Natya shastra Dove Mudra 


Post No. 10,286

Date uploaded in London – –   1 NOVEMBER  2021         

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The word for dove or pigeon is Kapotah in Sanskrit; Puravu or Puraa in Tamil. In the 2000 year old Tamil literature we come across this bird in at east 75 places. It is associated with arid land in Tamil literature. Though the description of arid land is horrible we don’t see any bad omen linked  to dove. But in the Rig Veda , the oldest book in the world, we see a strange reference to this bird linking it with death.  In another image in the same Veda, we see its loving nature. Modern symbolism shows it as a bird of peace. Wherever peace is spoken they show White Pigeon. They release pigeons to show that they love peace. Britain issued a coin with pigeon bringing olive leaves to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of Second World War.

Wisdom Dictionary, the best source for researchers gives thirty meanings of Dove or Pigeon in different areas such as Natya shastra, Ayur Veda, Architecture and Zoology. But we rarely see its association with death. Kapotah was the name of a clan and name of a seer as well. Even the Rig Vedic verse in the tenth Mandala 10-163 is named after a seer known as Mr Dove or Mr Pigeon.

I will give the two mantras in the Rig Veda where pigeon is referred to and my comments on it:

देवा॑: क॒पोत॑ इषि॒तो यदि॒च्छन्दू॒तो निॠ॑त्या इ॒दमा॑ज॒गाम॑ । तस्मा॑ अर्चाम कृ॒णवा॑म॒ निष्कृ॑तिं॒ शं नो॑ अस्तु द्वि॒पदे॒ शं चतु॑ष्पदे ॥

devāḥ kapota iṣito yad icchan dūto nirṛtyā idam ājagāma | tasmā arcāma kṛṇavāma niṣkṛtiṃ śaṃ no astu dvipade śaṃ catuṣpade ||

“O gods, let us worship for that, desiring which the pigeon sent as Nirṛti‘s messenger, has come to this(ceremony); let us make atonement, may prosperity be given to our bipeds and quadrupeds.” 10-165-1

Commentary by Sāyaṇa: Ṛgveda-bhāṣya

The pigeon: an allusion to misfortune


ऋ॒चा क॒पोतं॑ नुदत प्र॒णोद॒मिषं॒ मद॑न्त॒: परि॒ गां न॑यध्वम् । सं॒यो॒पय॑न्तो दुरि॒तानि॒ विश्वा॑ हि॒त्वा न॒ ऊर्जं॒ प्र प॑ता॒त्पति॑ष्ठः ॥

ṛcā kapotaṃ nudata praṇodam iṣam madantaḥ pari gāṃ nayadhvam | saṃyopayanto duritāni viśvā hitvā na ūrjam pra patāt patiṣṭhaḥ ||

“(Praised) by our hymn, O gods, drive out the pigeon, who deserves to be driven out, exhilarated (by our oblation), bring us food and cattle, dissipating all our misfortunes; abandoning our food, may the swift(pigeon) fly away.” 10-165-5

In between 10-165-1 and 10-16-5 we have three more mantras referring to pigeon in the same tone.

“May the bird sent to our dwellings, the pigeon, be auspicious, O gods, and void of offence, so that the wise Agni may approve of our oblation, and the winged weapon (of mischief) depart from us.” 10-165-2

“May the winged weapon (of mischief) do us no harm; he takes his plural ce upon the touchwood, the seat of Agni; may prosperity attend our cattle and our people, let not the pigeon, gods, do us harm in this (dwelling).” 10-165-3

All these mantras dub pigeon or dove as a bird of bad omen.

In the footnote for the Rig Vedic mantra Ralph T H Griffith adds an interesting note:

A dove, regarded as an ill-omened bird and the messenger of death, has flown into the house. Similarly in North Lincolnshire,

If a pigeon is seen sitting on a tree, or comes into the house, r from being wild suddenly becomes tame, it is Sign of Death, Notes and Querries, 8-382


Kindness of Dove

Contrary to this hymn, Seer/Rishi Sunashepa Angirasa paints a different picture in RV 1-30-4

अ॒यमु॑ ते॒ सम॑तसि क॒पोत॑ इव गर्भ॒धिम् । वच॒स्तच्चि॑न्न ओहसे ॥
अयमु ते समतसि कपोत इव गर्भधिम् । वचस्तच्चिन्न ओहसे ॥
ayam u te sam atasi kapota iva garbhadhim | vacas tac cin na ohase ||

“This libation is (prepared) for you; you approach it as a pigeon his pregnant (mate), for on that account do you accept our prayer.” A Tamil poet also refers to it. Male dove fans a female dove because the weather is hot !


My Comments

Only when a pigeon appears suddenly in an unusual place, then it is considered a bad omen. Hindus considered anything impure that comes to a sacred place a bad omen. Even if a dog entered the place of Fire Sacrifice then they hated it. 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature described Brahmin Street as a place where no dog or cock enters. Such a purity was maintained in places where they did fire sacrifice in every house thrice a day!

In short ,they did not consider dove as a bird omen in normal circumstances.

Story of Sibi Chakravarthi

The story of Emperor Sibi is in Mahabharata. When a dove took refuge in him, the eagle that chased it for food demanded back its natural prey. But Sibi said that he had to give shelter to anyone who came as a refugee and came to offer his whole body to the eagle . First, he cut a part of his body and put it n the balance to give the weight of flesh equal to the weight of the dove. But it was never balanced despite repeated attempts. Then he himself climbed the balance to give flesh ‘weight for weight’. Then the whole scene changed. The dove appeared as Agni, Lord of Fire , and the Eagle appeared as Indra , Chief of Heaven. This story is referred to in Sangam literature and later Silappadikaram as well Choza kings boasted that they were the descendants of that great emperor Sibi.

There is another story in the epic where two doves sacrificed their lives in the fire for the sake of a hungry hunter. All such stories in the Hindu epics and Hindu fables of Panchatantra show that doves are lovable birds.

In Sangam Tamil Literature

I give some examples from 2000 year old Tamil Sangam Books:

In Akananuru poem 17, a fine contrast is drawn between three pictures, one of an arid tract, another of a  quiet home in which the heroine lights up the lamps when the doves call to their mates,  and another of a small fertile hill with Kutalam flowers of fragrant smell and a canopy of clouds

In Akananuru poem 2, we see couple of doves fly far away with terror in gusty wind.

In Kuruntokai poem 79, the female doves perching on the Omai tree call their mates with a sorrowful voice

In Kuruntokai poem 174, the ripe seeds of the Kalli trees burst open and scares away the happy pair of pigeons perching on the branches.

In Narrinai poem 305, again we see a dove perching on the Nocci tree calls to its mate in a very clear voice and expresses some grief in it.

In Akananuru poem 287, the waving aerial root of a banyan tree frightens away the doves .

In Palaikkali of Kalittokai (verse 10) we see a male dove is fanning and comforting a female dove in hot weather condition.

One more interesting reference is in Pattinappalai of Sangam Period where the poet Kadiyaloor Uruththiran Kannanar (Mr Rudraksha) says doves eat stones. I saw a recent video in You Tube where a gentleman powders the red stones and feeds the doves. Hundreds of pigeons competing with one another, eat it happily. This helps them in digestion they say. Though this might have been noticed by many others a Tamil poet has documented it in his poem 2000 years ago!

Apart from these , we have passing reference to doves along with other birds. So the picture we get is doves are in pairs or one calling the other which shows mutual love.

Doves and pigeons in other cultures are already described in many websites.  But the Hindu view of doves and pigeons is not dealt with in detail. Wisdom library gives 30 references and Sangam and later Tamil literature give at least 75 references. We have enough materials to write an encyclopaedia on Doves in Hindu Literature.

