Tamil Hindu Encyclopaedia- Part 2 அணங்கு ,  சுராங்கனி (Post No.11322)


Post No. 11,332

Date uploaded in London – 7 OCTOBER 2022                  

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Tamils are better Hindus than others. Tiru Valluvar begins his most popular book Tiruk Kural with Bhagavad Gita sloka/couplet. Krishna said ‘Aksharanam Akaarosmi’ (BG 10-33)- ‘Of the letters I am letter ‘A’ (in the alphabet). Valluvar, an ardent Hindu said ,

‘As all alphabets have letter ‘A’ as their first, so as the world Bhagawan(god) for its beginning’.

The things to be noted are the Sanskrit words A-kaaram and Bhagawan in the very first couplet of the most famous Tamil work. He summarised all the 700 slokas of Bhagavad Gita into 140 couplets in his Chapters on Ascetic Virtues.

Let us look at more words from Tamil Sangam works now:

Anangu (அணங்கு)

Anangu அணங்கு means nymphs, spirits that live in  nature. Female deities and personification of nature are portrayed as beautiful maidens. Hindus believe that all the things in Nature have their own spirits. Greeks also followed Hindus and allocated nymphs for lakes, hills, ocean, water, trees etc. They even used Sanskrit word Neer for water in Nereids in Greek. Sanskrit word Neer for water is in the holiest mantra ‘Narayana’ and Rig Veda as well.

Anangu in Mahabharata gave us the best advice in Yaksha Prasna. Hindus call them with various names as Yaksha, Brahma Rakshas (Brahmin Ghosts) etc.

Hindus (Tamils) believed that they will harm us if we interfere in their work or cross their borders. 2000 year old Sangam Tamil Hindus found these spirits in at least 20 places.


Tamil Hindus sing about Spirits/Nymphs found in the following places:-

Apsaras, Women’s chest,  House, Door steps, Lyre (Yaaz in Tamil), Kadamba tree, Head of the elephant, Cot made up of tusk, Ponds, Ocean, Bathing Ghats, in the middle of the sea, Shark, Lord Skanda (Muruga in Tamil) Goddess (Devi), Ghost etc.

We must understand what they really mean. Hindus believe that everything in Nature is divine , and so use them carefully; give them respect; and if you use them unnecessarily they will harm you. Now science also says that is correct. If you waste water you won’t get good harvest. If you cut all the trees, there won’t be any rain.

Linguistics Research

My research shows that the word Nymph, Anangu in Tamil and Surangani are cognate words. Nangai in Tamil means wife, woman; found only twice in Sangam literature (Paripatal). Surangani (beauty from heaven/ devaloka ) is used in Sinhalese.

The reason for my interpretation is the reference in Tolkappiam, the oldest book in Tamil.

Tolkappiar, the author, says that four things cause fear in people: Anangu, Animals, Thieves and Kings.

The commentators interpreted Anangu as Divine Women such as Suurara Makalir (Suraangani)

Sura/Deva+ Aaaranangu/beauty

அணங்கு , நங்கை, சுராங்கனி (தேவ லோக அழகி, நங்கை)

சுர + ஆரணங்கு= சுராங்கனி

அணங்கே விலங்கே கள்வர் தம் இறை என

பிணங்கல் சாலா அச்சம் நான்கே (தொல்காப்பியம் 1202)


சூர் அர மகளிர் ஆரணங்கே (சுராங்கனி )- யாப்பருங்கல விருத்தி உரை மேற்கோள்


Fear evoking harming elements

In Puram 174, poet Miss Nappasalai praised Mr Sri Krishna (in Tamil Thiru Kannan) singing about the Mahabaharata episode of Krishna causing solar eclipse by his Sudarsana wheel so that Arjuna could slay Jayadratha. It was a real solar eclipse attributed as Krishna’s miracle. There  the poet says Anangudai Avunar /fearful Rakshasas hiding sun and then Mr Black (Anjana Uruvan= collyrium dark person) saving it . Here Anangu means Fearful.

(fighting took place on certain days only during ; they did not fight continuously for 18 days. So one New moon day occurred in between and the solar eclipse can happen only on New moon days/Amavasyai)


Anangu in Sangam books

As God/Divine in 29 places

As Divine women in 2 places (+ 2 places in Tirukkural)

As harming spirit – 3 places

As on the chest of woman – 5 places

As living in houses 3 places

As part of Lyre/ Yaaz in Tamil – 1

In Kadamba Tree – 1

In the elephant head and tusk – 2

In the water sources – 12 places

(This is in Yaksha Prasna of Mahabharata too)

As trouble causing Skanda (Muruga)- 6 places

Kalidasa also says that women are harmed by Lod Skanda /Muruga. Sangam Tamils also mentioned it in

Natrinai- 47-8; 376-10; 386-6; Puram.299-6; Kali.52-10; Muruku-289

(for abbreviations of Tamil books, please see first part of this article)

Anangu as troubling, fear causing element is used in over 30 places in Sangam literature

In one place ,a ladylove  is compared to  Anangu (Surangani??) – Pari.12-57

(When I was visiting temples from Shirdi to Nasik, in one of the shrines, my wife and other women in our group were not allowed inside Skanda/ Muruga shrine. A big curtain with an announcement said-‘ No women can enter. This is Skanda/ Kartikeya shrine’. In ancient Tamil Nadu love sick women behaved strangely. Immediately their mothers says she is affected by Murugan/Skanda and invited prophesy tellers to drive the love sickness out. They sacrificed goats to the gods during the ceremony.

To be continued……………………..

 Tags- Anangu, Surangani, Tamil, Sangam, literature, Tamil Encyclopedia , Nymphs, Spirits, Yaksha

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