Monday, September 3, 2007

32. Origin of Animal and Spirit worship

The existence, nature and form of God have been contested since thousands of years without conclusive answers. However, those who have reposed faith on some form of God have succeeded in their missions since ages because of the power of their faith. Thus it is important to have faith and belief in ones worship in the style of positive thinking. The exact nature or form of God is not important as far as goal is concerned. During the long years of evolutions of human civilization men have worshipped animal gods and their spirits in the beginning. Subsequently they switched over to hero worships and later to Gods in human forms. These evolutionary developments ultimately led to the concept of formless God.

Earliest form of worships in human civilizations of the Indian subcontinent was animal worship followed by spirit worship. When early nomadic tribal people became agriculturists and settled into habitations and colonies around their agricultural fields (6000 to 4000 BC), their main concern were guarding crops from wild boars. They were unable to tame them or predict their attacks in the beginning. Probably they also held the belief that these boars have a leader or reigning God and wished that by worshipping that Boar God they would be free from the pestering of boars. Apparently this is the way how boar began to be worshipped by the early primitive civilizations. The wild Boar God was the ‘Panjurli’ bhoota or ‘daiva’ of Tulu tribes.
The term ‘bhoota’ refers to spirit of the dead creatures. ‘Daiva’ refers to God. Early societies including primitive Tulu tribes attributed godly status (‘daiva’) to various spirits. The early societies believed that all living creatures continue to live as spirits even after death. This led to the development of the concept of reincarnation.

Similar another mysterious creature that appeared suddenly around their inhabitations, sometimes biting one of their members fatally was cobra or the serpent. Sometimes it did not bite due to unexplainable reason for them at that time. They held in awe the mysterious power of the snakes to kill humans with just a poisonous bite. This led to the concept of serpent or Naga worship in the primitive tribal societies of the Indian subcontinent.
Both these forms of worship (Panjurli and Naga) were later absorbed into the pantheon of Indian Gods Panjurli, the boar revered by the early tribes became the Varāha, the third incarnation of Vishnu. Naga worship was absorbed as serpent around Shiva’s neck and as Adishesha, the poetic mattress and umbrella for the reclining Vishnu. In southern India, at places the Naga worship has subsequently been merged with the worship of Murugan or Subramanya.
. The concept of Panjurli and Naga worship was carried from the northwestern Indian subcontinent to Tulunad along with migrating Tulu tribes, where it is continued to be followed even today. The list of Spirit Gods has grown during the long historical past and the individual Tulu families believe in specific spirits since ages. Even those who subsequently embraced the worship of major Hindu Gods like Shiva Vishnu/Krishna and Shakti /Durga or even Jainism still ardently worship the spirits perpetuated by their lineages.

Fish God
Thinking on similar vein, it appears that the fish symbols portrayed in the Indus valley seals represent the Fish God worshipped by the inhabitants of Indus Valley. The citizens of Indus valley were particularly apprehensive of the floods that characterized the Indus and its tributaries. To ward off floods, possibly they believed in the Fish God that controls the rivers and the Sea. The memories of the Fish God culture survived long after the Indus Valley perished. The legend was absorbed later in the history as the first incarnation of Vishnu.
Another animal figure found in Indus seals is that of bull or bison. Subsequently the bull was adopted as the vehicle of Shiva.


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Books for Reference

  • A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
  • Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
  • Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
  • Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
  • Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
  • Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
  • Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
  • Studies in Tuluva History and Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
  • Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
  • TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
  • TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
  • Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
  • TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
  • Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

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