First English -Tamil Etymological Dictionary (Post No.7597)


Post No.7597

Date uploaded in London – 20 February 2020

Contact –

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog.

Prof P Sankara Narayana had done a marvellous job 100 years ago by bringing out an English – Tamil Etymological dictionary. He had already brought out English -Telugu dictionary as well. Probably he is the only one who had done two huge dictionaries in two languages.

Here etymology means the etymology of English words unlike the Dravidian Etymological Dictionary of Burrow and Emeneau which gives etymology of Tamil words.

But P Sankaranarayana’s work is huge with over 1300 pages priced only three rupees in 1911. That was the enlarged second edition. From his titles we know that he worked for the Presidency College in Madras.  Like Mughal Emperor Akbar’s Din- Ilahi , P Sankaranaraya had his own religion called ‘Religion of Truth’. His book list includes his pet theme Religion of Truth. I could not find his profile in any website. Gregory James in his History of Dictionaries mentioned one P.Sankaranarayana Chettiar.

Probably he is a forgotten Chettiyar scholar and not much known lexicographer.

Let us salute him for his marvellous works.

I found the old dictionary in the British Library in London.

Please see the attached picture and some pages from the dictionary.

tags — lexicographer, English- Tamil, etymological, Dictionary, P Sankaranarayana, Chettiyar



Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 16 December 2019

Time in London – 18-10

Post No. 7350

Pictures are taken from various sources; beware of copyright rules; don’t use them without permission; this is a non- commercial, educational blog; posted in and simultaneously. Average hits per day for both the blogs 12,000

Tamil women are great poetesses, temple builders and social reformers. Andal ,a devotee of Vishnu, and Karaikkal Ammaiyar, a devotee of Shiva are known to many. Avvaiyar is a household name in Tamil Nadu; but many Avvais existed in various ages. Probably the word AVVAI was used for an old woman completely devoted to God; that is a full timer on public service, widowed OR not married . Scholars think that six women known as Avvai lived in Tamil Nadu. But linguistically speaking, we can see at least four Avvais clearly. One belong to Sangam age , another belongs to middle age and the third one is from our times. The language of the poems draws a clear cut line. Fourth one is in between them.

The most famous Avvai existed during Sangam age i.e. 2000 years ago. She was well versed in Tamil and bold enough to challenge and advise the mighty Tamil kings. But she was respected by one and all. The Tamils were fighting among themselves from the very beginning of history. The longest infighting race in the world. Avvai was bold enough to advise them to stop fighting.

A great Chola king Peru Narkilli did a Rajasuya Yagam like Yuthisthiraa of Mahabharata. Chera king and the Pandya king attended the Hindu fire ceremony. Grand old lady of Tamil country Avvaiyar came there and blessed them. She sang that they must be united like this for ever and live longer in years than the number of stars in the sky and the number of drops in the rain. She advised them to give a lot of gold to worthy Brahmins (See Purananuru verse 366).

She went to another inexperienced king and advised him not to fight with his enemy. She used very subtle language and said to him “your weapons are brand new and shining like silver whereas your enemy’s weapons are blunt, rusty and bloody. The message she hinted was ‘Oh, you idiot, you don’t know what a battle is like, where as your enemy is an experienced fighter.”

She was in the court of Neduman Anji, the Adigamaan Chief of Tagadur (Dharmapuri). He held her in high esteem and even gave her the Nelli (amla) with rare medical properties. He entrusted her an embassy to the Chief of Tondaimandalam. She composed many poems on the generosity of Adigaman. For vigour and depth of feeling her odes to Adigaman are second to none in the Purananuru collections.

After the death of Adigaman she visited several places in Tamil Nadu. Avvai took her themes from life in the palace and in the country farm. The simple pleasures and the daily cares of the lowly appealed to her even more than the chivalry of heroes and the magnificence of princes. Her odes which are included in the   Sangam collections Akananuru, Purananuu, Natrinai and Kuruntokai, are a true mirror of contemporary Tamil life.   With a rare economy of words she creates marvellous pen pictures , and some poetic imagery; she adds choice moral precepts. She is a great exponent of morality.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


We see one Avvai as most famous Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar’s sister (probably around fourth or fifth century CE) and another Avvai with Sundarar and Cheraman Perumal (probably ninth century) and another Avvai who composed Athichudi and other poems in simple Tamil during modern times. She is the one devoted to Lord Skanda/Muruga and author of Vinayakar Akaval. So one can easily see four different Avvais. Pithy aphorisms of later Avvai are lisped by Tamil children even today as introduction to Tamil poetry and a guide to a moral life.

