Vedic Agni Illa

We know that Skanda or Sanatkumara, also known as Murugan in the South (from Vedic ‘Marutvan’ meaning beautiful, and also war-god), is strongly associated with the creation of the Tamil language. He is also known as Agni (Fire) in the Rig Vedic era.

We also know that the Tamils call their sunken land, where he came from, the land of Ilam, named after Ila, the Vedic daughter of the first-man, Manu (ironically, associated with a flood in Vedic tales).

This brings us to the question, if the Aryans did invade India, why is their oldest text, the Rig Veda, full of tales of floods, and similar tales to that of the peoples in the South (supposedly the inhabitants of the dry desert area in Sindh, to the North-West)?

The Rig Veda (I.31.11) tells us that Ila is the first teacher to the sons of mortals or mankind. In the Vedas, she is associated as a River, and also associated with Agni in the same verse, who is the first living being.

Agni himself is often referred to as the child of the floods or waters (apas) (RV.III.1.12), which shows his origin also, in the flooded regions.

In one verse of the Rig Veda (I.65.5), Agni is described as a Hamsa or swan in the waters, and as a sage like the god Soma, born from the Divine Law, showing the interesting nature of this god, who seems to be associated with a watery-birth.

He is also called the maiden’s (Kani) lover and the matron’s lord (RV.66.4), and the Yama or controller of present and future lives, relating him also to the god of death and the first-man (Manu).

What is interesting here, is that the sunken land of Ilam of the Tamils, is also called Kumari Kandam (The Virgin-Land). Kumari relates to Kani, the virgins of whom Agni is the lover of. His association with the floods has also been established, showing this interesting connection.

We need not go into detail with regards to the Vedic god Indra, and his wars with the water-serpent Vritra. This alone suggests a more oceanic origin of the Aryans, as opposed to a war fought in the desert regions in north-western India, as scholars seem to assume!

Agni as associated with Ila, herself associated with word or Vak (also a goddess) is also interesting, considering that the Tamil language is said to have originated with him (as Murugan) and the Vedic Seer, Agastya.

Agni in the Vedas is also lauded as Brahmanaspati (Lord of Prayer) and Brihaspati (Lord of Speech). Interestingly, Agni’s name is also the first word in the Rig Veda, and appears as “Agnim-Ile” meaning “I praise Agni” – ironically, this is also “Agni-Ila” – the “La” sound in the latter, of which is a common sound in southern Dravidian languages, but is now lost from Indo-Aryan languages, as it was from classical Sanskrit.

This all also points to a common origin of the two languages – Tamil and Sanskrit, as also to the sunken lands, mentioned in the Vedic texts.

The Shatapatha Brahmana (I.8.1) describes the flood of the Vedic people, and the fish or Matysa-avatar of Vishnu, who comes and rescues the Seer Manu. It also notes of his daughter Ila, born of his sacrifice. Accordingly, Manu was taken to a “Northern Mountain”, where he was saved from the flood.

This seems to suggest that Manu came from the South, in the Vedic texts alone, as well as the previous evidence in regards to Ila and Agni.

Manu in Bhagavata Purana (VIII.24.13) is stated to have been a King called ‘Satyavrata’ from the Dravida (southern) province who sailed North to avoid the floods, and to whom the Matysa (fish) incarnation of Vishnu appeared to (as per the Shatapatha Brahmana).

Manu in the Vedas is Vaivasvata (Solar Manu), who again, has the daughter Ila. To make this link, the text Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (VI.4.28) calls Ila as 'Maitravaruni' meaning 'daughter of Mitra (Sun, Vasivasvata) and Varuna (Waters or floods)'- showing she is cognate to both Satyavrata and Vaivasvata and connects the two, and shows the first 'Aryans' or Vedic people came from Southern Indian practices.

This gives us a clue – that the ancient Aryans came from a Solar-worshipping culture that now lies buried beneath the oceans, somewhere in the vicinity of southern India. Perhaps around Mahabalipuram as the Tamils have believed for thousands of years.

It is interesting that India is given the name of Bharata today, which is also related to Bharati, one of the Vedic Goddesses associated with Saraswati and Ila. India is also named after Ila in the North, and hence called “Ilavarta”.

It is ironic that the Goddess Saraswati is also seen as the creator of the Sanskrit language in the North, as Murugan or Agni is to the South – the River Saraswati lying in the area of the Indus Valley cities, where the Vedas were composed.

