Tuesday, March 25, 2014

334. Secret of Ambagilu

We have seen that words, denoting name or action, come into usage every now and then with specific meaning or significance. Some of them become inscrutable with the passage of time.  It is a leap in dark attempting to decipher or interpretsuch words. This is very much true in the case of place names.
Ambagilu, which is located between Kalyanpur (See Note) and Udupi (town entry point) is an example to be studied.
Enigma of Ambagilu
It seems to be an easy and plain word but there is something curious about it. Every time when I cross Ambagilu or Ambagalu, the curious name provokes me to find out its exact meaning.  It rhymes with Mumbagilu (Front door) or Himbagilu (Back door) in Kannada.  The Tulu Lexicon (Page 29)splits the word as “Am? + Bakilu” and gives a generalized meaning as ‘Main entrance (of a colony, residential area, etc’) or ‘Spacious veranda in front of a house’.  Both in Tulu (Bakilu) and Kannada (Bagilu) letters ‘k’ and ‘g’ are interchangeable. Bakil/Bagilu means ‘door or entrance’ (Skt. Dwara).
A.Manner’s “Tulu-English Dictionary” also gives the meaning of ‘Ambakilu’ as (1) a kind of veranda, (2) an outer gate or door.
What is then the meaning ‘Am (ಅಂ)’, pronounced as ‘um’ in umbrella?
Am = Water
‘Am’ means water, perhaps a shortened word of ‘Ambu’.  Consider words like:
‘Ambi’ = Boat, ‘Ambiga’ = Boatman.
‘Ambalike/Lambalike = Daughter of water, i.e. the Goddess who sprang out from water.
‘Ambhrani’, a powerful mother Goddess, who was not a Vedic Goddess in the beginning. Vedic Hyms of Eight-stanza, known as ‘Vagambhrani (Vak+Ambhrani) Sukta’ entered Rigveda on later period of it.  She is akin toPrimordial Mother Aditi, comparable to ‘Amman’ of Nile Civilization and ‘Aphrodite’ of Mediterranean and Saraswati, Goddess of Speech -  all Mother Goddesses of Jalatatva (Water element principle) as opposed to Agnitatva (Principle of Fire of Vedic people).
‘Amara’ = (in paddy field), a dividing hump or bund or a ditch or small canal for water outflow from paddy field (TL-133).
Am + bagilu – a sea Port?
Ambakilu/Ambagilu means a place where the river meets sea.  This bids me to think that Ambagilu must have been an earlier location of estuary of River Swarna as against the present estuary at Kodi Bengre-Hoode-Kemmannu where now River Seeta too joins before debauching to Arabian Sea.  All the west-flowing rivers originate from Sahyadri Range, i.e. Western Ghats.Most of the rivers were navigable for marine trade in olden days. R. Seeta originates from Agumbe Ghat, western part of Shimoga district and is famous for rapids boating sport these days.
It is also worth pondering whether it could be R. Udyavara many many years before. The last (recorded) shifting of river courses to southwards in West coasts took place around 1887 (See Posts on different names of Mangalore and Kordel).
Synonyms of Ambakilu
The following culling from Tulu Lexicon and Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (DED) would adduce that ‘Ambakilu’ is an estuary in the unknown past and not associated with any tribe ‘Am’, as we are tempted to argue.
Aruveda Bakilu = (1) The place where river joins sea, (2) The entrance to a harbour Aruvebagilu > Aribagilu > Alubakil > Ambakil.
Aruve Saysira = (1) Marine Department, (2) Sea Customs.
Aruve Sayira Katte = Custom House    (all TL-162). 
AaNa = (1) The entrance to a harbour, (2) sea which is not deep (TL-233).  See Note on Kalianpur.*
In fishing profession, this gives rise to phrases like:
ANagu popuni/kulluni: Fishing in shallow waters,
ANevera barpinni/ANevunu = Boats coming to shore after fishing.

Ta: Ari (Entry 278, page 26) Place where the lagoon joins sea.  Arivay = Sand-bank at the mouth of a river or harbour.
Arivi = inlet to a backwater, mouth of a river.
Ma: Ari bar = River mouth
Ka: Arave = mouth of a river in which tide ebbs and flows, bar.
Tu: Aluve = mouth of a river, harbour
B-K: Ana = the entrance to a harbour
Kor (M) Alubagalu = mouth of a river
Te: Ana = Bank or a dam

