Monday, December 22, 2008

The kings mentioned by Periaazhwar!

There are some historical information given by Periaazhwar (Andal's father ) in his verses. He has mentioned about some Pandyan kings at 3 places. This post attempts to find out who they were and whether such information contain clues to his and therefore Andal's period. In the previous post we found that Andal composed Thiruppavai some in the 800s, in the 9th century AD.

Periaazhwar makes a mention of kings at 3 places.

(1) parupapdatthu kayal porittha pandiyar kula pathy. (Periahwar thirumoazhi 5-4-7)

(2) Konnavil sudar vEl kOn nedumaran (Periahwar thirumoazhi 4-2-7 )

(3) Kurugatha mannarai koodu kalakki ( Periahwar thirumoazhi 4-2-8)

It is obvious from these that the aazhwar had lived in the kingdom of Pandyans.

There is mention of a Pandyan king who affixed his emblem on the Himalayas.

There is mention of one 'Kon Nerdumaran'.

And there is mention of a king who defeated many kings in war.

Added to this is an information from Guru parampara texts of those days on Azhwars which state that a king by name Sreemaran Sree vallabhan was the ruler in Periaazwar's times. The king had paid respects to the aazwar as he provided the answer for the king's query and removed his doubts. The king had treated him with reverence by taking him in a procession on his Royal elephant. It was then the aazhwar had the vision of Lord Narayana on his Garuda vahana seeing which, Periaazhwar sang the "Pallandu verses".

The time period of this king can be traced from the inscriptions found about 40 years ago in a Vishnu temple at Sinnamanur in Peria kulam taluk of Madurai district.

Let us look at them.

Time period from Inscriptions.

So far 4 sets of inscriptions pertaining to Pandyan dynasty have been unearthed and deciphered. Two from Sinnamanur and one from Velvikudi and another from Anaimalai.

The large copper plates of Sinnamanur bear the lineage of Pandyans starting from 'Kadum kOn' and ending with 'Rajasimha III'. It has been ascertained by scholars and historians that Rajasimha III at whose order the inscriptions have been made was a contemporary of Cholan King Paranthaka I, who ruled in the early part of 10th century AD.

The fact that of interest to us is that Raja simha III was the grand son of Sri Maran Si Vallabhan whom the Guru parampara had identified as the king during Periaazhwar's time.

The inscription is written in Sanskrit and in Tamil.

The genealogy of the Pandyans from Kadum kOn is traced in both versions.

In the Sanskrit version, the name Sri Maran Si Vallabhan is found , whereas in the corresponding Tamil version, his name is mentioned as "Parachakra Kolahalan".

This name gives a lot of information.

The complete information on the inscriptions can be read here

The Sanskrit version on Sri vallabha is given here. (note that Rajasimhan is a recuuerent name. Sri Vallabha's father was Rajasimham II. His grand son was Rajasimhan III)

In this family was born king Arikesarin. His son was Jatila ; his son Rajasimha (II) ; his son Varaguna (I) ; and his son Sri-Mara entitled Srivallabha (v. 10). Sri-Mara conquered Maya-Pandya, the kings of Kerala and Simhala, the Pallava and the Vallabha (v. 11). His son was Parantaka the younger brother of Varaguna II (v. 12), who fought a battle at Kharagiri and captured Ugra (v. 13). His wife was Vanavanmahadevi (v. 15) and their son was Rajasimha (III), the banner (both) of the solar and the lunar races (vv. 16 and 17).

The corresponding Tamil version in the words of the epigrapher is given here.

Rajasimha's son was Parachakrakolahala who was cuccesful in battles fought at Kunnur, Singalam (Ceylon) and Vilinam and who at Kudamukkil won a deadly battle against the combined armies of the Ganga, Pallava, Chola, Kalinga, Magadha and other kings. Next came Varagunavarman, whose relationship to Parachakrakolahala is also not specified. His younger brother was Parantakan Sadaiyan, who fought battles at Sennilam, Kharagiri and Pennagadam in the Kongu country. To him and his queen Vanavanmahadevi was born Rajasimha surnamed Vikatavadava and Mandaragaurava.

Maran is a titular name of Pandyans. We don not know the original name of many kings. However the name is given here is Sri maran who came to be called as Sri Vallabhan because he conquered the Vallabhs.