Kapota- Dove- Asana


 Tags- Pigeon, Bad omen, Rig Veda, Eating stones, Tamil literature, Love, Peace


Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 9 December 2018

GMT Time uploaded in London – 17-27

Post No. 5757

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Let us look at two more verses from Bhartruharis.Niti sataka 38 and 39.

Famous Tamil poetess Avvaiyar said that the misers’ hoarded wealth will be taken away by the wicked people.


Another Tamil poet who lived several hundred years after Bhartruhari said that the wealth of a miser is like the coconut in the feet of a dog. This is a Tamil proverb. The dog would neither use it nor it would allow anyone to use it. Both the poets have echoed what Bharturhari said below:-

दानं भोगो नाशस्तिस्रो
गतयो भवन्ति वित्तस्य ।
यो न ददाति न भुङ्क्ते
तस्य तृतीया गतिर्भवति ॥ 1.38 ॥

38. Giving, consuming, and loss, are the three ways

by which wealth is diminished. The man who neither

gives nor spends has yet the third way open to him.

39. A jewel is cut by the polishing stone ; a conqueror

in war is killed by weapons ; the elephant is weakened

by passion; the islands in a river become dry in the

autumn ; the moon wanes ; young women become languid

through pleasure, yet is their beauty nothing lessened :

so noble men who have diminished their wealth by giving.

मणिः शाणोल्लीढः समरविजयी हेतिदलितो

मदक्षीणो नागः शरदि सरितः श्यानपुलिनाः ।
कलाशेषश्चन्द्रः सुरतमृदिता बालवनिता
तन्निम्ना शोभन्ते गलितविभवाश्चार्थिषु नराः ॥ 1.39 ॥

The second sloka is also interesting which is already in Tamil and Sanskrit literature.

Though Bhartruhari gave lot of examples about an elephant, jewel, river, moon, what he wanted to convey is that it is worth to become poor or bankrupt by donating one’s wealth. We see such people in Tamil literature in Purananuru,an anthology of 400 verses composed approximately 2000 years ago.

Kalidasa in his Raghuvamsa Kavya gives three examples of Raghu (chapter 5-15),Athithi (17-7) and Dilipan (1-18). When a saint approached King Raghu for donations, Raghu came with mud pots. Then the saint says you have become poor by donating all your wealth. The other two verses compare the kings to the clouds that pour down rain without asking. Kalidasa says the king collects taxes only to give back to the people 1000 times more like the clouds which sucks seawater to give it back to earth as rain.

Comparing rainy clouds to a philanthropist is repeated often in Tamil literature. Mudamosi (Purananuru verse 127), a poet of Tamil Sangam, praises chieftain Ay Andiran to the rainy clouds in giving. He also added that only his wife retained her Mangala Sutra which cannot be taken out and donated. This is a typical simile in Hindu literature. In the same book Purananuru, Kapilan, praised Pari, another chieftain, as rainy clouds. He ironically asks why the whole world praises only Pari (chieftain) when Mari (rain) is more generous. The fact of the matter is Pari is more praised than Mari (Tamil word for rain).

Bhartruhari’s message is echoed by various poets in various ways. But Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil poets lived well before Bhartruhari. Hindu thinking about charity has been same until today.


Mirror Images in Hindu Literature (Post No.3413)

Research Article Written by London swaminathan


Date: 3 December 2016


Time uploaded in London:12-20


Post No.3413


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks. They are representational.




Tamil version of this article is also posted.


Mirrors have been used by us from time immemorial. it is found in all the ancient civilizations. Etruscan mirrors are famous for their engraved mythological scenes on the back of the mirror. In ancient Mexico Aztec god Tezcatlipoca was called smoking mirror.


The mirror has got special significance in the Shinto tradition of Japan. It is an attribute of the sun goddess Amaterasu. A sacred mirror is handed to each new emperor.


According to one tradition, the mirror bears the Hebrew inscription of “I am who am”.

Psychologists have different interpretations for mirror images.

In Hinduism mirror is considered one of the auspicious objects. As soon as they get up in the morning they look at their right-hand palm or a mirror. Young girls are invited to homes and mirror, comb and Kumkum are distributed them during Navratri festival period. On the new year day, they look at the mirror when they wake up. When the god’s statue is taken in palanquin procession through the city streets, a mirror is placed in front of the idol so that people can see it from different angles. If mirror is broken by fall they consider it as an ill omen.


Mirror in Gita and Kalidasa

Mirror is used as simile from the days of Mahabharata. Krishna, Adi Sankara, great poet Kalidasa, Tamil poets Tiruvalluvar, Tolkappiar, Kapilar and many more use it for imagery.


They send various messages through mirror imagery.

Lord Krishna says in Bhagavd Gita (3-38):

“As fire is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by dust, as an embryo by the womb, so this wisdom is enveloped by that (desire or anger)”.


Swami Chinmayananda gave a detailed commentary on this couplet. He says though they look similar, they are not. Repetition is an unpardonable crime against the scriptural style and the Gita faithfully follows the immortal style common to all religious books. There is no redundancy or wasteful repetition in the Divine Song.

The first image ‘fire by smoke’ is sattvic/good. Even the sattvic desires veil the infinite glory of the Spirit.

The second image ‘ as dust on a mirror” illustrates the veiling  caused by agitations that cover the purer intellect due to our thick desires for glory and power. So it is Rajasic/passionate.


The last imagery, as the foetus in the womb imagery, is tamasic/bad. This is an illustration to show how completely the Diviner aspect in us is screened off by the low animal appetites and the vulgar desires for the sensuous.

Picture of Greek Mirror


In the Raghu vamsa, Kalidasa imagines the face of Indumati (7—68) to be like a mirror. The face of Indumati shone with joy when freed from the sadness arising from the adversary. The mirror also resumes its brightness by the disappearance of moisture.


When the wind, charged with rain drops blows, a mist like moisture gathers on the surface of the mirror which obscures in transparency, similarly the infamy of the acceptance of Vaidehi who had dwelt in the house of Ravana which is a stain now come upon the royal family sprung from the sun and pure by virtues of good conduct (Raghu vasa 14-37).

in Sakuntam drama also Kalidasa used this image (AS 7-32)




Adi Shankara says in his Viveka Cudamani (291):-

That in which there is this refection of the universe, as of a city in a mirror – that Brahman are you; knowing this you will attain the consummation of your life.


This refection of a big city or some object in a small mirror has been used by Tamil Poets Kapilar, Tolkappiar and Tiruvalluvar. It looks like it is popular imagery.


Famous Tamil poet Kabilar, in the laudatory verse Tiruvalluva malai, praised the book Tirukkural and compared it to a small dew drop on a grass tip reflecting a big tree nearby. Every couplet of Tirukkural reflects big things like this.

Picture of Etruscan Mirror

Face is the index of the mind!


Tiruvalluvar himself used the mirror image in his work Tirukkural:-

The mirror reflects nearby objects; even so the face indicates emotions throbbing in the mind (Kural 706).


Tolkapiyam, oldest Tamil book, also used similar image. When the author Tolkappiyar explained what a Sutra (an aphorism) is he used this beautiful simile (1425)

A sutra is like a big mountain reflected In a mirror, shows/explains everything.

There are innumerable works where we come across mirror or looking glass in Tamil and Sanskrit works. I have already written about the Mirror Temple constructed by Sri Narayana Guru, a social reformer of Kerala. Big temples in Tamil Nadu has a beautiful mirror room for god where the idol is reflected thousands of times. Though God is one we see him in 330 million ways- that is the message these mirror rooms convey.


