An analysis of history of Tamil religion/Part:17


Every man is terribly afraid of his death & what will happen after death.All religions tried to provide some answers to these and other of life's big questions in order to comfort people in these desperate circumstances.Death is a grand mystery.Throughout time,It is a subject that touches the life of every man and woman, uniting the entire human race under a cloud of inevitable mortality.The rich and the poor alike meet the same end;the black and the white both go to the grave;the powerful and the humble all leave this planet eventually.Many lines of religious thought simply accept the inevitability of death and instead try to offer better alternatives that await the faithful in the afterlife. These ideas bring comfort to many people who have lost loved ones or are facing death themselves, but they leave others wondering, “Why must death exist? Wouldn’t an all-powerful God eradicate death? Shouldn’t all life inherently live forever?” Sangam literature too have full of references to various rituals and beliefs of the ancient tamils,includings numerious references to the after life,showing that the early tamils believed in a life after death,especially for their warriors slain in battle.So,we can simply assumed that ancient tamils also,had Similar thoughts about afterlife like Sumerians,one of such sangam poem,kurunthokai 49 is given below:
cremation and Hindu God of death 

"I want you to be my husband
and me to be your wife in our
next life, as we are in this one."[kurunthokai 49]

Evidence of a prehistoric burial custom of interring dead persons in earthen pots has been found in various parts of India, mostly in Tamil Nadu.Such Stone Age pieces of evidence were also found as part of a large burial ground at Adichanallur,near Tirunelveli,also in Tamil Nadu. Archaeology department officials say it was common for “burial urns” to contain smaller earthen pots of grain and food kept there when the dead were interred and this practice of burying the dead along with burial goods indicates strong belief in life after death and possibly rebirth among megalithic people.The respect accorded to the buried individual ensured that the grave and the goods contained within were not subjected to vandalism and theft. Paddy husk has been found in burial sites, further proof of the megalithic peoples’ commitment towards ensuring their dead a comfortable afterlife.Sangam poems,purananuru 228 & 256 & others also says about this “burial urns”/ஈமத் தாழி/முதுமக்கள் தாழி 

cycle of life and death
"O potter who makes pots!  O potter who makes 
..........................................................................hence
You want to make a wide-mouthed urn to enclose him.
Will you be able to make that vessel with the huge
mountain as your clay and the big land as your wheel?"[Purananuru 228]

Also Purananuru 4 says  about Tamil Deity of Death as: 

"The male elephants assaulting gates in rage have blunted the tips
of their white tusks and appear like Deity of Death that kills lives."

Not only that,In Purananuru 214,Chozha country’s king Koperumchozhan advise  that "Even If they are no re-birth[never to be born again,],it would be great to die with a blemishless body,with one’s fame as high as the tall Himalayas."

"You have doubts about your good actions.
Tenth century Hero Stone,
Your ideas are flawed and you have no strength.
A hunter who hunts for an elephant will find it.
A hunter who hunts for a quail will return with
empty hands.
So noble men with high aspirations,
who because of their own actions, achieve what
they want, there will be pleasure
in this world where good and bad do not increase.
And if they do not enjoy pleasure
in this world, they will not have to be born again.
If they are never to be born again,
it would be great to die with a faultless body,
with one’s fame as high as the tall Himalayas!"

Funeral  procession
Also Manimekalai says, “It is true, that death for those that are born and birth for those are dead are like sleeping and waking up,Too have used this idea in its work. Further Sundarar "thevaram"[Tamil  Saivite devotional poetry] Also says, the birth is like waking up after sleep.Kural also confirm this as:"Death is like sleep,and birth Is the awakening from it."-[Kural 339].Death and Birth are like sleep and awakening;only the intervals are longer and the circumstances more poignant.Kamparamayanam clearly says about this Instability of man life as:"neerkkola vaazhvai nachen"[நீர்க்கோல வாழ்வை நச்சி/7426],That is,It says, life is like decorating kolam, top of the water.Even Purananuru 192 clearly says:Dying is nothing new.We do not rejoice that life is sweet".Further more,in another poems Naaladiyar 4,also,says about Instability of man life as:

The things of which you said, 
“they stand, they stand”, stand not; 
mark thee, and perform what befits, 
yea! what befits, with all your power! 
Your days are gone, are gone! and 
death close pressing on is come, is come!

Life is ebbing day by day; the wrathful lord of Death ever pursuing; all wealth is fleeting. Realising this, one should hasten to do acts of charity, which will be of lasting value.
Further,Poet :Civavakkiyar in his Civavakkiyam 47,stressed that "There is no rebirth!" & hence, To attain true knowledge you have to extend your life as long as possible & So you should take care of your body.

“Milk does not return to the udder,nor butter to butter milk.
nor the life within the sea shell,when it breaks,to its body.
The blown flower,fallen fruit do not return to the tree.
The dead are not born,never,never,never!”(47)Poet :சிவவாக்கியர்

Death and what happens after death are universal concerns for humanity; around the world different cultures and religions contemplate our existence, and try to make sense of both our place in the world and our deaths."We got this good human birth. Let us respect it!" Proclaimes King of Tongue ,Saint Appar[அப்பர்]," This birth is not sinful." "It is a gift given to us by God." "This rare human birth should be used properly for which we should know his purpose of this birth."Furthermore,Siddhars[mostly Saivaite/saints] had said that "this body is not a true one & it is like a air filled bag,"meaning, the human body is just an illusion and it is just an air filled bag, empty and useless and " "life is a delusion , Only Truth is death "


[By:Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

Part: 18 Will follow....

பி கு/NB:இணைத்த படங்கள்/Pictures attached:,,,

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