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«Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples, and Lords of the Maṭam: Monasteries in Medieval Tamilnadu Michelle L. Folk A Thesis in the Department of Religion ...»

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Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples, and Lords of the Maṭam:

Monasteries in Medieval Tamilnadu

Michelle L. Folk

A Thesis

in the Department of

Religion

Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements

for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy (Religion) at

Concordia University

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

August 2013

© Michelle L. Folk, 2013

ii

CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES

This is to certify that the thesis prepared By: Michelle L. Folk

Entitled: Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples, and Lords of the Maṭam:

Monasteries in Medieval Tamilnadu and submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (Religion) complies with the regulations of the University and meets the accepted standards with respect to originality and quality.

Signed by the final examining committee:

___________________________________________ Chair Prof. Arpi Hamalian ___________________________________________ External Examiner Dr. Richard Mann ___________________________________________ External to Program Dr. Alan E. Nash ___________________________________________ Examiner Dr. Mathieu Boisvert ___________________________________________ Examiner Dr. Shaman Hatley ___________________________________________ Thesis Supervisor Dr. Leslie C. Orr Approved by ___________________________________________

Chair of Department or Graduate Program Director July 25, 2013 ________________________________________________

Dean of Faculty iii Abstract Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples, and Lords of the Maṭam: Monasteries in Medieval Tamilnadu Michelle L. Folk, Ph.D.

Concordia University, 2013 The maṭam is understood in scholarly studies as an institution of asceticism and monasticism in Hinduism. The term maṭam can refer to caravansaries, choultries, rest houses, or monasteries for ascetics. While diverse in their functions and teachings, maṭams have historically shared the common characteristic of the teacher-disciple relationship and lineage. The maṭam emerged in the stone inscriptions from the South Indian region of Tamilnadu in the ninth century of the Common Era as one of the many institutions that received patronage from citizens to support its people and activities.

While the inscriptions reveal the activities of maṭams, scholars have instead focused on tracing the lineages of maṭams in the Tamil region without examining the inscriptions for what they say about the people who lived in maṭams or frequented them occasionally.

This thesis examines the stone inscriptions from the ninth through thirteenth centuries for what they can tell us about the people who participated in maṭams and the activities that these institutions undertook. Ascetics, devotees, disciples, and “lords of the maṭam” (maṭamuṭaiya) were among the maṭam community and benefitted from maṭams’ services. These same maṭam people were also one of the many kinds of people who served the temple complex in medieval Tamilnadu. The term maṭam is representative of diverse people and activities, and the inscriptions reveal that the maṭam in the Chola

–  –  –

Working towards the completion of a doctoral degree is something that cannot be done without the support and guidance of a number of people. There have been many people – professors, colleagues, friends, and family – that have supported me throughout my many years of doctoral studies and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their continued encouragement. I would like to begin by extending my thanks to the staff of the Epigraphy Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India for graciously granting me access to the transcripts of the inscriptions that are in their keeping in Mysore. Thank you to the people of the École Française d’Extrême Orient in Pondicherry for their assistance during my time in India.

I would like to acknowledge the financial support that I received during my doctoral studies. I have received scholarships and awards from Concordia University and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute in the form of a Student Excellence Award and Graduate Student Research Fellowship. I have also received support through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and teaching opportunities from the Religion Department at Concordia University and Luther College and the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Regina.

There are many professors who have graciously guided me as an undergraduate and graduate student. Thank you to Leona Anderson who has guided me throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies. I want to mention Appasamy Murugaiyan whose suggestion that maṭams would make for an original dissertation topic started me on this

–  –  –

My thanks and appreciation are for my dissertation committee Mathieu Boisvert, Shaman Hatley, and Leslie C. Orr. I owe them a great debt for patiently working with me to bring this dissertation to completion. My greatest thanks and gratitude is for my supervisor Leslie C. Orr who has been extremely generous with her time and knowledge and whose patience is beyond measure.





