An analysis of history of Tamil religion/Part:19

In every part of India today, human terracotta figurines are an integral part of the local culture.They play an important part in religious practices,and there are many examples of figurines being offered to deities.Many of such various artefacts found in the Indus valley ruins are yogic or Tantric in nature and suggest that these people indulged in some sort of image-worship.Tantric teachings,have generally held women in high regard & were given a special place culturally in society, due to their ability to produce offspring and may be because of these,figurines of women
are perhaps the most plentiful in Indus Valley.Indeed,studies of burial sites at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa have shown that a man was often buried with his wife’s family.Many of these represent females adorned with a wide girdle, loin cloth and necklaces.They wear a fan-shaped head dress.The most commonly found figurines from Indus valley civilisation are those of a semi-nude figures which is identified with some female energy or Shakti or Mother Goddess,who is the source of all creation.Some of the figures are smoke stained,and it is possible that oil or perhaps,incense was burnt before them in order that the goddess might hearken favourably to petitions.Hence,It is concluded from these smoke
stained female figures that the people burnt incense before the deity & worshipped her as most of the tamils still do.In some cases the female is shown with an infant nursing at their breasts,while there is one that shows a plant growing out of the uterus of a woman.The latter type probably symbolises the goddess of earth.Also,Countless terra-cotta statues of these Mother Goddess have been discovered suggesting that she was worshipped in nearly every home.So,We can simply assumed that this culture was matriarchal and its religion revolved around the worship of the productive powers of nature and a mother goddess.The people of India, in fact, have always held a belief in a female energy as the source of all creation.

Despite their heavy urbanisation, the Harappan civilisation seems to have had a high regard for nature and the environment.This can be derived from the high usage of animals and animal forms in the seals,and pottery excavated from the period. This same regard for nature extended into the religious behaviours of the Harappan people.  
In another instance,A seal depicts a deity with a horned headdress[standing version of the
proto-Siva ?]  and flowing hair standing nude between the branches of a Pipal tree with bangles (or maybe female ?) on both arms, and looking down on a kneeling [or seated?] worshiper[or priest/priestess ?]. A giant ram watches. It may represent tree worship [or worshipping Him/Her ?]. Animal worship also appears to be popular among the Harappans.Figurines of men, are slightly harder to find in the Indus Valley excavations, compared to those of females. Figurines of men tend to be more simplistic, and little can be told of their clothing or accessories they may have wore. This is because most male figurines are shown in the nude.The reason for
this is not known, but because the ceremonial purposes of the male figurine relate to strength and virility, the male figurines may have been shown nude.

So,The spiritual approach of this ancient Indus Valley civilization of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro,was largely a Tantra-oriented culture and it differed from the Vedic practices of the Aryans because it was fundamentally an introversive process rather than an external ritual.Tantra is the original spiritual science.Tantra is the practice which elevates human beings in a process in which their minds are expanded. It leads human beings from the imperfect to the perfect, from the crude to the subtle, from bondage to liberation.Tantra is more than just a collection of meditation or yoga techniques. There is a particular world-view associated with it. According to Tantra, struggle is the essence of life. The effort to struggle against all obstacles and move from the imperfect to the perfect is the true spirit of Tantra.

The burial practices and the rituals related with them have been a very important aspect of religion in any culture. However, in this context Harappan sites have not yielded
any monument such as the Pyramids of Egypt or the Royal cemetry at Ur in Mesopotamia.Dead bodies were generally rested in north-south direction with their head towards north and the feet towards south.It is interesting to note that as per  ancient indian vastu shastra, one must never keep his head in North while sleeping. Only a dead-body’s head is kept towards North direction,But Indus valley civilisation existed in the pre- Vedic period,suggesting that they would have borrowed this idea from Indus valley people.The dead were buried with a varying number of earthen pots. In some graves the dead were buried along with goods such as bangles, beads, copper mirrors. This may indicate that the Harappans believed in life after death.Also,Most cities were constructed out of brick and featured communal areas such as "Great Baths,"These elaborate
bathing arrangement would suggest that purification by bath formed a feature of the religion of the Indus Valley people.Since so many elements of the Indus culture appear to have found their way into Saivism/Hinduism, it is possible that ancient purification rites were also taken over and reinterpreted. If this is so the later practice of constructing artificial lotus ponds may be very ancient indeed.These lotus ponds were used during historic times for various purification ceremonies and one theory suggests that the bath was probably used by the mother goddess cult.The cult at Mohenjo-daro may have involved some form of ceremonial bathing as a prelude to ritual cohabitation with prostitutes associated with the goddess,carried out in the small ante-chambers adjoining the bath.For lack of written descriptions, it is impossible to characterise Harappan religious beliefs more specifically.Many scholars believe, however, that some Harappan deities survived the collapse of the larger society and found places later in the ,Saivism/Hindu pantheon.

Also "Ahmuvan" has been suggested as the name of an Indus Valley Civilization deity,who is pictured on Indus Valley tablets as an elongated anthropomorphic figure with three protuberances in the head. This deity is suggested to be associated with the Tamil god Murugan.Sir John Hubert Marshall listed mother goddess as the most famous deity, followed by the above said three faced male god ,Pashupati & prototype of the Shiva lingam or the male organ.The mother goddess was dominant shows that the society was predominantly matriarchal.There are no single opinion among scholars about the people who lived there or .the language they spoke.Also,unlike some other ancient civilisations, we are still unable to read the words that they wrote,acceptable to all pandits /scholars and as such this Indus Valley script still remains undeciphered down to the present day.However, subsequent archaeological and historical research has now furnished us with a more detailed picture of the Indus Valley Civilisation and its inhabitants.The Indus Valley people were most likely Dravidians, who may have been pushed down into south India when the Aryans,with their more advanced military technology, commenced their migrations to India around 2,000 BC.Sir John Marshall’s excavation  has proven that Saivism existed 3000 years ago before Christ, that is 5000 years from today.Sir John Marshall has excavated 7 layer of soil in the spot of Mohenjodaro Harappa by an estimation of 500 years per layer.Great India’s philosopher and ex-president of India; Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who wrote History of Hinduism. (Second President of India (1962-1967).“The possibilities of the origin of Saivism is more than the agreed date and period which cannot be determined because the first layer was not identified”This shows that before the Aryans came,Saivism has already florished in India.These facts were all verified by Non Indians,thus makes Saivism the oldest religion in the world.The date of its origin is yet to be accurately identified today.
{NB:Pictures attached:Mother Goddess, Earth Goddess,Tree worship, Animal seals,Tantric Sculptures on Temples, comparison of Ahmuvan with Coin of the Yaudheyas and palani murugan ,indus valley burials and siva & sakthi[Tantra].}

[By:Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

Part/ 20 Will follow.....             


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