KARI for Elephant is Not a Tamil Word-4 (Post No.11,289)


Post No. 11,289

Date uploaded in London – 23 SEPTEMBER 2022         

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Manu Smrti, the first law book in the world, which is older than Hammurabi’s law book, also talks about elephants. He used words Hastin, Varana and Kunjara for elephant. One must remember that word Varanam was used by Tamil saint poetess Andal of seventh century CE in her Varanam Aayiram (thousand elephants).

Manu says 2-157

A priest who has not learnt the Veda is like an elephant made up of wood, like a deer made up of leather; these three bears nothing but the name,

Here we get more information of the dolls that were made many thousand years ago. Children of our forefathers played with elephant toys. Tirumular, Tamil saint also sang about elephant dolls.  Even today foreign tourists visiting India buy elephant dolls the most.


Manu 3-10

Here Manu talks about Samudrika Lakshana (Hindu science of body features indicating behaviour). And here we see walking like an elephant is appreciated.

He should marry a woman who does not lack any part of her body and who has a pleasant name, who walks like a goose or an elephant, whose body hair and the hair on the head is fine, whose teeth are not big and who has delicate limbs.


Manu 3-162

Manu lays lot of conditions for the ceremony for the dead; in the exclusion list of invitees , elephant trainer is also found.


Riddle in Manu 3-274

Manu used a riddle in this sloka which cannot be interpreted satisfactorily. He says ,

The ancestors say “May there be born into our family one who will give us food mixed with milk, with honey, with melted butter on the thirteenth day  when the SHADOW OF THE ELEPHANT IS CAST TOWARDS EAST.

Commentators are still struggling to find the meaning for the elephant shadow. Shadows fall to the east in the evening. That is a straight forward interpretation. Manu could have said ‘in the afternoon or evening’ if he really meant that. So, others don’t accept the simple meaning. They think it is a particular day when the sun is in the constellation of the THE ELEPHANT’S TRUNK. Manu might have meant Hasta nakshatra, in the month of Magha in Hindu calendar. Another commentator says it is the day when a solar eclipse occurs. Unless no supporting evidence comes from other authoritative sources, the riddle can’t be solved.



Manu bans Vedic recitation on certain days and certain times. Continuing it he says,

A person mounted on a horse should not recite , nor anyone on a tree, an elephant , a boat, a donkey or a camel or standing on salty ground; nor any one traveling in a carriage.

It shows us the transport used by the twice born in those days.


Manu 7-96

Here Manu explains the share in the war booty. He says,

Horses and chariots, elephants, parasols, money, grain, livestock, women, all sorts of things and non -precious  metals belong to the man who wins.

So, elephants won in a battle belongs to the victorious hero.


Manu 7-192

This sloka/couplet describes the fighting of kings. He says,

He should fight with horses and chariots on level grounds, with boats and elephants on marshes, with bows on grounds covered with trees and shrubs, and with swords, shields, and similar weapons on mounds.


 Manu 8-34

Strange are the ways of executing people that were followed around the world. Thieves are sentenced to death in India. Here Manu says thieves must be killed with elephants. This unique type of death sentence is in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. During Mahendra Varman (600 CE) period, Jains made the Pallava king to execute Tamil Saivite saint Appar by an elephant. But it saluted and bowed to him and went away. Here Manu says,

Property that has been lost and then found should be kept in the custody of appropriate people; if the king catches thieves, they should be killed by an elephant. Kovalan, Tamil hero in the epic Silappadikaram was falsely accused of theft and was executed by the Pandya king without proper enquiry. His wife Kannaki burnt down the Pandya capital Madurai City to avenge her husband’s death.


Manu 8- 296

The wonder is that Manu touches all subjects like an encyclopaedia. He even talks about what punishment should be given for road accidents. Even today, millions of people are killed due to road accidents around the world. Manu says,

If a man is killed (in a road accident) the driver’s offence is equal to that of a thief; if a large animal like cow, elephant,  camel or horse is killed his offence is half of that (50%  thief)

Though Manu gives less punishment for killing animal, there was a Choza king in Tami Nadu whose name itself was Manu Neethi Choza; he executed his own son for killing a calf in a road accident 2000 years ago. So people forgot his real name and called the king Mr Manu Smrti. His statue is in Tiruvarur. He is praised in Tamil literature for following the law of blood for blood, eye for eye . But in reality, Manu was not that strict. One who reads Manu in full wound agree with me. He was very considerate in many issues.


Manu 11-69

If someone kills animals that will make him to lose his caste status. Manu says,

Killing a donkey, horse, camel, elephant, goat, sheep, fish, snake, buffalo should be recognised as the cause of sinking into the status of a mixed caste.

One should note that even, fish and snake are included here.


Manu 11-137

Manu talks about unintentional killing of animals by a priest. He says,

For killing a horse he should donate a garment; for an elephant , five black bulls; for a got or sheep, a draught ox should be donated; for a donkey , a calf.


Manu 12-43

Here Manu talks about transmigration of souls; he says who will be born as what if one incurs sins. He says ,

People who have Tamasa guna (darkness)will be born as elephants, horses, servants, barbarians, lions, tigers and boars at the middle level of existence. Each category is divided into bad, worse, worst levels.


Manu 12-67

Manu gives a long and interesting list of rebirths. He explains what would you be in your next birth if you steal,

For a deer or an elephant – a wolf (you will become a wolf in your next birth)

For a horse – a tiger

For stealing fruits and roots – you will be born a monkey

For a woman – a bear

For water- a sparrow

For vehicles – a camel

For livestock – a goat

In the next part we will find more interesting information from other books.

To be continued…………………….

Tags-  Elephant, in Manu Smrti, Manu neethi choza, Appar, Priest, Riddle in Manu

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