Thursday, December 28, 2006


Valmiki was a Tamil Sangam Poet

Rama, Sita and others spoke Tamil

(The following is an English translation of the Tamil book “Vanmeegarum Thamizhum” by late Thiru. Narayana Iyengar, my grandfather, and Editor of Senthamizh, published by Madurai Tamil Sangam. It came in the form of a series of articles in 1938. He was honoured with the presentation of a golden “Toda” (which is still in our possession) and a shawl during the visit of the Prince of Wales in January 1922 “for his literary eminence in Tamil”. It was published in book form two years back with the monetary help given by the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam, by his grandson and my brother, A. Rajagopalan, ACA, auditor, 22, Tamil Sangam Road, Madurai, where our grandfather, Thiru. Narayana Iyengar, lived for 46 years and served the Tamil Sangam as Editor, “Senthamizh”, Manager of the Tamil Sangam for some years, Principal of the Tamil Sangam College, teaching students, including Na. Mu. Venkatasami Naattar, A. Gopala Iyer, LP. KR. Ramanathan Chettiar and a host of others. He was widely respected as letters written to him by the great scholar and patron of scholars, Pandithurai Thevar, “Thamizh Thatha” U. Ve. Saminatha Iyer, Srinivasa Pillai of Thanjavur, who wrote the “Thamizh Varalaru”, Pandithamani Kathiresan Chettiar and others, which are in our possession now, show. He has established through these articles that Tamil was the spoken language throughout Bharath or India, during the Ramayana period and even earlier while Sanskrit was the language of the litterateurs and it was in Tamil that Lord Rama and others conversed in Ayodhya).
( I, T. A. Srinivasan, the eldest of his grandsons, who retired on April 1, 2004 as an Assistant Editor in “The Hindu”, translated the book into English, which is in manuscript form now with me, as per the request of Mr. Sudanshu Ranade, Deputy Editor in “The Hindu”, who wanted to read the great work, but could not do so as his mother-tongue is Marathi. I hope that it will be found interesting by the lovers of Tamil, who could read only English. I am presenting the Tamil translation here.)


It is a legendary fact that Sage Valmiki wrote the Adi Kavya, the Ramayana, in Sanskrit and many scholars have hailed his poetic excellence and following in his footsteps, many epics were written in Sanskrit.
Before he wrote the epic, Ramayana, there were Vedas and other scriptures in Sanskrit; but they contained the advice to people and spoke about the other worldly benefits. They spoke nothing about the life on earth and its great attraction. Besides they lacked lustre. Hence there might have been good reason for Valmiki becoming a poet of great excellence. Scholars say this was due to the fruits of his penance, the counsel given by Sage Narada and the blessings of Lord Brahma. Though this could not be disputed, one who look at his life from the historical angle would think that he must have been well versed in another language and studied its literary works and enjoyed the poetic excellence.
His age must have been that of Agasthiyar, Tholkappiyar, and other Tamil Sangam poets and it is the conclusion of historians that he must have studied thoroughly the Sangam classics. This fact is corroborated by Sri M. Raghava Iyengar in the Madurai Tamil Sangam journal, “Senthamizh” volume 7, issue 3, pages 119 to 132 titled “Sri Valmiki and the South”.
A Sangam classic, “Purananooru”, is a collection of verses by various poets who were the contemporaries of Valmiki. The author of one of these poems is mentioned as “Vanmikiyar” and also as “Vanmigaiyar”. Both of them had been derived from the original name of Valmiki.
Valmiki did penance for many years. He has called himself as “Valmikir Bhagawan Rishihi”. Further while mentioning the name of Sage Narada, who was his preceptor, he gives preference to penance by saying “Tapasvadhyaya Niradham”. Hence it could be said that he was greatly enamoured of doing penance and he had indulged in it for many years.
The “Purananooru” poem by Vanmikiyar also glorifies the importance of penance. It contains many words and sentences, which are pleasing to the ears, have great depth, and contain many Vedantic truths. It is very much in tune with his Ramayana verses.
The poem has not been commented upon by later day scholars. To help research scholars, the poem, with its commentary, is given below:
“Parithi soozhnda vippayankezhu maanilam
oru pahal ezhuvar eithiyatre
vaiyamum thavamum thookitravathukku
ayyavi anaithum aatrathu aagalin
kaivittanare kaathalar adhanal
vittorai vidaall thiruve
vidaa thorivall vidappattore”

“Parithi soozhnda vippayankezhu maanilam”_This world is surrounded on all sides by Sun, who drives away darkness.
“Oru pahal ezhuvar eithiyatre”_One day is divided into many parts and each one is looked after by Sun’s seven deputies.
“Vaiyamum thavamum thookitravathukku”_If the benefits of worldly life and penance are put in a balance.
“Ayyavi anaithum aatrathu aagalin”_Fruits of penance would be so great that the benefits of worldly life would be very miniscule.
“Kaivittanare kaathalar adhanal”_Hence many kings, who thought this earth was theirs, forsook her and took to ascetic life).
“Vittorai vidaall thiruve”_Those who forsook the worldly life were saved by Goddess Mahalakshmi, who pleaded with Narayana to grant them eternal bliss.
“Vidaa thorivall vidappattore”_Those who laid stress on worldly life had to face the cycle of births and deaths).
The meaning of this poem is that the world is surrounded by the Sun who drives away darkness. This earth is full of worldly pleasures, which are not eternal, and many kings claimed possession of this world as a day is divided into many parts and each part (Horai) is looked after by a “Horai Nayagan”. Some of them are big, others small. Some of them are inauspicious, while others are considered as auspicious and some of them are considered as enemies of each other. They are the masters of their own time and cannot interfere in other’s time. The worldly life is so impermanent, but what gives one permanence is penance. If one puts the benefits of worldly life in one plate in a balance and that of penance in the other, he will find the former stands no comparison with the latter. Hence many kings who ruled this world renounced it and became ascetics. Those who renounced worldly life were not let down by the Goddess who recommended their case to the Lord and She appealed Him to forgive them for their past sins and grant them eternal bliss. Those who refused to renounce the worldly life were let down by the Goddess and they suffered births and deaths (After this, the author gives word-by-word meaning for the poem and draws parallels from other literary works.)