Tradition ascribes to Avvai a strange parentage- a Brahmana father and a low caste mother brought up in a Brahmana family. She has six siblings along with Tiru Valluvar. This story is found in all books that were published 75 years ago. This Avvai came after Sangam age. Her poetic talents were first discovered by Buuda, a petty chieftain of Pulveluur on the River Pennaaru.

( Tamils killed each other continuously for 1200 years and then invited Muslim invaders to kill all the Tamils. For 150 years Tamils were ruled by Muslim invaders and then Telugus saved Tamil Nadu, Tamil Culture, Tamil temples and Hinduism. Kumara Kampannan came with his wife Ganga Devi to Madurai and sounded the death knell to Muslim Rule. Tamils are ever grateful to the Telugus. Without them Tamil Pakistan would have emerged 500 years before the actual Pakistan.)

Angavai and Sangavai

One of the great Tamil philanthropists is Chieftain Vel Pari. He had two daughters named Angavai and Sangavai. They were well educated and could compose poems. Paari was ruling a small area called Parampunaadu. Three great Tamil kings of Chera, Chola and Pandya wanted to marry those girls. When Pari refused they laid a siege around his small kingdom. Kabilar, a brahmin poet was his close friend . He helped him to break the siege by training thousands of parrots to bring grains from around the kingdom. But at the end Chieftain Pari was killed . Since Kabilar took care of Pari’s daughters, the three kings could not touch them . Kabilar contributed highest number poems to the Sangam corpus . He was the only poet sung and praised by other poets. He was praised as a  Brahmin of spotless character . He was a revolutionary who broke the barriers of caste 2000 years ago. He got them married and then entered fire like several Hindu saints. That place is called Kabilar Rock near Tirukkovalur in Tamil Nadu.

One of the Purananuru collections is sung by these two daughters.
An unconquerable hero, he fell a victim to foul treachery and his orphaned girls were exiled from their home . The hymn is an exquisite pen picture of their sufferings in exile, presented in sharp contrast to their past life of affluence and luxury in their palace at Parambu Naadu.
See Puram verse 112.

Xxx subham xxx


Great Tamil Poetess -Nappasalai (Post No.7330)


Date: 11 DECEMBER 2019

 Time in London – 19-29

Post No. 7330

Pictures are taken from various sources; beware of copyright rules; don’t use them without permission; this is a non- commercial, educational blog; posted in and simultaneously. Average hits per day for both the blogs 12,000.

Tamil laymen knew about great Tamil poetesses Avvaiyar, Andal and Karaikkal Ammaiyar. But many people do not know about Sangam age women poets.

Nappashalai was one of the Sangam Age (Sangam age – first three centuries of modern era) Tamil poetesses. Her seven verses are in Purananuru of Sangam Age.

She was a native of Marokkam in south Pandya country.  Her odes were admired by all the kings f the day. There is much art in the following ode praising Killi Valavan’s generosity justice and might; she mentions the Sibi Chakravarthy Story from the Puranas. Several poets have pointed out that Cholas belong to Solar Race and  Sibi, Mandhata and others of Surya Kula are their forefathers. Here is her poem:-

Descendant of him who to save a dove from grief entered the balance… giving in grace was born with you, and is not your peculiar praise!

And when one ponders how your forefathers of ancient days destroyed the mighty fort suspended in the sky which foes dreaded to approach – to slay your foes is not your peculiar praise!

And since the council of Uraiyur , impregnable city of the valiant Cholas is the home of equity; Justice is not your peculiar praise!

Oh Valavan! Swift horsemen , whose stout arms are like fortress bars , whose wreaths attract every eye, how then shall I sing your praise?”

