Tamil Hindu Encyclopaedia – 18 (Vedas & Brahmins வேதங்களும் பிராமணர்களும்) -Post No.11,412


Post No. 11,412

Date uploaded in London – 4 November 2022                  

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Very rare and interesting information about the Vedas and Brahmins is available from the 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. Kanchi Paramacharya (1894-1994) has already pointed out that ‘the pure Tamil words for all Vedic rituals in Sangam Tamil Literature shows that the Vedas and Brahmins are part and parcel of Tamil society’. Let me start with two interesting titbits.

The oldest Pandya King in Purananuru is பல்யாகசாலை முதுகுடுமிப் பெருவழுதி Pal Yaaga Saalai Mudukutumi Peruvazuthi. He bowed his head only two times in his life says Purananuru verse 6. When Brahmins bless him with Mantras, he bowed his head to salute them. And the second time he bows his head when he goes around Shiva (Trayambaka முக்கட் செல்வர்)  Temple. He was the one who performed Asvamedha Yagna which is evident from his Horse picture coin. Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa also praises this Pandya king as one who is always with wet clothes, ready for Yaga. His title in Tamil means one who has done many Yagas (பல்யாகசாலை Pal Yaaga Saalai); Kalidasa used ‘ Pandya doing Avabrutha Snaanam’)

The second detail is that Madurai people woke up very early in the morning hearing the Vedic recitation of Brahmins where as people at other towns woke up at the sound of rooster’s Cock a doodle doo!


Let me list word by word with my notes:

Marai and Sanskrit word Veda(m) மறைand வேதம் are used in a lot of places. Marai means Secret. Tamils knew that Vedas have hidden meaning. Vedam means Knowledge in Sanskrit.

Veda neri – வேத நெறி, Vedic rule, Vedic way, Vedic stricture- Puram 2-18

Veda/m – , வேதம்,Maduraikkaanchi- lines 468, 656; Puram 15-17;  Pari- 3-66

Veda velvi thozil – வேத வேள்வித் தொழில் Vedic yagna work or task -Puram 224-9

Vediyar – வேதியர் Pari- 11-84 (one who recites Veda)

Marai – மறை over 50 places in Tolkappiam and Sangam books


My Comments

It gives a severe blow to the foreigners and Dravidian political parties who bluffed that Brahmins came from North India. Additional support come from Sri Lanka’s historical work Mahaavamsa which says Brahmins were there when banished Vijaya landed in Sri Lanka in sixth century BCE.

The second point to be noted is that Sangam Tamil poets never hesitated to use Tamil word Marai and Sanskrit word Veda. Additional support comes from dictionaries. There is no Tamil dictionary or Nikandu without Sanskrit words. All those Nikandus/thesaurus  and Tamil dictionaries treated those Sanskrit words as Tamil words or on par with Tamil. The reason is that Hindus believe that both these languages came from Lord Shiva. This belief is annotated in Panini’s Sutra and Bharatiyar’s Tamil poems. That shows it is there for at least 2700 years.

The third point to be noted is Hindus believe Vedas have secret hidden meaning and Tamils rightly translated it in Marai/hidden


Other Tamil words for Vedas

There is a beautiful word used by a Tamil poet in Kurunthokai 156. He called Vedas as , எழுதாக் கற்பு, Ezuthaak Karpu. Literally translated it would be ‘Unwritten Learning’ or ‘Unwritten Chastity’. But most scholars say that Vedas were called Ezuthaak Karpu because Brahmins believe that it should be never written but be learnt only from the mouth of a Guru.

Another way of interpreting Karpu கற்பு, is that the Veda is so chaste and pure and once written it would lose its purity. Karpu கற்பு, in Tamil means chastity as well.

Vaaymozi :- வாய் மொழி Pari –3-11/12  learnt by recitation or teaching from the Guru. Vaay = mouth, Mozi=word or language.

Another interpretation is Brahma is reciting it for ever. In other words Sound- Vedic Sound- creates the world, living beings etc.

Science also says there was sound first (Big Bang 1300 billion years ago)

Kelvi = கேள்வி Sruti in Sanskrit = That which is HEARD. Hindus believe that Vedic sounds exist eternally like Radio Broadcasts and the Rishis/Seers can catch them when they tune in their mind to that particular frequency or wave length. Another interpretation is one learns it only by HEARING and not from written work.

Mudhu Mozi- முது மொழி , Pari.3-42; 3-47; 8-11; 13-10, Mudhu Nuul – முது நூல் Puram.166-4

Mudhu- Ancient; Mozi- word, language; Nuul- Book.

The meaning is that ancient Tamils knew it as Most Ancient Work.

Here one must note that even Rig Vedic poets say that their ‘ancient forefather’ said it. That means it was more ancient than those Rig Vedic poets.

The great Saivite saint Manikkavasagar describe Lord Shiva as older than the oldest and newer than the newest . This is also in the Sanskrit word Purana= Pura api Navam= Old and New too புராணம்= புரா அபி நவம்.

So we may apply this to Vedas in the words Mudhu Mozi and Mudhu Nuul முது நூல்.

Aru Marai- , அரு மறை Pari.1-13; 2-57; 3-14; 4-65-Rare and Secret Book

Tamils appreciated the rarity of the Vedas; no book exists today like this Oral work. But ill this day it is taught only orally. It is rare indeed.

Naan Marai –, நான் மறை Four Vedas- Puram26-13; 93-7; 362-9; Pari.9-12

Naal Vedam –, நால் வேதம், Four Veda/m – Puram. 2-18, 15-17

Tamil word FOUR நால் is very interesting. Ancient Sanskrit works described Vedas as three Trayi Vedas in most places; later works said Four Vedas. They dropped the fourth Veda- Atharvana- because it was not used in religious rituals; it was mostly a secular work. But ancient Tamils never said Three Vedas. This shows that Tamils considered all the Four as pukka/proper Vedas.

There is another interpretation as well. Anthropologists, Sociologists, and Historians believe that Northern part of earth was occupied first and then people moved slowly to the South. In India also it is authenticated by Hindu books and Anthropologists. The Bhimbetka Caves in the deepest part of India in Madya Pradesh has பிம்பேட்கா குகை ஓவியங்கள் 10,000 year old cave paintings. People were living there before one lakh years .

No where in the South we have such ancient evidence. It is a great Indian Wonder that people were living in deep forests in the deepest part of central India 100,000 years ago!.

In the next part we will explore who were அந்தணர், பிராமணர் ANTHANAR/Brahmanaas/Brahmins

To be continued………………………………….

 Tags- Sangam Tamil works, Brahmins, Vedas, Bhimbetka Cave, 

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