I have recently published an article about the Tamil Culture was a part of Sanatana Dharma and that the Tamils did not have an independent Culture of their own.
Even at the time of writing I knew that the article would draw a lot of flak from Tamil Arvalars, literal translation of this is-one who is passionate in Tamil-,it is a different matter that they can not even pronounce the Tamil Zha, La and la properly.
True to form I have received a communication that my information about Sanatana Dharma and Tamil is wrong and some research paper links were attached with the communication.
The Tamil Land was divided, it is unique among all the civilizations, into five geographical entities.
1.Kurinchi (Mountainous Areas)
Higher castes: Poruppan, Verpan, Silamban, Kodichy
Lower castes: Kuravar, Kurathiyar, Kanavar
2.Mullai (Forest regions)
Higher castes: Nadan, Thonral, Manaivi, Kizathi
Lower castes: Idaiyar, Idaichiyar, Ayar, Aychiyar
Higher castes:Uran, Makiznan, Manaivi, Kizathi
Lower castes: uzavar, Uzaththiyar, Kadaiyar, Kadaichiyar
Higher castes:Serppan, Thuraivan, Pulamban, Parathi, Nulaichi
Lower castes: Nulaiyar, Nulaichiyar, Parathar, Parathiar, Alavar, Alathiyar
5.Palai (Wasteland/arid lands)
Higher castes:Vidalai, Igulai, Meeli, Eyitri
Lower castes:Maravar, Eyinar, Eyitriar, Marathiyar”
To the best of my knowledge these descriptions denote the group of people living in the specific geographical areas and there seems to be no caste implications about this.
But as I mentioned in my earlier article there is mention of Anthanar, Marayor(Brahmins) in Puranaanuru, the ancient Tamil Work.
Also there is mention of the six duties of Brahmins as well.
Therefore it is evident that while these geographical divisions allotted names ad profession to people in those areas, the Caste system as practiced in the Sanatana Dharma was present.
Culturally, the megalithic people of the South shared many beliefs and practices with megalithic builders elsewhere in the subcontinent and beyond. Yet certain practices and artefacts were at least compatible with the Vedic world and may well have prepared for a ready acceptance of Vedic concepts�a natural assimilative process still observable in what has been called the �Hinduization� of tribals. Thus several cists surrounded by stone-circles have four vertical slabs arranged in the shape of a swastika. The famous 3.5 metre-high figure of Mottur (in North Arcot district), carved out of a granite slab, is �perhaps the first anthropomorphic representation of a god in stone in Tamil Nadu.� Some megalithic burials have yielded iron or bronze objects such as mother goddess, horned masks, the trishul etc. As the archaeologist I.�K. Sarma observes, such objects are
intimately connected with the worship of brahmanical Gods of the historical period, such as Siva, Kartikeya and later Amba. The diadems of Adichanallur burials are like the mouth-pieces used by the devotees of Murugan.
The archaeologist K.�V. Raman also notes�:
Some form of Mother-Goddess worship was prevalent in the Megalithic period … as suggested by the discovery of a small copper image of a Goddess in the urn-burials of Adichchanallur. More recently, in Megalithic burials the headstone, shaped like the seated Mother, has been located at two places in Tamil Nadu.
Megalithic culture attached great importance to the cult of the dead and ancestors, which parallels that in Vedic culture. It is also likely that certain gods later absorbed into the Hindu pantheon, such as Aiyanar (or Sastha), Murugan (the later Kartik), Korravai (Durga), Naga deities, etc., were originally tribal gods of that period. Though probably of later date, certain megalithic sites in the Nilgiris were actually dolmen shrines, some of them holding Ganesh-like images, others lingams.[ 18] Megalithic practices evocative of later Hinduism are thus summarized by the British archaeologists Bridget and Raymond Allchin�:
The orientation of port-holes and entrances on the cist graves is frequently towards the south. … This demands comparison with later Indian tradition where south is the quarter of Yama. Among the grave goods, iron is almost universal, and the occasional iron spears and tridents (trisulas) suggest an association with the god Siva. The discovery in one grave of a trident with a wrought-iron buffalo fixed to the shaft is likewise suggestive, for the buffalo is also associated with Yama, and the buffalo demon was slain by the goddess Durga, consort of Siva, with a trident. … The picture which we obtain from this evidence, slight as it is, is suggestive of some form of worship of Siva.[ 19]
About the third century BC, cities and towns appear owing to yet little understood factors�; exchanges with the Mauryan and Roman empires seem to have played an important catalytic role, as also the advent of iron. From the very beginning, Buddhist, Jain and Hindu[*] streaks are all clear.
