Monday, January 28, 2008

Thirukkural speaks of ARYAN culture only!

No Aryan - Dravidian divide - it was one Aryavartha - (6)

None other than the Great Thiruvalluvar

can be a better guide to us to know

whether Aryanisation enveloped the Tamil land too.

I look upon him for guidance for the following reasons.

Thiruvalluvar seems to be from a much older time than what many think.

He seems to have preceded many well known poets of the remote past

and the treatises of Tamil grammar too.

Many have quoted him in their works,

but none have been quoted by him,

as though indicating that he lived prior to them.

One may say that such non-quote is by itself his style of composing.

May be.

But he did make references or quotes

that had concealed reference - not to kings of Tamil nadu of the last 5000 years,

but to Aryan kings, Aryan Gods and Aryan values!

Another reason is the land where he was supposed to have lived.

The name Maathaanubhangi, associated with him in an ancient reference

identifies him as having lived in Then-Madurai.

(“Uppakka nOkki UpakEsi thOL maNanthaan,

Utthara MAdurai-k-ku acchu.

Ippakkam Maathaanubhangi maRuvil pula-ch

ChennaappOdhar punal koodal acchu”

The explanation to be found in my blog on

“The original name of Nappinnai”)

The ‘punal koodal acchu’ places him at a time more than 5000 years ago

in a land lined with the sea in the east that was dug by sagara


where the river Kumari was flowing

that was a witness to a legendry and grand ‘punal aadal’ (bathing)

in its confluence with the sea,

which also saw the confluence of the three seas from east, south and west!

It will be wiser to look into his words of wisdom

to decipher whether he has said of this entire land as Aryavartha.

Aryan In Thirukkural.

What was Aryan known as in Tamil is a good question to begin with.

Two instances help us to pin point the Tamil Equivalent of Aryan in ThirukkuraL.

(1) The opening verse by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita.

This happens in the 2nd chapter of the gita.

On seeing Arjuna put down his bow and refuse to fight,

Krishna says that it is “an-aaryam” (not noble) to get into such despondency.

It is “a-swargyam” (will not grant him a place in Heaven)

It will get him “a-keerthi” (un-fame)

What is referred to as ‘anaaryam” is his refusal to do his duty

- the duty of fighting in the war.

This is also the opening verse of “SaandraaNmai” (kuraL 981)

which means ‘nobility’.

“kadan enba nallavai ellaam kadan aRindhu

saandraaNmai mEr koLbhavarkku.”

This says that “saandrOn is one who knows his duty and does his duty”

Krishna refers to “an-aaryam” as dereliction of one’s duty.

This means,

the foremost attribute to be an Aryan is to do one’s duty!

To cross check whether “saandrOn” is indeed the synonym of Aryan in Tamil,

Let us look at another instance.

(2) This instance is from Puranaanuru, (“vadaadu..” by Kaari kizhaar)

written in praise of the Pandyan king “pal yaaga shaalai mudu kudumi peruvazhuthi”

This verse is of importance because

this king had lived before the sub-mergence of kabaada puram,

that is, 5000 years ago

when the II sangam was held.

(This is mentioned by another verse by another poet

who wished the king

that he live for long

more than the number of the grains of sand of the river PaHruLi.)

The verse dedicated to him speak of his raj-neeti, the just and stable rule.

His rule was compared to a Balance.

The three seas,

the one dug by Sagara in the east,

the olden sea in the west

and the big sea in the south

join at his kingdom and are at a balance.

The land and sea and the heaven join at his place

as though they are held stable by a balance.

He, the king was capable of analyzing everything

at the convergence of

the land, the sub-terrain and in the ‘gO-lokam’ (aa-nilai) situated in the heavens!

(The Go-lokam is an off-shoot of Vedic concept!

It is mentioned in this verse.)

The king never wavers but is upright like a Balance.

What kind of a person one will be if he is ‘balanced’,

is something mentioned by Thiruvalluvar.

He is a “SaandrOn”, a noble person,

translated as Aryan in Sanskrit.

In kuraL 118, he speaks of this balanced nature as that of a ‘balance’

that is the jewel of ‘saandrOr’.

(“saman seidhu seer thookkum kOl pOl amaindhoru paal

kOdaamai saandrOrkku aNi”)

SaandrOn is Aryan as per the description from Kural.

It is interesting to note that Thiruvalluvar had sequenced his kural

in a methodical fashion.

The 2 important purushaarthas, namely dharma and arttha

(aRam & poruL)

have been explained in 108 adhikaaramas (chapters).

Of these “saandraaNmai” on the nature of Aryan is

set as the 99th chapter.

All the chapters preceding this chapter

talk about the attitudes

and requirements

without which a person can not be called as “SandrOn”.

The 100th chapter further glorifies this attitude of the SaandrOn

as “paNbu”

Thereafter till the 108th chapter,

(barring one on ‘vuzhavu’ or farming –

this was brought here as it can not be placed earlier)

it is about the ‘don’ts’ to be followed

by one who wants to be a SandrOn.

