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Issue No. 170

இதழ் 170
[ ஆகஸ்ட் 2023 ]


இந்த இதழில்..
In this Issue..

பனைமலை ஓவியம் பகிரும் உண்மைகள்
நான் முதல்வன்
History of Dance in Tamil Land and Natya Sastra - 2
History of Dance in Tamil Land and Natya Sastra - 1
இராஜராஜீசுவரத்தின் 82 நந்தாவிளக்குகள் - 1
ஜப்பானியப் பழங்குறுநூறு - 42 (மறவேன் பிரியேன் என்றவளே!)
ஜப்பானியப் பழங்குறுநூறு - 41(காற்றினும் கடியது அலர்)
ஜப்பானியப் பழங்குறுநூறு - 40 (காதல் மறைத்தாலும் மறையாதது)
ஜப்பானியப் பழங்குறுநூறு - 39 (சொல்லாத காதல் எல்லாம்)
Issue No. 170 > Art & Research
History of Dance in Tamil Land and Natya Sastra - 1
மு. சுப்புலட்சுமி


I. Dance - an Introduction

Evidences of Dance as a well defined and refined art form in Tamilnadu is well supported with the strength of written native literature that dates back several centuries before common era. From Tolkappiyam before common era to the middle Cholas in the first half of second millennium, the evolution of Dance can be seen through a clear lens of textual sources. The vast time period of nearly 1700 years traverses through Sangam Literature, Silappadhikaram close to end-Sangam Era, religious texts of the Bhakthi Era in the mid-first millennium, all being unparalleled gems to historians and linguists alike.

What does ancient literature talk of the distinct features of the Tamil Dance Field? Dr. R. Kalaikkovan, Founder and Director, Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research, provides a clear picture in detail in the introductory pages of his book 'Cholar Kaala Aadar Kalai'. The term Aadal denotes Dance and Koothu denotes Dance based on a story. Indigenous dance forms like valli, kaandhal, therkuravai, amalai, veriyaattu were common. Koothar, kodiyar, vayiriyar and viraliyar were dancers; Paanar and Paadiniyar were singers and paanar were instrumentalists as well. Dance was performed separately for the masses and for the elite. The early Tamil community had the distinct difference of pothuviyal - dance for the masses and vethiyal- dance for the Kings and elite. Silappadhikaram is a storehouse on several details of professional dance, dancers, stage, stage layout, curtains, teachers and so on.

With the onset of temples in stone during the reign of the Pallava King, Mahendravarman I, portrayal of Dance took the additional form of sculptures. Centuries before Mahendravarman, Sangam literature mentions of sculptures and Silappadhikaram reveals the prevalence of 'Sirpach-Chennool' - treatise on sculptural studies. Yet, the earliest stone sculptures that survive now belong to Mahendra I.

Inclination towards religion

The religious inclination of Dance as a poetry in stone during the Pallavas continued through the Chola Era. It reached its zenith with the larger than life striking portrayal of the magnificent Dancing Shiva in temples built or renovated by Chola Queen Chembian Madevi in mid-tenth century. Sculptures on several versions of the Dance of Shiva, alongwith accompanying artists and instrumentalists are widespread in the Pallava, Pandya and Chola temples of Tamilnadu.

Silappadhikaram's timeline squeezed between end centuries of Sangam age and early centuries of Pallavas, shows a subtle yet strong inclination towards religion, brahminical beliefs and sanskritised theories. While sangam literature has several references to brahmins - anthanar as part of the society alongside buddhists and jains, a bold move towards highlighting brahminical religious beliefs and Puranic Gods is evident from Kalithogai, Silappadhikaram aka Silambu and Karaikkal Ammaiyar's poetry.

In 'Kadavul Vaazhthu' of Kalithogai written in praise of God, Shiva dances the Kodukotti, Pandarangam and Kabaala koothu.

படு பறை பல இயம்பப், பல் உருவம் பெயர்த்து நீ
கொடுகொட்டி ஆடும்கால், கோடு உயர் அகல் அல்குல்
கொடிபுரை நுசுப்பினாள், கொண்ட சீர் தருவாளோ?

மண்டு அமர் பல கடந்து, மதுகையால் நீறு அணிந்து,
பண்டரங்கம் ஆடும்கால், பணை எழில் அணை மென்தோள்
வண்டு அரற்றும் கூந்தலாள், வளர் தூக்கு தருவாளோ?

கொலை உழுவைத் தோல் அசைஇக், கொன்றைத்தார் சுவல் புரளத்
தலை அங்கை கொண்டு நீ காபாலம் ஆடும்கால்,
முலை அணிந்த முறுவலாள் முன் பாணி தருவாளோ?

5-13, கலித்தொகை கடவுள் வாழ்த்து/Kadavul Vaazhthu

He performs Kodukotti assuming different appearances amidst the echoing sounds of Parai- one of the oldest known tamil percussion instruments; Victorious after winning several wars He dances the Pandarangam applying thiruneeru/sacred ash all over His body; In Kabaala Koothu, He dances with the skull in his palm, wears the skin of a tiger in his waist and garland made of kondrai flowers hangs from his neck. Umai adorning exquisite ornaments provides the three beats - paani, seer and thooku to apparently add flavour to His dance.

