Wednesday, August 4, 2010

“Moriyar" in Sangam texts refers to Mongolians? (World Tamil Conference series 17)

Two papers presented in the Tamil Conference highlighted the presence of Tamil words in Korean language and Mongolian language.

On Korean language:-

On Mongolian language:-

The expeditions of the Tamil kings in Southeast Asia had contributed to the spread of Hindu culture, temples and Tamil words to the regions including Korea.

But Mongolia is a far off place on the other side of the Himalayas that it intrigues any researcher as to how the Tamil words are found in the language of the Mongols.

The following link analyses the similarity in Dravidian and Mongolian languages.

Of interest to us is the Tamil word 'tikiri' (திகிரி), which means circle, a round substance or a wheel (உருளை , சக்கரம் ) pronounced as 'toguri' in Mongol having the same meaning!

This word 'thikiri' is associated with a people called "Moriyar" who cut through the snow- clad mountains to bring their 'thikiri' to the regions of the South to crush the people of 'Mogoor'.

This incident is revealed in 4 places in the Sangam texts - at one verse in Purananuru and at 3 verses in Aka-nanuru.

Some scholars have analyzed these verses and arrived at a conclusion that the Moriyar were Mauruyas of the Magadha kingdom.

They came to the South at the request of Kosars, by making way a pathway in the mountain to bring their 'Thikiri' and fought with the rulers of Mogoor.

This Mogoor is near the Pandyan Capital of Madurai. (a vaishnavite divya desam temple is here).

The Kosars were from the areas of Kongu naadu as the texts speak of them as 'Kongu - ilam - Kosar' (the youthful Kosars of Kongu region).

There are two discrepancies in this conclusion. One is that Mogoor being close to Madurai and had been in war very often with the adjacent Cheran kingdom ( as per Sangam texts) how did the Mauryas gain access to this place in the heart of Tamil lands without inviting opposition form the Tamil kings. The Tamil kings had fought among themselves, but when an external threat was sensed, they had joined together to keep off that threat.

The second issue is the description of cutting a mountain so that their 'thikiri' could roll down smoothly. This description does not fit the topography of Mogoor. Which mountain was cut by the Mauryas to bring their thikiri rolled chariots or vehicles?

It is a long way to come from Magadha kingdom to come to Mogoor.

However some scholars have proposed some explanation leading to the above conclusion.

Their conclusion is wrong as two out of the 4 verses on Moriyar clearly state that they had cut across the snow-clad mountains!

This refers to Himalayas only.

The verse from Purananuru is more descriptive of the land beyond this mountain.

Verse 175 of Purananuru says that if one goes through this path way cut by the Moriyar and reach the other side, one will come to the land where the "Adhitya mandalam" meaning the sun, staying all through the day and night in the sky.

This refers to the region beyond 60 degrees of Northern latitudes.

The poet Aatthirayanaar (ஆத்திரையனார் ) confirms again (that he is indeed speaking about a Northern latitude where the sun stays in the sky all the time that there is no difference between day and night time (in summer) ) by comparing the King Aathanungan (ஆதனுங்கன் ) as one who does not differentiate between day and night when it comes to protecting his people.


விண்பொரு நெடுங்குடைக் கொடித்தேர் மோரியர்
திண்கதிர்த் திகிரி திரிதரக் குறைத்த
உலக இடைகழி அறைவாய் நிலைஇய
மலர்வாய் மண்டிலத் தன்ன, நாளும்
பலர்புரவு எதிர்ந்த அறத்துறை நின்னே.

The commentary retrieved from palm leafs by Dr U.Ve.Sa runs thus:-

"வென்றி வேலை உடைய விசும்பைத் தோயும் நெடிய குடையினையும், கொடி அணிந்த தேரினையும் உடைய, நிலமுழுதும் ஆண்ட வேந்தரது திண்ணிய ஆர் சூழ்ந்த சக்கரம் இயங்குதற்குக் குறைக்கப்பட்ட வெள்ளி மலைக்கு அப்பாலாகிய உலகத்திற்குக் கழியும் இடைகழியாகிய அற்றவாயின்கண் தேவர்களால் நிறுத்தப்பட்டு இரு பொழுதும் ஒரு பெற்றியே நிலை பெற்று விளங்கும் பரந்த இடத்தை உடைய ஆதித்ய மணடலத்தை ஒப்ப, நாள்தோறும இரவு பகல் என்னாமல் பலரையும் காத்தலை ஏற்றுக் கொண்டு ஒரு பெற்றியே விளங்கிய அறத்த்துறையாகிய நின்னை "

