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Mr. Jothi Senthil Kumar in Picture depicting the Naga Nelai Kattu, this Style depicts the Cobra move in silambam

Silambam

 

Silambam is the art, which was created by Siddhars for the common people to protect them salves when there is a life-threatening situation. It is the art, which was developed very systematically and scientifically. Silambam was the first Martial art in Asia. Most of them argue upon this theory, because of many reasons and its secrets this art was not been fully explained to people. We all know that any secret will be leaked by time. As it was difficult subject matter and only few important people knew about its potentiality.

I would like to give few examples, which is being on practice even today by Tamil people that can prove my theory of findings on Silambam.

All say China is the country, which gave the scientific, and systematic martial arts to world. The Chines martial arts based upon the foot moments and the free hand combat, using of animal movements in its styles. The CHI energy, Zang fu, YANG and YIN of Acupuncture. These are the main concepts of Chine’s and northeast Asia martial arts.

 

Mahārshi Bhoganāthar or Bhogar Siddhar

Siddha Bhoganathar was a South Indian by birth, belonging to the caste of goldsmiths, Bhogars first Guru was Siddha Agastyar and his Second Guru was Kalangi Nathar was born in Kasi ( Benares ). He attained the immortal state of swarupa samadhi at the ago of 315, and then made China the center of his teaching activities. He belonged to the ancient tradition of Nava (nine) Nath sadhus (holy ascetics), tracing their tradition to Lord Shiva.

It is said that as per the last wishes of his guru, Bhogar proceeded to China to spread the knowledge of siddha sciences and his journey is said to have been made with the aid of an aircraft; he demonstrated to the Chinese the details of the construction of the aircraft and later built for them a sea-going craft using a steam engine. The details of these and other experi- ments demonstrated by Bhogar in China are clearly documented in the Saptakanda.

Siddha Bhoganathar is also know as Bo-Yang and also known as Lao-Tzu in China- the founder of Taoism (5th century B.C.) was the first Chinese to propound the theory of duality of matter the male Yang and female Yin - which conforms to the Siddha concept of Shiva(Matter) Shakti(Energy) or positive-negative forces. He visited many countries astrally, and physically and through transmigration. His visit to South America has been confirmed by accounts left by the Muycas of Chile: Bocha, who gave laws to Muycas, was a white, bearded man, wearing long robes, who regulated the calendar, established festivals, and vanished in time like others, (other remarkable teachers who had come across the Pacific according to numerous legends of Incas, Aztecs and Mayans).

In one of his songs Bhoganr claims to have flown to China at one point in a sort of airplane which he built, he held discussions with Chinese Siddhas before returning to India

At the end of his mission to China , about 400 BC, Bhoganathar, with his disciple Yu (whom he also gave the Indian name Pulipani) and other close disciples, left China by the land route to India .

Bhoganathars second mission to China : Later, after the period of the Six Dynasties (220 to 590 AD), Bhoganathar returned with some Tamil disciples to China . He left his mission in Tamil Nadu with Pulipani, the Chinese Siddha. During the construction of the Brihitīswarar Shiva Temple in Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, around 900 AD. Bhoganathar advised its builders as to how to raise the eighty ton capstone to the top of the temple, more than 200 feet high. This was done through his disciple Karuvoorar and another Tamil disciple who acted as intermediaries and through messages tied to the legs of courier birds, like today’s homing pigeons. At Bhogar’s suggestion a gradient ramp five miles long was built, up which the stone was pulled to the top of the temple. This was one of the most remarkable engineering feats of all times. About this time he also advised the King of Tanjore to build a small shrine dedicated to one of his greatest disciples, Karuvoorar, behind the Bhrihiteeswarar Shiva Temple .

In 1293, on his way back from China, Marco Polo got a taste of South India when he stopped along the Malabar Coast. He records a meeting he had with a group of yogi alchemists who, by preparing a tincture of mercury and sulfur, were afforded a lifespan of 150-200 years.

