Woman’s Chastity: Valmiki & Manu verses in Tirukkural couplet (Post No.10,661)


Post No. 10,661

Date uploaded in London – –    15 FEBRUARY   2022         

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge.

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tamilandvedas.com, swamiindology.blogspot.com

Tiruvalluvar in his work Tirukkural praises the virtue of Chastity,

Of what avail is watch and ward? A woman’s will

is the best safeguard of her honour (Kural 57)

Another translation of the same couplet,

Of what use are prison walls to protect a woman’s virtue ?

The woman’s possession of a firm mind is her best protection

–Tirukkural 57

Prison walls, pad-locks and chastity belts are absolutely of no use to ensure a woman’s chastity. Her own conscience and inner strength will alone keep her really pure.


Chastity was valued as a virtue even in Western countries!

Shakespeare says,

“My chastity is the jewel of our house bequeathed down from many ancestors” in his drama ‘All is well that ends well’, Act 4, Scene 2

DIANA says,

Mine honour’s such a ring:
My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honour on my part
Against your vain assault.

All is well that ends well, Act 4, Scene 2

It is strange that even in western countries, women’s chastity was a high virtue and women proclaimed it as an age-old virtue, followed by her ancestors; now western women may laugh at Diana.


In Valmiki Ramayana Yudha Kanda, this is what Rama says;

न गृहाणि न वस्त्राणि न प्राकारास्तिरस्क्रियाः |
नेदृशा राजसत्कारा वृत्तमावरणं स्त्रियः ||

Na Grahani Na Vastrani Na Prakaara Striraskriyah
NaDrisha RajSatkara Vrittam Avaranama Striyah


Neither house, nor clothes, nor compound-wall, nor doors,
nor any types of Royal honours cover a woman. Her character is her shield which protects her.

— Valmiki Ramayana, Yudha Kaanda, Ch114.


Manu, author of world’s first law book Manu Smrti (9-12) says,

Women are not guarded when they are confined in a house by men who can be trusted to do their jobs well; but women who guards themselves by themselves are well guarded -9/ 12 Manu Smrti


Kamban , who lived 1000 years ago, gave us the Ramayana in Tamil Verses. He also repeated what Tiruvalluvar said,

In the Sundara Kanda, Hanuman was searching for Sita Devi. First he suspects that she may be in Ravana’s harem or bed room. But when he found her in the Asoka Grove under a tree, guarded by demon women , he was happy to see her chastity is well guarded. He wondered what gave her this protection. Was it Janaka’s good deeds in the form of Punya? Or the eternal Dharma? or Chastity guard/ fence? Wonder! Wonder! Who can do this? Unique! Can anyone like me explain this? (Sundara Kanda)

In the Aranya Kandam,

Jatayu is worried that Sita is going to be in the prison of Ravana; but at the same time, he was happy thinking that her chastity will save her, protect her from any harm


தருமமே காத்ததோ ? சனகன் நல் வினைக்

கருமமே காத்ததோ? கற்பின் காவலோ ?

அருமையோ !அருமையே ! யார் இது ஆற்றுவார் ?

ஒருமையே, எம்மனோர்க்கு, உரைக்கற்பாலதோ ?

-சுந்தர காண்டம் , காட்சிப் படலம்


3560.  பரும் சிறை இன்னன பன்னி உன்னுவான்;

“அருஞ்சிறை உற்றனளாம் ” எனா மனம்

‘பொரும் சிறை அற்றதேல் பூவை கற்பு எனும்

இரும் சிறை இறாது ‘என இடரும் நீங்கினான்.

ஆரண்ய காண்டம் , சடாயு உயிர்நீத்த படலம்


tags- Chastity, Valmiki, Kamban, Tiru valuvar , Tiruk Kural, Manu, Shakespeare

What is the True Meaning of ‘Sloka’- Did ‘Shoka’ become ‘Sloka’? (Post No.6752)

Written by London Swaminathan


 Date: 9 AUGUST 2019  
British Summer Time uploaded in London – 15-

Post No. 6752

 Pictures are taken from various sources.  ((posted by swamiindology.blogspot.com AND tamilandvedas.com))


Why did Valmiki name Rama’s Children Lava and Kusha? (Post No.3875)

Written by London swaminathan

Date: 3 May 2017

Time uploaded in London: 19-34

Post No. 3875

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com



Kalidasa, the greatest poet, describes the naming ceremony of Lava and Kusha in the hermitage of the Sage Valmiki. Lava and Kusha, sons of Rama and Sita were born in the hermitage when Sita was separated from Rama.


They were named Lava  and Kusha after the ceremonial materials used by Valmiki, i.e. Cow’s tail and Sacred Kusha grass. But Valmiki differs from Kalidasa in one matter.