It says that the mighty king having the victory - giving spear and a sky-high Umbrella, cut the silvery mountain to make way for the wheels of his chariot to run. Going beyond this silvery mountain through the way he has made, one comes to a world where the sun always stays in the sky thereby making no difference to day and night. My king is also like that sun as he does not differentiate between the day and night and protect his subjects at all times.

These unknown commentators of the undated past also mention the Moriyar as "Chakkaravaalach chakkaravarthikal". (சக்கரவாளச் சக்கரவர்த்திகள் ).

In Tamil lexicon, Chakkravaalam (சக்கரவாளம் ) refers to a mountain range encircling the earth that is situated at the foot hill of the Mount Meru. The North pole is referred to as the peak of Mount Meru.

The foot hills of Meru called as Chakkarvaalam comes somewhere in the present day Russia (Siberia) and northern parts of present day Mongolia.

This description also suits the North European latitude. In that case, the Moriyar must have come through the Northwest part of the Himalayas. This invasion by Moriyar can also refer to the invasion by Alexander. But his route does not cut through the Himalayan passes. Alexander did cross a mountain but that was in the Middle East and not in the snow clad mountains. So the probability points towards a movement through the north or north eastern Himalayas.

When we analyze the other verses, we arrive at a possibility of the Moriyar coming through Nathu la pass on the Chinese side.

This is a main mountain route which is part of the ancient Silk route.

The Mongols had always tried to control the Silk route.

Their location in the distant past had been to the north of China and bordering Siberia.

The Great Wall of China was built over a period to safe guard their territory from the Mongols.

The Moriyar were mentioned with a prefix – 'vamba' as vamba Moriyar – the Moriyar who were mischievous.

The Mauryas who ruled from Pataliputhra were not called with such a demeaning term.

There had been cordial relationship with the Mauryas.

The pot ware found in Rameshwaram is connected to Mauryan kingdom showing regular contact with Mauryans as early as the Ashokan times.

Pataliputhra finds favorable mention in Sangam texts.

Pataliputhra was associated with riches and gold.

In Kurunthogai 75, we find the heroine telling the messenger that she would gift him Pataliputhra of abundant gold, situated near river Sone, for having brought the happy news of the return of her lover.

சோணை படியும்
பொன்மலி பாடலி பெறீஇயர்
யார்வாய்க் கேட்டனை காதலர் வரவே.

The Nanda kings also find mention in Akananuru along with Patalipuaram in Akanauru 265.

பல்புகழ் நிறைந்த வெல்போர் நந்தர்

சீர்மிகு பாடலிக் குழீஇக், கங்கை

நீர்முதற் கரந்த நிதியம் கொல்லோ?

Perumkathai 1-58 glorifies the goldsmiths of Pataliputhra.

Paatalip pirantha pasum pon vinaingyarum

Thus we find that Mauryas were in the good books of Tamils.

The richness of their capital at Patna had attracted the Tamils.

In the verse in Akananuru, the hero had gone to the far – off lands to do business and fetch money.

Pataliputhra must have been the major stop over on his (their) way to the Northern lands.

Akananuru verse 69 is about the non appearance of the hero for a long time. He had gone through the path way made by the Moriyar on the mountains.

That is a long way. It would time for him to finish business and come back home. The friend consoles the heroine by saying like this.

"விண்பொரு நெடுங்குடை இயல்தேர் மோரியர்

பொன்புனை திகிரி திரிதர குறைத்த

அறைஇறந்து அகன்றனர் ஆயினும், எனையதூஉம்

This verse tells about the Moriyar in the context of expressing the pathway taken by the hero.

That pathway was made by the Moriyar by cutting and making way for the "thikiri" ( wheels of the chariots) to run.

Another verse (281) of Akananuru makes an explicit mention about the snow clad mountain as the one that the Moriyar crossed by cutting a way through.

