Sibi Story in Old Tamil Literature!


By London Swaminathan

Did Tamil Chozas come from North?


Chera, Choza, Pandyas are the three great kingdoms of ancient Tamil Nadu. We know for sure they existed at least 2500 years ago. Valmiki, Vyasa, Bodhayana, Katyayana, Kautilya, Asoka, Karavela, Kalidas, Varahamihira, Dandi and others mention one or the other Tamil dynasties. All the Tamil kings claimed links with Surya clan of Sri Rama or Chandra clan of Pandavas. Some even claimed link with Agni clan. We find it more in later literature, inscriptions and copper plates. Some people thought they were all boasting to raise their profile. But the story of Sibi is found in the old part of 2000 year old Sangam Tamil Literature!


Chozas who ruled from the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu claimed that Sibi of North West India was one of their fore fathers. Story of Sibi is in Mahabharata and it gained currency in later literature. Sibi was son of King Usinara and queen Madhavi. He was a righteous king. Indra and Agni wanted to test his integrity and so they took the form of birds hawk and dove. The hawk chased the dove and it sought protection from Sibi. Sibi was ready to give the hawk anything except the dove. But the hawk (Indra) was so adamant demanded either the dove or equal measure of meat from the king. When the king cut his flesh and placed it on one pan and the dove on the other pan, it was never equal. The king himself mounted the balance to give himself for the sake of the dove. But Indra and Agni revealed themselves and blessed him. There is another story of Sibi’s eye donation in the Buddhist Jataka.


This story is sung by several poets and they are in Purananuru verses 37, 39, 43 46 and 228. Sibi’s wards were called Saibya in Sanskrit. Sangam Tamil poets Tamilized this word and called the Chozas Sembian. This word is in other Sangam books Aka Nanuru (36) and Natrinai (14).


The story of Sibi Chakravarthy is so famous that it was sculpted in the Barhut, Nagarjunakonda ,Amaravati bas-reliefs and  Borobudur in Java,Indonesia (see Boropudur sculpture above).

Tamil epics Silappadikaram and Manimekalai gave more details about this link. Since the oldest part of Sangam Tamil literature mentions it no one can reject it. The link is confirmed with other stories as well.

Sibi ruled from the north west of India. There was a Sibi puram on the banks of river Chenab in Punjab. Sibi clan is mentioned in Rig Veda and Brahmanas. Panini referred one Sivapuram may be the same Sibipuram


One of the Chozas known as Thodithol Sembian is credited with shooting down three flying forts. We have the same story attributed to Lord Shiva. Sage Agastya ordered him to install 28 day Indra Festival in Tamil Nadu. Another king Musukunthan, son of Mandhata, helped Indra to save his city from the attacks of demons. Indra gave him several magical gifts!One Choza king was said to have ruled the mythical paradise on earth Uttara Kuru. Manu Neethi Choza who followed Manu’s rules verbatim made his son to die under the chariot wheel because he killed a calf under his chariot wheel. The cow came all the way to palace and rang the bell to seek justice.



City of  Sibi in Pakistan.

Sibi story was known to all the people in India. It is strange that the Chozas who ruled from the peninsular India claimed link with him. This raised the question whether Chozas had their origin in North West India. Anyone who argues they might have migrated from south to north must remember all the names are in Sanskrit and already in Hindu epics and Puranas (mythology).


This Sibi story in the old part of 2000 year old literature is another nail in the coffin of Aryan Dravidian race theory. All the three dynasties claimed close links with ancient Hindu dynasties of north. Sri Rama represented Surya clan and Pandavas represented Chandra clan. Famous tamil epic begins with a prayer to Sun (Surya), Chandra (moon) and Rains. It may represent Chozas, Pandyas and Cheras. Ancient Tamils considered the whole country as one and all were their brothers.


Please read my earlier posts: 1.Indra festival in the Vedas and Tamil Epics 2.Bull fighting: Indus valley to Spain via Tamil Nadu 3.Karikal Choza and Eagle shaped Fire Altar 4.Why do British judges follow a Tamil king? 5.Flags : Indus Valley- Egypt Similarity 6.Veera Matha in the Vedas and Tamil Literature 7.Tolkappian a Genius 8.Did Tolkappian copy Panini? 9.தமிழ் முனிவர் அகஸ்தியர் 10.வள்ளுவன் ஒரு சம்ஸ்கிருத அறிஞன் 11.கொடி ஊர்வலம்: சிந்து சமவெளி—எகிப்து அதிசிய ஒற்றுமை 12.வீரத் தாயும் வீர மாதாவும் 13.இந்திர விழா: வேதத்திலும் தமிழ் இலக்கியத்திலும்

Contact; pictures are  taken from different sites;thanks.