Among the earliest evidences, a stratigraphic dig by I.�K. Sarma within the garbagriha of the Parasuramesvara temple at Gudimallam,[*] brought to light the foundation of a remarkable Shivalingam of the Mauryan period (possibly third century BC)�: it was fixed within two circular pithas at the centre of a square vastu-mandala. �The deity on the frontal face of the tall linga reveals himself as a proto-puranic Agni-Rudra� standing on a kneeling devayana. If this early date, which Sarma established on stratigraphic grounds and from pottery sherds, is correct, this fearsome image could well be the earliest such representation in the South.
Then we find �terracotta figures like Mother Goddess, Naga-linga etc., from Tirukkampuliyur�; a seated Ganesa from Alagarai�; Vriskshadevata and Mother Goddess from Kaveripakkam and Kanchipuram, in almost certainly a pre-Pallava sequence.� Cult of a Mother goddess is also noticed in the early levels at Uraiyur, and at Kaveripattinam, Kanchipuram and Arikamedu.[ 23] Excavations at Kaveripattinam have brought to light many Buddhist artefacts, but also, though of later date, a few figurines of Yakshas, of Garuda and Ganesh. Evidence of the Yaksha cult also comes from pottery inscriptions at Arikamedu.“
“Division of People: After the description of the division of the land, the continuing sutras 22 to 37 vividly giver the details about the division of people according to tinai, their respective duties and avocations. For each tinai, the changed names of tinai (are applicable to the people) are two kinds based on names of clan (kulappeyar) and profession (tozhirpeyar) . Tinai names for males and females are formed as Ayar (shepherd) and Vettuvar (hunters) and there are chiefs (kizhars) for them (23). Similarly, if we analyze the people of other regions, we can observe that the names of clan and profession are applied to each tinai (24). Kakkilai (one sided love) and peruntinai (unequal love) are applicable to adiyor (servants) and vinaivalar (workers) and they are dealt with (in literature accordingly) . The above mentioned servants and workers and enor (others), who are in the position of commanding (or being commanded) are also in the same state (26), i.e, kakkilai and peruntinai are applicable to adiyor, vinaivalar and enor. Thus, the discussion about the seven tinais about the union of man and woman under 1 . kakkilai, 2. mullai, 3. kurunji, 4. marudham, 5. neydhal, 6. palai (aintinai) and 7. peruntinai. As kalavu (love in secret) and karpu (love in open) occur in the regions of mullaiu, kurunji, marudham and neydhal, then palai, i.e, separation is discussed about. As has been already mentioned, each tinai represents the activities of man and woman who live there. Tolkappiyar adapts and adopts the palai as an activating agent in the social processes and interactions of the ancient Tamils. Thus, it is said that education (othal), war or enemity (pagai) and tuthu (diplomacy) are the reasons for separation taking place in life (from the family, lover or wife) . Of the above-mentioned categories, the separation due to education and diplomacy is applicable to uyarnthor i.e, the people at the top or eminent people (among the four categories). The commentator Ilamburanar specifically mentions that it s applicable to andanar (Brahmins) and arasar (Kings). Nachinarkkiniyar, another commentator says that velalars (agriculturists and others) are excluded (it is implied) as uyarnthor is mentioned (28). King can gor for war on his own accord or with others (resulting in separation) . Here, the expression vendan specifically refers to king i.e, arasar (apart from the above mentioned three exigencies learning, war and diplomacy) separation takes place for earning wealth and establishing righteousness among the people of mullai (kurunji, marudham and neydal), so that rituals are conducted to people of other than that of eminence, greatness and exaltation (30). The people, thus who earn money or wealth may be called vanigar (business men). Ilamburanar says that the people other than that of eminence are nothing but devar (= gods), for them pujas and festivals are conducted. The expression padimai may refer to idol of such devar. Thus, the separation for the above exigency (i.e, to establish procedure relating