RIG VEDIC ‘KURIRA’ IN SANGAM TAMIL LITERATURE (Post No.10,807)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,807

Date uploaded in London – –    3 APRIL  2022         

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Scholars were debating about the meaning of the word Kuriira found in the Rigveda. They were not sure whether it is an ornament on the head or a hair style of ancient Hindu women. Sangam literature and Tamil Dictionary give the meaning .That means one more Sanskrit word is in found Sangam Literaure.

First let us look at what A.B.Keith and A.A.Macdonell say about it in their VEDIC INDEX (Vol.1):_

Kuriira

“Like Opasa and Kamba, Kuriira denotes some sort of female head ornament in the description of the bride’s adornment in the wedding hymn of the RV.10-85-8 and in the Atharva Veda (6-38-3). According to the Yajur Veda Samhitas the goddess Siniivaali is described by the epithets Su-kapardaa, Su-Kuriira, Su-opasaa as wearing a beautiful head dress.

According to Geldner, the word originally meant a horn; but this is uncertain, as this sense is not required in any passage in which the term occurs”.

Bhagawan Singh in his book ‘The Vedic Harappan’ says,

Kurira could be identified in the hornlike device for headdress in the mother goddesses (of Harappan Civilization).

But a similar word occurs in Sangam Tamil literature and old Tamil Dictionary. Scholars have missed it.

In Kalittokai, a Sangam Tamil work, ‘Kural’ Koonthal is found. It means combed and raised in the head (may be horn like or fringe like)

But actual translation of the most famous wedding hymn in the Rigveda means Chandas (metre)

RV 10-85-8 (wedding Hymn)

“Hymns were the cross bars of the pole, KURIIRA- metre decked the car;

The brides men were the Asvin pair; Agni was the leader of the train”.

This is the beautiful description of the chariot procession in which the bride was taken.

Now the question is whether it was the decorative balls or tassels hanging in front of the Chariot or such fringe hair on women’s fore head or horn like hair style or horn ornament.

Nowadays we see women wearing both. The ornament that hangs on a girl’s forehead is Sutti in Tamil. Horn like ornaments are rarely worn. Fringe hair style is also seen in young girls.

Tamil literature also talks about with the word Kurala (L=R change is universal) . They use it for mane of a horse or woman’s hair. But when they use Kurala they don’t mean just ordinary hair, they talk about a particular style of hair dress. May be I is used for both.

Here is the dictionary meaning of similar sounded TAMIL words:-

Kurakulai குரங்குளை -Mane (Curly hair at the back of the neck)

Kurappam குரப்பம் – Mane

Kuralam குரலம் – The hair hanging loose on fore head .(fringe)

Kurala can be Kurara (R=L);  so I will take this meaning for Rig Vedic Kuriira.

. it may be used for decorative tassel or fringe in the chariots or women. It may be a woman’s  hair or forehead ornament (In Tamil Netrih Sutti)

Another interesting thing is in Tamil Horse is ‘Kuthirai’; is there a link between Kuthira and Kuriira? We have to do more research using other languages.

Apart from Kalittokai, another work Akananuru use this. Post Sangam work Manimekalai used ‘Kural Kuunthal Kottu’ together.

Conclusion

Tamil literature  has Kuriira sounded word with almost same meaning

Kuriira was the fringe hair or tassels and decorative balls in the font of wedding chariot or woman’s forehead.

It is found both in the Rig Veda and Tamil literature.

–Subham–

tags–  Kurira, Hair style, Fringe, Mane, Tamil, Rig Veda 

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