Showing posts with label Dravidian civilization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dravidian civilization. Show all posts

Monday, November 11, 2013

History mystery: Shiva - God of Dravidians or Aryans?

Shiva - Pasupathi
There is much controversy about the Aryans and the Dravidians where some debate that the Dravidians were a race who were aborigines of Indian subcontinent while others say they migrated into India. The Aryans on the other hand migrated to India from Central Asia forcing the Dravidian towards the South. The physical character of the Dravidians were short in height, well versed with urban culture, of black complexion and were the followers of Lord Shiva while the Aryans who were well built, of white complexion, rural inhabitants, were the worshippers of nature. With constant fight going on between them, the Aryans pushed the Dravidians down towards the banks of the River Sindhu, southwards and settled in the Northern plains of India. There were lots of contradiction with the Aryan Dravidian race theory, the latest being that the Indus Valley civilization, the actual Saraswati valley civilization and the river Saraswati, the lifeline of the people had dried up which caused them to move out of that area to a more fertile East and South territory.

Shiva of Gandhara
As far as their belief was concerned, the advocates of invasion theory state that the inhabitants of Indus Valley were Saivites – Shiva worshippers and since Saivism is more prevalent among South Indians, the conclusion is that the inhabitants of Indus valley region could have been the Dravidians and worshippers of Shiva else Pasupathi. The Aryan Vaishnavites, the star calendar used by them was adopted from the Semito Dravidian Indus Valley Civilization since it is not referred in the Rig Veda or Avesta and before the Aryans came to India it was compiled when the Indus Valley was at its peak.

Hinduism is a subject with many interpretations and to some it may appear to be confusing. Contradictions are seen in every scripture in the world and Hindu scriptures also contain some contradictory ideas which have been stemmed from different ideas right from its development of primitive to the present religion. Hinduism, considered as a culture and way of life as well as a religion started around 3000 BC with the Indus River civilization and the Sindh Indo Pakistani region and the two cultures blended together to form the beginning of Hinduism with the Aryans of the north and Northwest regions of India and the Dravidians presumed to be of central Asian origin, of south India.

As Indra was Aryan war lord and all hymns have been dedicated to him, studies show that Shiva was a non Aryan king who fought the Aryans. Shiva worship is also known in the Vedic culture and is not only restricted to South India, but some of the important holy places for Saivites are also located in North India where the traditional holy residence of Lord Shiva is Mount Kailas which is situated to the far north. The ancient Dravidian worship, developed into a six fold religion and the worship of Sivalinka developed in different angles. There are various theories about the proper origin of the world Dravida which is a Sanskrit word and according to scholars could be the formation of the Tamil word while others say that the word Dravida may have originated from Sanskrit – Drava which could be related to water or sea and the root word for this is Drava in Sanskrit, signifying that the people of India lived nearer to the sea. The Tamils started using the word Dravida only in the 9th century AD in the context of the linguistics and the Tamil lexicon called Senthan Divakaram used Dravidam to denote Tamil.  The Dravidians are presumed to be the composers of religious treatises and hymns in Tamil language as well as the founders of magnificent and amazing stone temples all over India. They also prospered in many kingdoms and the temples established by them got religious importance by visitors of Hindu religious heritage.

They also influenced Hinduism which is evident especially in the South. Besides this, many elements of the Tantra are their heritage while many of the rites are traceable to their earliest culture and the Dravidians are the ones who have made their contribution to the philosophy of non dualism of Lord Shiva. They have contributed to the cult of Lord Shiva, the worship of Shakti, the Mother Goddess as well as the institution of Yoga and have given us several symbols connected with these gods and goddesses. The worship of Shiva in the form of a lingam or linga is depicted in various forms and one common form is the shape of a vertical rounded column. The meaning of Shiva is auspiciousness and linga means a symbol or sign and Shivalinga is considered as a symbol of the great God of the universe who is auspicious. Moreover Shiva also means – one in whom the whole creation sleeps after dissolution and linga – a place where created objects are dissolved during disintegration of the created world. According to Hinduism, since Shivalinga represents God himself, it is the same god that creates and sustains the universe. One of the famous Indian temples dedicated to Shiva is in Kashi, Varanasi where he is worshipped as Visvanath who is considered as the God of all lands and there are twelve jyotirlinga temples in various locations of the country. Temples featuring architecture mainly in the South have been the origins of the Dravidians. In South the famous Shiva temples are in Tiruvannamalai, Tirunaikaval, Srikalahasti and Chidambaram.

Other important temples of Shiva worship are Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, and Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelveli. With regards to the Hindu culture, much of its basis has been the contributions of the Dravidians and the language adopted by them was Sanskrit. Moreover, they have also made contribution to important elements of the religious emphasis, the manners and customs, social structure, the arts which constitute the Hindu civilization. They have also given us many great philosophers like Shankar together with great products of artistic genius by way of dance and temple architecture and the sect known as Shaivism. Dravidian, the native Indian communities were the founder of Hindu religious and social systems. It was the Dravidians that had established a particular civilization known as the Dravidian civilization and according to some scholars, the speaker of proto Dravidian language were the founder of the Dravidian civilization. This civilization was presumed to be in existence much before the advent of the Indo Aryans in India. This pre Vedic civilization is the civilization of the people who spoke proto Dravidian language. The great mass of Dravidians deities, rites and superstitions had become a part of Hinduism and the Dravidians were very much involved as far as their religious rites were concerned and in most manners, there were links between Hinduism and the original Dravidian worship. According to some historians the proto Dravidians were part of a large Elamo Dravidian language while others were preceded in the subcontinent by Austro Asiatic people who were followed later by Indo European speaking migrants.

