A Brief Introduction to Tamil (Post No.3420)

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 5 December 2016


Time uploaded in London: 13-53


Post No.3420


Pictures are taken from the Conference booklet;thanks.


contact; swami_48@yahoo.com


1981 World Tamil Conference Procession in Madurai -Part 1



Tamil is one of the classical languages of the world. It is the most ancient language among all the languages of the Dravidian family. It is endowed with rich vocabulary, beautiful diction, rhythm and melody. The  ancient Tamils, who have been fascinated by the greatness, grandeur and glory of their mother tongue, have personified her as Mother Goddess and showered all praise and honour on her.


It is a convention to describe some of the classical epics of Tamil language as the ornaments worn by the Mother Goddess Tamil. Silappathikaram is hailed as her anklet, Valayapathi as her bracelet, Manimekalai as her waist belt studded with gems, Chintamani as her necklace, Kuntalakesi as her ear-ring and Chutamani as the jewel worn on her forehead. She is also portrayed as a queen holding in her hand Thirukkural as the sceptre the symbol of her righteous rule.


The Tamil poets of yore have glorified their mother tongue as the first language of the human race. Its ancient grammatical treatises such as Tholkappiyam and  Irayanar Kalavijal bear testimony to its rich legacy of literature and continuity of literary tradition from a hoary past. Here is a tableau which depicts Tamil language as Mother Goddess.



Thiruvalluvar was a profound scholar, philosopher and poet, who lived in Tamil Nadu two thousand years ago. His magnum opus THIRUKKURAL or the sacred couplets, is an ethical work which speaks about the greatness of righteousness (Aram), polity and economy (Porul) and domestic happiness (Inpam) in 1330 couplets. This work is a great human heritage which has transcended the linguistic, racial and religious barriers in its presentation of the ethical codes. Among the Indian classics it is the only book which has been translated into nearly two and a half dozens of languages. The modern Tamil year is calculated beginning with the birth of Thiruvalluvar. Since agriculture formed the basis of the economy of the ancient Tamils, Thiruvalluvar has devoted one chapter to this noble profession. The float depicts an agricultural scene, so well portrayed by Thiruvalluvar.



In the portrayal of various internecine and intertribal wars which were waged for various political motives, the Sankam literatures introduce Avvaiyar, a poetess of the Sankam age, as a peace maker between two warring kings. Thontaiman plans a war against Athiyaman. Avvaiyar, wishing to stop the war, meets Thontaiman. Contrasting his decorated weapons with those of Athiyaman, so frequently used in battles, she brings home to Thontaiman, the latter’s superiority in warfare. A war is thus averted.


Silappathikaram is the earliest among the available Tamil epics. Kannaki came to Madurai along with her husband Kovalan to sell her anklet and start a new life. But, her husband was unjustly accused of stealing the anklet of the Queen and was killed under the orders of the King. To prove the innocence of her husband, and expose the heinous crime of the Great Pandya King, Kannaki went to his court with one of her anklets. She accused the King of having ordered the death of her husband without conducting proper trial. The Queen’s anklet had pearls whereas the anklet of Kannaki had gems inside. She broke her anklet in the presence of the king and proved that her husband  Kovalan was not guilty. She is worshipped in Tamil Nadu as the Goddess of Chastity. The scene where Kannaki accused the King and broke her anklet is depicted in this tableau.


to be continued………………………

Two Types of Thieves! Two Types of Knowledge! (Post No.2796)


Written by london swaminathan


Date: 9 May 2016


Post No. 2796


Time uploaded in London :–  21-14


( Thanks for the Pictures)




(for old articles go to tamilandvedas.com OR swamiindology.blogspot.com)



Sanskrit literature gives us very interesting information about thieves, knowledge and charity.

Thieves are of two types:-

Prakaasa – explicit

Aprakaasa – invisible

The Sanskrit saying goes thus:-

“Prakaasaascaprakaasaasca dvividhaastaskaraah smrutaah”


My view is corrupt politicians are day light robbers ie. Prakaasa

Night time thieves are invisible i.e Aprakaasa




Knowledge is said to be of two types: Saabdika – verbal (even Vedic and other Sastras transmitted verbally) and Anubhava – experience.

In the olden days lot of things were learnt on the job i.e. through experience.


Vedic and other subsidiary scriptures were learnt through verbal teaching. But yet experience counted more than bookish knowledge.




Avvai statue in Batticaola, Sri Lanka

Overstepping the rules of Charity

Mahabharata says that there are two things which violate the scriptural instructions.

Apaatre pratipatti – giving to the undeserving

Paatre apratipatti – not giving to the deserving

Labdhanaamapi vittaanaam boddhauyau dvaatkramau

Apaatrepratipattisca patre chaapratipadanam

Mahabharata, Shaanti parva, 26-31


Tamil proverbs also concur with this view. Tamil poets were very strict about giving. One poet says that Ay, the chieftain, was not a ‘Charity businessman’ who expects something when he gives a donation. Ay gives to the poor to get rid of poverty and not expecting a good place in the heaven or good rebirth.


Another poet says that even if there is no heaven (for those who give), it is good to give (donate).


We see lot of poets praising Dhana/ donation in the Vedas. It is good to see the same concept existed throughout the vast land of India for thousands of years. Majority of the 80,000 Tamil inscriptions talk about donation to Brahmins or temples. Tamil poets of Sangam age praised donating to the poor. Seven chieftains were called the Last Seven Philanthropists. One of them was Ay.


The first lesson the Vedic students taught was Do Charity, “Dharmam Chara”. Later Tamil poetess Avvaiyar translated this and put it as the first advice to youngsters in her Athichudi.