— Purananuru verse 39


Napashalai’s ode on the death of Killi is marked by a quaintness of conceit in her address to Death:-

If in his mind against you he were  wroth

Or if in outward act he showed his rage,

Or if he touched you with afflictive hand ,

You could not have escaped, O Death!

You took great Valavan, entreating him,

Like minstrels, bowing low, with suppliant hand

Praising you did bear off his life,

Leader of hosts that crowd the glorious field,

Crowned with gold wreath, Lord of the mighty car.

Purananuru verse 226


There is another lyric where she expresses pathos. She expressed grief at the destruction of the fair city of Karur by the impetuous  Chola king Killi Valavan.

You scion of the Chola Lord who saved

The dove from woe- chief of the wrathful hosts

Armed with gleaming darts that work havoc

As when a fiery dragon , angry, fierce,

Bearing five heads, with gleaming poisonous tooth,

Has entered the vast mountainous cavern, where

The golden creepers twine, and from the sky

Fire issues forth and loudest thunderbolt

You saw the lordly city old, whose king

Was circled round by girdled elephants

There in deep dark moat alligators congregate

In the wide waters of guarded lake

Are crocodiles that fierce in fight

Dart forth to catch the shadows cast

By gleam of watchman’s torch at midnight hour.

Its walls like burnished copper shone.

This seemed not fair to your eyes; for you did

Work destruction mightily, glorious king!-

Purananuru verse 37

Translations of odes by  P T S Aiyangar, G U Pope and Kanakasabhai



Written by London Swaminathan

 Date: 10 AUGUST 2019  

British Summer Time uploaded in London –  16-0

Post No. 6757

 Pictures are taken from various sources.  ((posted by AND


Gundumani/kundumani/abrus seeds

WRITTEN by London  Swaminathan

Date: 28 JULY 2019

British Summer Time uploaded in London – 10-36  am

Post No. 6691

 Pictures are taken by London swaminathan ((posted by AND

Indiahhhh——RICHEST country in the world (Part 4) | Tamil and Vedas…/indiahhhh-richest-country-in-the-worl…


14 Sep 2011 – Mohmed of Gazni invaded India 17 times just to plunder all the temples in North India. He came to know about the fabulous wealth of Hindu …

Indiahhhhhhh ———–the RICHEST country in the … – Tamil and Vedas…/indiahhhhhhh-the-richest-country-in-t…

12 Sep 2011 – Knowing that India was the richest country in the world they all set an eye on India. But what about today’s India? Is still India a rich country?

Indiahhhhhhh ———–the RICHEST country in the … – Tamil and Vedas…/indiahhhhhhh-the-richest-country-in-t…


12 Sep 2011 – Please note, this is the third part in a series on why India is the Richest country in the world. For the first part, click here. For the second part, …

Indiahhhhh—-RICHEST country – Part 6 | Tamil and Vedas–-part-6/


18 Sep 2011 – By S Swaminathan Please note this is part of an ongoing series on Why India is the Richest Country in the World. See the links below for the …

Indiahhhhhhh———-RICHEST country in the world – Tamil and Vedas…/indiahhhhhhh-richest-country-in-the-…

18 Sep 2011 – Indiahhhhhhh———-RICHEST country in the world (Part 5) … Now and then we read about the CBI raids in Ashrams run by holy men of India.

Mogul gold coins | Tamil and Vedas


India was the richest country in the ancient world. Until 1987 the largest gold coin was an Indian coin issued by the Mogul emperor Jahangir. Seventeenth …

June 29, 2012



Look at the jewelries, crowns , hair style and footwear.

WRITTEN  by London  Swaminathan

Date: 26 JULY 2019

British Summer Time uploaded in London – 6-32 AM

Post No. 6679

Pictures are taken by London swaminathan 
((posted by AND




Look at the hunter’s dress and shoes!! Hunter Kannappa Nayanar lived 1500 years ago in Tamil Nadu.

to be continued…………………..


