn them that historical research cannot pronounce on the matter with a confidence equal to that which they entertain by faith.' Stephen Neill was a bishop who had spent long years in India.

9.There is reason to believe that St. Thomas Church stands on the ruins of a Jain Neminathaswami temple and a Hindu Shiva temple which had a Nataraja shrine attached. The epigraphical data for the existence of the Jain temple on this site is recorded in Jain Inscriptions in Tamil Nadu by A. Ekambaranath and C.K. Sivaprakasham (Research Foundation for Jainology, Madras, 1987). The evidence for the existence of the Shiva temple, which may be the original Kapaleeswara Temple on the Mylapore beach that got eroded by the sea, is compiled in an excellent Tamil-language book called Indiavil Saint Thomas Kattukkadai (The Saint Thomas Myth in India) by Ved Prakash (R.A.F.R., Madras, 1989).

What is mentioned about the Shiva temple is as follows: "...many evidences available in Santhome Church show there was a Shiva temple and it was occupied, then step by step demolished and converted into a church. Many documents and books also prove this. A fragmentary Tamil inscription of 8 lines on a stone found at the cathedral registers a tax-free gift for burning at night a lamp before the image of Kuthadumdevar (Nataraja) in the temple of Suramudayar (Suramudayar Kuthadum Devarkku) was found in 1924. It belongs to Vikrama Chola's time, i.e., 12th century. Moreover, when the urchava murthy was taken for procession from the existing Kapaleeswara Temple, there was a practice of lowering it reverently three times before the Santhome Church at that time (16th-18th centuries). The temple was there up to the 16th century. Then, when the Christians started demolishing it completely, Hindus built the present temple out of whatever they could salvage from the ruins of the old temple.

10.Sometime about A.D. 450 one Canai Thomas with seventy-two Syrian families arrived in Kerala and whatever traces of early Christianity there were got mixed up with this Syrian brand of it. So these Christians, known till then as Nazaranis (Nazarenes), got also the name Syrian Christians. Their connection to this day is with the Orthodox Church of Syria. The grafting of this powerful group with the existing fragmentary Christian groups must have led to the identification of Kerala Christians with the Thomas tradition, to which they hold steadfastly to this day. The St. Thomas of their fancy must really be Canai Thomas of Syria.

11.The great Saivite saint of sixth century A.D., Tirujnanasambandar, sings in the 6th Poompavai Padikam Thevaram:

The Lord of Kapaleeswaram sat watching the people of Mylapore
A place full of flowering coconut palms
Taking ceremonial bath in the sea on the full moon day of the month of Masai.

12.Arunagirinathar, who came to Mylapore in 1456, in his Tirumayilai Tiruppugazh:

O Lord of Mailai (Mylapore) temple, situated on the shores of the sea with raging waves...13 The destruction of the seashore Temple of Kapaleeswara is said to have taken place in 1561. The new temple at its present site, about one km. to the west, was built by pious Hindu votaries about three hundred years ago, i.e., about two hundred and fifty years after its destruction. When the Santhome Church was repaired in the beginning of the current century, many stones with edicts were found there.

So in conclusion the Visit of St. Thomas is a myth. why was such a myth spread
Firstly, it is one thing for some Christian refugees to come to a country and build some churches, and quite another for an apostle of Jesus Christ himself to appear in flesh and blood for spreading the Good News. If it can be established that Christianity is as ancient in India as the prevailing forms of Hinduism, no one can nail it as an imported creed brought in by Western imperialism.

Secondly, the Catholic Church in India stands badly in need of a spectacular martyr of its own. Unfortunately for it, St. Francis Xavier died a natural death and that, too, in a distant place. Hindus, too, have persistently refused to oblige the Church in this respect in spite of all provocations. The Church has had to use its own resources and churn out something. St. Thomas about whom nobody knows anything, offers a ready-made martyr.

Thirdly, the Catholic Church can malign the Brahmins more confidently. Brahmins have been the main target of its attack from the very beginning. Now it can be shown that the Brahmins have always been a vicious brood, so much so that they would not stop from murdering a holy man who was only telling Gods own truth to a tormented people. At the same time, the religion of the Brahmins can be held responsible for their depravity.
Fourthly, the Catholics in India need no more feel uncomfortable when faced with historical evidence about their Churchs close cooperation with the Portuguese pirates in committing abominable crimes against the Indian people. The commencement of the Church can be disentangled from the advent of the Portuguese by dating the Church to a distant past. The Church was here long before the Portuguese arrived. It was a mere coincidence that the Portuguese also called themselves Catholics. Guilt by association is groundless.

Lastly, it is quite within the ken of Catholic theology to claim that a land which has been honoured by the visit of an apostle has become the patrimony of the Catholic Church. India might have been a Hindu homeland from times immemorial. But since that auspicious moment when St. Thomas stepped on her soil, the Hindu claim stands cancelled. The country has belonged to the Catholic Church from the first century onwards, no matter how long the Church takes to conquer it completely for Christ.

