Ravana – Pandya Peace Treaty! Kalidasa solves a Tamil Puzzle!

Flags of the Pandyas

Written by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1128; dated 24th June 2014.

N.B. If you want to reproduce this article, please email me for permission. You must get written permission from me for each and every article separately. swami_48@yahoo.com

A ninth century Pandya copper plate said that Ravana, King of Sri Lanka made a peace agreement with a Pandya king. Most famous Tamil commentator of 13th century also said an interesting story about this treaty in his commentary on Maduraikanchi, part of 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. Many people were wondering whether it is just a story or an actual historical treaty. But Kalidasa, the greatest of the Indian poets, solved the problem by referring to the peace treaty in his Raghuvamsam (6-61 and 6-62).

Pathupattu in Tamil (Ten long poems) has ten books and one of them is Maduraikanchi. This very long poem has a reference to Ravana (lines 40-42). Nachinarkiniar, a Tamil commentator, was a prolific writer and well respected by one and all. He gives us an interesting story:-

Statues of Agastya are found throughout South East Asian countries (Picture from Wikipedia)

Ravana was giving troubles in the southern part of the country. One day Agastya watched Ravana sitting in a part of Pothya hills (art of Tamil Nadu). Ravana was in deep contemplation. Agastya sensed some trouble from him. Immediately he started playing on his Veena. ((Both Ravana and Agastya were great instrumentalists. Ravana’s flag had Veena emblem)). As soon as Agastya played on the Veena, the rock melted and Ravana was stuck to the melting Rocks. He did not even notice it. Only when Agastya stopped and the rocks became solid again, he realised he was stuck to the rocks. He begged to Agastya to release him. Agastya put a condition that he should never ever do any mischief in the Pandya country. He agreed to the condition and “a peace treaty was signed between India and Sri Lanka”! He was released immediately.
We had this message repeated by Nachinarkiniar in his commentary on the oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam. But there was no secondary confirmation from any other source except Kalidasa. Not many scholars knew about this reference. Kalidasa says,

“Pandya wore pearl garlands and sandal paste. He was soaked in Avabrutha Snanam during Asvamedha yajna. Ravana was so scared that Pandya may attack and capture his Janasthana (in Dandakaranya), so he made a peace treaty with the Pandya king and then went to win Indraloka. Pandya was praised for receiving a weapon (Brahmsiras) from Lord Shiva.

Ravana lifting Kailash, Ellora Cave Sculptures

Kalidasa’s details are corroborated by some archaeological finds. A coin with Asvamedha horse was found and it had Peruvazuthi inscribed on it. Pandya king Mudukudumi Peruvazuthi did lot of Yagas and his country was full of Yupa poles, says the oldest part of Sangam literature.

I have written several articles in this blog to establish the date of Kalidasa as first century BCE. Tamil poets used 200 plus similes from Kalidasa’s 1000+ similes. I have followed several Sanskrit scholars and a Tamil scholar GU Pope in supporting this date. As soon as GU Pope (1828- 1920) read Tamil Kurinjipattu of Kabilar, he wrote, 100 years ago, that Kurinipattu, echoed Kalidasa. In fact Kabilar, a Brahmin poet, well versed in Sanskrit, composed Kurinjipattu just to show the greatness of Tamil to a North Indian King who ridiculed the Tamil language. Later that king became a Tamil enthusiast and wrote Tamil poems which were included in the Sangam corpus.

Kalidasa was the first tourist guide and travel writer in the world (better than Ulysseus). His Meghadutam is like a tourist guide. All the important places between the Vindhyas and the Himalayas are described. His knowledge about the geography is also amazing. He described the places and customs in countries from Iran to Indonesia. His remark about the Pandyas in six slokas (verses) in the sixth chapter of Raghuvamsam shows how much he knew about the Tamil history. Kalidasa also described the close relationship between Agastya and the Pandyas. All the Tamil inscriptions praise Agastya as the Kula Guru of Pandyas who play main part in the coronation ceremonies. Probably he met the Pandya king at one time. He even said that he was dark and drenched with the Avabrutha snanam (ritual bathing) during Asvamedha Yagas. Earlier in the fourth chapter of Raghuvamsam also he referred to Pandya and Agastya in consecutive verses.

Pandy acoin found inSri Lanka, 1st Century CE

Other Tamil books and Tamil inscriptions say that Agastya was sent to the South by Lord Shiva to solve the population problem in the North ( I have already written a post about it describing the first population explosion in the world). Agastya was the one who codified a grammar to Tamil language. It was said that he brought Yadava tribes from Gujarat (Dwaraka).

Conclusion: Kalidasa and Nachinarkniar believed that Pandya kings ruled from time immemorial and the Pandya king who ruled during Ramayana period was a powerful king. Even Ravana was afraid of the mighty Pandya Empire. Pandyas were great Hindus who did Yagas a lot. Oldest section of Tamil Sangam poems corroborated it. Coins also confirmed it.

Mighty Pandya Empire.