Tamil Hindu Encyclopaedia 34- Siva, ருத்ர Rudra,  Tryambaka In Sangam Tamil Corpus (Post No.11520)


Post No. 11,520

Date uploaded in London – 8 December 2022                  

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Lord Siva has been a very popular God among Tamils for over 2000 years. Two things are noticeable in Sangam Tamil books. His name SIVA did not appear anywhere in Sangam books. Like Rig Veda other names of him such as Rudra, Neelakanta, Tri Purantaka, Trayambaka, Crescent moon Bearer etc are used by Sangam Tamil poets. Another noticeable feature is his full appearance is described. This confirms that his paintings or idols or statues were there in nook and corner of Tamil Nadu. Later Tamil epic Silappadikaram confirmed the existence of temples of gods in Tamil Nadu.

Except Prof. Wilson, all others argued that the name SIVA சிவ did not find a place in the Rigveda. Sivaya Namah appeared first in the Yajur Veda (Rudram -Chamakam). In the same way Sivaya Namah appeared in Tamil only from sixth century CE only. Tamil saints Appar, Sambandar and Manikaavasagar spread it from the devotional period. No where in Sangam poems the name Siva occurred.



Another interesting feature is Tamils translated the Sanskrit names of SIVA verbatim.

ருத்ர- Rudra

Mr  Rudraksha of Kadiyalur கடியலூர் உருத்திரங்கண்ணனார்- Kadiyalur Uruththirankannanar is the author of Sangam Poems Perumpaanaatruppadai and Pattinappaalai. His name is the exact translation of RUDRAKSHA- Rudra+ Aksha.

கண் /அக்ஷ Kan= Aksha= Eye MR RUDRAKSHA

This is confirmed by the doyen of Tamil literature U Ve Sa and Kanchi Paramacharya (1894-1994). They translated Kamak Kanniyar (kaamakkanniyaar) as Kamakshi. Aksha= Eye.

So Sangam Tamil poets had the name of Kamakshi and Rudraksha


NEELAKANTA நீலகண்ட/ நீலமணிமிடற்று- Tamils were great masters of Hindu Puranas. When the Milky Ocean was churned by the Devas and Asuras, poison and Amrita came out. Lord Siva drank the poison to save the humanity, but Uma, his wife, got shocked and stopped it halfway through his throat. So he is called Blue Necked or Sapphire Necked.


TRI PURA ANTAKA த்ரிபுராந்தக- Lord Siva destroyed Three Space Stations of demons that were flying in the orbit . So he is known as the Destroyer of Three Forts

TRAYAMBAKA த்ரயம்பக- Lord Siva is famous for his Third Eye-  The Eye of Wisdom. When Manmata came to give him the sexual desire , he was burnt alive with his Wisdom Eye. This is called Third Eye. Tamils sang about it whenever they mentioned Manmata (Churner of Mind). So siva was called Three Eyed= TRAYAMBAKA= Three Eyed. Sangam poets translated it verbatim as முக்கண்ணான்.


ஈர்சடை அந்தணன்/ பிறைநுதல் Wet Hair and Crescent Moon

Sangam Tamils knew the story of Descent of Holy River Ganga from the sky . To  control its tremendous force Siva took it in his hair and let it in manageable speed on land and so his hair is always wet/ ஈர்சடை அந்தணன்.

Even today in Tamil Nadu temples, the Abisheka of Siva is very popular. He is called Abhisheka Priya while Vishnu is called Alankara Priya

Siva likes bathing and Vishnu likes decorations (with dress and jewels).

Siva  is sporting the crescent moon on his forehead பிறைநுதல்.

Since Sangam Tamils described all these minute details, we are certain that they were seeing it in various places in pictures and idols.



Red colour signifies auspiciousness and perfection.

Siva, Sivaniya (Tolkappiyar’s favourite word) ,Sivappu in Tamil are synonyms for red and perfection செம்மை, செந்தமிழ்.

Rudra is   also   Red, Red Faced in Sanskrit. The famous mantra Rudra and Chamaka of  Yajur Veda shows both these (auspiciousness, perfection) aspects. All orthodox Brahmins recite it every day and the bathing of God is done with this mantra in all Siva temples many times a day.

Tamil poets of Sangam Age never missed a chance in mentioning this RED colour of Siva. They called him Mr Red or Mr Red Body. Because of his rosy red body, his hair also is portrayed reddish in colour. They compared it with flame.

Two thousand years ago, Tamil poets described all Hindu gods in colourful pictures  which shows they were deep into Puranic lore. If one reads all these descriptions in Tamil one will date all the Sanskrit  Puranas in BCE period. Sanskrit Puranas must be very popular in BCE. All the Gods’ descriptions in Tamil are nothing but verbatim translations of those works.


Now I will give all Tamil references from Sangam Literature:

Lord Siva is RED like dusk

வெருவரு கடுந் திறல் இரு பெருந் தெய்வத்து

உரு உடன் இயைந்த தோற்றம் போல,

அந்தி வானமொடு கடல் அணி கொளாஅ,

வந்த மாலை பெயரின், மற்று இவள்

அகநானூறு Akananuru 360

The sky in dusk looked like two great gods (Red like Siva, and dark like Vishnu)

In the payer verse of Akananuru also, the poet said செவ்வான் அன்ன  மேனி– body like dusky red sky

Purananuru 56 portrayed him as one with flame coloured and loose/ untied hair புறநானூறு 56 எரி மருள் அவிர்சடை



மிக்கு ஒளிர் தாழ் சடை மேவரும் பிறை நுதல்

முக்கண்ணான் உருவே போல் முரண் மிகு குராலும்,

கலித்தொகை 104-11

In these two short sentences Siva is shown with crescent moon sporting ,  three eyed, shiny ,light emitting , lowered/untied hair.



Lord Siva is associated with the star Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation and so Siva is called Mr Arudra Star; the Kalittokai poet also says he is( golden red) like Shanbaga flower

அரும் பெறல் ஆதிரையான் அணி பெற மலர்ந்த  20

பெருந் தண் சண்பகம் போல, ஒருங்கு அவர்

பொய்யார் ஆகுதல் தெளிந்தனம்

மை ஈர் ஓதி மட மொழியோயே! –கலித்தொகை 150

To be continued…………………………….

 tags-siva, rudra, trayambaka, சிவன், ருத்ரன், முக்கண்ணான் , செம்மேனி அம்மான், உருத்திரங் கண்ணனார் , 

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