Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 27 May 2018


Time uploaded in London – 20–39


Post No. 5052


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







Thailand has several inscriptions with interesting information. They provide documented history. Like India the donations to Brahmins and temples stand as historical documents. A very interesting inscription is the Hospital Inscription.

The Stone inscription is in Sanskrit language. Its from the Ku Noi Hospital, Khonkaen Museum. It belongs to Jayavarman VII of 13th century CE. The inscription was discovered in the excavations at Kunoi.


It states that the site was a hospital at the time of Jayavarman VII. The bottom part of the stele is broken and missing. There are three different sizes of stone inscriptions- large, medium and small. Ku noi is in the middle group. All the stone inscriptions gave details regarding the hospital, such as the number of doctors, nurses and types of offerings etc.


The earliest inscriptions of Khmer history in Northern Thailand dated to the end of the 6th century CE. One found in the province of Surin, north of Ta Muen, was erected by a king called Mahendravarman. The inscription written in Sanskrit, commemorates the installation of Shiva’s bull Nadin. Mahendravarman ordered the inscription carved after he has conquered ‘all the country’.


The interesting coincidence is that at the same time the great Pallava King Mahendravarman was ruling from Kancheepuram in South India.


There is another stele in Bangkok museum, a Sanskrit inscription  giving the details of land given by the King Udyadityavarman II. Land was donated to priestly family of Brahmins. It is in Prasat Sdok Kok Thom.  This is one of the most important inscriptions for the study of the Khmer history. Now housed in the National Museum in Bangkok, it dates to about 1052 CE and chronicles the history of Shivakaivalya dynasty of priests who served the King Jayavarman II, founder of the Khmer Empire in 802. It relates how Jayavarman arrived from Java, became king of Indrapura and later moved his capital to Hariharalaya, close to Angkor on northern shore of the Tonle Sap.


In addition it also provides information on subsequent Khmer history, the Khmer system of kingship, the various beliefs adhered to and details about the Brahmin family and their involvement with later Khmer kings.


11 Inscriptions in Phnom Rung

The inscriptions of Prasat Phnom Rung offer a unique insight into the nature of Khmer rule in Northern Thailand between the 10th and 13th century CE. They record the family history of Narendra Adiytya and his son Hiranya. They were independent rulers and not the vassals of king at Angkor. Altogether 11 inscriptions were found at Phnom Rung. The name Phnom Rung itself occurs once on a stele inscribed with a Sanskrit eulogy and several times in Khmer inscriptions.


The earliest inscriptions found at Prasat Phnom Rung is in Sanskrit. It is only four lines, but has been dated to 7th century CE. This inscription might have been shifted from another site, because other structures at the site are of later periods.


Of the other Sanskrit inscriptions, the most important bears the inventory no K.384. It is also the biggest measuring about 27X 53 centimetres. Another inscription is also in Sanskrit. Hiranya is talking about installing a golden image of his father. The inscription commemorates the new additions to Saivite monastery in Phnom Rung. Hymn to Shiva is in the beginning which praises Shiva as Maha Yogi.


Among other inscriptions, however are fascinating details of the religious practices of the monastery on Phnom Rung Hill. One inscription with an inventory no. BR 14 is carved on a round stone slab almost a metre high, a shape associated with sema stones of boundary markers. The 12th century Inscription refers to a pool called Sri Surya as well as setting up the images of gods Shiva, Vishnu, Linga etc.


Sanskrit inscriptions in Thailand serve as a great source of history.

Source book Palace of the Gods, Smiththi Siribhadra and Elizabeth Moore; photography Michael Freeman Year 1992.


Similes in Sanskrit Literature


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Research article No.1489; Dated 15th December 2014.

Appaayya Diksita’s ‘Citramimamsa’ gives the definition of simile as follows,

“Tad idam citram visvam
Brahmajnanad ivo pamajnanat
Jnatam bhavati’ ty adau
Nirupyate nikhilabhedasahita sa
Upamai ka sailusi
Samprapta citrabhumikabhedan
Ranjayati kavyarange
Nrtyanti tadvidam cetah”

Meaning :–As this diversified universe is known by the knowledge of Brahman, so all the figures are known by the knowledge of the simile. Thus the simile with all its varieties is described in the very beginning. The simile alone, an actress dancing in different kinds of costumes on the stage of poetry, taking different shapes of figures, delights the heart of those who know it.
Jayadeva defines the simile (upama) as a figure of speech in which the beauty of similarity exists between two objects, as between the two breasts of a woman (Candraloka 5-3)

In the Mahabharata gods are used as similes. Indra tops the list of Gods. This shows that Mahabharata was written nearer to Vedic times. Had it been written in the Common Era (CE), Siva or Vishnu would have topped the list. As per the statistics available, the frequency table shows the following:


Indra (brilliance and prominence) – at least 247 times
Surya (splendour) –164 times
Agni (Fire; for splendour and destruction) – 155 times
Yama (destructionand terror) 104 times
Gods (Devas) (Brilliance) – 81 times.

