Post No. 10,857

Date uploaded in London – –    17 APRIL  2022         

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1400 years ago, Saivite saints praised lord Shiva as ARYAN. In Valmiki Ramayana Sita addressed Rama as ‘Arya’. Foreigners put capital ‘A’ for Arya and painted the word with racism. Arya means noble, cultured, educated, good soul, saintly person and one who owns arable land. Because the northern saints in the Himalayas recited Vedic Mantras North was also given the meaning Arya. Any acrobat, wrestler, elephant trainer, horse trainer , poet from the North coming to South was given the prefix Arya. In the same way Dravida meant just South. Now all southerners are known as Madrasi in North India.

We have already seen Aryas.

Today we will look at DEMONS in Sangam Tamil literature  and then ARYAN SHIVA .

Tamils translated demons Asura, Rakshasa with the following three words:

AVUNAR- demon

ARAKKAR- demon

ASURAR- demon


Oldest reference

Avunar – Puranaanuru 174-1;Pathirruppathu – 11-4;

Tiru murukaarruppadai – line 59; Maduraikaanchi – line 590;

Kurunthokai – 1; Paripaatal – 3-56, 5-7, 8-8; Kalitthokai – 2-3

Arakkan – Purananuru 378-19,

Arakkar – Kalittokai -38-3


Post Sangam period references

Asurar – Silappadikaram  12-10; Manimekalai  6-180

Avunan – Silappadikaram 6-48, 12-1, 24-9

Avunar – Silappadikaram – at least in 8 places.

Apart from these , there are indirect references which we get from the commentaries.


All the above words have negative connotations; the demons are portrayed as bad people in Tamil literature.

Most of the above references are about the epic or Puranic stories. This shows that Tamils believed in those Puranic stories.

Arya in Tamil dictionary has only good connotations – saintly, mighty, of good lineage, northern (may be Sanskrit mantra reciting)


Now let us look at some demon words in detail.

Kuunthokai is one of the oldest books; at least 2000 year old.

Poet Thipputholaar praises Lord Muruga (Skanda, Kartikeya) as one who killed Asuras and made the land bloody red.

Lord Skanda (Murugan in Tamil) killing demon Sura Padman is a popular theme in Sangam literature.


In Purananuru 174, poetess Marokkaththu Nappasalaiyar sings about Avunars hiding the Sun and Vishnu recovering it. Here Vishnu is referred to as a Black God (no name of Vishnu, but only Anjana Uruvan). My interpretation is that it is a reference to a Solar Eclipse found in Atri Maharishi episode of Rig Veda or Jeyathratha episode of Mahabharata. Another interesting scientific fact is the earth is referred as Round, Circular (Paruthi Gnaalam) and Hindus knew it before the western astronomers. This is at least a 2000 year old verse.


In Purananuru 378, we have a very interesting episode which is not even found in Valmiki Ramayana. Here the reference is to Ravana abducting Sita Devi. But the poet uses  the details of monkeys wearing Sita Devi’s jewels in the wrong parts of their body to give us some humour. When Ravana caught her, Sita threw all her jewels on the earth from the air plane  (Pushpaka Vimana), so that her husband Rama would know what happened.

In addition to demon’s evil acts, we get some new information. Tamils were so thorough with Mahabharata and Ramayana stories 2000 years ago. Oldest Purnaanuru gives us the proof.


Very interesting reference comes from the Kerala Brahmin poet of Sangam age Kumattur Kannan in Pathirrupathu (meaning 10X10 songs)

In the same verse this poet praises Arya and condemns Avunar/demons. He says troublesome Avunar and Himalayas full of Aryans/saints.

He used the prefix Anangudai = troublesome, because the Asuras were troubling Devas. So Tamil God Murugan/Skanda/Kartikeya destroyed him; Asura’s name was Sura Padman. This story is repeated throughout Sangam and later literature.


Maangudi Maruthan, author of Madurai Kanchi, also refers to the black god (Vishnu) killing the gang of Asuras. Additional information given by the poet is ‘Vishnu born on Sraavana Nakshatra (Onam in Tamil)’.


Tirumurukaarrupadai of Nakkirar also refers to the Puranic story of Skanda killing demon Sura Padman.

Kalittokai poet Parum Katungo said Mayam  sey Avunar= ‘demons well versed in magic and trickery’. Lord Siva’s destruction of three metal forts is sung here.

In Kali. verse 38, Kabilar referes to ten headed Ravana Arakkar/Rakshasa king trying to lift Kailash, abode of Lord Siva.


Paripaatal – 3-56, 5-7, 8-8 references are about Vishnu( Tirumaal in Tamil) or Murugan  (Skanda). Both destroyed Asuras.


Interesting etymology

Tamils are banned from using R or L in the initial position of any Tamil word. So, Tamils add one of the vowels A or U or E when they find such words in Sanskrit or other languages. Lac in Tamil is Arakku (Lac=Rak; r/l are interchangeable in all Indian languages); Arakka is used in Tamil for bloody red and bloody Asura/Arakka.

Arakka can be derived from Rakshas in Sanskrit as well. But the Tamil word for Asura as Avunar is puzzling. We have to do more research. Is it A+ Huna= Avuna? Huna race was a cruel one, but they entered India only in 6th century. Earlier reference is in Mahabharata.

In the next part we will look at demons in Post Sangam epics and Arya Siva in Saivite scriptures.

To be continued

tags- Demons, Asura, Avunar, Arakkar, Rakshas, Tamil

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