- Tamil is one of the oldest languages in India
- The Tamil culture has secretly incorporated Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism
- Two literary works called Ettutogoi and Pattu Paatu reveal most of the background
July 21, 2017: The early Tamil history can be studied through two literature backgrounds: The Ettutogoi and the Pattu Paatu. The Euttutogoi are the eight anthologies while the Pattu Paatu is 10 songs.
It is believed that the Pattu Paatu and Ettutogoi were written between the 1st and 3rd century. The earliest grammar in use today on Tamil is Tol-Kaapiyam.
Hindu gods such as Indra, Durga, Varuna, and Vishnu are all mentioned in the Sangam literature of Tamil. They are known as the main deities in Tamil scriptures. Indra is the God of Rain, Varuna the God of Sea, Durga is the face of fierce tribes, and Vishnu is the protector of the herdsmen.
There are also references to the Brahmins. These Brahmins were scholars of the four Vedas, called Naan Marai in Tamil. These educated Brahmins contributed to the Sangam literature of Tamil. Some prominent Tamil Brahmin scholars are Kapilar, Nakeerar, Perum Kausikanaar, and others.
Rock scriptures of the Tamil’s Sangam era reveal Jainism being sponsored on the land, particularly by individual traders. Buddhism remained significantly small in number.
With the arrival of Kalabhra Dynasty who ruled the land of Tamil Nadu between 4th century to 6th century, Buddhism gained popularity. “Buddhism remained an urban phenomenon”
The Tamil Buddhist Monks used Pali and not Tamil as the choice of language for their writings. Monks like Dhammapala Thera and Buddhadatta Thera went to Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu and translated Sinhalese commentary of Buddhism to Pali. Buddhist monk Buddhaghosha stayed at Madurai when he planned his voyage to Sri Lanka.
Kalabhras dynasty’s obsession with Buddhism had revived the Vaishnavas in the 6th century. Thus, Pali had faded over time, and the Tamil language became a proud identity of the people.
However, Buddhism remained a crucial part of the Tamil lifestyle until the 14th century and it is believed that a Buddhist monk authored the Tamil grammar. Jainism, on the other hand, flourished till the 9th century. Even today, Jainism can be seen in every other Tamil household.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394