Kalidasa, in his classic Raghuvamsa, says,

सखा दशरथस्यापि जनकस्य च मन्त्रकृत्।
संचस्कारोभयप्रीत्या मैथिलेयौ यथाविधि॥ १५-३१

sakhā daśarathasyāpi janakasya ca mantrakṛt |
saṁcaskārobhayaprītyā maithileyau yathāvidhi|| 15-31

That expounder of the hymns, namely Valmiki, being the friend of Dasharatha as well as of Janaka, out of regard for both, procedurally performed purificatory ceremonies with regard to both the sons of Maithili. [15-31]


स तौ कुशलवोन्मृष्टगर्भक्लेदौ तदाख्यया।
कविः कुशलवावेव चकार किल नामतः॥ १५-३२

sa tau kuśalavonmṛṣṭagarbhakledau tadākhyayā |
kaviḥ kuśalavāveva cakāra kila nāmataḥ|| 15-32

Verily the poet gave the names Kusha and Lava to the two sons of Seetha from the names of the wiping materials, namely kusha grass and the hair of the tuft of the cow’s tail (lava), since the infants had been wiped of the post delivery uterine moisture by means of those two materials. [15-32]


साङ्गम् च वेदमध्याप्य किंचिदुत्क्रान्तशैशवौ।
स्वकृतिम् गापयामास कविप्रथमपद्धतिम्॥ १५-३३

sāṅgam ca vedamadhyāpya kiṁcidutkrāntaśaiśavau |
svakṛtim gāpayāmāsa kaviprathamapaddhatim|| 15-33


No sooner had the boys come out of the stage of infancy than Valmiki taught them the Vedas with their ancillaries, and then made them chant his own composition RAMAYANA which was the first guiding principle for all later time poets. [15-33]


रामस्य मधुरम् वृत्तम् गायन्तो मातुरग्रतः।
तद्वियोगव्यथाम् किंचिच्छिथिलीचक्रतुः सुतौ॥ १५-३४

rāmasya madhuram vṛttam gāyanto māturagrataḥ |
tadviyogavyathām kiṁcicchithilīcakratuḥ sutau|| 15-34

Singing the pleasant legend of Rama before their mother the two sons slightly lessened her grief of separation from Rama. [15-34]





Valmiki’s version in the Uttara Kanada  (Chapter 66 )

of Valmiki Ramayana is slightly different from Kalidasa’s.

“During the night Shatrughna passed in the leaf thatched hut, Sita gave birth to two children, and at midnight the youthful ascetics brought the pleasant and auspicious tidings to Valmiki. Immediately he went to see the newly born children. On beholding those two infants, his heart was filled with delight and he performed the Rakshasa Rite ( to avert evil).

Taking a handful of Kusha grass with its roots, Valmiki pronounced the formula of protection for the destruction of evil forces, saying:-

‘Since they will rub the first born of the children with the Kusha grass blessed by the aid of Mantras, his name shall be Kusha and, as the last born will be carefully dried by the female ascetics with the roots of the grass, he shall be called Lava, and by these names that I have given them, they will become renowned.


Thereafter the female ascetics purified themselves and reverently received the grass from the hands of the Muni (Vamiki), applying it to the two children



Four Brothers had Eight Sons!(4 X 2=8)

Another interesting coincidence is that all the four brothers had two sons each. Not many people know the names of the wives of Rama’s brothers and their sons!

Rama and Sita were the parents of Lava and Kusha

Bharata and Mandavi were the parents of Dakshan and Pushkalan

Lakshmana and Urmila were the parents of Angathan and Chandraketu

Shatrughna and Sruthakeerthi were the parents of Shatrugathi and Subahu


इतरेऽपि रघोर्वंश्यास्त्रयस्त्रेताग्नितेजसः।
तद्योगात्पतिवत्नीषु पत्नीष्वासन्द्विसूनवः॥ १५-३५

itare’pi raghorvaṁśyāstrayastretāgnitejasaḥ |
tadyogātpativatnīṣu patnīṣvāsandvisūnavaḥ || 15-35


The other three scions of the race of Raghu, namely Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrughna, who were as resplendent as the triple sacred fires, became the fathers, each begetting two sons on their wives who were pre-eminent ‘as wives’ by being married to them. [15-35]


Then Kalidasa describes their achievements.


(Sanskrit slokas are taken from sanskritdocuments.com; thanks)





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.







Number Seven in Kalidasa and Kamba Ramayana! (Post No 3615)


Written by London swaminathan


Date: 7 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 18-51


Post No. 3615



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.



contact; swami_48@yahoo.com



I have already explained the significance of Number 7 in my two articles as given in the Vedas, Indus valley Seals and verses of Vaishnavite saints known as Alvars. Please read the details in the following two articles:

1).Mystic No.7 in Music!! posted on 13th April 2014

2).Number Seven: Rig Vedic link to Indus Culture, posted on 21 November 2014


Now let us look at some verses of Kalidasa and Kamban. Kamban wrote the Ramayana in Tamil.


