Thursday, 27 December 2018

How To Find Your Kula Deivam?

*DISCLAIMER-Article written from a believer's perspective. 




One of the most common questions I get from my readers is 
"How do I find my Kula Deivam?"

Kula Deivam is the patron deity of your lineage. Some families have more than 1 deity.  The easiest way to know your Kula Deivam is of course by knowing the ancestral village of your patrilineal lineage (father's side). 

Usually the Kula Deivam shrines will be in the ancestral village. If the family has migrated to several villages, then the shrine will usually be in the main village where the family originated from. Knowing your caste or clan background is also helpful in finding out more about your Kula Deivam.

For females, they have an advantage. They also inherit the Kula Deivam from their matrilineal lineage (mother's side). So if you are a woman, your mother's Kula Deivam (from her mother) will continue to be present throughout your life.

If you are married, your husband's Kula Deivam (from his father) will also be there for you and your family. Usually Kula Deivams prefer to communicate through the women in the family as they are the key to the family's continuity and well being. 


So don't be surprised if you are a man and your Kula Deivam prefers to communicate to you through your wife, mother, sister or even daughter. Usually communication happens via omens, dreams and in some cases, trances. The Kula Deivams are after all spirits. They are not God.

So how does one who do not know the ancestral village or their caste/clan find out who their Kula Deivam is? What if you do not know anything about your roots? 

Well, there is a method which I heard about. It is a form of "bypass" but I was told that it actually worked!

Take some tumeric and kumkumam. Some even add a coin. Put them together in a piece of yellow cloth. Tie it into a knot. This then needs to be tied at the entrance of your house. 

If possible, use a small prayer altar which is usually made for a single photo frame. Place a villakku (oil lamp) and offer aarti with lighten camphor and sambrani. Treat it like how you treat the other pictures/statues/yantras in your prayer altar inside your house. 

Keep the house entrance clean. Be respectful. Be modest. 

It is believed that your Kula Deivam will usually be at the very entrance of your house. By doing this, you will attract their attention. 

So although you do not know the name of the Kula Deivam, you are still referring to that deity by offering prayers. This is said to then compel the Kula Deivam to reveal itself to you. Usually via dreams or through someone who gets trance or some other way.  

Because once you do your part in continuing the worship as done by your ancestors, the Kula Deivam will have no choice but to do its part for you.

If you are meant to know, you will know.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Konsep Marga Dikalangan Masyarakat Mukkulathor



Mungkin ramai rakyat Malaysia sudah pun tahu bahawa kaum India mempunyai pelbagai etnik yang berdasarkan bahasa ibunda.

Kaum India di Malaysia boleh dibahagikan kepada pelbagai etnik:

Tamil
Telugu
Malayali
Punjabi
Gujerati
Kannadiga
Bengali
Marathi

Seperti yang anda sedia maklum, etnik Tamil adalah majoriti di kalangan kaum India . Kebanyakan etnik-etnik India di Malaysia adalah dari India selatan.

Kaum Tamil yang populasinya kini mencecah hampir 80 juta di seluruh dunia sebenarnya mempunyai banyak suku. Kira-kira 364 suku termasuk yang asalnya bukan Tamil kini menetap di Tamil Nadu. Setiap suku ini mempunyai asal-usul yang berlainan walaupun kini mempunyai bahasa ibunda yang sama. (Rujukan People of India Vol XL. Anthropological Survey of India)

18 suku Tamil bersifat keibuan (matrilineal), sama seperti suku Minangkabau di Nusantara. Contohnya suku Maravar, Illathu Pillaimar, Sonagar dan Nanjil Vellalar. Boleh dikatakan hampir kesemua suku keibuan adalah dari wilayah Pandya (selatan Tamil Nadu) dan Batticola (timur Sri Lanka).

Kebanyakan suku-suku Tamil mempunyai marga yang menjadi petanda keturunan. Mereka yang bersasal dari marga yang sama tidak boleh berkahwin sesama sendiri kerana mereka mempunyai pengasas keturunan ataupun moyang yang sama.  

Suku-suku Kallar, Maravar dan Agamudayar dikumpulkan bersama sebagai satu konfederasi yang dikenali sebagai masyarakat Mukkulathor. Jumlah populasi masyarakat ini adalah mungkin 8 juta di seluruh dunia.

