The Poetical Works of Tiruloka Sitaram (Post No.10,438)


Post No. 10,438
Date uploaded in London – – 13 DECEMBER 2021

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The Poetical Works of Tiruloka Sitaram with Translation and Notes!
Santhanam Nagarajan

The book under review titled, ‘The Poetical Works of Tiruloka Sitaram with Translation and Notes’ has 55 poems of the great Tamil poet Tiruloka Sitaram duly translated in English by Sekkizhar Adi-p-podi Dr T.N.Ramachandran.

Tiruloka Sitaram was born to Lokanatha Iyer and Meenakshi Sundarammal on 1-4-1917 at a small village called Thondaimanthurai in Trichy district in Tamilnadu, India. His father passed away in his third year and his uncle brought him up. His mother tongue was Telugu. He married Rajamani aged 10 at his 19th year.
He started his life as a priest. He was very much interested in Tamil literature. He went to Ramasami padayachi, a great Tamil scholar and learnt all the Tamil epics like Kamba Ramayanam and Bharatham.

He started composing his own wonderful poems. He started publishing a Tamil magazine by name India Valiban and had written articles under the nickname Mandahasan. Later on he had used his own name for all of his writings.
He was very much attracted by the poems of the great Poet Subramanya Bharathi. It became his habit not to spend a day without reading or quoting at least some lines from Bharatiyar.

The bond was so deep that he assumed himself as a spiritual son of Bharathi even though he had never seen the great poet as he was passed away during 1921.
He went to the house of Chellammal Bharathi, the wife of Bharathi, during her last days. Chellammal breathed her last on his lap.

As a journalist he started a magazine by name Sivaji and the poems and articles published therein attracted the Tamil world. He lived only for 56 years and breathed his last on 23-8-1973.

His famous poem Gandarva Ganam describes the dawn, the evening in powerful words.
The translation goes like this:
The day dawned on Pothika’s peak
And ‘neath the sprint that lay a crescent
Was the ragged mountain-cave
Its mammoth mouth wide agape
‘Twixt whose teeth, solemn and devout
Flowed the flood onto the plain.
We may compare these lines with Kubla Khan of Coleridge:
“.. That deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill.”

The Evening comes like this:
The hasting Sun rushed headlong
And smote the spring with million shafts;
The frothy foam vaporescent
In atoms rose as wondrous bow
Which he eyed in delight great,
The hunting bow on shoulder slacked.
Here, the line ‘frothy foam vaporescent; may be compared to Milton’s
‘When vapours fired
Impress the air”
This is just one example to explain how the poetic mind of Tiruloka Sitaram explores the nature.

We have fifty-five such wonderful poems duly translated in English.
The book is printed beautifully in such a way that one would not put it down without reading all the poems.

The translator T.N.Ramachandran has compared many of the poems with that of Shakespeare’s and concludes “ The thoughts of Donne and Coleridge are less powerful than those of Shakespeare who however finds a match in Tiruloka Sitaram”.

We may see some more poems of this great poet in our next article.

Tiruloka Sitraram, Translations, Tamil poet



WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 


Date: 11 DECEMBER 2017 


Time uploaded in London-  20-36



Post No. 4481

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BHARATI was born on 11th December1882 in Ettayapuram in Tamil Nadu and died on 11th September in Chennai. He was the greatest of the Tamil poets of modern period. He composed patriotic and devotional poems. His other poems covered all the important issues facing the country. He lived well before his times and sang about women’s liberation and a casteless society. he predicted India would become independent, a quarter of a century before its actual independence in 1947. He was a great lover of Tamil language and the Vedas. He wanted to spread both Tamil and Vedas. He translated some of the hymns from the Rig Veda. He knew several languages including Sanskrit, French and English. He wrote  both in Tamil and English.

His poems inspired the freedom fighters including my father V santanam, who was the News Editor of Dinamani. He along with Kamaraj, Kakkan and other Congress leaders went to prison for fighting against the British Rule. My father and others sang Bharati’s famous patriotic song ‘Veera Swathanthram Vendi Nindraar…………’ through the main roads of Chennai. This is to emphasize that his poems inspired the freedom fighters and it would inspire generations to come.



Bharati was very kind towards all the living beings; he sang that the animate and inanimate beings of this land are his kith and kin. He was greatly influenced by Shelley, Byron, Milton, Browning, Francis Thompson and Thomas Moore. In the same way he was influenced by all the national leaders and poets. He sang about Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikh Guru, Veera Shivaji, the great Hindu King, Mahatma Gandhi, B G Tilak, Gokhale and others.