Other theories of Dravidian origin was propagated by Sir William Hunter who states that there were two branches of Dravidians namely Kolarians speaking dialects and the proper Dravidians which belonged to the Tamil section. While the first group entered India from north east, they occupied the northern part of Vindhya and this theory is considered obscure. Shaivism was indigenous while vaishnavism was imported and in earlier times both were competitive temporal philosophies. During the reign of Chalukyas’ rule in the peninsular towards 1000 to 2000 AD, there were instances of kings patronizing shaivism and prosecuting the vaishnavites and it was alleged that one of the Chalukya king, had removed the statue of Lord Vishnu from the Shiva shrine at Chidambaram and history relates that Shiva was the most revered deity of ancient India. Over a period of time, this competition between shavites and vaihnavites diminished and both of them merged to create Hinduism. Unless we take into account the food habits, folklores, dresses, traditions, customs and lingual dialects, the excavations of archaeological sites as well as the historical monuments do not relate the true tale of history making it an oral history besides written history. Based on the judgment of artifacts discovered only relates a disconnected and disconcerted information while most of the Indian history has been interpreted on the basis of potteries and metal works and the period have been assigned through a process of elimination. After the excavations at Harappa, ancient history has become prone to plenty of reasoning and arguments over Harappa being a pre Vedic or a post Vedic.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

History Mystery: “Lothal” Proof For Dravidian maritime knowledge!

      The maritime activities of India were very much old as that of Bronze Age (i.e. of between early third and mid second millennium BC). The excavation of Lothal at Gujarat coast constructively gives evidence for the maritime activities of the Dravidians. The Gujarat coast is with several creeks and rivers that provide a natural environment for the harbor along the coast. The Gujarat coast is rich in marine wealth such as conch and shells which were exported during those days. Since from the prehistoric period the Harappan people aware of the behavior of the tidal waves and they were the first who used the ebb and neap flow of the water effectively in berthing and moving the ships from the dockyard. They constructed a harbor at the coastal city Lothal in Gujarat. The early works of Tamil and the later works in Sanskrit illustrate, the ancient’s have the thorough knowledge in the tidal waves and they were also aware how the tides changes its behavior according to the position of moon. Sadly there is no physical evidence to show that they had a thorough knowledge in astronomy.

      In the early historic period the Harappans had a clear understanding about the coastal tidal features and their special importance for maritime navigation. The Indus valley Dravidian people have a very close trade contacts with Sumeria, Srilanka and others both by the land and sea. This was supported by the finding of a seal and a pot - sherd portraying a ship. It is further substantiated by the discovery of the Lothal, a Harappa civilization site in Ahmadabad district in Gujarat. The Harappans constructed a dock for berthing and servicing the ships near the mouth of the river Sabarmati (But the river Sabarmati’s course was shifted later years).This is the earliest structure based on the knowledge relating to the ebb and the neap tides in the world. And the remains of the Lothal port prove the sound knowledge of the Dravidian in the maritime engineering and the hydro-graphic. They have the better understanding in the effects of tidal water on the brick build structure also. They have constructed the walls of the dock with the kiln burnt bricks. The ships were allowed through the flood gate into the dock through the river estuary flooded by an inlet channel at high tide from the Sea. Similarly the ships have to leave the yard during the high tide and the buttress walls were constructed either side of the inlet near the embankment to avoid the erosion and scouring of the tidal waves.

     The selection of Lothal for the construction of a dock yard is a cleverly selected one and this reflects the knowledge of the Dravidian of those days. Why because, even now the Cambay reason is the only region with highest tidal range in India. Even now the Spring tides in the Cambay Gulf rise and fall as much as 33 feet with a velocity of more than six knots and the neap tide raise more than 23 feet with more than 5 knots wind speed. In the first century AD an anonymous Egyptian navigator wrote “Periplus Maris Erithrei” in it he gives a detailed descriptions of the harbors, the kings and the people of that period anchorages and about the climate, prevailing wind and also he recorded his observations about the tides in the Arabian sea and the part of Indian ocean and he mention that In India the seas ebb and neap with tides of extra ordinary strength. Lothal site is now silt laden but excavations carried out by the archaeologists and they found 5 phases of structural activities so far. And the first four phases belongs to Harappa culture and the fifth one represents the late or degenerate phase. The dockyard is in the eastern side of the mound with trapezoidal plan. The western and eastern embankments of this dockyard had the facility for berthing and handling of cargo of length 218 meter and 38 meters with the height of more than 4 meters constructed with the kiln burnt bricks. The inlet channels are of 7 meter height and 2.5 kilometers long.

       The Ships has to enter the harbor were sluiced through the inlet channel at the high tide and when the water level is about the inlet sill. They are well aware of scouring effect of the tidal waves and so constructed two buttress walls on either side of the inlet walls. The second channels runs towards south embankment and right angle to it. In the either sides of the junction of the embankment was provided with the vertical grooves to inserting the wooden door to close the spill way for maintain the maximum water level in the water way.

    They meticulously designed the water way for desilting. The automatic desilting was achieved by allowing excess water to flow through the spillway and some more grooves were provided at regular intervals in the sidewalls as weep holes. To make the ships float in the low tide the construction of abutments to the wall at the entrance of the dock. To counteract the water thrust in the closed enclosure the walls were buttressed from the outer side with more than twelve meters wide platform with bricks.

     As a conclusion The Harappans were the early users of tidal phenomena and they utilized the tidal phenomena solely for the sluicing and berthing of ships in the dockyard at Lothal.