Mirror Temples! Hindu Wonders!! (Posted on 3 October 2013)



Ganges in Kalidasa & Sangam Tamil Literature

(This is the fourth in the series of Kalidasa and Sangam (Cankama) Tamil literature- part of my thesis proving that the Date of Kalidasa was around First Century BC-Pre Sangam period-S swaminathan)

No river on earth commands so much respect and reverence as the Holy Ganga. We see this river in Rig Veda, the oldest religious scripture in the world, the great Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, Kalidasa’s works and in the ancient Sangam Tamil literature. The Tamils considered it the holiest river. Whenever they want to say something holy they always compared the Ganges. Just to exaggerate they used to say X or Y is holier than Ganga. All the rivers are considered mother in Hindu mythologies. But Ganga Matha( Mother Ganges)  has a very special place in the minds of Indians.

Ganges water was praised as the purest and cleanest water with miraculous properties even by the East India Company 300 years ago. When their ships were loaded with Ganges water for drinking purpose it never became stale (putrefy) even after several months where as other water loaded in different parts of the world went stale within a month. The Hindus knew its properties for thousands of years. The powerful Tamil kings went all the way to Himalayas and embossed their seals on the rocks there. When they came back they brought Ganges water after taking a holy dip. In the middle ages the Vaishnavite Alvars and the Saivite Nayanmars sang its praise in their hymns.

Cheran Senguttuvan of Sangam period brought stones from Himalayas twice for his mother Narchonai and another chaste woman Kannaki. Both the times he washed the stones in the Holy Ganges and made idols from them.

Even today Hindus fill in Ganges water in bottles and pots and bring them home to use it on special occasions. Even before bottling water became a roaring business, Ganges water was sold or distributed free of cost by the Hindu Charities. Everyday Madurai and Rameswaram temples use Ganges water for Abhishekam (bathing the gods). Truck loads of Ganges water come all the way from Himalayan destinations to these temples.

In Haridwar and Varanasi (Kasi), an evening Arthi is performed to Ganga Matha which is watched and worshipped by thousands of people. No river in the world has this type of daily worship. The world’s largest religious festival Kumbhamela attended by  twenty million people takes place every twelve years on the banks of river Ganges.

No wonder this mighty river finds a special place in every literary work of India. Kalidasa, the greatest of the secular Indian poets, even praises the Milky Way in the sky as Akasa Ganga (Ganges in the sky).

Hidden Treasure Under the Ganges

Tamil literature reveals some unknown, secret information about the Ganges. Poet Mamulanar in Akam 265 says that the Nanda Kings have hidden enormous treasure under the Ganges in Pataliputra (modern Patna in Bihar). He compares the mighty Himalayas and the enormous hidden treasure to the wealth the hero went after leaving the heroine all alone. Since there was no supporting information from other historical sources, the commentators also left us skeleton details only.

Kalidasa’s references to Ganges:

Mega 45, 65

Vikra. I -7 ,II 15, III-6, V-22

Kumara I-30, 54; VI 38, 57, 70; VII-41, 42;VIII-16

Ragu. II-26,IV 32, 36, 73,V 48, X 37, 63;XIII 20,54 to 57; XII-66;XIV-3, 52;XVI 33,34, 71;XVII 14

From Kumarasambhavam

“To her, those impressions were permanent, the lore  acquired in the past life, came at the time of instruction, as do the flocks of swans to the Ganges in autumn, or their own lustre to the medicinal herbs at the night” (1-30) I have already given the verse by Paranar (narri.356) where he sang about the Himalayas and the swans.

“O you, the most eminent of the twice born, I consider myself sanctified by these two only, by the fall of Ganges on my head, and water from your washed feet”(6-57)

“Just as Ganga is lauded by the foot of the supreme lord, so is she by you of lofty peaks, who are her second source” (6-70)

Ganga and Yamuna also, assuming visible forms and holding Chauries, served the god (7-42)

Mega. 51

The dark clouds at the top of the mountains look like dark elephants bathing in the Ganges.

The shadow of the dark clouds and the crystal clear Ganges water makes us think that river Yamuna mingles with the Ganges in a different place (Yamuna water is darker than Ganges).

Ragu 13-54 to 57

Kalidasa employs seven similes in this description of White Ganges and Dark Yamuna. The joining of the two rivers looks like a necklace of pearls and blue sapphires. Then it looks like a garland of white and blue flowers. In another place it is like white swans and black swans swimming together. In another place it likes the Rangoli on black agar wood with sandal paste. It also looks like the white moon light peeping through dark tree leaves. In another place it is like dark clouds floating in blue sky. Ganga and Yamuna together look like Shiva smeared with white ash with the snake around his neck (Ganges is Shiva and Yamuna is snake).

Paranar also follows Kalidasa and employs nine similes in Akam 178, but on a different theme.

Ragu 17-72

The clouds are praised for showering water on parched fields. But they are that generous only because of the sea. People forget the sea. King Athithi gave so much to the poets who in turn donated them to others. Though they were praised the original philanthropist Athithi was forgotten like the sea.

Tamil poets and Kalidasa knew that the sea was the source of clouds and rain. Kapilar in Puram 107 sings about it. People praise rain (Mari) when King Pari is more generous.

Tamil poets’ references to Ganges

Patti.190 (articles produced in the valleys of the Ganges and the Kavery)

Narr.369 (Nalvellaiyar);189 (Anonymous)

Puram 161 (Perunchittiranar)

Madu.696 Mankudi Maruthan (1000 branched Ganges)


Akam .265 (Mamulan)

Pari. 16-36

Post Sangam works: Silappadikaram mentions Ganges in 15 places; Manimegalai -4 places

Tamil literature uses Ganges as a simile for the generosity and philanthropy of kings and chieftains. They came to know about the river only from Kalidasa and other Sanskrit works.

Katiyalur  Uruttiran Kannanar (Perum. 429-431) says

As men who flee from peril slumber as they wait

For the boat that will ferry them across

The unfordable Ganga, scattering gold as it tears down

The lofty crest of the Himalaya where the gods dwell,

Lighting it up with its silvery billows (Perum. 429-431)

Vikramorvasiyam I-7 refers Ganges breaking its banks which is echoed by Tamil poet Perunchittiranar. He describes the mighty flow of Ganges in Puram. 161: the clouds raise from the sea, gather themselves, appear dark and huge like mountains in the sky, roar with thunder and pour the torrents; when such a rainy season is past and when the summer reigns supreme making the tanks and rivers everywhere dry, the Ganges flows full of water for the benefit of the whole of mankind. The poet compares Ganges to the generosity of Kumanan, a Tamil chieftain. The Ganges descending from the Himalayas is always overflowing its banks, he says.

Narrinai poet Madurai Nalvellaiyar (verse 369) used Ganges in a statement by a heroine. The heroine feels that her love is so powerful and influential that it over comes her self- control like the great floods in the Ganges that overflows the banks and smashes the dams in its course. Another anonymous poet says that the hero might have gone somewhere by a boat in the Ganges. Nal Velliyar just echoed Kumarasambhavam verse VIII-16 and Raguvamsam verse XII-66.

Tamils even knew that the Ganges branches into thousands of smaller streams just before entering into Bay of Bengal . Sangam poet Mankudi Maruthan compares the lively Madurai market to the Ganges. Saivite saint Appar also refers to it as thousand faced Ganges.

Milky Way

Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. There are 200 to 400 billion stars. Astronomers estimate that there are ten billion habitable planets in the Milky Way galaxy. If the night sky is clear we can see this galaxy with a lot of stars with a background of white light patch. Kalidasa refers to it in several places. In Tamil we come across it in Paripatal (16-36).