Kalithogai's verses exemplify the greater involvement of Gods in societal affairs, also seen in the later texts of the Sangam period like Paripadal and Thirumurugaatruppadai.

Post-Sangam era, in Ilangovadigal's Silappadhikaram, Tamil folk dance forms like aatru vari, vettuva vari, aaichiyar kuravai, kundrakkuravai, oosal vari and ammaanai are illustrated in detail. Gods of Tamil Land as described in early literature- Kotravai, Thirumaal and Murugan are praised and worshipped in vettuvavari, aaichiyar kuravai and kundrakkuravai respectively.

Madhavi, who started her professional dance training at approximately 5 years of age, gets trained for 7 years and is ready for her maiden performance before age 12. While Arangetru Kaathai reveals she learnt several forms of Koothu (dance based on a story) and 11 forms of Adal (dance), these are elaborated in Kadalaadu Kaathai.

Madhavi's performance of 11 kinds of Dances in Kadalaadu Kaathai comprising the Dances of different Gods, exhibits the expanding religious inclination in Tamilnadu during the times of Silambu. One has to bear in mind that this could not have been a sudden change, but an inclination that took a sharp emphasis through literature.

She dances-
• Kodukotti and Pandarangam performed by Shiva
• Alliya thoguthi performed by Krishna
• Mallaadal and Kudakoothu (with a pot) performed by Thirumal
• Thudikoothu and Kudaikoothu (with an umbrella) performed by Murugan
• Pedi Aadal performed by Kaaman/Manmadhan
• Marakkaal Aadal performed by Maayaval or Kotravai
• Paavai Aadal performed by Thirumagal
• Kadaiakkoothu performed by Indrani

Silappadhikaaram is the first tamil literary source to associate Dance with the Gods in such a large scale. Dance meant for the masses and the elite during Sangam times undergoes a big change and Ilangovadigal's epic endorses the Dance of the Gods and its related stories.

Next, in the time line, Karaikkal Ammai's Mootha Thiruppathigam, shows Shiva dancing with Fire on his Palm, in the Forest that belonged to Anangu.
கணங்கள் கூடிப் பிணங்கள் மாந்திக் களித்த மனத்தவாய்
அணங்கு காட்டில் அனல்கையேந்தி அழகன் ஆடுமே.
மூத்த திருப்பதிகம் 13/ mootha thiruppathigam stanza 13

Ammai, one of the pioneers of Indian Bhakti Movement and one of the earliest composers of Bhakti Literature, portrays Shiva as the fierceful Dancing God. She projects Him as the Supreme Dancer, beyond any comparison or competition.

Seyon Murugan to Guhan

The above few literary evidences among several others present a clear roadmap on the significant influence of religious forces gliding into the Pallava period. The most prominent ones seen additionally from Pallava sculptures and inscriptions being-
i. the elevation of Shiva as the Supreme Dancer, role taken away from Kali;
ii. change of guard from the early Tamil Goddess Kotravai to Durga or Mahishasuramardhini, slayer of demon Mahisha;
iii. association of Tamil God Murugan with celestial beings and his triumphant victory over demons who disturbed the Devas.

Murugan, whom Tolkappiyam calls Seyon - the Lord of Kurinji or Hills is referred in Sangam literature with several descriptions. He is revered as kadavul, theivam (God), murugu (Beauty), malai urai kadavul (God who resides in the Hills) among others; He is attributed to hold cock and peacock flags besides being mounted upon peacock and elephant; He adorns the garland of Kadamba flowers. These basic features represent Murugan even today, the ancient God of the Tamils. In the later texts of sangam age - Paripadal and Thirumurugaatruppadai, we notice new additions.

Paripadal one among the ettuthogai texts, is a collection of songs of various poets in praise of Thirumal, Sevvel (Murugan) and Vaiyai - the river. In continuation to Seyon or the God who shines in red as per Tolkappiyam, Murugan is called Sevvel, the one in Red. However, the Tamil God of the Hills gets newly modified special attributes -

மூ-இரு கயந்தலை, முந் நான்கு முழவுத் தோள்,
ஞாயிற்று ஏர் நிறத் தகை! நளினத்துப் பிறவியை!
காஅய் கடவுட் சேஎய்! செவ்வேள்!
பரிபாடல் 5, கடுவன் இளவெயினனார்/ Paripadal 5, Kaduvan Ilaveyinanār,

He has six heads and twelve arms with shoulders as strong as drums; possesses the colour of the rising sun; born in a lotus, he is the son of Shiva. With Vedic influences, Murugan gets a new "lineage" and a strong puranic story to carry.

Thirumurugatruppadai, one of the pathuppaattu texts unfolds stories of the new millennium Murugan as the son of Shiva, protector of celestial Gods, slayer of evil demons and one who gets the hand of Deivayaanai - daughter of Indra in return for his fearless deed against the Asuras. Not to completely ignore his ancient past, he also marries Valli according to Tamil marriage codes, a sigh of relief to the sons of the soil.

