Saturday, May 4, 2013Continued from the previous post - part 2:
- The well established system of the astrology discussed in Part -2 continues even today – after 1800 years without any change in the way we use. This system could not have come into being all of a sudden. It must have been there at least some centuries before that. That takes us to the Sangam Age. In the Sangam Age songs, the name of Aries is mentioned in its local Tamil name – Aadu!
Before going into the details of these – totally five evidences in all – supported by cross references, let me tell the outside world that Yavanas were indeed visiting India, including Tamilnadu which can be shown from the old Sangam Tamil references and the latter texts that were written after 5th century AD – but their contribution to the Indian society was something else and not astrology. If someone still believes that Greek influence brought rashi or astrology concept to India, let me show this picture of a wine cup unearthed in France and dated at 500 BC and supposedly to be belonging to the Celtic culture. The protruding tongue and the tilak on the forehead and the facial expression itself is that of KaLi– the deity one can find in India only.
How did this figure go to France? If it is said that the Celts worshiped KALi, then agree that Celtic culture was an extension of Vedic culture and that whatever survived after eliminating them was taken over by the Greeks and Romans as their own products. [It is perhaps significant that the Celtic Irish had a goddess much like Kali and she was called by a similar name-Calliach, which is pronounced about like 'Kali'-DD] One can claim that Vedic astrology is one such product that was taken over by them and so it is wrong to claim that Vedic seers borrowed this from them. I can even show EVIDENCE that Celtic and Druid culture came from the Danavas like Kalakanjas and Druhyu, the son of Yayati. With reference to the above shown wine cup, I can show literary evidence from sangam texts that Yavanas served wine made in Yavana country and served it to the Pandyan king in the wine cups to Tamil kings. There is a verse in Pura nanuru – 56 that says this. There is every chance to say that the Yavanas who served the wine in their wine cup added some "Indian-ness" to these products and marketed them better to these kings. The Vix Grave wine cup was perhaps one of such cups which became popular with the people in the Gaul society also. That is how we reason out.
But if someone says that the Kali figure (of the wine cup) was first innovated by the Yavanas and later borrowed by the Indians on the argument that there is no Kali figure found in India that can be dated before this Vix Grave Kali- in the handle wine cup, there can be nothing more absurd than that.
[Note by Dale D. The face is a typical Gorgon face from Classical Greece and as such something very well known in both Greek and Roman society. Jayasree interprests the face as being that of Kali. This puts the story of Perseus and Medusa into a new light. Now it has been suspected for a long time (and rejected bu Scholars for a long time) that the name "Perseus" means "The Persian" but even this Perseus is shown dressed in Persian style wearing what looks like pyjamas and curly-toed boots and wearing a Phrygian cap. He is said to have taken the head of Medusa-this gorgon mask -by murdering the goddess because it was death for her to look upon anyone. By stealing the head of the Goddess he intended to control her powers of dealing death by showing the head only to people he wanted to die. He took the head to Joppa and used it to kill the Sea Dragon Cetus ("Whale", but usually shown as looking like a typical dragon) and to rescue princess Andromeda for his wife. Andromeda means "The one that men like to think about" and Kali in Greek means "Good-Looking", similar to the English Comely. It seems the true meaning is that this Persian fellow came back from a trip into India with an icon of Kali and used it to magically curse his enemies to death-so he said-and a story was added that he had killed the Goddess and took her head (The face mask was then given over to the Greek Goddess Athena and became one of her symbols, she was supposed to wear it as a badge on her goatskin over-robe) ALL of these mythological figures are constellations; the story figures heavily in Greek Astronomy and together they cover a fair section of the sky, from near the North Pole to the constellation Cetus, which lies below the ecliptic and the band of the constellations of the zodiac;
The present controversy on rashi is similar to this. There is another verse from another Sangam text called Nedunal vaadai which tells about the beautifully decorated lamps made by the Yavanas in the Palace of the Pandyan king. What makes this interesting is that in the same song of Nedunal vaadai, we find the description of a painting on the roof of the cot of the Pandyan Queen which depicted the Zodiac with "aadu" (Mesha) at its beginning!! After seeing the Kali handle in the wine cup and the reference in Sangam text to yavanas as having served their wine in their wine cup, I can claim that the yavanas copied this idea (of the zodiac with Mesha as its head) too and imported it to their country where it was further developed. The visit of Yavanas to India had been more and frequent than the other way round which makes it possible for the Yavanas to have imbibed the Indian Thoughts than to have implanted their views on Indians.
