Page:Origin and spread of the Tamils.djvu/60

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SPREAD OF TAMIL CULTURE ABROAD

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resemblance to the mythology of the Greeks and it is also believed that these features came from Asia Minor. Thus, there was a migration from India to Babylon and from Babylon to Greece and Canaan. What I want to show is that even here South India was the original home of these cults, which persist with us, thus demonstrating a fundamental unity and vitality of South Indian culture.

In the ancient religious system of South India and other countries the cult of the bull was popular. The bull as the riding vehicle of the great God Siva was venerated throughout. In our festivals we still attach significance to the Ṛṣabha vāhanam day. Two amulets in Mohenjo Daro show the effigy of a bull carried in religious processions. This recalls to mind the custom of bearing animals in religious processions in ancient Egypt. Being a deity of the masses, some festivities have been connected with the Bull. Bull-jumping is one of them. The Silappadikāram mentions as exclusively a practice of the Āyar in connection with choice of the bridegroom by the bride. He who courageously jumped on it and brought it under control was the winner. On Cretan vases bull-jumping[1] scenes are depicted. In fact the similarity between Cretan customs and those of South India is so close that we cannot escape the conclusion of South Indian influence on Crete. Elsewhere I have suggested that the Kirāta tribes of South India might have been the people who were responsible for the Cretan civilization. And Crete[2] derived its name probably after this tribe,

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