Interesting Life Story of Bhartruhari and Bhadragiriyar! (Post No.5210)

Bhartruhari meeting his former wife; Mogul painting


Written by London swaminathan


Date: 12 JULY 2018


Time uploaded in London – 7-46 am  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5210


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.

Bhartruhari    is a popular name in Hindu literature. But there were many poets and kings with the same name . One Bhartruhari  was a grammarian. Another Bhartruhari  was a poet and author of 300 verses Niti Catakam, Srngara Catakam and Vairagya Catakam. He lived in fifth century CE

The latest one lived around tenth century who was the contemporary of famous Tamil devotional poet Pattinathar. This Bhartruhari  composed Bhartruhari or BHADRAGIRI pulampal in Tamil, that is lament of Bhartruhari.

Whoever it was there is an interesting story who became the subject of folklore in Chattisgarh and Rajasthan. He was the disciple of Saint Goraknath.

The hero of our story is linked with king Vikramaditya. That name is also confusing. There were many Vikramadityas in India and the most famous one lived 2200 years ago
His wife name was Pingala and she repented for her mistake. Later he came to her on his travel to holy places with his followers. That meeting became the subject of Moghul paintings and folklore. The story changes from place to place.


Throughout India the beggar minstrels sing the wistful melodies of with the ever recurring refrain about the impermanence of life. They say neither the body nor the wealth last for long. They very often refer to Bhartruhari. Whether it is the name of the saint or grammarian or the poet who wrote 300 verses on Love, Peace and Renunciation is of historical interest.


Tradition says that the happy king or poet was metamorphosed by the inconstancy of his wife Pingala. Two pictures here show that Bhartruhari coming to beg alms from his erstwhile wife. He left her after an incident which showed that she loved someone else who loved someone else. We see a love triangle in the story. After becoming an ascetic, he got the name Gopichand and he met his penitent wife. In the picture, we see Bhartruhari accompanied by some wandering friars and his former wife with half a dozen attendants. They are on the banks of a stream with beautiful natural scenery.

A fruit that which gives long life was presented to Bhartruhari by a Brahmin.

He gave to his youngest wife Pingala

Pingala gave to her secret lover- a police officer- Mahipala

Mahipala passed it to his beloved Lakha

Lakha who fell in love with the king passed it to Bhartruhari, the king.


This awakened Bhartruhari and he abdicated the throne to his brother Vikramaditya of Ujjaini.


The confusion here is no one knew which Vikramaditya and which Bhartruhari.


Any way the message is clear—Impermanence of Life which is a popular theme in all ancient Sanskrit and Tamil hymns.

Here is the Tamil version
His name is Bhadragiri. He met Pattinathar, a merchant turned ascetic. Tamil history says he was a king and became an ascetic. His verses are called Bhadragiriyar lament (pulampal in Tamil). In some places, he imitates Tamil poets Tirumular and Pattinathar. It is a philosophic poem. He was against caste. He quoted Kapilar Ahaval. Bhadragiri was praised by a later poet Ramalinga Swamikal.



ஆண்டவா! என்னால் பிரயோசனம் உனக்கு ஏதுண்டு? பட்டினத்தார் கேள்வி (Post No.3585)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 28 January 2017


Time uploaded in London:-9-50 am


Post No.3585



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.







கடவுளிடம் பட்டினத்தார் ஒரு கேள்வி கேட்கிறார்:


ஆண்டவா! தங்கம் வைத்திருப்பவர்களுக்கு அந்தத் தங்கத்தினால் கொஞ்சம் பிரயோசனம் உண்டு; ஆனால் அவர்களால் தங்கத்துக்குப் பிரயோஜனம் உண்டா? அது போல நீ அருள் மழை பொழிவதால் என்னைப் போன்றவர்களுக்கு நல்ல பலன் உண்டு. ஆனால் என்னைப் போன்றவர்களால் உனக்கு ஏதேனும் பலன் உண்டா?


பொன்னாற் பிரயோசனம் பொன்படைத் தார்க்

குண்டு பொன்படைத்தோன்

தன்னாற் பிரயோசனம் பொன்னுக்கங்

கேதுண்டத் தனமையைப் போல்

உன்னாற் பிரயோசனம் வேணதெல்

லாம் உண்டு உனைப் பணியும்

என்னாற் பிரயோசனம் ஏதுண்டு?

காளத்தீயீச்சுரனே! —- பட்டினத்தார்



பட்டினத்தாராவது கொஞ்சம் மரியாதையுடன் ஒரு கேள்வி கேட்டார். திருவாசகம் எழுதிய மாணிக்க வாசகரோ சிவ பெருமானைக் கிண்டலே செய்கிறார்!

யார் கொலோ சதுரர்?


இதோ பார்! சல்லிக்காசுக்குப் பிரயோசனமில்லாத என்னை நான் உனக்கு தந்தேன். என்னை நீ ஏற்றுக் கொண்டு, உன்னையே எனக்குத் தந்து விட்டாயே! யார் புத்தி சாலி? நீயே சொல் — என்று சிவ பெருமானை நக்கல் செய்கிறார்.


தந்தது  உன் தன்னைக் கொண்டதுஎன் தன்னைச்

சங்கரா ஆர்கொலோ சதுரர்?

அந்தமொன் றில்லா ஆனந்தம் பெற்றேன்

யாது நீ பெற்றதொன்று என்பால்!


