Page:Origin and spread of the Tamils.djvu/59

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48 ORIGIN AND SPREAD OF THE TAMILS works and the great classic Silappadikaran opens with these pregnant lines: திங்களைப் போற்றுதுந் திங்களைப் போற்றுதுங் கொங்கலர்தார்ச் சென்னி குளிர்வெண்குடை போன்றிவ் வங்கண் உலகளித்தலான் and there was a special shrine dedicated to the moon (நிலாக்கோட்டம்) in each of the capitals of the Tamil land. A relic of the old cult is the seeing of the moon on the third day after the new moon day, supposed to bring health and wealth. The astronomical and astrological calculation was according to what we now call Candramāna; what is more important is that the very month is named tingal, the Tamil name for the moon. Notwithstanding the fact that the authors of early Tamil culture worshipped the inoon deity, they do not seem to have had any idea of the eclipse like the Egyptians or to have observed the eclipse day until they came into close contact with Sanskrit culture. Curiously, in Babylonian civilization more prominence is given to the moon than the sun. And the Babylonian year is exclusively lunar.. The cuneiform sign for the moon is the numeral '30, Incidentally, I may point out that there are many parallel features of Babylonian religion and customs like the worship of the bull of Ishtar, honouring women of chastity and dedicating girls to temples. Much of them finds mention also in the religious literature of the Hebrews. It is believed that the Babylonian culture flowed into Canaan or there was an actual migration from Ur to Canaan by way of Haran. Further we find a strong