“Vittarai vidall Thiruve
Vidathorivall vidapattore”

These two lines stand comparison with the Valmiki Ramayana sloka about Jayanthan, son of Indra, who came as a crow and harmed Sita. When the crow surrendered at the feet of Sita, She saved it after turning its head towards Rama and thus making him surrender at the Lord’s feet. Ravana got killed, as he did not surrender at Her feet.
As Lord Narayana is the Supreme Authority who grants bliss, why the poet says that Mahalakshmi recommended their case to the Lord? He is more attracted towards the Goddess (Sita) than the Lord.
Sage Valmiki also airs the same view in the verse beginning with ‘Maa nishadha’. The word ‘Maa’ here refers to Goddess Mahalakshmi. Further he says that “Kaavyam Ramayanam kruthsnam Seethayaaccharitham mahath”.
By this he wants to stress that the entire Ramayana is the story of Sita and She has been given an exalted status. This also shows that the Tamil Sangam poet Valmikiyar and Sage Valmiki held identical views.
Those who studied the Purananooru poem and its literary merits would doubt whether Poet Valmikiyar and Sage Valmiki were the same person. To clear this doubt one has to find out whether Sage Valmiki was well versed in Tamil. This fact needs further examination.


Sage Valmiki has named each canto of his epic after the events taking place in it. Rama’s birth and childhood, his education etc., which are considered as ‘Rama bala charitham’ are covered in the Balakandam. Rama cahritham that took place in Ayodhi is covered in the Ayodhya Kandam, the events that took place when Rama was exiled to the Aaranyam (forest) are listed in the Aranya Kandam, those which happen at Kishkintha are covered in the Kishkintha Kandam and the war (yudham) is covered in the Yudha Kandam.

He has named one of the cantos as Sundhara Kandam. Sundharam in Sanskrit means a beautiful thing. Hence this name and one can call it as the beautiful canto. If one accepts this meaning, it would mean that the canto was named after something beautiful and not after the events in Rama’s life. As the events that happened were not beautiful or pleased one’s heart, this title does not seem to be more apt.

As Kishkintha Kandam is named after a pleasing incident that took place at Kishkintha, one has to surmise that Sundhara Kandam was also named after a particular event that took place in the epic.

Though many things are narrated in the Kishkintha kandam, one of the most important events in Rama’s life is the coronation of Sugreeva as the king of Kishkintha. Hence it was named as Kishkintha Kandam. Like this the best thing narrated in the Sundhara kandam is when Sitha was about to end her life at Ashoka Vana , Anjaneya saved her by singing the beauty and glory of Lord Rama. As Rama’s charming beauty (sundharam) saved Sitha, it must have been named as Sundhara Kandam. This is the general meaning of the title of this canto.

But Sanskrit experts do not accept this meaning and they give different meanings for the word Sundharam. They say that without naming the canto after the majority of events taking place in it, one particular incident could not give the title to it. ‘Rama’s beauty’ or Rama Soundharyam is covered only in a few pages and the word ‘sundharam’ could not fully cover the beauty.

These are not valid reasons because it was the custom of Tamil poets to give the title to a chapter after a small important event narrated in it. This custom prevailed even during Valmiki’s period in the Tamil country.


“Thrunadhoomagni” (Tholkappiar) the earliest Tamil grammarian, who lived during Valmiki’s period, has named one big chapter as “Porulathikaram” after “Porul” (literature or thought conveyed by poetry). Thiruvalluar has named one section of his work as “Porutpaal”, though the major portion of it deals with other subjects while only a small portion deals with making money. Ilango Adigal has named his work as Silappathikaram after the anklet worn by Kannagi, though it comes as the subject of dispute much later in the epic. Similar is the case with the Sangam classic “Padhitruppathu” where the poems have been given the title after words occurring in them.
This is known as ‘Nokku’, a nuance of an epic form of poetry where the readers are made to read the entire section to know the meaning of the title. Hence it is not a mistake to give the title to a chapter after a small incident or an object, according to the Tamil poetic tradition.
Like that, in Sanskrit also, a drama explaining the story of Charudatta is not given the title of “Charudatta Charithram” but is named as “Mruchakatikam” after the toy car drawn by the child character in it.
Hence it is not wrong to name Sundarakandam as Anjaneya narrates Rama’s beauty or “Rama Soundaryam” in it. But one should examine whether the word Sundaram would denote Soundaryam. Soundaryam is a Sanskrit word in vogue in Tamil. Sanskrit scholars denote by it anything that is beautiful, and not beauty itself. But Tamil poets consider Sundaram and Soundaryam as the same as this is borne out by Nigandus (lexicons). In Jeevaka Chinthamani, a Tamil epic, the word Sundaram is used to denote beauty.
Tamil poets make similar usages with regard to Dharithriyam (Dharithram or poverty), Kavi (poet and poem) Veeram (heroism). Hence to refer to beauty (Sundaram) after Soundharyam seems to be the practice followed by Tamil poets.
In Sanskrit, Tamil words like Balan (youth), Aani (nail) have been used. This will be examined later.
Instead of naming it Soundaryakandam, Valmiki has given the name of Sundarakandam as it is more pleasing to the ears and even those who are not well versed can understand its meaning. But Valmiki was a Sanskrit poet. Why did he not name it as Soundaryakandam following the Sanskrit custom and named it as Sundarakandam following the Tamil custom? It was because he was well versed in Tamil and wanted to make known to the Sanskrit scholars such a fine usage. He wanted Sanskrit scholars to study many Tamil works. It is the custom of epic poets to make known the greatness of works in other languages to Sanskrit scholars.
Thiruvalluar, in his first Thirukkural couplet, has used the term ‘Aadhi Bhagavan’ following the Sanskrit custom and had not mentioned the word as ‘Aadhippagavan’ following the Tamil custom. In other places he uses the words and sentences like “Naannenum Nallaal”, “Adhinutpam”, “Aaapayan”, which are wrong usages as per Tamil grammar but are acceptable under Sanskrit grammar. Hence Sage Valmiki has named this canto as Sundarakandam and not as Soundaryakandam. It is more relevant here to examine whether Valmiki has followed other Tamil usages in his epic.