Kalidasa says in the Tenth sarga (Chapter) of Raghuvamsa Kavya; it is in praise of Lord Vishnu:-


सप्तसामोपगीतम् त्वाम् सप्तार्णवजलेशयम्।
सप्तार्चिमुखमाचख्युः सप्तलोकैकसम्श्रयम्॥ १०-२१

saptasāmopagītam tvām saptārṇavajaleśayam।
saptārcimukhamācakhyuḥ saptalokaikasamśrayam || 10-21


They have praised Thee who hast been glorified by seven hymns; a recliner on the waters of seven seas; having seven-flames for thy mouth and as a Being the only support of the seven worlds… [10-21]


The seven hymns: gAyatra, rathantara, vAmadevya, bR^ihatsAma, vairUpa, vairAja, shakvarI.


Seven seas: lavaNa, ikshu, surA, sarpis, dadhi, kshIra, jala – sAgarAH.


Seven tongues of fire: karAli, dhUmini, shveta, lohita, nIla-lohita,

suvarNa, padma-rAga – through which offertories are received in Vedic-rituals.

Seven worlds: bhU, bhuvar, suvar, maharloka, jana, tapo, satya – lokAH.


Valmiki’s Description of Seven Trees Test


Valmiki briefly describes how Rama pierced the Seven Trees:-


“Hearing Sugriva’s gracious speech, Rama, in order to inspire him with confidence, took up his bow and a formidable arrow, and taking him, pierced the Sala trees, filling the firmament with the sound”.

“Loosed by that mighty warrior, the arrow, decorated with gold, passed through the seven Sala trees and entering the mountain, buried itself in the earth. In the twinkling of an eye that shaft with the speed of lightening, having pierced the seven trees with extreme velocity, returned to Rama’s quiver”.

Chapter 12 of Kishkinda Kanda of Valmiki.

(I have already explained in another article that Hindus were the inventors of Boomerang. Krishna’s Sudarsana chakra and Rama’s arrows come back after hitting the target. They were scientifically designed to come back to its original position. They were angled like boomerangs of Australian aborigines.)


Kamba Ramayana in Tamil

Kamban has some beautiful imagination in Kishkinda Kanda. His imagination runs riot:-


“Rama’s arrow pierced the seven trees then went through the seven worlds underneath. Since there was nothing with the suffix number seven under the earth it came back to Rama. If it sees anything with SEVEN, it will definitely pierce them; it would not leave them”


“Seven seas, seven ascetics (Sapta Rsis), seven worlds above the earth, seven mountains, seven horses in the Chariot of Lord Sun, Seven Virgins (sapta mata) – all these were shivering and shaking because they all had seven as a suffix in their names!”


“But yet they calmed themselves saying that Rama is the embodiment of Righteousness; so he wouldn’t harm us.”


—from Kamba Ramayana


Hindus believed that Seven is the most sacred number. So they have classified the seas, mountains, upper worlds, lower worlds, ascetics, virgins, clouds and many more things into  groups of seven.

Source: Valmiki Ramayana by Hariprasad Shastri

Raghuvamsa: Sanskritdocuments.org



ARAJAKA in Indian History


Research Article written by london swaminathan

Research paper No. 1570;    Dated 13th January 2015


Very often Indian opposition parties blame the ruling party for all the violence against their party workers as ‘’Arajaka’’. The Sanskrit word simply means “Kingless”. What they mean is that the condition in the country is like a kingless land. In Indian literature kingless means “lawless” and “anarchy”. Ramayana and Mahabharata have several quotations on kingless country.


Kautilya (Chanakya) describes anarchy as the Maitsya Nyaya ( the Rule of the Fish), where the stronger swallows up the weaker. the same idea of fish is found in the graphic description of ararchy in the Ramayana (2-67) and Mahabharata (12-67-16)


Valmiki says in his Ramayana,


In a land bereft of a king, rain no longer waters the earth. In a rulerless land not even a handfull of grain is harvested; the head of the family receives no obedience from his son or wife! Where there is no king, there is no wealth; where there is no king, there are no soldiers, there is only lawlessness; how should there be any good where there is no king? In a rulerless land, people do not build assembly halls or enchanting gardens or resplendent buildings, as in times of prosperity! In a rulerless land , the Twice born (Brahmins) in charge of the sacrifices and the self controlled Brahmins of rigid vows do not perform the Sattras (i.e. ceremonies that last thirteen to hundred days). In a rulerless land the officiating Brahmins are not dismissed after the sacrifices loaded with gifts and abundant alms by the Brahmins. There are no merry singers and and dancers and the festivals  and assemblies that mark the welfare of the empire are not crowned with success.


“In a rulerless land merchants fail in their commercial enterprises, and those who are accustomed to listening to  the recitation of holy traditions find no charm in them as formerly. In a rulerless land, youthful women adorned with golden ornaments no longer meet  in the evening in the pleasure gardens to divert themselves.


“In a rulerless land, no wealthy man can sleep in security with open doors nor can he live on the produce of his fields and herds. Youngmen do not drive in the woods with women in their chariots.No elephants of sixty years or more, bells hung round their necks, furnished with wonderful trucks, are seen travelling on the highways. One cannot hear the sound of the cord and the bows of the archers continually loosing their arrows. Merchants no longer travel afar in safety  on the roads with their merchandise.


