An analysis of history of Tamil religion/Part/:08

The worship of Mother Goddess is very ancient not only among the Dravidians but also many people in the world and continues to this day despite many attempts by some of later religions to wipe it out and along with that the place of leadership of women in religious culture.For example,in Dravidian culture,in the third millennium B.C itself we find in Sumeria women contributing significantly to temple building showing that they had independent financial means as well as political rights to participate in social activities of the community.Their names include the suffix 'ama' (Tamil:amma:woman).One of the words coming down from this earlier period and as part of the proper name is ' anna" as in the name of 'Enhudu Anna' that literally means the Divine star (Tamil:udu/உடு:star) of the heavens (anna;Tamil:vaanam).However it may be possible that the Sumeria:anna as it occurs in proper names is the archaic form of Tamil:aNNaa (or Tamil:annai:mother) a name still retained.Further,the oldest texts recovered from sumeria,well before Sumer’s shift to androcracy,For example, tell us that the Goddess Nanshe of Lagash was worshiped as “She who knows the orphan,knows the widow,seeks justice for the poor and shelter for the weak.” On New Year’s Day it was She who judged all of humankind.Similarly,the Goddess Niaba was known as “The Learned of the Holy Chambers,She who teaches the Decrees.But,after the Semitic speaking peoples,Akkadians,followed by Assyrians took over Sumer,androcratic cultures found ruled their religion.For example,
by the late Sumerian period,male gods held higher power over consort goddesses;simultaneously,man was emerging more powerful over woman,and their written codification of laws exemplified this.It is in Sumer that we can literally trace the shift from the female deity being supreme to being over-run and forced to a lesser role by the male gods and the corresponding lowering in the status of women and violence against women as a result.By the 2nd millennium B.C,the Goddess Nunlil was raped and Although the Goddess and her human priestesses continued to hold a lot of power (power shared with male gods),by about 450 B.C. in the city of Babylon,the temple,now under jurisdiction of male priests,had become a place of prostitution with the temple prostitutes.They worked both as skilled pleasure-givers and as intermediaries between customers or worshippers and temple deities.Further,the prostitutes’ earnings added greatly to the temple’s revenues managed by male priests. 

After shaivism was integrated into the Vedic/Brahmanic hinduism,Sanskrit Skanda Purana was translated as Kantha puranam in tamil by Kachiappa Sivacharyar.Here.Lord Siva created a son called Skanda for himself without the aid of his consort,Parvati and further we found Lord Brahma as a creater.All of these neglect the female involvement in the birth and indicate the male domination over female.Further,Shiva and Shakthi's dance competition story,tell us that,Once a war of words was triggered between Goddess Shakthi & Lord Shiva on who among them was a superior,They decided on a simple dance competition,wherein each had to replicate the other’s steps.The ensuing competition was aggressive and finally as a masterstroke,Shiva raised his leg and touched his ears.But,Shakthi had to give up as it was not possible by her and as such she lost the competition.Out of anger,she burnt herself to ashes.This again clearly shows the male dominant in hindu shaivism,However,as a compromise,Lord Shiva brought her back to life and agreed that she was an integral part of the functioning in the form of “Ardhanareeswara”;This form has two halves – one half of Shiva & the other half of Shakthi;Generally,Hindu mythology or puranic stories reveals the patriarchy,the idea that men are superior to women and these were now given to tamil Shaivites as their own religious stories! 

Saivism saw the phenomenal world as the Woman,the equal half of Siva and which is retained in the notion of Siva as Ardhanari,Being as Man-Woman,the Androgynous reality.For example,Abhirami Anthaathi[அபிராமி அந்தாதி] /poem 18,beautifully says:"Your form as Ardhanareeswara,where you and my Father Siva are in one form,that form's beauty".Thus Sakti was seen as Puvaaneswari,the World Mother which is also implicit in the notion of In-anna,that is.Tamil:iin annai[ஈன்-அன்னை]:the Woman who gives birth to everything manifest (Tamil:iin[ஈன்]:to give birth to).Thus implicit in this notion is also the biological activity of giving birth to by a process where the man conjugates with the woman and hence being as the source of both the death and rebirth of all.In Sumerian literature,Inanna is the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, procreation,and of war who later,became identified with the Akkadian goddess Ishtar,The goddess appears in ancient Mesopotamian myths in which she brings knowledge and culture to the city of Uruk.Enheduanna,the daughter of Sargon of Akkad,and high priestess of the moon god Nanna (Sîn) in his holy city of Ur,who lived 4300 hundred years ago,depicts Inanna as disciplining mankind as a goddess of battle.She is the world's oldest known author whose works were written in cuneiform approximately 4300 years ago.Two of her known works are hymns to the goddess Inanna,The Exaltation of Inanna and In-nin sa-gur-ra.In her Nin-me-sara,Enheduanna calls on Sin[Nanna],the moon god,in the Mesopotamian mythology of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia and Inanna,the Sumerian goddess of love,fertility,and warfare for help because she has been dislodged from her position by a rebelling Sumerian king,Lugal-Ane.Now I am giving below the line 1 & line 5 of the first songs of 'The Exaltation of Inanna' in details,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 the ME's[divine powers],resplendent light.