Ka lidasa refers to the Milky Way as Chaya Patham, Vyoma Ganga, Thri Marga, Thri Divasa and Akasa Ganga in Ragu I-78, XII-85, XIII-2, Kuma. I-28, IV-37.

NB: The Ganges has become more polluted in recent years. So readers are warned not to drink water  without boiling it. This is because of the industrial wastes mixing into it along its 1500 mile route. The medicinal qualities are still maintained at the source or very near the source in the Himalayas.

Supporting information from another website

The Ganges is 2525 kilometres long. Along its course, 27 major towns dump 902 million litres of sewage into it each day. Added to this are all those human bodies consigned to this holy river, called the Ganga by the Indians. Despite this heavy burden of pollutants, the Ganges has for millennia been regarded as incorruptible. How can this be?

Several foreigners have recorded the effects of this river’s “magical” cleansing properties:

  1. Ganges water does not putrefy, even after long periods of storage. River water begins to putrefy when lack of oxygen promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which produce the tell-tale smell of stale water.
  2. British physician, C.E. Nelson, observed that Ganga water taken from the Hooghly — one of its dirtiest mouths — by ships returning to England remained fresh throughout the voyage.
  3. In 1896, the British physician E. Hanbury Hankin reported in the French journal Annales de l’Institut Pasteur that cholera microbes died within three hours in Ganga water, but continued to thrive in distilled water even after 48 hours.
  4. A French scientist, Monsieur Herelle, was amazed to find “that only a few feet below the bodies of persons floating in the Ganga who had died of dysentery and cholera, where one would expect millions of germs, there were no germs at all.

More recently, D.S. Bhargava, an Indian environmental engineer measured the Ganges’ remarkable self-cleansing properties:

“Bhargava’s calculations, taken from an exhaustive three-year study of the Ganga, show that it is able to reduce BOD [biochemical oxygen demand] levels much faster than in other rivers.”

Quantitatively, the Ganges seems to clean up suspended wastes 15 to 20 times faster than other rivers.

(Kalshian, Rakesh; “Ganges Has Magical Cleaning Properties,” Geographic, 66:5, April 1994.)

From Science Frontiers #94, JUL-AUG 1994. © 1994-2000 William R. Corliss


Tamil References:

நாள் தர வந்த விழுக் கலம் அனைத்தும்

கங்கை அம் பேர் யாற் கடல் படர்ந்தா அங்கு

அளந்து கடை அறியா வளம் கெழு தாரமொடு

மாங்குடி மருதன் (மதுரைக் காஞ்சி 695-697


இமையவர் உறையும் சிமையச் செவ்வரை

வெண் திரை கிழித்த விளங்கு சுடர் நெடுங்கோட்டுப்

பொன்கொழித்து இழிதரும் போக்கு அரும் கங்கைப்

பெரு நீர்ப் போகும் இரியல் மாக்கள் (பெரும்பா.429-432)


“நீண்டொலி அழுவம் குறைபட முகந்துகொண்டு;

ஈண்டுசெலல் கொண்மூ வேண்டுவயின் குழீஇப்

பெருமலை யன்ன தோன்றல் சூன்முதிர்பு,

உருமுரறு கருவியொடு, பெயல் கடன் இறுத்து,

வளமழை மாறிய என்றூழ்க் காலை,

மன்பதை எல்லாம் சென்றுணக் கங்கைக்

கரைபொரு மலிநீர் நிறைந்து தோன்றியாங்கு,

எமக்கும் பிறர்க்கும் செம்மலை யாகலின்” (புறம் 161)


மலர் மார்பிற் சோர்ந்த மலரிதழ் தா அய்

மீனாரம் பூத்த வியன் கங்கை நந்திய

வானம் பெயர்ந்த மருங்கொத்த லெஞ்ஞான்றும்

(பரிபாடல் 16-35/37 நல்லழிசியார்)


ஞெமையோங்கு உயர்வரை இமயத்து உச்சி

வா அன் இழிதரும் வயங்கு வெள் அருவிக்

கங்கையம் பேர்யாற்றுக் கரையிறந் திழிதரும்

சிறையடு கடும் புனல் அன்னவென்

நிறையடு காமம் நீந்துமாறே (நற்றிணை 369)


Appar :

நேர்ந்தொருத்தி ஒரு பாகத்து அடங்கக் கண்டு

நிலை தளர ஆயிரமா முகத்தினோடு

பாய்ந்தொருத்தி படர் சடை மேற் பயிலக் கண்டு

பட அரவும் பனி மதியும் வைத்த செல்வர் (அப்பர் தேவாரம்)


Kalidasa’s age: Tamil works confirm 1st century BC.

Picture:Kalidasa Statue in China

Kalidasa is widely considered to be the greatest Indian poet and playwright of all time. He wrote in Sanskrit. There are seven works written by him-two epic poems, two shorter poems and three plays. They are 1.Raghu Vamsa (dynasty of Raghu),2.Kumara Sambhava (Birth of Kumara, 3.Megha Duta (Cloud Messenger),4.Ritu Samhara (Cluster of Sesons), 5.Malavikagnimitram (Malavika and Agnimitra),6.Abijnana Shakuntala (The recognition of Shakuntala) and 7.Vikramorvasiya (Urvasi won by valour).His master piece was Shakuntala.

The age of Kalidasa has been debated for long. He could have lived anytime between 2nd century BC and 4th Century AD. Though the western scholars have placed him in the period of Gupta dynasty, Indians believe that he lived in the time of the great Indian king Vikramditya who started his own Vikrama era in 56BC. Kalidasa was one of the Nine Jewels (Navaratna) of Vikramaditya’s court.

My research into Tamil Cankam (also known as Sangam) literature shows that Kalidsa lived sometime before the birth of Christ. Tamil poets have used a lot of his similes. Kalidasa was most famous for his apt similes. The Sanskrit poets praised him as Upama Kalidasasya: ( Kalidasa owns similes).Tamil poets have used lot of common Indian/ Hindu beliefs. The source may be different ancient Indian works. But there are very clear indications to show that the poets have got them from Kalidasa’s works. There are over 200 similarities between the works of Kalidasa and the Sangam Tamil works. No one can reject them as co incidences or of pan Indian origin.


Tamil Cankam literature is 2000 years old. Scholars date the Cankam literature to first few centuries of the modern era. Tamil Cankam anthologies consist of 2380 + poems composed by 470+ poets. It runs to approximately 30,000 lines. Brahmin poets contributed the highest number of poems or lines. Kapila who was praised as a ‘’Brahmin of spotless character’’ composed the highest number of poems (235)  in the anthology. He was well versed in Sanskrit and was able to teach Tamil to a North Indian king known as Arya king Brahadatta. No need to say that the medium of instruction was Sanskrit. Kapila made him a great scholar in Tamil and made him to write a poem in Tamil which is in Tamil anthology Kurunthokai. Kapila sang the great Kurinchipattu just to show the greatness of Tamil language to the North Indian king. Kurinchipattu is famous for portrayal of nature. Kapila recites 99 plant names at one go. Though we see a lot of plants were mentioned by Valmiki and Kalidasa, Kaipla beat them by giving a list of ninety nine plants together. Paranar is another great Brahmin Tamil poet always associated with Kaplilar. Both of them lived around 150 AD. It is corroborated by their reference to Roman (yavana) imports and exports from the South Indian ports.

