Tamil Talent beyond Belief!


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Research article No.1508; Dated 22 December 2014.

The Wonder that is Tamil – Part 1

Tamil literature is vast. It is vast like an ocean. Pearls and corals are at the bottom lying undiscovered. Tamils wasted their 50% time by criticizing Sanskrit and another 50% by shouting slogans “Long Live Tamil” from political stages. Because they mingled politics with Tamil language lot of gems are still lying unknown and undiscovered. They are beyond the reach of general public. Gems form Sanskrit literature was translated in to European languages 300 years ago. Tamils have slowly woken up and started translating them in to other languages. Even the existing translations don’t highlight the juicy bits. One has to dig deeper to find those gems. Let us look at one of the gems now:

Tondai Manadala Satakam consists of 100 verses. It belongs to modern period. The poem glorifies the people, philanthropists, chieftains and kings of Tondai Nadu. Tondai Nadu is the northern most area of Tamil Nadu. It covers the old Pallava kingdom including Kancheepuram, Chennai, Tiruvannamalai and Pondicherry. One of the philanthropists who supported the bards and their wives was Sadayanthan. He was the patron of many talented singers and dancers.

Like the famous Rope Trick of North India, Tamils were practising and demonstrating certain talents which were beyond one’s belief. They could dance with several water pots on their heads and pick up a needle from the floor without dropping a single water pot. Even today we have such talented folk dancers.


Hundreds of years ago there was a dancer who could climb a pole like an acrobat and slip her nose ring from the top and swing lie a king fisher to catch the falling nose ring. Several types of birds can do this extraordinary feat of catching their falling prey or fruits or nuts in the mid air. This talented dancing girl did this like a bird called Vichuli. It is like king fisher bird that can catch its prey from anywhere.

Her name and fame spread far and wide. The Pandya king wanted to see her acrobatic talent in person. When he sent a word to the singers and dancers this lady came forward to demonstrate her talent. But Pandya’s wife was very jealous about this village beauty and so she was planning to distract her husband, the king, from watching such a brilliant performance. She succeeded in distracting the king at the nick of the moment and so the king missed the important bit. He could not watch the girl catching the falling nose ring by flying like a bird in mid air. The queen made him to turn his face away under some false pretense.

The disappointed king asked the lady to demonstrate it one more time. But the woman insisted it requires lot of Yoga practice and breathing exercises such as Jala sthambana and Vayu sthambana to do it perfectly without endangering her life. When he insisted her to do it and promised all precautions to save her in any eventuality, she knew that she would die half way through such a feat. She did it to satisfy the king and died when she caught the falling nose ring. But she was so grateful to the philanthropist Sadayanathan who supported her, composed a poem and recited to a bird, requesting the bird to convey it to her patron. The song and story were part of Tondai Mandala Satakam. Just because it was preserved in the poem, we come to know about the extraordinary talent of a Tamil woman.

Those were the days the whole world was looking for such miracles from India. Even Emperor Jahangir recorded witnessing a rope trick in person. All the foreign travellers who visited India for 2300 years from the days of Megasthenes wrote hundreds of pages about India and its wonders. We must thank those people who made us feel proud.

(I have translated this into English from my brother S Nagaraja’s Tamil article: swami48@yahoo.com )

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