OLDEST MESSENGER POEM IN THE WORLD (Post No.10,936)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,936

Date uploaded in London – –    4 MAY   2022         

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

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Messenger poem is a genre unique to Sanskrit and Tamil. Kalidasa the most famous Indian poet, made it popular through his poem ‘Meghaduta’ (Cloud Messenger) . Kalidasa triggered a literary revolution by writing a whole poem where a cloud is the messenger carrying the message of a Yaksha to his lady love. His poem inspired Indian writers to write 85 books in Tamil and over sixty books in Sanskrit . Tamils took some time to write a whole book in this genre but we have apostrophes in Tamil Sangam corpus.

Sangam age Tamil poets used this technic 2000 years ago. Mostly the women used to address parrots, cuckoos, bees, insects, swans, goose, heron or inanimate objects like cloud, rain, flowers etc.

Kalidasa probably copied his predecessors, particularly Valmiki , author of Ramayana. Hanuman, who is projected as a monkey went to Sri Lanka with a message from Rama to Sita. He took Rama’s ring as a proof. This technique of using some jewellery as a memento or symbol is found in the dramas of Kalidasa. This shows his indebtedness to Valmiki.

In the Mahabharata, under Nalopaakhyaana (story of Nala and Damayanthi), we see Nala sending goose as a messenger to the beauty queen Damayanthi. She returned a reply to his message through that bird. This is a very popular story and Tamil has its own version. But scholars are debating which one of the two epics was put to writing first. So we may say that one of them inspired many writers.

Many of the writers on this topic of ‘Messenger poems’  (Duta Kavyas) miss another messenger found in the Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world. Dog Sarama was sent as a messenger in the Rig Veda. Greeks borrowed this story and changed the name to Hermes, because letter ‘S’ is not in Persian and Greek. That is why we got Hindu from River Sindhu/Indus and dog Hermes from Sarama or Sarameya.

I have already written about the story of Sarama (please see the links below)

Many authors have already listed the important Duta Kavyas in Tamil and Sanskrit. Later Bengali, Malayali, Kannada and Telugu writers also used this genre.

Here are some interesting details about Messenger poems:

Candraduta (moon) was composed by Jambukavi in 8th or 9th century.

Pavanaduta (wind) was done by Dhoyi of Kerala

Kokila sandesam (Cuckoo) was written by Uddandakavi in 15th century.

Another poem with the same name Megadhuta was written by  Meru tunga in 15th century.

Kachiappa Munivar did Kachi Ananda ruttiresar in 18th century.

Azakar Killai (parrot)vitu Tutu was written by Palapattai Chokkanatha Kavirayar.

Devotees and philosophers used this type of poetry to spread spiritual message as well. Umapati Sivacharya’s Nenju Vitu Tutu, Hamsa Sandesa by an anonymous author, several poems by Saivite saints Manikka Vasagar, Sundarar and Andal also spread spiritual matter through Duta poems. Even freedom fighters used it in Gandhi Vitu Tutu. But the strangest thing about it, is two pomes titled Pana Vitu Tutu and Pukaiyilai vitu tutu, money and tobacco respectively. Film songs also use this genre where we see the actresses are seeking the help of birds to get some positive message from the lovers.

Sarama | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com › tag › sarama

25 Jun 2015 — Sarama, Indra’s messenger, tracks the cows and asks for them in Indra’s name, but is mocked by the Panis”. Clearly there is a basic difference …


Vedic Sarama and Greek Hermes!! | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com › 2015/06/24 › vedic-sarama…

24 Jun 2015 — Who is Sarama? In the Rig Veda (10-108) the dog of Indra is called Sarama. It has got two children and they are called Sarameyas.


TAMIL DOG IS THE FIRST DOG IN THE WORLD TO GET A …

http://swamiindology.blogspot.com › 2020/05 › tamil-d…

14 May 2020 — Rig Veda dog SARAMA and Mahabharata Dog that walked with the Pandavas to death may be more famous; but we don’t have statues for them.

–subham—

 tags – messenger poems, Duta kavyas, Sarama, Dog messenger, Kalidasa, Nala, Tamil, 

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