An analysis of history of Tamil religion/Part:06

Religion is the set of beliefs,feelings,dogmas and practices that define the relations between human being and sacred or divinity or Religion is an organized collection of belief systems,cultural systems,and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and,sometimes,to moral values.Sumerian is the first civilization,who practiced such religion and also the first people who put them in writing.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.Hence the ancient sages of Sumer found it necessary to bring order to that which they did not understand and to this end they came to the natural conclusion that a greater force was at work.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 worshipped deities associated with their survival-gods for water,rain,sun,corn etc.Not only that,the environment of Mesopotamia also largely shaped its religion.Unlike the Nile River in Egypt,which rises and falls slowly on a very predictable schedule,the Tigris and Euphrates rivers could and often did rise quickly and violently,causing disastrous flooding.Because of this,the Mesopotamians felt that nature was dangerous and far beyond the control of mere humans.So they honoured deities thus represented different aspects of nature,in hopes of winning their favour.So,Sumerian religion has its roots in the worship of nature,such as the wind and water etc as Sangam Tamils,who had root in land division.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.

Besides Mesopotamia,a second civilization also grew up in north-eastern Africa,along the Nile River by 3000 B.C.But,Because of the different behaviour of rivers,as said above, A major difference in outlook marked the two religions.In Mesopotamia the forces of nature were more chaotic,more likely to cause catastrophes,such as disastrous flooding.As a result,the gods were seen as unpredictable beings of extraordinary power who had to be kept content by priests.People were at the mercy of the gods,so the job of humanity was to carry out their wills and make them happy.In Egypt,where nature was less destructive,the gods were seen as kind and generous and generally well-disposed toward humanity.Further,Sumerian goddess,Inanna's personality totally matches with the Dravidian Goddess Kali in many aspects and her followers still believe that Kali has the ability to free Her worshippers from all their fears.Kali is thought to be a pre-Aryan goddess,belonging to the civilization of the Indus Valley,because there is no evidence that Aryan people ever raised a female deity to the rank that she held in the  Indus Valley and Her dark skin evidences the fact that she predated the lighter-skinned Aryan invasion of the darker-skinned Dravidian inhabitants of the Indian sub-continent.Also,present three world main religions:Judaism,Christianity,and Islam,are sometimes called "Abrahamic
religions",All of these arose in the the Early Middle East,teaches that the Torah(the five books of Moses) was given by God to Moses and they all believe that the Hebrew patriarch Abraham and his descendants hold an important role in human spiritual development.But,Often times in history,and even still today,these religions have found themselves at war with each other.However,Easy to forget,with all the friction between them,is that they share common books they consider holy and further,archaeological clues,hint that the Torah,at least in part,has far older influences by a more ancient civilization:the Sumerians.The similarities between the Noah's flood of Abrahamic religions and the Sumerian flood myth is also one hint at Sumerian influence on the Torah.Other hints from Sumerian Mythology exist as well,and give more credibility to the notion that the Sumerians had an influence on the Torah.Even we find Startling Similarity between the brahmanic Hindu flood myth,Matsya Purana & Sumerian flood myth and also we find the flood myths or deluge myths in tamil sangam literature too,For example,Kaliththogai 104 clearly says:"மலி திரை ஊர்ந்து தன் மண் கடல் வௌவலின் மெலிவு இன்றி மேல் சென்று மேவார் நாடு இடம்படப்"/"Since the ocean’s huge waves roared in and seized his land,without slacking,the Pandiyan king of unfading fame went on a military campaign and took the lands from the Chera and Chola countries,"  

However,It was with great sadness that we read and heard a recent news in the news papers,televisions and radios,documenting the pillaging and destruction of Mesopotamian archaeological sites in Iraq in the name of god or religion.Although these Sumerian,Akkadian,and Babylonian sites — and previous excavations — receive scant attention outside small groups of antiquities scholars,they are of critical importance to our understanding of human history.It was in this area,after all,that the first civilizations and city-states arose and established first religion!    

[By:Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

Part-7-Will follow next week.


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