Mereka mempunyai 1,135 nama marga yang diwarisi melalui keturunan bapa sahaja. Di Malaysia, hampir 64 nama marga telah pun dikenal pasti oleh Persatuan Mukkulathor Lembah Klang. 
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Masyarakat ini berasal dari kawasan Tamil Nadu selatan dan kampung-kampung halaman mereka adalah kebanyakannya di selatan Sungai Kaveri. Migrasi mereka ke Tanah Melayu berlaku semasa zaman British selepas tamatnya Peperangan Palayakkarar di India (1799-1805 SM).

Sebelum kedatangan British dan kuasa Eropah yang lain, Tamil Nadu dibahagikan kepada beberapa negeri yang berdaulat. Negeri Arcot, Negeri Madura, Negeri Ramnad (Sethu), Negeri Thanjavur, Negeri Pudukottai adalah antara yang terkenal.

Setiap negeri ini dibahagikan lagi kepada wilayah-wilayah yang mempunyai unit tenteranya yang tersendiri. Wilayah-wilayah bersifat ketenteraan (militarized provinces) ini dikenali sebagai Palayam dan ketuannya diberi gelaran Palayakkarar.

Palayakkarar etnik Tamil adalah dari masyarakat Mukkulathor.  Palayakkarar etnik Telugu di Tamil Nadu adalah dari suku Tottiyar yang juga dikenali sebagai Naicker.

Selepas tewas kepada British, ramai Palayakarar dan panglima-panglima mereka beserta pendekar mereka dibuang negeri. Segelintir daripada mereka dihantar ke Pulau Pinang sebagai tahanan perang.

Beberapa dekad selepas itu, ramai orang dari masyarakat Mukkulathor berhijrah ke Tanah Melayu. Kebanyakan orang masyarakat ini tidak bekerja di estet getah seperti orang India yang lain.

Kebanyakan daripada mereka bekerja di pelabuhan, lombong arang, jabatan keretapi atau berniaga. Ramai keluarga Mukkulathor kini menetap di kawasan Lembah Klang. 

4 daripada marga ini, iaitu Thevar, Servai, Nattar dan Ambalam adalah unik kerana mempunyai nama keturunan ibu yang dikenali sebagai kilai dan kelompok keturunan bapa yang dikenali sebagai karai. Jadi sekiranya seorang Thevar ingin berkahwin dengan perempuan Thevar yang lain, dia harus berlainan kilai dan berlainan karai

Untuk menyeragamkan sistem pertalian di Malaysia, masyarakat Mukkulathor termasuk 4 marga unik di atas biasanya tidak akan berkahwin dengan mereka yang mempunyai nama marga yang sama. 

Marga ayah saya adalah Thevar dan ibu saya adalah Kandapillai. 


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Raja Negeri Pudukottai, Martanda Bhairava Pallavarayar


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Majlis Raja-raja selatan Tamil Nadu

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Istana Negeri Ramnad, milik raja marga Sethupathi
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Raja Ramnad, Bhaskara Sethupathi



Antara bekas tokoh politik yang terkenal di Malaysa dari masyarakat Mukkulathor adalah mendiang Tun Sambanthan (marga Thevar), mendiang SA Ganapathy (marga Thevar), Tun Samy Velu (marga Nattar) dan Dato S.Subramaniam (marga Servai). 

Setiap marga ini mempunyai sejarahnya. Misalnya, marga Kandapillai, Kandapiriyar dan Kandakili diasaskan oleh seorang panglima wilayah Chola yang bernama Kandar. 

Marga Pallavarayar, Kalingarayar, Valangar, Sethibar dan Thondaiman adalah sebahagaian daripada 12 keluarga diraja dari kerajaan Pallava.  Raja negeri Pudukottai adalah dari marga Thondaiman.

Marga Vandayar, Vanathirayar dan Vanakovayar dikatakan berasal dari orang-orang suku Bana yang berasimilasi dengan orang tempatan pada masa silam. Mereka adalah dari wilayah Chera. Mengikut teori sesetengah sejarahrawan, kaum Bana berasal dari Iran dan berhijrah ke India apabila kerajaan Parsi tumbang. 

Raja wilayah Singampatti adalah dari marga Teerthapathi, Raja negeri Ramnad adalah dari marga Sethupathi, raja wilayah Urkadu adalah dari marga Sethurayar, raja wilayah Kallakottai adalah dari marga Singapuliyar, raja wilayah Poondi adalah dari marga Vandayar dan raja wilayah Gandarvakottai adalah dari marga Pandarathar.

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Pelakon filem Tamil yang terkenal, mendiang Sivaji Ganesan adalah dari marga Mandrayar, manakala mendiang Manorama adalah dari marga Kilakkudaiyar.