Paranar “ may” be a Brahmin poet according to some scholars. There are two reasons to consider him a Brahmin. Chera king katal pirakottiya Senkuttuvan gave him land (Umbarkadu as ‘piramadeyam?) and his son when he composed a poem on him. The kings give such land to Brahmins only. They entrust their children for education only with Brahmins. The second reason is the name is a Sanskrit name found as one of the Gothra Rishis. It comes in stories of Vikramaditya as a Brahmin name. Kapilar and Paranar have used a lot of Kalidasa’s expressions and similes. Not only Kapilar and Paranar but also other Tamil poets used such similes. Most of them are Brahmins who must be well versed in Sanskrit and Kalidasa’s works. Kalidasa’s name and fame must have spread far and wide by 1st or 2nd century AD when most of the cankam poems were composed.



Another great work of the first few centuries is Gatha sapta sathi in Prakrit language. ‘’The occasional echoes in Gatha Sapta Sathi of ideas in Kalidasa’s poems and dramas (e.g. GSS 14,44,47,232,251 etc) would lead to the conclusion that Kalidasa belonged to the 1st century BC and enjoyed the parentage of King Vikramaditya’’ says MV Patwardhan (Gathakosa,1988).The Tamils might have got these ideas through the minor poets who lived in the borders of Taminadu and Andhra. Except King Hala the compiler of GSS, no one was famous. They simply followed and copied the great poets and we see only one or two bright sparks here and there. GSS is later than Kalidasa because of the following facts:

  1. GSS refers to Ganapathy/Vinayak but not to Murugan or Balaraman. Cankam and Kalidasa refer to Murugan and Balaraman but not Lord Ganesh, which became popular later.
  2. GSS refers to Hora (hour) which is considered a borrowing from Greek.
  3. GSS poem 361 by Salivahanan is a translation of Kumarasambhava poem.
  4. GSS refers to Vikramaditya.
  5. Lot of themes are common to Cankam and Kalidasa , but absent in GSS. It is a long list. But negative evidence is a weak evidence. So I am not giving them here. But this will prove that GSS is NOT the common source for Tamil or Sanskrit poems. It is vice verse.

GU Pope on Kapilar

Reverend GU Pope, the great Tamil devotee, wrote an article in 1893 in which he said that Kapila must be well versed with Kalidasa’s works and added that Kurinchipattu of Kapilar is nothing but an imitation of Kalidasa.

No wonder Kaiplar did this. He had to do this so that Aryan King Brahadattan understood Tamil well. When someone reads about similarities between two authors the first question will be who copied whom? The second question will be whether they got it from some common source. The third question will be whether it was all pan Indian beliefs. But all these doubts will be cleared when one sees the very same words used by two poets. It is like a verbatim translation. The scholars praised Kalidasa because he was the originator of these similes or expressions or phrases. Kalidasa could not have read all the 30000 Tamil lines and copied the best. Since Kapila lived in 150 AD, Kalidasa must have preceded him. No one could come anywhere near Kalidasa because he used 1000+ similes in apt places. He has rarely repeated any of them.  Though there are 3000+ similes in Mahabharata it is not considered one man’s work.

Now I will produce the evidence from Tamil poems:

1.Prayer to Lord Shiva

Now a days we start any book or event with a prayer to Lord Ganesh. But Kalidasa and Cankam poets begin their work with a prayer to Lord Shiva. Five Cankam works- Akananuru (Aka),Purananuru (Pur), Ainkurunuru (Ain),Pathitrupathu (Pathi) and Kalithokai (Kali) begin with a prayer to Shiva. Natrinai (Nat) is the only work with a prayer to Lord Vishnu. That too is a sloka from Vishnu Sahasranama is translated into Tamil. Kalidasa begins with a prayer to Shiva in Raghuvamsam, Kumarasambhavam and Shakunthalam. Though some scholars say that the Tamil prayers were added on a later date, that person must have followed Kalidasa. Another remarkable thing about Tamil literature is no one has used the word ‘’Shiva’’ in 30 000 lines. Shiva is referred to with other epithets. Kali also rarely used Shiva. This shows the closeness in time of Cankam poets and Kali. Even the oldest Rig Veda never used Lord Siva’s name, but Yajur Veda used his name.

Kali or Cankam poets never referred to Lingam. But Lingam was known in Gupta period. And Guptas called themselves as Parama Bagavathas (great devotees of Lord Vishnu).But Kali used only shiva for his prayers even in the book of ‘’Raghu’’ vamsa. He lived long before the Guptas. Guptas who were great sponsors of Sanskrit language, attracted by his works named their children Kumara Gupta and Skanda Gupta. Even Hala in GSS prayed to Lord Shiva. This reflects the time they lived.

Many of the Cankam poets have Sanskrit names.Rudran and Mahadevan (Bharatham Padiya Perunthevan) are names of at least four Tamil poets.

Shiva’s epithets in Kalidasand Cankam Tamil books:

a)      Neelakanta (blue throated),Neela lohitha:

Kali: Kumara VII 51,VIII 12,Shak VII 34

Cankam: akam 1,Pura 56,55,91 Paripatal 8,9 Malaipadu 83

b)      Ardhenthu Maulin (cresent moon)

Kali: Megha 57 =Cankam akam 1

c)       Ayugma netra (one and a half eye,three eyed)

Kali: Kumara III 51,69

Tri lochana,thri nayana, thraiyambaka (Kum III44,66VI 89,Mega 54,118,60)

Virupakshana (kum VI 21)

Cankam: Akam 181 (paranar),Pura 6(kari Kizar),pura 55, kali 2

d)      Bhutapathi,Bhuteswara,Bhutanatha (Lord of the livingbeings)

Kali: Ragu II 58,Kum II 43,74 Ragu II 46

Cankam :Puram 219,259,276 poets names also Shiva’s name with Puthan epithet!!!

Other Tamil poets with Puthan epithet of Lord Shiva: Madurai Kauniyan Puthathanar

(Brahmin poet of Kayndinya Gothra)Bhuta Nathan,Perumbhutan, Puthan Ilanagan, Bhutapandiyan,Karuvur Puthan Chathanar, Ezathu pthan thevan, Ven Bhuthan, Senthan Bhuthan,Kundram Bhuthanar

e)      Sula bruth,Sulin (Trident bearer)

Kali: Ragu II 38, Kuma VII 40, III 57,IV 94 Mega 15, 19,

Cankam : Akam 1 (Bharatham padiaya Mahadevan)

f)       Vrushanga (On the Bull mount, Bull flag)

Kali: Kuma III 23,14,62, VII 29,VIII 20, Ragu II 35, 36

Cankam : Puram 56 (Nakkeeran, A Brahmin poet)

g)      Parvathi Parameswaran

h)      Kali: Ragu I-1 = Cankam Akam 1, Puram 166

i)        Purasasana

Kali :Kuma VII 30= Puram 55 (Marutham Ilanagan)

Tripura Thaganm (one who burnt three forts)

Kali :Mega 58= Cankam Puram 55, Pari 5-2,Kali 2-1 to 8, 38-1,Kali 1

j)        Ardhanari (half siva half shakthi)

Ragu 1, Kum VII 28 =Cankam : ‘Maathoru paathiyan’ (Ainkurunuru  prayer)

k)      Maheswaran (Great Lord)

Kali Ragu III 49= Cankam Puram 166, Kali 1

l)        Rudra (angry towards bad)

Ragu II 54,Kuma II 26,III 76,Malavi I-4

Cankam Puram 56 (nakkeeran)

Also refer to poets with Rudran names given earlier.


Above references prove that there was not a big gap between Kali and Cankam poets and they were Pre Gupta. No reference to Ganesh ,No reference to Lingam and rarely used the word ‘Shiva’. Lord Shiva was not even mentioned in the oldest Tamil work Tolkappiyam.

