Kannappar and Thee Methi.
  • Hi,
    These two topics / threads over the last few days have dug into both
    history and religion. Just reading through these trails, not just
    the evolution of the religion, it is its adaptability that comes to
    the fore. The fundamentals of the philosophy / dogma has the ability
    to accommodate anything from atheism, animal worship, idol worship,
    devotee worship, yogic and so on. This evolving to give to bhakthi,
    karma and Gayana yoga. Interestingly, we find Nambiandar Nambi,
    Rajarajan and Karvur Devar representing each of this as we go through
    Rajaraja's period.

    The primary concept of the religion is well described in every major
    deity - ignorance be subdued and the knowledge prevail, Shiva dancing
    over apasmara or killing anthakasura where symbolic of this (rama not
    being discussed without ravana, subramanya with peacock and his flag,
    Devi with Mahisha). When we do bow down anytime, we bow down to both
    the lord and the subdued. The glorification of the subdued had been
    part of the mythology and the religion. More glorious the subdued, the
    greater the deity. For the human, nothing more bigger to conquer than

    The concept of karma which is shared by Hindu and Buddhist religions
    pivots on reincarnations / rebirths. This has remained constant, while
    the social norms or conditioning of the society changed. No more
    serving of PillaKKari or treating women as a property be acceptable
    social norms. Interestingly, the religious Law (Sutras) were actually
    subject to change, however the text have not changed, but the
    implementation changed leading to localized traditions. Localization
    depended mainly on degree of isolation. The desire to get rid of the
    sins (mistakes not acceptable to social norms / Sutras) has been a
    primary driver for our Culture. Washing it away in Ganga or at the
    Lords feet, has kept the guilt riddance in check. The penance to shed
    these could be fasting, Thee Methi, body piercing or rebirth. The
    society could always fall back on the consciousness of every
    individual to ensure that there is both a cleansing forum and the
    chance to conform to the social norms. The cyclical nature of
    performing these penance, again localized. Even the Kural says ..

    ͼîͼÕõ ¦À¡ý§À¡ø ´Ç¢Å¢Îõ ÐýÀõ
    ͼîͼ §¿¡ü¸¢ü ÀÅ÷ìÌ
    Pure and bright gets the gold in fire
    and so the life by pain austere.

    What has all the puranas gone about in glorifying individuals for, for
    their one strand of character. Rama, called the Purushothama (uttaman
    of Purushas) did have controversies with the social norms of his time,
    so does the Nayanmars and others. Kannappa's act being right in strict
    sense of Agama is not of consequence as just one character or a strand
    there, is what he lived by, cannot be questioned. This is what put
    them up in pedestal. Every Nayanmar or Alwar or other great saint of
    every religion have displayed this one character which differentiates
    them. Just that the standards and the values which can only be
    personal are what they have set themselves and is what they lived by.
    These gave them their spotless mind and as the Kural says,

    ÁÉòÐì¸ñ Á¡º¢Äý ¬¾ø «¨ÉòÐ «Èý
    ¬ÌÄ ¿£Ã À¢È.
    In spotless mind virtue is found
    And not in show and swelling sound.

    Guilt has been one primary feeling, which along with knowledge
    acquisition have driven the mankind and especially the hindu religion
    on the evolutionary path.
    I feel that any society that lets guilt takes the lead role in this
    context starts reacting negatively while the society which uses it as
    its checks and balance continue to evolve.

    Sorry about this long post.
  • Nice observations Aravind.

    Hinduism has various layers.
    Each layer to delight and occupy each intellect level.
    We have high philosophies to occupy the mind of the intellect.
    We have myths and epics for commoners to tell which is right and which is wrong.
    The lowest level of people have the superstitious level.With direct cause and effect- if you suffer urself - god wont give u sufferings - kind of stuff.

    Each level Person tries to remove his guilt,

    Intellects try to remove their guilt with philonthrophy and other deeds which help them ease of their guilt
    Middle level go to temple , do parikarams, follow jadagam .
    Uneducated land up with all the self torturing rituals.

    Aim of each level of people is to remove their guilt and lead a happy life.

    Man is always self fish in the sense he always wants to lead a happy life, he wants his family to be good and so on...

    We are in time where mythology is no more an entertainment , no time to read philosophies - so what is left out is rituals!and of course belief!

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