As a lover of Sanskrit he was influenced by the Upanishdic seers, Panini, Kalidas, Adi Shankara, doyen of Tamil literature U V Swaminatha Iyer to name a few.

He predicted that India would become a Super Power, a Super Guru and lead the world. He also predicted that there would be a bridge linking India with Sri Lanka along the Setu Bridge of Ramayana. His other predictions about Trip to Moon, Indian Independence etc. have already come true.


I will quote some of the tributes paid to Bharati by famous Tamil scholars:


“In Bharati there is a steady, ceaseless, unflagging spiritual evolution. His burning desire to shake off the yoke of an alien rule finds immortal expression in his soul-stirring national songs. The freedom from without is only a prelude to freedom from within. In the wailing of Panchali (Panchali sabatham), one hears the passionate cry of a down trodden nation for freedom. His love lyrics are nothing but an adumbration of the heavenward flight of his soul. His devotional songs in praise of Kali, mark a definite stage in his onward march to the faroff City of God, which he wants to found here on earth. His Cuckoo Song (Kuyil Paattu) is the crown of his achievement in the domain of poetry. Bharati’s ideal is that of Sri Aurobindo who strove to make our earth the very Kingdom of God”._- R S Desikan


“Poet Bharati has fulfilled the true mission of a poet. He has created Beauty not only through the medium of glowing and lovely words, but has kindled the souls of men and women by the million to a more passionate love of freedom and a richer dedication to the service of the country.



“Bharati was truly great and he was easily the greatest of the modern poets. With him came the flood-tide of renaissance, as a part of national upsurge for freedom. In his hands Tamil recovered its naturalness, clarity, vigour, vitality and flexibility. he turned to colloquial vocabulary and rhythms and brought the written Tamil closer to speech.


“His short life of thirty-nine years was full of trials and tribulations, which a freedom fighter had to face in the early  years of this century. His political Guru was the extremist Lokamanya Tilak. He had several spiritual Gurus including Sister Nivedita.


–Bharati Tamil Sangam , Calcutta, 1970


“Bharati was not only a poet who could rouse the patriotic feelings of his fellow-Tamils, but was also a literary artist of the highest order who could see the universal in particular. Although Bharati hails from Tamil Nadu, and occupies a front place in India’s regional literature, his impact will be felt wherever great literature is loved and read” – V K R V Rao


Bharati was not only a poet and a freedom fighter but also a humanist, journalist, Yogi, Siddha, Nature lover, Essayist, social reformer and linguist.



Subramanya Bharati | Tamil and Vedas

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Compiled by Santanam Swaminathan; Post No 742 dated 11th December 2013. 11th December is Bharati’s Birth Day. Bharathiyar was born on 11 December 1882; Died on 11th September 1921. Quotes about Bharati: “Bharati kindled the souls of men by million to a more passionate love of freedom and a richer dedication …

Bharati’s view of women | Tamil and Vedas

(The writer Bharatiyar (C.Subrahmanya Bharati) is the greatest of the modern Tamil poets. He died in 1921. He wrote articles in English in addition to his most famous Tamil poems. Following are his views on women:-swami). Compiled by London swaminathan. Post No.918 dated 19th March 2014. In the mystic symbolism …

THREE INTERESTING STORIES FROM THE … – Tamil and Vedas…/three-interesting-stories-from-the-brahmanas-post-no-40…

1 Jul 2017 – Tag Cloud. anecdotes Appar Avvaiyar Bharati Book review Brahmins Buddha calendar Hindu Human Sacrifice Humility Indra in literature in Tamil Kalidasa Kamban Lincoln mahabharata Manu Mark Twain miracles Pattinathar proverbs Quotations quotes Rig Veda Sanskrit Quotations Satapata brahmana …

You visited this page on 12/11/17.

Bharati on women’s freedom | Tamil and Vedas

Complied by London Swaminathan Post No.989; Date :— 19th April 2014. Also read an article on “The Place of Women by C.Subrahmanya Bharati(1882-1921) posted here on 19-3-14; Post No 918. This one is a new article he wrote in English on the same subject in 1915. It is amazing to readBharati’s views on women.