Tolkappiyam refers only to Vedic Gods Indra, Varunan, Durga, Vishnu and Kartikeya (Seyon)

2.Lord Kartikeyan/Murugan

Lord Murugan or Skandan has got a special place in the hearts of Tamils. He is the god of Kurinchi landscape (Hills and its sorroundings). Kalidasa and Tamil poets agree on two important points:

a)      Murukans valour b) Murukan’s place is inaccessible to women

Ponmudiyar in his poem in Puram (299) says that fearful anangu is in the Murugan temple.

Women won’t go and touch anything there. Narrinai poet Kulambanar also (288) gives the same message. He says that girls who attained puberty are scared to enter Murugan temple.

One woman fortune teller says that a girl is possessed by Murugan. WE have more references in Nar 34, 173 Akam 22, 98 and Kuru 111.


Kalidasa also says in Vikram( IV 40,V-23,IV 71-3) that women were afraid of entering Murugan’s garden (groves sacred to Kumara were forbidden to women.)

Murugan dwells in Hills:

Mega 45, Raghu II-36 = Cankam: Murugu 218-317, Akam1,61,59,149, Kali 27, 93 ,

Madur 262-270,Pari 2, 19

Peacock as Vahana, came from fire:

Kali: Mega 46, Raghu VI-4 = Pura 56, Akam 149, Murugu 210 and Pari 18-26

Borb in Saravana poigai:

Kali:  Mega 47, Raghu III-23 = Murugu 58, 253, 257, 267


Reference to Himalayas: The best evidence comes from Kalidasa’s reference to the beautiful and holy Himalayas. Kalidasa had an amazing knowledge of the Himalyas. In the very first sloka of Kumarasambhava he praised Himalayas as the measuring rod of the earth. We did not know how he came to know that it extends from oone end of the the Sub continent to the other endin an age where there was not any map in India. Tamil poets repeated verbatim Devatatma Himalaya what Kalidasa said. Tamil poets Paranar and Kumattur Kannanar repeated this epithet in Pathitrup Pathu (43-1, 11-23). The golden Himalayas was referred to by Nappasalai (Puram 39 and Paranar 356). Tamil poets had no easy access to the Himalayas 2000 years ago. They just copied what Kalidasa said. They describe the beautiful scenery from kalidasa’s other works


Reference to Pandyas and Agastya: Kalidasa knew very well the connection between the Pandyas and Agastya. He referred to it in Raguvamsa. He even spoke about the Aswamedha Yagna of Pandyas indirectly by referring to Avabruda snanam. Mudukudumi Peruvazuthi, a powerful king did a great many Yagnas according to Puram poems 6 and 13.


Non reference to Ganesh: Neither Kalidasa nor Tamil Sangam literature mentioned Lord Ganesh. Worship of Lord Ganesh became popular only later.


Lord Murukan’s treatment, reference to the Himalayas and Ganges and reference to Lord Siva ,Deepa Shika simile are few of the 220 similarities. These proved that Kalidasa’s name and fame spread far and wide in South India by first few centuries of modern era.



No Brahmins, No Tamil!!

Written by By S Swaminathan

Posted on 14th January 2012

Tamil is one of the oldest, richest and sweetest languages in the world. A great many people, irrespective of their religion and caste, have shed their blood and sweat to foster and preserve the language and the culture. We salute all those great people. But yet a lot of mischievous propaganda by the Dravidian political parties in Tamil Nadu has misled the public to a great extent that they really believed Brahmins were aliens to Tamil culture. But anyone who goes deeper in to ancient Tamil literature known as Cankam (also called Sangam) literature would find out that without Brahmins Tamil would have died or at least become poorer two thousand years ago. The reason being Brahmins were the teachers of that language, like in other parts of India. So much was their contribution that any deletion of references to words like Brahmins, Vedas, Yagas, Sanskrit words, Sanskrit names from those books would leave the Tamil literature like a virus affected software. That is to say it would be incomplete without their contribution. Literally hundreds of references are there in the books. Ramayana ,Mahabharata and Puranic references are also in abundance.

The oldest Tamil book Tolkappiyam says Tamils worshipped the Vedic gods Indra , Varuna and Vishnu (Ref.Porul Adhikaram-1.5)

Two great Tamil kings were praised for their great yagnas- RAJASUYAM vetta Perunarkilli and Mudukudumi Peruvazithi. The first one was a Choza who did the great fire ceremony called Rajasuyam. We knew from Mahabharata that Dharma did this yaga. The second one was a Pandya king whose country was full of Yupa pillars. He was praised as if he would bow only twice-when he goes around a temple or when he sees a Brahmin. He was indomitable and invincible that the entire world would bow to him (ref.Purananuru Poem 6)

Nalliakodan’s palace is open to Brahmins 24 hours a day,  says Sirupantruppadai. Seraman Selvak Kadungo Vaziyathan will bow only to Brahmins , says Pathitru Pathu. In short we have so many references about kings bowing only before Gods and Brahmins.

Kapila was the giant among Cankam poets. He composed the highest number of poems (over 230) in Cankam period. Not only he composed Tamil poems, he taught a North Indian King Brahadhathan and made him to write a poem in Tamil. When he ridiculed Tamils, Kapila did teach him a real lesson. Kapila was praised by other Cankam poets as “A Brahmin of spotless character”.

A lot of Cankam poets have Sanskrit Names : Damodaran, Kesavan, Mahadevan, Vishnudasan, Kannadasan, Valmiki, Sahadevan, Gauthaman, Kausikan (Viswamitra), Kavya (written as Kappiya), Acharya (aasaan),Brahmachari

Over twenty Tamil poets are Nagas! They may not be Tamils. There is no reference to Nagas in five fold land division of traditional Tamils: Kurinji, Mullai,Marutham,Neithal and Palai landscapes have their own set of peoples and their own Gods such as Skanda Murugan,Vishnu,Indra, Varuna and Durga. Naga race lived in different parts of India.

The word Veda was beautifully translated by the Tamil poets. One poet described Veda as ‘Ezutha Kilavi’= unwritten word. Another poet praises it as ‘Ezutha Karpu’= unwritten chastity. He means that once written it’s purity would be lost and that is why the Brahmins pass it by word of mouth. Other poets call the Vedas as Marai= secret. They understood that the Vedas are written in a secret language with enigmatic or hidden meanings. Kaduvan Ilaveyini says that God is in secret form in the Vedas (Ref. Paripatal)

Karikalan and the Vedas

Karikalan and Rig Veda: Karikal Choza was praised as a supporter of Vedic practices. When you want to see your friends off you will have to walk seven steps with them and say good bye-says Rig Veda. The Saptapadthi ceremonly in wedding is also part of it. Karikalan was praised to have walked seven teps with his guest and see them off (Ref. Line 166 in Porunar Atruppadai by Mudathama Kanniyaar)

Brahmins are always referred to as one who looks inward (Anthanan or Paarppaan), one who always think of Brahman (Brahmanan). They are called one who do six jobs –Aru Thozilor- (In Sanskrit Shad Karma sukrutha:) because they do the following six kind of jobs,1.Learning,2.Teaching,3.Performing fire ceremonies  for others 4.Doing fire ceremonies for themselves,5. Accepting Gifts and 6.Donating gifts.

They are attributed with six virtues 1.One who seeks Brahman,2.One who takes two Births/Dwija,3.One who worships three forms of Agni/fire 4.One who practises four Vedas,5. One who controls all the five senses and 6. One who does six kinds of Jobs. Anyone can notice numbers 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 are used to describe Brahmins. The play on numbers has been used by thevTamil poets for two thousand years.

Brahmins acted as messengers as well during Cankam period. Dramas of Kalidasa and Bhasa also attributed this messenger role to Brahmins.