Perhaps Ila was an older Southern version, as the Vedas seem to suggest, as her link with speech or Vak, as also Agni’s in the Rig Veda, points to this, and shows the southern more ‘Dravidian’ tales, closer to the Vedic, than the so-called ‘Aryan’ to the North!

What is also curious, is that the southern ‘Vimana’ or ‘Ratha’ (Chariot) festivals and style architecture in the South, is also a feature of the Vedic Gods, Mitra and Varuna (RV II.41.5& V.62.6). This also reminds us of the Jagganath Cult in Orissa and elsewhere.

Another figure in the south is Maya Danava, who appears in the Vedic texts as the Seer Ushana, of the Brighu Seers. Ushana himself is credited with the creation of such architectural styles in the South, and in fact, Sthapathyaveda or the science of architecture itself!

This, however, is a purely Vedic notion also.

Ushana is said to have been somewhat of a craftsman in Vedic terms, and even creates the vajra or thunderbolt with a thousand points, for Indra (V.34.2) as per the Rig Veda.

The term Maya Danava and Asura Maya for Ushanas in later times mean “Wise Asura”, a term coined in the Rig Veda itself, where it relates him to Soma, as knowing all the births of the deities, and hence his wisdom (IX.97.7). Soma is also compared to Ushana’s wisdom in another verse (IX.87.3), where he is called Rishi and Vipra or Seer and Sage.

Ushana also establishes Agni as the invoker or Hotar in the Rig Veda(VIII.22.17), showing his connection to him.

Ushana is often Indra’s (later Shiva) companion in the Rig Veda. In one verse, he is also associated as coming to Indra with the deities, and the same verse also lauds Indra as saving the Yadu peoples from the floods (V.31.8).

Does this also relate to the same southern flood culture, of Ilam or Kumari Kandam?

The Rig Vedic verse (IV.26.1) commences with the Seer Vamadeva realising himself as Indra (Shiva) and proclaiming “I am Manu and I am the Sun” , and also includes that he is also Ushana – linking these Sages – Manu of the flood with Surya (hence Manu as Vaivasvata).

In the next verse, Vamadeva / Indra’s spirit says that he has given the earth (bhu) to the Aryas and has guided forth the floods. Does this refer to the god Indra giving land to Aryan refugees of a flooded-culture, right after his proclamation of linking the flood-characters, and those famed in the South, with himself?

The next verse (3) goes on to say how he destroyed the ninety nine cities of the demon Shambara, who was perhaps an ancient king of this flood-culture, who also became it’s victim, at the wrath of Indra.

Indra, who is known as Rudra-Shiva in later times, is also connected to Murugan or Agni. The Shatapatha Brahmana text of the Vedic era (VI.1.3.8-19) tells us that Rudra-Shiva was first born as a Kumara (boy) and was given nine names: Rudra, Sarva, Ugra, Pashupati, Asani, Bhava, Mahadeva, Ishana and Kumara (boy-child), his ninth name.

Perhaps he was responsible for the destruction of these ancient cities, as he was, indeed, a god or war, and hence of divine wrath and order!
Interestingly, the later southern text Manimekalai, states that the city called Puhar in Kumari Kandam was destroyed, due to neglect of worshipping Indra by the King of Puhar. Hence the goddess Manimekhala sunk the town under the sea. It appears this is a later version of already ancient tales that threatened these people – perhaps from Vedic times!

Manimekhala appears to just be the re-telling of the Vedic tale, where the floods and waters are given a feminine aspect – the seven flood maidens, seven waters or rivers as goddesses etc.

The Puranas tell us that the Dravida peoples of the South are actually descendants of the Vedic King, Turvasha.

Again in the Rig Veda, we read that Yadu (the protogenitor of Ravana, the famous demon-King of Lanka in later times) and Turvasha as being saved from the floods by Indra (I.174.9).

This all seems to support that the forefathers of the likes of the Cholas of Southern India were descendants from these Yadu and Turvasha Kings, along with their Sages.

Among with the likes of Agastya (who we know in the Vedas as also in Tamil tales to be a flood figure), the Brighu Seers, as Ushanas also seem to be prominent.

Rama Bhargava of the Brighus, commonly known as Parshurama in India, is associated with Kerala and the martial arts (Dhanurveda) there. This perhaps also dates back to Ushanas, and his manufacturing of weaponry for the Vedic gods, as mentioned earlier with Indra.