Books on Bharati | Tamil and Vedas


1902-1904 Jul When the Maharajah of Ettayapuram visited Benares, on his way back from the Delhi Durbar (conducted by Lord Curzon) he invitedBharati to come back to Ettayapuram and work for him in his Samastana.Bharati agreed and came to his birth place to work for the Maharajah. His job was to read newspapers, …

harmonium | Tamil and Vedas


(for old articles go to OR;. IMG_3519. There are very interesting anecdotes in the life of the great Tamil poet Subramanya Bharati. One of them was his fear of leprosy, which made him to consume a harmonium to fire! Once he was playing on harmonium; actually he was …



Why did Mother Earth Cry? Sangam Tamils and Valmiki explain! (Post No.3627)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 11 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 13-25


Post No. 3627



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Sangam Tamil literature has got many poets with Sanskrit names such as Valmiki, Damodraran, Kesavan, Rudraksha, Kamakshi, Markanedyan etc. Most of the poems in Purananuru, oldest part of Sangam Tamil Literature, is full of Hindu themes, stories, similes, imageries, thoughts and views. In fact, there is no poem without one of these ideas. over 20 poets have Nagan as suffix in their names! This explodes the Aryan-Dravidian Racist theories.


There is a very interesting poem sung by Marakandeyanar (verse 365); when he was explaining the instability of the world, he said that the Mother Earth cried saying that she was like a courtesan; all the kings come and ‘enjoy’ her and go. one wouldn’t understand the meaning of this poem unless one reads Valamiki Ramayana.


The story of Mother Earth is in 36th Chapter of Bala Kanda in Ramayana:


Vishvamitra narrated the Story of Uma to Rama and Lakshmana. In the ancient times, Mahadeva married Uma and spent his time happily. But the Devas were worried that they had no issue for a long time. Devas wanted a powerful youth to get rid of the Asuras/demons. So they went to Shiva’s abode under the leadership of Brahma and told him their concern. Then Lord Shiva shed his semen which fell on earth. It covered the hills and forests. When the earth could bear no more, Devas asked the fire god Agni and Wind god Vayu to take it. They created a mountain called Shveta and a forest called Shara. Kartikeya was born from this Shara Vana (Vana= forest).


Though all the Devas were happy, Uma wan’t. Since she was bypassed in this matter she cursed Devas that they would remain childless. She cursed Mother Earth for accepting Shiva’s seeds, that she would never bear a son, but would have countless masters (Kings). This is the reason for Mother Earth’s crying.


Earth is considered Mother in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. Greeks borrowed this idea from the Hindus. The poet in the verse used other Puranic imageries such as Sun and Moon as eyes, sky as face, Diamond tool etc.







The Story of a Demoness and a Tamil Poet (Post No 2941)

nakkirar 1

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 4 July 2016

Post No. 2941

Time uploaded in London :– 6-07 AM

( Thanks for the Pictures)






(for old articles go to OR



Nakkeerar was a famous Tamil poet who lived two thousand years ago. He wrote several Tamil poems. His name was a household name because of his clash with Lord Siva. Dharumi, A poor Brahmin poet prayed to Lord Siva in Madurai temple to win a box of 1000 gold coins from the Pandya king who announced the prize. The king said that it would be given to the best poem with an answer to his query. Lord Siva decided to help him. The poor Brahmin poet Dharumi met Lord Siva who came in the guise of an old poet. He gave him a beautiful poem and asked him to present it to the king on the day of the poetry competition.


Nakkeerar was the royal poet at that time. When the poem was recited in the royal assembly the king was very happy and was about to give the gold coins. But Nakkeerar said that the poem had lot of mistakes. When he was asked to explain, Dharumi fumbled for answers. Nakkeerar sent him home and asked him to improve the poem. That evening he met lord Siva again in the guise of an old poet. He was furious when he heard that Nakkeerar found fault with his poem. Next day, Lord Siva himself disguised as a poet went to the royal assembly and challenged the royal poet Nakkeerar. Even when the old poet revealed his true identity as Lord Siva, Nakkeerar was so adamant and said, “I don’t care even if you open your Third Eye. A flaw is a flaw”. When Siva actually opened his Third Eye Nakkeerar couldn’t with stand the heat and apologised to him. But yet he was suffering from the burns caused by the fire emitted by the third eye. Siva advised him to do a penance to recover from it.


Nakkeerar’s problem did not stop there. Now he faced a new trouble. While he was doing the prayers on the banks of a river a leaf from a banyan tree fell in front of him. Half of the leaf was covered in water and the other half was on the banks. The portion inside the water became fish and the other half became a bird. He was wondering what it was. Because of this strange phenomenon he lost concentration in his prayer towards Siva.