This king had defeated many kings and this tallies with Periazhwar's narration,

"Kurugaatha mannarai-k-koodu kalakki…"

That he is the king in Periaazhwar's time is known from Seevara mangalam copper plates where it is mentioned that his successor, Paranthakan became a 'parama vaishnavan'.

The first deviation from tradition happened in Paranthakan's time in that he married Vanavanmadevi of Chola race and it is mentioned in the inscription that their son Rajasimha III who made these inscriptions was the product of solar and lunar race!

The Cholans were the descendants of Sibi, who shared the lineage with Rama as known from Thiruvalangadu copper plates. (Analysis and details of the lineage can be read in this bolg) . Till Mandhatha the cholans had the same lineage. Sibi came in the lineage of siblings after Mandhatha and they all spanned out and further descendants established their kingdoms in many parts. One such person was Chola varman who established Chola dynasty in the South as per the inscriptions. In Raghu kulam only the eldest son ascended the throne. Bharatha also says this in his argument to make Raman accept the throne after his return from exile.

The Cholans were known as Sembians, tracing their lineage to Sibi.

They were from Solar race whose god was Vishnu.

Whereas the Pandyans belonged to the Lunar race and worshiped Siva as they sprang from Gowri or Meenaskhi who married Siva.

The two distinct races with distinct worship methods merged in Parantakan's time.

The causes can be traced to his father Parachakra kolahalan. (Sree maran Sri vallabhan)

This name itself reveals that he had the divya darshan of the 'Para-vasthu' along with the Chakra-p-padai as He appeared for Periaazhwar.

This darshan must have changed the king who was until then a shiva devotee as per his family tradition.

The influence of Periaazhwar and the darshan he had along with para-tattwa must have made his son (Paranthaka, the younger one. The elder Varaguna did not ascend the throne. No mention of the reason is found in the inscription) Paranthaka a parama vaishnavan to such an extent that he broke the tradition and married a princes from Vishnu worshiping family of Cholas.

The temple at Srivilliputtur might have been built by these kings, at the instance of Periaazhwar. But such a mention is absent in the inscriptions, In this case we have to search for inscriptions in the temple walls etc. If such an information is available, it will do good to bring it to the notice of authorities.

If Raja simhan III, the grand son of Srivallabha has lived in the early part of 10th century AD, we can deduce that Srivallabha had lived within a century earlier. This tallies with astronomical dating based on precession of equinoxes and the location of Jupiter and Venus as told by Andal.

The Kings in Periaazhwar's works.

Periaazhwar makes a mention of kings at 3 places.

(4) parupapdatthu kayal porittha pandiyar kula pathy. (Periahwar thirumoazhi 5-4-7)

(5) Konnavil sudar vEl kOn nedumaran (Periahwar thirumoazhi 4-2-7 )

(6) Kurugatha mannarai koodu kalakki ( Periahwar thirumoazhi 4-2-8)

Let us see one by one.

"parupapdatthu kayal porittha pandiyar kula pathy". (Periahwar thirumoazhi 5-4-7)

A pandyan king had engraved their edicts on the Himalyan mountain.

This is also mentioned in the sinnamanur copper plates as the 2nd verse.

In the words of the epigrapher,

"The Sanskrit portion of the bigger Sinnamanur plates begins with a fragmentary verse in which the king (perhaps Pandya) boasts of having subdued the ocean — an attribute which the mythical Pandya kings generally assumed in consequence, perhaps, of their sea-bordering kingdom, their naval power, and their sea-borne trade, from the earliest historical times. From him were descended the kings known as Pandyas (v. 2) 'who engraved their edicts on the Himalaya mountain' and whose family-priest was the sage Agastya (v. 3)."

This has also been recorded in Silappadhikaram (1) in the opening verse of Aacchiar kuravai, and in verses 104 and 105 of Kali-th-thogai. This king is described as one who survived the last deluge, pushed to the present day Madurai after dislodging the Cholans and Cherans and went as far away to the Himalayas as to place his symbol on the Himalayan mountain.

But these texts have not spelt his name. Only this feat is repeatedly recorded.

The Sinnamanur plates begin with a king, Kadum kOn.

Though we can not say if it was the king who survived the deluge, since the lineage listed is not long enough to be spread over thousands of years since the last deluge, there is scope to say that he belonged to the direct lineage of the one who survived the deluge and bore the title of that king by tradition.