சிந்தையே கோயில் கொண்ட எம்பெருமான்

திருப்பெருந்துறையுறை சிவனே

எந்தையே ஈசா உடலிடம் கொண்டாய்

யான் இதற்கு இலன் ஓர் கைம்மாறே

–திருவாசகம், மாணிக்கவாசகர்


(சதுரர்= புத்திசாலி, கெட்டிக்காரர்)


ஆதி சங்கரரோவெனில் வேறு பாணியில் இதே கருத்தைத் தெரிவிக்கிறார்; நீயோ சூரியன் சந்திரன் முதலிய எல்லா ஜோதிகளுக்கும் ஒளியூட்டுபவள்; பார்! உன்னை ஒரு தீவாரதனை என்னும் சிறிய தீபத்தைக் காட்டி திருப்தி செய்கிறேன்! (அதாவது சின்ன விளக்கைக் காட்டி உன்னை ஏமாற்றுகிறேன்; நீயோ வெள்ளமென அருள் மழை பொழிகிறாய்)


ப்ரதீப ஜ்வாலாபிர் திவசகர நீராஜன விதி:

சூதாச்ஸூதேச் சந்த்ரோபல ஜலலவை ரர்க்யரசனா

ஸ்வகீயை ரம்போபி: ஸலிலநித சௌஹித்யகரணம்

த்வதீயபிர் வாக்பிஸ் தவ ஜனநி வாசாம் ஸ்துதிரியம்

–நூறாவது பாடல், சௌந்தர்யலஹரி



வாக்கிற்குப் பிறப்பிடமாகிய தாயே! உன்னுடைய வாக்குகளால் அமைந்த இந்த உனது பாமாலையானது, தீவட்டி கொண்டு சூரியனுக்குக் கற்பூரம் காட்டுவது போலவும், அமுதம் பொழியும் சந்திரனுக்கு சந்திரகாந்தக் கல்லில் கசியும் நீர்த்துளிகளால் தாரை வார்த்துக் கொடுப்பது போலவும், கடலுக்குச் சொந்தமான நீரால் கடலுக்கே தர்ப்பணம் செய்வது போலவும் இருக்கிறது.




Spiritual Message though a Village Woman (Post No.3529)


Written by London swaminathan


Date: 9 January 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 17-45


Post No.3529



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.






Hindu saints are great writers. They propagate great ideals through simple similes or imageries. When those examples are seen in our day to day life, it goes straight in to our head and heart. Ramakrishna Paramahmasa was one who propagated the highest ideals in Hindu literature through parables, pithy sayings and similes. It is a strange coincidence that a Tamil saint who lived approximately 1000 years before Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa also used the same simile.


An ascetic or a Yogi is like a water carrying village woman. She fetches water from a faraway well or tank in five or six metal pots piled up one over the other on her head. Juts to avoid the boredom, she gossips with other women watch fun on her way, but always remember the water pots on her head. An ascetic or Yogi also does everything like an ordinary man but always remember God. Though the women artistes in the Circus, Folk dance and Acrobats also do such things they are trained for it. But a village woman is just an ordinary person bt with extraordinary talent in carrying and balancing the water pots.


I have given below the sayings of Paramahamsa and Pattinathar; I have already written about Pattinathar. Please read my post: “Eyeless Needle changed the Life of a Millionaire”- posted on 2nd January 2017.


Pattinathar Verse:-

What though  they do, what though they undergo,

The liberated are ever poised in Silence.

With easy skill she  sports a gait

Flourishing her hands Twain.

Yet the house maid has an eye on the water pot

She carries on her head – Pattinathar Poem



Ramakrishna Sayings: –

As a boy holding to a post or pillar whirls about it with headlong speed without any fear of falling, so perform your worldly duties   fixing your hold firmly on god ,and you will be free from danger.


As the village maidens in India carry four or five pots of water placed one over the other upon their heads, talking all the way with one another about their joys and sorrows, and yet do not allow a single drop of water to spill, so must the traveller in the path of virtue walk along his route. In whatever circumstances, he may be placed, let him always take heed that his heart does not swerve from the true path.


The magnetic needle always s to the North, and hence it is that the sailing vessel does not lose her direction. So long as the heart of man is directed towards God, he cannot be lost in the ocean of worldliness.







‘இருப்பது பொய், போவது மெய்’ -பட்டினத்தார் பொன்மொழிகள்– Part 2 (Post No.3519)

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 6 January 2017


Time uploaded in London:-  9-03 am am


Post No.3519



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.







முதல் பகுதி நேற்று “செத்தாரைப் போலத் திரி” என்ற தலைப்பில் வெளியானது. இது இரண்டாம் பகுதி

