Auspicious Words in Sanskrit and Tamil Books (Post No.2825)

Research article written by London swaminathan


Date: 20 May 2016


Post No. 2825


Time uploaded in London :–  13-49


( Thanks for the Pictures)




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Ancient Hindu writers who wrote in Sanskrit and Tamil had some wrting traditions which were not found anywhere else in the world. They had a set of rules about the opening sentence or opening word of a great work in literature. They always started with some auspicious words or with the name of God. Either the prayer in the book or the first verse had that Mangala or auspicious words.


Here is a simple sloka which gives the rule:-

Omkaarascha atha sabdascha dvaavethau brahmanah puraa

Kandam bitwaa viniyaartau tasmaan maangalikaavubau

-Paatanjala darsanam


The sounds ‘Om’ and ‘Atha’ came first from the mouth of Brahma. So both these are considered auspicious words.

moon night

This ancient tradition lead the poets and compilers to begin a book with these words. The first letter of the alphabet in most of the old languages is ‘A’. Tamils and Sanskritists used this word as well.

Om or Aum has got a mystical meaning; it is the primordial sound from which everything came out/ originated

‘Atha’ means now

Here are some examples to illustrate the tradition:-

Atha yogaanusaasanam – Opening line of Patanjali Yogasutram

Atha Srimad Bhagavd Gita – Bhagavad Gita

Athaatho brahmajijnaasaa – Brahmasutra

Agni meele – Rig Veda (Om is also added with every mantra in the Vedas).

When the Guru opens the book in front of the students, he would say

Atha Valmiki Ramayana, Atha Rik Vedah etc. and then teaches the students.

Kalidasa, the greatest of Indian poets, prays to god with various words. If god is not directly referred to then the poets used words like ‘Viswa’, ‘Loka/world’.


Vishu Sahsranama begins with ‘Viswam’ vishnur Vashatkaro……..

tricolour om

But all the Sanskrit religious texts used Om or Atha in the beginning.

Amarakosa also says ‘Atha’ is an auspicious word. So we know that it has been in vogue for thousands of years.

Tamil Rule

Tamils have used the following words as the initial word in their works if it does not contain a direct Prayer to God:–

Siir(Sri), Ezuthu(word),Pon(gold), Puu(flower), Thiru (Sri/Lakshmi), Mani(Gem/Bell), Yaanai (Elephnt),Ther(chariot), Pari(horse), kadal(Sea), Malai(hill) Pukaz(fame), Mathi(Moon), Neer (water) Aaranam(Vedas) ,Sol(wprd), Puyal (rain/storm), Nilam (Earth), Ganga (Holy Ganges River), Ulakam(world),Parithi(Sun), Amirham (Ambrosia/Amrut).


Famous Tamil works such as Tirumurukatruppadai, Manimekalai, Valayapathy, Periya Puranam, Kamba Ramayanam, Mullaippaattu, Mudumozikanchi, Seevaka Chintamani, Villi Bharatam begin with the word ‘Ulakam’.

Other books such as Sirupaanatrupadai, Natrinai, Tirikaduka used the synonyms of world (Maanilam)

Oldest Tamil book Tokaappiam begins with Ezuthu(Word).

Tamil Epic Silappathikaram begins with Moon, Sun and Rain.

swastik, om lamps, kotipali shivratri

Tamil Veda Tirukkuran begins with ‘Akara’.

All the ancient Sanskrit and Tamil inscriptions begin with Swasti Sri, another auspicious word.

All the literary works ended with the word SUBHAM ( meaning Well, Good, Prosperity)

No other ancient culture except the Hindus had this literary tradition.

sheep, sun



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