Mahabharata, interestingly, also notes the sacred abodes of tirths or Agastya and Varuna in the Pandya country (Vana Parva,III.88), of which refers to the southern Kingdoms at this early stage in history (late Vedic period).

The Vedic Seers, Agastya, Vasishtha and Brighu in the Rig Veda, are described as sons of Varuna, the Vedic deity of the Oceans. We ask the question then again, if such Aryans invaded India, then why do they appear to have come from a flooded-culture from across the oceans, and are hence children of an ocean-god?

What is more, again we return to Agni or Murugan, the important flood-deity and lord of the South, and see in the (Rig Veda.X.5.1), that he is lauded as being born from the cosmic oceans and represents the Self in the heart. This imagery appears to also show some sort of connection to the God as coming to us, from oceans or an oceanic/flood culture, as per the Tamil tales.

In another verse (I.99.1) Agni is called upon to deliver us from all enemies and problems, like a ship across the oceans. This verse is also the origin of the Durga-Sukta, in praise the Goddess Durga in later times.

Interestingly, Murugan or Agni and the goddess Durga also share another great feature in Hinduism, as both are depicted as the killers of the demon-King Mahesh or Maheshasura, from which the southern city of Mysore is named after! This tale is recounted in the Mahabharata (Aranyaka Parva).

Mahish is perhaps the demon-king of the ancient now sunken lands, of whom was formally known as Vritra and Ahi as a serpent (not a buffalo) in the Vedic era, and was often killed by Indra, Agni and sometimes by the Goddess in her Ghora (terrifying) aspect in the Rig Veda (as 'VritraghnI’, I.68.7), showing that this interchangeable connection between the male-god Murugan-Agni and the goddess or Durga, dates back to then.

It is also interesting to note that the iconography of Agni-Murugan also depicts him as riding a peacock, the enemy of the serpents!

As also, as noted, their association with the Durga Sukta hymn in Rig Veda.

Perhaps the secret is in the Rig Vedic verse, and their connection to the flood-characters and demons such as Mahesh, who disobeyed the Vedic rules.

We also know that Murugan or Agni is born from the Pleiades, and hence his name as “Karttikeya” or the son of the Krittikas. Hence Agni is the deity of the Krittika constellations of the Pleiades (Krishna Yajur Veda Samhita, IV.4.10).

In later times, Ramana Maharishi is associated with being an avatar of Agni-Murugan and was the Seer of Arunachala, the famous mountain which has ancient connections to Siddhas, and appears to have been a spiritual “porthole” to the ancient Sunken cities.

Arunachala is perhaps home of the Aruna Rishis mentioned in Vedas, and of whom are accredited for creating the Krishna Yajurveda, also known as the ‘Taittiriya Samhita’. Interestingly, this text survives amongst the schools of the Dravida or Southern Brahmins!

This tradition includes Yajnavalkya, the nephew of Uddalaka Aruni, the son of Rishi Aruna. Yajnavalkya himself created the younger Shukla Yajur Veda or ‘Vajasenayi Samhita’ , and hence we can see these later Northern Vedic recessions originated from the older Southern forms.

We note that Brihadaranyaka notes this at the end of it’s text, and also includes the rest of the Seers in the lineage, dating back: The Sun (Aditya, the first teacher), Vak (Ila or Speech), Ambhini, Kasyana Nidhruva, Shilpa Kashyapa, Harita Kashyapa, Asita Varshagana, Jihvavat Badhyoga, Vajashravas, Kusri, Upavesi, Aruna..

We note here that Vak is hence Ila who learnt from the Sun. We noted earlier that she is daughter of Manu the first-man and hence descendant of the Sun. Shilpa Kashyapa is also the father of Shilpi, also known as Asuramaya or Ushanas in the Vedas. We have already, these ancient southern teachers, and the Aruna-Rishis, who are hence the ancient Siddhas of Arunachala and the South! The ancient southern Shilpis are herein mentioned in this ancient text, as teachers of the Aruna tradition, which travelled North with Uddalaka, before being reformed by his disciple, Yajnavalkya, of northern fame.

Ambhini is also a female teacher and student in the tradition, we note. Her status, along with Ila-Vak’s is important, as it reminds us of modern southern Mother-Goddess Gurus, such as Sri Ammachi and Mother Meera.

The Garbharakshambika temple in Tanjore in the South is also associated with the tale of the Vedic Nidhruva Rishi, and his wife Vedhika.