Eponym or Ethnonym Angle
Alternatively, it could be considered whether there was a clan/tribe called Am/Amba or not. But suffix ‘Bakilu’ does not permit us to think that it is a settlement of so called ‘Am’ people.
Place names suggest geographical features throughout West Coast [Eg. Uran (New Mumbai), Arne, Verne, ANav, Aluvaye (Kerala), Barakur (Udupi District) and so on]. All the above words indicate to topographical and geographical features near water bodies.The reason for the specific element ‘Am’ is now lost and hence the difficulty in understanding. The generic part ‘Bakilu’ means ‘entrance’ is very clear. However, our interpretation is not a last word. Assenting voice (from knowledgeable quarters) helps in further exploring and setting at rest the ‘Riddle of Ambagilu’.
*Note on Kalyanapur
This place name has also undergone change on arrival of Europeans for marine trade and on introduction of Christianity.  The old name was and should be, in all practical sense, “Kalia+an+pura” as we find its cognates in Maharashtra, eg. Kalyan (Kali+an), a hinter land marine trade port on River Ulhas, a wide and deep navigable river in olden days. But before journeying onward to drain into Arabian Sea near Bhayandar-Vasai the Main Riverbranches outitself near Kalwa (Kal+wa) and hastens its joining Arabian Sea through Thane Lagoon (now called as Thane Creek).   ‘Kal/Kalia’ refers to rocky region, ‘an’ river bank or harbour and ‘wa’ means place/area. Kalina, a marshy land of Mithi River, becomes ‘Koli Kalyan’ on conversion of Koli people to Christianity.

-Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune

333. Origin of the word: Kailas

The mythical abode of Lord Shiva, the Mount Kailas(h), in the mountains of Himalaya ranges has been a sacred peak for Hindus, Jains and, Buddhists since time immemorial.  Probably the special dome shaped peak of the mountain peak, made people to recognize as a holy abode.
Lord Shiva has been considered the original master of Yoga and the dance forms. The dark coloured ancient God, clad in a deer skin loin cloth appears to have been modeled in the form of a tribal hero.  The garland of serpent around his neck merely signifies his power to subdue dangerous and poisonous creatures. The moon and the river Ganges tied up in his knotted hairs   symbolize his ability to control heavenly objects as well as to regulate elusive flows of water. The appearance of Lord Shiva evinces the antiquity of the cult that dates back to tribal days.

However, the origin, meaning and antiquity of the word Kailas (or Kailash) is not clear even though some (for example in Wikipedia) presume that it could have been derived from the Hindi word ‘kelas’ which means a crystal. In this post, We shall attempt to decipher, analyse and understand this word Kailas in order to propose a possible source or origin of the word.

The place name Kailas is   neither unique nor uncommon in India. We can find numerous places named after Kailas such as Kailaspur(a) in different parts of India. Besides, there are places known as Kail, Kaila and Kaili which formed the root of the word Kailas.  Besides, there are also places like Kailai, Kailakh, Kailoori, Kail gaon, Kailawad, etc.  In these, since   -as, (or -asi   or –ase); -ai;-oori; gaon, wad; etc,  are spatial suffixes (denoting habitation) [eg. Banavasi, Varanasi, Gandasi, Amase(bail), Teggarse, Vaddarse, etc] by analogy, we can infer the origin of  the place name Kailas as Kail+as.
Thus the overall meaning of the word Kailas appears to be an abode or homely habitation.
Kail is an interesting word, possibly of ancient Munda lingual origin.  For example in Tulu language where the word Kail has survived as a less familiar fossil word, it is used for representing (large) dwelling houses or probably also habitations occupied by Munda(la) tribal people.(Tulu Nighantu/Lexicon). However, the term kail is not restricted to Mundala of Tulunadu. The word also exists among people of Munda origin in other parts of India, suggesting that the word was prevalent all over India once upon a time.

Other kails
However, the term kail do have other meanings also, derived probably from other languages of the region.
1. The term kail2 in Tulu means a shoot consisting of a bunch of fruits (for example of bananas). Perhaps it is connected to the Munda word Kail which means the dwelling place for a group of (related) individuals.
2. Among Kodagu people, a traditional  warrior tribe,  Kail3 podu (or Kail  muhurta ) means weapon festival of worshipping  weapons also known as ayudha pooja in other areas.

Kail / Kaila villages in India
The term kail as a place name is quite widespread in India. There are some 194 Kail villages having the prefix of   ‘kail’ in India.

