Native Dravidian religion
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Traces of such a religion may be found in regional deities or customs, subsumed in the Hindu or Vedic tradition (Arumuka Navalar). Thus, the widespread worship of certain ""village deities" in Tamil Nadu" and in Sri Lanka may be argued to reflect a survival of the pre-Brahmanic religious tradition.
Other forms of folk religion may be adduced, such as worship of anthills, snakes and other forms of guardian deities and heroes are still worshiped in the Konkan coast, Maharashtra proper and a few other parts of India.
Pope[who?] believed that in the pre-historic period the native Dravidian religion was a precursor to Saivism. Henry O. Thompson's definition of Hinduism included native Dravidian religion as one of his "panorama of tribal religions" that formed it. Some scholars propose that,Dravidian religion influenced the formation of modern Hinduism more than its Aryan (Vedic) counterpart, whereas others equate Hinduism with Brahmanism and dismiss it as completely alien to the Dravidian religion.
The village deities traditionally are served by female priestesses. Puja is thought to have originated from an early Dravidian practice. Temple worship, which was not an essential part of the Vedic religion, was a necessary part of Dravidian worship.
In Sangam texts, the dancing by priestesses and possessed women (besides the untouchables and low caste men) is referred to as vettuvari and there are extensive allusions to this dance in canto XII of the Silappatikaram.
The layout of villages can be assumed to be standard across most villages. An Amman (mother goddess) is at the centre of the villages while a male guardian deity (Tamil: காவல் கடவுள், kāval kaṭavuḷ ?) has a shrine at the village borders. Nowadays, Amman can be either worshipped alone or as a part of the Vedic pantheon.
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