Lakshmi Narayana Temple Pratishta

Venkataramani K. VenkataramaniK at AOL.COM
Mon Sep 9 22:28:29 CDT 2002

In a message dated 9/9/02 6:51:22 AM US Eastern Standard Time,
lsrinivas at YAHOO.COM writes:

> This is an extrapolation backward from Chola times. If that were not the
> case, then the loud silence about Siva in Classical Tamil lit (in contrast
> to full throated praises of Murugan and Krishna) needs to be explained.

Perhaps, this is not an accurare statement. There are indeed several
references to Lord Shiva in the oldest available Cangam Tamil anthologies
such as PuranAnUru. There is atleast 1 verse from the same anthology that
praises the king as the one who doesn't bow down to anyone except the
Brahmins and only when he passes by the street where the Lord resides. This
can be construed as an indirect reference to the presence of temple in those
days. Of course, we cannot be certain whether the temple was dedicated to
Shiva, Murugan or Vishnu, but temples did exist. Also, in another anthology
called ParipAdal, there are unmistakeable references to temples with
citrakUtA or hall of scuptures. The same song talks of the Ahalya episode
being sculpted in that temple.

All these are clear signs that temples existed in Tamilnadu way before 6th
century AD. Even stone temples, going by that ParipAdal song which talks of
sculptures. There are very explicit references to the temples of Vishnu and
Muruga. So, it is reasonable to assume that temples for Shiva existed as
well. When we consider the fact that the same Cangam literature also talk of
Shiva as the One represented by the vedas, it is only natural to assume that
temples existed for Him.

We shouldn't forget that the temples were rebuilt over the structure that
would have been falling apart. So, even if a temple existed way before the
Christian era, we may not find distinct traces of that, as it would have been
built over in the next many centuries. Hinduism never died in India. It has
been a continuing tradition. So, temples wouldn't have died as well. Just
because we didn't find remains of older temples doesn't mean they never
existed. We have found only some 20 odd stupas of Ashoka. Are we going to
argue that the great emperor who dedicated his life to disseminating Buddhism
carved out just some 20 plus edicts? The more reasonable answer is that we
haven't found the rest. Alexander is supposed to have created a huge stone
arch in Punjab, going by historical accounts. We haven't found it yet.

> There can be no doubt that Siva was worshipped in personal shrines by
> brahmins in early times in Tamilnadu.

Interesting! Is there any Cangam literature that explicitly mentions that
Shiva was worshipped only in personal shrines, that too by Brahmins alone?
Thanks in advance for the reference. About 75% of the NAyanmArs were
non-Brahmins. If Shiva was an exclusive Brahmin God as you have implied, we
are at a loss to explain how most of his devotees were non-Brahmins.

Dating of older literature as well as the kings and temples is always going
to be a matter of speculation because our ancestors did not maintain
historical records.


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