Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART :37

 [Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

"Ancient Sumerian Religion"

Religion is the set of beliefs, feelings, dogmas and practices that define the
relations between human being and sacred or divinity  OR a religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and to moral values.Sumerians were the first to engage in systematic and organized spiritual practices that fit the above definition of what we today call “religion.”

The Sumerians were also the authors of many “firsts.”  They were the first to engage in large-scale irrigation agriculture; the first to live in populous urban settings that we call city-states; the first to develop stratified societies with specialized occupations; the first to organize and maintain standing armies; the first to develop mathematics and writing; the first to propagate laws and formulate the concept of property.

Today we have scientific explanations for many of the
natural occurrences in our world.We know why the sun rises and sets,We know what causes it to rain and why thunder storms happen.The sumerians had no way of finding scientific explanations for many mysterious to them.So they concluded that all the forces of nature were alive.A clap of thunder was alive,the sun was alive.The rain and the wind were alive.Because of there beliefs the sumerian began to worship many natural forces.As an agricultural societies they worshiped deities associated with their survival -gods for water,rain,sun,corn etc.That is,they
believed that every natural force was a god.Hence,Sumerian religion has its roots in the worship of nature.The forces of nature were originally worshipped as themselves. However, over time the human form became associated with those forces.Gods in human form were now seen to have control over nature.Their whole world become filled with gods-both male and female.The sun, moon and stars were gods. They believed in a goddess of the reeds that grew around them and in a goddess of the beer that they distilled.

Generally,the gods of Sumer were human in form and maintained human traits.
They ate, drank, married, and fought amongst each other. Even though the gods were immortal and all-powerful, it was apparent that they could be hurt and even killed.Each god adhered to a set of rules and regulations of divine authority known as "ME".It is  “the holy laws of heaven and earth."ME" is not ‘Me’ — it is pronounced ‘Mai’.They were of utmost social importance and every aspect of Sumerian social life was regulated by them. E.g. the baker was required to go to the temple.where the scripts,were placed in the custody of the god Enki, inventor of civilization and obtain a "ME" (a meme, or more properly a set of memes) for bakery.That particular ME included instruction on how, when, where to perform his craft.Worship, state, sex, every aspect of Sumerian life were treated similarly.The gods of their mythology waged wars in order to conquer and possess the most "ME", stealing them from each other.It has often been translated as “divine ordinance,” “divine power,” The "ME" ensured that each god was able to keep the cosmos functioning according to the plans handed down to them by Enlil.

The Sumerian "In-Anna" is believed to be the godess Korravai[Kali] by  Dr K.Loganathan, Universiti Sains Malaysia(retd), Penang Malaysia.Here,in 'The Exaltation of Inanna'[may called "Sirbiyam"], we find "The Sakti as Light" & also the exordium begins with these arresting lines "nin-me-sara," the substance of which is still retained as part of Saiva metaphysical thinking.I am giving below the line 1 & line 5 of the first songs which says about "ME".

In the exaltation of Inana (Inana B) songs 1,line1,says:
nin-me-sar-ra u-dalla-e-a :Lady of all theME's[divine powers], resplendent light.
Similarly, line 5 in song 1 says:
me-imin-be su sa-du-ga: who has seized all the 'seven' ME's[seven of its divine powers!]

Kurunthokai 307 clearly mentioned that ancient tamils worshipped moon or nature as below.Similarly,they worshipped trees ,stones, water, stars and planets too.

"The crescent moon worshipped
by many appeared suddenly in the
red sky, like a broken conch piece."-Kurunthokai 307

Though,Tholkapiyam is a grammatical treatise, it deals with the lives of ancient Tamils providing interesting details  valuable information on the social life of the ancient Tamil people for us.The five-fold division of land into Kurinchi, Mullai, Marudham, Neydhal and Palai ia a unique one, according to Tolkappiyam. A closer study of these Tinais (land divisions) proves the fact that Tamils closely followed the roots of nature below:

“Mayon[Tirumal,] over the region of forests,
 Seyon[Murugan] over the region of hills
 Ventan[Indran] over the townships[Plain Lands for Cultivation and those region], and,
 Varunan[Varunan] over the sea coast”(Tholkapiyam. Porul-Akaththinai – 05)

We should note that since palai is a region of waste and parched[Dried out with heat] lands, Tholkapiyam does not explicitly mention it in the above verse, nor identify its deity  "Kotravai"  [Sakti]

PART:38 WILL FOLLOW in next week


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