Written by London swaminathan

Date: 25 May 2019
British Summer Time uploaded in London –

Post No. 6441

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog. ((posted by AND

Thiruppugaz festival was held in London Murugan Temple in East London today. Over 100 devotees attended the festival. The dedicated band of singers sang Thiruppugaz of Sr Arunagrinathar in classical Ragas.  Arunagirinathar of 15th century was a sinner turned saint. His uniques 1300 verses belonged to a special genre. Till today no one could supass him in the Sandha style/genre.

Thiruppugaz festival  is being celebrated every year under the Leadership of Mrs Jayanthi Sundar who conducts regular Skype classes. Devotees of Lord Murugan (Skanda/ kartikeya) are trained by her in the chosen Ragas. This is the seventh consecutive year for the event. Mr Balasubramanyam and his wife Mrs Padma Balasubramanyam of Ilford organise the event in the temple Hall. Last year they had around 70 people. Every year the number of Thiruppugz singers are increasing and we saw over 100 people today. Sri Sundar spoke at the end about Sri Kanchi Shankaracharya’s special interest in this event. He conveyed Acharya’s blessings to one and all.

Following is the invitation sent to Greater

London devotees.




Cordially invites you for the

7th Annual Tirupugazh Festival on

May 25, 2019, Saturday 10.00 AM – 1.00 PM at the

East Ham Murugan Temple

We request all Anbargals to participate with family and friends and receive the blessings of

Shree Valli Devasena Samedha Subramaniar

Mahaprasad at 1.00 PM

Venue: London Murugan Temple

78 Church Road

London E12 6AF

Tel: 0208 478 8433

Please feel free to write to us for any further detail or the song list.

Please see the pictures taken by me:–


காலன் அழைத்தாலும் காத்து விடும் அதிர்ஷ்டம்! (Post No.5855)

Written by S Nagarajan

Date: 30 DECEMBER 2018

GMT Time uploaded in London – 5-29 am

Post No. 5855

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

காலன் அழைத்தாலும் காத்து விடும் அதிர்ஷ்டம்!


 வாழ்வில் ஏற்படும் சில விஷயங்கள் நம்மை வியப்பில் ஆழ்த்தி விடும். ஏன் அப்படி நடந்தது என்றால் யாருக்கும் சொல்லத் தெரியாது.

நல்ல விஷயம் என்றால் அதிர்ஷ்டம் என்று சொல்லி விடுவோம். கெட்ட விஷயம் என்றால் என் விதி; எனக்கு மட்டும் ஏன் இப்படி என்று கூறிப் புலம்பி அழுது தீர்ப்போம்.

அடுத்த கணம் என்ன நடக்கும் என்பதைச் சொல்ல முடியாது என்பதை உணர்ந்தாலும் எதிர்காலம் எப்படி இருக்கும் என்பதை அறிய எல்லோருக்குமே ஒரு ஆவல் இருக்கிறது.

ஜோதிடத்தில் மனிதனுக்குத் தீராத ஆசை ஏற்படுவது எதிர்காலத்தை அறியத் துடிக்கும் மனிதனின் இந்த மனப்பான்மை தான்!

 இருபதாம் நூற்றாண்டின் தலை சிறந்த ஆஸ்டிரிய – பிரிட்டிஷ் தத்துவஞானியான சர் கார்ல் ரெய்மண்ட் பொப்பர் ( Sri Karl Raimond Popper – பிறப்பு 28-7-1902 மறைவு 17-9-1994) , ‘தர்க்கரீதியாகப் பார்த்தால் வரலாற்றின் எதிர்காலம் பற்றி  நம்மால் முன்கூட்டி கணிக்கவே முடியாது’ ( for strictly logical reasons, it is impossible for us to predict the future course of history) என்றார்.

அடுத்த விநாடி நடக்கப் போவதை அறியாதவன் ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுக்கு ஜோஸியம் சொன்னானாம் என்று அவர் எள்ளி நகையாடுகிறார்.

பல சம்பவங்களைப் பார்க்கும் போது நமக்கு வியப்புத் தான்  மேலிடுகிறது.

மூழ்கவே மூழ்காத கப்பல் என்று விளம்பரம் செய்யப்பட்ட டைட்டானிக் கப்பல் ஐரோப்பாவிலிருந்து அமெரிக்காவிற்கு 1912 ஏப்ரலில் தனது பயணத்தை ஆரம்பித்தது.

