Nothing but unadulterated joy has been the outcome of the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit that took out the Vel Yatra about two weeks ago. Is it a sign of a grand Sanatana resurgence in a land that has for centuries been the torch-bearing hub of the best of the Bhakti tradition? Perhaps it is too early to arrive at such a conclusion but a brilliant start has been made and going by the spooked reactions from the ruling AIADMK Government, the Vel Yatra has great promise of being a superb success.
By choosing the Vel Yatra, the BJP has chosen well. Apart from being a hoary repository of the ancient Shaiva and Vaishnava traditions, Tamil Nadu alone has earned the preeminence of being a universal treasure-chest and heartland of Subrahmanya worship. Also known as Skanda, Karthikeya, Murugan, Arumugam, Senthil, Mahasena, Kandan or Velan, the mere boy Subrahmanya led a frontal attack against and annihilated the terrible Rakshasa, Tarakasura. The Shaiva Siddhanta texts expound the tenets of Subrahmanya who leads a life devoted to high ethical and spiritual standards and is worshipped as a warrior-philosopher.
The tradition of Skanda worship throughout India dates back to the Vedic era. The great kingdoms that fostered this tradition include the ancient Yaudheyas, who minted coins bearing his image. Even the Buddhist Kushan dynasty minted coins that depicted Karthikeya. Skanda was also a major deity of the ancient Andhras. However, as with everything great and grand in the Sanatana tradition, the Guptas elevated Skanda to a completely different level. Indeed, one of the greatest Gupta Emperors is named after Skanda himself. Arguably, close contact and matrimonial ties that the Guptas had with the Pallavas ensured that the Subrahmanya tradition became pervasive throughout the Tamil country. And that tradition has endured till date.
When Classical Bharatavarsha was near-totally decimated throughout north and northwestern India by the marauding barbarians of a peaceful desert cult from Arabia, this centuries-old tradition of Skanda worship met a ghastly death in these regions. The Tamil country saved the day and saved the Karthikeya tradition for us. The Tamil Hindu kingdoms took Murugan to whichever lands they conquered and ensured that his worship was firmly established there. This is why we find thriving Murugan temples in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Fiji, South Africa and in east of Madagascar. Indeed, it is a verifiable fact even today, that wherever there is a significant population of Tamil communities, we invariably find a Murugan Temple.
Fittingly, the six Subrahamanya Kshetras (each signifying his six faces) in Tamil Nadu continue to occupy a deeply sacred space in the social, cultural and spiritual life of its people. He continues to command the same devotion that gave us the immortal Arunagirinathar’s rapturous verses of piety, which five hundred years later birthed the devotional film, Kandan Karunai. The film was made at a time when E.V. Ramaswami Naicker’s asuric Dravidian cult was busy bombing every facet of Sanatana Dharma in Tamil Nadu. The fact that it became a huge blockbuster tells the real story.
The real story is the subterranean Bhakti innate in the DNA of the Tamil people. For some time, the Church soul-vultures were able to tap into this innocent but genuine Bhakti by misleading the Tamil people and garnered some impressive harvests for an alleged son of a questionable God. But the real damage was done by the Dravidian cult which not only drank deep from this poisoned Christist well but added a non-existent Tamil linguistic and racist chauvinism to it. One consequence was the near-total suppression of this Bhakti DNA. A great weapon that came handy in this vile project was the complete takeover of temples in Tamil Nadu, now a well-known story. What the Church couldn’t do, the DMK did: industrial-scale internal sabotage of the Hindu society in Tamil Nadu.
However, it appears that things have slowly come a full circle over the last ten or twelve years. In my travels through the Tamil country, I have noticed a happy upsurge of massive Hanuman and Murugan Vigrahas dotting highways and interior roads. Sanatana festivals are being celebrated with greater vigour, pomp, and public participation. Mass rendering of devotional hymns, Kritis and various Pujas and Homams have witnessed a marked increase.
This has happened for four major reasons. First, the façade and the real truth of the Dravidian ideology was exposed about one and half generations ago as nothing but a sinister quest for wielding political power. Second, as the Tamil people began to travel the world, it became clear that the DMK could no longer exercise the vise-like grip over the Sanatana society which it had done for so long through sheer political bullying and tyranny. Third, the Internet ensured that the carefully-buried evils of the Dravidian cult and the degenerate life and deeds of “Periyar” were freely available for the whole world to verify. Fourth, it became clear that the two major political parties in Tamil Nadu were only awaiting their assured destruction because they had remained relevant as long as their respective leaders were alive.
Indeed, the biggest fear of the DMK is precisely the sort of Hindu consolidation that the Vel Yatra has now ignited because the party’s edifice is by and itself, Hindu-hatred. Recall that in the wake of the BJP’s massive victory in 2014, Stalin undertook a panicked temple run in 2015-16, claiming that even he “respected” Sanatana Dharma. Nobody was fooled. As a desperate measure, he decided to adopt the slash-and-burn strategy. Hence the birth and growth of the depraved Karuppar Kootam (a wretched Dravidian cousin of the equally depraved Black Lives Matter).
In all this, we can take consolation in the fact that the core of Karunanidhi’s Dravidianism died in his own lifetime and his DMK is in tatters today because it abandoned Skanda and chose Stalin.
Skanda or the Tamil Bhakti tradition is still perhaps the strongest foundation that will act as a powerful catalyst if one is serious about a true Sanatana resurgence in Tamil Nadu. The alternative is an unthinkable Kerala-like situation where Jesus-peddling pedophiles enjoy a safe haven, immune from law and accountable to none.
By launching the Vel Yatra, the BJP has taken a great first step. Its continuance will be meaningful only if it takes the best of this traditional Tamil Bhakti tradition and twines it anew with the Sanatana social undercurrent that is awaiting that one chance to joyously burst on to the surface. On a larger plane, the secret to the BJP’s repeated successes is rather straightforward: it is the only national party in India today because it is truly pan-Indian and it is pan-Indian because its core ideology is based on the culture and civilizational pulse of Indians. That civilizational pulse is unambiguously Sanatana.
Whatever the outcome of the upcoming Tamil Nadu elections, it presents a huge opportunity to bury the Dravidian debris for good.
May Murugan bless the BJP.
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