The king who survived the deluge was aided by Agasthya (as per the inscription) .
From Nacchinaarkiniyar's commentary, we know that Agasthya came to Tamil lands (at Podhigai near Madurai) after the deluge in Dwaraka with 3 sets of people from Royal, feudal and worker class of Dwaraka and settled them in the re-structured lands near Podhigai. This was the time of deluge off Kanya kumari, that brought the surviving Pandyans and his subjects to the same lands. Agasthya (or his descendant with the same family name) who was already connected with the Pandyans of Then Madurai, had come to be associated with this king too at the time of deluge that was the nature of Yuga-pralaya at the end of Dwapara yuga.

From Periaazhwar we can deduce that the name of that king was 'Kadum KOn Nedumaran'

Periaazhwar has not meant Srimaran Srivallbhan by "kayal porittha pandiyar kula pathy".

The reasons are that Srivallabhan did to go to the Himalayas but only conquered kings in his vicinity. From the inscription also we know that the one who went to Himalayas was different from him.

There is every possibility to infer that this king was mentioned in vesre 4-2-7 as "kadum kOn Nedumaran"

Pariazhwar describes him with a "koodal vEl". The vEl was the divine instrument procured from Shiva with which Ugra Pandyan, the very king in the lineage of Gowri managed to stop the surging oceans in the now submerged Then-Madurai (Koodal ma nagar) which was more than 1000 miles south of the present day Kanyakumari. There are not less than 7 literary sources to authenticate this which I am not producing here (but can be read in my blog posts) for the purpose of making this post simple and easy to follow.

It is possible to assume that this weapon capable of fighting (in) waters was treasured through generations and used by the last king of that era when another deluge happened. This king who managed to survive that deluge with that weapon had conquered the lands upto Himalayas.

Since Periazhwar remembers this king at another verse too (paruppadatthu-k- kayal porittha pandiyar kula pathy), it is possible to assume that he was Kadum kOn Nedumaran. The title 'Kadum' speaks about his fierce temperament with which he overcame the fury of nature and turned his fury on others to grab a place for himself in the now occupied areas.

Another reason that the Kadum Kon was not Sri vallabhan is that it is a practice to remember the first of the lineage before praising the ruling king of the contemporary times. We can prove this in many verses of sangam texts. Among prabahndam pasurams, we can see Thirumangai aazhwar using this tradition he remembers Sibi (sembian) the first king of Choals before praising Kocehnganaan in his verses on Thiru naraiyur.

So we have now solved 2 of the references by Periaazhwar.
The third is of course about Sri vallabhan in 4-2-8

There is corroboratory evidence fro this in Sinhalese Maha vamsam.

The reference to 'Indra kobhangal' in the next verse also is a continuation of how the Pandyan kings suffered Indra's curse in having opposed his army of storms and rains right from the time of Ugra pandyan. Silappadhikaram records this in the words of a Brahmin who says since the Pandyans had outwitted Indra and stopped the mighty ocean, they incurred the wrath of Indra and as if to take revenge for this, Indra caused another deluge which made the Pandyans homeless.

The king who survived had established the present day Madurai (and 3rd sangam) and Thirumalirum cholai. His lineage with the preceding 10 + generations of Rajasimha III had been mentioned by Rajasimha III in the copper plates. The list starts with Kadum KoN, identified as Kadum Kon Nedumaran who was the first one in the new order established after the deluge.

Fine tuning the sky map of Thiruppavai.

Thus, the inscriptions and literary source (from Periazhwar) locate the aazhwar's (therefore Andal's ) time at 9th century AD which goes well astronomical factors.

Accurate date of Maargazhi when Thiruppavai was composed can be made by incorporating the following information.

The sky map was such that the sun was in the cusp of Sagittarius.

Moon was in the cusp of Taurus- Gemini.

Venus was in Scorpio closer to the junction with Sagittarius.

Jupiter was 180 degrees opposite to Venus in Mrigashira 2nd pada.

This gives the next clue on the year too.

As per Brihaspatya mana (Guru mana), Jupiter's year which consists of 5 rounds around the zodiac with a year in each sign begins in Kaarthikaptha in Taurus in the year Vijaya!

Jupiter was in Taurus in the sky map of Thiruppavai.

