Revisiting the Vedic past

via published on April 20, 2011

Sivadas Varma – Express News Service

TRIPUNITHURA: For Kunnappilly Narayanan Bhattathiri, the main priest of Thamaramkulangara Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, spending a day in the centuryold Yaga Bhoomi next to the dais of the Panjal Athirathram 2011, was like a pilgrimage through the Vedic age.

The team from Kochi headed by RV Kochaniyan Thampuran of Kochi Royal family attended the Athirathram and also visited the Yaga Bhoomi, where two Athirathrams were held in 1901 and 1954.

“Nellikkaattu Maamannu Mana, the ancestral house of my grandfather, was the venue of the two Athirathrams,” Kochaniyan says. Both the Homakundams (the brick laid sacrificial platforms) have been kept intact at the Mana,” Kochaniyan Thampuran says.

The successive generations of Nellikkaatu Mana are very keen to preserve the holy Homakundams.

Lakshmi Narayana temple, considered as the cradle of the Namboothiri families practising Sama Vedam, is situated in this village.

A banyan tree has been growing right from the middle of the 1954 Homakundam, perhaps the centre point where the holy sacrifice was held.

A few yards away from this Homakundam one can see the remains of the Chithi which was used as the Homakundam in 1901. The main challenge faced by the families here is that though the elder members were Vedic scholars, the next generation generally kept away from Vedic studies.

However, now younger generations are showing great interest in retaining the Vedic heritage.

“I could see some positive indications in this direction which include the systematic organisation of Athirathram and opening a few branches of Vedic schools in Thrissur district,” Kochaniyan says.

During the latter half of the last century it was the lack of funding which prevented the organisers from conducting Yagas, points out Thottam Sivakaran Namboothiri, who represents the younger generation of Sama Veda scholars from Thottam Mana.

“However, money is not a problem now and people from all sections of society wholeheartedly come forward to do their role in various aspects to fulfil the goal of Panjal Athirathram. Now people are aware of the social relevance of this rich heritage which is not bound to just religious belief,” he said.

At Panjal, the Athirathram, which concluded on April 15 with the total dedication of the Yaga sala to fire, a special team of scientists headed by Dr V P N Namboori has been conducting special studies with sophisticated equipment like Kirlean camera.

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