Vegetarianism and Women Priests


Dear Goundan,
Thank-you very much for your appreciation , comments and questions. I  do not pretend to know everything  but only trying my best to UNDERSTAND the meanings along the principles of Hermeneutic Semeiotics that is also central in my studies of dreams mythologies and so forth. This is line of investigation that the Tamil Siddhas developed but whose studies are hardly referred to even by Saiva Atheenams. The  idea of INVESTIGATING and UNDERSTANDING and making people investigate and understand are hardly emphasized upon in our present day Tamil Culture and for which reason I see it as decadent. The priesthood both Brahmins and Non Brahmins make full use of this decadent state for their own personal benefits. I see this very widely not only in India where, especially in the South, the Temples  have become  business centers rather than abodes of God. The only way , a rational way I must add here,  is to seek the meanings of temple worship. the celebration of festivals  and other rituals and place them  in proper perspective. This is what I am trying to do with my limited understanding of the unconscious that I have managed to get through my own studies.

With this preliminary note, I append my views below yours.


At 11:37 PM 26-10-99 -0700, you wrote:
Dear Dr Loga,

The questions raised by Mr. Pillay have occupied the mind of seekers for decades.  Worship is elaborately ritualistic. Religion today has been reduced to its lowest ebb  with the brahmins as the centra of attractions. A current feature that is noted in Mauritius is that most of the Temple, if not all, are managed by petty minded people with personal objectives, multiplication of deities with a view to have all year round festivals for fund raising - a lucrative business. The priests, mostly brahmins, are the real patron and self proclaimed "Guru". Individual worship is marginalized (particularly in Mauritius) to give pre-eminence to collective worship during festival celebrations. The sanctum sanctorium is under lock and key during the inactive period.

I am offering my appreciation and interrogation along your reply to Mr. Pillay


Dear Goundan , Why not try to start building Sivan Temples along the lines of those in S.Africa? Please visit the Sivan temples in Leanasia and Durban and gather a group of like minded individuals and BEGIN a temple along those lines. I was very impressed by such temples after seeing them in action  and I wish there are such Sivan Temples all over the world. No priests but only lay individuals who  conduct  group prayers. And no a plethora of deities, only Sivalingam and/or Siva Nadarajah. The Gopuram rises  majestically but just plain with no deities at all. It appears to me something intermediate between the formless Mosques of Muslims and formful Hindu temples.  Such a variant of temple structure and worship may be the needs of the day.


 Yes certainly he can whether he is a vegetarian or not. God doesn't neglec t or prohibit  anybody He being LOVE itself. In my visits to Nepal and parts of N. India I have seen devotees worshiping the Sivalingam on their own. It  is only S.Indian  Temples and other overseas temples where the S.Indian influence is strong, we have prohibitions of this sort.

 Regarding non vegetarian food being thidduu, I don't understand it at all.  I love vegetarianism as an expression of universal LOVE, love extended to  all living creatures, a reverence for LIFE as a whole as Albert Sweitzer  would put it. But when it is made simply  a ritual practice where there is  NO attention to humanitarian principles at all, it is self deceiving.


I do share your views  and concern but this does not prevent me to raisesome ethical reasons to shun animal flesh as food.  GOD is the embodiment of LOVE and KILLING is not definitely an act of love or compassion. Without the killing the meat will never be in our plate. What Kannappar did was an act of total innocence (if I am not mistaken even Manikkavarsagar once said that he did not have the same intensity of love as our Kannapar). I think we should not use the love of Kannappar just to suit our convenience.The other issues will have to be addressed along with that love. He was the son of a hunter who for evident circumstances need to fill his belly and deprived of any formal education. But do we meet these prerequisites to qualify for that  same innocence in this present age. Certainly not. To favor meat eating  is only a  question of TASTE that we could not forgo,a state of dependence, hence a stimulation of our cravings for that type of tamasic food. Would attachment of that sort liberate men to tune himself to BEING.

We also know that, through dissemination of knowledge, the consumption of  animal flesh presents potential health hazards, which among others increases fermentation in the digestive track,cancer, raises the acidic
content of the blood,consumption of that adrenaline secreted by the animal when confronted with the danger of death etc. etc., hence the aversion depicted by mystics like Tiruvalluvar, Tirumular,Tayumanavar,
Ramalinga Adigal, and a host of others.


As I have already said, I am FOR vegetarianism but not as a RITUAL for the sake of RITUAL. It must contemporaneous with SPIRITUAL development where there is reverence for the whole of LIFE. There are high caste Hindus both Brahmins and NonBrahims who practice vehemently vegetarianism but in social life practice caste feelings equally vehemently. Caste mentality is inconsistent with LOVE and with genuine spirituality. ThriuvaLLuvar and others in preaching vegetarianism also preached UNIVERSAL LOVE.  Please recall VaLLalaar's famous Vaadiya Payiraik kaNtapoothellaam vaadineen! (š ¢ ġ šʧ) Our primary concern in religous life must be the PRACTICE OF LOVE. Our Hindus instead of   concerned with this primary behavioral change, attend to peripherals elevate  the mere practice of it to high level of sanctity and thus drugging themselves from the necessity to change and develop spiritually.

