Complied by London Swaminathan

Post No.7445

Date uploaded in London – 11 January 2020

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Art and literature in South India attained fulness and freedom of expression in the Vijayanagara epoch.

Gangadevi was the queen of Kumara Kampanna who conquered Shambuvaraya and Sultan of Madurai in 1361 CE, and brought thereby the whole of Tamil country as far as Rameswaram under Vijayanagar Empire.

Gangadevi was well educated and a talented woman and she accompanied her husband Kumara Kampanna to the South during his expeditions. She wrote a fine Sanskrit epic called the Mathura Vijayam describing the heroic deeds of her husband. In the eulogy on poets at the beginning of the book, she gives considerable prominence to the Sanskrit poets of the Telugu country such as Agastya, Gangadhara and Viswanatha, and the last of whom was her Guru/preceptor. Special interest is attached to the poet Tikkaya “whose poetry resembles the moonlight, drunk with avidity by thirsty poets like chakora birds”.  This Tikkaya is none other than the famous Tikkana Somayaji, the author of fifteen out of the eighteen parvans/books of the Telugu Mahabharata . it is obvious that Gangadevi, the pupil of Viswanatha and an admirer of Tikkana Somayaji’s poetry is a Telugu princess.

The Mathura Vijayam is a historical epic , which describes Kampannas’s victories in the Tamil country. Its value as a source book of early history Vijayanagara history cannot easily be overestimated.  As a poetess Gangadevi takes a high rank; she is perhaps the greatest of women writers of South India who chose Sanskrit as the vehicle of expression. The appraisement of her work by editors may be quoted here with advantage –

“The work is in the form of a classical Kavya , conforming to the rules laid down in the treatises on poetics and containing the usual lengthy of the seasons , the twilight, the rising of the moon and other necessary topics. The authoress writes in the Vaidharbi style , and her thoughts which  flow with ease and simplicity , are clothed in diction at once beautiful and charming. Her similes are grand and drawn direct from nature, with none of the conventional pedantry of grammar or rhetoric which so largely spoils the productions of later-day poets. she has adopted certain scenes and descriptions which are favourite with Kalidasa, but they are transformed at the mint of her imagination and invested with new significance.



Unlike Gangadevi,  Molla (1440-1530 CE) was not a lady of royal rank. She was of humble origin, being the daughter of Keshava Shetti, a potter of Gopavaram , a few miles to the north of Nellore on the bank of river Pennai. Molla is the earliest and perhaps the greatest of the Telugu poetesses. Though her date is not definitely known, it is not at all unlikely she flourished in the palmy days of Emperor Krishnadevaraya  or a little earlier. In the eulogy on poets of her Ramayanam she refers to the famous poet Shrinatha , who lived in the closing years of fourteenth century or later. Nothing is known about her personal life except that she wrote Ramayanam.

Molla’s Ramayanam, though small in size , is a poem of considerable poetic excellence and literary merit. Until recently it used to be studied as a text book in village schools, where boys were taught to learn it by heart. Molla is a vigorous writer. Though simple, her style is dignified and her verse easy flowing and forcible. She is at her best in Sundara Kandam; the brief pen picture of Ravana , Hanuman ads Sita are unsurpassed in the whole range of Telugu literature. It is not known whether Molla wrote any other work; but her Ramayanam is enough to secure for her an abiding place in the galaxy of the immortals who enriched the Telugu language and literature.

(Note- Wikipedia has latest information from research scholars)

Source book

Great women of India, Advaita Ashrama,

Mayavati, Almora , Himalayas , 1953


Story of Athena and Ganga Devi! (Post No.4125)

Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 3 August 2017

Time uploaded in London- 21-09

Post No. 4125

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

pictures by london swaminathan.

The story of Athena, the Greek Goddess, is a symbolic one. We have such symbolism in the Vedic literature. Athena personifies wisdom, like Goddess Sarasvati. She was a virgin and is the protective genius of the City nation .

Our tourist guide in Athens compared Ganga’s (Ganges) descending from heaven and Shiva holding her in his head and Ganga emerging from his head

The myth of the birth of Athena illustrates the compromises necessary in the progression of thought. Greek god Zeus and the Titan Metis (cunning intelligence) were her parents. A prophesy had claimed that Metis would bear a goddess equal to Zeus in wisdom, so the god devoured his wife in an attempt to prevent the birth. But one day Zeus had a raging head ache and asked the craftsman god Hephaistos to split his head open with an axe. Hephaistos did so and Athene emerged, fully formed and armed, from her father’s head. True to the prophesy, Athene rivalled Zeus in wisdom and was symbolised by owl. Owl is considered wisest of all the birds.



