Sunday, September 16, 2018

409. Non-Greek words in Oxyrhynchus papyrus No. 413

In the year 1897, archaeological excavations in a place called Oxyrhynchus in Lower Egypt unearthed a number of ancient papyri documents. A papyrus is a vegetal material prepared from the pithy stem of a watery plant. In ancient Mediterranean areas, before the days of invention of writing paper, the papyri were used for writing, drawing or painting instead of paper. These papyri discovered at Oxyrhynchus were subsequently transcribed and published by British historians Bernard Payne Grenfell and Arther Surridge Hunt in the year 1903 through Oxford University Press. One of the Oxyrhynchus papyri, No 413 (often denoted as P. Oxy 413) on which a Greek farce (drama) has been written, also known as “Charition mime”, dated approximately second century 150 CE, has been found to contain several non-Greek words. Charition was the name of the lead lady character in the farce.

A German Professor, Dr. Eugene Hultzsch, an Indologist, expert in Sanskrit and Dravidian languages, was the first to recognize Dravidian “Kanarese” (Kannada) words in the Charition mime. The English translation of his paper was published in the Journal of Royal Asiatic Society in 1904.

Mysore Archeological Report for the year 1926 -27 carried an article on the said Oxyrhynchus papyrus No 413 and interpreted the non-Greek words to be words of Kannada language. In that, it was interpreted to have been connected with Malpe seashore near Udupi on the West Coast of Karnataka India. Subsequently, S Srikantaiah published a paper on this issue in Quarterly of Mythic Society of Bengaluru and interpreted the non Greek words to be of Tamil language.

Further a number of Kannada experts like R. Shama Shastri (then Director of Archeological researches in Mysore), B.A. Saletore, Hampa Nagarajaiah etc have looked into these strange words and have offered their opinions interpreted as Kannada words. However, some Western authors like L.D Barnett (1926) have expressed their serious doubts regarding the ‘Kanarese’ (Kannada) interpretations.
Manjeshwara Govinda Pai published an analytical review on the topic in the year 1929, which has been reprinted in the commemorative volume (“Govinda Pai Samshodhana Samputa: 1883-1963”). Budhanand Shivalli (1982) in “Tulu Patero” also reviewed the discussions on the said Oxyrhynchus papyrus.
Excerpts of the last two write ups shall be discussed in this post, of course peppered with our analytical observations.

Theme of  Charition mime (Oxyrhynchus papyrus No.413)
A boat carrying a group of Greek tourists consisting of a young lady, Charition and others was wrecked up while sailing in the Indian Ocean and the inmates reached a coastal village apparently, in the West Coast of India. The girl and servants were held captive in a moon temple under the aegis of local King or chieftain. Later her brother came searching for her and found her in the temple and planned to take her home. A wine party was arranged in the village by the brother.  While the chieftain was intoxicated in the party the brother rescued his sister and takes her back   to his homeland by boat.

Greek alphabets
Govinda Pai (1929) has pointed out that the Greek alphabets are basically deficient in aspirates, so as to express Indian words clearly. There are specifically no- cha (), chha (), ja (), jha (), jna(); Ta (), Tha (), Da (),  Dha (), Na (); sha (), shha (), ha (), lha ()  in the Greek alphabets. So interpretations of non Greek words in the mime should necessarily take heed of these absent alphabets.
Indian seashore : Malpe?
The mention of “Indas Pelagos” (=Indian Ocean), “Indas Promoi” (Indian chiefs) and reference to the Paral…[Parolios/Paralion](=seashore) in the Greek farce, suggests that the non-Greek words could be referring to the Indian seashore. Consequently, some of the Kannada experts interpreted the phrase “malpiniak..” in the farce as ‘Malpe Nayaka’ or a chieftain of the port town of Malpe, near Udupi.
However, there are some issues in the Greek farce that do not match with the Malpe setting. Like the reference to “thea Selene” (the moon goddess), popular in Greek mythology. We have not heard of the cult of moon goddess in Karavali coast in records. Similarly, the river Psolichus apparently does not matches with any of the existing rivers around Malpe.
Yet, it has been suggested that such logical discrepancies (or apparent inaccuracies) reveal that the farce composer/writer did not actually visited India but probably heard about these Indian words and milieu  through discussions with sailors or travelers who had traveled Indian ports; and that the words were used in the farce just for fun. Even Greek historians Pliny and Ptolemy are said to have based their descriptions of ancient India based exclusively on the accounts they heard from sailors.