 

 

The cave painting in Mount Sung of Bodhi Dharma

Bodhi Dharma

There is a huge confusion amongst people about Bodhi Dharma, Is he from Kerala, was he a Kalarippayattu master and was he the founder of Shaolin Temple

Bodhi Dharma ( Ta Mo by the Chinese, Dat Mor in Cantonese, Da Mo in Mandarin, later called Daruma Taishi in Japanese) , one of the outstanding Buddhist monks in the history of Chinese Buddhism, was mostly known for bringing the (Ch’an is the Chinese translation for the Sanskrit word "dhyana" meaning Yogic concentration, also known as Zen in Japanese when it was introduced from China.) even though he had few disciples in his lifetime, and is honored as the founder of Kung fu. He is also credited with bringing tea to China . He is said to have cut off his eyelids to stay awake in meditation, and so is usually depicted with bulging eyes. In this issue, we look at the mysterious life and legends surrounding this great Buddhist monk, whose legacy influenced many generations to come.

Bodhi Dharma was born in Kanchi in the Southern Indian kingdom (today’s Tamil Nadu State ) of Pallava around year 440. Bodhi Dharma was the youngest of three brothers in the royal family of the southern Indian kingdom of Pallava king Sugandan. His father, the king Sugandan, also known as Simhavarman was a devoted Buddhist and managed state affairs according to the Buddha's teachings. At birth Bodhi Dharma was born with a breathing disorder. He was adopted and trained at birth in breathing exercises and combat, namely in the arts of Dravidian warfare arts of Southern India and self-defense techniques such Kuttu Varisai and Pidi Varesai (Punches Series- hand to hand combat with animal styles and locking techniques Similar to Kung Fu and Karate), Malyutham (grappling), Varma Kalai (Secret or Vital Art, Pressure point attacks, In healing and Self-defense similar to Tai Chi or Dim Mak), Silambam (staff fighting), Eretthai or Saydekuche (double stick fighting), Madhu or Madi (deer horn weapon fighting), Surul Pattai or Surul wall (steel blade whip), Val Vitchi (single sword), and Eretthai Val (double short sword) fighting. Bodhidarma also studied Dhyana Buddhism and became the 28th patriarch of that religion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Caveon Mount Sung in which Bodhi Dharma Meditated spent nine years in meditation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The actual date of his arrival in China is somewhat confused. The recorded dates vary from 475 to 520. When he disembarked at the port city of Canton by sea, he was received with great ceremony by a local official, Shao Ang, who immediately reported Bodhi Dharma's arrival to Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty. The emperor ordered the official to accompany the monk to the capital, Chienkang (now Nanking).

Shaolin Temple, ( Sao-Iin Temple ) (Shorin-ji) in Henan Province . The temple had been founded in 496 in honor of an Indian monk named Brahdra (Ba Tuo Chinese Name), whom Emperor Hsiao Wen of the Northern Wei dynasty had invited to China to preach Buddhism. Exact details of what happened at this meeting are not entirely clear but is seems that Brahdra was offered riches, a place in the palace and encouraged to continue his teachings. Brahdra kindly declined this offer and asked for a piece of land far away from any 'civilized' place in the province of Henan , on the side of the Song sang Mountain. There he was given a large piece of land and the resources to build a monastery in an area called 'Wooded Hill' or ' Small Forest ', which translates to Shaolin in Mandarin or Sil-Lum in Cantonese. Bodhi Dharma had known Brahdra in India , so he decided to go to his temple. Brahdra was delighted to see an old friend and told his students to take good care of him. It is said that it was here in a cave on Mount Sung that Bodhi Dharma spent nine years in meditation. Legend has it that Bodhi Dharma cut off his eyelids to prevent himself from falling asleep at this point of time, in order to find the next patriarch of the Chan sect.

After his meditation Bodhi Dharma saw that the monks were weak and unable to perform the rigorous meditations he expected that Buddhist Monks should be practicing. Whilst meditating they often fell asleep or were very restless and were not achieving inner calm or peace ( a state required to reach Enlightenment, that for which all Buddhist strive! ).

