Reference to Brahmā in Puranānūru


Post No. 860 Date : 23 February 2014

by Dr.R.Nāgaswamy

A verse in Puranānūru collection of Tamil literature mentions Brahmā, the Creator. That Śiva and Vishnu were mentioned in Puram no 56 , is well known but that Brahmā is also well known in Sangam age is not so much appreciated. Puram verse number 194 sung by Pakkudukkai Nan ganiyār sang the verse which reads:-

ஓரில் நெய்தல் கறங்க ஓரில்
ஈர்ந்தண் முழவின் பாணி ததும்ப
புணர்ந்தோர் பூ அணிய பிரிந்தோர்
பைதல் உண் கண்பணி வார் புறைப்ப
படைத்தோன் மன்ற அப்பண்பிலாளன்
இன்னாது அம்ம இவ்வுலகம்
இனிய காண்க இதன் இயல்பு உணர்ந்தோரே

புற நானூறு 194 – பெரும் காஞ்சி’
பக்குடுக்கை நன்கணியார் பாடியது

According to the ancient commentator the word “padaippon” in the verse refers to the Four faced (Nānmukhan) which is undoubtedly a reference to Brahmā the creator. The commentary says, from one house emanates the sound of drum announcing the death of a person and from another house the sound of marriage drum announcing the marriage of a couple. From the later house rises the sweet smell of flower garlands worn by the newly married couple mating, while from the former house the eyes of women who lost their husband in death, shed torrential tears of sorrow. It is indeed the creation of that un cultured Brahmā who created such an awful nature. Cruel is this world. Those who understand the nature of this world should ponder and resort to acts that confer salvation.

This shows that the main import of the poem is not to pass any judgement on Brahmā but to say the nature has both good life and death side by side and there fore one should lead a virtuous life.

The Puranānūru verses are assigned to the beginning of the Current Era. This would show by the turn if the Current era the Tamil people were fully aware of the concept of Trinity of Hindu gods. We have already noted that the Sangam age people of Tamilnad were worshippers of Brahmā, Vishnu,Siva, Indra, Varuna,Subrahmanya and the other thirty three group of gods ( mupattu mukkodi devatās) seen in Pari padal, is sufficient to show the Society was Hindu in nature.

Any view propounded contrary to this is distorted, refutes the available facts and is a political gimmick, that deserves to be rejected. Please also note that this short poem of seven lines uses the following Sanskrit words like pāni, and ulakam showing the integration of the northern with the southern was complete.

Also please note the name of the poet who was a “gani” was in all probability a Jain” it is also known that the earliest known inscription in Tamilnadu assigned to first cent BCE refers to a gani as Kani. The phase of so called Tamil of pre Sanskritisation age does not exist. It can only be considered a deliberate twist of the mischievous.


I have used the picture from another source. Dr R Nagaswamy has given me permission to use his article.
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