The Yavanas who came to Tamil nadu did not come so, after Alexander (read this) and ( this) but had been frequenting Tamil lands for many reasons. A complete look at all the instances given in the Tamil texts from the sangam age onwards might give an idea of the kind of contribution to India by Yavanas. I am reproducing the article on the compilation of all contexts where Yavanas are mentioned in the Tamil texts, written by Dr R. Nagasamy From http://tamilartsacademy.com/books/roman%20karur/chapter15.html Romans (Yavanas)
In Tamilnad Dr R. Nagasamy Tamil Roman Contact The Tamil literary evidence regarding Indo Roman contact is of great value to the present study. It is proposed to take the Pattupattu and Ettu tokai anthologies and the twin epics Silappadhikaram and Manimekhalai and the later epics Cintamani and Perumkatai for this study. It is seen that there are six references in Sangam anthologies to Yavanas, three in the Ettuttokai collections and there in Pattu Pattu collections. Interestingly each reference gives one aspect of Yavana contact, and when all of them are put together collectively, indicate Indo Roman contact. Aham 149, mentions the ships of Yavanas, frequenting the port of Mustri on the banks of Periyaru, coming laden with gold and returning with pepper. It is not known whether the Yavanas - the Romans brought lumps of gold. In all likelihood not. On the contrary it is the Roman coins they brought for its bullion value. This passage then seems to confirm that Roman coins at the beginning were brought to the south, mainly for their metal value and not as currency.
The second referencce comes from Puram poem 56. The ruler, in this case the Pandya Nan Maran, is praised for drinking wine daily in a gold cup, filled by beautiful damsels. The delicious wine was supplied by the Yavanas in well made jars. This stanza shows that the Romans brought good wines in well made jars, obviously a reference to amphora jars found in large numbers in archaeological excavations in Tamil Nad. It also shows that the Tamil Kings rated the Roman wines very high, to be celebrated in poems and that they were drinking Roman wines daily, poured by good looking damsels.
The third reference is to Roman lamps- Nedunalvadai, lines 101-2, mentions beautiful figures, holding lamps in their hands, made by the Yavanas which were used as lights for illumination by the pandyan ruler. The occurrence of Roman terracotta and bronze lamps in different archaeological context in South India confirms this literary reference. Another Sangam poem also confirms the great appreciation of the Tamils for the Roman lamps(1). The Romans are said to light and place their lamps in the shape of a black swan on the Yupa sthambhas, planted in places where the learned Brahmins performed Vedic sacrifices(2). The 'black - swan' seems to refer to bronze lamps in the shape of a swan.
The other reference to Yavanas(3) relates to their dress and their services as body guards of the king. They had by nature very sturdy bodies, which they covered with shields, giving a fearful appearance. They also carried a whip, to drive their horses, which they covered with their lower garments. The Romans as body guards had a terrifying look.
The last of the reference, relates to the capture of Romans by Nedum Cheral Adan(4). He caught them, tied their hands behind, and poured molten ghee [melted butter] over their heads and captured their costly vessels with precious diamonds. The reason for inflicting such a treatment is not given. Probably they transgressed the law of the land in some ways and received the punishment.
This would show, the Romans were also punished by the rulers. The stanza seems to indicate that the Romans, used barbaric language and were quarrelsome. The last sentence may indicate ships with diamonds. Probably they did not pay duties levied on such commodities.
The Yavanas so mentioned, were in all probability Romans and these literary references are authenticated by archaeological finds like, amphora wine jars, Roman lamps, Roman gold and silver coins, and classical references to their trade in precious gems. Convesely, these poems were obviously composed only after the advent of the Roman trade.