“In a rulerless land, the self controlled ascetic, merged in meditation on the higher Self , no longer wanders about alone, resting where evening overtakes him. One may not enjoy the fruits of one’s labours in peace. Without a king the army is unable to overcome its enemy in combat.


“In a rulerless land,men, richly apparelled no longer drive their mettlesome and handsome steeds or their chariots abroad. Those versed in the spiritual traditions  do not withdraw to the woods and groves to debate together.


“In a rulerless land, no alms or garlands or confections are offered  in homage to the gods by pious people. Princes anointed with sandal and aloe paste no longer present a brilliant spectacle like blossoming trees in springtime.


As rivers without water or forests without vegetation or herds without a keeper, such is an empire without a king. A charit is known by its penant, a fire by its smoke, but our figurehead the king , has rejoined the Gods. “In a rulerless land, none owns anything and people, like unto fishes, devour one another. The wicked overstepping all bounds, their fears dispelled , become all powerfull  when there is no king to exercise control over them throgh the sceptre.


The king is the truth, the king is righteousness, he represents family where those who have no family, he is the father and the mother of the people and the author of all good. Yama, Vaishravana (Kubera), Shakra (Indra) and Varuna of immense power, are all surpassed by a virtuous monarch.


Oh, Best of the Twice born, install the youthfull descendent of Ikshvaku, Bharata, or some other as king”


-Valmiki Ramayana , Translation by Hari Prasda Shastri.


The above passages give a beautiful description of just rule. This repated through out Sangam Tamil literature and the Vedas. Ther are innumerable references to kings and in Sanskrit literature. Atharva Veda has lot of hymns on the Kingship.


Rajatarangini of Kalhana says,

some of the weak were slain, some were plundered while others had their houses burnt down by the enemy  in the which was without a king (8-841)


Tiruvalluvar, author of the Tamil Veda Tirukkural says


The world looks up to the sky for its life; the subjects look up to their leaders for their welfare ( 542)


Rains and harvests are rich in the land ruled by the righteous sceptre of an able leader (545)


Cows yield less and Brahmins forget their Vedas, if the king does not guard justice (560)


If the king rules in unjust ways, seasonal rains will fail as the clouds withhold their showers  (559)


All that is said in the epics and the Vedas are found verbatim in Sangam Tamil literature. They have the same beliefs. For anything that went wrong, the rulers were blamed. They beleived that if there is just rule, the harvests will be bounty. Tamils looked at the kings as father and mother. The Pandya with a Golden Hand story explains this beautifully well.

Please read my post  — How did a Pandya King get a Golden Hand?  — posted on 18th November 2011.

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Wife’s three Tests to her Husband! Story from Yoga Vasishta


Written by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1076; Dated 31st May 2014.

There is a beautiful story in Yoga Vasishta about a queen and a king which has got deeper meaning. The wife puts three tests to her husband and he passes all the three tests. What are they?

Before reading the story, many may wonder what Yoga Vasishta is. It is a book written by sage Valmiki in Sanskrit. It has got 32,000 verses, one of the longest books in Sanskrit, probably occupying a place next to Maha Bharata and Katha Sarit Sagara. It has got a lot of Hindu stories that are not found elsewhere.

Sikidwaja was the prince of Malava in ancient India. Sikidwaja means a king with peacock flag. His queen was Chudala from Saurashtra country in ancient India (now part of Gujarat state). She was very beautiful and extremely intelligent.

When Sikidwaja was 18 years old, he married Chudala. As young royal couple they enjoyed all the pleasures available for a queen and a king. Sikidwaja’s father transferred his authority to the prince and retired into the forest. They passed many years and suddenly found out that life was boring and monotonous. They both resolved to turn over a new leaf in their lives.

Chudala spent all her time in studying about the Self. She progressed very quickly in the realm of spiritual matters. A great serenity came upon her and a new lustre shone in her face. Sikidwaja was struck by the change in her and asked her about it. She explained to him that though she did not notice any change in her face, she knew more about inner self. She told him that it gave her a lot of inner peace and joy. She explained it in detail. But Sikidwaja could not understand everything she said. He also decided to pursue the path of self illumination.

Sikidwaja proved a good and conscientious king and ruled his subjects justly, but his spiritual development was stunted, and that made Chudala sad. She performed all her duties as a wife correctly. One day he suddenly last his complacency. He couldn’t meditate anymore because of the perennial cravings of the physical self. When all his efforts to bridge the gap failed he decided to go to the forest. Chudala said to him , “What you cannot attain here, you will never attain in a forest”. Finally one morning, waking up, she found his half of the bed vacant; he was gone. In the king’s absence Chudala ruled the country.