This is similar to Lakshmi emerging from ocean after the churning of ocean. Lakshmi also has owl as her vehicle. Owl is derived from the Sanskrit word Uluka. Owl’s name is a suffix for poets and saints in Tamil and Sanskrit (Aanthai in Tamil, Kausika in Sanskrit).

This is to show that wisdom dawns upon in someone. We have such symbolic stories in Vedic literature.


When there was a referendum to select the representative Athens , Athene gave them the gift of Olive tree. Olive branch stands for pece. So the Athenians preferred her. This shows that peace is more important than other things for the progress and prosperity of a country. Rig Veda ends with hymn praying for Shanti/ Peace.


Or guide explained that Pericles was the father of democracy. But it is wrong. Rig Veda refers to Samiti and Sabha elected by people. English word committee was pronounced as samite at one time. Committee is derived from Samiti. Moreover, Valmiki Ramayana refers to Dasaratha’s consultation with the elders of the city before appointing Rama as his heir.

Greece had three Pre -historic civilizations: Mycenaean, Cycladic and Minoan.

Greek has three different types of columns/ Pillars.

Greeks like blue and white than other colours.

— Subham —



Poetess and Historian Gangadevi!

madura vijayam

Written by London swaminathan

Research article No. 1787; Date 8th April 2015

Uploaded from London at   21-44

Gangadevi and her Sanskrit poetic work Madura Vijayam have made immense contribution to South Indian History.

Gangadevi was the chief queen of Kumara Kampana II (1343—1379). She accompanied her husband in his southern expedition. Though Kampana had many wives like other Indian kings, Gangadevi was the chief consort.

Gangadevi wrote Madura Vijayam in Sanskrit poetry. The book was brought to light by G.Harihara Sastri and V Srinivasa Sastri of Trivandrum in 1916. S Thiruvankatachary translated into English and Annamalai University published it in 1957. He commented on her poetic merits in the following words, “Being a biographer first and then only a poet, her literary borrowings do not affect the work in any way.”


Gangadevi was a learned person. She mentions and pays homage to the ancient poets like Kalidasa, Bhattabana, Bharavi, Bhavabhuti, Dandin along with Valmiki and Vyasa. She gives some interesting information about Agastya. She described him as the author of 74 poetic compositions. She praises Agastya’s nephew Gangadhara, who dramatized the story of Mahabharata. She acknowledges Viswanatha, one of the two sons of Gangadhara, and his influence on her as a guru.

When Kampana invaded South India, it was under Madurai Sultanate. Malik Kafur attacked Madurai in 1311 CE. He just plundered all the temples and went back to Delhi. The second invasion took place under Ghiyasuddin Tughlak and he established Madurai Sultanate. From 1335 to 1371, Madurai suffered a lot. The temple was closed for nearly forty years. Madura Vjaya described the appalling condition of Hindus during that period. Though Hoysala ruler Veera Vallala tried to dislodge the Sultan he was killed in the war. Kampana came with a big army and killed Madurai Sultan Qurbat Hasan Kangu.

Gangadevi gave minute details of her husband’s expedition and the condition of Madurai. Her report was like a modern day war correspondent in the warfront. Even now women rarely go to war fronts to cover the attacks. But Gangadevi did it 700 years ago! Publishers of Madura Vijayam praised her as the first historian of South India like Kalhana of Rajatarangini in North India.

East-Hem in 1400 AD

Chidambaram = Abode of Tigers!

Gangadevi described the political and religious conditions in such a way that the descriptions looks like a faithful portrait of  the real state of affairs in those days. The famous Saivite temple town Chidambaram is called Vyagrapuri (Tiger town). She described the condition, “As a result of the tyrannical rule of Muslims, Vyagrapuri has actually become the Abode of Tigers”. It is a pun on the word Vyagra=Tiger.

It is believed that Kampana got a divine sword from the goddess before invading Madurai. It is in the Madura Vijayam. There are nine chapters. Earlier chapters describe the life of Kampana and later chapters describe his victorious march to Madura. His victory sounded the death knell to Muslim Rule in Madurai.

Source: Madura Vijayam and Kingship: State and Religion in South India by D Sridhara Babu.