The Tamil epic Silappadhikaram has the following to say on the Yavanas: There was a colony of Yavanas, called Yavanar Irukkai in Kaveripumpattinam in Tanjore district (the ancient Kaberis Emporium of Ptolemy)(5). It was very close to the mount of the river Kaveri. Their colony immediately arrested the sight of passersby. The Yavanas are said to be western people(6). The Yavanas, weilding powerful destructive weapons. The Chera Senkuttuvan ruled over the Yavana country, Himalayas and the southern Kumari(7). The allusion is that he was the master of western, northern and the southern quarters. The term Yavanar Valanadu [Roman Empire] is employed in the sense of overseas western countries, a figurative way of expressing his prowess. The Manimekhalai, refers to Yavana artists(8). The palace of the Chola ruler Mavan Killi who conquered Vanci Karur, had an ornamental pavilion constructed by artisans from different regions like Magada, Avanti, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Along with them the Yavana sculptors were also employed. Magada artists were experts in gem setting Blacksmiths came from Avanti but the artisans from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were simply called expert artists - Kammars and Vinaijnar; their field of expertise is not mentioned. But among the artisans, the Yavanas are specifically mentioned as sculptors Yavana taccar. The 'Jivaka Cintamani' is a Tamil epic, authored by Thiruttakkadevar(9). Assigned to the 9th cent a.d. it is a Jain work that gives the story of Jivaka and is a work of Pan-Indian character. It has many references to the Yavanas. A fort was fitted with several mechanical contrivances to hurl weapons on invading enemies. They were also capable of pumping red hot molten metal on the enemies. The gadgets [clearly catapaults], equal to modern cannons, were made of [contained fittings of] iron in the shape of boars, snakes, wheels and monkeys and were manned by the Yavanas - Romans(10). A Roman casket - Yavanappelai is alluded to, containing gold, sparkling gems, pearls, diamonds and corals with which attractive jewellery were made. The casket had an ingenious lid, closed and locked with a spike also made of gold(11). A gift of two thousand Roman caskets, containing gold and precious gems is mentioned. In this istance also the casket is called Yavanappelai(12). The women kept their lovely and valued silken garments in Roman boxes set with precious gems mani iyal yavana-c-ceppu(13). A betel leaf box, made of cut crystal with its mouth encased in gold and set with pearls, was made by the skilful Roman artisans. 'Palingu polintu aruhu pon patitta pattiyil Terinda pon adaippai'(14) These are indicative of the preference the high society men and women had for Roman boxes and caskets, which were mainly used for storing precious jewellery, gems and gold. In most cases these are said to be made of crystals. The Perum Katai(15) is another great epic in Tamil which has survived only in parts. According to scholars, it is a Tamil version of Brhad Katha written in Paisaci language by Gunadhya(16). The Ganga king Durvinita wrote it in Sanskrit(17), and the present Tamil work is said to be based on the Sanskrit text(18). The author of this work, was one Kongu Vel, and the text is essentially a Jaina work. It also reflects Pan Indian traits. There are several references to the work of Yavanas, which were owned as objects of royal status. In most cases, the Yavanas are describbed as great sculptors, who made artistic products like jewel boxes, lamps in the shape of women etc. Luxurious jewel boxes, made by the Yavanas containing gold, and jewellery, were brought by beautiful girls and presented to Padmavati(19). A colossal sculpture of a bhuta, made by a Yavana scculptor, had in it built-in gadgets, with which is could capture trespassers(20). Udayana's attendants in the story, brought him, treasures in containers called Aryacceppu, a Roman casket called Yavana mancika and a golden receptacle(21). Luxurious treasures were stored in them. Vasavadatta another character in the story, had a cot of coral set with precious gems, worked by the Yavana artisans(22). An interesting reference calls the Yavana artists as Yavana aryas. They made an exquisite chariot for Vasavadata's mother, which she brought as dowry(23). The yavana artist, in thsi case, are referred to as greatly skilled workers. The chariot had a lotus like seat made of gold, set with precious gems, crystlas, corals and pearls. It was an invaluable vehicle of unparalleled workmanship. That the Yavanas were employed in designing and building Chariots especially, overlaid with gold and set with gems and crystals is frequently alluded to(24). A specially designed Chariot was made for Vasavadatta, with materials brought from different regions(25). The following materials obtained from different regions dserve notice-sandal wood from Podiyil mountain, ivory from Karnatana forests (Mysore region), gold from the Meru mountain, coral from the western ocean, Pearls from the southern ocean, silver from the Vindhya hills, copper from Sri Lanka (Jaffna), diamonds from the Himalayas, and iron from Kadara (Malaysia - Sumatran regions). Artists from different regions of India, were working on the charriot. Each was prroficient in a particular type of work. The first to be mentioned in the list were the Yavana sculptors. With them were working blacksmiths from Avanti, gem setters from Magadha, Goldsmiths from Pataliputra, the drawing artists from Kosala, and painters from Vatsa country. The king Pradyotana, gifted to Udayana twenty five chariots constructed by the Yavanas(26). There were very rich colonies of Yavanas called Yavancceri at Rajagiri(27). The same colonies at another instance are called Yavanappadi(28). Horses presented by the Yavana king ruling overseas country were considered great possessions(29). Indians, both men and women, learned Yavana language. Udayana and the Princess of the Kosala country, communicated with each other through the language of the Yavanas, [Latin!]which others could not understand (30).