Probable Kannada words
Some samples of the probable Kannada words recognized or interpreted in the Greek farce by various Kannada experts are as follows:
Echousi=ಏ ಕೂಸೆ.
Kraunou=ಕರೆವನೌ, ಕರೆವನೊ
Laita Lianta lalle=ಐತಾ ಅಂತಾಳಲ್ಲೆ
Laspathia=ಲೇಸು ಪಡೆಯ
Arminthi=ಆರ್ ಮಿಂದೆ?
Alemaka =ಅಲೆ ಎಮ್ಮಕ್ಕ
Seo sarachis=ಶಿವ ಸಂರಕ್ಷಿಸು
Apuleuksaar= ಆ ಪುಳೆಯ ಕಸರು.

Probable Tulu words
If the place they arrived at was Malpe, the language around the period 150 CE should have been Tulu rather than Kannada. Budhananda Shivalli(1982) transcribed the non-Greek phrase “Malpiniak ourouk oukooubj”   into Tulu language as (“ಮಲ್ಪಿ ನಾಯ್ಕೆ ಒರೊಕು ಓಕೊಮುಜೆ”), the Malpi Nayaka does not respond at once (since he is drunk).
Besides, the transcription of one of the non-Greek word namely, “menai” (“ಮಿಯಾನಾ?”) - appears quite close to the native Tulu version of “Did you take bath?”
Shiva Prasad (1985) and Padmanabha Upadhyaya (1996) have also explored the possibility of Tulu words in the Charition mime.
Malpe or Alupe?
Govinda Pai (1929) noted that in Greek there is a practice of adding ‘m’ to words beginning with vowels ,based on the information he gathered from Liddel and Scott’s Greek English Lexicon ,p.408. (He interpreted the word “martha” in the farce   as “artha” based on this presumption.
If we extend the logic and apply it to the word “Malpiniak” in the farce, it would be:  ”Alpiniak” or Alupe Nayak!

The Charition mime in Oxyrhynchus papyrus 413 has been considered as an anonymous adaptation of earlier Greek drama “Iphigenia in Tauris” by Euripides, composed between 414 and 412 BCE. The theme of Charition mime has shades of influence of the drama of Odyssey. The farce may have been composed by an unknown writer under the influence of earlier Greek dramas such as Iphegenia and Odyssey. The writer apparently composed the theme of Charition based on the accounts he heard from sailors to Indian ports.
Thus the reference to the temple of “Thea Selene”, the Mood Goddess whose cult was prevalent in Greek region, appears strange to Indians since we have no record of Moon Goddess here. Some have tried to identify Indian God “Someshwara”, Shiva with moon, but it is not known if the cult of Someshwara existed during 2nd century CE or earlier, as the Shambu kallu Someshwara temple at Udyavara has been estimated to be of about 9th century CE. 
The place of action on the Indian coast has been identified as Malpe (near Udupi) based a phrase containing reference to “malpiniak..” It is possible that it was the name of the chieftain, something like Mallappa Nayka. Alternately, if we consider that the initial m in the phrase “malpiniak” was added customarily, then without initial m, the word would be:  “Alpiniak” or Alupa Nayak.

It appears that the Alupe suburb, in eastern part of the present Mangaluru city,  was the coastal port village during the period of composition of Charition mime. The Alupe was the home town of  historically renowned Alupa kings of Tulunadu,

Why not Malpe?
Why the place could not have been Malpe, which is presently a port on the West Coast? Because during the estimated period of composition of the Charition mime (ie. about -or before- first century CE, the Western strip of present West Coast (including Malpe) was under the Sea.(Read our Post No.  On “Parashurama Shristi”).
Note that the Greek travelogues of the same period attributed to Pliny and Ptolemy have recorded port towns of “Oloikhor”a (interpreted as “Aluvakheda” or Alupe , located  in the Eastern part of Mangaluru city) and “Bacelore”  ( interpreted as Basarur, East of Kundapur). There are no mention of Malpe, Mangaluru or Kundapur in these records.
The language involved in these non-Greek words is also disputable. Recent researches (Shettar, 2007 ) suggest that in the early centuries Prakrit was the administrative language in ancient Karnataka rather than old Kannada. The Ashok edicts found in Karnataka are also in Prakrit language (300 BCE) rather than Kannada. Similar lingual situation could be deciphered in coastal regions of ancient Tulunadu.
Though Tulu was the dominant language in Karavali about 4th century CE, before that period the available evidences suggest that either Tulu coexisted with Munda and Prakrit languages  or Prakrit/ Munda were the administrative language, as we find a rich list of place names in Tulunadu suggestive of Munda/Prakrit origin.
 I can give two simple examples to show the influence of Munda words in Tulu language during the early history: (1) The Tulu calendar year stars with the month of “Paggu”. The ‘paggu’ is a word of Munda origin which is the name of a traditional Munda festival. (2) The common word for surname in Tulu is “bari”.  Bari is another word of Munda origin which means a house (Note that word equivalent of Tulu ‘bari’ community-surname,  in our neighboring  Malayalam (Kerala) is “illam”, which also means house.)