கனைகுரல் இசைக்கும் விரைசெல் கடுங்கணை

முரண்மிகு வடுகர் முன்னுற, மோரியர்

தென்திசை மாதிரம் முன்னிய வரவிற்கு

விண்ணுற ஓங்கிய பனிஇருங் குன்றத்து,

எண்கதிர்த் திகிரி உருளிய குறைத்த

அறைஇறந்து, அவரோ சென்றனர்

This verse is also a consolation offered by the friend to the heroine who is worried about the delay in the return of her man.

He had not just gone to some place; he had gone to the lands by crossing the pathway made by the Moriyar on the snow-clad mountains. It would take time to come from there, so be calm –says the friend.

Here also the tough feat of making the path for their wheels (thikiri) to roll is mentioned.

Additional information is that the Moriyar had come to the southern direction with the Vadugar (Norrthies) leading them.

This expression had confused the scholars making them assume that the North Indians had come to the South of India with Moriyar by making pathway on the mountains. But we can not ignore the mention of "pani irum kundram" (பனி இரும் குன்றம் ) – the snowy mountain.

In another verse (251) of Akananuru, we find the mention of Mogoor. This verse seems to make confusion.


துனைகால் அன்ன புனைதேர்க் கோசர்

தொல்மூ தாலத்து அரும்பணைப் பொதியில்,

இன்இசை முரசம் கடிப்பிகுத்து இரங்கத்,

தெம்முனை சிதைத்த ஞான்றை; மோகூர்

பணியா மையின், பகைதலை வந்த

மாகெழு தானை வம்ப மோரியர்

புனைதேர் நேமி உருளிய குறைத்த

இலங்குவெள் அருவிய அறைவாய் உம்பர்,

This says that the Moriyar came to Mogoor to help the Kosar.

The regular reference to their wheel (given as 'nemi' in this verse) coming through the pathway made in the mountains is there.

But the reference to Pothiyil does make one to connect Mogoor to the Tamil land near Pothigai mountain.

In my opinion, since we can not brush off the reference to the snowy mountain where the pathway was laid and the land beyond the mountain referring to Northern latitudes, the above verse with a reference to Pothigai must have been a case of mistaken identity.

The poet however refers to this incidence at a distant past (தொல்மூதாலத்து)

The information on Moriyar could well be a widely circulated story of their strength in making a pathway in the mountain – this incident is repeatedly recalled in all the 4 verses. But only in this verse the connection to Tamilnadu is found.

It could well be that the Kosars and Mogoor of the North India were mistaken for the Kosars and Mogoor of Tamilnadu.

Nowhere in Tamil tests, the exact fight between the Moriyar and the king of Mogoor is recorded.

But war on Mogoor is mentioned in 2 places in Pathitruppatthu verses 44 and 49 (பதிற்றுப்பத்து ).

The Cheran king, Senkuttuvan also known as Kadal pirakkottiya Senkuttuvan (கடல் பிறக்கோட்டிய செங்குட்டுவன் ) –

the king who dedicated a temple for Kannagi vanquished the king Pazhayan of Mogoor.

His victory over Mogoor is praised in the Sangam texts.

Mogoor was under the rulership of Velir kings, the migrated Dwarakans.

They had their immediate enemies surrounding them always.

It is difficult to believe how the Cherans and Pandyans allowed Moriyar to reach this part in their neighborhood.

Even if the Moriyar made a solo expedition, that could not have happened without some understanding with the Cheran or Pandyan king who were strong in that region.

The Kosars were also part of migrated Dwarakans.

The Tamil Kings would have been happy to find both Mogoor and Kosar vanquished than to allow one overpower the other with the help of an outside force.

My opinion is that the names, Mogoor and Kosar must have been associated with the expedition of the Moriyar.

The legend of the Moriyar cutting a pathway on the mountain might have become a local legend in Tamilnadu who would have instantly found a connection to Mogoor and Kosar.

When we look for these names in North Indian chronicles or in areas beyond the Himalayas, we do get some connection with Mongols for Moriyar, Kosar for the Kosar tribes of Newars of Nepal.

