Page:Pre-Aryan Tamil Culture.djvu/25

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warnings about the disasters that would overtake the villages for not having paid thei dues to the goddess. In the mountainous country, called Kuṛiñji lived the Kuṛavar, famous in later literature as the heroes of romantic love at first sight; they led the semi-nomad life of the hunter; they hunted with the bow and the arrow and fought wild animals with the Vel.[1] They cut up and skinned the animals they hunted and wore the untanned hide as their dress. They were also brave warriors.

Their women in the earliest days were clad in nothing but the atmosphere around or in hides or in Maravuri,[2] tree-flay, or in leaf-garments, called in Tamil, taḻai-uḍai.[3] Hence arose the custom of presenting a garment made of leaves and flowers to the bride as a symbol of marriage, as in Malabar to-day presenting a Muṇḍu,[4] short piece of cloth, to the bride is still the chief incident of the wedding-rite.[5]

These women wove baskets and made many other articles with the strips of the bamboo, occupations still followed by Kuṛavar throughout Southern India. Their favourite god was Murugan,[6] the God of the Hills, who has throughout the ages remained essentially a god enshrined on hill-tops, notwithstanding later affiliations with post-Vedic mythology, As Lord of the Hills, the abode of serpents, he reveals himself even to-day to his devotees in the form of a serpent. The hill country being at all times the home of romantic love at first sight, he was, and continues to be to-day, the boy-lover, the Śēyōn,[7]

  1. வேல்.
  2. மரவுரி.
  3. தழைஉடை.
  4. முண்டு.
  5. The following are a few of the references to the practice of the presentation of a leaf-garment, taḻai uḍai in the early literature.

    தீநீர்ப் பெருக்குண்டு சுனைப்பூத்த குவளைக்
    கூம்பவிற் முழுநெறி புரள்வரு அல்குல்.

    Puṛam. 116.

    The lap from which is dangling the leaf-garment made of the whole blossom of the water-lily which grows in deep springs of sweet water with its sepals open.

    அளிய தாமே சிறுவெள் ளாம்ப
    விளைய மாகத் தழையா யினவே
    இனியே பெருவளக் கொழுநன் மாய்ந்தெனப் பொழுதுமறத்
    தின்னா வைக லுண்ணு
    மல்லிப் படூஉம் புல்லாயினவே.

    Ib. 248.

    May it be blessed! the little, white water-lily, when I was young, served for a leaf-garment; now, when my excellent husband is dead, the hour of meals is changed, it provides me with my food during the melancholy mornings.

    னுடுக்குந் தழைதந தனனே யவையா
    முடுப்பின் யாடஞ் சுதுமே கொடுப்பிற
    கேளுடைக் கேடஞ் சதுமே.

    Naṛṛiṇai. 359.

    The hill-chief gave me a leaf-garment; if I wear it, I am afraid I cannot satisfactorily answer the questions my mother will ask me about it; if I return it to him I am afraid it will cause him pain.

    றழையணி மருங்குன மகளிர்.


    The hill-women who wear a leaf-garment at their waist. The wearers of this garment can still be seen in the hill-regions.

  6. முருகன்
  7. சேயோன்