A proverb is a short pithy saying containing what one intended to say crisply and to the point. It will be short, but if its meaning is considered it will be expansive and it is a saying in vogue in speech as well as in poems from time immemorial. Sanskrit scholars called it as “Lokokthi” and used it in their literary works. They admitted the fact that Sanskrit is not a spoken language and hence proverbs are in usage only in native, spoken languages. The Tamil grammarian, Tholkappiar, called it as “Mudhumozhi” or old saying, which is another form of the word “Pazhamozhi” (proverb) and has defined its grammar in his work, Tholkappiam (Porulathikaram, Soothram 489). According to it, a proverb will be short and sharp and its meaning will be exhaustive. As he has not stated whether the proverb will be in the spoken language or literary language, he agreed with the view that it will be both in written and spoken languages.
Hence it could be confirmed that there was no proverb in Sanskrit and it could be found only in Tamil. An example: The eyes of a woman who saw her lover shed tears while her shoulders which could not embrace him became green in colour (a sign of uneasiness.) This is like a calf grazing in a newly tilled field going unpunished while the ass gets punished with its ears being shorn off.
There are many proverbs like this given by Tholkappiar, a contemporary of Valmiki. One of them says: “Paambariyum paambin kaal” (a snake knows where its legs are). This proverb is used to denote the place where one hides, to keep himself away from prying eyes.
In the Sangam classic, “Pazhamozhi Naanooru”, this proverb is used to show that poets alone know the hidden meaning of words used by them; it could not be found out by a layman as a snake alone knows its legs. The words “paambin kaal” here denote a snake’s hideout and not its legs.
This proverb is used by Valmiki in his Ramayana as a translation from Tamil. In Sundharakandam, Sarga 42, Sloka 9, he says “Ahirevahyahay Paadhaan vijaanaathi”. “Ahay” snake’s; Paadhaan- legs; Ahireva- snake alone; Vijaanaathi- knows.
This sloka is the reply given by Sita to demonesses after Aanjaneya meets her at Asoka Vana and gives the “ankuleeyam” (ring) handed over to him by Rama to be given to Sita, speaks comforting words to her. The demonesses, who are in doubt, ask Sita about the identity of Aanjaneya, why he came to Lanka, for what purpose, and what did he tell Sita. Sita, frightened by their words, tells them that she is not mentally strong to find out the identity of demons who assume different forms. Only a snake knows its hideout. Only demons could know what the messenger could do. She was also afraid of him and did not know who he is. She also thought that he was a demon assuming a monkey’s form.
What Sita wanted to tell was that she could not identify a demon taking a different form. Only demons and demonesses guarding the Asoka Vana would know who he was and what he intended to do.
To give an example for it, the proverb, “snake knows its hideout” has been used. By this she wants to say that as snakes alone know their hideouts, and not others, the forms assumed by demons could be known only to demons and not to others. The Sanskrit translation of this proverb contains the word “Paadham” which generally means leg; here it denotes its hideout.
It is a known fact that snakes have no legs. The snake is called as “Kaalili” (without legs) in Tamil Nigandus (lexicons in poetry). Sanskrit lexicons refer to it as “Uragha”, that which crawls by its chest and “Pannagha” that which has no leg. Hence to assume that snake alone knows its leg is meaningless.
In Sanskrit a snake is also known a “Ghoodapath” (which hides its legs). On this basis, one can say that a snake alone knows its hidden legs and not others. This is meaningless. Because, demons alone know what forms other demons assume and this will make them help each other and achieve their objectives. But of what use a snake has for its hidden legs? How does it help other snakes, which know them? What dangers it faces by others knowing its legs?
When Sita wants to say that demons who assume different forms to harm their enemies and they also know their hideouts, this example has been cited and to mean the word in the proverb “Paadha” as leg, does not serve the purpose. Moreover what Sita wants to say here is that as demons very well knew that if others knew about their hideouts and forms they would harm them, they took different forms and hid themselves; they alone know their hideouts and others could not identify them.
In this proverb, demons are equated with snakes and their hideouts with snake’s legs. As the word “Paadha” in Sanskrit usage refers to leg and not to its hideout, this looks meaningless. Moreover the word “Ghoodapath” also could be taken to mean legless in a Sanskrit usage known as “Abhavalakshakam”. In Tamil also there is a word “Arumkedan” which means one who is blemishless, though it could also be taken to mean one who is full of blemishes.
Hence it is more apt here to take the Tamil proverb meaning and not that of the Sanskrit proverb, because in the Tamil proverb the word “Kaal”denotes not its legs but its hideout. “Kaal” here denotes a place as in other Tamil words like “Kaalvai” (canal). As places like the gap between two rocks are more helpful for the snake to hide itself, they are known as “Paambin kaal”. In Tamil words like “n” which follow letters like “ka” are known as “Kaalezhuthu” or the letter, which gives it extended sound. Hence the correct meaning of the Tamil proverb is that a snake alone knows its hideout and not others.
There is also a stray Tamil verse, which says that a cobra could not be seen in public as it possesses venom and hides itself in a place but a water snake which is poisonless could be seen in all water sources; like that those who are venomous, would not mingle with others and those who have an open mind freely move with others.
The demons, who would not appear in public, could be seen by other demons and together they would harm human beings. Like that if the snake’s hideout is found out, they would be dug out or they would be set on fire and the snakes would get killed. This proverb is highly meaningful and hence Sage Valmiki used it. The word ‘hi’ in the Sanskrit proverb, “Ahirevahyahe Paadhaan Vijanaathi” denotes that it is world famous and that it is found in other languages. Valmiki has not translated it as “Ahirevahyahe sthanam vijanaathi” and used the word “Paadhaan” instead of “Sthanam” to show to others that he has translated it from Tamil. It also shows that Valmiki was well versed with Tamil grammar especially its “Porulathikaram”. Hence the “Puranaanooru” poem beginning with the words, “Parithi soozhndha” must have been written by him. The name of “Sundharakandam” given by him to a section of his Ramayana was also done following the Tamil custom.
Moreover, Sita, the demons that guarded her, and the general public who understood the Ramayana, all of them had their spoken language or mother tongue as Tamil. To confirm this viewpoint, it is better to find out in which language – Samskritha Maanusha Baashai, Samskritha Baashai, or Asamskritha Maanusha Baashai, which one Anjaneya spoke to Sita.