Nama-nama marga ini tidak diketahui ramai di Malaysia kerana kebanyakan orang Mukkulathor kini tidak lagi menggunakan nama marga mereka secara terbuka. Ini adalah disebabkan oleh pengaruh pergerakan ideologi atheisme Dravidian yang menentang konsep marga, agama dan juga Tuhan dikalangan etnik Tamil.



Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Kali, MahaKali & Katteri - Are They The Same?



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Kali, having killed Chanda and Munda, is called Chamunda by Mahadurga.


The word Kali has two meanings. One meaning is dark and the other is the feminine of Kala (time). Generally in Hinduism, particularly in the Sakta religion, Kali is the name of the goddess. There are actually more than 1 Kali.

Kali is one of the 7 Matrika devis which are actually the Sakti (power) of individual deities. They are worshipped as virgin devis and they are not consorts of the associated deities. 

Brahmi (power of Brahma)
Maheswari (power of Maheswara)
Kaumari (power of Kumara Muruga)
Vaishnavi (power of Vishnu)
Varahi (power of Varaha or Yama)
Mahendri (power of Indra)
Chamunda (power of Durga)

Varahi is an interesting deity to be studied as she also exist in Buddhism as VajraVarahi. She is associated with both Varaha (Vishnu) and Yama. Although she is sow faced (VarahaMukhi), her attributes are associated with the lord of death. She has many forms but the most commonly worshipped form is the one with a buffalo as vahana. As the power of Yama, she is often associated with death and longetivity. Hence the sloka Ayur Rakshatu Varahi (may Varahi protect my life). 

The Durga Sapthasathi mentions Chamunda as being originally called as Kali, the dark one. Kali which was created from the wrath of MahaDurga kills Chanda and Munda. From then on, she is called Chamunda. It is this Chamunda who we worship as Chamundi, Chamundeshwari, Chamundiamman. Since she was the youngest of the Matrikas, she is called as Chelli in rural Tamil Nadu. This is how we get other names like Chelliamman, Chellayee and Chellatha.

Therefore, this particular Kali is a matrika which is seen as the source of MahaDurga's power. She sits on a corpse and guards all 10 directions.

Evam Dasa Disa Rakshe Chamunda Sava Vahana

The other Kali is MahaKali or AdiParasakti herself in her glorious form as ParaBrahma. This is what we worship as MahaDurga in the Durga Sapthasathi or Devi Mahatmyam. As ParaBrahma in Sarguna form, MahaDurga has three main aspects: 

MahaKali, she awakened MahaVishnu to kill Madhu and Kaitabha
MahaLakshmi, she is also known as MahishaSuraMardhini
MahaSaraswathi, she is also known as NisumbhaSoodhani

Again, these three forms are not consorts of the Tirumurti; Parvathi, Lakshmi, Saraswathi. They are three aspects of the same ParaBrahma as per the ChandiVidya tradition of the Sakta religion. As per the SriVidya tradition, ParaBrahma is in the form of Kamesvari or LalitaTripuraSundari. Both traditions refer to the same ParaBrahma in different female forms.

Hrdaye LalitaDevi, Uddhare SoolaDharini (from ChandiKavacham)
Durlabha Durgama Durga Dukhahantri Sukhaprada (from Lalita Sahasranamam)

MahaKali also exist as one of the DasaMahaVidya.

The word Kali is also used in reference to other female deities who are the expansion of the original Kali (Chamunda) or MahaKali (Parasakti). You may come across names like SmashnaKali, MayanaKali, RudraKali, DakshinaKali, BadraKali, GuhyaKali, UchistaKali and many others. 

Kali worship is popular in the Bengal region, where Tantra is the dominant Hindu scripture. It is also popular among other Indians particularly in the rural areas. Many of the Kali shrines includes spirit worship. They include rituals that involves trance. They add the suffix Kali and call the deity as Kali but it is not necessarily the actual Kali herself. Usually it is Her attendants which are being propitiated under her banner. 


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Katteri statue. PIC CREDIT richardarunachala

Another spirit worship which is peculiar to the Tamils is the worship of Katteri. There is a grave misinformation in the internet where Katteri is being called Katyayani. I also noticed that some Hindus in the Caribbean worship Katteri as Kalratri by using the statue of Kalratri. 

It is fine to worship Kalratri or Katyayani but both are not Katteri spirits. They are actually MahaDurga herself. In the Sakta religion, Durga can be worshiped as NavaDurga (9 Durgas). There are two main version of NavaDurgas.

