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Tree Worship And Temples (Beliefs and Ophiolatry)

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Item Code: HAJ928
Publisher: CBH Publications
Language: English and Tamil
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9789383811922
Pages: 104
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 110 gm
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Book Description
About the book

The Author, has covered new ground and done pioneer- ing work in collecting together and presenting in a succinct manner all available references to tree worship found scat- tered in the entire range of Tamil literature and seeking to gain an insight into the inner significance of the manifold rites and ceremonies that have grown round the tree and the serpent.

Every big temple in South India has a holy tree of its own, pregnant with the significance of its hoary past, when there was no such temple and the God was pleased to rest in its shade. These trees are now called Sthalavrikshha (the holy tree of the sacred place). These trees were cherished as the sacred seat of a protecting divinity. This tree-worship is hardly extinct at the present day. It has always been a recognised element of the popular creed.

An exhaustive study of all the available literary evidence bearing on the subject of tree and serpent worship as was obtaining in Tamil Nad for the past two or three melleniums.

A study of this work will throw more light on the life of the ancient Tamils. It is highly provocative of thought and suggestive, opening new vistas for further research and in- vestigation.


HAVING undertaken to write a Foreword to this excel- lent piece of research by my esteemed friend and colleague, Vidvan, G. Subramania Pillai, M.A., B.L., I plead in justifica- tion only my great interest in the study of the evolution of religious beliefs and practices prevalent in this country. Mr. G. Subramania Pillai has covered new ground and done pio- neering work in collecting together and presenting in a suc- cinct manner all available references to tree worship found scattered in the entire range of Tamil literature and seeking to gain an insight into the inner significance of the manifold rites and ceremonies that have grown round the tree and the serpent. There are very few parallels to these in the religious modes of other lands, though the worship of the tree is not peculiar to this country. The tree, we are told, was worshipped in Tamilnad, not as a deity in itself, but as the abode of Gods and spirits.

Of special interest is the author's novel and original theory which discountenances the idea that the Sivalinga is a phallic symbol and seeks to trace the Sivalinga to its origin in the worship of Kanthu, the stump of the tree. On the wither- ing away of the stump, Kanthali, a stone, was to be installed in its place and worshipped. This stone substitute for the stump gradually became the Sivalinga. I commend to the reader the author's original interpretation of the Tamil term 'Kanthali' with all its etymological import. It is so simple and direct that it appeals to reason.

The significance of the notion of Kaval-maram, that is, of trees which it was the duty of monarchs to foster and pro- tect and which the invader invariably sought to destroy, is explained. An interesting theory to explain the enormous im- portance once attributed to the vengai tree in the Tamil land is advanced. The flowering of the tree is the season for har- vesting and for marriages and other festive functions.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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