The language different from it, which contained words from other languages, similes and metaphors, was the “vitatha madhura baasha” in poetic style which was “Samskrutham maanusha baasha” (a language refined by the use of grammar).
Hence Valmiki who earlier called the language chosen by Hanuman as “ardavadh maanusham vaakyam” (meaningful, spoken Tamizh language) had now called it as “avitatha madhuram vaakyam”.
To reiterate this view Valmiki has referred to it in the next Sarga as “madhuram vaakyam” and this has to be examined now.
The language different from it, which contained words from other languages, similes and metaphors, was the “vitatha madhura baasha” in poetic style, which was “Samskrutham maanusha baasha” (a language refined by the use of grammar).
Hence Valmiki who earlier called the language chosen by Hanuman as “ardavadh maanusham vaakyam” (meaningful, spoken Tamizh language) had now called it as “avitatha madhuram vaakyam”.

CHAPTER 5 – MAANUSHA BAASHAI (The Language of the people) - TAMIZH

Slokas 15 to 19 in the 29th sarga of Sundara Kandam, Hanuman thinks about the language in which he should speak to Sita. These slokas are:
1. “Antharathvaha maasaadhya raakshashenami hasthitha”
(I have reached this place when the demonesses are taking rest)
2. “Sanairachvaasyishyami santhaapa bahu dhamimam”
(I will try to pacify her, as she is highly agitated)
3. “Ahamthvathithanuchaiva vaanarascha visheshatha”
(I am a monkey, which is a small creature, not respected by others)
4. “Vaachannodhaa harishyaami maanusheemiva samskruthaam”
(If I speak the language spoken by human beings which is full of grammar)
5. Yathivaacham praathasyami dwijathiriva samskruthaam
(If I spoke Sanskrit, which is spoken by the twice born (dwija – Brahmin)
6. Ravanam manyamanaa maam sita bhithaa bhavishyathi
(Sita will think that Ravana has come disguised as a monkey)
7. Vaanarasya visheshena kathamsyaadhabibhashanam
(Thinking that a monkey could not utter a refined language)
8. Avachyamabhivakthuvayam maanusham vaakyamardhavath
(It is necessary that I should speak in easy to understand language spoken by human beings, which is “Maanusha baashai”)
9. Mayachanthvayithum sakyaa
(By speaking that language I can console her)
10. Naanyatheya maninthitha
(If I do not speak in easy-to-understand common man’s language and if I speak in grammatical language spoken by human beings or in Sanskrit, I cannot console her)

Here the languages that Hanuman can speak are explained: they are Maanushivak, Samskruthavak and Maanusham Vaakyam.
Vaak and Vaakyam here mean language. Hence Maanushivaak and Maanusham Vaakyam should be taken to mean language spoken by human beings and Samskruthavak is Sanskrit.
In the fourth sentence above (Vaachannodhaa harishyaami maanusheemiva samskruthaam) “Maanusha baashai” is referred and it means a well made out language spoken by human beings.
In the fifth sentence (Yathivaacham praathasyami dwijathiriva samskruthaam) Sanskrit, which is the language spoken by celestial beings, which is grammatically correct and pleasing to the ears, is referred.
In the eighth sentence two words “maanusham” and “vaakyam” are mentioned, which come under the special category of “Aradhavadh”, which means the meaningful language.
As there is no other language, which has no meaning, why “maanusha baasha” alone is referred to as meaningful is, because each word in it is full of meaning and the words are well constructed.
The “maanusha baashai” referred to in the fourth sentence has not been given the qualification of “Aradhavadh”. Because it will be poetic and can be understood only by litterateurs. The qualification of “Samskrutham” given to it is not given to the “maanusha baashai” referred to in the eighth sentence.
Hence the “maanusha baashai” referred to in the fourth sentence is grammatical and it is not meaningful. But the language referred to in the eighth sentence is meaningful, but not grammatical.
Hence the “maanusha baashai” referred to in the fourth sentence is discarded by Hanuman, who decided to speak in the “maanusha baashai” referred to in the eighth sentence.
Hence it could be made out that there were two “maanusha baashais”. Out of them the first, which was grammatical and full of metaphors, similes and other qualities, could be understood only by learned men and its style will be poetic.
The latter one could be understood by all – the learned as well as illiterate – and it will consist of beautiful sentences. Its grammar may not be correct.
Hence “maanusha baashai” was in two forms – the first one consisting of grammatically correct words and sentences which will be poetic in nature and cannot be easily understood and the second one whose grammar may be imperfect, but its meaning can be easily understood as spoken language is understood.
In the words “maanusha baashai”, it is given to understand that it belonged to human beings. The language belonging to common man can also be called as “swabashai”. Hence it means that Sanskrit is not their “swabashai”. As “maanusha baashai” is known by two kinds, Sanskrit is not divided into any groups. Hence it could be said that Sanskrit was not a spoken language but literary language and the language of scriptures. It was understood only by learned men.
Now it must be found out which “maanusha baashai” was chosen by Hanuman to converse with Sita.
The commentator says that it must be the language, which was spoken in the Kosala country. This is true. But the commentator does not give the name of that language and it needs to be researched here.


1. What could be the language which was not imported from outside; but it was grammatically perfect; was derived from the language of the celestials, Sanskrit ; was the own language of common man (Swabashai).
2. The language that had two kinds and was referred to by Agasthyar and Tholkappiyar who came to the South from North during the Ramayana period, established Tamil Sangams and took part in their proceedings by giving their works and was perfect in grammar was Tamil language
3. It was a derivative of ‘Vadamozhi’, the language of North or Sanskrit and was called as “Thenmozhi’, the language of the South.
4. It was the spoken language.

The fourth sentence in the Ramayana sloka, “maanusheemiva samskrutham” means poetic Tamil language, by the eighth sentence “maanusham vaakyamardhavath”, it is said the Tamil language which the common man’s language.
We can examine it in another way.


By calling the language as “maanusha baashai”, it is meant that it has been derived by Sanskrit, the language of celestials. Sanskrit also has much in common with Tamil. Both are like the east and west and are two different forms. There is no third form, which is different from them. As they are two branches of the same language, one branch – Vadamozhi or Sanskrit and the language of the celestials are the same. The languages of the south and “maanusha baashai” which are its different forms are also the same.


