مرکزی صفحہ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society The History of the Holy Servants of the Lord Śiva: A Translation of the Periya PurāṆam of Cēkkiḻār....
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480 Reviews of Books in Bhutan is not matched by a discussion for any other region (p. 64), nor, surprisingly, is there any discussion of the spread of internet access in the region. This sampler approach is tantalising, but it prevents the book as a whole from actually being a reference work. It is not possible, using this book, to compare communications development across the whole Himalayas; nor is it possible to discover where all the Himalayan airports are; nor is it possible to link fault formations in Nepal with those just across the border in the Indian Himalayas; nor is it possible to compare religious or ethnic distributions across the region—again, there are maps, but just for Nepal (p. 57). For a project with such a broad sweep it is perhaps unfair to niggle about the details, but there are inaccuracies. The map of Nepal’s ethnic communities apparently colours the whole NW region Newar (rather than ‘Bhotia’) even though the map immediately below classifies the same region as ‘Bhote’ (or Bhotia?) (p. 56); and the language of the discussion on p. 52 might lead the unsuspecting student to think that the only Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayas was Tibetan. The bibliography is exceedingly short for a volume that covers so many topics. In sum, this is a beautiful book which contains many maps that will in themselves be tremendously valuable references. The book as a whole, however, cannot be taken as a reference work on the region: it omits important areas, and it does not give consistent and comparable coverage in the many topics it considers. It should not be given to students without significant caveats. It is, however, the only work of its scale and scope for many years and will be a useful and enjoyable addition to any library. William Tuladhar-Douglas University of Aberdeen The History of the Holy Servants of the Lord Śiva: A Translation of the Periya Purān.am of Cēkkil2ār. By Alastair McGlashan, pp. xii, 417. Victoria, BC, Trafford Publishing, 2006. doi:10.1017/S1356186307007638 There has ; long been a need for the publication of a complete and accurate English translation of the Tamil Periya Purān.am, the “Big Purān.am” or the “Great Collection of Divine Stories.” This work, attributed to a minister of the Cōl 2a court named Cēkkilā2 r and most often dated to the middle of the twelfth century, is one of the most important texts of South Indian Śaivism and indeed of all Tamil literature. It recounts episodes in the lives of the 63 nāyan2mār, Śaiva devotees who lived between, approximately, the sixth and ninth centuries c.e. The three most celebrated nāyan2mār, Appar, Campantar, and Cuntarar, wrote poems that were later compiled as the Tēvāram, and these three are central protagonists in the Periya Purān.am. The Tēvāram and the Periya Purān.am are both included in the Tirumur 2ai, the canon of South Indian Śaiva Siddhānta. The relevance of the Periya Purān.am today is evidenced by the numerous discourses on the text that take place daily throughout Tamil-speaking India. It has been translated into English in its entirety once previously, a stilted but generally accurate and useful verse translation by T.N. Ramachandran. Ramachandran’s work was published in 1990–1995 by Tamil University Press in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, and thus is not easily obtainable outside of India. Now, Alastair McGlashan has competently delivered the text for the use of scholars and readers with an interest in Tamil literature and religion. That McGlashan’s work is the first English translation of this important text to be published outside of India is likely due to the enormity of this “big” (periya) text of 4,281 verses. McGlashan fittingly begins with a short, 18-page introduction that attempts to locate the work in its historical, literary, and religious context. While useful to a reader who is unfamiliar with medieval Tamil history and literature, the introduction is not a scholarly contribution to the text and its background. This is no surprise, as Reviews of Books 481 the author is not an academic but, as described on the back cover, an “Anglican priest, a Jungian analyst and a student of Tamil” who took on the task of translation as a retirement project. The introduction is largely unreferenced, and the author does not question traditional Śaiva views of the text’s authorship and date. There are some significant errors and contradictions, such as McGlashan’s statement that the Tēvāram hymns “are the earliest religious literature in any Indian language other than Sanskrit” (1). However, he goes on to mention other Tamil religious texts that predate the earliest portions of the Tēvāram, which he convincingly places in the late sixth or early seventh century c.e. (Appendix D), such as Kāraikkāl Ammaiyār’s hymns to Śiva, which he dates to the sixth century c.e. (3), and the Tirumurukārrupat.ai of Nakkı̄rar, a poem to the god Murukan2 which McGlashan dates to 250–300 c.e. (5), but which Kamil Zvelebil puts in the first half of the fifth century c.e. (Lexicon of Tamil Literature, Koln, 1994, p. 679). McGlashan’s introduction betrays his Christian background, signalled in his frequent references to Biblical passages and in his capitalisation of “God”. It also emerges in his discussion of the notorious violence of the text. Prior scholarship on the Periya Purān.am has often focussed on these violent episodes, in which devotees chop, squash, and cook a variety of family members, themselves, and their enemies to demonstrate their devotion to Śiva. McGlashan connects these violent passages with the shedding of blood for god shared by Christianity, calling these “profound and instinctual”. (17) For him, the text is a vehicle for the working of “the divine spirit” which is shared with Christianity (18). If one wonders why the Church Mission Society and the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel would help to fund visits to India to work on the translation, the answer, perhaps, is provided by McGlashan himself, who states that he completed the book “at the lotus feet of the one Lord who rules over earth and heaven, by whatever