23.வாதுற்ற திண்புயர் அண்ணாமலையர் மலர்ப்பதத்தைப்

போதுற்று எப்போதும் புகலு நெஞ்சே இந்தப் பூதலத்தில்

தீதுற்ற செல்வம் என் தேடிப் புதைத்த திரவியமென்

காதற்ற ஊசியும் வாராது காணும் கடை வழிக்கே



24.ஒன்றென்றிரு தெய்வம் உண்டென்றிரு உயர் செல்வமெல்லாம்

அன்றென்றிரு பசித்தோர் முகம் பார் நல்லறமும் நட்பும்

நன்றென்றிரு நடு நீங்காமலே நமக்கிட்டபடி

என்றென்றிரு மனமே உனக்கே உபதேசம் இதே


25.பேய் போற்றிரிந்து பிணம்போற் கிடந்திட்ட பிச்சையெல்லாம்

நாய்போல் அருந்தி நரிபோல் உழன்று நன் மங்கையரைத்

தாய்போல் கருதித் தமர்போல் அனைவர்க்கும் தாழ்மை சொல்லிச்

சேய்போல் இருப்பர் கண்டீர் ஞானந் தெளிந்தவரே




26.ஊரீர் உமக்கோர் உபதேசம் கேளும் உடம்படங்கப்

போரீர் சாணைக் கழுவேற்று நீற்றைப் புறந்திண்ணையில்

சாரீர் அனதலைச் சுற்றத்தை நீங்கிச் சக்நகைக்க

ஏரீர் உமக்கவர் தாமே தருவர் இணையடியே



27.ஓம்காரமாய் நின்ற வத்துவிலே ஒரு வித்து வந்து

பாங்காய் முளைத்த பயனறிந்தால் பதினால் உலகும்

நீங்காமல் நீங்கி நிறையா நிறைந்து நிறையுருவாய்

ஆங்காரமானவர்க்கு எட்டாக் கனி வந்தமர்ந்திடுமே




28.நாய்க்குண்டு தெண்டு நமக்குண்டு பிச்சை நமனைவெல்ல

வாய்க்குண்டு மந்திர பஞ்சாட்சரம் மதியாமல் அரும்

பேய்க்குண்டு நீறு திகைப்புண்டு நின்ற பிறவிப்பிணி

நோய்க்குண்டு தேசிகன் தன் அருள் நோக்கங்கள் நோக்குதற்கே



29.வானத்தின் மீனுக்கு வந்தூண்டில் இட்ட வகையது போல்

போனத்தை மீள நினைக்கின்றனை என்ன புத்தியிதே


30.நேமங்கள் நிட்டைகள் வேதங்கள் ஆகம நீதிநெறி

ஓமங்கள் தர்ப்பணம் சந்தி செப மந்த்ர யோக நிலை

நாமங்கள் சந்தனம் வெண்ணீறு பூசி நலமுடனே

சாமங்கள் தோறும் இவர் செய்யும் பூசனைகள் சர்ப்பனையே



31.மையாடு கண்ணியும் மைந்தரும் வாழ்வும் மனையும் செந்தீ

ஐயாநின் மாயை யுருவெளித்டோற்றம் அகிலத்துள்ளே

மெய்யாய் இருந்தது நாட்செல நாட்செல வெட்ட வெறும்

பொய்யாய்ப் பழங்கதையாய் கனவாய் மெல்லப் போனதுவே


32.உளியிட்ட கல்லையு ஒப்பிட்ட சாந்தையும் ஊத்தையறப்

புளியிட்ட செம்பையும் போற்றுகிலேன் உயர் பொன்னெனவே

ஒளியிட்ட தாளிரண்டுள்ளே இருத்துவது உண்மையென்று

வெளியிட்டடைத்து வைத்தேன் இனிமேல் ஒன்றும் வேண்டிலனே


33.முன்னையிட்ட தீ முப்புரத்திலே

பின்னையிட்ட தீ தென்னிலங்கையில்

அன்னையிட்ட தீ அடிவயிற்றிலே

யானும் இட்ட தீ முள்க மூள்கவே!




34.அத்தி முதல் எறும்பீறான உயிர் அத்தனைக்கும்

சித்தம் மகிழ்ந்தளிக்கும் தேசிகா – மெத்தப்

பசிக்குதையா பாவியேன் பாழ்வயிற்றைப் பற்றி

இசிக்குதையா காரோணரே


35.ஒன்பது வாய்த் தோல்பைக்கு ஒருநாளைப் போலவே

அன்பு வைத்து நெஞ்சே அலைந்தாஞ்சாயே! – வன்கழுக்கள்

தத்தித் தத்திச் செட்டை தட்டிக்கட்டிப் பிட்டுக்

கத்திக் குத்தித் தின்னக் கண்டு


36.முதல் சங்கு அமுதூட்டு மொய்குழலார் ஆசை

நடுச்சங்க நல்விலங்கு பூட்டும் — கடைச் சங்கம்

ஆம்போது அது ஊதும் அம்மட்டோ விம்மட்டோ

நாம் பூமி வாழ்ந்த நலம்


37.இருப்பது பொய் போவது மெய்யென்று எண்ணி நெஞ்சே

ஒருத்தருகும் தீங்கினையென்னாதே – பருத்த தொந்தி

நம்மதென்று நாமிருப்ப நாய்நரிகள் பேய் கழுகு

தம்மததென்று தாமிருக்க தான்



38.எத்தொழிலைச் செய்தாலும் ஏதவத்தைப் பட்டாலும்

முத்தர் மனமிருக்கு மோனத்தே— வித்தகமாய்க்

காதி விளையாடி இருகைவீசி வந்தாலும்

தாதி மன நீர்க்குடத்தேதான்


39.நாப்பிளக்கப் பொய்யுரைத்து நவநிதியம் தேடி

நலமொன்றும் அறியாத நாடியரைக் கூடிப்

பூப்பிளக்கப் பொய்யுரைத்துப் புற்றீசல் போலப்

புலபுலெனக்  கலகலனப் புதல்வர்களைப் பெறுவீர்

காப்பதற்கும் வழியறியீர் கைவிடவும் மாட்டீர்

கவர் பிளந்த மரத்துளை யிற் கால் நுழைத்துக் கொண்டே

ஆப்பதனை அசைத்துவிட்ட குரங்கதனைப் போல

அகப்பட்டீர் கிடந்துழல அகப்பட்டீரே




40.பாவலன் ஒருவன் செந்தமிழ்க்கு இரங்கிப்

பரவையார் உடலை மாற்ற

ஏவலராகி இரவெலாம் உழன்ற

இறைவனே ஏகநாயகனே




‘Eyeless Needle’ Changed the Life of a Millionaire! (Post No.3508)