This fact can be examined in the third different way. Different meanings are given for the word Tamizh. One is “Tammozhi” (our language) became Tamil. Another is it means the sweet language.
Why the language of human beings was called as Tamizh? Because people who spoke a language wanted to give it a name, they must have had another set of people who spoke a different language. It was Sanskrit or the language of the celestials. When one spoke in Sanskrit, one who could not understood it, could have asked the former to convey it in his own language (swabashai). Hence the language of the common man became “Tammozhi”, which is the same as “maanusha baashai”. Both have the same meaning.
How “Tammozhi” became Tamizh? The word Tammavar later became tamavar, losing one “m”. Like that “maanushar” or “maanudar” became “manidar”. Like that Tammozhi became Tamuzhi, Tamizhi and finally Tamizh.
In Tammozhi whom does the word ‘Tam’ refer to? It refers to the people (maanusha) who spoke that language. Hence Tammozhi is the derivative of the Sanskrit word, “maanusha baashai”. Tammozhi, Tamizh and Swabashai are all the same.
Hence it could be firmly said that the language chosen by Hanuman to converse with Sita was Tamizh.
That Tamizh was divided into two kinds earlier – Samskrutha maanusha baashai and Ardhavath maanusha baashai or the meaningful language. The former is the grammatically perfect Tamil language. It may not be sweet and meaningful but it will be grammatically perfect. This can be said to be the language used by Tamil poets. It was full of similes and other qualities.
The other was the meaningful language, which did not lay much stress on grammar. It may be poetic. It was the spoken language and not grammatically perfect. For example, two eye (not eyes) became reddish. Though it is grammatically wrong, it was accepted as it conveyed the meaning.
Of these two Tamil styles, the language chosen by Hanuman to converse with Sita was the latter. But Valmiki has not directly mentioned the language chosen by Hanuman. Let us examine what he says in his own words.


It was established in the earlier chapter that the language that Hanuman chose to converse with Sita was the sweet Tamizh language or “Senthamizh mozhi”.
That language of human beings is also referred to by Sage Valmiki as “Senthamizh mozhi”.
In the 30th sarga of Sundara Kandam, the last sloka confirms this fact. It is as follows:
Ithi saba huvidham mahanubavo
Jagathipathey pramada mavekshanaa:
Madhuram avitatham jagatha vaakyam
Thrumavidapaantharam Aasthitho Hanuman
Its meaning:
Mahanubavo Hanuman – That great soul known as Hanuman
Thrumavidapaantharam Aasthitho – Sitting on the branch of a tree
Jagathipathey pramada mavekshanaa: - Looking at the consort of Rama, the Lokanayaka
Avitatam – As it is (the language as spoken by human beings and not taking the poetic form)
Madhuram Vaakyam – the sweet Tamizh language
Bahuvitham – In pure, clear, short, pleasing to the ears and full of meaning
Jagatha – spoke
The word “vaakyam” here, which is singular, refers to the language; otherwise we will have to say that Hanuman spoke a single word – the subject without any predicate or verb. As Hanuman did not speak a single word but many words and sentences, the word “vaakyam”, here only refers to the language.
That language has been given the adjective of “madhuram” or sweetness. Hence one can say that it is a sweet language.
The word ‘madhuram’ is an alternative of the word “Tamizh”. The language of the south, which is “Tamizh”, is known to the world as sweet language. As the word “zha” is not found in Sanskrit, Valmiki could not refer to the language spoken by Hanuman as Tamizh and has referred to it by its alternative name “Madhuram vaakyam”. Some may ask the question if it is Valmiki’s view to refer to Tamizh, he could have used “Dravidam”. But the word “madhuram” means sweet language, which is the alternative of the word Tamizh, which also means sweet language. Moreover Tamizh was not known as “Dravidam” in Valmiki’s days.
Hence the sentence “madhuram vaakyam jagadaha” should be taken to mean that Hanuman spoke Tamizh language.
The word “madhuram” is given the attribute “Avitatham”. It means that it is the opposite of “vitatham” which means that it is not so, but a different one. Hence Tamizh, which was spoken as it is and not in a poetic form was given the attribute of “vitatham. It is an adjective of Tamizh or the sweet language.
Hence the sentence “Avithathham madhuram vaakyam jagadaha” should be taken to mean that he spoke Tamil language, which was as it was.
The word “vitatham” here means an artificial language. Hence the sentence “Avitatham madhuram vaakyam jagadaha” should not be taken to mean that he spoke a single real sentence. Hence it should be taken to mean that Hanuman spoke Tamil language, which was real and natural.
As “avitatham” here is the adjective of Tamizh, the sweet language, it was different from vitatham, which meant the language different from the spoken one, containing similes, metaphors etc. The meaningful Tamil language was called as “ardavadh maanusha baashai”.
The language different from it, which contained words from other languages, similes and metaphors was the “vitatha madhura baasha” in poetic style which was “Samskrutham maanusha baasha” (a language refined by the use of grammar).
Hence Valmiki who earlier called the language chosen by Hanuman as “ardavadh maanusham vaakyam” (meaningful, spoken Tamizh language) had now called it as “avitatha madhuram vaakyam”.
To reiterate this view Valmiki has referred to it in the next Sarga as “madhuram vaakyam” and this has to be examined now.

