Tamil Hindu Encyclopaedia 25 ( Thirty Three Devas and Yama- தேவர்கள், யமன்) in Sangam Tamil Poems (11,451)


Post No. 11,451

Date uploaded in London – 17 November 2022                  

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The Five Elements Pancha Bhuta, Nine Celestial Bodies Nava Graha, Yama, the God of Death, and his assistant The Time Kaala, 33 Devas, 3X7= 21 Lokas and all the Living Beings in these places came from Lord Vishnu says the Vedas— This found in Paripatal (paatal) 3-1/14

This is very clear indication to show that the Tamil Hindus living in the southernmost part of India were thorough with all the Puranas (mythology).

Of the 18 books of Sangam period, we find more religious materials in Tiru Murugaatuppadai (Murugu) and Paripatal (Pari.). Unfortunately, Tamils lost most of the 70 Paripatal poems.

The date of Paripatal cannot be questioned, because a few poets of these verses are sung and praised by Sangam poets. For instance, Nallanthuvanaar of Pari. is praised by Maruthan Ila Nagan of Sangam period.


Thirty Three Devas and Yama 33 தேவர்கள்யமன்

All Hindu scriptures group the Devas (dwellers of Heaven) as 33 and they are divided into four sub groups again.

11 – Ekadasa Rudras (ekaadasa Rudraas)

12- Adityas (aadityaas)

8 – Ashta Vasus

2 – Doctors (Medicine Men of Heaven) = Total 33

( I  am not going to explain 33 Devas here; it is already in my blogs)

The reference to 33 Devas shows that these stories are part and parcel of Tamil land and Tamil folks. They did not come from North, because the Tamils claim them as their own Gods.

Further references are found  in,

Murugu 167; Pari.3-6/8; 27/28 and 8-4/7.

The groups are clearly shown in Pari.8-3/7


18 Groups

Were there Aryas and Dravidas in Sangam Period?

Before the anti Hindu gangs divided the entire Hindu society into Aryas and Dravidas and before the anti Indian linguistic gangs divided the entire Indian languages into Aryan ,Dravidian and Munda, ancient Tamils never knew anything about it. They considered everyone their own kith and kin.

Though the word ARYA is found in Sangam literature it is used in good sense like the Rig Veda without any racial connotation. They used to mean ‘Saints, Cultured, Literate’ etc. The greatest proof comes from the greatest of the Modern Tamil Poets Bharatiyar, who used only ARYA in Rig Vedic sense throughout his pomes and  Dravida not even once. He also said that both Tamil and Sanskrit came from Lord Shiva.

If the society was not divided into Aryas and Dravidas, what else the Hindus did? They divided the living beings in to 18 groups. It is in Puranas and Sangam Tamil literature.

The 18 groups (Gana) are mentioned following the 33 Devas in Murugu. ()Lines 167-168 by Nakkirar.

UTTARAKURU- Ever happy place.

These people live ever happy in Uttarakuru (Pathitru 68-12/13.

It looks like this Utopian land Uttarakuru is used in two ways. One is actual heaven and another is Heavenly Place on earth. Even today when one describes some beautiful tourist spots, one compares it to heaven. Kabilar in Pathitruppathu simply says the ‘northern land’ (Vada Pulam in Tamil)  where people live happily for ever. Unknown ancient commentator explains it as Uttarakuru.

பதினெண் கணங்கள்

ஆ.சிங்காரவேலு முதலியாரின் அபிதான சிந்தாமணி (தமிழ் கலைக் களஞ்சியம்) தரும் பட்டியல்:

அமரர் – Amarar- Devas

சித்தர்- Sidhdhar- Those who attained 8 Suprnatural Powers

அசுரர்- Asura- Asura of Vedas

தைத்தியர்- Daityas

கருடர்- Garuda (meant all birds led by Eagle pr Falcon

கின்னரர்- Kinnar

நிருதர்- Nirudhar (Departed People)

கிம்புருடர்- Kimpurusha

கந்தர்வர்- Gandharva

இயக்கர் (யக்ஷர்)- Yakshas

விஞ்ஞையர் (வித்யாதரர்)- Vidhyadharas

பூதர்- Bhutas (Ghosts or Strange Natural Phenomena)

பைசாசர்- Paisasar (Dead People’s Spirit)

அந்தரர்- Antharar (People in the Sky)

முனிவர்- Munis (Saints)

உரகர்- Uragas (Nagas who lived in Islands below India)

ஆகாயவாசியர்- Living in the Sky ( ETs, Aliens who visit earth in UFOs)

போகபூமியர் — (பிங்கலம்)- Bhoaga Bhumiyar (Ever Living Happily) may be People of Uttarakuru

The most beautiful and most notable thing in this list is that Asuras and Devas are shown as part of Hindu Society. Hindu Epics and Puranas also show them as half brothers or cousins. Anti Hindu Gangs, particularly from foreign countries, poisoned Indian History and wrote about Aryas and Dravidas as fighting with each other.