She had mastered the art of assuming any form she chose, and presently she took the shape of a young male ascetic and appeared before her wandering husband in the forest. When he asked her who she was she introduced herself as Khumba. She told him that she knew the reason for his restlessness and ready to teach him. Khumba explained to him that renunciation of external possessions alone would not help. One had also to cultivate perfect detachment. Then she left him to meditate and went on the pretext of going somewhere. Actually she went back to the kingdom to attend to state duties.
When she came back to the forest after a few days her husband (Sikidwaja) was in Samadhi. She went back to the capital and came back after a few days. When she saw him still in Samadhi and she created Simhanada (roar of a lion) with her Yogic powers. He was undisturbed. She left her own body and transmigrated into his and awoke him from within. Khumba (chudala) asked him, “Do you feel assured that you will never more be affected by Kama (passion), Krodha (anger) and Moha (attraction). He told Khumba that he was above all passions and felt very confident now.

First Test
Now Khumba left Sikidwaja on the pretext of visiting Indraloka. When he came back he had a sad face. Sikidwaja asked the reason for his sadness. Since he cracked a joke at Durvasa on his way back, he cursed him to become a woman during night and that made him sad. Sikidwaja told him that he wouldn’t mind even if he became woman during night time. The night came and he went behind a curtain and started describing all the changes in his body. Khumba said to him that now his name was Madanika. She came out like a beautiful woman. As the night advanced she came closer to Sikidwaja and said to him, “Let us spend the night as husband and wife”. She found that the king, though responsive, remained untouched by any experience. He took no initiative at any stage although he never denied her anything when she made a demand on him as a wife. Chudala (Khumba/Madanika) felt very happy that her husband had come through the first test successfully.

Second test
Now Chudala wanted to put him through a second test. She created an illusory Indra with her magical powers and set him to tempt Sikidwaja. Indra invited him to visit Indra loka (heaven) to enjoy all the pleasures. The king looked at Indra with amusement and asked, “Does one have to go so far to seek happiness? There is no need for one to go in search of anything”. Indra disappeared at once. Chudala felt triumphant that her husband had come successfully through the second test also.

Third test
She had tested his passion and attitude to pleasure in the first and second tests. She planned a third test to find whether he had mastered Krodha/anger. Chudala converted herself into Madanika and created a handsome man out of thin air. She embraced him tightly. When Sikidwaja saw her in intimate contact with another man, he said nothing. When she explained the reason for her fickle mindedness, he told her that she had followed her inclination and he had no voice in it. When she promised him that she would not do it again and asked him to accept her as his wife Madanika again, he told her that there was no need for husband and wife relationship anymore, but she can still stay with him as his friend Khumba in the daytime and Madanika in the night.

Then Chudala felt very happy to see that her husband passed the third and final test as well. Now she assumed her original form as Chudala and told her husband Sikidwaja,“I have tried you in every way to see if you have attained ripeness and maturity. You have attained the stability of a rock, you are a Jivan Mukta (living saint). You have surpassed me in a hundred ways. Let me become your humble wife”.


When Sikidwaja suggested total renunciation, she told him that he should return to his worldly duties as a king. A second coronation was held in the capital in grand style. It is recorded that Sikidwaja ruled happily for ten thousand years!

Source: summarised from R K Narayan’s Gods, Demons and others.

(I have explained elsewhere that the numbers 10,000 years, 60,000 years are all phrases in Sanskrit and they simply mean ‘for a very long time.’)
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Where is Rama Setu (Rama’s bridge)?


Prambanan, Indonesia

Lord Rama built a bridge to Sri Lanka across the sea to confront Ravana, the king of Lanka. Ravana abducted Rama’s wife Sita and imprisoned her. Rama employed the army of monkeys and built the stone bridge to Lanka and ultimately killed Ravana and brought his wife back to Ayodhya in modern Uttar Pradesh of North India. Rama’s bridge is known as Rama Setu. Most of the Hindus believe it is located near Rameswaram-Dhanushkoti.

Ramayana, the older of the two Hindu epics, covers a large geographical area. When we compare it to any other epic in any other part of the world, they can’t come anywhere near Ramayana. Rama’s step mother Kaikeyi was from Afghanistan and his wife Sita from Bihar –Nepal border area. So we are talking about an area covering the entire sub continent, historically speaking the largest country in the world at that time.

No wonder that we see sculptures depicting monkeys building the bridge in Prambanan (Central Java, Indonesia) even today. No wonder we see Ayodhya as a city name and Rama as a king’s name in Thailand. No wonder Ramayana is depicted in Cambodian Hindu temples. No wonder that the Buddhists stole all Hindu stories (Sibi ,Dasaratha Jataka Tales etc.) and said Buddha appeared as those personalities in  his previous births .

Ramayana and Mahabharata were so popular we see the remnants today in the whole of Asia, the largest land mass on earth. Tamils were so fascinated by these two epics. Two thousand year old Sangam Tamil poets refer to it in several places. The strangest thing about these references is that we did not find them in Valmiki’s Ramayana or Vyasa’s Mahabharata which were written in Sanskrit.

