Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 13 September 2018


Time uploaded in London – 21-22 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5427

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Two thousand years ago Muranchiyur Mudingarayar sang about Tamil Chera King Uthiyan Cheralathan. Around that time Roman poet Horace who composed poems in Latin also sang about kings. P Arunachalam compared both the poets and published an article in 1898. Before you read the comparison, I wanted to make some points on the same poem (verse 2 in Purananuru).


Muranchiyur Mudinagarayar’s poem is part of the oldest part of Purananuru, one of the 18 books of Sangam Tamil literature.

There are some interesting historical information as well as similes. This poem explodes all the Aryan- Dravidian myths. There was no such division.

1.The poet’s name is in Sanskrit Mudi Nagarajan. ‘The one who has snake on the head’- is the literal translation. It may be Lord Shiva or just Naga king. Since we have many Purananuru poets with pure Sanskrit names such as Damodaran,Valmiki, Brahama, Lochana, Parana, Kannadasan (Dayan Kannanar) and Maha chitran, it was not uncommon in those days.

2.Poet Nagarajan refers to Four Vedas and Brahmin’s Three Fires (Garhapatya, Ahavaniyam and Dakshinagniyam) which shows Vedic culture was strongly rooted in Tamil Nadu ( we have other refences to Yupa pillar everywhere, Rajasuyam, eagle shaped fire altar of Karikalan)

  1. The poem reflects Kalidasa’s description of the Himalayas in Kumarasambhavam and other works. The deer are taking rest in the Ahramas of seers where they enjoy the warmth of Sacred fire.

4.Another very interesting point is the reference to Pancha  bhutas. We see it in the Vedas. And the ancient Sanskrit literature always compare the Pancha Bhutas with five qualities of a King. It shows that the thought process was the same from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

5.There is a debatable reference to Mahabharata war. Chera King praised as one who provided food for the combatants during the great war. The Tamil word used in the poem is ‘Perun Choru’ (Big food or feast). The word is not found nowhere else. Since Mudi Nagarajan was part of Second Tamil Sangam, commentator thought that the king lived during very old time. Linguistics or historic chronology wouldn’t allow any such interpretation. Language is very simple and it cannot be as old as 3102 BCE. If Uthiyan Cheran lived around that time we need a long list of Chera kings to fill the time gap. We didn’t  have such a king list. Chera king Uthiyan cheral was also sung by Mamulanar, another popular poet.


Then what is Big Rice or Big Food or Big Feast

Actually, on the death anniversary of big leaders,  people are fed to keep their memory or sacrifice alive It is just an Anna Dana like Saivite Guru pujas. Since the word is not used anywhere else in Tamil, no one could say whether it is right or wrong. But the language of the poem and the history of Tamil kings provide us enough clues.


6.The order of or the origin of Five elements (Pancha Bhutas) is in ‘Andhati’ style. Not only the style, the matter agrees with the Sanskrit scriptures.


  1. The golden Himalayas (Kanchan Srnga which is called Kanchen Janga now) is mentioned in Kalidasa’s work. Elsewhere I have given it as a proof for Kalidasa’s age. He lived before Sangam Tamil period.

8.There are references to bad omens: a)milk becoming sour b) day time becoming dark (solar eclipse; eclipses are considered bad omens)


9.Last but not the least there is an indirect reference to Agastya in the poem. Why did the poet compare Himalayas and Pothiya Hills? Pothiya Hills is the southern residence of the great seer Agastya who was sent by Lord Shiva to codify a grammar to Tamil language. Researchers say that it happened around 1000 BCE or 700 BCE. So the comparison between Pothiya and Himalayas is a veiled reference to Agastya Muni. Kalidasa refers to Pothiyam and the Himalayas in his Ragu vamsam.


Following is taken from a magazine published in 1898:-