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     CULTURAL ELEMENTS IN SUMERO-TAMIL LITERATURE
                                 
                                                DR.K.Loganathan, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang
 

The Dravidian folks, particularly the Tamils have an understanding of history, a historiography that is quite different from that
of the West and in which the notion of ThruviLaiyaadal plays a central role and because of that the puraaNic lore is still an
important element of their culture. History, whether at the cosmic, national or individual level, is in fact an enactment of PLAY
or DANCE called Lila in the Vaishnava tradition and ThruviLaiyaatal in the Saiva tradition and because of which God Himself
is called Adavallaan.  I have rediscovered this and  have recirculated these ideas in all my books particularly ArutKuraL,
ThrineRiththeLivu, Azivil  uNmai, Pothath  theLivu, Civajnaana Karpam and many others, most of which remain unpublished.
What surprised me however, is that such was also the historiography of the ancient Sumerians and which gets expressed  in such
epic tales as THE CURSE OF AGADE ( edited by Jerrod S.Cooper and published by The Johns Hopkins University Press,
1983) The tale is about the destruction of the city of Agade ( cf Ta. AaRkaatu) and the historian who narrates the tale, interprets
its prosperity and destruction as something that arises because of the love and wrath of In-Anna, whom the Semitic King
Naramsin offended. The text is dated around 2000 B.C and appears to be  one of the cuneiform texts fortunately well preserved.

Prosperity as Divine Favor

One of the notions that permeates the whole epic tale  is that prosperity of a nation is a favor of the gods and when that favor is
withdrawn there comes to prevail poverty and misery. A nation prospers and individuals enjoy various benefits only when they
are bestowed by the gods. The beginning lines of the epic describe  this quite well. In the following lines I have given also Tamil
reconstructions that should be taken as only tentative. I have kept technical discussions of the linguistic type to the minimum.

1)  sag-ki  gid-da en-lil-la-ke
(After Enlil's frown)
cenni kiiththa EnliillakE
 

2)  kis gu an-na-gim im-ug-ga-ta
Had slain Kish like the Bull of Heaven
Kishi  kO vaanna-in im ukkiththa
 

3)    e ki unu-ga gu-mah-gim sahar-ra mi-ni-ib-gaz-a-ta
Had slaughtered the house of the land of Uruk in the dust like a mighty bull
Il kiiz Urukka kO maa-yin  sakaRRa  kaziippathumini
 

4)  KI.UD-ba sar-ru lugal a-ga-de-ra
And then, to Sargon, the king of Agade

KI.UD-pa raasar uLukaL aaRkaadunRa
 
 

5)  sig-ta igi-nim-se en-lil-le
Enlil, from South to North

Sikkiththu imai nimirsE
 

6)  nam-en nam-lugal-la mu-un-na-an-sum-ma-ta
     Had given sovereignty and kingship

     ENNam uLukaLan-am sumaththu munnaan

The several attributes indicate that enlil, the Lord of the Winds and hence movement   or Power, here is probably Thirumaal, also
called elsewhere Seermaal, the lord of the liilaas, though literally the wind but standing derivatively for the play, the liilai- the
transitory events of life. It can be taken also as the archetype controlling the breathing processes i.e. uyir in the body.The terms
<ra> and <la>  appear to be interrelated and stand for the events that come and go, the world of becoming. These terms are
related to the Telugu <raa> meaning  come , Ta. <vaa> also with the same meaning. We can also cite the Malay <lalu> , a
South East Asian language to which Sumerian also appears to be related in lexicon as well as in syntax.(We will bring out the
relationship in a separate study)
In terms of  historiography what is important is that a person does not simply become a king of a nation, it is a GIFT or AruL of
God . It is a favor bestowed upon an individual only because he deserves it. This notion contains within itself the notion of
karma, that one receives what is rightfully due to oneself as the payan, or outcome of one*s own actions. Greatness and
kingships are not just picked up by the individuals but rather bestowed upon by the gods and only for the deserving.

The term<en> is related here to the Ta.<EN> from which we have Eni, ladder; vEN, a royalty etc. It serves here as epithet like
Sri> Thiru  and so forth, meaning great, noble etc.

sag-ki > cenni: head, face;  gid-da> kIththu, kIRRu: lines, scratches etc; ug-ga>ukku: to destroy, allow to decay; sahar-ra>
sakathi. sERu: mud, dirt; mah>maa, makaa:great; sar-ru> rasar,aracan:king;  sig> sikkil: low lying lands;
sum-ma-ta>cuman-thu: to carry; u-ba> appO: at that time
 

The Blessings of In-Anna

One of the notions that is well established even among ordinary Hindues, is the notion of latchumikadatcam, prosperity ,
happiness and economic well being as the blessings of Sri or Makalaxmi, the consort of Thirumaal, the lord of the phenomenal
world , the repertoire of all the good and noble or as Namaazvaar would put it: uyarvu aRa uyar nalam utaiyavan, the Lord of
all that are the most excellent. In- Anna appears to be the protoform of this Mahalaxmi, the mother  of tireless fecundity  who
keeps on producing all kinds of things and populating the world with all kinds of riches. While EnLil, as the male God provides
sovereignty and social leadership, it is In-Anna who fills the nation with abundance and prosperity. In this we see the
emergence of the notions of Naatham and Bindhu , the fundamental Siva tatvas of latter day Saiva Siddhanta and Siddha
philosophies.