Tamil poets refer to two places as Setu (bridge). One is mentioned as Adi Setu (the original or the first bridge). When someone calls one Setu as “Adi” that itself acknowledges there is another Setu. When we call Tenkasi near Tirunelveli as “South Kasi” we acknowledge the fact that the main Kasi (Benares or Varanasi) is in North India.

The rule for using an anecdote in similes is that it must be popular and understood by everyone, says the oldest Tamil book Tolkappiyam.

Ramayana and Mahabharata were so popular in Tamil Nadu two thousand years ago; the Tamil poets did not hesitate to use it wherever possible. Even the Tamil Jains and Buddhists used them in their Tamil works:

In a Post Sangam Tamil epic called Silappadikaram a Jain saint says that Rama went to forest with his wife just to obey his father’s order. Then he lost his wife and suffered a lot which is well known, adds the saint (Silappadikaram 14-46).

Another Buddhist epic in Tamil called Manimekalai refers to the monkeys building a bridge in the sea. The same epic refers Kanyakumari as Adi Setu (Manimekalai 17-9 and 5-37). The name Adi Setu for Kanyakumari is confirmed by the local Sthala Puranam. The proof is not only in literature but also in the Sankalpam that the priests say in the beginning of any Puja.

While performing a sacred ritual Hindus always say in which place on earth and on which date in the mighty Yuga cycle they do it. Nowhere in the world can we see such an amazing geographical and historical knowledge. In Kanyakumari,  the priests’ Sankalpam ( a vow or intention to do a ritual or Puja) mentions the place as ADI SETU. Local Sthala Purana says that Sri Ram came here to get the blessings of Devi Bagavathy.

Now, how do we reconcile this contradiction? First let us look at the facts:


NASA picture of Rama Setu

Rama built the bridge from East coast of peninsular India (Tamil Nadu) to Sri Lanka is sung by later poets called Alwars and Nayanmars. But the confusion is about the place. Rama did consult the local engineers under the leadership of Nala is also in Ramayana. Any engineer with sound local knowledge would recommend the shallowest point in the sea. So naturally Nala would have recommended a place near Rameswaram. Even NASA space image has confirmed that a natural bridge like formation is seen from the space. So Rama would have used this natural formation of rocks and filled in the gaps with the help of the monkey brigade. This story travelled far away up to Indonesia where we see sculptures depicting monkeys building the bridge. This was sculpted 1300 years ago.

Why then Kanyakumari was called ADI SETU, the original bridge?  This may be due to another bridge connecting Sri Lanka existed in the ancient days. Two Tamil Academies situated in the South near the sea were devoured during two Tsunamis. This was confirmed by Tamil literature. Then they moved south and established the third Tamil Academy called Tamil Sangam in Madurai. People knew that the Indian land mass extended far beyond the modern Kanyakumari. Even today the rocks can be seen near the shore line.

Another possibility is that Rama himself might have first constructed one bridge there and later abandoned it knowing the difficulty. One may wonder why then there was no mention about it in Valmiki Ramayana, the main source for all the legends of Rama. Here comes the strangest fact. Tamils knew many more things than Valmiki. After all local Tamils were by the side of Rama when he invaded Sri Lanka. Valmiki was sitting in the forests of Uttar Pradesh. This is confirmed by a few more references.

A Tamil poet brings a lot of jewellery donated to him by a generous king. But his wife and other women folk in the household were so poor they did not even know what to wear where. Which was nose ornament, which was ear ornament, which one was for hand and feet, they couldn’t figure out. They wore them at wrong places. The poet compared it to the monkeys who were trying to wear Sita’s jewellery which she threw on the floor from the airplane in which she was abducted by Ravana (Ref. Puram 378 by Unpothi Pasunkutaiyar).

Tamils were the one who said even squirrels took part in the building of the bridge (Tondar Adippodi Alvar-Tirumalai 17) Please read my article Two Animals that Inspired Indians for more details.

Tamils were the one who mentioned a magic done by Rama. When he was consulting the engineers about construction of a bridge under the shade of a huge banyan tree the birds in the tree were making big noise. When Rama ordered them to keep quiet all fell silent. Two thousand year old Sangam literature uses this simile to compare the noise in a town of Tamil Nadu (Akam 70 by Kaduvan Mallanar).

Even Krishna’s bathing in river Yamuna and hiding the girl’s clothes is mentioned first in Tamil literature and then only in Sanskrit literature. The Bull Fighting practised by Krishna and his Yadava clan is also mentioned in detail in Tamil literature (Please read my article Bull Fighting from Indus Valley to Spain via Tamilnadu).

Ahalya’s story came as a small reference story in Ramayana. Indra who came in the guise of a cat and molested her was painted at Tirupparankundram temple near Madurai, reports Paripatal ( 19-50), another Sangam  period Tamil work.

One must remember all the Rama and Krishna stories were referred to as passing remarks in Tamil literature- as similes. That means all Tamils knew Ramayana and Mahabharata during Sangam period.