Some of other Thomas visit Legends

1.S. Muthiah's Madras Discovered published by Affiliated East-West Press. The following are the facts gleaned from it: Thomas shunted between St. Thomas Mount and Mylapore, separated by about five kms., doing his preaching work and converting thousands. He lived in a cave at Little Mount in Saidapet, three kms. from St. Thomas Mount. There is, to the east of the cave, an opening which is said to have opened in those days into a tunnel from the Little Mount to St. Thomas Mount. The saint is supposed to have fled from his persecutors through this cave. He was however murdered by them at St. Thomas Mount. Mylapore has only the honour of being the place where his dead body was brought and buried. From there his remains were taken to Edessa in Syria where every July a great festival is held to commemorate his reburial. From Edessa they are said to have been moved to the Greek island of Chios, thence to Ortona on Italy's Adriatic coast where they remain to this day. But each resting place still has some relic of Thomas—Madras has a small hand bone and the head of a lance in the St. Thomas Basilica crypt.

2.n 1547 the Vicar of Mylapore during excavation at St. Thomas Mount discovered a A bleeding cross with old Pahlavi inscriptions. It had spots that looked like blood stains which, it is claimed, reappeared after being rubbed away. This cross is built into the wall behind the altar of the church on the Mount dedicated to Madonna of the Mount. The tradition about this cross is that it was chiselled from a rock by the apostle himself. It is said that it used to bleed periodically. The first publicly noticed bleeding was on 15 December 1558 and the last in 1704.

The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple by Ishwar Sharan

Myth of Murugan the Tamil God

I have dealt with theories in murugan origin in a seprate article. Now let us see one of the common held misconception that of
  1. Muruga is tamil god and of tamil only.
  2. Muruga patronized tamil language and literature.
We have seen that murugan is not tamil origin and various theories surrounding murugan origin. So that question is settled now that murugu is all India god as any.
Next let us see how muruga started patronizing tamil. Let us see the history.
There is no reference to Murugan in tamil literature until Kanda puranam got written in tamil from skanda purana in 14th century AD. All the legends come later. Eventhough there is talk of murugan in Sangam age , there is no evidence of that.

Kartikeya - Differences in puranic and Tamil traditions

There seems to be some intriguing differences in the traditions associated with Kartikeya in the Puranic and Tamil. The Sanskrit epics and Puranas seem to indicate that he was the eldest son of Shiva, as the tale of Shiva's marriage to Parvati indicates. In the Shiva-Purana, he is seen helping Shiva fight the newly born Ganesha, Shiva's other son, when Ganesha stopped Shiva from entering his home in Kailasa. Tamil tradition states he was the younger of the two. In the north, he is generally seen as a bachelor hence the name kumara whereas the southern tradition has him married to two wives.

History shows that the legend comes from sanskrit and puranic traditions , with imperfect translations and introducing legends of their own while doing so. The translation Kanda puranam and Thiruvilayadal and susequently Thirupugazh has fundamentally altered the Kanda- Karthikeya story to Tamil Murugan. Until 14th century the karthikeya was obscure in tamil divinity and was worshipped in a similar way to being worshipped in other parts of India and srilanka. So around 15th century and subsequently dravidian- aryan ideology has made Murugan the cult figure in tamil.

To quote Paripadal

"Oh God of Kadamba wreath! "
This line shows that muruga came to tamilnadu with kadamba rulers. Lord Subramanyawhich is present in kadamba territory is transported to Tamil Nadu as Murugan.

skanda, muruga, karthikeya, Shanmuga origin legend

In the words of zevelibil the following are the most common myths attached with Muruga, which he claims is no way exhaustive list.

· In the field of physical geography, the myths of Murugan account for the vision of Tamilnadu as his sacred realm. Mythical, puranic space-time is as if spread over the concrete land of the Tamils in the past, present and future.

· In the field of social structure. Murugan's marriage to Devasenā and Valli reflects and legitimizes the cakkalatti 'co-wife' institution.

· On the level of historical development of religion in South India, Murugan's marriage to Devasena and Valli may have been an attempt to consolidate the unity of the Hindus irrespective of whether they were Saivites or Vaisnavites.

· On the level of culture, the myth of Murugan supports the claim that Tamil is of divine origin, and accounts for divine patronage of Tamil literature.

· On the cosmological level and in the mythological order, the myth reflects the struggle between the cosmic forces of order and chaos, creation and annihilation, good and evil - a permanent topic of Hindu mythology.

· On the metaphysical level. Murugan the teacher of Brahma and Siva is revealed as the expert in esoteric knowledge of the most sacred domain.

Let us see the Myths related to origin
Kalidasa version
According to one legend, he was the son of Uma and Maheswar. He was burn only to put an end to the astocities of Taraka, a cruel demon, who perpetrated countless wicked acts ondevas for years. When the entire amarakula was totally debilitated, they sought help of Lord Srimannarayanan, who counselled that the son born to Lord Siva alone would kill that remorseless Danava. But Siva was doing penance after the self - immolation of Sati, reborn as Parvathi and was in full bloom at this time. and she was offering worship to Lord Siva at the behest of her father Himavan.
They utilised the services of manmatha to awaken his love instincts. Poor Manmatha was burnt to ashes, when the Lordopened his third eye as punishment for disturbing his tapes, yet in the end Siva was wedded to Parvathi and the son begotten to them became the Chief-marshal of Amarasena, who vanquished Taraka; and devas breathed freely. Devendra gave his doughter Devasena to the valorous Subrafmanya in wedding then. This legend was immortalised by Kalidas in his Kumarasambhava.