Siva, Vishnu and Brahma are way down below in the frequency table and so the Mahabharata was written long before the Puranas which glorify Siva or Vishnu.

The name Upama occurs as early as the Rig Veda (5-34-9; 1-31-15). Yaska quotes the grammarian Gargya’s definition of Upama.
The oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam also used the Sanskrit word Upama (uvamam).
Ramayana has more than 3400 similes. Kalidasa has used more than thousand similes.

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Tamil or Sanskrit: Which is Older?


Questions answered by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1176; dated 16th July 2014.

Dear Swamy

It appears that you are not inclined to clear my doubts. However, I started reading your posts regularly and trying to find answers’
Recently I read your following post


Here too I wish for clarification for the following
N K M.
(This is the Second e mail from NKM)

Dear NKM,

I have given my answers below:

Qestion1.What is the difference between Panini grammar and Tolkappiyam Grammar?

Answer: I am not an expert on Paninian Grammar. My Sanskrit knowledge is limited. I have passed five Sanskrit Examinations and Five Bhagavad Gita exams conducted by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai. When I was a school boy I passed all the five Sanskrit exams conducted by Chittoor Samskrutha Bhasa Pracharini Sabha. I can claim some authority on Sangam Tamil literature. I have read the 27,000+ lines four times. It will take 2 years if you devote some time every day to complete one round. I have read Post Sangam books and Valmiki and Kamba Ramayanam and all the Saivite and Vaishnavite scriptures only once. With my limited knowledge I answer your questions:

Paninian grammar was written around 7th century BCE. Tolkappiyam was written around 1st century BCE or CE. My estimate is 5th century CE in the present form. I have given the reasons for it in my five articles in English and Tamil on Tolkappim and the author Tolkappian. If you hold the word index of Sangam Books and Post Sangam works in your hand, you can see lot of Tolkappian words are found only in Post Sangam Tamil literature. That is why no Tamil scholar dares to compare them.

Porulathikaram of Tolkappiyam is a later addition according to many scholars. My opinion is all the three Adikarams belong to fifth century CE. In short there is a 1000 year gap between Tolkappiyam and Panini.

Wikipedia also listed the name of the authors and their dating.

Paninian Grammar is far superior to Tolkappiam in structure and construction. (If I remember correct Kamil Zvelebil mentioned something like that in his book The Smile of Murugan).

Q2. Do Panini’s grammar has all three viz Sollathigaram. Porul adhikaram and Ezhuththu adhikaram?

Answer : Panini’s Ashtadyayi (Eight Chapters) is not divided in that way. In short there is no Porul Adhikaram which is unique to Tolkappiam. Patanjali’s Mahabhasya gives lot of examples in the commentary on Panini. So we come to know more about Panni’s India. Please read the book “India in Panini”. I borrowed it from University of London (SOAS) Library. A very interesting book.

Sol (Syntax) and Ezuthu (Alphabet, formation of Words) are dealt with by Panini, in addition to several other topics.


Q3. What is the difference between Vedic language and classical Sanskrit?

Answer : The difference between the Vedic Sanskrit (1500 BCE) and the classical Sanskrit ( from 3rd Century BCE) is the difference between the Sangam Tamil ( First Century BCE to 3rd Century CE) and Modern Tamil (18th Century CE). Without Tamil commentaries we would not understand the Sangam Tamil literature, particularly the iraichi porul (hidden meaning, implied meaning etc). There was no present, past, future tenses in Sangam Tamil. Vaiyapuri Pillay has given lot of examples about the development in Tamil Grammar when he dated Tirukkural and Tolkappiam. Please read Vaiyapuri Pillay’s works.

The natural law is “CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE. NOTHING CAN REMAIN STATIC in THE UNIVERSE”. Whether it is Nataraja’s dance, or the simplest Hydrogen atom or the Universe or my wife’s blouse or our food habits everything is changing/moving.