தாதை ஏவலின் மாதுடன் போகிக்

காதலி நீங்கிக் கடுந்துயர் உழந்தோன்

வேத முதல்வன் பயந்தோன் என்பது

நீ அறிந்திலையோ நெடுமொழி அன்றோ

( சிலப்பதிகாரம் 14:46-49, கவுந்தி அடிகள் கூற்று )


நெடியோன் மயங்கி நிலமிசைத் தோன்றி

அடல் அரு முந்நீர் அடைந்த ஞான்று

குரங்கு கொணர்ந்து எறிந்த நெடுமலை எல்லாம்

அணங்கு உடை அளக்கர் வயிறு புக்காங்கு

( மணிமேகலை 17: 9-12 )

குரங்கு செய் கடல் குமரியம் பெருந்துறை

( மணிமேகலை 5:37, புத்த மத காப்பியம் )

குமரித் தல புராணம் இக்கதையை உறுதி செய்வதாக தமிழ் அறிஞர் மு ராகவ ஐய்யங்காரும் எழுதியுள்ளார் (ஆராய்ச்சித் தொகுதி பக்கம் 30-31)

குரங்குகளுடன் அணில்களும் இம் முயற்சியில் ஈடுபட்டதை தொண்டரடிப்பொடி ஆள்வார் ( திருமாலை 17 ) குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளார்

குரங்குகள் மலைய நூக்கக்

குளித்துத்தாம் புரண்டிட்டு ஓடி

தரங்க நீர் அடைக்கல் உற்ற

சலம் இலா அணிலம் போலேன்

(இது பற்றி நான் எழுதிய ஆங்கிலக் கட்டுரையைக் காண்க)

குமரியில் பெண் தெய்வம் உறைகிறது என்றும் அங்Kஉ நீராட யாத்ரீகர்கள் வருவர் என்றும் கி. பி .முதல் நூற்றாண்டில் உருவான பெரிப்ளூஸ் என்னும் நிலநூலும் கூறும். சிலப்பதிகாரம், மணிமேகலை, ஆள்வார்கள் நாயன்மார்கள் பாடல்களும் இக்கருத்தைப் பல இடங்களில் கூறும்.

2000 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் மதுரைக்கு அருகில் திருப்பறங்குன்றத்தில் அகலிகை கதையையும் அதில் இந்திரன் பூனை உருவத்தில் இருப்பதையும் ஓவியமாக வரைந்திருந்தனர். இதை சங்க இலக்கியமான பரிபாடல் கூறும்:

இந்திரன், பூசை: இவள் அகலிகை;இவன்

சென்ற கவுதமன்; சினம் உறக் கல்லுரு

ஒன்றிய படி இது ( பரிபாடல் 19: 50-52 ) (பூசை=பூனை)

(பழந்தமிழகத்தில் ராமாயண கிளைக் கதை ஓவியங்கள் கூட அந்த அளவுக்குப் பரவி இருந்தன).

கடுன் தெறல் இராமனுடன் புணர் சீதையை

வலித்தகை அரக்கன் வவிய ஞான்றை

நிலம் சேர் மதர் அணி கண்ட குரங்கின்

செமுகப் பெருங்கிளை இழைப் பொலிந்தா அங்கு

அறா அ அருநகை இனிது பெற்றிகுமே

( புறம் 378 ஊண்பொதி பசுங்குடையார் )

வென்வேற் கவுரியர் தொல்முது கோடி

முழங்கு இரும் பௌவம் இரங்கும் முந்துறை,

வெல் போர் இராமன் அருமறைக்கு அவித்த

பல்வீழ் ஆலம் போல,

ஒலி அவிந்தன்று இவ் அழுங்கல் ஊரே

( அகம். 70, கடுவன் மள்ளனார் )




Ravana trapped & Sita Devi died in Earth Quake

Sita is the name in India for everything that is good, pure and holy; everything that in women we call women. The women in India must grow and develop in the foot prints of Sita, that is the only way.

–Swami Vivekananda

Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara ,Manodari   thatha

Pancha kanya smaren nithyam sarva papa vinashanam


(All the sins of those who think about the five great women Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari will be destroyed).

The very thought of Sita Devi, wife of the epic hero Sri Rama purifies a person. No woman can come even closer to Sita in greatness. We read about the great qualities of Sita Devi in the words of Valmiki  in Ramayana. No good women would have undergone so many problems. In spite of her miserable life, she never  lost her balance. She held her husband Rama in high esteem till the last minute.

Sita’s death is miserable and mysterious. Miserable in the sense, she had a tragic end. But she herself chose it. She asked Mother Earth to take her back where from she came. If we read, between the lines, we may see that Sita Devi died in an earth quake. The Ramayana sloka clearly speaks of big tremors  through the ‘world’ when she went down the earth. The wonder of wonders is that she knew that there is going to be an earth quake. Hindu scriptures say that chaste women can control five elements- any aspects of nature. Earlier also she did fire walking at the command of her husband and came pure when a washer man suspected her chastity.