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 2 January 2017


Time uploaded in London:-  16-15


Post No.3508



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.





Pattinathar was a rich man who lived in the port city Kaveri Poompattinam (also known as Pumpuhar) in the tenth century CE. He has not been included among the Sixty-Three Saiva Nayanmars, though five of his poems have been taken into the Eleventh Tirumurai.


A bright infant he was, left uncared for in a garden at Tiruvidaimarudur. It was picked by a poor couple who it to Pattinathar for reward. He took the child and reared it as his own son, naming him Marudapiran. Some years later the boy disappeared after asking his mother to handover a box to his father when he returned home. When Pattinathar opened, it he found an eyeless needle and a palm leaf on which a conundrum had been written.  This is said to have opened his eyes to the truth about the divine nature of the boy, who was thought to be God Shiva himself. He immediately arranged for the distribution of his wealth to the poor, renounced life and became an ascetic. He wandered far and wide visiting several sacred places and temples and finally attained salvation at Tiruvotriyur.


In the course of his pilgrimage he is reported to have visited the Tuluva country and converted a king of Bhadragiri to his creed of Yogic asceticism.


Commenting on the eyeless needle which brought a sea change in the life of Pattinathar A J Appasamy (in a book published by YMCA Publishing house nearly 100 years ago) says: “The eyeless needle, tradition maintains, was the means of Pattinathar’s conversion. It swiftly flashed across his mind that just as a needle without an eye is of no value., though the eye itself be the tiniest of things, so the human soul which does not devote itself to God, is lost. The little symbol brought home to him that great truth.


The word Pattinathar means “He of the City”. Pattinathar belonged to the mercantile clan. According to the tradition he was a Chettiar. A flourishing merchant, it is well known, will be greatly attached to his business and wealth. It takes a miracle to wean him away from these. And, a miracle did take pace, in his life. It pleased Lord Shiva to bring about his enlightenment in a flash “ All wealth is worthless, yes as worthless as an eyeless needle”. This knowledge made a new man of Pattinathar. He revelled in divine vagabondry. He sang

Our home is Tiruvalankadu; we have with us

A begging-bowl – God given- and never empty;

To supply as whatever we need, there is the rich land;

O goody heart, there is none our equal.


Visit to a Courtesan’s house

The great commentator Sivagnana Munivar says “Here is commanded the chanting of Panchakshara as ordained. Though for these souls the effulgence of Gnanam (wisdom) is vouchsafed, Nescience does its besetting, even as the worm accustomed to eating neem, forever repairs to it.” Lust besieged, out saint visited a courtesan. She took some time to present herself before him. Meanwhile, our saint quelled his sinful thought. When the woman eventually came, he burst into verse thus:

“O Peafowl-like woman adorned with the garlands

Of bourgeoning flowers, the one that just now

Quested for you, has gone away; compose yourself.

If you yearn for me I will kick you on your hips

And if I think of you, you kick me.


In the history of Tamil religious literature he has secured a niche which is proof against the tooth of time and razure oblivion.


Two Pattinathars?

It is said that there were two Pattinathars. The author of the hymns included in the Eleventh Tirumurai is the earlier of the two. A careful perusal of his poems establishes this fact indubitably. Pattinathar the second, if such a description can pass muster, is the author of the poems given below:

Kovil Tiru akaval, Kachi Tiru akaval, Tiruvekampamalai, The decad of Obsequies, Anatomical song.


Pattinathar refers to the eyeless needle episode his poems:

He tore a cloth of silk, placed there in with love

A thick needle, folded it and put it into the hand

Of my wife with rich tresses;

Did Siva by his advent intend that I should

Give up my love for my bewitching wife?

For ever hail the flower-feet of the strong-armed Lord

Of Annamalai, oh my heart!

In this world, of what avail are wealth

Tined with evil and the buries riches?

Even an eyeless needle accompanies you not

After you decease”.


AV Subramania Aiyar wrote the following in 1957 believing that there was one Pattinathar:


“A careful study of the very scanty materials about the life and works of Pattinathar shows that there are, broadly, two periods in his life after his final and sudden renunciation. Ther is a tradition that when he left his home he took with him a broken pot and a palm leaf manuscript of Tirumular’s poem. There is no doubt that he was greatly influenced by Tirumular’s Tirumantiram.  There was a significant change in the lives of both Sivavakkiyar (a Tamil Siddha) and Pattinathar at some crucial period in their lives.