வட அட்லாண்டிக்கில் பனிப்பாறை ஒன்றின் மீது மோதி அது உடைந்தது; அதில் பயணித்த 2224 பயணிகளில் 710 பேர் மட்டுமே உயிர் தப்பினர்.

அது மூழ்கியவுடன் தான் அதில் பயணிக்கத் தவறியவர்கள் யார் யார், ஏன் அவர்கள் அதில் பயணிக்கவில்லை என உலகினரால் விசேஷமாகப் பார்க்கப்பட்டார்கள்.

அவர்கள் ‘Just Missed It’ Club – அதாவது ‘மயிரிழையில் பிழைத்தவர்கள்’ என அழைக்கப்பட்டனர்.

இந்தப் பட்டியலில் ஏராளமானோர் இருந்தனர்.  அவர்களுள் குறிப்பிடத்தகுந்தவர்களுள், தொழிலக முன்னோடிகள் என்று சொல்லக் கூடிய ஹென்றி க்ளே ஃபிரிக் (Henry Clay Frick),  ஜே.பி. மார்கன் (JP Morgan), ஜே. ஹொரேஸ் ஹார்டிங் (J. Horace Harding) ஆகியோரும் அடங்குவர்.

இந்த மூவருமே டைட்டானிக் கப்பலில் பயணப்பட ஏற்பாடுகளைச் செய்தவர்கள்!

ஹென்றி க்ளே ஃபிரிக் அமெரிக்காவின் தலைசிறந்த செல்வந்தர்களுள் ஒருவர். எஃகு, உருக்குத் தயாரிப்பாளர். பிப்ரவரியிலேயே தனக்கும் மனைவிக்குமாகச் சேர்த்து டிக்கட்டை முன்பதிவு செய்திருந்தார் அவர். ஆனால் திடீரென்று அவர் மனைவிக்கு ஒரு சின்ன விபத்து ஏற்பட்டது. கணுக்கால் எலும்பில் முறிவு ஏற்படவே, இத்தாலியில் அவர் மருத்துவ மனை ஒன்றில் சேர்க்கப்பட்டார். ஆகவே அவர்களால் டைட்டானிக்கில் பயணிக்க முடியவில்லை. இவர்களுக்காகப் பதிவு செய்யப்பட்டிருந்த B-52,54,56 ஆகிய மூன்று சூட் ஜேபி மார்கனுக்கு ஒதுக்கப்பட்டது. வங்கித் தொழிலில் கொடி கட்டிப் பறந்த மார்கனும் மிகச் சிறந்த செல்வந்தர் தான். ஆனால் ஐரோப்பாவில் அவரது வணிக சம்பந்தமான திட்டத்திற்காக அவர் கொஞ்சம் அதிக காலம் தங்க வேண்டியதாயிற்று. அவரும் பயணத்தை ஒத்திப் போட்டார். இந்த முறை இவருக்காக ஒதுக்கப்பட்ட அறைகள் ஜே. ஹொரேஸ் ஹார்டிங்கிற்கும் அவரது மனைவிக்கும் ஒதுக்கப்பட்டன. இவரும் வங்கித் தொழிலில் ஈடுபட்டிருந்த பணக்காரர் தான்! ஆனால் இவர்களுக்கு இதற்கு முன்னர் கிளம்பிய கப்பலில் இடம் கிடைத்ததால் இவர்கள் முந்திக் கொண்டு அதில் சென்றனர்; காலன் பிந்திக் கொண்டு விட்டான்!

துரதிர்ஷ்டவசமான அந்த அறைகள் வொய்ட் ஸ்டார் லைன் சேர்மனான ஜே. ப்ரூஸ் இஸ்மேக்குப் போய்ச் செர்ந்தது.

மூன்று தொழிலதிபர்களும் டைட்டானிக் ஆபத்திலிருந்து எப்படி பிழைத்தனர்!

யாராலும் சொல்ல முடியவில்லை. துரதிர்ஷ்டவசமான அந்த அறைகளுக்கு அவர்கள் செல்லவே இல்லை!

