Tamil Hindu Encyclopaedia – 19 ( Brahmins அந்தணர்,  பிராமணர்) – Post No.11,415


Post No. 11,415

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Tamils followed Sanskrit scriptures verbatim in describing the Brahmins. Brahmins are called Devas on Earth (Bhuu Surar) and People with Six Tasks/Duties (Shad Karma Niradha). 2000 year old Sangam Tamil poets translated it as Bhusurar and Aru Thozil Anthanar (பூசுரர், அறுதொழில் அந்தணர்). One more description about Brahmins is that they are as gentle and soft like cows (ஆ வினும் இனிய அந்தணர்) is found in both Tamil and Sanskrit works. Hindus considered Cows and Brahmins are sacred and must be protected. 2600 years ago Buddha also praised Brahmins sky high and said that they can murder or dislodge a king and go unpunished (See the whole chapter 26 in Dhammapada). Tamils also sang about Brahmins and Cows together (Go Bramnebhya:).

Here is the reference from Sangam Tamil Literature:-

Some people gave a wrong interpretation for Anthanar as saints or seers; Sangam poets showed them wrong. They said Six Task Anthanar, Anthanar Vedam, Anthana of Four Veda, Anthanar Naan Marai debunking the half baked, jaundice eyed “scholars”.

Anthanar Vedam (Brahmins Veda)- Maduraik Kaanchi- Lines 654-656

Anthanar Arumarai (Brahmins rare/excellent Veda)- Puram.363-8/9; Pari 1-13; 2-57; 3-14; 4-65

Vedas are coming from Shiva or Brahma- Puram 166-12

Brahmins reciting Vedas with  intonation is compared to the humming of the bees and beetles in the very early morning- Maduraik Kaanchi- Lines 654-656

The verb used here is singing the Vedas (so sweet); line 468 also used the verb sing. He added excellent (Sirantha) Veda.

The reason for using the verb Sing (Paada, Paadi) may be interpreted as Sama Veda recitation.

Paripaatal thirattu 27-7/11 praised Madurai Brahmins . The poet says that in the Cholza capital town Uraiyur and Chera capital town Vanji people wake up by hearing cock’s crowing (cock a doodle do)  but in Pandya capital Madurai, people get up by hearing the sound of Vedas. The poet adds Four Vedas that were born in the mouth of the god who was born on the lotus flower(Brahma)

(Hindu scriptures say that Brahma was born on lotus flower that came from the belly of Vishnu. The scriptures also say that the Vedas are coming non- stop from the mouth of Brahma)

Paripaatal poet 9-12/13 also use the epithets musical and poets for brahmins

Poet is a direct translation of the Rig vedic word Kavi.

Perumpaanaatruppadai—line 301– poet praised brahmins as the custodians/guardians of the Vedas.


Brahmins and parrots

Brahmins were fond of raising parrots as pets in their houses. This is evident from Mandanamishra- Adi Shankara anecdote and Thevaram poems of Tiru Gnana Sambandar. They say even the parrots in Brahmins houses reciting Vedas. Parrots are known for imitating the sounds exactly. Perumpaanaatruppadai—lines 300/ 301 also show this custom has been there for over 2000 years.

He described the town where the curved beak parrots repeating/imitating  the Guardians of Vedas(brahmins)

Paripaatal 2-25 praise Brahmins as the people who explores (the meaning of) of Vedas and followers of false less Vedic Vratas (vows).

Puram verse 166 says Vedas are Four and they are studied with Six Subordinate/ ancillary subjects (Aaru Angam).

Pathitruppaththu 21-/6 poet also mentioned five things studied by the Brahmins. According to old commentators the Five of Brahmins are –Praatisaakyam (Vedic pronunciation guidebook), Niruktam (etymology). Naattam (Astrology/astronomy), Controlled five senses and Vedas. This was sung by a Brahmin poet by name Paalaik Kauthamanaar (Gautama). There is a Tamil Miracle attached to this section of Pathitrup Paththu. Chera king asked “Oh Brahmin, you may take whatever you want from this kingdom. What do you want? Please let me know”. The poet replied that he and his wife should go to the heaven. The king was surprised by this request and consulted the Brahmin scholars. They prescribed Ten Yagas. They were done. During the Tenth Yaga the Brahmin poet and his wife disappeared (they went to Heaven). This is reported in the ancient Tamil book.


Secret of the Secrets

Vedas are translated as MARAI in Tamil which meant Secret/ Hidden meaning.