(I am not going to explain the meaning of 18 groups here.)

Tamils mentioned the Gandharvas in many places. Murugu (lines 141-142) praises them as beautiful singers.


Ashta Dik Palakas அஷ்ட திக் பாலகர் – எண் திசைக் காவலர்

Hindus believe that the universe is guarded by 8 Devas in Eight Directions. Ancient Tamils never forgot it to mention.(Pari.8-7)

Name         consort

 1.Kubera The God of Fortune (North)   Bhadra

2.Yama The God of Justice and Death (South)         Dhumorna

3.Indra The Lord of Heaven and God of the Weather, Sky, Rain, and Storms (East)          Indrani

4. Varuna OR Samudra God of the Seas, Oceans, and Rain (West)    Varuni

5.Īśāna OR Sadashiva God of Birth, Death, Resurrection, and Time (Northeast)          Ishwari

6.Agni God of Fire (Southeast)      Svāhā In the image incorrectly shown on southwest.

7.Vayu God of the Winds and Air (Northwest)        Svasti

8.Nirriti (Demigod of Death, Sorrow, and Decay)|(Southwest)[2][3]          Nirṛta In the image incorrectly shown on southeast.

(The above list is taken from Wikipedia)

Commentators listed all the eight devas; but individually they are mentioned in several poems by the Tamil poets. Indra and Varuna are found even in the oldest Tami book Tolkappiam. Indra and Amrita of Devaloka are also mentioned by several poets(  we have already seen it in earlier parts).


YAMA, God of Death

கூற்று- kuutru, கூற்றம்- kuutram, காலன்- kaalan , ஞமன்- gnaman , மடங்கல்- madangal , தருமன்- dharuman are the names used by the Sangam poets for YAMA.

There is a strange reference in Pari.5-56/57. Lord Muruga/Skanda received the cock from Agni/Fire God and the goat from Yama.

At the end of time , Yama and Agni join the Sun god/Soorya to destroy the world- says Pari-3-22/23

Yama is referred to by Sangam poets more than Indra.

Following are some references where he is called the death, one who folds or finishes or the Time/r

Because he knows the time for departure of every living being he is called Mr Time (kaalan)

Puram 4-12; 5-1; 226-6; Kuru.283-5; Pathitr.14-10- KUUTRU

Akam.61-1; Pathitr26-13; 51-35; 84-7; Puram.75-11; 98-17; 210-8; 221-8; 227-1; 230-1; 237-9; 361-1; 362-7 – KUUTRAM

Puram.41-1; 240-5; Kali.105-19; 147-40; Pathir.39-8- KAALAN

Puram.6-9; Pari.5-61 – GNAMAN

Puram. 363-9; 366-23; Pari. 3-8 MADANGAL


Kali.101-25; 100-43 ERUMAI/|BUFFALO (Vehicle of Yama)

The description that he is a just person, he is impartial in passing judgement because his balance shows how much good (Punya) how much bad (paapa) were done in one’s life.

This pure Hindu concept is reflected in Kali.100-13/16 and Pari.5-16

The poets sing about the balance he is holding.


Apart from these direct references we see several similes such as comparing a heroic king, a beauty who “kills” a man with her look(Kali.56-7/9

Let us look at some more interesting poems:

Like Sanskrit poets Yama is compared to kings who kill their enemies.

But in one poem a woman curses Yama because he separated her daughter before he killed her. She cursed Yama , let him be buried in the funeral urn (Natrinai 271- 11/12

Another poet says Yama is like a hunter who spreads his net to catch the animals (pathitru-51-36)

Yama is always roaming with rage to kill (Puram 361-42)

He is a BLIND:  Puram 240 (he kills good and bad at the decided  date)

His FOOD is living beings on earth – (Puram.4-2)

He is Moral less; he has no scoop for morals because he is taking the lives of Good People as well (Puram 210-8; 237-9; 255-4)

Whether you do good or bad he is after you- Puram 221-1/8

But all powerful YAMA becomes POWERLESS in front of Lord Skanda Muruga and he gives a goat to him

Yama was punished and kicked by Lord Shiva when he tried  to snatch his devotee Markandeya’s life at the age of 16. Without mentioning Markandeya this anecdote is seen in Kali 101-24/26; 103-43/45

Since Lord Shiva is the Final Destroyer (Mahaa Kaala), the above two poems described Shiva tearing Yama to pieces.