CHAPTER 7 – Other evidences to prove that Thamizh is the ‘Maanusha Baashai’


Many references found in the “Valmiki Ramayana” show that during the Ramayana period, the mother tongue of people who lived in the land mass from the Himalayas to Lanka was Thamizh. This is also evident from the references found in the “Kamba Ramayanam”.
Poet Kamban, in the introduction to “Kamba Ramayanam”, known as “Paayiram”, says that he, following in the footsteps of Valmiki, who was an expert in poetics and whose poems prevailed in the country, where the glory of Lord Rama, whose single arrow pierced through seven “Maramaram” trees was being sung, he also composed his poems. He refers in this poem to the sweet language spoken in this country. Further on hearing Hanuman’s speech, Kamban has made Rama exclaim: “Who is this man of sweet words? Is he Lord Siva or Brahma?”
Valmiki, through Hanuman’s words, refers to Thamizh as “Maanusham”. Poet Kamban knows how much meaningful this word is. His words also show how ancient Thamizh language is. He has made many references in this regard. The first is:
First reference: In the “Aaranya Kaandam”, while Rama is on His way to the hermitage of Sage Agasthya, Kamban, while explaining the greatness of the sage, calls him as “the man who spoke the ever-living Thamizh language and thus attained glory”. (Aaranya Kaandam, Agasthya Padalam, poem 47).
Why the poet has called Thamizh as ever-living? The reason is because Valmiki, in Hanuman’s words, has called it as “Manushi Vaak” and “Maanusham Vaakyam”.
These two words have no great difference in their meaning though there is slight gender difference.”Maanushi” and “Maanusham” have the same meaning. They mean the language of human beings. “Vaak”, “Vaakyam” and “Baasha” have the same meaning. Hence “Maanushi Vaak” and “Maanusham Vaakyam” mean the language of the human beings.
The term, “the language of human beings” denotes two kinds of possession—one, “Samavaaya Sambandam” or “tharkizhamai porul” (inseparable relationship) or the language spoken by the concerned person. The second is “Samyogadhi Sambandam” or “pirithin kizhamai” (separable relationship between a possessor and the thing possessed). In this case though the thing is possessed by one, it does not concern his “person” or body.
The example for the first is the human body’s organs which are the exclusive possessions of a human being.We used to call the literary work composed by Sambandar as Sambandar’s work.
The example for the second are the dresses or ornaments worn by a person, which are called as his own. An example for this is a poetic work, known as “Pillaithamizh” in praise of Sambandhar, which is called as “Sambandhar Pillaithamizh” though it is not Sambandhar’s work and has been composed by another poet.
Like this “Maanushi Vaak” and “Maanusham Vaakyam” belong to the first category (“tharkizhamai”) as the poet wanted to call it as the language spoken by human beings and not the language about them.
“Samavaya Sambandham” means both have inseparable relationship. Hence the Tamizh language, which is “Maanusha baashai”, has got inseparable relationship with human beings.
All world languages fall into two categories—natural and artificial.
Birds like parrot make sounds which are natural to their elements. But human beings, who rear them, teach them some languages. The former (bird’s sounds) are natural languages and the languages, which are taught to them by human beings and are repeated by them, are artificial languages.
Like that human beings also speak a language right from their childhood and it is Thamizh. They are taught another language by teachers or others and it is “Deva Baashai” (Sanskrit) or other language.
Hence the natural language came to be called as “Tham mozhi” (“Swabaashai”) and it is also called as “Iyal Thamizh” or natural Thamizh.
Like the various organs of a human body, which exist since the human being’s birth, Thamizh language has been in existence from time immemorial and hence it came to be called as “enrum ulathu” (everlasting).
Though human bodies have no permanent existence as they are born and die after some years, the caste system, which is in human nature, is permanently existing, according to logic.
As caste is permanent, the group, which belongs to that caste permanently exists in many ages. Like the organs of a human body, the language, which they speak is Thamizh and it is indestructible and cannot change basically.
Hence whenever there is human existence in this world, Thamizh language also will come into existence. To reiterate this viewpoint, the poet called Thamizh as “enrum ulathu” or everlasing.
Second reference: As Thamizh is everlasting, it has no period of existence; further it is not confined to any boundary. Hence the poet says that Agasthya measured the entire world with the help of Thamizh (“Neenda Thamizhaal ulagai naemiyin alandaan”—Aaranya Kaandam, Agathiya Padalam, poem 36).
Its meaning is as follows: Sage Agasthya, like Lord Narayana’s incarnation of Vaamana, who measured the entire universe with His two legs, measured all worldly things with his two legs—worldly usage and poetic usage.
Sage Valmiki, in this context, says through the words of Hanuman, “”Vasandotha Harishyami Maanushimiha Samskritham”, which refers to poetic usage and “Avasyamahivakthvyam Maanusham Vaakyam arthavath”, which refers to worldly usage, which were like the two feet of Agasthya.
As Thamizh was in existence as the spoken language throughout the world from time immemorial, Kamban calls it as “Neenda Thamizh” in past tense.
Third reference: As Thamizh existed in the world since it was created, one can conclude that during the Ramayana period, it was in vogue in the North.
While describing the scene when Lakshmana got angry on hearing that Rama had been exiled to the forest and when Rama pacified him by saying that it was their father’s wish and he had no other go than to obey the father’s command, the poet says that Rama was well versed in “Then Sol” (the language of the South) and had completely studied all the works in Sanskrit. By referring to Thamizh as “Then Sol” it had been made known that it was the spoken language throughout the world and Sanskrit, the language of the celestials, was the literary language.
This poem also emphasises that Rama made known to Lakshmana many worldly truths in “Then Sol” and ethical and other truths in Dharma Sastras in Sanskrit and He was well versed in both of them.
Instead of giving this meaning for the poem, if it was taken to mean that Rama pacified him with sweet words, it would not convery its real meaning. It would not be in tune with the great standard maintained by Kamban throughout his work.
Fourth reference: As the poet meant that Rama was well versed in Thamizh, his preceptor, Valmiki, was also well versed in it. As they knew two languages, it could be concluded that Thamizh or “Then Sol” was the mother tongue (“Maanusha Baashai”) and Sanskrit, which was imported from outside, was the “Saastra Baashai” or the language of the intellectuals.
As the two languages have been referred to as “Then Sol” and “Vada Sol” some may conclude that the former was the language of the South and the latter that of the North. But this was a wrong view and this would be proved later in the book through evidences.
Fifth reference: Poet Kamban has not only shown through his poems that Rama was not only a Tamilian, but His ancestor, Ikshvaku, was also a Thamizh King. This is conveyed by Sage Viswamitra when he says that everyone knew that Ikshvaku worshipped Brahma and got the idol of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam from him. By this the poet wants to convey that Ikshvaku was also the ancestor of the Chozha kings.
Sixth reference: Further, Kamban, in the words of Sage Vasishta, addressed to Rama, says that his forefathers lived in this country right from the day Lord Brahma created the world.
Hence it is obvious that Rama can trace His ancestry to the time of the creation of the world.
Further the commentator of the “Thirukkural”, Parimelazhagar, in his commentary on a couplet in the chapter on “Citizenship”, says that the Tamil kings, especially Chozhas and Pandyas, lived in this world right from the time of its creation. Hence the Ikshvaku Dynasty, which was antecedent to Chozhas, is referred to here.
The first Ikshvaku king was Manu and the “Periyapuranam” says that he was the same “Manu Neethi Chozha”, who was the author of the work, “Manu Smrithi” and he was a Tamil king. If this was wrong, the country and the capital of the kings of the Solar Dynasty should have been different and they should have been mentioned. As they had not been given, there is nothing wrong in assuming that they were Tamil kings.
Seventh reference: While referring to Rama’s coronation, Kamban says that Vasishta put on Rama’s head the crown given by “Chadaiyan” of Vennainallur. Hence it is understood that Chadaiyan’s ancestors occupied a top position in the Ayodhya kingdom and Dasaratha’s close confidante, Sumantira, and others were Tamils.
This also shows that Tamils lived in the northern part of the country in large numbers during the Ramayana period and even before that.
If it is taken that the ancestors of the Chozha kings and “Vennainallur Chadaiyan” came to the South from the North they should be considered as “Aryas” as the present day researchers conclude.
But Kamban did not think so and according to him they were the Tamils who went to the North from their homeland in the South.
Great poets, while explaining their hero’s country and rivers flowing in them, only refer to the best rivers flowing in them and not to those, which are the second or third best.
Kamban refers to Rama as “Gangai theempunal Naadan” (the man who belonged to the land where River Ganga flowed) and “Kosala Naadudai Vallal” (the munificent ruler of the Kosala country).
The same Kamban, in another context, compares Gangai and Cauvery and says they were equal to each other. This is poetic injustice. But this can be justified on the ground that both rivers flowed in the lands ruled by the kings of the Ikshvaku Dynasty.
Kamban wants to convey that the Cauvery River and areas irrigated by it belonged to these kings from time immemorial while they invaded the country irrigated by Ganga later and took possession of it. Hence they felt that the Cauvery-irrigated land was more important for them than the land irrigated by Ganga. Hence the Tamizh kings, who were descendants of Manu, invaded the North long before the Ramayana period and brought it under their suzerainty.
If it was so, how could it be considered appropriate that Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam, who was the family deity of the Ayodhya kings and was given as a present to Vibhishana, was enshrined at Srirangam? When the kings of the Ikshvaku Dynasty went from the South to the North, they could have taken the deity to the North and worshipped the Lord there. This is proved by Kamban’s poem in the Yuddha Kaandam when he says that the “Lord lying on Adisesha reaches Ayodhya” and did not say that the “Lord lying in Ayodhya”.
Hence the Lord of Srirangam, who was taken by Ikshvaku kings to Ayodhya and was worshipped there, could have returned to His original abode when He was brought by Vibhishana from there during his journey to Lanka.
Even now when people move from one place to another, they take with them a handful of earth from the place where they lived and put it in a new place where they want to build a temple anew.
Further Kamban praises King Sipi through Rama’s words and by this the poet establishes that Sipi was an ancestor of Rama and lived long before the Ramayana period.
There are many literary evidences to show that Sipi was a Tamizh king.