First of all for the nation to enjoy abundance, In-Anna must establish herself no matter how meagerly.
7)      u-ba es a-ga-da ku inanna-ke
8) ama mah-ni-se im-ma-an du-du

At that time , holy Inanna built
The sanctuary Agade as her grand woman^s domain.
AppO iisa aaRkaatu kO iinannaikkE
Amma mahaanisE eduedu yimmaan

ama> ammaa, ammai: mother,lady; ku>kO :divine, sacred;  du-du> edu-edu: to built, to raise etc.

The nation must be possessed, first of all, as her domain, as her dwelling  and which SHE does by building a shrine for herself
within that nation. The word <es> is related to Ta. iisan, meaning simply god in ordinary usage but technically the face of
Sathasiva that points towards transcendence, liberation.  Probably originally it meant the god who is praised or praiseworthy. The
word <es> may be related to the Tamil <isai> meaning songs and hymns.

But what are the prosperity that the nation begins to enjoy as a gift of Inanna?
First of all, there is the economic well being with plenty food and beverages  for the people.

Good Food and Drinks

One of the most fundamental  blessings of Inanna, is the provision of sufficient wealth so that food and beverages are aplenty.
 

10)
lu-tur gibil-se e du-u-gim
Like a youngster building a house for the first time
uLu thur kavinsE il edUuyin
 

11)
dumu-ban-da ama ga-ga-gim
Like a girl establishing a woman's domain

Thamu vaaNdu amma kaalkaalyin

12)
e-nig-ga-ra nig sa-di-de
So  that the warehouses would be provisioned

Il nikkam-Ra nikam sUdidE
 

13)
uru-be dur ki-gar sum-mu-de
That dwellings would be founded in that city

Uurubee thuRai kiiz kaar samaiyidee
 

14)
un-be u nir-gal ku-u-de
That its people would eat splendid food

Unbee UN nErkaL kUyidE
 

15)
un-be a nir-gal nag-nag-de
That its people would drink splendid beverages

UnbE aal nErkaL nakkunakkidE

nig-ga, nig>nikamam: shops, stores;  tur> thuru:small:   dumu>thamu, thamar: kith and kin;    ban-da> vaaNdu : young;    dur> thuRai: establishments :    u>UN : food;    a>aal: water;    nag-nag> nakku: to lick un> Un: flesh. Also Ur: the world, people

Crowed dwellings, shops and warehouses with plenty of provisions, good food  and clean water etc that are basic for survival
and healthy living, are  seen here as the first kind of blessings of Inanna.

Another issue related to this, though not basic, is the provision of material wealth which in those days, as of now,  were
calculated in terms of gold, silver and such other precious metals the nation hoards in its treasury.

25)
u-ba aga-de e-AS-a-ba ku-GI mi-ni-in-si
At that time, she filled Agade ^s ------- with gold

AppO aaRkaattE il- AS-aba kO-GI   sIminin
 

26)
e-AS babbar-ra-ba ku-babbar mi-ni-in-si
She filled its shining----- with silver
Il-As baarpparaba kO paarppar siiminin
 
 

In addition to gold and silver, there is mention of copper, tin, lapis  etc. Here the term  <ku> relates to the Tamil <kOL> meaningsomething shining but derivatively the planets in the heavens. The term <babbar> may be the protoform of <paarppaan> , a termused to describe SIVA in historical times. It may be possible that the original meaning is <shining, bright, glistening > and  soforth, epithets  also of Inanna and many other gods. SIVA is always described as a resplendent principle, the Radiant  One .  Itmay be possible that another application was to describe the intelligent and bright members of the community, possibly thepriests, poets and scribes  also as paarppaan meaning simply a brilliant person, a usage that is also  present in English and manyother languages  so abundantly. All terms descriptive of brightness have been used metaphorically to describe great intelligenceand intellectual acumen. It may be possible that later it was appropriated as a term for a particular caste.

The word<sI.> has many derivatives .The sI occurs in the sense of sacred as in sI-rangkam in colloquial Tamil. It is possible
that the Sk. Sri is derived from this, and the original meaning may be : filled up, complete, a wholeness, lacking in nothing etc.
 

FESTIVALS AND PEACE

Another blessings of Inanna as a  sign of her greatness is related to the notion of happiness both social and individual.  Festivals,
where occur merry making along with friendship even with foes and where there is  wining and dining together in a mood
friendship is also seen as her gift, something ordained by her presence.

