செவ்வாய், 25 ஏப்ரல், 2017

The linguistic link

-C.T.INDRA


Thanks to the preceptor’s stay in Tondanur, several Tamil words entered the records of Karnataka temples...

Traditional accounts say that Ramanuja followed the Cauvery as far as Ramanathapuri, also known as Vahnipushkarani (Guruparamparai Prabhavam 6000: 246), then proceeded to Tonnur via Mithila-Saligrama. There is evidence, although not direct, that he found in the Hoysala country a congenial atmosphere to propagate his faith and made Tondanur and later Melukote as centres of his activity. Mirle and Saligrama each have a Yoganarasimha temple associated with Ramanuja. B.R. Gopal, the editor of Epigraphia Carnatica Vol. VI , has endeavoured to provide epigraphical confirmation of Ramanuja’s sojourn in Karnataka and his activities to spread the Sri Vaishnava faith in the Mysore region.

Ramanuja’s next point was Tonnur in Mandya region, where he is said to have cured the daughter of King Vishnuvardhana. The name Tondanur appears in the records of the 12th century and more frequently in those of the 13th, points out B.R. Gopal.
Indirect evidence

In his later book of 1983, Sri Ramanuja in Karnataka , Gopal mentions that Tondanur, also called Tonnur, has a Narasimha temple and Ramanuja must have stayed there. Looking at the etymology of the word ‘Tondanur’, Gopal notes that it is a Dravidian, especially a Tamil word, deriving from the root ‘Tondu’ which means ‘service’ to the Lord by a devotee who is a ‘dasan’ (slave). Its original name was Yadavapura, capital of Vishnuvardhana in 1129. Yadavapura became Tondanur when Ramanuja settled down there with his devotees and servants. This aspect is an indirect evidence of Ramanuja’s stay in Tondanur. It must have been so named owing to his influence.

The Tonnur inscriptions throw light on the role of the disciples of Sri Ramanuja in propagating the faith through such acts as temple building, instituting new services and so on. B.R. Gopal thinks that this sort of discipline was injected to renew fresh vigour to the existing Vishnu worship in Karnataka and “through it underlined the prominence of saranagati and prapatti which Ramanuja propagated.”

The language and vocabulary of Sri Vaishnava temple services enunciated by Ramanuja are found in some of these records e.g. tiruvaradana (ritualised worship of the deity). A profound influence was seen in according Tamil Prabandhas a prominent place in the Karnataka temples too, especially Tiruvoimozhi of Nammazhwar. In 1181 A.D. at Tonnur, a Tiruvarangadasa is described as a reciter of Tiruvoimozhi. In 1186 A.D. a grant of land for food offering is made on the occasion of a special festival to highlight the glory of the hymns. It is interesting to find some records mentioning dishes which are special to Sri Vaishnava temples, for example ‘akkola payasu,’ which is ‘akkaravadisal’ (1528 A.D.), and ‘Atirasa’ to Lord Narasimha.

Three records of Achutadevaraya (1534-35) give details of food to be offered to the God and one finds the typical Sri Vaishnava term ‘amudhu’ (food) added to all dishes — ‘paruppu amudhu,’ ‘kariamudhu,’ and even ‘churul amudhu’ (betel leaf offered at the end of the ritual offering. In the Vijayanagara period the epigraphic language was Kannada, but several Tamil terms were let in e.g. ‘Amisai’ (food offering), ‘Kari amudhu’ (cooked vegetables). Such records are of valuable linguistic interest.

Courtesy: The Hindu


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