Similarly, line 2 in song 1 says:

mi-zi me-lam gur-ru ki-aga-an-uras-a :Righteous woman clothed in radiance,beloved of heaven and earth

Here,Inana is believed to be the godess Korravai[Kali] by Dr K.Loganathan,Universiti Sains Malaysia(retd).Further Scholars explain that Korravai is an independent deity,later merged/married to Shiva and Also Parpola in his book has a chapter on Durga and her relation to Mesopotamian goddess- Inana/Ishtar.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.Even Thirmular,who lived nearly 2800 years after Enheduanna too mentioned same but instead of mother goddess,he mentioned god siva as below in his thirumanthiram 889["தானே பரஞ்சுடர் தத்துவமாய் நிற்கும்"]:

"He is the Cosmic Light
He is Tattvas all;
He stands as Letters A and U
He is the Light Divine for Tattva Dance;
He is for Himself the Support All.".

The sumerian story about Tammuz/Dumuzi records the expansion of the sumerian tribe from mesopotamia into central asia,which later become the tamil civilization.the phonetic laws operative in dravidian offer no problem in deriving tamil from dumuzi,nor the the marriage of the dravidian cult goddess parvati,in siva temples,to insure,effectively the fecundity and prosperity of the dravidian people,which is analogous to the holy marriage of dumuzi and inanna,the sumerian mother-goddess.The telugu called the dravidians aravaalu,or noisemakers.this noise made by the tamils,may have been ritual wailing[ஒப்பாரி],which was one of the major features of the dumuzi cult in sumer.The Sumerian god Dumuzi, may be a great ancestor of the Tamil.Dr K.Loganathan has suggested that the word Tamil,may be an evolute of Dumuzi,a Sumerian shepherd-god and the consort of Inanna.Originally Tammuz/Damuzi was supposedly a king of Uruk.sometime after the second millennium B.C.when Sumer was sacked by Hammurabi and taken over by the semitic speaking people who lived initially in Akkad,a substantial number of Sumerians came to India particularly the extreme South and today constitute the basic population of the speakers of Tamil,Malayalam,Kannada,telugu,Tulu and other South Dravidian languages and were probably the people who established the Sangam Culture around the period 700 B.C to 300 A.D .Also,The tale of In-Anna and Dumu-zi appears to be very very ancient and related to the celebration of sexuality.The kind of love literature surrounding these figures might have become the sources of the Akam Literature in Tamil with these deities replaced simply with Talaivan and Talaivi[தலைவன் தலைவி].There was a general conception
among the early tamil/Dravidian people that the godly element was actively at work in places of natural beauty,as such trees were sacred to the ancient Tamils and so,worshipped places were situated under the tree on a little hillock.These sacred grove has a residing deity and folklore associated with it.Generally they are dedicated to village gods and shaivite gods.The village sacred groves are generally dedicated to Amman,the goddess of fertility and good health.The next most worshipped deity is Ayyanar.Also in those earlier days,during the sangam periods too,Tamil people worshipped nature.For example,In Kurunthokai 307,It clearly mentioned that Tamils worshipped moon or nature as below:

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

Further, from Tholkapiyam,Porul-Akaththinai – 05,we find the five-fold division of land into Kurinchi,Mullai,Marudham,Neydhal and Palai and a closer study of these Tinais (land divisions) proves the fact that sangam Tamils also closely followed the roots of nature worship:

“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],the mother goddess.
பி கு/NB:இணைத்த படங்கள்/Pictures attached:அன்னை தெய்வம்,அர்த்த நாரீஸ்வரர்,ஏண் உடு அன்னா,ஈனன்னா+ துமுழி,தம்முஸ்[துமுழி],இயற்கை வழிபாடு,மெசொப்பொத்தேமியா தேவதாசிகள் /Mother Goddess,Ardhanarishvara,'Enhudu Anna,In-Anna and Dumuzi,Tammuz[Dumu-zi],nature worship and mesopotamian temple prostitutes 
[By:Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

Part/ 09 /  Will follow...

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