Post No. 10,853

Date uploaded in London – –    16 APRIL  2022         

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Let us continue with Sangam period Tamil literature:-

Very important reference comes from the oldest part of Tamil Literature. The book is called Pathitruppathu meaning Ten X Ten; ie.Ten songs of decads. We lost the first ten and the last ten songs. Remainig 80 songs are very old and talk about Kerala, known as Chera Nadu.

In the available part we have the line 11-28

‘Aariyar thuvandriya perisai imayam’

Imayam is Himalayas . Tamils recite about river  Ganges and Himalayas many times but they never said a single word about river Indus/ Sindhu.

They did not know Indus Valley at all.

The rough translation of the above line is ,

Himalayas full of saints/Aryans

Kumattur Kannan, who sang this verse was a Kerala Brahmin. He described the Himalayas using the Kumara sambhava description of Kalidasa who lived in first century BCE. Imayavaramban Neduncheralathan was the king sung by this poet.

The same verse gets more significance because it refers to demons killed by Lord Skanda/ Kartikeya as well.

So, we get two birds in one stone: praise of Aryas as saints and Avunar, demon enemies of Tamils.

The words used by the poet are ‘Anangudai Avunar’ meaning ‘troublesome demons’.



In addition to above two points, there is one more point in the introductory Pathikam verse:-

Neduncheralathan ruled Kerala for 58 years and defeated and caught the harsh and rude worded Yavanas (Roman pirates roaming the Arabian sea) and tied their hands behind and poured oil on their heads. (Tamils used to shave the hair off enemies and pour oil on their heads and take them in a procession around the capital city, usually on donkeys; here the Yavanas were insulted as speakers of harsh words). The same king is said to have made the Arya kings salute him when he went on an expedition to the Himalayas. While describing those Aryans, the poet used two beautiful epithets

‘Perisai marabin Ariyar vanakki’

The commentator explains Aryans of ‘great fame’ and ‘good heritage’.

These three things show us that Aryans were highly praised as ‘saints’, ‘people with great fame’ and ‘good lineage’. At the same time demons are painted as enemies of Tamil God Muruga/ Skanda Kartikeya . demons were shown as troublesome (‘Anangudai ‘ Avunar)


One more bit of information comes from another Kerala Brahmin poet Paranar. He is always paired with the greatest Brahmin poet Kabilar.

When Paranar praised King Senguttuvan, son of King Neduncheralathan, he says Senguttuvan defeated Aariya annal; we know from Tamil epic Silappadikaram they were Kanaka and Vijayan, two chieftains who ridiculed Tamil kings ( We have no historical reference about them).

Here we get only a neutral reference and no negative remarks about Aryas.

Post Sangam Period

Post Sangam period Tamil epic Silappadikaram has following references:-

Silappadikaram 23-14, 25-158;

Manimekalai 25-6

Aariya arasar/kings – Silappadikaram 26-211, 217, 28-195

Aariya mannar/king – Silappadikaram- 8 places in chapters 25, 27, 29

In chapter 25 , minister Villlavan kothai praises Chera king defeating the joint forces of Konkanar, Kalingar, Kattiyar cruel Karunatakar, Gangar, Bangalar/Bengalese and Northern Aryas .

In chapter 26, poet Ilango says,

The valorous soldiers of the Arya /northern kings celebrated for their death -dealing chariot forces, were thus slain and piled upon the battle field……. And the Chera king showed himself to the arya kings in the battle field like the God of Death (Yama) riding fast on his buffalo to swallow up all lives  within a day.

In this chapter Chera king made Kanakan and Vijayan to carry the stones on their shoulders from the Himalayas and then we read about arya kings giving King Sengituvan a reception. Those Arya kings were his allies who made the Himalayan expedition possible. Modern research shows they were the mighty Satakarnis. They were named later as Nuutruvar Kannar = satakarni.

In chapter 28 , Chera’s victory over arya kings on the banks of river Ganges is mentioned

Later the victory of arya kings who insulted Tamils is mentioned . In the last 30th chapter the release of arya kings Kanaka and Vijayan is mentioned

In all these the Aryan kings are shown either as allies or opponents, but no drogatory remarks; in fact they are praised valorous. On the contrary the demons are condemned.


Just for reference:


Aariyar –

Narrinai 170-6

Kurunthokai 7-3

Pathirrup pathu – 11-23

Akananuru – 276-9, 336-22, 396-16, 398-18

Aariya porunan – Akananuru 386-5


Sangam literature pathikams/ later additions –

Pathirrup pathu pathi. 2-7; 5-6



In the next section we will see more about Asura/Avunar demons in Sangam Tamil  literature and Saivite saints praise God Shiva as a Great Arya in 600 CE..

To be continued……………………….

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