In the 37th and 43rd poems of the above work, Sipi’s gesture to save a dove by giving flesh from his body is mentioned
The 46th and 39th poems of the above work also say that the Chozha kings were descendants of Emperor Sipi. Further they say that King Killivalavan of the Chozha lineage defeated the North Indian kings and also conquered their country including the Himalayas.
It is the usual custom among poets not to praise the rivals, while they speak about a king and sing their glory. But if they had achieved some thing great they would refer to it and would say that their king’s achievement was greater than his rival’s. Hence to say that the Chera King, Imayavarampan, inscribed his emblem of bow and arrow on the Himalayas and the Chozhas, who defeated not only the Cheras but also the North Indian kings and established their suzerainty over them, must be true.
It is not inappropriate here to say that the Chozha kings, who were descendants of Sipi, ruled with Ayodhya as their capital. This is also confirmed by Poet Ilango Adigal in his “Silappadikaram”.
That Sipi and his descendants were the possessors of the land irrigated by Cauvery is also mentioned in Sanskrit works as shown below:
In the “Paanineeya Vyakaranam”, there is a “Suthram” which is as follows: “Janapadasapthath Kshadriyadanj.” Its explanation (“Viruthi”) is: “Janapada sapthath kshadriyayor vachakrathu anjsyath apadhya.”
Its meaning is that the people of a country ruled by a king might be named after him.
According to this Suthra, with the word “Sipi” forming the first part, the people of that country could be known as “Saibyar”.
“Dasakumaracharitham”, the work composed by Dandi, contains a verse in the sixth section, which is as follows:

“Ekadatu sibishu pattane, saha pithrupya mavasitha maharthi mavaseerna
Bavanasaaram dadrya pradarchyamaanam, kanchana viralabhushanaam kumarim dadarcha”

The commentaries for this, known as “Bhushana” and “Lagudeepika”, say “Sibishu Kaveri Dakshinaa deereshu” (in the Sipi country, which is to the south of Kaveri River). They quote the Sanskrit lexicon, “Vaijayanthi”, which says, “Sipimarudhrudhayasthu Dakshina deeramuchyathe ithi Vaijayanthi”. It means that the country south of Cauvery is known as Sipi Nadu. This means that the Chozha country is Sipi’s land. “Pattane” here referts to its capital, Kaveripoompattinam.
The word “Pattinam” in Tamil refers to any country on the seashore and here it refers to Kaveripoompattinam. There is a Sangam literary work, known as “Pattinappalai”, which narrates the events that took place in a city on the seashore. This Tamizh word later got into Sanskrit as “Pattanam”.
Hence the Sipi country had its seaport at Kaveripoompattinam and it was to the south of the Cauvery River. These two attributes apply to the Chozha country.
The king who ruled the “Kuru” country, with its capital at Kurukshethra, was known as Kuru and his country as “Kuru Nadu” and his dynasty as “Kuru Vamsam”. Like that the king of the Sipi country was known as Sipi and his descendants came to be known as “Saibyar”, which later became “Sembiyar”, by which name the Chozha kings were known.
Hence it could be said that the country ruled by them was “Sembi Naadu”.
All these only go to show that Sipi, who was a descendant of Ikshvaku, ruled the Sipi Naadu, which was the Chozha country, with Kaveripoompattinam as the capital and they later went to the North and established their kingdom there. Hence those who resided there were also Tamizh-speaking people.
There are also other evidences to support this conclusion. Let us examine them.


