The Agamas and Vedas


Dr K. Loganathan, Feb. 2003



Dear Cadambi


Apologies for the delay. I want to describe briefly the way I understand the relationship between the Agamic and Vedic traditions in Hinduism which has suffered distortions because of the Aryan racialism that has prevailed in Indological studies for the last couple of centuries and which has not done justice to the contributions of the Dravidian folks to the genesis of Hinduism as such. The picture changed with the discovery of Indus Civilizations but however while elements Saivism and Yoga are available there and hence the presence of protoSaivism, the script remains undeciphered leading to inconclusiveness in many interpretations. Fortunately this is not the case with Sumerian texts where thousands are available, well  deciphered and with a chronology reasonably well established. I have shown that Sumerian is Archaic Tamil and that Sumerian civilization from about 4000 BC to about 2000 BC was probably the Tamil of the First CaGkam as it was here and during this period the cuneiform script was perfected and many literature that remained oral till then came to written down, a good example being Suruppak’s NeRi that I am studying now. The oldest written version of this text is dated to Al Ubaid period i.e. 2600 BC but probably the text itself was composed around 3000 BC.


I have also shown that it is possible that Rigkrit is a late variant of this SumeroTamil. I am at the moment studying the Bagavath Gita, which appears to me another late variant of Archaic Tamil. I am providing some NEW interpretations against this background and which may be quite revolutionary  in view of the fact that discovery of Sumerian as ARCHAIC Tamil and the languages of Rig Veda Prusha Suktam, Bagavath Gita and so forth are variants of Tamil have not been suspected till now.  Even PaNini Tolkaappiyar Tirumular and so forth were NOT aware of this and therefore something quite novel really.


The salient features as follows:


The Agamic Tradition


  1. Agamism that centers of Temple Worship must have had  a beginning in the primitive practices of Tree Worship and so forth. In fact it may be possible that historically it is the TREE that evoked the feeling of presence of Divine Power and religiosity in man. This is also part of the general feeling of the presence of Divine Powers in Nature itself whenever there was something unusual and spell binding. Thus probably the earliest phases of Agamic Hinduism, as it existed in the Dravido-African-Australian substratum was something like Shintoism of the Japanese where they understood the divine powers as Kami and which may be  a variant of Ta. saamy, which exists till today in such expressions as Saami-aadi etc betraying the shamanistic roots.


  1. During the times of the Sumerians (4000 BC to 2000BC) we see massive developments not only in temple building but also hymnology, incantations, Mantrayana and metaphysical thinking. En Hudu Anna (The divine star of the heavens) has sung many temple hymns of which Kes temple Hymn, which is hymn of Siva (Keci: the Sadaiyan, the One with Long hair) is philosophically very profound. She has also to her the immensely moving and personal  Bakti-tinged Sirbiyam which contains within itself not only the concepts of Siva-Sakti but also the beginnings the later day Samkiya Philosophy, to which I have already drawn  the attention of scholars.


  1. All the great Sumerian kings were temple builders just as the Tamil kings were  during the Historical period and every major city was also a temple city and where the royal family was also in charge of the Temple administration. Thus we see here the persistence of the primitive Priest-King concept that was retained among the Tamils till recent times. The word ‘koo’ means both God and King. Jiu Sudra, Gudea, Uruhegal, Sulgi Ur Nammu and so many other great Sumerian kings have erected massive temples and in which they installed the ruling deities for they believed that unless favored by the gods they cannot function effectively as a king and the land itself will not prosper. In this Gudea seems to have started the habit of installing statutes of himself along with those deities and which habit probably underlies the later developments of Jainism and Buddhism where the kings as Divine became the Tirtangkaras and Bodhisatvas etc.


  1. This tradition of building a temple installing the deities and organizing many rituals festivals, singing and dancing, praying in terms reciting hymns and so forth, is still alive to-day and constitutes the essential features of what I will call Agamic Hinduism, the living Hinduism of the common man. The underlying philosophy of such a way of life was also well understood: to be with the gods and gain their aruL or grace and lead a good life and thereby elevate oneself to higher reaches of metaphysical life that Sulgi describes as inda-sim: reaching the very peak (sim, Ta. cimaiyam) of excellent life (inda Ta. intu)


The Vedic Tradition.


