So the topic for this week is: ஐயன் எம்ஐ!
To get about elaborating this topic, I am going to separate ஐயன் and எம்ஐ. ஐயன் can refer to King, Master, a person who we respect or love, or God/Divine being.
This word though can refer to multiple things, delivers a central theme, of someone superior or someone who we look up to. When we say that, immediate next inference is that we need not be a collective opinion but communal or personal opinion. This inference brings us to the concept of personal and impersonal Gods or even the concept of God(s). This concept is generally/broadly associated with religion. We are now at the age where this concept of religion is generally characterized by defined ways of worship and defined ways to institute and govern religious constitutions. But this again is a byproduct of evolution. With mankind, the concept of God and religion has also evolved. With all that banter aside, what has this got to do with Tamil? Long story short, civilization, God(s) and Kings evolve in parallel. A civilization as old as Tamil will definitely have a variety of interpretations and beliefs around this concept. And atheism is not a modern concept. There are a really countable number of civilizations/ancient groups that did not believe in this supreme one and did not eventually have superstitions and rituals.
Religions(மதங்கள்) can be classified broadly into three categories:
- A community and its belief (இனமதங்கள்)
- A prophet who defines the length and breadth of the beliefs (தீர்க்கதரிசன மதங்கள்)
- Philosophy based beliefs (தத்துவமதங்கள் )
- A religion that is not bound by a particular belief(தொகைமதங்கள் )
Each of this defines ஐயன் in different forms. The Indian subcontinent has a healthy mix of all these beliefs and each of them has inevitable. A side effect of that is the eternal debate of சிறுதெய்வம் - பெருந்தெய்வம். What is big and small when it comes to God? Is it just a சொற்றொடர் or something more than that?
There was so much reality built into சிறுதெய்வம். They were one amongst us who stood out because of their divine actions and not some supernatural abilities. They did not write any religious books, did not govern institutions, did not spread their beliefs, instead, all they did was to protect those who saw them as God.
These vernacular religions will not adhere to the norms of the large religions.
- Their Gods are not eternal, they have birth and death
- Their Gods don’t have big temple structures, artistic deities,etc.,
- Their deity forms are predominantly worshiped as guardians, with relatable weapons and they eat what we eat and we cook.
There are people who still say: ”எங்கள் ஊரில் யாரும் காவல் நிலையத்திற்குப் போகமாட்டோம். அய்யனாரே காவல் தெய்வமாகவும் எங்கள் பிரச்சினைகளைத் தீர்த்துவைப்பவராகவும் விளங்குகிறார்”
Folklore and religion intersect in various points. Studying them can give us perspectives of how humans value love and fear. While major religions are trying to answer philosophical and cosmic questions, the common man is still trying to reason out why is well is dry and will there be rain to quench his agricultural needs. They did have a personal relationship with their God(s).
This personal vs impersonal God be entirely used to define major metaphysical and religious arguments.
Agamas alienated this very personal relationship that humans had with God. Introduced scriptures and verses that preached philosophy but failed to give that relief we get by praying in our native parlance.
All that common man wants via his prayers is that iota of confidence and he gets that by speaking in his language to the God/person he can relate to! Relationship with God is as personal as a personal relationship.
ஐயன் removes my internal fears
ஐயன் listens to my internal questions
ஐயன் is personification of what my ideal nature is
ஐயன் is someone who I can love unconditionally
ஐயன் is beyond space, time and form
ஐயன் is camouflage of living world
ஐயன் is neither big nor small
ஐயன் transcends physical realms
ஐயன் channelizes my thoughts
ஐயன் is my thought
ஐயன் is immortal because he is never born
ஐயன் எம்ஐ காக்க எமக்காக என் ஐயத்தை போக்க பிறவா வரம் பெற்ற பிறவி!
அய்யனார் உருவத்தால் பெரிதாய் இருப்பினும் சிறுதெய்வமாகவும்
அய்யப்பன் உருவத்தால் சிறிதாய் இருப்பினும் பெருந்தெய்வமாகவும் சித்தரிக்கப்படுவது
ஐயன்களின் அளவு கோல் அல்ல உருவாக்கிய மனிதனின் சிறுபிள்ளைத்தனம்!