This all shows us that Ila and her ancient Land, lay to the South, and the entire Vedic-Manu tradition of the Aryas came from there, before being changed in the North.

Agni and Ila are connected everywhere as the primal teachers. In fact, Agni is also described as the first of the Angirasa Seers (I.31.5), and as noted earlier, also first invoked by the Brighu Seers (as Ushana), showing their close relationship, as a singular older family.

The same must also have occurred with language and the Rig Veda also, which appears to have been nothing more than a selection of ancient hymns re-told. *

(* This seems to be similar to Adi Shankaracharya, the Keralan reformer from the South travelled North to restore the Vedic traditions when Buddhism and Jainism were destroying it in the North. Aryabhatta who reformed Hindu Astrology and the famous Mathematician Bhakshara, were also from Kerala.

We also note how Kerala preserves the ayurvidya (medical science), dhanurvidya (martial arts) and nitya-shastra (science of dance) as well as the Rig and Taittiriya Samhita traditions amongst their Brahmins, whereas these are almost lost in the North!)

In fact, this is proven not only by the relationship that Agni and Ila have in the Rig Veda and it’s earliest hymns, but also Rishis such as Vasishtha, who recite the Mahamritytunjaya mantra (great death hymn) to Shiva, in the Rig Veda (VII.59.12).

Before we dismiss that Vasishtha is a Southern Seer, let us note he is the son of Varuna, the water-god, and also born in the same manner as his brother Agastya (Mana) in the Rig Veda (VII.33.13), from a kumbha or pot, also aided by Agastya his brother (VII.33.10), where Vasishtha, in almost Siddha-form, is described as having a form of vidyut (lightening) and jyoti (light).

Agastyakundam in Kerala is also the abode of Rishi Agastya of the Vedas, who is believed to reside in these hills (malai).

Another Rishi, Narada, appears in the South in later times, especially with the Bhakti (devotional) cult of Vishnu. He is also the first to practice Natya-Yoga or Dance-Yoga. In the Chandogya Upanishad, Skanda or Satankumar (Agni or Murugan) is his spiritual teacher, and enlightens him in Self-wisdom.

We again see here where Agni-Murugan becomes the archetypical teacher of the Rishis, filled with self-wisdom. This is the basis of his later forms as Dandaswami (Seer with a Staff) etc., which are his more teacher-forms.

Once again, we see the Southern connection, and how all of this dates back to Vedic times. Varkala in Kerala is also associated with Rishi Narada.

Kerala is also important, as it is the home of Raja Bali, the ancient Vaishnava-Saint and demon who brought down the Trivikrama or Dwarf (vamana) avatar of the god Vishnu. It is this aspect of Vishnu that is actually lauded in the Rig Veda, again showing the southern-connection.

In fact, the father of Bali, Virochana is mentioned as the adversary of Indra and leader of the Asuras (anti-gods) in the Chandogya Upanishad (I, 7-8). Also the Kaushitaki Upanishad (III.1) mentions Indra killing the people of Prahlada, the grandfather of Bali and father or Virochana. This obviously refers to Indra as the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu as that of Indra in the Vedas, and the people of Prahlada being his father (Hiranyakshipu), aunt etc. who tried to kill the saint.

Interestingly, we learn that Hiranyakshipu is the son of Rishi Kashyapa – the Kashyapa Rishis as formally mentioned, as also with their southern connections. What is more, Ushana or Asuramaya, was said to be his Guru, and again shows the Brighu and Vedic influence here.

These Keralan connections are hence quite important, relating to the Vedas and also Ila, since we note that the Tamils tell us it is the region around Mahabalipuram (The City of Bali) in Tamil Nadu, where the ancient sunken Ilam lands were, and hence from where the Vedic peoples and their Seers arose.

Interestingly, the shore-temples there, along with the recent 2004 tsunami which has restored an ancient temple to the region (ref.

Recent discoveries along the Gulf of Cambay in the North, and Mahabalipuram in the South, also suggest of sunken cities, over 5,000 years old, also proving these links, and hence the link of the first Vedic cities.

The connection of Agni-Murugan to Vishnu is also there in the Rig Veda, as Agni is commonly called Vaishvanara (Cosmic Man), which connects with Vishnu (Cosmic Pervader), in his form as Vamana or Trivikrama, and again, as associated with Bali and the south of India, as also the sunken cities, connected to Bali.