  1. It appears to me that that Vedic tradition was initially simply a ritual practice especially associated with the royal families where the central ritual was kindling the fire in the Suluh (Ta. suulai: fire pit) and especially associated with the god Asimbabbar and which I take as Ta. Aati paarppaan, perhaps the later day God Brahma (also called ayan, naanmukan, veetan etc). It may be possible that Sumerian Ea (Ayan) and some other deities were merged with this AtiPaarppaan. However in Sumerian literature it is Saraswati, called Nishada, the nu-kasbiam (the weaver of texts) who was very popular as the Goddess of learning. Making this Nishaba a consort of Brahma must have been a later development. I also believe that the Tamil paarppaar, the Brahmins were so called because they were the worshippers of this Atipaarppaan and hence a cultic name just like Saivite VaishNava Sakta and so forth.


  1. The word ‘veda’ itself is a derivative of Su. sid as in ‘sid-nig-sid’ (all learning or recitations); Sid> vid> vittai, veeta etc. In the incantations such as  UduG-hul,  it was used in the sense of recitations to ward off the evil spirits and by the shaman priests, the Sag-ku (Ta. saan-kuu: the people of the gods)


  1. But Endu Anna's Sirbiyam discloses that there was a ritual of Fire (suluh) within the Temple but especially meant for the kings, to kindle the Fire or Sun within thereby making them the beneficiary of Sul Utu (as was the case with Sulgi). The believe was that any person whose psychic interior becomes dominated by the Inner Sun,  would be endowed with all the strength and intelligence that would make him a King. Many kings in fact assumed such titles e.g. Utu HegaL (the glorious rising sun) and later there came to be  lineages in terms descent from the Sun (suuria vamsam) and Moon (Candra vamsam) and so forth.


  1. Thus we have the ritual of Fire Worship, the Ejna as a central feature of this cult of the royal families where  this word is definitely Sumerian and where is occurs as ‘eji” fire and ‘ejen’ (fire festival). Thus it is not an accident that Rig Veda begins with the worship of agnim Ille  (which is Sumerian Su. ugnim> agnim, Su. el> illee etc


  1. I believe the exclusivism of the Vedas (which lasts to this day) and the prohibition of women in Vedic recitation and that most of Vedic practices are for the general being of the Kings (Rajasuuyam etc) all show that it was part of the Priest-King cult of the ancient Tamils where the political leadership was in the hands of the oligarchy representing the rulers and priests who were perhaps of the same family (as was the case with En Hudu Anna, the daughter of Sargon, the Emperor))


  1. Throughout this period there was also the religious practices of the common folks and which was not centered on activating the Sun within so that one can shine forth as a king but rather lead a good and healthy life on this earth with fervent devotion to the gods. It is this dimension which is part of general temple worship that became the central theme during the Bakti revolt and in which this ancient hold of the Priest-King was finally overthrown and genuine Bakti for BEING was established as the main impulse of religion.  This also growing out of VarNasrama Dharma and transmuting the Vedic recitations simply as one of the rituals, to be practiced by those who like it. This  reconstitution of religious dynamics was significance of the hymns of Nayanmars and Alwars and to which even the Kings had to submit.


I shall stop here. Please visit my SumeroTamil Campus Vedic Tamil campus etc for textual evidence for what I have said summarily above.






--- In, Malolan R Cadambi <mcadambi@y...> wrote:


NamO VedapurushAya


Dear Members,


In another list in the WWW, there were certain opinions aired that

the veda-s do not sanction the worship of vigraha-s(idols). The only

place where the idol worship is sanctified is in the Agamas. There

are three types of Agamas, one of which is extinct now. The Vaishnava

and the Saiva Agamas are extant however.


However, the vedas do sanction idol worship and there are references

to idol worship even in the vedas. The Vaishnava tradition considers

the Pancharatra and the Vaikhanasa Agamas to be inspired and derived

from the vedas.


I wish to get the Saiva prespective in this regard. Please do let me

know your opinions.




Malolan Cadambi