In view of the known prevalence of Prakrit and Munda langauges in the peninsular India during the early period of Common Era, experts may need to look into these non-Greek words in the mime from the viewpoint of in Prakrit/Munda angle also.

Budhananda Shivalli (1982) “Tulu Patero”: A philology and grammar of Tulu language.(in Tulu language). (ed: Dr B M Ravindra), Mandira Prakashana, Mangaluru, Karnataka, 2004, 318.p.
Govinda Pai, M. (1929 ) “Greek prahsanadalli kannaDa mAatugalu.: Oxyrhynchus Papyrus No 413” (in Kannada ). pp.67-76, In: Govinda Pai Samshodhana sampuTa (eds: Heranje Krishna Bhatta & Murulidhara Upadhya Hiriyadaka). Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Samshodhana Kendra, MGM College, Udupi-576102.Karnataka. 1392 p.
Govinda Pai, M. (1961 ) “Udupi”. (in Kannada ). pp.647-649, In: Govinda Pai Samshodhana Samputa (eds: Heranje Krishna Bhatta & Murulidhara Upadhya Hiriyadaka). Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Samshodhana Kendra, MGM College, Udupi-576102.Karnataka. 1392 p.
Shettar,Sh (2007) “Shangam tamiLagam mattu Kannada nAdu – nuDi: Aarambha kAlada draviDa sambandada chintane” (in Kannada). 262 p.Abhinava,Bengaluru,Karnataka,2010.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

408. Temples of Udyavara, Udupi

Ancient Shambhu-kallu Shiva temple. Rear side. Semicircular shaped architecture..
Udyavara (in present-day Udupi District) was an ancient port city, renowned for its flourishing marine trade with Arabs and Romans.  It is also remembered as one of the Capital Cities of famous Alupa Dynasty.   They ruled Tulu Nadu in circa 450 CE to 15th C.  We  get first reference of them in Halmidi Inscription of Hoysalas. The early history of this Dynasty is hidden in the secrets of history. 

There are several temples in and around Udupi, besides the famous Krishna Math Temples complex in Udupi proper. Most of them are known as Shakti-sthalas, being centres of worship of Sapta Matrikas (Seven Mother Goddesses).  Alupa dynasty was ruling erstwhile Tulu Nadu, spanning from Gokarna/Ankola/Baindur to Kasaragod and parts of Malenadu for nearly 1200 years uninterrupted though they became vassals of Kannada Kings at certain points of time in history.  They were Hindus and embraced Jainism after coming in contact with Hoysalas of Belur-Halebeedu.  They patronized both Hindu and Jain temples.  Udyavara witnesses many Hindu temples. Please visit our recent Posts on Mangod Subramanya  and Bramha Lingeshwar Temples at  Kuthpadi.

The uniqueness of temples of Tulu Nadu is the inclusion of ancient divine spirits of original and later inhabitants and Naga shrines, inside the main temple for Vedic Gods.  This article gives glimpses of temples for Shiva and Mother Goddesses in Udyavara, located in between Udyavara Town Bus junction and Shri Dharmasthala Ayurveda College and Hospital (about 1.2 km  SW from Udupi).

Shambhu kallu Kailaseshwar- Temple
Shiva was the family-deity of Alupas at Udyavara as they were traditionally Shaivas.  This temple is built on a rocky hill and hence the popular name Shambhu-kallu Temple, facing east. Alternately, it is known as Ballaya paade. Shambhu-kallu is corrupted to Chambu-kallu, Tembukal, Tembikal, Tembkalin (or even to Sem(b)ikal) in local tongue, Tulu.  The exterior shape of this temple in the rear side   resembles the back of an elephant. ( Readers would do well if they read our Post-112, May 1, 2008: The temples of Karavali – Early Phase.)