இதே போல லண்டனில் உள்ள செயிண்ட் பால் சர்ச்சை சேர்ந்த பாதிரியாரான ஜே. ஸ்டூவர்ட் ஹோல்டனும் (J. Stuart Holden) இதில் செல்ல திட்டமிட்டிருந்தார். அவரது மனைவியின் உடல்நிலை திடீரென்று பாதிக்கப்படவே பயணத்திற்கு ஒருநாள் முன்னர் ஏப்ரல் ஒன்பதாம் தேதியன்று தன் பயணத்தை அவர் தள்ளி வைத்தார்; பிழைத்துக் கொண்டார். இப்படி ஏராளமானோர் துரதிர்ஷ்டவசமாக முடியப் போகும் பயணத்தைத் தவிர்த்தனர்.

இதெல்லாம் யாரால், ஏன் நிர்ணயிக்கப்படுகிறது என்பது யாருக்கும் புரியவில்லை.

இப்படி உயிர் பிழைக்க அதிர்ஷ்டம் காரணமாகும் நிகழ்வுகள் ஒரு புறம் இருக்க,  சில சிறிய நிகழ்வுகள் ஒருவருக்குப் பெரிய வாழ்வைத் தந்து விடுவதையும் பார்க்கிறோம்.

மன்னர் நான்காம் ஜார்ஜுக்கு ஒரு சமயம் திடீரென்று வலிப்பு வந்து விட்டது. தற்செயலாக அங்கு சென்றிருந்த ஒரு கிராம வைத்தியர் அவருக்கு உடனடி சிகிச்சை கொடுத்தார்; மயக்கமடைந்த மன்னருக்கு உணர்வு வரும்படி செய்தார். மன்னரிடம் பேச்சுக் கொடுத்து அவரின் மனநிலையை மாற்றி அவரைச் சிரிக்கவும் வைத்தார். அவரை மன்னருக்கு மிகவும் பிடித்துப் போய்விட்டது. உடனடியாக அவர் அரண்மனை மருத்துவராக நியமிக்கப்பட்டார்.

இப்படி எத்தனையோ பெருக்கு அதிர்ஷ்ட வாய்ப்புகள் வருவதையும் பார்க்கிறோம்; அவர்கள் பிரபலமாவதையும் பார்க்கிறோம்.

விஷம் கொடுத்துச் சாகாமல் இருப்பவர்கள் என்ற விஷயத்தை நம்ப முடியாது என்றாலும் கூட ரஸ்புடீனை எடுத்துக் கொண்டால் சற்று பிரமிப்பு தான் ஏற்படும்.

அவருக்கு கடுமையான விஷம் தரப்பட்டது. ஆனால் விஷம் அவரை ஒன்றும் செய்யவில்லை. பிழைத்துக் கொண்டார்.

இதே போல பதினான்காம் மாடியிலிருந்து கீழே விழுந்த ஒரு குழந்தை புல்தரையில் விழுந்து ஜம்மென்று நடந்த கதையையும் செய்தித் தாளில் பார்க்க நேரிடுகிறது.

என்ன ஆச்சரியம் போங்கள், இந்த மனித வாழ்க்கை!

காலன் அழைத்தாலும் காத்து விடுகிறது அதிர்ஷ்டம்!

சில சமயமோ நல்ல விஷயம் நடப்பதில்லை; எதிர்பார்த்ததற்கு மாறாக  ஏடாகூடமாக ஏதாவதொன்றில் சிக்கிக் கொள்கிறோம்.

வரலாற்றின் எதிர்காலம் இருக்கட்டும்; வரக் கூடிய அடுத்த கணமே நமக்கு எப்படி இருக்கும் என்பது தெரியாது, அது பற்றிச் சொல்லவும் முடியாது என்பது தான் உண்மை போலும்!



Research Article written by London Swaminathan

Date: 13 December 2018

GMT Time uploaded in London – 20-56

Post No. 5777

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.


