Tuesday, February 17, 2015

RESPONSES set - 8


68. C. Rajendran:

An interesting feature of the traditional Sanskrit theatre of Kerala is the possible remnants of a Buddhist tradition in its multiple layers which needs to be subjected to cultural archaeology. To begin with, the term Cakyar, signifying the actor, shows some affinity to the word Sakya meaning a follower of Buddhism.Another important fact is that the play Nagananda, which deals with the supreme self sacrifice of the Vidydhara prince Jimutavahana who endangers his own life to protect a snake Sankhacuda from Garuda. Now this play was written by Harsavardhana of Kannouj who was a great admirer if not an adherent of Buddhist religion and who gave equal importance to both Hinduism and Buddhism in his state.Itsing has recorded that this play was staged in the Viharas of North India in his time. Isnt it possible that the play might have been staged in some of the Viharas of Kerala too before being appropriated to the later Brahmanical order?There were elaborate provisions for the enactment of the scene in which Garuda comes down and snatches away the body of Jimutavahana mistaking it to be that of Sankhacuda. .This was to be performed in the open and a very high stage was to be erected for the actor impersonating as the bird to come down from the sky and snatch the body of the prey.The body of the actor was to be suspended in the miod air with a network of chords deftly handled by the nambiar, the drummer.The places where this was enacted were known as Kuthuparambu.It is believed that this enactment was discontinued when there was an accident due to which the actor was suspended in the middle of the air once.All this elaborate provision makes little sense if there was not a powerful motive behind its enactment.The play deals with the repentance of garuda and teaches Buddhist ideals like compassion, detachment,love and unselfishness as well as filial devotion.

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69. Ajay Sekher:

Apart from the Sakya - Chakyar analogy there is a Chakyar family called Potiyil in Kottayam like the ancient Potiyil Mala or Akatiyar Kudam later Hinduized as Agastyakudam. It was an ancient Buddhist centre called Bodhiyil Mala or Potiyilmalai in Tamil. It became the seat of Avalokiteswara Bodhisattva in the heydays of Vajrayana n post the middle ages got Hinduized into the seat of Agastya who is also given the authorship of the first Tamil grammar text.

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70. C. Rajendran:

It is an attested fact that many Cakyar families migrated from malabar to far off places.

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71. C. P. Vijayan:

Very interesting to read about Harshavardhana and the drama Nagananda.There are places by name Koothuparambu in Kannur and Malappuramdistricts with traditions "Koothu" (in its present form) missing frompublic psyche. Surprisingly, these places have got no Chakyar families either. Most inhabitants are Shudra descendants. Would it then mean that, it shows a direct link of the art form to Buddhism with no intermediary role attributed to Chakyars or Brahminic tradition. Places with "palli" suffixes are abundant as well – Keezpalli, Palottupalli, Oorpalli, Pallikkal, Pallikkara..

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72. C. P. Vijayan:

Development of rituals, traditions and culture is a lengthy process and takes generations to shape up.This amorphous process therefore can not be examined using short cuts. Well, if documents such as inscriptions, travelogues, poetry, paintings, or trivia unearthed during excavations are available, then even, our conclusions can not be conclusive.
The fact of the matter is that nothing is available for a period of about five centuries in the middle.
This initiative by these individuals, need be seen in this perspective.
I am looking forward to this with a lot of hope that at least some in the gathering might come up with something worth pondering upon , be it a ritual in marriage, cremation or what ever.
Else, if at all we see for ourselves stark similarity in paddy cultivation method followed by Japanese farmers and the farmers of Palakkad (Thiruvilwamala in particular) matching step by step right through sowing, irrigating, harvesting and storing what should one infer?

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73. Ajay Sekher:


The paddy field and irrigation systems including the bund, barrage and canal systems are solid contributions of Buddhist monks in peninsular India like the plough as in Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Combodia, Srilanka, Korea n Japan. Bhudatankettu bund in Periyar is a typical example. Mundantodu, Mundakapadam, Mundakavitu are few examples in paddy culture referring to the shaven heads of the monks the Munda or Mundathi the nuns.

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74. C. P. Vijayan:

Feel excited about it already.The kind of information one gets, once the little ice ball of sharing and gathering keeps rolling . I am sure with tit bits such as these, picked by up scholars like you, along with ground realities and myths, you all would surely be able to recapture the lost data about our forefathers at least to some extent.

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