The Mongol King Modu Chanyu known as Modun or Maodun (sounds like Moriyar

- மங்கோலியர் - in Tamil) who ruled Mongolia between 209 BCE to 174 BCE had been a terrible king.

He expanded his kingdom upto Siberia in the North and the Silk Route in the south.

The Silk route passes through Nathu la pass in the Himalayas.

He had been a terror figure in those days and launched 26 war campaigns to conquer 26 kingdoms, and became greatly feared widely throughout Asia.

The Kosars of Nepal were rationally engaged in robbery. ("Account of the Kingdom of Nepal" Page 356 by Francis Buchanan Hamilton, published in 1995. In 'Nepal Antiquary" by the Office of the Nepal-Antiquary (published in 1974)

Mogoor might refer to a region in the south of the Himalayan foot hills near Nepal. It is probable that the Kosars, the robbers were driven out by the Mogoors and in retaliation, the Kosars sought help from Maodun.

Maodun (Modu Chanya) might have crossed the Himalayas through Nathu la pass by laying a road there for his troops to move.

Later that road would have come to be used by people as part of the Silk route.

The other side of this pathway takes one to the Northern latitudes where the sun never sets in summer, which was recalled in the Puranauru verse.

All the Akananuru verses speak about the Tamil men crossing this pathway made by the Moriyar.

The Tamils of yore had been known for going to far off lands to make money.

"Thirai kadalodiyum diraviyam thedu" (திரை கடலோடியும் திரவியம் தேடு ) is the popular adage in Tamil.

The mention of Pataliputra in Sangam verses show the contact with that place.

From Pataliputhra, if one goes further north, the pathway across the Himalayas can be reached.

The Tamil men had gone through that route in the past and brought with them the story of the Moriyar who had made the pathway.

They also brought to the information on the strange lands beyond that pathway where there was no difference between the day and the night with the sun being fixed in the sky all the time.

This background information from Sangam texts also show what the Tamils could have gifted to those far-off regions.

It is their language and materials sold there.

With these men spending months together in such foreign lands – in Mongolia and China, there is no wonder that some Tamil words had found way into the language of the Mongols.

Mongol language also has some Telugu and Kannada words.

The reason is not difficult to seek.

All these people had wandered to those lands for business.

The route is a very popular one for centuries before the Common Era.

Any future excavation in Mongolia or China might show connections to Tamils.

Let us not attribute it to a non existent Dravidian connection.

Sangam texts give more authentic explanation for all that connection and many more about Tamils' past than what Dravidian politicians wish to cull out from the Indus valley through innocent and non-suspecting scholars of the IVC.

Its time Tamils understand that the true history of their rich past is to be found in Sangam texts and not in the Indus valley.


Unknown said...

This also could be of interest to you, if you are not already familiar with it.

This person is supposed to have taught martial arts to the Chinese.


Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thanks for the link, Mr Amit

Sandeep said...

"The North pole is referred to as the peak of Mount Meru"

As per SUrya Sidhanta, this is a wrong statement.

Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

Meru is the North pole. It can be found in Chapter 12-72 of Surya Siddhantha.

Also refer Sidhantha Shiromani. There is a number of references to Meru as the North pole.

Meru is not outside the earth, nor is it on the equator. The churning of the milky ocean with Meru as the anchor refers to the axis of the earth continuously pulsating.

The peak of the axis is North pole. We have a number of proofs for this in other texts like Ramayana.

Read the articles

Unknown said...

You have taken the meaning Mischievous for the word 'vamba'. I also mistook earlier. But the acutal meaning for the word 'vamba' is new. There is no way that Maurayas have ever captured Tamil Nadu as we know from Asoka edicts that Tamil Lands ruled by Chera,Chozha, Pandya were his immediate border kingdoms.
Here I believe it could mean the invasion of the Kalabras from Shravanabelgola in Karnataka. Kalabras have been a staunch supporters of Jainism and we also know that Maurya King Chandragupta spent his last days at Shravanabelgola. Even during Asoka's times the area in Northern Karnataka was a important area for Mauryas. So long after the Asoka some time at the end of Tamil Sangam period the Kalabras who occupied Tamil Nadu and ruled for 300 years could have been called Vamba Moriyar meaning New Mauriyar. mea