The story of Pythias and Damon is popular in the West. It has become an idiom in English. The two friends of Athens stand as the symbol of true friendship. It is said that they followed the friendship as propagated  by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. That is what exactly the great Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar, author of Tamil Veda called Tirukkural said,

“Friendship requires neither common residence nor frequent meeting; spiritual kinship creates the right to friendship”-  Kural 785

“Friendship is not that which shines as a smile in the face; Friendship is that which shines as a joy in the soul within” – 786

Another translation of the same couplets runs like this,

“Identity of feelings alone count for close friendship for which,

Constant companionship is not really necessary”-785.

“A surface smile in the face is not friendship, genuine affection,

Springs from the heart and lights up the face”-786.

The story Of Pythias is as follows,

Pythias and Damon were great friends. Once they visited Syracuse where the tyrant Dionysius was ruling. The king suspected the intention of their visit and arrested Pythias for anti- state activities.  He passed a death sentence on him after rejecting all his arguments. His friend Damon felt very sad and tried to help him.

At the same time Pythias’ mother was suffering from serious illness. So Pythias asked permission to go and see her before he  dies. But Dionysius was not ready to believe him. He thought he would never come back. Damon, who was his true friend, told the king that he was ready to be a hostage in the place of Pythias. The tyrant agreed to that proposal. Damon was put in jail.

The days passed; now everyone was waiting anxiously from Pythias return. When the deadline was about to expire, Damon was taken to the execution platform. But Damon was dead sure that he would come back. At that time there was a great commotion when people saw Pythias running towards the place. He came in and asked for pardon for the delay and explained that untimely and unseasonal weather stopped his ship. He begged the king to release Damon and execute him as per the original order.

Whoever heard this started shedding tears and appreciated the great friendship between Pythias and Damon. It moved even the stony-hearted Dionysius and he ordered the release of both Pythias and Damon. From that time their name became proverbial for true friendship.

Similar Story in Tamil literature.

Pythias incident happened in the fifth century BCE. A few centuries later another story happened in Tamil Nadu in South India. There was a king by name Kopperum Chozan. He had problems with his sons about ruling the country. Sangam Tamil poets were honest and bold advisers. One of the poets advised the Choza king to hand over the kingdom to his wards and go to forest life—Vanaprastha—third stage in a Hindu’s life. The king said that he wanted to fast unto death. It is called ‘Prayopavesa’ in Sanskrit and found in the Kishkintha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana. Whoever dies that way goes directly to heaven. They face the holy Northern Direction and starve to death. Several people used to join such a venture because they knew it is a ‘direct flight ticket’ to Heaven. As was the custom lot of scholars and poets joined the Choza king in the fast. One poet by name Pothiar was refused a seat in the hall by the king. He told him that the poet should go back home and can join only after the birth of a male child, which is required to go to heaven according to Hindu Law Books. He went back and came back after the death of the group and lamented. All this information is in Purananuru (verses 213-223), part of 2000 year old Sangam literature.

Here is the interesting bit.

Choza king asked his colleagues to reserve a seat for a poet named Pisir Anthaiar of the neighbouring Pandya kingdom. All other poets in the hall were surprised because the king and the poet never met. They told the king not to get disappointed by expecting him.

Then the king told them in a verse,

“There in the distant Pandya country

A poet from the town of Pisir is a very close friend.

Even if he does not come when I had lot of money, he would definitely come to see me when I am in distress” – Purananuru verse 215

The king’s words did not go waste. Pisir Anthaiyar came there just on time and sat with the king fasting until death.

This is an example for true friendship like the Pythias- Damon story.

Greek story of Pythias and Damon was made into films in several languages. Like Pisir- Choza story we have stories of Kuchela/Sudama – Krishna friendship. The very first chapter of Panchatantra fables is about true friendship.

Ancient Greeks believed in several virtues like Hindus. Pythias story shows,

1.His love for his mother; Hindus say Matha, Pitha , Guru are goods.

2.Pythias also kept his words like Hindus. All ancient foreign visitors said, ‘in India there is no written legal document and all is done by word of mouth’. Hindu myths say they are like the legendary Harischandra.

3. We have umpteen examples about true friendship. When Karna was insulted that he being a commoner, should not participate in Royal Olympic Games, Duryodana made him a king in a second. Karna was loyal to Duryodana till his last minute.