16)
 sag a-tu-a kisal hul-le-de
That those bathed(for holidays) would rejoice in the courtyards

Taan aatuva kiiz saalai  uvallite

17)
ki ezem-ma un sig-ge-de
That the people would throng the places of celebration

Kiiz vizamma uun sikkidee

18)
lu zu-u-ne tes-bi ku-u-de
That acquaintances would dine together

ULu n-uuvinE thEsubi kuuyidE

19)
lu-bar-ra musen nu-zu-gim an-na nigin-de
That foreigners would cruise about like unusual birds in the sky

uLu puRa mUsen n-anuuayin vaanna  n-iinginnE

a.-tu> aatu: may be those who dance around, kisal> kiiz saalai: courtyard; hul-le> uval, ukal: to rejoice;  ezem> vizem> vizaa :
festival: sig-ge> sikku: to get caught up so that unable to escape; zu-u> n-uu> nuul : to understand, be familiar; tes> thEsu:
perhaps happily; bar-ra>puRa, para: foreign; musen> mUsu,musal: beaked creatures, or animals with protruding faces like
beetles, rabbits, rats etc Note Sk. mUsika: rat

Inanna as an expression of the Siva tatva Bindu, is a force that brings about love and friendship among people by kindling
kindness and thereby subduing the confrontational attitude among strangers. There cannot be social celebrations of any
magnitude unless people forget their innate aggression and meet each other in a spirit of love and affection. The presence of
Inanna, and homage to her, make Bindu present in the bosom of the people making them love and respect each other and hence
live in peace and friendship.

THE PROVISION OF MEANINGFUL SOCIAL FUNCTIONS

One of the most sophisticated concept of happy social existence is also enumerated here as a gift of Inanna. And this pertains to
the provision of activities suited to the age and maturity of the different members of the society. It was recognized that the
social needs of the individuals vary and that the societal organization must be such that all must be assigned roles that would fit
their needs as well as their expertise.

29)
Um-ma-be ad-gi-gi ba-an-sum
She endowed its old womwn with advice

UmmaapE  aatumImI summubaan

30)
ab-ba-be inim-inim-ma ba-an-sum
She endowed its old men with counsel

AppaabE enam-enamma summubaan

31)
ki-sikil-be ki-e-ne-di ba-an-sum
She endowed its young women with dance

Kiiz sukkilabe?  Kiiz E nadi summubaan

32)
gurus-be a tukul-la ba-an-sum
She endowed its young men with martial might

KurusilbE aal thukaLLa summubaan

The terms umma, appaa need no discussion as they are even in current use.  These older and experienced folks  were given
definite and meaningful social functions instead of being abandoned to the old folks home and await death. The experience of
the older folks appears to have been valued greatly and they were given the function of COUNSELING the younger members
of the society. The term <aatu-mI-mI> may be conversations, verbal exchanges as mI-mI can be related to the Tamil: mIndum
mIndum , that is in current use. The term<inim> that means words, utterances etc is still available but only in the verbal form:
en, enRu: to tell, relate, utter etc. The most interesting however is the term <ki-e-ne-di> , a place for dancing. The term <nedi>
is  still in use; we have the verb<nati> and its derivatives natanam, naattiyam, naatakam and so forth. The town planning was
such that the needs of the young women were not neglected. The pressure to dance is in the  blood of the young and adequate
provisions were made by city planners for such needs.
The young men, (gurus> kurucil, Malay: kerus: thin) were given to develop their martial capacities. The term <aal thukaL.>
which is good Tamil even now, means the power to destroy, to smite and turn something into dust. It appears that while young
women were allowed to develop music dance and such other cultural accomplishments, the young men were encouraged to
develop their martial capacities and become brave and courageous.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

It appears that over and above such cultural activities, education in instrumental music was heavily emphasized particularly for
the very young ones. There is mention of different kinds of musical instruments, not only in this text but also in many others.

33)
di-di-la-be sa-hul-la ba-an-sum
She endowed the little ones with joy

ThithilabE saay uvalla summubaan

34)
emeda-ga-la su-gid dumu sagina-ke-ne
al-gar-sur-da  e-ne im-di-ne

The viceroy^s children, (still) cradled by nursemaids
Played algarsur instruments

MEthaikaLLE  cUkItha thamu sangkinakinE
Yaaz kaal suRRida  InE iyamidinE

Here the  term <al-gar-sur-da> is interesting for it may be a description of the musical instrument that goes by the name vINai
at the moment. It is a yaaz, a stringed instrument with a stand (kaal, gar) that has been wrapped around to form something
globular, a description that quite fits the current vINai so important in Carnatic music.

di-di> thiththi: dots, Malay: titik,: dots

Concluding Remarks:

This is not an extensive and well researched study. However, it is hoped that enough have been said to wet the appetites of
those who are interested in Dravidian  and Sumerian studies that  can unravel the mystery surrounding the ancient Tamils. The
Tamil scholars must enter the field of Sumero-Dravidian Studies for neither the transliteration nor the translations are adequate
and the knowledge of Dravidian languages can help considerably in all these and through that shed immense light on the history
of the Dravidian folks.


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