I am grateful to my family and friends for their encouragement and support. I would like to extend a special thank you to my grandmother Cecile Rayner. Though she was unable to see this chapter of my life come to a close, her strength and determination saw me through to the end. I would especially like to thank my husband Tim St. Amand for his enduring support. You have been firmly by my side on this journey, which you call an adventure, especially in those moments when I have faltered. Thank you cannot

–  –  –

List of Maps

List of Tables

List of Figures

Transliteration, Translation, and Citation

Abbreviations

Chapter One: Reading the Writing on the Wall: Epigraphy’s Roles in Indian Historiography and the Maṭam

A. Some Introductory Remarks

B. Approaching the Inscriptions: The History of Epigraphical Studies in India and How to Read the Inscriptions

1. A Brief History of Epigraphical Studies in India

2. Inscriptions as Literature; Inscriptions as Objects

C. Scholarship on the Maṭam in the Tamil Inscriptions

Chapter Two: The Maṭam Inscriptions of the Chola Period and the Patrons of Maṭams

A. Research Methodology

B. The Geographical and Chronological Distribution of the Maṭam Inscriptions........ 42 C. The Patrons of Maṭams

1. Rulers as Maṭam Patrons

2. Corporate Groups as Maṭam Patrons

3. Individuals as Maṭam Patrons

–  –  –

D. Conclusion: Maṭam Property Management

Chapter Three: The People and Activities of Maṭams in the Chola Period

A. The Maṭam and the Tamil Landscape

B. Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples, and Lords of the Maṭam: The People of Maṭams

1. Maṭam People in the Ninth Century

2. Maṭam People in the Tenth Century

3. Maṭam People in the Eleventh Century

4. Maṭam People in the Twelfth Century

5. Maṭam People in the Thirteenth Century

C. The Sectarian Affiliation of Maṭams

D. Learning, Reciting Hymns, Worshipping Deities, Lighting Lamps, and Feeding:

The Activities of Maṭam People

1. Learning

2. Reciting Hymns, Worshipping Deities, and Lighting Lamps

3. Feeding

E. Conclusion: The Role of the Maṭam in the Temple Complex

Chapter Four: Maṭams in Chingleput District in the Chola Period

A. An Introduction to the Maṭam in Chingleput District

B. The Patrons of Maṭams

1. Rulers as Maṭam Patrons

2. Corporate Groups as Maṭam Patrons

–  –  –

4. Maṭam People as Patrons

C. The Maṭam’s Hometown

D. Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples, and Lords of the Maṭam: The People of Maṭams

1. Maṭam People in the Ninth Century

2. Maṭam People in the Tenth Century

3. Maṭam People in the Eleventh Century

4. Maṭam People in the Twelfth Century

5. Maṭam People in the Thirteenth Century

E. Learning and Feeding: The Activities of Maṭam People

1. Learning

2. Feeding

F. Conclusion: Summing Up the Maṭam in Chingleput District

Chapter Five: Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples, and Lords of the Maṭam;

Learning, Reciting Hymns, and Feeding: Some Concluding Remarks on Maṭams in Medieval Tamilnadu

A. The Geography of the Maṭam in the Chola Period

B. The Identity of the Maṭam Patron and the Maṭam Person

C. Asceticism and Monasticism in the Maṭam

D. Some Final Remarks

–  –  –

Table 2.1 The Geographical and Chronological Distribution of the Maṭam Inscriptions by District

Table 2.2 The Types of Property That Were Donated to Maṭams

Table 2.3 The Chronological Distribution of the Patrons of Maṭams

Table 2.4 The Chronological Distribution of Corporate Groups as the Patrons of Maṭams

Table 2.5 The Chronological Distribution of Males as the Patrons of Maṭams.