The Venkateshwara deity in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, also connects the two, as both Murugan and Ventakteshwara are said to be the “Kali Yuga Varada” or boon-giving deities of the Kali Yuga. It is obvious that this connection dates back to the Brighu Rishis of the ancient south (who were fire-Seers and also Seers of demon-kings as Bali and devotees of Vishnu), and that Bali etc. were also devotees of Agni-Vishnu or Vaishvanara.

Ventakeshvara is also known as Balaji, which refers to the tale of a young boy, connected with the shrine. This boy is none-other than Agni-Kumara which again shows this Murugan connection.

We also note the devotional nature of the Agni-hymns of the Rig Veda and how they connect to later Vishnu and his bhakti-cults of the South, especially that of Krishna (also a divine youth-warrior).

Agni in the Vedas is also Vasu (wealth), as is Vishnu.

What is also more interesting, and connects us to Ila and her land, is that Ila as the first-woman and daughter of Manu also connects to land (Ila-varta). Ila in the Puranas is also Manu himself, who takes upon the form of a female.

Manu and Ila however, are connected to Yama and Yami, the god and goddess of death. The Rig Veda lauds Yama as also the son of Vivasvan the sun-god, and suggests he is the first man to die (Rig Veda. X.14.1-2). This is also reiterated in the hymn where Yama and Yami fall in love (X.10.3), describing them as primal mortals.

Yami or Yamuna later becomes personified as the River in India, and also connected (as Ila) to Bhu Devi or the Goddess Earth. She becomes the consort of Vishnu himself, as a form of Lakshmi or Shri.

It is interesting that the Sri Sukta, which invokes this goddess, invokes her through Agni, the Divine Fire. Lakshmi is also Padmavati or the Lotus-Goddess, and her iconography is hence also surrounded by waters or an ocean, on a lotus. Does this also connect her with Yami-Ila, as the first-woman, the Earth (Bhur, Ilavarta) and also the floods or oceans?

Rig Veda (X.110.8) notes Ila as appearing like a human being (manusha) in a hymn to the Apris. This suggests her divine nature and human-nature, like that or Lakshmi in later times, who is seen as a daughter of the sage Brighu.

Interestingly, a hymn to Agni in the Rig Veda (X.142.8), asks him for lakes with lotus flowers and states these are mansions of the oceans. Are these flowery hymns again pointing to a flooded land, and asking the god for new non-flooded lands to establish their kingdoms upon?

Certainly, it seems Agni and Ila go together everywhere in the Rig Veda, much like Vishnu and later Lakshmi, as discussed before. Could this Agni-Murugan and Ila connection be linked to the later Vishnu-Venkateshwara and Yamuna-Lakshmi?

One verse clarifies this (Rig Veda.I.128.1). It states Agni is born by the law of Manu and dwells in Ila’s abode, which suggests the Earth (later Bhu-Devi). We also note that, like Yamuna, Ila is also a River.

Moreover, the three Vedic Rivers are Bharati, Ila and Mahi, which translate into Yogic terms as Ida, Pingala and Saraswati Nadis in the subtle body or yogic body. These three are also Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati respectively. Jnanashankalini Tantra, 11).

It appears that Ila actually later becomes the Ganges. Yet Vedic Ila becomes later Pingala (solar nadi), as she descends from the Sun-God (Vivasvan) not the moon like later Ila / Ida. As Pingala, she is also Yamuna.

This all points to Ila – Yamuna – Bhurdevi (earth) and Lakshmi as the same.

We note that Agni is also the son of Ila (III.29.3) and is established in the place of Ila upon the central point on earth or Prithvi (III.29.4) in the Rig Veda. This shows Agni’s form as Murugan, and the connection of perhaps being “rekindled” after being born for carried across from the flooded lands.

Water is also a common feature in Southern mythology: One of the patron Goddesses, Mariamman, is named after the rain, and her name means “Rain-Mother”, which translates into Vedic Marut-Amba meaning ‘Mother of the Maruts (Storm Gods)’ or Malinamba (Mother of Water).

We hence see that Ila and Agni have the same connections in the Vedas as they do in modern Southern India, and ancient Southern India, showing these people as the preservers of the ancient Rishi and Murugan (Agni) orders.

If anything, the North has somewhat been distracted from the original forms and created their own newer paths, from which the later Greek, Roman and others derive, but almost distinct from that of the Vedas, from which they arose!

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