A language changes every two hundred miles and every two hundred years. This is the thumb rule used by Max Muller for dating the Vedas.

Q4. While I understand Sanskrit words are in Tamil and Tamil words are in Sanskrit, how Sanskrit was considered as Deva basha and Tamil as common man language

Answer : You don’t need to worry much about this nomenclature. It is very simple. All the ancient Hindu scriptures are in Sanskrit. So people may call it a Divine language. No one said that Tamil is not a divine Bhasa. Kanchi Paramacharya says Tamil has more devotional hymns than Sanskrit, which is correct. The word “divine” is used for the Tamil language by many poets. I have given it in my blog.

Patanjali called Panini ‘Bhagavan Panini’ (divine Panini). Kamban called Valmiki ‘Divine Valmiki ( Deiva Maa Kavi)’. Valluvar is called ‘Deiva Pulavar’ in Tiruvalluva Malai. Homer is called ‘Divine Homer’ in Greek. I will call Subramanya Bharati a ‘Divine Poet’.

Patamala-1 000

Regarding Tamil words in Sanskrit:

No language is pure in the world. Our forefathers were NOT language fanatics. They freely used Sanskrit words in Sangam literature and later Tirukkural. In the same way Tamil words are in later classical Sanskrit. But I doubt about it in Vedic Sanskrit. I have shown that even great linguists like Suneet Kumar Chatterji are wrong to claim that ‘Neer’ (water) in Rig Veda is Tamil. I have shown that it is in the oldest Greek mythology (Nereids=Water Nymphs). When a word is found in other Indo European languages it is not counted as Dravidian even in etymological dictionaries. But old linguists misled many others and so ‘Neer’ is shown as Dravidian. I have also shown that Kapi, Tuki in the Bible are Sanskrit words. Please read my article “Sanskrit in The Bible”.

In this context, my pet theory is Tamil and Sanskrit originated from a common source on the Indian soil. This is what saints like Paranjothy Munivar and others believed 300 years ago. If we believe our Puranas and Tamil commentators, we accept that Agastya from the north came to South India and codified grammar for Tamil. He was sent by Shiva to balance the population (Please read my article “Population Explosion: Oldest Reference is in Hindu Scriptures”; posted on 2nd February 2013). Naturally Agastya would have done it on the basis of Sanskrit grammar. But even Shiva accepted Tamil as a separate language and entrusted the grammar work to great Agastya. Even Lord Shiva recognised the greatness and uniqueness of Tamil. Do we need any other certificate?

Q.5. Yet the literature in Sanskrit or other classical languages are equally comparable with Tamil literatures in richness and depth of literacy.

Answer : Tamil is one of the richest languages in the world. My opinion is that it will come next to Sanskrit and Greek in the quantity and quality of the literature. Then only Hebrew, Chinese and Latin will come. But among these languages Tamil is the junior most language except Latin. But Sanskrit literature is enormous like an ocean. No one has listed all the books in Sanskrit. In Tamil we have listed all the lost and available books. It will come in a handy book. But if you just compile the names of the Sanskrit books only, it will come in several volumes. In Tamil we have not got anything before 1st century BCE. But Sanskrit had a huge, very huge literature even before Homer started writing his first book in Greek language. Around that time, we had great women philosophers Maitreyi and Gargi attending World Philosophers Conference in Mithila. Even before Moses issued Ten Commandments all those Ten Commandments were in the Vedas.


Q.6. Even though Kalidasa is controversial, why you are not providing constructive arguments for the Tamil poets antiquity?

Answer : Date of Kalidasa is not controversial. Though it is debatable, great art historians like Sivaramamurthy and several foreign and Indian scholars have dated him in the Pre Christian Era. Reverend G.U. Pope dated him Pre Kabila as soon as he read Kurinjipattu.

Though we date the Tamil poets around first century CE references in Mahavamsa, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kalidasa and Asoka’s epigraph show that the Tamils existed long before the Sangam Period. I have written the following articles about Tamil antiquity in this blog:

Dravidian Queen (1320 BC) in North India (Posted April 14, 2012).

Valmiki in Tamil Sangam Literature (posted on 27 June 2013).

To Master the Tamil Language ……Keep a Calculator Handy! (12 Sept. 2011)

20000 Tamil Proverbs (1 June 2012)

Pandya King who Ruled Vietnam

How old is Indian Civilization? (Posted 25 September 2011).

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