So it must have been any of the five years, Vijaya, Vishvavasu, Pinagala, Shukla or Vishu



(1) From Silapapdhikaram

17. ஆய்ச்சியர் குரவை
கயலெழுதிய இமயநெற்றியின்
அயலெழுதிய புலியும்வில்லும்
நாவலந்தண் பொழின்மன்னர்


11. காடுகாண் காதை

ஊழிதொ றூழிதொ றுலகங் காக்க
அடியிற் றன்னள வரசர்க் குணர்த்தி
வடிவேல் எறிந்த வான்பகை பொறாது
ப·றுளி யாற்றுடன் பன்மலை யடுக்கத்துக்
குமரிக் கோடுங் கொடுங்கடல் கொள்ள 20
வடதிசைக் கங்கையும் இமயமுங் கொண்டு
தென்றிசை யாண்ட தென்னவன் வாழி


Related post from this blog:-

Dating of Thirruppavai from paasurams 1, 3 & 4


Up-dated on 23-07-2010


Date of Periyalvar

Among the Vaishnavite Alvars, Periyalvar refers in his verse to Pandyan Ko-Nedumaran.

That Periyalvar was a contemporary of Nedumaran is thus established. Prof. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri says that "all that we can infer is that if this Nedumaran is the same as the contemporary of Jnanasambandar, this Alvar may also be assigned to their age and likewise his daughter Andal. It seems more likely that the reference is to Srimara Srivallabha". Srimara Srivallabha is assigned to Circa 815-862. This probably influenced the learned Professor to prefer the later date.

T. A. Gopinatha Rao in his 'History of the Sri Vaishnavas,' has suggested that Periyalvar was a contemporary of Srimara Srivallalbha, identical with Srivallabha Avanipasekhara of Sittannavasal inscription. Mr. Rao's conclusion is based on the identity of the name Srivallabha, said to be a contemporary of Periyalvar according to Guruparampara.

M. Raghava Iyengar in his 'Age of the Alvars' differed from Gopinatha Rao and held that the contemporary of Periyalvar was Maravarman Rajasimha father of Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan. Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan was a Parama Vaishnava, who erected a Vishnu temple at Kanchivay Perur. Raghava Iyengar held that Parantaka derived his Vishnu-bhakti from his father Maravarman Rajasimha and that Rajasimha should have been converted to Vaishnavism by Periyalvar.

While discussing the date of Periyalvar two points deserve to be carefully noted. (1) The saint himself refers to a Pandya Ko-Nedumaran as his contemporary. (2) The Guruparampara refers to a Pandya Sri vallabha as his contemporary. We must look for a Pandya who had both these titles. Sri Mara, the son of Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan is called in the larger Sinnamanur and Dalavaypuram copper plates as Srivallabha. Srivallabha seems to have been his abishekanama, but whether he had the title Ko-Nedumara was not proved so far by any epigraph.

An epigraph coming from Erukkangudi, Sattur taluk. Ramnad District, published recently throws valuable light on the problem. It refers to Pandya Srivallabha, who conquered the places from Kunnur to Ceylon. The point of interest in this epigraph is that this Srivallabha is also called Ko-Nedumaran.

According to Sinnamanur and Dalavaypuram plates, Srimara Srivallabha, the son of Parantaka Varaguna I, won significant victories at Kunnur, Vilinjam, Kumbakonam and Ceylon. The Erukkangudi, inscription is evidently that of Srimara Srivallabha the son of Parantaka Varaguna, and that he had also the title Ko-Nedumaran.

There can hardly be any doubt that Periyalvar was a contemporary of this Ko-Nedumaran Srivallabha and should have flourished in the 9th century CE. On the other hand no epigraph has so far been found which gives either the title Srivallabha or Ko-Nedumaran to Rajasimha, whom Raghava Iyengar holds as the contemporary of Periyalvar. We therefore agree with T. A. Gopinatha Rao and K. A. N. Sastri, that the contemporary of Periyalvar was Srimara Srivallabha and that the Vaishnavite Saint flourished in the 9th century CE. Andal, the daughter of Periyalvar should also be assigned to the same period.

Date of Thirumangai

Scholars have discussed the problem of the date of Thirumangai Alvar in detail and have arrived at a satisfactory date. The date of this Alvar can be fixed with certain amount of accuracy as he refers to his contemporary Pallava ruler Nandi. Thirumangai lists his conquests which are corroborated by copper plates.