to gods) is applicable to all four categories (31). Iamburanar specifically mentions that the four categories are the four varnas. Here, Nachinarkkiniyar explaind succinctly the difference between enor (others) and nalver (four group of people). As it is mentioned thast nalvarkkum uritte (applicable to four kinds of people), it is evident that besides vanigar as mentioned above, two categories or vellalars are also included. The duties of king can be performed by pinnor (i.e, vanigar and vellalar), who follow him in the order). The duties of king includes guarding, protection and preservation. As the expression Mannar pinnor denotes plural, it includes other kings, agriculturists (Velalar) and the like (32). For the higher group of the above mentioned authorized two (i.ew, vanigar and vellalar), a separation can take place for the purpose of learning / education (33). The above mentioned authorized two groups can perform dutioes for kings are vanigar and velalar of which the higher group is Vanigar. Therefore, it is evident that vanigar can also go for studying (othu). Arasar has already been permitted under sutra 28. therefore, for andanar, arasar and vanigar separation can take place for learning. Nachinarkkiniyar explains that as the place of Othu (learning) takes place after the appearance of Vedas, it is mentioned vothinan (othu refers to Vedas).
3.1. The duties of Vendar (king) can be performed by those other than king also, where admissible (34). The duty of king is mentioned as diplomacy by the commentator instead of popular meaning ruling / governance. Thus, it is implied that the act of diplomacy is applicable to Vanigar and Vellalar in other words, applicable to all fou categories. Some say enor (others) denotes chieftains. The act of separation is a privilege for them (i.e, vanigar and Vellalar) in connection with wealth (i.e, to earn wealth by trade and commerce) . If uyarnthor have separation for easrning wealth, then that amounts to going away from good conduct or moral values (36). Though specifically the word Andanar or any other expression is not used to denote Brahmins, from the forgoing sutras and their implied conditions and restrictions imposed on the repeatedly mentioned four groups of people read with the commentaries of Ilamburanar, Perasiriyar and Nachinarkkiniyar, it is evident that Uyarnthor here must refer to Andanar i.e, the higher group of the people of society. As has been authorized here among the two causes for separation, i.e, separation by leg (kalir pirivu) and separation by ship (kalattir pirivu) the separation due to ship is not allowed along with the lover or wife (37). Munnir vazhakkam is going by waters of rivers, spring and ocean respectively for education, diplomacy and business or trade. This implies that not only women are prohibited for undertalking voyage, but also Andanar as they are also not supposed to yearn for money or wealth.
4. Four Divisions of Society: Under the sutra 74 of Tolkappiyam, four divisons of society is mentioned by way of describing their duties. The duties of Parppanar have been divided into six; that of Arasar into five; that of Enor into six; the region of learned who discharges their duties according to established times of past, future and present. For ascetics there are eight duties; for porunar, the duties are connected with warfare; and other duties connected with the above are meant for others; thus the vagaitinai is divided into seven categories by the poets, they say so. The previous verse / sutra 73 clearly says that vagai is just like puram of palai i.e, subject dealing with the aspects of life other than love of the exigencies created during separation for performing their respective duties. Accordingly, one has to improve their avocation and skill with great distinction withot hindrance to others. Therefore each can excel in his / her field / profession / avocation according to their skill, ability and talent. This four divisions and the respective duties mentioned described are exactly in accordance with the laws of Manu. Though Tolkappyar has not mentioned the nature of duties, as the numbers of duties have been specifically mentioned, they can be understood by the contemporary ancient Tamil literature, popularly known as Sangam literature.