Following Hindu Gods and Godly persons were mentioned in Cankam literature:

Indra,Varuna,Agni,Yama,Rama,Krishna,Balarama, Shiva,Uma, Vishnu,Lakshmi, Parasurama,Kubera,Surya,Chandra,Arundhati, Gods in City Squares, Gods in trees, Gods in Hero Stones, Goddess of Kolli Hills,Gods in water sources etc. Reference of Holy bath in Cape Comorin and Dhanuskoti is also found in Tamil books.

Tamil Queen Committed Sati

There is a reference of a Pandya queen, Bhuta Pandyan Perun Devi, committing Sati as well. There is another reference of a poet going straight to heaven after performing a particular type of Yagna (Ref. Pathitru Pathu/Tenfold Ten poems).Gowthamanar who sang about Kuttuvan Cheral was transferred to Swarga (heaven) when he completed ten yagams with the help of the king. It is mentioned in Silappathikaram as well.

List of Brahmin poets and their contribution in Cankam literature:

Agasthyar ,who received Tamil language from Shiva

Tolkappiyar (Thruna dumagni), who wrote grammar after Agaththiyam became obsolete.

Amur Gowthaman Sathevanar (Sahadevan)

Kadiyalur uruththiran Kannanar ( Rudra Aksha)

Kodimangalam Vathula (Gothra) Narsenthan

Sellur Kosikan (Kausika Gothra) kannanar

Madurai Teacher Nalanthuvan

Madurai Ilam kausikanar

Madurai Kanakkayanar

Nakkiran,son of Madurai Kanakkayanar

Madurai gownian (Kaundinya Gothra) daththnar


Uraiyur enicheri mudamosi

Perunkundrur Perungkausikan

Kumattur kannan



Vadamavannakkan damodaran

Vembathur kumaran


Kapilar-Paranar, Kallada-Mamulanar are always treated as pairs. Of them Kapilar and Mamulanar are known Brahmins. But others are not classified under any caste. But my research shows Paranar is a Brahmin.

  1. Chera King sent his son with him for education. This was done in those days only with Brahmins.
  2. He was given land (Umbarkadu as Brahmadeyam) which was also done only to Brahmins or Temples in those days.
  3. Paranar is not a Tamil name. It is one of the Gothra Rishi’s name.
  4. Scholars like P T Srinivasa Iyengar also consider him a Brahmin.
  5. Dr R Nagaswamy, eminent historian and archaeologist of Taminadu also listed Paranar as a Brahmin in his book Yavarum Kelir.
  6. Paranar must be well versed in Sanskrit because he has translated and used lines from Kalidas’s poems and Vedic hymns.
  7. The name Paranar comes as a Brahmin’s name in the Story of Vikramaditya.

If we include Paranar’s  80+ poems with Kapilar’s 230+,  it will form a huge chunk in the Cankam works.


Books by Brahmin poets

Tolkappiyam (Pre Cankam period)

Kurinji pattu (lines 261)

Thiru murugatruppadai (lines 317)

Pattinap palai (Lines 301)

Perumpanatrup padai (Lines 500)

Malaipadukadam (lines 583)

Nedunal vadai (lines 188)

Six out of Ten Idylls sung by Brahmins

Pathitrup pathu (all except one)

Ainkurunuru (Kapilar’s 100)

Brahmin’s contribution adds up to 10,000 lines, nearly one third of the Cankam literature. The man who went from village to village to collect all these manuscripts was Mr U V Swaminatha Iyer, a Brahmin. We would have lost most of the Tamil treasures without his hard work.

Post Cankam Brahmin Writers

Thiru Gnana Sambandhar


Manikka Vasagar



Madura kavi alvar

Tondaradippodi alvar



(Though Adi Shankara and Dandi are from the South they did wrote only in Sanskrit)

Parimel Azkar: Though ten scholars wrote commentaries on the most famous Tamil ethics Tirukkural, Parimel Azakar’s was the best and most popular.

Nachinarkiniyar: The greatest commentator of Tamil literature. What Adi Sankara did for Upanishads, Brahmasutra, Bagavad Gita and Vishnu Sahasranama, Nachinarkiniyar did for Tamil literature. He wrote and wrote and never stopped. Without his commentaries we wouldn’t understand the Tamil poems at all. He was a voracious reader and a prolific writer.

Senavaraiyar: He wrote commentary on Tolkappiyam

U Ve Swaminatha Iyer: He was the doyen of Tamil literature. He saved Tamil books by visiting village after village to collect the old palm leaf manuscripts. Without his collection Tamil would have lost very valuable works. The Tamil world is indebted to him forever.

Bharathiyar: This twentieth century revolutionary poet was the giant of modern Tamil. He simplified the language of the poems and made it popular. He was the first one to write on various themes like God, nature, women’s liberation, education, freedom from poverty and patriotism. He broke the shell which insulated Tamil and made it available for laymen.

Parithimar Kalaignar: He was the first one to suggest Tamil should be declared a classical language.

We don’t want class and caste divisions in the society. But if anyone says that Brahmins came from outside India via Khyber Pass and they were alien to Tamil language and culture, my argument will be a nail in the coffin of those Brahmin haters.

Karikal Choza and Eagle shaped Fire Altar

–S Swaminathan

Fire altar, Kerala, April 2004

Ancient Tamil kings followed Vedic customs in their daily life. They respected the Vedas and performed Yagnas/fire ceremonies like the Rajasuya and the Aswamedha. The oldest Tamil book available today is Tolkappiyam, a grammatical treatise. The book says that the Vedic Gods Indra, Varuna, Vishnu were worshipped along with Durga and Skanda. Vedic deities were the gods assigned to three of the four Tamil land divisions. For Marutham-Indra, Neithal-Varuna and Mullai- Vishnu. Skanda and Durga were the deities for Kurinji and Palai respectively.

Mudukudumi Peruvazuthi, one of the earliest Pandya kings had the epithet of “The King Who Performed Several Yagas”. In fact that was his greatest achievement. He probably even performed the Aswamedha Yagna. His country was full of Yupa posts. (Purananuru verses 6, 9, 16 ).They treated Vedic culture as their own culture. The Pandya king was praised for holding his head high except in two situations: one is in the temple and second, before Brahmins. He would bow to only these two in the whole world! Another Pandya king of Madurai was praised for awaking to the Vedic chants of the Brahmins where as other kings wake up to the cry of fowl. (Mankudi Maruthn in Madurai Kanchi). Another king Nalliakodan says that his palace doors were always open to Brahmins (Ref. Sirupan Atruppadai).

Kalidasa, one of the world’s greatest playwrights and the most celebrated Indian poet for his 1000+ beautiful similes mentioned the Pandya king and Agastya in consecutive slokas in his Raguvamsa, which indicates a close relationship that ran for thousands of years. The commentators mention Avabruda Snanam which is done during the Aswamedha Yagna.

The grand old lady of Tamil Sangam period poetess Avvaiyar praised the unity of the three great kings Chera, Choza and Pandyas on the occasion of Rajasuya Yagnam of Perunar Killi (Puram verse 367)

Why did he walk SEVEN STEPS?

The most interesting reference is about the greatest of the ancient Cholas Karikalan by Mudathama Kanniyar. Karikal Peruvalathan is dated 1st century BC. (Please read my article Why British Judges follow Karikalan?).  There are two interesting references to show that Karikalan followed the Vedic customs. He was praised as the one who walks with his guest SEVEN STEPS before seeing them off (Line 166 ,Porunar Atrupadai). Rig Veda says that a friend must be seen off after walking seven steps. Walking Seven Steps (Saptapadi) is an important ceremony in Hindu marriages as well. If both any two friends or a couple walk the seven steps together, their bond last for a lifetime.

