Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Goddess of the Hunt: Are Korravai & Diana the same?

A sculpture of Kotravai, considered the goddess of war and victory in Tamil culture, standing beside a stag was unearthed in Perumalpatti village, bordering Virudhunagar on Thursday. The sculpture, believed to date back to early Pandiyan era, was found while ploughing the garden of one Karuppaiah.

Assistant Professor of History in Rajapalayam Raju’s College, B Kandasamy, said that carved stones were also unearthed. “The stones might have been carved for the construction of a temple here. Two rivers named Devi and Vadamalai confluenced at a spot nearby,” he said.

He further said that the people could have started worshipping the goddess and then subsequently started building a temple at the spot. “At some point, the river could have breached the banks, causing the sculpture and the stones to go deep into the land,” he said. Kotravai sculpture is a rarity in South Tamil Nadu and this is the second such sculpture found in the State, and the first in southern part.

“The first one is kept at a museum in Chennai,” said Kandhasamy. “Another interesting fact about the sculpture is its softness and the animal - stag - standing beside the goddess,” he said. The sculpture of the goddess has four hands, of which three are missing. The pedestal of the statue has also been found. The statue, has been kept under a tree nearby and people have started worshipping it.

They have started worshipping it. The sculpture of the goddess has four hands, of which three are missing. The pedestal of the statue has also been found. The statue, which was found some two feet below the surface of the land, has been kept under a tree nearby and people have started worshipping it.

Koṟṟavai (Korṛawai), also spelled Kotravai or Korravai, is the goddess of war and victory in the Tamil traditions of Hinduism. She is the mother of Murugan – the Hindu god of war, and the wife of Shiva. She is also the mother goddess and the goddess of fertility, agriculture and hunters. In the latter form, she is sometimes referred to by other names and epithets in the Tamil tradition of South India and Sri Lanka, such as Aiyai, Amari, Suli, and Kavuri.

She is among the earliest documented goddesses in the Tamil Sangam literature, and also found in later Tamil literature particularly those related to Shaivism. She is mentioned in the many poems in Paripāṭal , though the dedicated poem to her in among those that have been lost to history. She is mentioned in the Pattuppattu anthology – the long Tamil poems dated between 300 BCE to 300 CE, including the Neṭunalvāṭai, Maturaikkanci, Poruṇarāṟṟuppaṭai, and Paṭṭiṉappālai.In the Tamil epic Silappadikaram (c. 2nd-century), she is described as the wife of Shiva, and the sister of Vishnu. Depending on the context and her fierceness, she is identified with Durga-Mahisasuramardini and Kali goddess avatars of Parvati in other parts of India. This may be the result of a fusion of regional goddesses during the ancient proto-literate era into a unified goddess version over the centuries, in the form of a pan-Hindu deity.

Her name is derived from the Tamil word korram, which means "victory, success, bravery".The earliest references to Kotravai are found in the ancient Tamil grammar Tolkappiyam, considered to be the earliest work of the ancient Sangam literature.

She is also seen as a mother goddess, a symbol of fertility and success in agriculture.Traditional rural communities offer the first harvest to her.As war goddess who is blood thirsty, some texts such as the Silappadikaram and Ahamnanuru mention that warrior devotees would, in a frenzy, offer their own head to the goddess.

Korravai at the 7th century mandapa, Mahabalipuram.

In Tamil Nadu, the blackbuck (Kalaimaan) is considered to be the vehicle of the Hindu goddess Korravai She is sometimes shown as riding a lion, as in the 7th-century Mahishasuramardini mandapa of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. Both the lion and blackbuck is shown with a standing Korravai in a rock-relief panel at the Varaha mandapam of Mahabalipuram.

1 comment:

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