There are some similarities and differences in the pomes of Sivavakkiyar and Pattinathar. Both have shown an excessive desire to extoll the virtues of unqualified asceticism and Yogic mysticism in language that can be understood by the masses. Their frequent and repeated scornful references to the physical facts of sex and the biological facts of birth are similar in tone, if not in language.

Pattinathar’s poems are happily free from the violent denunciations of idol worship, temples, rituals, caste, the Vedas, Agamas etc. which Sivavakkiyar indulges in.


Source Books:

St Pattinathar in English by Sekkizhar Adippodi T N Ramachandran, Dharmapura Adinam,1990


The Poetry and the Philosophy of THE TAMIL SIDDHAS, A V Subramania Aiyar, Tirunelveli, 1957



Eastern and Western View of Women (Post No. 3486)

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 26 December 2016


Time uploaded in London:-  14-57


Post No.3486



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.





There is good and bad said about women in all the literatures of the world. To take one quotation out of context and interpret it as the author’s view about women is wrong. There are lots of praise for women in the Vedic mantras  (Marriage Hymns); in the Upanishads they are shown as spiritually inclined; in the Hindu epics Draupadi, Savitri, Sita and others are shown as intelligent women. When it came to Kaikeyi, Tadaka and Surphanakha we see diametrically opposite views. It is same in Tamil literature as well. When the poets sing about young women they praise their beauty. When the same women are shown as concubines or harlots they are condemned. As Mothers, they command the highest respect in Hindu literature, which is not seen in any other ancient literature. If we consider the Vedic age they command more praise and respect than any other period (Please see my earlier posts on Manu and others on women)



The lock is opened by the hand

And good mind by the intellect;

It is tune that opens he song

And women the home of delight–Tamil Poet Bharati


It is mother’s milk that gives us strength

While the wife’s kind words reap our harvest of fame

As women’s blessedness blasts all evil,

let us rejoice with linked hands.

Blow the conch! Dance in joy!

For woman is sweeter than life itself.

She the protectress of life, and creatrix too;

She is the life of our life, and the soul of sweetness


We will grow lofty by dint of merit;

we will rub off the old stigmas;

if men take us fully as their equals Attributing nought of defects to us

We will join them and labour in the fight

To win back our nation and retrieve –Tamil Poet Bharati


Gone are the days who said to woman: Thou shall not

Open the Book of Knowledge

And the strange ones who boasted saying:

We will immure these women in our homes

Today they hang down their heads–Tamil Poet Bharati


Thou to me the flowing Light

And I to thee the discerning sight

Honeyed blossom thou to me

Bee enchanted I to thee

O Heavenly Lamp with shining ray

P Krishna, love, O nectar-sparay

With faltering tongue and words that pant

Thy glories here I strive to chant

–Tamil Poet Bharati




O woman, woman, when to ill thy mind

Is bent all hell contains no fouler fiend – The Odyssey, XI


For since of womankind so few are just

Think all are false, nor even the faithful trust– The Odyssey XI



The time for trusting women’s gone forever!- The Odyssey XI

A man shall walk behind a lion rather than behind a woman- Babylonian Talmud

And I find more bitter than death the women, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands – Ecclesiastes XXV-19


Women are the gate of hell – St Jerome

Nothing is  worse than a woman, even a good one – Menander

Women have no souls – Lewis Wager





Down from the waist they are Centaurs

Though women all above;

But to the girdle do the gods inherit

Beneath is all the fiends

There is hell, there is darkness, there is sulphrous pit

Burning, scalding, stench, consumption;

Fie, fie, puh, pah

Give me an ounce of civet, good Apothecary,

to sweeten my imagination there is money for thee

-King Lear Act 4, Scene 6


age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety; other women cloy

The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry

Where most she satisfies; for vilest things

Become themselves in her, that the holy priests

Bless her when she is riggish

–Antony and Cleopatra Act 2, Scene 2



O peafowl like woman adorned with garlands

Of bourgeoning flowers, the one that just now

Quested for you, had gone away; compose yourself.

If you earn for me I will kick you on your hips

And if I think of you, you kick me – Pattinathar, Tamil saint





For, a woman who has sold her soul for love, reveals the changed attitude (towards her husband), due to the orgy of the demon of unchastity -Rajatarangini 3-501

O these wretched women, pursuers of physical love, barren of thought, by whom men are soon hurled downward-Rajatarangini 3-513

Women being quick-witted analyse, at the same time while they are lamenting, their altered position and sons even while they are by the side of the funeral pyre discuss the material and moral condition-Rajatarangini 7-734


Thou to me the Harp of Gold

And I do thee the finger bold;

Necklace shining thou to me

New-set diamond I to thee;

O mighty queen with splendour rife

O Krishna, Love, O well of life

Thine eyes do shed their light on all

Wherever turn, their beams do fall

–Tamil Poet Bharati

Bharati’s poems are translated by several scholars and published by Tamil University, Thanjavur










Tamil Saint Pattinathar’s Warning

sadhu shank

By London Swaminathan
Post No. 955 4th April 2014.

Tamil saint Pattinathar warns us about the impermanence of life. He reminds us of the ‘three important chanks’ our family uses. Life is short and we must do everything good within that short period.

Pattinathar’s life was full of very interesting events. He lived in the tenth century CE. He was a rich man of a port city called Kaveri Poom Pattinam, also known as Pumpuhar in Tamil Nadu. He got his name from this city meaning ‘City man’ (Pattinathar). He was married but had no issue. So they took a child that was left uncared for in a garden at Tiruvidaimarudur. The child was given the name Marudaipiran. As he grew up, one day he came to Pattinathar’s wife, his foster mother, and asked her to give a parcel to Pattinathar. Later he disappeared. It was the box that changed his life.