This is the meaning of the Sanskrit Saptapadi mantra in marriage:

“Now let us make a vow together. We shall share love, share the same food, share our strengths, share the same tastes. We shall be of one mind, we shall observe the vows together. I shall be the Samaveda, you the Rigveda, I shall be the Upper World, you the Earth; I shall be the Sukhilam, you the Holder – together we shall live and beget children, and other riches; come thou, O sweet-worded girl

We have taken the Seven Steps. You have become mine forever. Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours. Hereafter, I cannot live without you. Do not live without me. Let us share the joys. We are word and meaning, united. You are thought and I am sound. May the night be honey-sweet for us. May the morning be honey-sweet for us. May the earth be honey-sweet for us. May the heavens be honey-sweet for us. May the plants be honey-sweet for us. May the sun be all honey for us. May the cows yield us honey-sweet milk. As the heavens are stable, as the earth is stable, as the mountains are stable, as the whole universe is stable, so may our union be permanently settled.

Eagle Shaped Altar

The second reference is that Karikalan did a Yagna with an EAGLE-SHAPED FIRE ALTAR (Yaga Kunda). Poet Karunkuzalahanar praised Karikalan for setting up eagle shaped fire altar and a Yupa post in Puram verse 224. When he did this he consulted the Brahmins in his court and all his wives were with him during the Yagna, the poet added.

For important fire ceremonies such as the Soma Yaga, the Athirathra and the Aswamedha the fire altar is set up with 10,008 bricks or 1,008 bricks (Please read my article Hindu’s Magic Numbers). Each brick is cleaned ritually and mantras are chanted while the eagle shape fire pit is constructed. The altar is sprinkled with gold chips. If it is an Aswamedha Yagna the altar that is constructed is three times bigger.

In the Valmiki Ramayana we get more details about the Aswamedha performed by King Dasaratha. Gupta Kings issued gold coins after they performed the Aswamedha. Pandya coins were excavated featuring a horse on its side. This proves that they performed the Aswamedha. All credit for this goes to Mudukudumi Peruvazuthi.

The Eagle is the King of Birds. Lord Krishna says in Vibhuti Yoga of Bhagavad Gita that among the birds, he was the eagle. Garuda/eagle was his vehicle as well. The Eagle is used as an emblem throughout Western countries, including the USA. It is Thailand’s national emblem. Though Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, it has named its national airlines after Vishnu’s vehicle Garuda.

The symbol of the national airline of Indonesia

Mankudi Kizar in Puram 29 praised Thalaialangkanathu Neduncheziyan for performing a fire ceremony .Dr R Nagaswamy, famous historian and archaeologist has given a long list of all the Yagas done by the Tamil kings and the Pallava kings in his book (Yavarum Kelir page 78 to 82). Almost all the Chera kings listed in Pathitru Pathu performed several yagnas. It gives a lot of detail, such as the fasting done by the kings before the ceremonies. Cheran Chenguttuvan even released all the prisoners in his jails to mark this occasion.

Velirs claim that they were born in Fire pits. They belonged to the Agni clan. Several clans in Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan also claimed themselves as fire-born. One famous Maya King’s name was Fire-Born.

Pallavas were powerful and they performed the famous Aswamedha (Horse Sacrifice) to establish their political superiority. If we look at the epigraphs and copper plates of that time, they give a long list of the Yagas they performed and the donations they gave on such occasions. Rajathi Rajan I performed an Aswamedha according to his epigraphs. Foreign scholars, with their mischievous propaganda of Aryan Dravidian divide distorted Indian history beyond recognition. They made us believe that there were two different cultures existing in India during ancient times. Anyone who studies our ancient literature without the Aryan Dravidian prejudice will find one culture and unity of thought throughout its 5,000 year history from the northernmost Himalayas to the southernmost oceans. The minute our scholars realise this truth, they will find the key to the Indus script as well.

Finally, a twelve day Athirathram Yagna was recently performed in Kerala (April 2011) in Panjal near Thrissur. The eagle-shaped fire altar was set up with 1,110 specially designed bricks. Frits-Staal, Indologist and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkley attended the ceremony with a group of scholars and scientists to study the effects on the environment and biosphere.


How Did a Pandya King Get a Golden Hand?

By S Swaminathan

It is a well known fact that the Ancient Indians made tremendous advancements in the field of medical sciences. The Ayurveda and Siddha medical systems were widely practised for the benefit of the general public. Charaka and Susrutha wrote great treatises. A lot of surgical instruments, surgeries like rhinoplasty (plastic surgery for nose), hundreds of medicinal plants and thousands of medicines were listed by them. They were not only appreciated in India but reached western world through Arabic translations nearly one thousand years ago. The old medical books in Sanskrit and Tamil run in to several thousand pages.

Though Charaka, Susrutha,Vagbhata and Agastya are known to many even in the western world, one important surgery went unnoticed by many scholars. There is a very interesting story about a Pandya king in ancient Tamil literature. The king lived two thousand years ago is known from the Tamil epic Silappathikaram (Ref.Mathurai Kandam-Katturai Kaathai) dated around second century AD. A Pandya king was fitted with an artificial hand made of gold; he was known only as the Golden Handed Pandya. Nobody knows his real name even today. One more old Tamil book refer to this story (Ref. Pazamozi Naanuru).

The Story:

The story according to the epic runs like this: a Pandya king was going through the streets of Madurai (the second largest city of Tamil Nadu in South India) in disguise during the night. In the olden days kings used to visit their subjects and observe the general public in disguise to feel the pulse of the populace. Though the ancient Arthashastra of Kautilya speaks of kings employing spies for this purpose, the monarchy always wanted to know what the people feel about them or the country directly.(Every Hindu knew what Rama did to Sita just because a washer man raised some doubts about the purest woman Sitadevi). So much importance was given to the opinion of general public – absolute democracy!

When the Pandya king was passing by a house the lights were on at the dead of night and he heard a conversation. A brahimn by name Keeranthai was consoling his crying wife with these words, ”Darling, don’t worry too much about your safety and security. I am only going to be away for a very short period. Our great king is there to protect all the citizens. Nothing will go wrong in this just place”. As soon as the king heard this conversation he felt some big responsibility fell on his shoulders. So he increased his ward rounds and kept an eye on that house. Months passed. To his surprise he saw light again in the same house at the dead of night. He heard someone talking. In a hurry he mistook that person for a stranger and knocked at the door to scare away the stranger. Alas, it was not a stranger. It was her own husband Keeranthai himself who had just returned from his tour. When Keeranthai shouted back, the king realised his mistake.

One stupid mistake will make you to do more stupid things to hide the first one. It is human nature. So the king knocked at all the houses in the brahmin street and ran away to his palace. Next day a battalion of brahmins went to the palace and complained about what happened the previous night. The king, after patiently listening to their complaints, said to them that the ‘thief’ was already caught. All his ministers were surprised to hear his statement. The king did not stop there. He asked the opinion of the complainants what should be the punishment for that ‘thief’. Everyone shouted in chorus to follow the Hammurabi law: a hand for hand, an eye for an eye. The hand that knocked on the doors must be cut off. Before a second lapsed the king drew his sword and cut off the hand with which he had knocked on the doors the previous night. When he narrated the incident, the whole world praised his justice. The royal physicians rushed for his help and attached a gold hand to his arm. He came to be known as a Gold Hand Pandya in Tamil “Por Kai Pandyan”.

This is a story to elucidate the justice that was followed in ancient Tamil Nadu. No medical information was given about fixing the artificial limb but it didn’t surprised any Indian (please read my article Why do British Judges follow a TamilKing?) because they practised either the Ayurveda or the Siddha medical system.

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