In the verses of worship of Murugan (250-276), his praise is a culmination of the ancient and new age features -
ஆல்கெழு கடவுட் புதல்வ! மால்வரை
மலைமகள் மகனே! மாற்றோர் கூற்றே!
வெற்றி வெல்போர்க் கொற்றவை சிறுவ!
இழையணி சிறப்பின் பழையோள் குழவி!
வானோர் வணங்குவில் தானைத் தலைவ!

He is -
• ஆல்கெழு கடவுட் புதல்வ! - Son of Shiva under the banyan tree,
• மால்வரை மலைமகள் மகனே! - son of malaimagal - daughter of the King of mountains,
• மாற்றோர் கூற்றே! - death to his enemies,
• வெற்றி வெல்போர்க் கொற்றவை சிறுவ! - son of Kotravai - the forceful Tamil Goddess of War,
• பழையோள் குழவி! - Son of the ancient Goddess,
• வானோர் வணங்குவில் தானைத் தலைவ! - God of the Army, worshipped by celestials
and so on.

The drastic change from only being Kotravai chiruva (son of Kotravai) and Pazhaiyol kuzhavi ( child of the ancient goddess) praised in early sangam age to Shiva and Parvati's son and the protector of the celestials in the later sangam literature is the newest face of Murugan, in addition to being symbolised by the six faces.

And thus, Murugan takes a stride into Pallava temples as the son of Shiva and Parvati, as per available sculptural and inscriptional evidences. In Narasimhavarma Pallava II/Rajasimha's Athiranachandesvaram in Chaaluvankuppam near Mamallapuram in the outskirts of Chennai, both sculpture and inscription on the son with parents can be found. Panel depicting Somaskandamurthy - Shiva along with Uma and Skanda gets its place in the sanctum and outer wall of the temple. Rajasimhan's sanskrit inscription states-
அதிரண சண்டேஸ்வரமிதமகரோத் இஹ கிரிதனயா
குஹகனாஸ்ஹிதோ நியதக்குத்தரதிர்பவது பஷூபதிஹி
Guha, the son of Girithanaya/Malaimagal and Pashupathi resides with Ganas in Athiranachandesvaram.

Such has been the long journey from Seyon Murugan to Guha.

Literary evidences from later sangam texts and Silappadhikaram showcase the gradual changes religion had to handle, but Bhakthi Literature and pallava sculptures and inscriptions portray a clearer picture on the stress put in to create a religious cult based on a new concept merged with traditional Tamil systems.

A few to mention-
• Chieftains or Gods of five kinds of Landscape converted to mystic Gods and celestial acquaintances
• Insistence on a separate language for communication with the Gods
• Significance of an 'elite community' as mediators between commoners and Gods
• Art forms based on the changed religious domain

With these transformations, the original 'Performing Arts - Koothu and Aadal' of Tamils that displayed home grown art and culture in Sangam Literature and Silappadhikaram, sees a 'genetically' modified and an evolved version in the mid centuries of the first millennium that provides abundant sculptural evidences.

References -
1. இரா. கலைக்கோவன் சோழர் கால ஆடற்கலை
2. இரா. கலைக்கோவன், பேரறிவாளர், http://www.varalaaru.com/design/article.aspx?ArticleID=387
3. க. வெள்ளை வாரணர், தொல்காப்பியம் மெய்ப்பாட்டியல் உரைவளம்
4. காரைக்கால் அம்மையார் பதிகங்கள், பதினோராம் திருமுறை, நம்பியாண்டார் நம்பி தொகுப்பு, மதுரை தமிழ் இலக்கிய மின்தொகுப்புத் திட்டம்
5. சிலப்பதிகாரம்- மூலமும் அரும்பத உரையும் அடியார்க்கு நல்லார் உரையும், உ.வே.சா. பதிப்பு
6. தமிழ் இலக்கண இலக்கியக் கால ஆராய்ச்சி, டாக்டர் மா. இராசமாணிக்கனார்
7. கலித்தொகை, நச்சினார்க்கினியர் உரை
8. Mamandur inscriptions of Mahendravarman I , South Indian Inscriptions Volume IV- https://archive.org/details/in.gov.ignca.73014/page/n30/mode/1up?view=theater
9. Manomohan Ghosh, The NatyaSastra
10. Adya Rangacharya, Introduction of Bharata's Natya Sastra
11. The Silappadhikaaram, translated by V.R. Ramachandra Dikshitar
       
இப்படைப்பு குறித்த தங்கள் கருத்துக்கள் வரவேற்கப்படுகின்றன. கீழுள்ள படிவத்தில் தமிழிலோ ஆங்கிலத்திலோ பின்னூட்டமிடலாம். தமிழில் பின்னூட்டமிட ஏதேனும் ஒரு தமிழ்ச் செயலி பின்னணி செயல்பாட்டில் இருக்க வேண்டும்.
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