Andhra Pradesh :  Kailapur, Kailas patham,
Assam:  Kailaspur, Kailel kepjan, Kaila disha.
Bihar:  Kail, Kaila, Kaili, Kailaratti, Kailakh, Kailani, Kailashmath,
Chattisgarh: Kailashpur, Kailasgadh
Haryana:  Kail, Kailram, Kailash, Kailana, Kail Gaon,
Himachal Pradesh:  Kail, Kiala, Kailvin, Kailaspur, Kailar, Kaila,
J &K : Kailtri, Kail,
Jharkhand: Kailan, Kail Kanhar, Kailpur, Kailudih, Kailkha, Kaile,
Karnataka: Kailaspur.
Madhya Pradesh: Kailaras, Kailaspuri, Kaili Ry,  Kailware kalan, Kailwas, Kail
Maharastra: Kailasnagar, Kailaspur, Kailaswad, Kailenjang,
Orissa: Kailash, Kailani, Kailasnagar, Kailamba, Kailaspur,
Punjab: Kailan, Kailpur, Kaila, Kailash,  Kailowal
Rajastan: Kailoori, Kailaspura, Kailadevi, Kailai, Kaila ke bas, Kailaspur
Tamilnadu: Kailasgiri
Uttar Pradesh: Kailanpur, Kailawada,  Kailmundi, Kaili, Kailbakri, Kailsa,Kailora etc.

Kailas  -  a Munda/ Gond word
In case the origin of the word Kailas is considered to be of ancient Munda lingual origin, it would further throw light on the antiquity and origin of theosophy and legends of Lord Shiva.
The Gond tribes  of Madhya Pradesh can be considered a transitional tribe between Austro-Asiatic Munda and Dravidian tribes., since there are  (a) Munda and (b) Dravidian variants in the Gond language.

The Gonds have dormitories called Gotuls to discipline and train unmarried youngsters in the ways of life. The deity of Gotul is known as Ling Pen. The term ‘ling’ represented the ancient cult of phallus worship and the term ‘pen’ represents Spirit God or deity. It is well known that the ancient cult of phallus worship Ling Pen was assimilated into Shiva worship and even today Shiva is worshipped in the form Linga.

Lingayats are a major community in Karnataka and they worship Lord Shiva in the form symbolic Linga. Interestingly, a devout Lingayat is referred to as Sharana. The term ‘Sharana’ appears to have derived from the ‘Sarna’ cult of Munda tribes. The Munda tribes traditionally have the cult of worshiping   groves of trees which are known “Sarna”.
The tradition of preserving a part of forest as a sacred grove (bana or kāvu) and the cult of worshiping trees prevailed all over India. The vestiges of the tree worshiping cult can be seen even now in Tulunadu and in other parts of Karnataka.

Readers may kindly share their opinions without prejudice.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

