Monday, February 19, 2007

The Tulu Tribes - II

A new blogger Ravi Mundkur discusses about evolution of Tulu language and people at his "Tulu Research". In his recent post he discusses about "Bermeru" spirit. A very interesting spirit which sort of cognates with Brahma of Hinduism and generally called Brahma in the literature. I would like to discuss some of the things that I have come across after I wrote about the Tulu Tribes.

I have already discussed that Brahman(sacred words) and Braahmana(priest) have IE roots but Brahma(the god) has Semitic root(Semitic Introgression Theory).

The Tulu god Bermeru was generally depicted as a deity mounted on a horse. However, this was an ancient god in Dravidian regions. The Tamil god Ayyanar (also a deity mounted on a horse) is very similar to Tulu spirit Bermeru. Then we have Sastha of Malayala region(later identified with popular hero god Ayyappa). But I am not sure if Sastha could be equated with Ayyanar. However, all these gods act as protectors.

Considering these facts, I would rather argue that Bermeru is the later name for this deity in Tulu region. In my opinion, it was called Brahma(ru) initially as a matter of Hinduisation(Vaisnava period?) but became Bermeru in the local lingo. However, its original name is lost permanently.

2 comments:

Ravi Mundkur said...

Reference to Tamil God Ayyanar,mounted on horse similar to Tulu Bermer, is quite interesting.Whether Brahmer became Bermer or vice versa or coexisted I am not sure right now.But itis interesting that Brahma worship which is almost forgotten now perhaps except in Pushkar region, was existing in Tulunad. Please furnish more info regarding Tamil Ayyanar.

Manjunath said...

Ravi:

I have already given Wikipedia link. You can find few more sites on the web. A brief intro would be;

- Ayyanar is considered guardian of vilalges and fields.
- He heads a pantheon of gods
- His priests are mostly from potters' community. They make the terracotta statues of him and his co-pantheon.

I am going to blog on this soon.