We also remember that   the religious field,  it is rather difficult to establish that a particular way is THE way and   hence alowing some individuals become AUTHORITATIVE by virtue of KNOWLEDGE of that way. There are many so called gurus who claim such expertise and try to command and respect of the ordinary peopel  quite often with the unhealthy  motive of fleecing money and other benefits from them. We must remember here Thrirunjanana sambanthar:           , Ҹ Ţ, 츧" The ways in which God discloses Himself are infinite and therefore  there must be OPENNESS.  We must follow only the way God shows and NOT that of any individual. Our religious life must become GOD entered and NOT scripture centred or GURU centered. God is  a living presence and we must follow Him and NO OTHER. This does NOT mean we should neglect the study of scriptures or the words of a guru. What I mean is that they should NOT be elevated to the position of absolute authority. There can NO AUTHORITY other than God and in this I would even include even tha agamas and Vedas of the past.

The Kriavin Karthaalath Tamize Akaradi states:
(1)  . Ũ    Ӿ ǡ      â:
(a sect of) Hindu religion which regards Siva as the Supreme God;


This is NOT my understanding of Saivism and for which reason I call  the way I understand it World Saivism. Saivism is THE RELIGION OF RELIGIONS, that which UNDERLIES as the DEEP structure of every phenomenal religion.  The Tamils called it Samaiyaathiitha Saivam, a religion that transcends all religion, a religion that captures the UNIVERSAL within the phenomenal religious expressions of man throughout the world. It is NOT a sect   among the different sects that goes by the name of Hinduism but rather a further development of Kaniyan PuungkunRanaar's ¡ ,¡ Ǣ.  This is the kind of Saivism that was sang eloquently by Thayumanavar  VaLLalar and a host of others. This dimension remains UNDEVELOPED in the Semitic Faiths  and because of which they go all out to proselytize and convert. My believe is that the only way to battle with them and with the so called Hindus who have misunderstood Saivism is to become MORE ARTICULATE about these matters and make them listen to our views. The sparks of Meatphycica Universalis is in the bosom of everyman and through such actions we can  PROMOTE SELF CONVERSION . Each man must be made made to turn INWARDS and SEE for himself the presence of Siva, the Radiance within.

(2)  .  (,  ӾĢ  Ţ)  Ȣ  š
Ө;  Vegetarianism.  ...

Vegetarianism is more of dravidian culture and Saivam  are closely intertwined and form part of a global vision of  LOVE. But blind love is more a question of giving than receiving and the shortcomings or faults
of the other party loose their  preeminence in that vast ocean.


Historically speaking it was the Jains more than anybody else who promoted non killing and because of that vegetarianism. The Saivites of Sangam epoch were not vegetarians. But there is also a believe that Jainism is an ancient variant of Saivism. Much remains to be done in terms of historical research here.

A fitting example to ponder:

¡ ¡ ǡ
() š ̧
¡ ¡
ʧ¡ Ǣ
thevaaram (4)
When I wended on my way from the North without my legs touching the earth even a little and reached Thiruviyaru, I followed behind the devotees entering the shrine singing praises on the lord with Umadevi,
 the daughter of the King of Mountains and a wrath of beautiful cresent moon on His head.  On the way I looked at a male elephant with its beloved young female elephant passing.  By that sight I perceived the lotus feet of the Lord with the head wreath of the crescent moon and the daughter of the Mountain King.  This perception has led me to experience all bliss which I had not comprehended before.

(Translation by Saiva Pulavar, K. Chellappa Gounder)

Complacence on our weakness is not to be praised a quality  that deprives us of  the reason to accept that we are all part of CREATION, a microcosm within the macrocosm.


 Women are also denied priesthood;  they argue that menstrual blood is a Thiittu and therefore they shouldn't enter the sanctum sanctorium. All these are superstitious ideas that should be thrown out. Men too
ease themselves in the toilet and the discharge of menstrual blood is NOT less natural than this.


I have not grasped your point fully. The bleeding is not at all superstitious but natural biological process and blood, the carrier of impurities, is the cause of a number of diseases. What apply for the women should equally apply for men with injuries. Are women to perform rituals or offer worship in the sanctum sanctorium during their menstrual flow.


I still maintain that women must be allowed equal rights in the temples no matter what. While we can demand bodily cleanliness not only for  the priests but for the temple goer in general,  there are NO  spiritual grounds for denying the rights for woman even during menstrual periods. In Sumeria for millenniums there were woman not only as priests   but also as head priests. The case on Enudu anna is an eloquent example. She wrote the most beautiful and philosophically very profound hymns that were sung throughout the middle east for thousands of years after her death. The male dominance that started after the decline of Sumeria and other Dravidian civilizations has deprived the woman folks the privileges they enjoyed in religion. Even the basically matriarchal Dravidian Society did not escape this turn of male dominance in the evolution of mankind. Now as one American Psychiatrist has observed, the Goddess is returning. This is related, I think, with the dominance of Cyberspace in world culture and along with it  the emergence of Mantarayana. The future wars will not depend on physical strength but rather mental strength and in such mental wars woman are better.. There are more women than men in the institutions of higher learning and on the whole they seem to do better than the male students. A new meaning of mariage, of love , of family life is emerging and we must prepare ourselves for such changes in man-woman relationships.