So we see many similarities between the legends of Hindus and Greeks. One is also reminded of the great sacrifice of Sydney Carton in the novel of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Long Live True Friendship!!



Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 12 December 2018

GMT Time uploaded in London – 18-18

Post No. 5772

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

I am not giving a comprehensive list of assassinations that happened in Indian history. Just to compare the less known assassination that happened in Tamil Nadu I am giving some known attacks. As far as we know it started in 73 BCE and went up to 1991. Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar and Vishnusarman of Panchatantra also mentioned such assassinations.

Devabhuti, the last of the Sunga emperors, who was a weak, dissipated and debauched monarch was assassinated in his bed in dark by a slave girl dressed as his queen. He was killed in 73 BCE on the orders of his minister Vasudeva.

Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome around that time. And his own friend Brutus was part of the conspiracy. All of us know the ‘Et tu Brute?’ (You too Brutus!) exclamation of Julius Caesar.

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by N Godse in 1948. In our own times Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguard on 31 October 1984. Later her own son Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a LTTE girl from Si Lanka, near Chennai in 1991.

Tiruvalluvar, author of Tamil Veda, Tirukkural says,

An enemy will twist his words as he bends his bow;

Neither will forbade any good- 827

The meaning is

Do not be misled by the politeness or courtesy of language on the part of enemies. The enemy bends his words as he bends his bow, which is not for your good.

In the next couplet the poet says,

The enemy’s hands raised in salutation may conceal a weapon,

So too, his tears of sympathy are not to be trusted.

This is what happened in the case of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

In Periya Puranam written around 12th century CE by Sekkizar, we have a similar story. It is a sad and heart breaking story.

Here is a summary:

There was a king by name Meyporul Nayanar ruling Chedi country from Tirukkovalur. He was a just king and conquered the nearby territories. He was a great Shiva devotee and respected any one coming with the Saivite symbols such as Vibhuti (holy ash), Rudraksha (holy garland) in saffron or white cloths.

Muthanathan, a near by king who was defeated several times by Meyporul, realised that he would never be able to defeat Meyporul by honest means. So he conspired and took the guise of Shiva devotee. He hid a dagger in a bundle of palm leaf manuscripts and approached the palace.

As usual all the gates were wide open for the ‘great devotee’ and he entered the palace room where the king was lying in bed with his wife. Knowing a person coming in an untimely hour, king’s body guard Dattan prevented him from entering the bedroom. But yet Muthanathan introduced himself as a great Guru and he had come with a rare manuscript to show it to the king. Datta could not stop him any more. When the ‘devotee/guru’ entered the bed room, the queen was surprised and got up suddenly. But the king showed all the respect due to any Shiva’s follower. When he asked the reason for his visit at the dead of night, disguised Muthanathan told the king that he had some rare Agama manuscripts and wanted to teach the king.

He also insisted that he should be alone without the queen to listen to the secret doctrines. The king readily obliged and came back all alone. Muthanathan opened the bundle and took the dagger and stabbed the king.

Hearing the commotion, his body guard Datta rushed into the room and caught hold of the assassin. But Meyporul told his bodyguard,

‘Datta, He is our man’. Please take him out of the town with full security and leave him alone; make sure that no one harms him! Datta did as he was commanded.

All this happened  just because the respect for the external Saivite (religious)  symbols! But Meyporul was made a saint among the 63 Famous Saivite Saints and worshipped in all the Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu.

We hear lot of stories even today that terrorists come in different disguises, particularly abusing religious faith and symbols. Since Tiruvalluvar also sings about hidden arms, he might have heard such stories.

Sekkizar, author of Periya Puranam, describes the appearance of Muthanathan in Saivite gear. ‘He appeared white outside (with smeared holy ash) but inside he was black. His mind was full of bad things’.

The world has not changed much from the days of Devabhuti. Even before Devabhuti, Manu gives a list of kings who were dethroned or killed. Vena was one of them who met a violent death from the revolting general public. Something like French Revolution must have happened and Vena was ‘guillotined’.

Tags- Meyporul Nayanar, Muthanathan, Assassinations, Devabhuti