Thirumangai sings the battle of "Mannai" where Pallavamalla is said to have defeated the Pandya. This is also corroborated by another copper plate. In the Udayendram plates, Nandivarman's general, Udaya Chandra is praised for his victory over the Pandyasena at Mannaikkudigramma. (Mannaik-kudi grame Pandya-senam jitavan.) Udayendram plate was issued in the 21st regnal year of Nandivarman (752). The Pandya ruler who opposed Nandi was Maravarman Rajasimha.

Thirumangai also refers to the battle of Karuvur in which the Pallava is said to have won.

A new evidence has come to light regarding the battle of Karuvur which has not yet received due attention. The Dalavaypuram plates mention that Parantaka Varaguna, defeated the Pallava at Karuvur. This gets indirect confirmation from another source. Sivaramangalam plates refers to Parantaka's fight with Atiya, at Pugaliyur and Ayirur on the northern bank of the river Kaveri. These places are situated near Karur. The same charter also states, that Varaguna defeated the Pallava and Keralan, who came to help the Atiya. Evidently the battle of Pugaliyur was followed upto Karuvur where an indescive battle was fought. Both the Pallava and the Pandya claim victory at Karuvur. Whatever the result of the war may be, one thing is certain, that Thirumangai who sings this battle, was a contemporary of Nandivarman Pallavamalla and Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan.

Thus Thirumangai was a contemporary of two Pandya rulers Rajasimha I and Nedunjadaiyan. On the Pallava side, he was a contemporary of Nandivarman Pallavamalla.(731-796)

It must be mentioned that this Vaishnava Alvar, sings in one of his verse, Vairamegha who is generally identified with Dantivarma Pallava, who ruled in the first half of 9th century A.D. Thirumangai is therefore taken to be a contemporary of Dantis as well. But we have shown elsewhere that the title Vairamegha was a title of Nandivarman himself. As such we may assign Thirumangai to the reign of Nandivarman. Thus Thirumangai's date may be taken as 730-800CE.

Date of Nammalvar

Almost, the same period must be assigned to Nammalvar. Nammalvar sings Varagunamangai, and Srivaramangalam, both places established by Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan. Madhurakavi is said to be a desciple of Nammalvar. A Madhurakavi occurs as a minister of Pandya Parantaka I during the early years of his reign, as seen from the Anamalai epigraph. Madhura Kavi was dead at the time of Anamalai inscription. As such Nammalvar's end could be placed about 780 A.D. His date of birth would be circa 745 CE. Nammalvar had two other names which are significant. He was called Parankusa and Maran. In all probability the names Parankusa and Maran were derived after Arikesari Parankusa Maravarman of the Vaigai bed-epigraph. Vaishnavite tradition makes Thirumangai and Nammalvar contemporaries. Our studies also seem to point to the same direction. While the Guruparampara, makes Periyalvar, also a contemporary of Thirumangai and Nammalvar, our studies show that Periyalvar lived in the 9th century CE.

The Vaigai bed inscription of Cendan Maran has opened up new avenues of enquiry relating to the chronology of the early Pandyas and the history of Saivism and Vaishnavism in South India.

As a result of the above study the following are our conclusions:-

1) The Vaigai bed inscription is that of Cendan Maran who ruled atleast for 50 years (650-700 A.D.)

2) He was the hero of the Tamil work Pandikkovai.

3) The chronology of the early Pandyas could be placed at the beginning of about 560 A.D.

4) The city of Mangalapura established by Arikesari was located in the Pandya country.

5) But the Mangalapura where his son defeated the Maharatas is identical with Mangalore.

6) Appar was a contemporary of Mahendra, Mamalla and the Pandya Arikesari.

7) Appar's date would be circa 580-660 A.D.

8) Jnanasambandar was a contemporary of Mamalla I, and Pandya Arikesari Nedumaran.

9) Sambandar's date would be circa 640-656 A.D.

10) Thirumangai was a contemporary of Rajasimha and Nedunjadaiyan of the Pandyas and Nandivarman Pallavamalla and may be assigned between 700 and 800.

11) Nammalvar's date would be about 745 to 780 A.D.

12) Periyalvar was a contemporary of Sri Mara Srivallabha and his date would be Circa 800-885.

13) Andal is to be assigned to the second half of 9th century.

14) The Vaigai bed inscription is an important landmark in the history of Tamilnadu.


last best buddy said...

In Pullin Vaai Keendaanai,the 13th Pasuram,a reference to Velli Ezhundhu Vyaazham Urangitru is there, can that year be ascertained to support dating of Periyaazhwar&Aandall birth details?

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Yes, read the previous article.