The 'Avantisundari Katha', is a Sanskrit text, written by the famous poet Dandin, who lived in the beginning of 7- 8th cent. a.d.[References past 350-400 a.d. refer to the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium] He refers to a great sculptor-architect named lalithalaya in the court of the Pallava of Kanchi. Giving his accomplishments, Dandin says, that Lalithalaya excelled even the Yavanas in the art of buildings and sculptures. Thus both the Tamil and Sanskrit texts from Tamil Nad, speak highly of Yavanas as sculptors and skilled artists, constructing attractive royal chariots and buildings making precious jewel boxes mostly made of gold and gems and charming lamps held by women and also bringing gold from overseas. They were also known for their fearful countenance, violent speeches, and dreadful weapons and were employed by the Tamil kings to guard their forts. They also brought wine in jars which were in demand among the royalty. It may be mentioned here that among the gold coins found as treasure trove at Vellalur 23 unstruck gold pieces were also found. Obviously they were brought for their metal value. Though no gold coin of the local rulers have been unearthed so far, it is not unlikely that these were brought by the Romans to mint local coins. The recently found inscribed Chera coins suggest they were modelled and minted by the Roman artists. That Roman lamps were actually used in Tamil Nad, is attested by the find of a Roman lamp at Arikkamedu.
Notes. 1. Perumbanarruppadi, in the Pattu Pattu, Ed. Dr. U.V.S. Swaminatha Iyer, Madras 7th reprint, 1974, lines 315-317. 2. Perumbanarruppadai, Ed. Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, Madras, line, 315-317-commentary p.240. 3. Mullaippattu, Ibid., lines 59-63. 4. Patitru Pattu, Patikam, 2. 5. Nilakanta Sastri, K.A., Foreign Notices of South India, Madras. 6. Silappadhikaram, ibid., p.131. 7. ibid., p.576. 8. Manimekhalai, Ed. Dr.U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, 7th Edition, Madras 1965, p.212. 9. Jivakacintamani, Ed. Dr.U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, Madras. 10. Ibid. verse - 104. 11. Ibid. verse - 114. 12. Ibid. verse - 537. 13. Ibid. verse - 1146. 14. Ibid. verse - 1475. 15. Perumkathai by Kongu Velir, Ed. Dr.U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, Madras, 4th edition, 1968. 16. Berridale Keith, A., A history of Sanskrit literature, Madras, 1973, pp.266-272. 17. Inscriptions of the Western Gangas, Dr.K.V. Ramesh, Delhi. 18. Perunkatai, Ed., Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, Madras, 4th edition, 1968, Introduction. 19. Ibid. p.640. 20. Ibid. p.870-71. 21. Ibid. p.7. 22. Ibid. p.24-25. 23. Ibid. p.110. 24. Ibid. p.110. 25. Ibid. p.110 26. Ibid, p. 748 27. Ibid, p. 505 28. Ibid. verse p.505. 29. Ibid. verse p.249. 30. Ibid. verse p.775. (to be continued) Posted by jayasree at 12:32 PM