Sita was born and brought up in an earth quake prone area comprising modern Bihar bordering Nepal. Bihar was notorious for biggest earth quakes of India. Valmiki described her descent in to earth as a miracle. He said in the Ramayana that a marvellous throne supported on the heads of Nagas came from down the earth and when Sita took the seat it went down when the entire world was watching.  At that moment a great tremor passed through the whole world, he added.

Modern science shows that animals can sense earth quakes several days before it actually happens. No wonder Sita came to know about it days before it happened and prepared herself .  Valmiki who stood by her side though out her trials and tribulations was a Trikala Jnani. He can foretell anything. Hindus go beyond Einstein in understanding and  explaining  Time. They see it from the top of a mountain as a running stream of past, present and future. They can see all the three stages at the same time like we see the buses moving along the roads far down below a hill.

We also witnessed  a sad earth quake event in our own life time. On 26th January 2001, the Republic Day of India, there was a big earth quake in Gujarat which killed thousands of people. Students who were attending the Republic Day parade went down the earth and disappeared while people were watching the parade. Though it is rare, it could happen. We may believe that something like it happened on the last day of Sita’s life.

Bible narrated seven catastrophes happening on seven days during Moses’ struggle against the Pharaoh.  Modern research shows that it did not happen on consecutive days ,but over  a considerable time. Passage of time and myth making make strange stories (Please read my article Did Agastya drink the ocean in Is Brahmastra a Nuclear Weapon? ).


There is an anecdote about Ravana in our epics and mythologies. That also happened during an earth quake in the Himalayas. Ravana was ‘punished ‘ by Lord Siva for his arrogance. The Saivite saints sang about it in every Pathikam  (Ten Hymns) in Thevaram. The legend is that Ravana tried to lift the Kailash hills, the abode of Shiva, and Siva pressed it down and Ravana’s hands got crushed. Then Ravana fled the area. Gnana Sambandhar made it a point to refer to this anecdote in every ninth hymn in his Thevaram.

It looks like there was an earthquake when Ravana visited the Himalayas and got trapped there. After his prayers to Shiva everything went alright, but his arrogance was subdued. This gave place for this episode of Ravana getting crushed under Kailash.

There are lots of references in Sangam Literature and Sanskrit literature about earth quakes. The translation of the Tamil word Nilam Putai Peyarthal  (Purananuru 34 by Alathur Kizar) is land moving or dislocating.  They knew very well about such earth quakes.



Lord Shri Rama – The World’s Best PR Man!

By S Swaminathan

Lord Shri Rama

Valmiki praised the way Sri Rama spoke to people. The way Valmiki described him showed Sri Rama was the best PR Man. The best company would have hired him as a Public Relations Officer with the highest pay. Why? He was Srutha Bhashi, Hitha Bhashi, Mitha Bhashi and Purva Bhashi according the Adi Kavi Valmiki.

  • Srutha Bhashi: Rama always spoke truth
  • Hitha Bhashi: He spoke whatever was pleasant to hear.
  • Mitha Bhashi: He spoke very little.
  • Purva Bhashi: He did not wait for others to open a dialogue. He opened the conversation.

Let us analyse it for a minute. Many a times we speak the truth and get caught in a trap. Why? Though we spoke truth, it was bitter. One example is a wife’s cooking. Under the pressures of work and modern living a man may shout at her saying that she put too much salt in the dishes. It may be true – but the way we spoke was wrong.

If we were Rama we would have passed the message in the gentlest way with the kindest words.  Rama would probably have said “Darling, your cooking is usually wonderful. What happened to you today? Aren’t you feeling well? The food you prepared was a bit salty today which is unusual.” Speaking truth is good but it should not harm or upset any one. That is why Valmiki called him a Srutha Bhashi and Hitha Bhashi.

When people attend weddings or birthday parties they often wait for others to come and talk to them. Their arrogance and ego stop them going up to others, who they consider their rivals, to enquire about their welfare. They pretend to look at other people and wait for their ‘rivals’ to approach them. When they go home they boast to their friends that they snubbed those arrogant rivals. The other people would probably have told their friends the same thing. But look at Rama. He was the son of a great emperor and crown prince of a kingdom. He went up to people and voluntarily spoke to them and enquired about their welfare. He was called a Purva Bhashi.

Mitha Bhashi: Many people suffer from verbal diarrhoea. They can never stop blabbering. We meet them with their mobile phones on 24/7 – on the bus, in the office and of course, at our political meetings! Rama spoke only very little, but made everyone happy. When he met a hunter Guhan he declared him as the fifth brother. When Ravana lost all his weapons in the final phase of the war he told him: “Go home today. Come back tomorrow” and gave him a last chance for survival. These words were meaningful and powerful.  (Guhan and Ravana references are from a version of the Ramayana written by Kamban in Tamil).

If you were running a business today, wouldn’t you hire Rama as your PRO with the highest pay?

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