Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART :41

 [Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]
The Epic of Gilgamesh, a literary of Mesopotamian people, shows us several important pieces of information such as their views on death, and their description of the after life.Also the Mesopotamian people had gods for death.Like most of other civilizations.such as the Egyptians & Indians, the Sumerians also believed, in an afterlife.But in contrast to others,Sumerians believed that when they died,they were descended into a grim underworld from which there was no release. The Mesopotamians saw the afterlife as a resting place where they would sit in all eternity doing nothing and forgetting about the work and the wars that pervaded their everyday life. The Sumerians believed that in this awful place the spirits of men ate dust and crawled on their bellies. This hellish place was known as the "house of dust" . After a years time of ghostly existence, the soul of the deceased would fade away into oblivion. The Sumerians were not generally long-lived and their life-expectancy is generally less than 40 years. They mainly buried their dead instead of cremating. Some treasured belongings of them might go in the grave. Vessels filled with  food and drink were place near the body so the spirit wouldn't be hungry and return for food.sometimes in monthly memorials thereafter in order to influence the gods to deal kindly with the departed. Whether this was exclusively a royal practice or not has not been determined. Further, providing food and drink was seen to give temporal blessings to the giver while he was alive.

One of the mysteries and controversies about Sumerian religion is the question
of human sacrifice. Recent archaeological finds reveal that adults may have been sacrificed in burial rituals for Sumerian royalty, whose servants would accompany them into the netherworld, the Sumerian afterlife.However, Scholars believe that human sacrifice in Sumeria was rare.This  seem to tell us that the Sumerians definitely believed in life after death. The servants may very well have taken their own life to join and serve the Sumerian royalty in the afterlife.Even everyday people were probably buried with some of their belongings to use in the afterlife. For instance, a metal smith might be buried with some of his tools, or a soldier with his weapons and armor..

The Sumerians believed that crops grew because of a male god mating with his goddess wife. They saw the hot and dry months of summer when their meadows and fields turned brown as a time of death of these gods. When their fields bloomed again in the autumn, they believed their gods were resurrected. They marked this as the beginning of their year, which they celebrated at their temples with music and singing.

Believing that the gods had given them all they had, the Sumerians saw the
intentions of their gods as good. Believing that their gods had great powers and controlled their world, they needed an explanation for their hardships and misfortunes. They concluded that these were the result of human deeds that displeased the gods – in a word, sin. They believed that when someone displeased their gods, these gods let demons punish the offender with sickness, disease or environmental disasters.Therefore,Sumerian  wrote that, when one suffered it was best not to curse the gods but to glorify them, to appeal to them, and to wait patiently for their deliverance.

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. The practice was linked to a strong belief in life after death Also sangam poems,purananuru 228 & 256 says about this “burial urns”/ஈமத் தாழி/முதுமக்கள் தாழி

"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,Chozhha 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.
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!"


PART:42WILL FOLLOW IN NEXT WEEK

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