Valmiki VersionThe Balakanda of Ramayana has a different version, though Karthikeya in his role of Army-General killed Taraka. According to it. Gods wanted Siva to preserve his energy for denavasamhara. though Siva applauded the request, he admitted that he had already discharged his seed.
Gods then requested the Earth. Agni and Vayu to receive the seed and enter it. Agni at once entered the seed which turned into a white mountain from which Karthikeya was born. He was the aspect of Siva and so inherited invincibility that destroyed the Asurakula.

Vyasa version
The Vanaparva of Mahabharatha has yet another legend. It narrated that once Devasena was put to route by Kesin, a dreadful demon of unusual powers. And he carried the Devasena pesonified as Lady. Devasena had a asister called Daitysena.
They were Prajapati's daughters. When Brahma was invoked for help by Devendra, he said that Subrahmanya alone could kill that Danava and promised a valorous life partner for Devasena, who would become War Lord of the Devaloka. The later stroy - Subrahmanya was born to Uma and Maheswar and killing etc, is same as above, and neet not be repeated

Krithika episode
Yet one more: Another fantastic legend narrated that once Agni appeared before Siva and Parvathi, when they were absorbed in the act of copulation. the sudden appearance of Agni made Siva discharge his seed abruptly. Angry Parvathi asled Agni to bear that seed. He humbly accepted, infear of severe consequences, but he could not bear it longer. He threw it into the river Ganges and the later transferred it to the six enchanting young girls called Kritikas, who were bathing in it. they gave birth to children, each one. All the six were combined into one with six heads and twelve arms but with one neck and one belly. Later his peerless career crowned him with the generalship of his celestial army along with Devendra's daughter as wife.

saravanabhavaAnother legend narrates that was also called Saravanabhava due to the fact of the seed of Siva thrown into the forest of Sara of seeds, where he was born according to another story.

Agni episode
It happened once the Saptarishis performed a great yagna. Agni then had the accasion of seeing the Munipatnis closely. And for long since he was carrying the ablations to the gods. their sublime charm enkindled love in him. He could not fulfil his lust due to chastity strictly practiced by them. So he was found despaired now and then. Just during this period Swaha, the lovely daughter of Daksha, who was in deep love for Agni contrived a plan to marry him by fulfilling his desire.
Accordingly, she assumed the forms of the wives of the Rishis and consorted with Agni, who ignorant of the trick felt elated. Except Arunadathi, she took the forms of the six rishipatnis and pleased him, and was pleased too. Every time she consorted with him, she used to keep the seed in a golden receptacle on a white mountain. This happened six times. The child thus born to them was called Skanda, since he came into the world with the seed of Agni and women. He had six heads and twelve arms, but one neck and a belly. Agni and Swaha later brought up their child.

Kartikeya - In the Tamil landIn the Tamil, it is a different story. Kartikeya, known as Murukan, has enjoyed continuos popularity with all classes of society right from the Sangam age. This lead to the more elaborate accounts of his mythology in Tamil.
The most popular and eruduite, the Kanda-Puranam (Sanskrit Skanda-Puranam), is by Kacchiappa SivachariyAr(1350-1420 A.D.). A scholar in Tamil and Sanskrit he was votary of Shaiva Siddhanta. Based mainly on the Sanskrit Skanda-purana, this Tamil epic, makes Kartikeya the destroyer of Taraka but also of his elder and more powerful demonic brothers, Shoorapadman and Simha-mukhan. Shiva let out a stream of fire from his third eye on his forehead, that split into six streams. Each landed on a lotus in a lake called Saravana Poigai. Six women, called Karthigai Pengal (literally Woman of the Pleiades) saw the babies and each took one with her to look after. On the day of Karthigai, Parvati united the six children into a six-headed child, unable to cuddle all of them together. This is also the origin of a common Tamil name of the deity, Arumugan or Shanmugan, which literally means "one who has six faces". Apart from the festival of Karthigai, the Thaipusam festival, celebrated by Tamil communities worldwide, commemorates the day he was given a vel (lance) by his mother Parvati in order to vanquish the demons.
He married two deities, Valli and Devayani. The latter is identical to Devasena and the former is a daughter of a tribal chief. However, other Hindu legends he is unmarried, and call him Kumaraswami (Kumara meaning a bachelor and Swami meaning God)
Kartikeya rides a peacock and wields a bow in battle. The spear (called "vel" in Tamil) is a weapon closely associated with him. The flag of his army depicts a rooster. In the war, Shoorapadman was split into two, and was granted a boon by Kartikeyan, to become the peacock, and the rooster.
As Karttikeya is worshipped predominantly in south India, many of his names are of Tamil origin. These include Senthil (the "Red" or formidable one); "Arumuga" (the six-faceted one); "Muruka"; "Guha"; "Maal-Marigan" (nephew of Vishnu) and many others.