Sangam poets were very well versed not only in Hindu mythological stories but also in the philosophy behind it. Thanks to commentators we know the hidden meaning in Sangam poems.


All the Devas, Pancha Bhutas, Nine Celestial bodies came from Vishnu

திருமாலிடமிருந்து தோன்றிய பரந்த பொருள்கள்

மா அயோயே! மாஅயோயே!

மறு பிறப்பு அறுக்கும் மாசு இல் சேவடி

மணி திகழ் உருபின் மா அயோயே!

தீ வளி விசும்பு நிலன் நீர் ஐந்தும்,

ஞாயிறும், திங்களும், அறனும், ஐவரும்,    5

திதியின் சிறாரும், விதியின் மக்களும்,

மாசு இல் எண்மரும், பதினொரு கபிலரும்,

தா மா இருவரும், தருமனும், மடங்கலும்,

மூ-ஏழ் உலகமும், உலகினுள் மன்பதும்,

மாயோய்! நின்வயின் பரந்தவை உரைத்தேம்   10

மாயா வாய்மொழி உரைதர வலந்து:

‘வாய்மொழி ஓடை மலர்ந்த

தாமரைப் பூவினுள் பிறந்தோனும், தாதையும்,

நீ’ என பொழியுமால், அந்தணர் அரு மறை.


33 Devas and 8 Dik Palakas in Sangam Poems

பரிபாடல் 8

மலர்மிசை முதல்வனும்மற்று அவனிடைத் தோன்றி

உலகு இருள் அகற்றிய பதின்மரும்இருவரும்,

மருந்து உரை இருவரும்திருந்து நூல் எண்மரும்,               5

ஆதிரை முதல்வனின் கிளந்த

நாதர் பன்னொருவரும்நன் திசை காப்போரும்,

யாவரும், பிறரும், அமரரும்அவுணரும்,

மேஅரு முதுமொழி விழுத் தவ முதல்வரும்—

பற்றாகின்று, நின் காரணமாக;  10


18 Groups of Hindus and 33 Gods/Devas

திருமுருகாற்றுப்படை 167- 168

பகலிற் றோன்றும் இகலில் காட்சி

நால்வேறு இயற்கைப் பதினொரு மூவரொடு

ஒன்பதிற்று இரட்டி உயர்நிலை பெறீஇயர்


What a beauty she is! Is she YAMA that came to kill me with her beauty!!!

வல்லவன் தைஇய பாவை கொல்? நல்லார்

உறுப்பு எலாம் கொண்டு, இயற்றியாள் கொல்? வெறுப்பினால்

வேண்டு உருவம் கொண்டது ஓர் கூற்றம் கொல்?

–கலித்தொகை 56-7/9


Woman cursing Yama to die

நற்றிணை 271

மா இருந் தாழி கவிப்ப,

தா இன்று கழிக, எற் கொள்ளாக் கூற்றே.


Even the great Choza king is dead

புற  நானூறு 221

பாடுநர்க்கு ஈத்த பல்புக ழன்னே;


துகளறு கேள்வி உயர்ந்தோர் புக்கில்;

அனையன் என்னாது, அத்தக் கோனை,

நினையாக் கூற்றம் இன்னுயிர் உய்த்தன்று;


Yama roaming with rage to snatch life

கார் எதிர் உருமின் உரறிக், கல்லென,

ஆருயிர்க்கு அலமரும் ஆராக் கூற்றம்!

— புற நானூறு 361-42


Yama holding a balance to weigh good and bad actions

ஆனிலை உலகத் தானும், ஆனாது,
உருவும் புகழும் ஆகி, விரிசீர்த்
தெரிகோல் ஞமன் போல, ஒரு திறம்

— புற நானூறு 6- 8/10


Yama spreading net like a hunter

பதிற்றுப்பத்து 51-36/37

மாற்று அருஞ் சீற்றத்து மா இருங் கூற்றம்   35

வலை விரித்தன்ன நோக்கலை;

கடியையால், நெடுந்தகை செருவத்தானே.


எல்லா குறிப்புகளையும் கொடுக்கவில்லை. சில குறிப்புகளை மட்டுமே கொடுத்துள்ளேன்.


யமன், 33 தேவர்கள், ஞமன், 18 கணங்கள், Yama, 18 Ganas, 33 Devas

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