332. Gadi and Gadivādu

On the background of socio-religious setting, words are born out of  ideas and experiences in physical and mental planes, as well as objects and events. Some words possess acquired or derived meanings,besides the original, with a tint of sacredness as we have seen in the case of ‘Odi’ elsewhere in our Tulu Studies.  Gadi and Gaduvaadu are the words, which have acquired sacredness in Tulu psyche over the years.
Beliefs and Rituals
As Voltaire* says, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him”. Religion is a system of beliefs, inter alia, involving worship of natural and super natural powerful forces or beings. Awe and fear inspiring phenomena are the basis of all religions from primitive era to present and are ever evolving in various levels of advancement of mankind.
In organized religions of civilized societies, known as ‘large-scale societies’, there are priests and priestesses. In small-scale societies, we see mediums, shamans and mediators. Believers in unorganized societies live in isolated pockets ofvillages and hilly tracts and mountainous areas.
Natural religion is the religion of primitive races, who still live in tribal communities.  Their Gods are personification of natural forces.  Their family bond-ship is paramount in contrast to large-scale societies. They are very much active in recreating and revitalizing their own culture when threatened of acculturation to the culture of another society that dominates them. This millenarian movement was evident when Brahmanism entered Tulu Nadu many centuries before pre-Christian era (qv Parashurama legend).  Brahmans were brought again to Tulu Nadu by Kadamba King Mayurvarma.  Subsequently even they espoused animanism and started worshipping ancestral spirits and other spirits, embodied in natural objects. Now,many Brahmin households have their own family deities in Tulu Nadu, besides Vedic Gods.The assimilation of Vedic culture and Non-Vedic culture is evident in the worship of Divine spirits within the precincts of Temples, under the supervision of Brahmins, local feudal chieftains and merchant class and community leaders.
Rituals, irrespective of various cultures, are performances in a peculiar style at a place and at a set location and arerepetitive in nature year after year.  These rituals are both religious and non-religious, i.e. secular.  Secular things are mostly worldly and are specific customs of a village or group of villages.
Gadbad vs. Gaduvādu
While travelling in an Express Bus during my recent visit to native place,I descried  the word Gaduvaadu in a banner about a Kola or Nema (=annual celebration) of a certain Bhoota (=Divine Spirit). I had heard of ‘Gadbad Kola’ in my formative days in native place.  The notion being entertained by me then was that it is an annual celebration full of noise, disturbance and confusion (a mixed up thing as is ‘Gadbad Ice Cream’, which is a preparation of milk and fruit varieties mixed and cooled, giving varied tastes).
Let us study relevant words, surrounding spirit worship, which acquired ‘sacredness’ from the word ‘gadi’.
Gadi and Gadu
Means a boundary, limit and frontier, signifying authority.  In day to day usage, gaDi (D pronounced as in Daughter) means wound, cut, opening, path, part of a broken coconut, and space in time and place. There is an opinion that ‘gaDi’ is derived from ‘gati’, which means support and protection.
The word means ‘stay or halt’.  The place of halting is called ‘gaduvādu jāge’ (qv. Tulu Lexicon, p. 1047).  In Divine Spirit (Bhoota) worship, it means ‘a dedicated place for performing Bhoota Kola around a temple or shrine.  So it signifies to jurisdiction of a spirit in between two localities. Here, we can visualize the confrontation between divine spirits over the lordship of an area. Specific ‘paDdanas’ highlight heroic deeds of these spirits. It is not possible to delve deep into these Ballads for the sake of brevity.
Gadivādu/Gaduvādu Bhoota
A Bhoota worshipped in a fixed place or a locality or border of a region (qv. TL, p. 1046).
Gadupadi Kola
It is a ritual of Bhoota worship arranged in a fixed time. (TL, p.1045)
Gadi Maryāde
It means the honour given to the head of a village or community (TL,p. 1044).
Gadi Enne Korpuni
Before initiating a patri or impersonator for ‘Darshan’, i.e. possession of a deity on the medium, coconut oil is given with a prayer. He applies this oil to his head and take a bath and stands ready for Darshan.
It is a ‘preliminary ritual in Bhoota worship, in which the impersonator goes towards the border regions coming under the influence of that shrine to establish his authority over the region.
Gadi Prasada                                  
It is a ‘prasada’ (symbolic blessings of the deity, in the form of sandal paste in a betel leaf with flowers), given at the border of jurisdiction of the deity.  In temple procession, it is the ‘prasada’ given to the organizer of by the ‘patri’, carrying the idol.
Gaditta Bante
He is the ‘guardian angel of a village’.

Superstition & Daivāradhane
Superstition is a belief in super natural causation that one event leads to the cause of another without any natural process.  It is a blindly accepted belief or notion   on particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding or the like.  Two events are linked here, as we find in astrology, omen, witchcraft, etc.
There was a political move to bring in a Bill to prohibit superstitions, inter alia, bringing ancient Daivaaradhane culture (Worship of Divine Spirits), vibrant in Tulu Nadu and tribal belts, under the purview of Superstitions.  This move was abandoned on popular uproar and discussions in social forums.  Men in authority glossed over the matter that the move was a loud thinking.

It is worthwhile to consider whether Daiva (Divine Spirit) worship is a superstition or otherwise. It is a universal belief that souls or spirits are indestructible. Modern Science also admits this. They are only the subtle parts of the manifested forms of the Absolute Power or Energy (Para Brahma)at rest or not manifest.  They acquire super natural power or divinity on death of bodies in which they reincarnated.  They are worshiped as family deities and deities of a village or communities spanning several villages.  They don the garb of a secular deities to punish wrong-doers and protect the upright.
The act of interceding with deities is done by a guttinaar, gurikara (village head or community leader) or any honourable person.  They are all anointed persons. Daivaaradhane is a time-honoured custom, having a psychologically healing effect

*Note on Voltaire
Francois-Maire Arouet(1694-1778), a French writer, philosopher, playwright and historian with Penname “Voltaire”, was famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church and advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression and separation of Church and State.  His unorthodox views cost him imprisonment several times by monarchial regime. He was against the then prevailing conception on historyof documenting only of political, military and diplomatic events.  He emphasized on the cultural history - the arts, the science and the customs. His own words on God are:
“It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a   necessary, eternal, supreme intelligent being.  This is no matter of faith but of reason.”

Suggested Reading:
·     Our previous Posts Nos. 62 (Characterisation of Spirits-1), 233 (Panjurli), 250 (Olasari to Varsari), 306 (Mayandaal), etc.
·         Anthropology of Religion
·         Tulu Nadu by Dr. Padur Gururaja Bhat.

-Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune

Blog Archive

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 Culture.by 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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