Of music and Hindu history, carved in stone

If you are to participate in author and epigraphist Pradeep Chakravarthy’s heritage walks, then you have to be accompanied by a schoolgoing child.

On Sunday morning there was only one child among the group of enthusiasts at the Marundeeswarar temple where he sung Tirugnanasambandar’s padigams in soothing Hindolam and Mukhari. And the youngster persisted with numerous questions about the various stone carvings on the pillars.

The early start to the day didn’t seem to bother many of the audience listening to him explain how, during the time of Sambandar, bees buzzed in the forest near the Shiva temple, which was rebuilt by Rajendra Chola. Talking on the subject ‘Waves of conversion: Tiruvanmiyur in 7-8 Century’ Mr. Chakravarthy explained how the Saivite saints spearheaded the conversion movement when many kings had converted to Jainism and Buddhism. “In two centuries they succeeded and after 1,500 years, Hinduism is still alive and thriving,” he explained.

The modus operandi that Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar followed was they always sang in Tamil and used words from the local dialect.

“They made God accessible to all. God is seen as a lover, friend, and child and also in very powerful forms. Their first step was to convert the king, who supported other religions with funds. The Cholas were inspired by the verses of the saints and spent large amount of money to re-energise and enlarge the religion. Rajendra Chola-I rebuilt this temple,” he said.


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