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Existence of Ancient Daoist Compendium in Tamil Language of India

Various research reveals that the ancient Daoist Compendium of texts containing medical compounds, medicines for longevity and immortality, elixirs of China are found in the ancient works of Siddhars (Sages) of Tamilnadu.

The statement by Tamil scholars about the Sage Bhogar always mentions about his immortality and reincarnations. It is posited by scholars that Bhogar was Lao Tzu (Bo-yang), the founder of Daoism in China, is one of his incarnations and his master Kalanginathar is Confucius. There exists no clear cut evidence for giving such propositions in Tamil, but scholars decipher them from similar ancient principles mentioned in their works.

Bhogar 7000 is a poetic work in Tamil consisting of seven thousand verses (4 lines each). The author Sage Bhogar mentions that he had compiled 7,00,000 verses, but to make it simple, he concised it to 7000 verses. He mentions in this same book that he had written another 12000 verses. But this is not extant. He has compiled a materia medica and preparations of medicines in his work entitled Bhogar Nigandu – 1700. The manuscripts (as old as 18th century) are safely stored in British Museum.

He mentions that he visited China regularly for a short and long period of time. During those occasions, he says that he taught many things to Chinese as well. This made the Tamil scholars conclude that he may be Lao Tzu who taught about medicinal herbs, alchemy, meditation, immortality concepts and many more. However, the research on the Chinese counterpart is scanty.

Recent research on the Chinese texts reveals that the contents of Bhogar 7000 are mostly available in many Chinese documents, such as Cantong Qi (dated to mid 2nd century BCE) of Wei Boyang and Baopuzi (dated to 317-318 CE) of Ge Hong to name a few.

It may be hard to believe, but who would have written 7000 verses containing the contents similar to ones available in the documented texts of China that were researched again and again by many researchers all over the world.

It is quite an interesting research that reveals the various incarnations of Bhogar in China. Lao Tzu was assumed to have 13 incarnations before being born as the founder of Daoism. However, the present study reveals that the immortal Wei Bo-yang, Luan da (112 BCE), Li Shaojun (141-87 BCE) and poet Lu Dongbin (796 AD) are his incarnations as they all follow the same tradition and explained similar concepts at different points of time.

Daoist venerate the symbol Yin-Yang as it is superimposed in various concepts of medicine, martial arts and principles of life. These Yin-Yang symbols are widely found in the temples of Tamil Nadu which are considered to be 1000 or 2000 years old. A pilgrimage cum field trip (to more than 50 temples) in December 2019 and in 2020, brought out the existence of such symbols in the temples of God Shiva. Same symbols in different orientations and many more similar symbols are found etched on the temple pillars. The study of such symbols is scanty in India.

However, the meanings for the depictions of various orientations of those symbols are available in Chinese texts such as I-Ching written by legendary author Fu-xi (2600 BCE). Fu-xi is depicted as one of the twisted snakes in a symbol and another being Nuwa which was unearthed in the Tang Period (618-907 CE) Astana Cemetery, Xinjiang. This twisted snake symbol is widely represented in various temples as deity and Indians venerate them for various purposes in life.

The texts and the Daoist temples are some evidence to prove that the immortals of China are incarnations of the various Siddhar (sages) of India and the traditional medicines of India and China has its roots from the teachings of such sages.

The research started with knowing about the sea goddess of Chinese fishermen and sailors. It is Goddess Tinhau and she is called A-ma in Macau. In Tamil Nadu, the female Goddess is named Amman which is very much similar in pronunciation of A-ma. Further research led to field trips to more than 40 Daoist temples all around Hong Kong to know about the Daoist deities. Daoism followers venerate many Gods and tutelary deities similar to the ones in India. The principles of Daoism match the folk religion of Tamil Nadu in many aspects such as deity worship, divination, exorcism, medicine to name a few.

World has many unsolved mysteries and many records are there about unbelievable happenings. The Chinese immortals are always considered mythical. Similarly, the Siddhars of Tamil Nadu, India are considered mythical by the scientific world, but many have experienced meeting them and getting the Dikshai (consecration) from them. Research tries to solve these mysteries by providing evidence to the scientific world through the texts, archaeological artifacts and the beliefs followed. It is a real surprise to see the matching of textual content of China and Tamil Nadu which are more than 3000 miles afar.

I am bewildered by knowing so many texts in Chinese that match Bhogar 7000 content. Yin-yang symbols, Chinese texts, Daoist deities that are similar to Indian tradition give more evidence of Bhogar being Lao Tzu in one of his incarnations.

Dr. Chitra, Hong Kong.

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