When Pattinathar came home and opened the box with all curiosity he found an eyeless needle and a palm leaf on which a conundrum had been written. He considered that was a ‘special delivery parcel with a special message’ for him from Lord Shiva. Immediately he distributed his vast wealth to the poor and became an ascetic. He wandered far and wide and came to Tiruvotriyur to spend his last days. His thought provoking hymns are well known to Tamils.

lot women conch
In one of his poems he warns us that we must remember three sounds from the blowing conches at family events:

The first of the chanks feeds with milk
The second shackles us with women of dense locks;
The third is sounded to announce our death.
How much, Oh, how much is the weal of worldly life?

bengali blow

(Translation from Tamil into English was done by Sekkizar Adippodi Dr T N Ramchandran of Thanjavur).
The custom of blowing conches in the weddings was practised by all the Hindus until a few centuries ago. Now Bengalis only use Chanks (conches) in all the ceremonies. Andal, a famous Tamil poetess, mentioned about blowing conches in the Tamil weddings 1300 years ago. Hindu mothers used conches (chanks) to feed the babies with milk. Now this practise is also dropped after the introduction of feeding bottles. Just to attract the attention of the child, they used to play blowing chanks in the olden days. Blowing conches is practised during the funeral procession in certain parts of the country even today.

So the last of the three sounds will be heard only by family members, because it will be our last journey.


A V Subramania Aiyar, in his book ‘The Poetry of Tamil Siddhas’, compared him with another Siddha (enlightened soul) Sivavakkiyar. He aptly commented about Pattinathar’s poems:-

“As a Saiva mystic and saint Pattinathar has been held in great veneration. His poems are happily free from the violent denunciations of idol worship, temples, rituals, caste, Vedas, Agamas etc. which Sivavakkiyar indulges in. He has shown an excessive desire to extol the virtues of unqualified asceticism and Yogic mysticism in language that that can be understood by the masses. He shows leanings towards Bhakti in his later poems. As a poet he is far superior to Sivavakkiyar. Pattinathar has a greater command over imagery and language. His poetry has sweetness, simplicity and emotional appeal. He has sung of his religion and philosophy with freedom, vigour and breadth of outlook. He has good mastery over form, especially Ahaval metre, in which some of his most brilliant poetical passages have been written. Pattinathar is the most widely read Siddhar in the Tamil language”.

conch 4

I would recommend the following two English books for non Tamil readers:
The Poetry and the Philosophy of THE TAMIL SIDDHAS by A.V. Subramania Aiyar, published by S.Mahadevan, Tirunelvely, Year 1957; St.PATTINATHAR, Tamil Text with English Translation by Sekkizhaar Adippodi T N Ramachandran, International Institute of Saiva Siddhanta Research, Dharmapura Adhinam, Dharmapuram, MAYILADUTHURAI 609 001, Year 1990.

Polynesian Man Blowing Conch Shell


‘Kaa te Kaantaa ? Kaste Putraha?’ Who is Wife? Who is Son?

shadow family

By London Swaminathan
Post No 922 Date 21st March 2014.

Hindus have been taught the purpose of life from the very beginning. Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha are the four values and Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa are the four stages of life. I believe that the following verses are in support of the Vanaprastha (Forest life) stage. We must leave all the attachments at one stage. We can’t keep on worrying about our family forever. We see how all our politicians are entangled in the power struggle for getting their family members big posts or big businesses. We also see our poor friends are abused by their family members as baby sitters or care takers for life. This is the attachment we must get rid of.

When Valmiki hunted animals and robbed the passersby, Narada asked him why he did it. He told him that it was to support his family. But he agreed with Narada on one point: it is sin to rob and kill people and animals. Immediately Narada asked him whether his family members would share the sins he committed. Valmiki, the hunter, told Narada that it was a thought provoking question and he would run home and find the answer. He came back very soon saying neither his wife nor his children were ready to share his sins. Narada taught him the Mantra ‘Rama’ to escape from the sins he committed for his family. That changed his life. He attained wisdom sooner than the Buddha. A sinner turned in to a saint! He got rid of the attachments with the magic word RAMA and became an enlightened soul.

Shadow of family holding hands in park

Adi Shankara advises us to come out of attachments in Bhaja Govindam:–

Kaa te kaantaa kaste putrah
Samsaaroyam ateeva vichitrah
Kasya tvam kah kuta aayaatah
Tattvam chintaya tadiha bhraatah (8)

Who is your wife? Who is your son? Supremely wonderful, indeed, is this empirical process! Of whom are you? Who are you? From where have you come? O brother, think of that Truth here.
Dr T M P Mahadevan comments on this sloka:

“Family relations and institution of the household have only a limited value. They have value in so far as they serve to liberate the individual from ego-centred existence. But when they have served their purpose, they must be left behind. Family is the home of trial and testing; it is not one’s destination. This does not mean that he should be cruel to them or hate them; nor even that he should be callous to their interests. What it means is that he should no longer regard them as his property, nor himself as their property”.