The Puranic version - Sailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraganta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.

The Agamic version - VanaDurga, SooliniDurga, JatavedaDurga, ShantiDurga, SabariDurga, JvalaDurga, LavanaDurga, DeepaDurga and AsuriDurga (some includes KanagaDurga and JayaDurga)

The Tamil Hindus often add the suffix Amman (mother goddess) whenever it involves a female deity. This includes spirits and beings like Yakshis i.e Isakkiyamman. So Katteri becomes Katteriamman although she may not necessarily be a benevolent amman.

Katteris are malevolent spirits which are found in the Kaadu (forest) and Eri (Lake), hence the name Katteri (Kaadu + Eri). The word Katteri also refers to vampires in the Tamil society. In fact, rural folks often call these spirits as RattaKatteri (blood vampires) and they don't have a good reputation among the masses. 

Over time, some Katteris were worshiped as family deities. If there were some form of mutual agreement between a person (especially an ancestor) and a Katteri, i.e person agreed to give offering so that in return the Kateri does not cause mischief or should provide protection from other malevolent spirits, then this can also happen.

Therefore, I hope that the difference between Kali, MahaKali (Durga) and Katteri is now clearer.

Monday, 17 December 2018

SOME BASICS ON DHARMIC RELIGIONS

There are two major religious groups in our world. We can classify it as Abrahamic and Dharmic. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic.

The Dharmic (Dharmam) religions can be divided into two major groups; Astika (Athigam) and Nastika (Nathigam). Astikas accepts the Vedas and its related scriptures. Nastikas do not accept the Vedas although they may accept its related scriptures such as Tantra.

There are 6 main philosophies under the Astika group; Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta. Of these, the last philosophy, Vedanta, is the most popular. Vedanta can be divided into Advaita, Vishishtadvaita, Dvaita, Suddhadvaita and Bhedabheda. Advaita is presently the most popular Vedanta. 

Astika's philosophies are practiced through 6 religions (matham/margam); Saiva (Saivism), Sakta (Saktism), Vaishnava (Vaishnavism), Saura, Ganapatya and Kaumara. Presently, the Astika group of philosophies and its religions are collectively called as Hinduism.

Nastikas became popular due to the rise of a new wave of thinkers under the Sramana (Samanam), a tradition of wandering mendicants in ancient India. Three men of the Sramana tradition then went on to become the founding fathers of new Nastika religions. They are Makhali Gosala, founder of Ajivika (Aseevaham); Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism (Baudham) and Mahavira, founder of Jainism (also called Samanam).

Since Jainism was a much more popular Sramana tradition among the Tamils, the Tamils retained the original name of the tradition for this religion. There was another Nastika religion known as Charvaka (Charvakam). Periyar's teachings and ideology is very much similar to Charvakam although Periyarism or Dravidian ideology was never called such.

Although it became a Nastika religion, Buddhism of Siddharta Gautama was based on an Astika philosophy known as Samkhya. Following Siddharta's death, Buddhism split into several sect; Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana. 

The last is a synchronized sect practiced in Tibet and neighbouring countries. It has elements of a local religion called Bon and its scriptures are based on Tantras.


Friday, 19 January 2018

Muruga - The God of War



The Ram used to be the Vahana of Muruga before he upgraded it to Peacock. I call it an upgrade because the Peacock can fly ;)

Muruga appeared from the third eye of Siva in the form of a very bright spark. Some say he was transferred by Agni (Fire). Some say he was Agni himself. Hence Muruga is also called as Agnibuh. Like Muruga, Agni also has the Ram as his Vahana.

Qualities like anger, ferociousness, aggressiveness are considered as fiery qualities. Hence it is associated with Agni. There is another word for this. It is called Murka. The Malays still use phrases like "Baginda murka dengan...." when the king is angry or displeased.

Fiery qualities are the hallmark of a warrior. The ancient Greek god of war is Ares. Ares was also known as Mars in the Roman world. Mars is the red planet.

Sunday (Sun), Monday (Moon), Tuesday (Mars), Wednesday (Mercury), Thursday (Jupiter), Friday (Venus), Saturday (Saturn).

Muruga is worshipped on Tuesday, the day of Mars. Muruga is also associated with the colour red like Mars. Hence, he is also called Seyyon and Senthil.

The Tamil calendar begins in mid April (Chitirai) when the Sun enters Aries. Special prayer is also conducted for Muruga during this month. Many pray to Muruga on Puthandu.

Muruga is also the God of War.
This is the connection :)