.............. 61 Table 2.6 The Chronological Distribution of Maṭam People as the Patrons of Maṭams and Temples

Table 3.1 Some Terms for Maṭam People

Table 3.2 The Activities of Maṭam People

Table 4.1 The Chronological and Geographical Distribution of the Maṭam Inscriptions in Chingleput District

Table 4.2 The Types of Property That Were Donated to Maṭams in Chingleput District

Table 4.3 The Chronological Distribution of the Patrons of Maṭams in Chingleput District

Table 4.4 The Chronological Distribution of the Male Patrons of Maṭams in Chingleput District

–  –  –

Figure 2.1 The Distribution of the Maṭam Inscriptions by Macro-Region

Figure 2.2 The Dynastic Distribution of the Maṭam Inscriptions

Figure 4.1 The Dynastic Distribution of the Maṭam Inscriptions in Chingleput

–  –  –

I have used the transliteration of the figures, texts, and words that are in Tamil as they appear in the Tamil Lexicon (MTL) with the exception of the long and short o and e since these are not distinguished in the inscriptions. In the case of Grantha characters, which were used in the inscriptions for Sanskrit letters, I have used the standard Sanskrit transliteration. I have used the standard non-scholarly transliteration for the names of places, kings, and dynasties. For example, I have used Chidambaram for Citamparam and Chola in place of Cōḻa.

All translations of the Tamil language inscriptions are my own except where specifically noted. In terms of translation method, square brackets indicate an editorial addition to a translation by an editor or by me. A series of dots indicates a break in a text, which may mark damage to the inscription, missing characters, or an incomplete or unfinished line in the inscription.

The published texts that I consulted are distinguished from the unpublished transcripts by citation. An inscriptional text available in publication in South Indian Inscriptions or elsewhere is indicated by use of the volume’s standard abbreviation in the citation. For example, a text published in South Indian Inscriptions is indicated by use of SII in its citation. An unpublished full-text transcript is indicated in its citation by use of its ARE number from the Annual Reports on Indian Epigraphy. I have provided a footnote in those instances where I have consulted the unpublished transcript of an

–  –  –

ARE Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy CMK Ceṉṉai Mānakar Kalveṭṭukaḷ CIPS Chronological List of Inscriptions of the Puduttokkai State Arranged According to

–  –  –

EI Epigraphica Indica IPS Inscriptions (Texts) of the Pudukkottai State Arranged According to Dynasties KK Kaṉṉiyākumari Kalveṭṭukaḷ MDh Mānava Dharmaśāstra PI Pondicherry Inscriptions PP Periya Purāṇam RV Ṛg Veda SP Somaśambhupaddhati SII South Indian Inscriptions SITI South Indian Temple Inscriptions Tait Up Taittirīya Upaniṣad TK Tarumapuri Kalveṭṭukaḷ TAM Tiruvannamalai: A Sacred Śaiva Complex of South India TAS Travancore Archaeological Series Tēv Tēvāram Ysam Yatidharmasamuccaya

–  –  –

Hail! Prosperity! In the [2]7th [regnal] year of Śrī Kaṉṉaratevar, Vācaspati Bhaṭṭārar, the son of Vijñāna[kṣe]ma Bha[ṭṭ]ārar, the lord of the maṭam of Tiruvūṟal of Takkolam, gave ninety never aging and never dying living sheep for one perpetual lamp for Mahā[d]evar of Tiruvūṟal.

The shepherd Mummalai was under the obligation to protect this one lamp and these never dying and never aging living sheep (SII 5.1365).

This tenth-century inscription, which is located on the south wall of the central shrine of the Jalanāthēśvara temple at Takkolam, records a donation for a perpetual lamp for the god Śiva of Tiruvural made by Vācaspati Bhaṭṭārar. The making of such stone epigraphs has a long history in India that reaches back centuries before the Common Era.

There are approximately 90,000 inscriptions from India as a whole, engraved not only in stone but on metal, wood pillars, tablets, plates, pots, bricks, shells, and other objects dating from before the Common Era up to modern times. Such inscriptions may have been as brief as a single mark or word or extremely lengthy texts (Sircar 1965, 1). While the earliest inscriptions date from the third to fourth century before the Common Era, and while inscriptions are found throughout India, their distribution is not even in terms of their antiquity, geography, and language. Inscriptions are much more common in the medieval period than in earlier times and, in geographical terms, approximately 25,000 inscriptions come from the Tamil region of South India and these constitute the largest body of inscriptions from a single region (Salomon 1998, 5).



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