Another verse from Bhaja Govindam runs like this:
Ka te kanta – dhana – gata – cinta
Vatula kim tava nasty niyanta
Trijagati sajjana – sangatir eka
Bhavati bhavarnava tarane nauka (13)

Why worry about wife, wealth etc, O, Crazy one; is there not for you the one who ordains? In the three worlds, it is only the association with good people that can serve as the boat that can carry one across the sea of birth.
Bhaja Govindam, verse 13, by Adi Shankara.

Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (13-9) says

Non- attachment, non-identification of the self with son, wife, home and the rest and constant even mindedness on the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable (is good)
Appar questions family attachments in a Thevaram Hymn:–

indian falily

One of the Four Great Tamil Saivite Saints, Appar alias Tirunavukkarasu, lived in the seventh century AD. His 4900 verses are part of the Thevaram anthology. Following verse is the echo of Adi Shankara’s Bhaja Govindam:

Who is father? Who indeed is mother? Who are our
Co- siblings? Who is wife? Who are sons? Who indeed
Are ourselves? How did we come into being?
How do we depart? This is sheer gramarye; At this
Feel not happy; O ye that think on these, listen to what
I say He sports in his crown the lovely crescent
And the bright serpent; He is our father; His holy name is
Namasivaya. They that chant this name
When they rise up, will abide in the empyrean. — 6-919,Thevaram

( N.B.I have already argued in one of my posts, that Adi Shankara lived before Christ and the later Abhinava Shankara was confused with Adi Shankara by the scholars. I have given enough proofs from Tamil literature to support my argument. The above verse also shows that he copied it from Adi Shankara. I am following Kanchi Paramacharya in dating Adi Shankara. My main evidence comes from the Rope/Snake analogy which was copied from Shankara by a Greek philosopher of First Century AD).

family 2


Another Tamil saint Pattinathar also sang on the same theme:

1.Like the woodcutter felling a tree, if Time should
Fell the body, the woman that hugged it in the past
And the children also bewail vociferously;
They will come as far as the crematory;
Will they take a step beyond it,
Oh Lord, Kachi Ekampa? (verse2, Tiruvekampamalai)

2.Wife, children, happiness of domestic life
Stop at the doors, the kinsfolk, at the crematory;
What may the help on your way? (verse 12, General)

3.My mother – the one that bore me – called me a corpse
And forsook me; my wife around whose neck
I have strung the golden Taali lamented and said:
“Let it go away”. My sons who received all from me,
Made circumambulations at the crematory
And broke the ritual pot.
And there is none save Yours, oh Lord! (verse 28)

Tamil hymns were translated in to English by ‘Sekkizar Adippodi’
Dr T N Ramachandran of Thanjavur.

Tamil Film Song

Famous Tamil poet and lyricist Kannadasan wrote a song for the film ‘Pada Kanikkai ‘with Bhagavad Gita, Adi Shankara, Appar and Pattinathar in mind. He gave the gist of these hymns in his film song “All Relationship ends at home, it is your wife who comes up to the street corner, your son up to the crematorium and who comes with you until the end of your journey? In Tamil Veedu Varai Uravu, Veethi Varai Manaivi, Kaadu Varai Pillay, Kadaisi Varai Yaaro?


God’s Note Book!!!


By London Swaminathan
Post No. 911 Dated 16th March 2014

There are so many inspiring anecdotes in English and other literatures of the world. Many of our sublime thoughts are echoed in their poetry and philosophical works. Earlier I posted an article about St.Francis of Assisi, a great Christian mystic.

Abou Ben Adhem, a poem by James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784- 1859) is an inspiring one. We have similar poems by Hindu saints as well.

Abou Ben Adhem (May his tribe increase!)
“Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But clearly still, and said “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest”.


‘Human birth is to serve others’

‘Paropakaram idham sareeram’ is a popular Sanskrit proverb. God has given us a body with two hands and two feet just to serve the humanity. Pattinathar, a Tamil Siddha (enlightened soul), has sung a poem similar to Leigh Hunt. He lived in the tenth century. His poem Koil Nan Mani Malai has some interesting information about a Note Book that Lord Shiva keeps with him.

“They alone live who live for others; the rest are more dead than alive”- said Swami Vivekanada. Under the chapter ‘’Benevolence’’, great Tamil poet says,
“Only those, who know and practise social cooperation, live their life;
The others are as good as dead” –(Kural 214)
The German Philosopher-poet Goethe conveyed the same idea in a similar context when he said:
“A useless life is only an earthly death”.


Shiva whose abode is in Mt.Kailash keeps a ruled note book with him in which he enters the names of those who work for the welfare of others. He adds the name of the saints, enlightened people and Shiva’s devotees in the note book. Those who are entered into the book will get out of the cycle of birth and death. So Pattinathar begs to Lord Shiva to enter his name as well. This is similar to Leigh Hunts poem. Did Leigh Hunt get the idea from Pattinathar?

But even before Pattinathar, Appar also wrote a similar poem. He clashed with the mighty Pallava emperor Mahendra Pallava and won at the end. One of the four great Saivite saints Appar alias Tirunavukkarasu (means King of Speech) lived in the seventh century inTamil Nadu.
He warns the lazy ,gossipy, talkative, sluggish and lethargic that their names are also entered by Lord Shiva. But Shiva is so good he writes the sincere god loving devotees’ names too.