name he is known” (x). At the same time, McGlashan tries hard to sympathise with the Śaiva Siddhānta orthodoxy, and does at times display understanding of the religious uniqueness of Śaivism. For example, his description of the nāyan2mār as ‘devotees’ rather than ‘believers’ and his concomitant discussion of an2pu (love, affection, devotion) are accurate and demonstrate a certain freedom from the Protestant bias that belief is the primary activity of religious people (6). At other times his unquestioned acceptance of traditional views is problematic, such as his designation of the non-Tamil Kalabhras as “evil rulers”, which repeats the language of Tamil purists and the precise words of the South Indian historian Nilakanta Sastri A History of South India, Fourth Edition, (Delhi, 1995), (p. 144). His attempts to place the Periya Purān.am in its literary context are revealing, more in what they do not tell us than in what they do. Here he focuses exclusively on Tamil literary history and overlooks the text’s precedents in non-Tamil literature. Indeed, he struggles to find antecedents in Tamil, correctly noting that the dominant themes of sangam literature, love and war, are largely absent in the Periya Purān.am, as are the models in which human conduct is discussed by prior ethical treatises, and the narrative models set forth by prior epic literature. What he neglects to consider here is Sanskrit Purān.ic literature, which clearly predates the composition of the Periya Purān.am and with which the Periya Purān.am shares many of its images and narrative references. However, in Appendix C he lists a number of Purān.ic stories that are found in the Periya Purān.am, indicating that he is aware of this influence. While McGlashan does recognise the Jain Sanskrit Mahāpurān.a as an influential work, he distances the Periya Purān.am from it by denying that Cēkkilā2 r based the number of nāyan2mār, 63, on the 63 saints of the Mahāpurān.a (10). In asserting the uniqueness of the text and disregarding Sanskrit literary influence, his conclusions reflect the biases of recent Śaiva Siddhānta orthodoxy. Of course, the work succeeds or fails on the quality of the translation, not on the strength or weakness of its supportive apparatus. It is here that the book is most valuable, and the sheer length of the work is impressive. The language of the translation is often clunky, however, and there are disturbing gaps in some of the verses. For example, he often does not translate metonymies for Śiva. 482 Reviews of Books Thus “he whose red feet are adorned with anklets, and his head with the waxing moon” (verse 1900, my translation); “the one who is adorned with a snake and has matted hair” (verse 1915); and “the one whose matted hair is adorned with a river” (verse 2657); all become simply “Lord Śiva” in his translation. McGlashan curtains descriptions of more prosaic things as well, such as the mansions of the city of Cı̄kāl 2i, which verse 1910 locates on “streets inlaid with grand, luminous jewels”, a phrase entirely absent in this translation. While these particular omissions might seem negligible, they do impoverish the text, and they raise doubts as to other omissions. Unfortunately, I was not able to check the Tamil text that he used for his translation, as he does not tell us which edition he employed, but of the three editions that he cites in his bibliography, one is the standard for scholars today, the Kōvai Tamil 2 Caṅkam edition edited by Ci. Kē. Cuppiraman.iya Mutaliyār, 1975. I referred to this edition, and to another (the Tirumakal. Nilaiyam edition, edited by Va. Ta. Irāmacuppiraman.iyam, 2002), and my editions do not vary in the verses I examine above. In other verses, McGlashan renders beautiful, compact verses with mechanical prose, as in verses 2162–3: “Thereupon Campantar, who was not subject to repeated births, chanted in peerless, mellifluous tones the holy Vedic scriptures without number and the ancient texts dependent on them” (190). While one could cite many such verses, just one more will suffice to make the point here, verse 244: “The devotees of the Lord came out to meet Nampi with unfeigned affection. They were so eager to exchange greetings that you could not tell whether it was he or they who were the first to make obeisance” (37). The translation is often too literal, as in verse 325: “We have granted to you as your bride the maiden Paravaiyār, and we have given instructions to that effect to our devotees” (44). At the same time, taking into account the difficulty of translating the beauty of the text and the sheer size of the task, McGlashan’s work is a significant accomplishment. Overall, the translation appears to be largely accurate, and McGlashan is to be commended on taking on such a substantial piece of work. The notes are informative, and Tamil scholars will appreciate his use of diacritics in proper names. The photographs of bronzes of the nāyan2mār and of important sites of the narrative are terrific and make the volume more attractive. A better map which locates the various temples that the nāyan2mār visited would have been helpful. The appendices are quite useful for those unfamiliar with the text, and Appendix D, a discussion of the dates of the nāyan2mār, is especially careful and clear. In sum, the translation adequately presents the narrative content and social and ethical concerns of a key text in South Indian literary and religious history, and its publication is welcome to those working on South Indian literature and religion. Richard Weiss Victoria University, New Zealand The Government of the Qin and Han Empires: 221 bce – 220 ce. By Michael Loewe. pp. xviii, 224. Indianapolis and Cambridge, Hackett, 2006. doi:10.1017/S135618630700764X This remarkable book gives an overall description of the structure and operation of government in the period of China’s first unified empire. It is written for non-specialists, in Michael Loewe’s clear and precise style, but is also a weighty contribution to the study of early China, and all scholars of the period will find it useful. There may be a few learned persons in China and Japan whose knowledge of the sources of Han history is as broad and deep as Michael Loewe’s, but in the West he is unrivalled. Over the years he has written both specialist and popular books, but he recently crowned his long career with two massive