Published September 2004
Published by Muthal Naidoo
Text & Photographs © Muthal Naidoo
Muthal Naidoo Publishing
PO Box 3045
Littleton South, 0176
Cover design and book layout
(SAHO - South African History Online)
Scans by Werner Strauss, PC du Plessis & sure_pix
Printing by Typo Printers
ISBN NO: 0-620-32525-9
Ayyapan Worship 11
The Caste System 13
The Marieamman Temple: Pretoria 15
Ritual Practice 19
Household Prayers 25
Naming a Baby 27
The pumpkin ceremony to bless a car 29
Yegyim (Havan) 31
Kavadi and Garagam 37
Calendar of Temple Festivals 49
Tamil Literature and Religion 57
Guru Poojay 61
Last Rites 87
Songs, Prayers, Dedications 99
Religious rites and traditions that have been passed down for centuries reflect the cultures of the past and need constant elucidation in order to make them accessible to new generations.
This book, which outlines the practices and understanding of Poosari Ronnie Naidoo of Pretoria, an ardent scholar of Hinduism, provides explanations and may be regarded as a manual of Tamil rituals.
Ritual procedures, set out step-by-step, are meant for people who wish to conduct their own ceremonies and streamline them to suit modern times and needs.
Tamil formularies are among the most complex of holy rites because:
- They include such a wealth of symbols and liturgies that it is easy to lose track of meaning and reduce them to magic and superstition.
- Practices are not identical though they conform to similar patterns. Procedures differ from place to place, temple to temple, home to home and individual to individual.
- They were influenced by transplanation to South Africa and in a new environment, practitioners worked from memory and practices tended to remain fixed in the past and to resist change.
- As the use of Tamil declined, the symbolism and meaning of rituals became obscure.
- Being transplanted to a largely Christian context, the religion, regarded as pagan and inferior, underwent modification.
This book is not for Tamils only but for all those who want a quick grasp of Hinduism.
Notes at the end of chapters:
Each note has a number after it. The number refers to the songs etc. in the list of songs etc. to be found in the last chapter Songs and Prayers, pages 99 to 118.
To all those who provided pictures and information for the book: Jeram Bhana, Arushni Pillay, Thanga Kollapen, Dhano Pillay, Thanabalam Subrimani, Asherndra Naidoo, The Marieamman Temple, The Melrose Temple, The Laudium Temple.
To Shizeeda Osman and Carol Parsons for reading the manuscript.
To Gumani Makhado for the layout.
To SAHO for support and assistance.