Thoughts - thamiz archchanai

Should the archchanai for deities in the temples be done in thamiz ? There are two perspectives to this.

Traditionally irrespective of location archchanai has been done mainly in saMskR^itam. While both thamiz and saMskR^itam are considered to be holy languages, why not in thamiz ? Is it because there is no classical thamiz archchanai prescribed in any of the holy texts ? Why not, many of the olden thamiz saints have written such archchanai. thirun^Avukkarachar's pORRith thiruththANdakam and mANikka vAchakar's pORRith thiru akaval to name a few. One should be allowed to worship the God with these holy hymns. When the archchanai is in the local language one could really involve in the meaning of the great praises of the Lord. In fact this is one major point by which missionaries are able to reach the masses - using local language for worship.

But when the worship needs to be understandable irrespective of the individual worshippers language background it needs to be in common language. While the saMskR^ita archchanai is in practice throughout, it could be allowed to continue for such a common worship. More than that these are all holy mantras that produce good effect just by chanting. They should not be meddled with and should be chanted as it is. The affection on one particular language and the chauvinism should not stand in the way of chanting these holy mantras. These mantras in spite of association with some language stand above all these in the path of worship. (At times these mantras get interpreted in different languages. For example the mantra shiva gets interpreted in separate ways in saMskR^itam and thamiz.) It would be a disastrous mistake if the mantras in saMskR^itam are discarded in this language passion. So the saMskR^ita archchanai needs to stay.

While the saMskR^ita archchanai in temples is to stay forever, thamiz archchanai also could happen when one prefers. People need to realize the importance of including the local language worship also along with that so that everybody enjoys. It should not be looked down. Given these points it should be upto the worshiper to choose the language he wants to pray to God and nobody could force it. It is after all the languageless love worship of kaNNappa n^AyanAr that the Lord was pleased with. For thamiz archchanai the classical work done by the thamiz saints thousands of years back is very good enough and in the name of creating a new one some messy situation should not arise. It is very bad that this issue is getting politicized. It is a matter of individual preference and the politicians should keep away from these. The tolerance of Hindus should not be taken for granted.

Posted On : 02.01.1999

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