He spent some time in seclusion pondering the problem. Considering the time and health awareness of the period, Bodhi Dharma came to a staggeringly accurate conclusion that the monks were not fit to meditate. With this in mind he started working on a solution, he created three treaties of exercises.

These in-place exercises were later transcribed by monks as;

  • "The Muscle Change Classic" or "The Change of the Sinews,"
  • "The Marrow Washing"
  • "The Eighteen Hand Movements later named The Eighteen Lohan Shou (Lohan meaning enlightened and Shou meaning Hands/Exercises)

Bodhi Dharma countered this weakness by teaching them moving exercises, designed to both enhance Chi flow and build strength. These sets, modified from Indian yogas (mainly Hatha Yoga, and Raja Yoga which was learnt by Bodhi Dharma in childhood to cure the breathing disorder,t his style of Yoga was mainly followed by royal famalys),This gave raise to the legandary art of Kung Fu, this art was based on the movements of the 18 main animals in Indo-Chinese iconography (e.g., tiger, deer, leopard, cobra, snake, dragon, etc.).

It is hard to say just when the exercises became "martial arts". The Shaolin temple was in a secluded area where bandits would have traveled and wild animals were an occasional problem, so the martial side of the temple probably started out to fulfill self-defense needs. After a while, these movements were codified into a system of self-defense.

In India the concept of Chakras in human body, the concept of Kundalini and Prana, is the main theory behind it. In India people even today practice acupuncture in the form of worship and ritual to god, Piercing of gold, silver, copper, needles, Which is made in all size. Many should have come across this ritual in India, if u see Tamil people they do it more then others all over the world to there god Lord Murugan (son of Lord Shiva). The concept of fire walking in India is also very popular, these rituals have become a controversial issue to the rationalists in India who protest against such rituals. These rituals have strong meaning in it. The Piercing was made a ritual because of its secrets and dangers.

 

The Siddhars made the practice of Piercing, this was thought to important peoples, like saints, vidhya’s (physicians), martial artists, and royal family’s, to common people it was shown as a ritual to be offered to god when they have some health problem. God has blessed people and the problems have solved when they offer the ritual to god. It is a hidden way of practicing meditation to there problems. The person who pearsess well known about the problems and the offerrer and pearse on the body for its remides. Today its changed only a blank offering is made to god without knowing the reason what they are doing because it has become a ritual.

Silambam is a popular art in Tamil Nadu and the credit goes to the people of Tamil Nadu who have kept this art alive for over 5,000 years with its secrets in it.

One big reason for the survival of this art in Tamil Nadu is the Huts built out of Bamboo and coconut leafs. This was a big source of getting their weapon. And the use of bamboo is common all over Tamil Nadu and south India.

The art of Silambam not only teaches how to use Staff, it also teaches other form of self defense like Varmakalai, and Kutthu Varasai

Silambam is an Indian style of staff fighting.  There are a large number of pre-arranged exercises and two man sets. It teaches a progressive series of attack patterns and counters along with evasive stepping patterns.  It is readily learned through this method, and is beautiful to see when it is performed by a skilled players. It is valid both as a sport and self-defense art. It has given good health to the practicers and a strong mental power to concentrate on any work. It is said that those how practice this art will get the power of youth, keeping them look young and fit. Silambam is an art, which gives full body exercise, if all the 36 lessons are practiced every day. The pearse is now very much related to martial arts, since today the people who Pierce, are martial artists. The martial artists are keeping the tradition of vidhya shastra knowing the secrets of human body. Similarly the use of foot moments in martial arts and the use of animal forms in martial is also from India if u come to South India you can see the most popular tiger style of foot moments in the form of dance, which is very common, but there are many other styles other then it.

 

 

 

I would like to inform to the readers of my website, that in a short span of time I will be publishing a book on the journy of Indian Martial Arts of Drividian style, which will be in detail all about the great people who gave this art to us.

 

 

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