Paripaatal 3-65 used the word Secret of the Veda; in other words, secret of the secret. Famous commentator Pari Mel Azakar interpreted it as Upanishad.

Kalittokai Prayer verse also mentioned the Six Minor Subjects studied by the Brahmins along with the Vedas. This showed that the First Grammar Book, First Etymology Book, First Astrology/astronomy Book , First Phonetic Book, First Ritual book and First Prosody Book in the world are included in the Vedic School. Great Tamil poet Nakkirar studied Vedas for 48 years; Bharadvaja studied it for 300 years. Manu Smrti’s first chapter says people lived 400 years During Krta Yuga ( In Kali Yuga it was reduced to 100 years)

The six Angas are Siksa (Phonetics); Vyakarana (grammar); Nirukta (lexicon, etymology); Kalpa (manual of rituals); Chandas (prosody); Jyotisa (astronomy-astrology).



Anthanar meant only Brahmins. It was also used for saintly Brahmins like Adi Shankara, Madhwa, Ramanuja. Brahmins were held high in the society because of their spotless character, selfless service and life long study of Vedas and six Angas.


Tamil references :

Six duties/ tasks of Brahmins

அறு தொழில் அந்தணர்- புறம் 397- 19குறள் –560

அந்தணர் வேதம்

அந்தணர் அருமறை

அந்தணாளர் நான்மறை


Musical Vedas of Brahmins

தாது உண் பறவை  போது முரன்றாங்கு

ஓதல் அந்தணர் வேதம் பாட – மதுரைக் காஞ்சி 655-656


சிறந்த வேதம் விளங்கப் பாடி


Brahimns are poets (Kavi in Rig Veda)

நான்மறை விரித்து நல்லிசை விளக்கும்

வாயமொழிப் புலவீர் – பரிபாடல் 9-12/12குன்றம் பூதனார் பாடியது)


Parrots reciting Vedas in Brahmin Houses

வளை வாய்க் கிள்ளை மறை விளி பயிற்றும்

மறை காப்பாளர் உறை பதி – பெரும்பாணாற்று ப்படை 300-301


Brahmins Researching Vedas

வடு இல் கொள்கையின் உயர்ந்தோர் ஆய்ந்த

கெடு இல் கேள்வி – பரிபாடல் 2-24/25


Four Veda and Six Branches of Vedic Study

நன்று ஆய்ந்த நீள் நிமிர்சடை

முது முதல்வன் வாய்போகாது

ஒன்று புரிந்த ஈர் இரண்டின்

ஆறு உணர்ந்த ஒரு முது நூல் – புறம் 166


Five Things in Brahmin’s Mind

சொல் பெயர் நாட்டம் கேள்வி நெஞ்சம் என்று

ஐந்துடன் போற்றி அவை துணையாக

எவ்வம் சூழாது விளங்கிய கொள்கை – பதிற்றுப் பத்து 21-1/3


Secret of the Secrets (Upanishads)

அறத்தினுள் அன்பு நீமறத்தினுள் மைந்து  நீ,

வேதத்து மறை நீ பூதத்து முதலும் நீ -பரி 3-65/66


Brahmins who knows Six

ஆறு அறி அந்தணர்க்கு அருமறை பல பகர்ந்து

தேறு நீர் சடைக்கறத்து திரிபுரம் தீ மடுத்து

கூறாமல் குறித்ததன் மேல் செல்தும் கடுங் கூளி

மாறாப்போர்  மணி மிடற்று எண் கையாய

– கடவுள் வாழ்த்துகலித்தொகை

(வியாகரணம்சோதிடம்நிருக்தம்சந்தம்சிக்ஷைகற்பம் என்னும் ஆறினையும் வேதாங்கம் என்பர் )


மணி மேகலை 27-100/104ம் ஆறு அங்கம் பற்றிப்பா டுகிறது


cock-a-doo·dle-doothe loud crow of a cock.

பூவினுட் பிறந்தோன் நாவினுட் பிறந்த (Brahma)

நான்மறைக் கேள்வி நவிலகுரலெடுப்ப (Four Vedas reverberating)

ஏம வின்று யிலெழுதலல்லதை

வாழிய வஞ்சியும் கோழியும்போலக் (Vanji, Uraiyur)

கோழியி னெழாதெம் பேரூர் துயிலே (No sound of cock-a-doo·dle-doo)

– பரி . திரட்டு

To be continued……………………………. 

 Tags- Brahmins, Anthanar, Sangam Tamil, books

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