It appears that the entire range of 108 chapters is about

how one must conduct oneself to be a SaandrOn or Aryan.

The rest 25 are about the 3rd purushaartha, namely kaama.

It must be noted that Thiruvalluvar assigned importance

to the mystic number 108

that encompass all that is needed for betterment in this world

and the other world (or after death).

Kaama was not included in this group.

This is perhaps because kaama is something of personal life

that may differ in accordance with

differences in space and time,

from country to country,

from culture to culture

and from time to time.

The first two are about

how one must be in the society

or in matters that can affect the society.

There lies a crucial issue of the Aryan life.

In matters of love life, certain rules are relaxed.

The great persons who have been praised as wonderful Aryans

have had personal life / relationship that is questionable.

The great Parashara who wrote sutras and astrological treatises

and even the yuga dharma for Kali yuga had indulged in a way

that is questionable in a civil society.

But he was accepted as an Aryan,

because of his adherence to Dharma –arttha (aRam – pOruL)

His son Vyasa who had questionable birth

also begot children in questionable ways.

But that in no way spoiled his image as an Aryan.

Kings married many girls, either with or without their consent.

But that did not reduce their stature as Aryan.

In such marriages, there is only one exception which will make the king Anaaryan.

That is ‘piranil vizhaidhal’.

“desiring another man’s wife”.

Ravana – an otherwise Noble person became a fit candidate to be removed,

because he desired another man’s wife.

Ravana had many wives who were married by him by force or by consent.

Hanuman was impressed with Ravana’s riches and kingdom

to an extent that

a silly thought ran into his mind for a moment,

“couldn’t he (Ravana) bring in Sita in a straightforward way?”

Because Sita was the only woman who was already married

when he brought him.

All the others were not so.

Ravana was such a noble soul, having lot of good things to his credit.

He could not be eliminated unless he wavered from his Aryanism.

That is why the God had to stake his wife to trap him

to behave in an un-aaryan way..

Similar incidence is seen in Mahabharata too.

No one can fault the good natured-ness of Duryodhana.

His ambition to take away the land of the Pandavas was well within his Raja dharma.

And he did that within the established rules of the day and

with the consent of others

(for the dice game).

But what changed the story is

dis-honouring the woman

who married into their household!

Such dis-honouring activities are un-aaryan.

We find the similar trends in Tamil lands too.

At no time the three kings of the three Tamil lands were at peace.

There was regular blood-shed in the name of expansion of territory.

But when it comes to personal life, one must not cross the established rules.

Particularly, in matters concerning woman,

Upholding the honour of other women was of prime importance.

But the man / king was within his rights to get the girl of his liking,

even if it is not liked by her –

with the condition that he has not trespassed into another man’s territory.

The girl will elope with the boy or

the boy will kidnap the girl and forcibly marry her.

The boys had to attract girl by hook or crook.

All that was not considered un-Aryan.

But an Aryan can not and will not do an activity

that will bring dishonour to the woman.

That is why Bheeshma asking Amba to leave was Aryan.

Krishna abducting Rukmini was Aryan.

Interestingly enough and intriguingly too,

I am not able to locate a single incidence of

such un-aaryan behaviour by any king of Tamil land!!!

I can only recall a Pandyan king

who actually didnt bring dis-honour to the woman,

but brought dis-repute to his rule,

by harming her in a grave way.

HE was Aryan to the core,

as he died instantly

on knowing from Kannagi

that he had unjustly ordered the execution of kOvalan!

The Tamils were indeed more Aryan

than those who are branded as Aryans !

(to be continued)


Anonymous said...

a lot of analysis and i am impressed by your knowledge in tamil and indian literature and history

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thank you.
I have a life-time ambition of writing a separate series on Thirukkural - dealing with each kural to show the sanatanic aspect ingrained in it.

Hope this will fructify soon.

Jijith said...

Well thought article! Especially the definition of 'Arya' and 'Anarya' with the example of Raavana and Duryodhana is marvelous and to the point. Fully agree with you on the Aryan-ness of the Chola, Pandya and Chera kingdoms.

I am delighted to inform you that I have created a Wiki for Tirukkural with noun analysis, by which I am tempted to revise the dating of Tiruvalluvar's life to before Buddhist Era in 7th century BCE during the formative periods of the Upanishads, at least the pre Buddist Brihadaranyaka. (The gods mentioned are Vishnu, Lakshmi, Indra and Yama. The text also contains nouns like Brahman, Brahmans, Brahmin, Brahmins, Vedas and Vedic that indicates the Vedic connections of Trirukkural.) (The most frequent nouns are Wealth (Artha or Porul) and Love (Kaama or Imbam). Then comes King and Virtue (Dharma or Aram).

This adds to the Vedic / Aryan connection of Tirukkural and Tiruvalluvar.

Another note: the mention of Go-Loka indicates Vaishnavaism that succeeded Vedism. A case in point is your own well written articles on Dwaraka-Tamilakam connections.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thanks Jijith. You are doing a great service by enabling quick search of the texts.