Appar says,

“ O,Lord Shiva, you write down the names of those who offers you flowers, who sheds tears of ecstasy praising you and those who waste their time idly ignoring you”—(Fifth Tirumurai,Thevaram).


(Hindu Hell picture taken from Wikipedia.

Hindus always believed that Chitra Gupta, Yama’s PA, is writing everything in his note book and when the day of judgement comes after our death, he sends us to heaven or hell according to what we did on earth. That is, Chitra Guptas’s note book decides our future. Someone interpreted Chitra Gupta means ‘’Hidden Pictures’’- and they are nothing but our good or bad thoughts. Like our powerful super computer do billion calculations in a second, Chitra Gupta? Thought Pictures do billions of calculations after our death and decides our fate. Every thought of ours sends ripples of waves and pictures!

So the moral we learn from Abou Ben Adhem, Appar and Pattinathar is that the God or his angels are always watching us from above and write everything we do whether it is good or bad. We know that the big powers are spying on us from above through their satellites. They tap or telephones, interrupt our e mails! That is for political reason. We know that anyone can watch anyone’s house though google street watch. That is for nosy reasons. But God is watching us for Dharmic reasons!


Tamil References

தம்மை மறந்து நின்னை நினைப்பவர்
செம்மை மந்த்தினும் தில்லை மன்றினும் நடம்
ஆடும் அம்பல வாண!——————–
நிந்தமர் பெயர் எழுதிய வரிநெடும் புத்தகத்து
என்னையும் எழுத வேண்டுவன், நின்னருள்
ஆனை வைப்பில், கணொனா அணுவும்
வானுற நிமிர்ந்து காட்டும்.
——-பட்டினத்தாரின் கோயில் நான்மணி மாலை

அப்பர் தேவாரம்

தொழுது தூமலர் தூவித் துதித்துநின்று
அழுது காமுற்று அரற்றுகின்றாரையும்
பொழுது போக்கிப் புறக்கணிப்பாரையும்
எழுதும் கீழ்க்கணக்கு இன்னம்பர் ஈசனே (அப்பர், 5ஆம் திருமுறை)


Alexander and Tamil Saint Pattinathar


Alexander and Tamil Saint Pattinathar


Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) was the king of Macedonia. He conquered several countries from Greece to India. Pattinathar was a Tamil saint who lived in tenth century AD in Tamil Nadu. Alexander and Pattinathar were born rich. Both of them sent a powerful message by their deeds: “ In the end we leave empty handed”.


When death was neaing Alexander reflected within himself: “ I have committed so many evil deeds to amass all this wealth. Now death’s call has come. When departing I have to leave all the riches behind and go alone without taking a single coin”. He told his followers and courtiers : “when my body is taken t the grave, you have to seethat my two hands are stretched out, with palms open, and fully exposed,while the rest of the body is covered, so that my subjects may see that I, a great king, the richest man in the world, went on my final journey, quite empty handed, as I could not take anything with me”. Alexander was buried according to his wish.


Happiness does not consist in storing or accumulating wealth. We bring nothing with us when we came in to the world and we take nothing with us when we leave the world. Pattinathar story was another example to emphasize this.


Pattinathar was a rich man doing roaring business in the harbour city of Chola country. He had no issue. A bright child was picked up from a garden in Tiruvidaimarudur and was reared by Pattinathar. Ne day the boy disappeared after asking his mother to give a box to Pattinathar. When Pattinathar opened it he found an eyeless needle and a palm leaf on which a conundrum was written. He immediately distributed his wealth, renounced life and became an ascetic. He has sung lot of hymns in praise of Lord Shiva.


We see the message of leaving empty handed in most of his hymns. Alexander showed it in body. Pattinathar said it in his poems.

In Thiruvekampamalai, he says,


Nothing was brought at the time of birth

Nothing will be taken at the time of death;

What then shall I say of that class which

Knows not giving, well realising that the wealth

Gained in the interval is that which  was given

by Shiva, Oh Kachi Ekampa.


Stamp released by Greece in 1968


In another verse he says what happens to emperors,

Crowned kings and others , in the end, are burnt

And reduced to a handful of ashes and dirt;

(This article is posted by me in Tamil as well—london swaminathan)

Pattinathar Poems translated by Dr T N Ramachandran.


For Tamil readers:


பிறக்கும்பொழுது கொடுவந்ததில்லை பிறந்து மண்மேல்

இறக்கும்பொழுது கொடுபோவதில்லை இடை நடுவில்

குறிக்கும் இச்செல்வம் சிவன் தந்ததென்று கொடுக்கறியா

திறக்கும் குலாமருக்கு என் சொல்லுவேன் கச்சி ஏகம்பனே


முடிசார்ந்த மன்னரும் மற்றுமுள்ளோரும் முடிவில் ஒரு

பிடி சாம்பராய் வெந்து மண்ணவதுங் கண்டு பின்னும் இந்தப்

படிசார்ந்த வாழ்வை நினைப்பதல்லால்  பொன்னின் அம்பலவர்

அடிசார்ந்து நாம் உய்யவேண்டும் என்றே அறிவாரில்லையே.


(பட்டினத்தார் பாடல் கருத்துக்களை நான் முன்னர் எழுதி வெளியிட்ட பட்டினத்தாருடன் 60 வினாடி பேட்டி என்ற கட்டுரையில் காண்க.)

Pictures are taken from other blogs.

Map of Alexander’s empire