A demoness who lived on the tree used to play this trick to see whether someone is focused in what one was doing. If someone loses concentration, then the demoness would catch that person and imprison in a cave. Nakkeerar also became a victim and was caught by the demoness and thrown into the cave prison. 999 prisoners were already there inside the prison and Nakkeerar was the thousandth person. Those 999 prisoners were very unhappy to see Nakkeerar because the demoness told them that all of them would be eaten on the day the 1000th person was caught. They all cried and told Nakkeerar the reason for their sadness. All of them did the same mistake of losing concentration and get distracted during Prayer to Shiva.


Nakkeerar pacified them and told that he would pray to Lord Skanda, son of Siva, and he would help them. The demoness name was Karkimuki. When she went to a tank nearby for a bath, Nakkeerar sang a long poem in praise of Lord Skanda. The long poem known as “Tiru Muruka Aatruppadai” is part of 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. Nakkeerar threw a leaf on the demoness when it returned to the cave. The leaf became a spear (Vel) and was about to attack the demoness but by the grace of Lord Skanda the demoness also got released from a curse which turned her into a demoness. Now that all the prisoner poets were released, Nakkeerar felt very happy and the Poem became a popular one.

This story was known to every Tamil 500 years ago and Arunagirinathar sang about this demoness Karkimuki in his Tiruppugaz verses. Otherwise we wouldn’t know this story at all.


Long Live Arunagiri and Nakkeerar!!




Why did Karna pull the Sari of Duryodana’s Wife?

banu karnan 2

Research article by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1226; Dated 10th August 2014

There are two interesting stories about dice play in Tamil literature. The first incident is in the Mahabharata by Villiputturar, a Tamil poet of repute. He narrates a beautiful anecdote which stands for the model of great friendship.

Kunti came to see Karna. She revealed the great secret that he was her first son. She begged him to save the life of Pandavas in the great war. But he refused to accept her request. He narrated a beautiful incident that happened in his life to justify his stand:

“Mum! Listen! I will die for Duryodahana. I have decided to be grateful to him until my last breadth. You want to know the reason? One day I was playing dice with Duryodhana’s wife Bhanumathi. Only two of us were in the room. Banu was facing the door. Suddenly Duryodhana entered the room. As a respect to her husband who was a mighty king, she stood up. I thought she was trying to run away because she was losing the game. Just to stop her, I pulled her sari. But my hand got stuck up in her waist band which was made up of gold studded with pearls. The pearls in the Mekala ornament fell on the floor in front of Duryodhana’s eyes. Both myself and Banu hung our head. But to my surprise, Duryodhana asked us, “ Hi! Do you want me to pick up the pearls or pick up and make a garland?” His tone was full of love and respect.

banu karnan

What a great friendship? We could not see such a pure relationship anywhere else between a man and a woman. Duryodhana never suspected the integrity, honesty and character of the great Karna. Such was their exemplary friendship. Duryodhana went to the extent of allowing his dearest friend Karna to go to the harem and play with his wife. It was like a brother and sister relationship. They never overstepped their limits. Karna also was grateful till the end of his life. Every episode in the Mahabharata was a moral lesson to the entire world.

This episode is found in the Villi bharatam composed by Villiputturar in Tamil.

(I have given the relevant verse in Tamil in the Tamil version of this post)

Dice Play in Sangam Literature
Purananuru verse 43 narrated an episode between a Tamil poet and the brother of Choza king. Mavlathan was the brother of Choza king Nalankilli. He played dice with the Brahmin poet Thamappal Kannan. Halfway through the game, one of the coins rolled down and went underneath him. Mavalathan became angry and threw the other coin on the poet. He was shocked.

He said, “You came in the line of great Choza kings whose forefather was the famous Sibi. He was ready to sacrifice his life just to save a dove. None of your forefathers did harm a Brahmin. You threw a dice on me! Now I doubt about even your very birth!” On hearing such harsh words from a Brahmin poet, Mavalathan hung his head in shame. Now the poet changed his tone. What a great gesture is this! You have proved now that you are one of the great cholzas. Even when I said some harsh words you did not become angry. Now I feel ashamed. Probably I was the one who did wrong. Let you live as many years as were the number of sand particles on the banks of River Kaveri!

This anecdote throws light on the relationship between the Kshatriyas and the Brahmins that existed 2000 years ago. Nobody dared to harm a Brahmin because of their character, purity and honesty. Kings never overstepped their limits. This also shows that poets were in great friendship with the rulers. This shows that games like dice were very popular.

((Though verse 43 of Purananuru used the word Vattu Aduthal for the game, I have translated it as a dice game. Not much information is available on this Vattu Aduthal and I guess this is one of the board games like dice.))