the story of king sibi 12.8.10

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  1. Out of the three Tamil kings Cholas are mysterious clan the history of whom needs deeper analysis. The foremost point of puzzle is that there is no reference to Cholas in Mahavamsa and reference starts from the capture and imprisonment of Ceylonese and used in the construction of dam across cauvery and revenge by Gayavahu by sacking Puhar. While Mahavamsa speaks about friendliness of Pandyas and Cheras with Ceylon kings the one about Cholas is about bitterness and enmity. This has not been analysed properly. The word Cholas with special consonant zha has not been analysed. In Tantravarthika Kumarilabhatta had tried to identify with Choru/Chora – Choru a Vedic term denoting Havis/food and a person without food becoms Chora – thus Chola deriving from Choru and for historians Cholas belong to Kallar clan. This is most ridiculous and it is unfortunate that certain Tamil scholars like Shri Venkataswamy Nattar for getting Dravidian identity unnecessarily identified Thanjavur Kallar and Cholas as Kallars. This needs dispelling name of Kallar. The term Kallar occurs in Purananuru as people hailing in Venkatam and their king was Pulli and sea port as Navarai and Pavithiri. All scholars identifying Venkatam have restricted it to present Tirupathi and made one greatest mistake – i.e., omission to consider Venkatam 🙂 🙂 as having hot arid portion as well as abounding in elephants. Tirupathi does not have so much elephant population but North Andhra adjoining South Orissa Chattisgarh and west Maharashtra is always known as Dandakaranya having thick forests and hot arid desert.The term Kallar would have meant experts in domesticating elephants. The term Kalar in Sanskrit also refers to extraction of liquor excise inspectors etc., and Kall In Tamil means liquor. Thus Kumarila Bhatta’s innocuous reference to Chora had been adopted to Cholas and Kallars. Now as per PreChristian Historians/Geographers of Greek the Deccan plateau was considered as desert and inhospitable. The world Chol in Turk means desert. Further there are numerous references to Chola/Choda in Ganga/Kadamba inscriptions from fourth century onwards Telugu Choda inscriptions of fifth century AD onwards with Karikala legend in all sources the Choda/Cholas were identified with region north of Mysore and up to Raichur doab the traditional fighting boundary of Chalukya/Chola wars. Another interesting feature is that Cholas/Pandyas had been identified as territorial divisions while other kings were identified as Putras – Cheraman – Keralaputra, Athiyaman – Satiya putra Tondaiman Pallava pottarasa Malaiyaman Sailaputra etc., Thus Chola kingdoms originally lay in interior areas of Deccan till the rise of Satavahanas which can be referred by Cholas’ conquest of Vadugar and Mauryar. Further the term Arya is found in Sangam literature only from the rise of Satavahanas . There were Satavahanas settlement in Mohur/Vallam etc., denoted by the term Arya/Aya/Avi etc., This is further confirmed from the bilingual issue of coins by Satavahanas as far as Central Maharashtra. Though there may be small scale settlement in the present Cauvery region large scale settlement in Cauvery region started only from Simhavarman who created the earliest Chaturvedimangalam of Kanchanur(the famous Sukra shrine) by name Simhavarmachaturvedimangalam. There are references also. The Pallava/Chola inscriptions always refer people by numbers one of them being Narpathiennayiram(forty eight thousand)Vellalas settled by Karikala in Tondaimandalam from Chola kingdom which was given in Pallava inscriptions as brought by Kaduvetti from Sriparvatha. Further there has been largest settlements in the present Cholamandalam from Krishna/Godavari basin during Pallava period and reverse migration during Cholas and even the Brahmins are called Dravidas. Most of the Amatyas of Second Pandyas and Cholas belonged to this clan notably Sattan Ganapathi of Velvikudi Grant Siruthonda Nayanar Senapathi Krishnan Raman. Another interesting reference is Vadama sect of Tamil Brahmins who were wrongly ascribed as northerners. Actually in early Tamil Vadaman signified the Vriddhas(Kannada Vaddas) persons of proficiency. The term Vriddha is also called Mudha which also meant Eastern. Thus Vadamas in Tamil was identified by other persons as earliest persons/eastern people/proficient peoples. They are even now classified into four groups the foremost being Chola Vadamal and Outhra(Northern) Vadamal. Thus Chola Vadamal represented the entire Deccan and North means Maharashtra and Narmatha basin. We have to bear in mind that Tamil Brahmins were spread over the entire sub continent as Dravidas and as ordinary persons they continued their own Tamils while the more proficient shifted to other languages as being followed even now by them. It has even more to be understood that Chola inscriptions use the terms of relation as ATHAMBI/AMMANGA as used by Tamil Brahmins. Thus the history of Tamilnadu is hidden in the mystery of early Cholas. A few more puzzles: An excavated object at Turkey of seven thousand years depicts a Turkey priest with tuft similar to Egyptian/Sumerian/Arabian Jadoo which curiously fit into the description of tufts in Purananuru resembling hair of Mare similar to Greek head panel which was also adored in Satavahana coin. However the tufts were classified by Urdhwashika and Purvashika. What is the significance Mudukudumi(mudu-east-purva in Sanskrit)is it Purva shika?What is Mudithalai(Is it Urdhwa Shika) Similarly the name NANNAN is famous from Chattisgarh to Kerala. There were many Nannarajans in many kingdoms. The term Mudiudai mannar finds similarity in Ceylon chronicles as”ABHISHEKYARHAT KSHATRIYAS”. The timeline of early Chola kings gives a list from 3000BC which surprisingly indicates that Kadambas/Irungovelir as collateral dynasties. The most important aspect omitted by researchers is that Muchangi/AlupiPandyas were a branch of Pandyas but following matrilineal systems as Satavahanas the Chalukyans were having Chola maharajas/Pandiyarasa/Nolamba Pallavas as their feudatories and the earliest Chalukyan king had connection with Trinethra Pallava and Cholas. Similarly the feudatories like Banas got Tamilised in Tamil areas and the term Muttarasa did not denote clan Muttaraiyars but eligibility to rule as elder Branch and Ilango Vel as younger branch – Bana Muttarasa, Gangs muttarasa Erikal Chola muttarasa etc. The history of Tamilnadu and mystery of Cholas can be unearthed only if one looks holistically considering the entire South up to Gujarat as Tamil area.

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