Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART :40

[Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]
Because of agriculture,the human population rouse hugely.Because people stopped moving around in bands of hunter-gatherers and settled down to look after crops and animals.Also the arrival of farming meant the emergence of the Home & home land.Hence initially,they developed villages,then towns,then civilizations.Without farming-no class divisions,no surplus to elevate kings & priests ,no armies,no french revolution,no moon landing.But it also produced an immense political changes,as hierarchies grew from the sweat and success of farmers,same farmers also become slaves to full time leaders such as king & priests on the name of god & religion . Being slaves of the gods was not easy.The sumerians had to work hard to keep their gods happy.How could they know what would please the gods?Only the priests could tell them .The priests interpreted the will or Message of the gods.They tried to learn what had pleased the gods in the past  and what had made them angry.Because of this special knowledge the priests became very powerful and important people in society.The sumerians did what priests told them,because they believed that by obeying them they were obeying the gods.So the priests were able to make the sumerians work long and hard.It is a hard life.Early sumerian farmers had to cut down trees, irrigating fields,hand-ploughing with branches & harvesting with slate and stone. sickles . These with compound of fear of the crop being eaten  by animals,shows that these early sumerian farmers had in general worse health and lived shorter lives than their hunter-gatherer predecessors.For example,the height of the agricultural revolution,five thousand years ago,men lived on average to thirty three years.The priests told them when to plant and when to harvest.They told them when to dig canals and when to build earth walls.They also decided when the people should make war and when to make peace.Sumerian priests had once worked the fields alongside others, but now they were separated from commoners. A corporation run by
priests became the greatest landowners among the Sumerians. The priests hired the poor to work their land and claimed that land was really owned by the gods. Priests had become skilled as scribes, and in some cities they sat with the city's council of elders.However Priests also played a very important role in building the first civilization.

For Sumerians, religion wasn’t just a matter of church on Sunday or temple on Friday. They worshipped every day, all day. Their gods controlled every move they made, Sumerians believed that their role in the universe was to serve the gods who were neither good nor evil. They were simply powerful and required constant appeasement. To this end the ancient Sumerians devoted much of their time to ensuring their favor with the gods with worship, prayer, and sacrifice . Sacrificial offerings of food and animals were routine.The gifts were taken to the temple (called a ziggurat) and given to the priests. It was believed that the priests could speak to the gods and offer them the gifts from the people. Idols, amulets and charms were also important. The high gods, however, were believed to have more important things to do than to attend to the common man's every day prayers, and so personal gods were devised as intermediaries between man and the high gods. The personal gods listened to the prayers and relayed them to the high gods.

Due to the emergence of the Home & home land, each sumerian city also
had its own special gods,other than the prime or chief gods of nature.They believed that this one special god owned the city,the land and the people.The priests of the city ruled in place of this god. To honour this god the priests made the people build a temple.It was the largest and most important building in a sumerian city.It rose above the city like a hill.This temple was known as a Ziggarat. Because the mesopotamian world was a muddy,watery,sun-backed flat land,It is not surprising that its most characteristic major buildings would be Ziggarat,raised pyramid-platforms where god could be worshipped .All around the world people have associated gods with height and in this land of no mountains the only way to reach up was to build. Other than  their patron god,also had small shrines dedicated to other gods. The ziggurats housed workshops for craftsmen as well as temples for worship.There were artisans who sculpted, cut gems, fullers who stomped on woven wools to soften cloth, and metal workers who crafted weapons as well as artistic creations..Some ziggurats were as high as 70 feet.The sumerians believed that the god lived on the top of the Ziggarat.. Daily sacrifices were made consisting of animals and foods, such as wine, beer, milk, and meats. Additionally special occasions called for spectacular festivities that would sometimes last for days. Special feasts took place on the day of the new moon, on the 7th, 15th, and last day of the month. However, the most important day by far was the New Year.Three times a day the priests brought food & drink to the god.Only the priests were allowed to enter the room where the god lived.The head of the temple was called the "sanga". The "sanga" was responsible for ensuring the temple's finances, buildings, and day-to-day activities were all in good order. The "en" was the spiritual leader of the temple. The "en" could be a man or woman depending upon the deity. Under the "en" were various priest classes, such as the guda, mah, gala, nindingir, and ishib. The roles of all of these classes is not known, though the "ishib" was in charge of libations, and the "gala" was a poet or singer.

Ordinary Sumerians believed that the gods controlled the past and the future, that the gods had revealed to them the skills that they possessed, including writing, and that the gods had provided them with all they needed to know. They had no vision of their civilization having developed by their own efforts. They had no vision of technological or social progress.Sumerian priests altered the stories that they told, creating a new twist to old tales – without acknowledging this as a human induced change or wondering why they had failed to get it right the first time. New ideas were simply revelations from the gods.

We also learned from sangam literature that the popular god of Tamil living in mountain & people worshipped him with offerings to cure their  distresses.Two such poem- Ainkurunuru 243 & Akananuru 22- are given below:

“If you make offerings
to the god of the mountains
where pepper vines grow,
she will be cured of her affliction,”
the ignorant diviner says to you.
Mother, you trust everything he says.
Her eyes that look like fresh flowers
are drenched in distress."[Ainkurunuru 243]

"He’s from the country where gods live
in tall mountains and forests abound
with huge waterfalls...............................
A pavilion is well erected,
a spear is garlanded, and
our big house reverberates with loud
music.  Offerings with beautiful red millet
mixed with [goat’s]blood are given to invite
Murukan ......................................."[Akananuru 22]

Note:Also we find from Akananuru 242 that the blood which is mixed with red millet is goat’s blood:Akananuru 242;"...before a young goat’s life is offered, I must go and see my lover...."
PART:41 WILL FOLLow NEXT WEEK..

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