In ancient history, it is mentioned as ‘Shambu Shaila’ in Skanda Purana, hence the name Shaileshwara. The sign board at the entrance lane (off main road), leading to the temple on the north side of rocky hill, welcomes devotees with the description “Markandeya Pratisthapita Shri Shambhu Shaileshwara Devasthana & Shri Prasanna Somanatheshwara Devasthana."

Temple complex for Matrikas
On western side of the aforesaid Shiva temple, there lies temple complex for seven deities, including Ganesha,  along the crossing road across the Udyavara Town-Kinnimulki - Udupi main road.  This complex is known as ‘Shambukallu Shri Virbhadra Durgaparameshwari Temple’.
The main temple (facing east) is consecrated for three Mother Goddesses, namely Savitri, Gayatri and Saraswati    The statues are ‘mrinmaya murthis’, being made of earth-soil.  The legend says these murthis were first built by Rishi Markaandeya.

·  The Mother Goddess statues are about 7 ft. height.  They are   beautifully and attractively fashioned out of earthen soil. 
        Right side of these statues, the statue of Virabhadra Swami is standing in fierce mood.  He is the guardian deity of the temple.   The statue is made of red sandal wood in full size.  The statue was remade artistically during renovation of the temple and consecrated in April 2018.

     Coming out from the main temple, we find two more temples:    One for Goddess Mahankali on the east in front of the main temple.  She was given a separate place outside by her sisters, as she is fond of animal blood offerings.     The other for Panjurli, popularly known as Tembikal Panjurli (or Semikal Panjurli) in local parlance, on the north, near Mahankali temple.  Devotees from neighbouring villages come here annually to give their votive offerings, despite having their own sacred ‘mancha’ or shrine for Panjurli at their households.

·        Legend of Markandeya
The legend in Skanda Purana (Sahyadri Khand) says that these murthis were originally built by Rishi Markaandeya, who did penance here in Saraswat-vana, which is on the west of Shambhu Shaila. Shambhu Shaila with a sacred pond on its North, lies three 'yojana's to the West of Sahyadri ranges. Issueless Mrikand Muni of Sage Bhrigu clan along with wife Marudwati  meditated on Lord Shiva for a son.  They are blessed with an intelligent and pious son, destined to live a short span of sixteen years.  Sage Mrikand advises his son to pray Lord Shiva to ward off the God of Death ,Yama.  Pleased by his worship, Shiva advises Markandeya to worship Durga endowed with three qualities Satvika, Rajasa and Tamasa).  Durga (in three forms) chases away God of Death with help of Mahankali (a fierce form of Durga), Veerabhadra, Panjurli and other Shiva Ganas.

The story of Markandeya is well-known.  It is at variance with stories mentioned in other Puranas, Bhagavata and Maha Bharata.  Lord Shiva kills Yama when the noose cast to take away the soul of Markandeya, while in meditation, is entangled to Shiva Linga.  So Shiva gets the name of ‘Kaalantaka’.  There are many Shiva temples in India, connecting it to be the place of penance of Markandeya.  To cite some examples, there are such temples in Kerala, Varanasi, Kurukshetra and Yamunotri.

Perhaps, the mythological story of Durga is taken from Markandeya Purana, supposed to have been written on the Bank of River Narmada.  It is said that the earliest version of it was written around c. 250 CE.  Devi Mahatmya was added to it later on around C. 400-600 CE. 
  There is a Naaga-bana (holy grove for snakes), supposed to be the anthill ('valmika') where Markandeya did penance.   We can see his Padukas (feet), being worshipped at this place. 

Siddhi Vinayaka Temple

Going up further westward on Udyavara Town - Pithrodi Road, there is a famous Ganesha Temple.  It is said, this temple is older than the Shambu-kallu temples. Besides the main Deity, there is a separate shrine on south side, dedicated to Divine Spirit Varte.

Matrilineal System
Alupas were followers of matrilineal system of heritance.  Alupa King Soyideva made his nephew Kulashekhra Bankideva (son of Alupa Princess Chikkayitayi aka Krishnayitayi and Hoysala Veera Ballala III) as successor to the throne.  According to some legends Kulashekhara came to be known as Bhutala Pandya. (There are disputes in this issue regarding the real identity of Bhutala Pandya).  He introduced Aliya Santana Kattu-kattalegalu in Barkur-Mangaluru Hobalies.  His injunctions were honoured even in Courts during colonial rule (Read our Post- 311.Reflections on a Tulu Proverb: On falling of a tree).   The worship of Divine Mother and temples dedicated to her is wide-spread in Tulu Nadu.

-            Hosabettu Vishwanatha

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 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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