In “Periyapuranam”, a Saivite literary work, King Anapaya Chozha (Kulothunga) is described as a descendant of Manu, who belonged to the Solar Dynasty. This means that Manu was the second in line in this dynasty, the first being Sun God himself. This shows that this Manu was the same as Vaivaswatha Manu.
This poem says that he was the author of Manu Smrithi, which was only an elucidation of the ancient scripture as explained in the Vedas.
All these only show that Vaivaswatha Manu was the first Chozha ruler and he was a Tamizh king. This fact is confirmed by a literary work known as “Vikrama Chozhan Ula”.


This work says that Brahma’s son was Kasyapa, his son Marichi, his son Vivaswan or Surya (Sun), his son Vaivaswatha Manu and he sacrificed his son by running the chariot over him for having killed the calf of a cow by running his chariot over it. Then the valorous deeds of many kings who came after him are narrated.
It also says that one of the kings offered to part with his flesh to save a dove from an eagle. This reference is to Sipi Chakravarthi, whose descendants were known as Saibyars or Sembiar, which was the title of the Chozha kings.


In the eighth Skantham, 24th chapter of Sri Bhagavatham, Slokas 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13 say that during the great deluge, a king known as Sathyavratha did penance praying to Lord Mahavishnu by taking only water. He was appointed by Mahavishnu as Vaivaswatha Manu. Once he was making an offering to God by taking water from Vaigai River in both his hands and a female fish appeared in the water and he let it go in the river.
This Sathyavratha is referred to in the sloka as Dravideswara. Hence it could be said that he was a Thamizh king. As he made the offering in Krithamala (Vaigai) River water he belonged to the Pandya country. Hence in the previous aeon also Pandya Nadu was a Thamizh country.
The 58th Sloka in the 24th chapter of the eighth Skantham of the Bhagavatham says that this king, Sathyavratha, became Vaivaswatha Manu due to Mahavishnu’s blessings. This view is further reiterated by Slokas 2 and 3 in the ninth Skantha, Sloka 2 of the second chapter in the ninth Skantha and Sloka 41 in the first chapter of the ninth Skantha.
They say that Vaivaswatha Manu got 10 sons including Ikshvaku due to Lord Mahavishnu’s blessings. His other sons, Uthkalan, Gayan and Vimalan became the kings of the area south of the Dravida country (which were later swallowed in the sea-swell).
In the 16th Sloka of the second chapter of the ninth Skantha, it is said that Manu had a son, known as “Kaarusha” after whom the Kshathriyas came. They became kings of the country in the North. Hence the kings who ruled the northern part of the country were also Tamils.
Lord Krishna, in the Gita, says that he first taught the Gnana Yoga to Vivaswan, who in turn taught it to his son, Manu, and Manu gave it to Ikshvaku and this “Gnana Yoga” was thus handed from king to king, who were all righteous rulers.
The 33rd Sloka in the second chapter of the ninth Skantha also says that Manu’s descendants, Visalan, Sunyabandu and Doomra Kethu ruled over the North and of them Visalan established the Vaisali Kingdom.
Hence Manu’s descendants who were all Thamizh kings took the Srirangam Ranganatha idol along with them when they went to the North as they worshipped Him.
Neither Valmiki nor Kamban had said that Lord Rama gave the idol of Lord Ranganatha to Vibhishana. But there are other evidences to show that he was given the idol of Lord Ranganatha.
But the Lord came back to Srirangam to which place He originally belonged.


In the first chapter of the “Mathsya Puranam”, it is said that Vaivaswatha Manu, son of Surya, after handing over power to his son, Ikshvaku, went to Podhigai hills to do penance.
As he had not gone to the Himalayas and preferred the Podhigai hills, it is confirmed that he was a Thamizh king.
The words “Manushivaak” and “Maanusham Vakyam” in the Valmiki Ramayana and the researches conducted in this regard show that from the beginning of the Vaivaswatha Manvantharam and during the Ramayana period Thamizh was the language spoken by human beings throughout Bharathakandam (India).


The conclusion of this research work, “Vaanmeegarum Thamizhum”, is that during the Ramayana period and even before that Thamizh, as the language of human beings (“Maanusha Baashai”) was the spoken language in the region between the Himalayas and Lanka. It was the mother tongue of the people who inhabited this landmass. Hence Valmiki, Vasishta, Agasthya and Tholkappiyar, who were Brahmin sages, Manu, Ikshvaku, Sipi, Raghu and Raghava (Lord Rama), who belonged to the ruling Kshatriya caste, Sumanthira and Sadaiappa Vallal of Vennainallur, who were the Ministers belonging to the agricultural caste, were Thamizh people or Dravidas and their ancestors migrated from the South to North.
There may be some objections to these conclusions. The first is that in the special introductory verse of the “Tholkappiyam”, the names of two places “Vadavenkadam” and “Thenkumari” are mentioned. This is taken as the boundary of the Thamizh country. Countries north of Vadavenkadam or Tirupati and those south of Kanyakumari were not Thamizh country is the claim of some Thamizh scholars. They also say that in the Ramayana period too this was the case and hence the “Maanusha Baashai” mentioned by Valmiki in his Ramayana was Thamizh and it was some other language.
The reply for this is as follows: The terms “Vadavenkadam Thenkumari aayidai” in the special introductory verse of the “Tholkappiyam” did not refer to the Thamizh country’s borders.
As it is the introductory verse, it is bound to mention the author’s name and the area where the literary work is read. It may differ from one work to another. The author of the “Tholkappiyam” is Tholkappiyar and that of “Nannool” is Pavanandi Munivar. They are two different persons. Like that the area where the literary work would prevail would also be different for two different works. If the boundary of the country where the work prevails is different from the one referred to in another work, it will have to be mentioned in the special introductory verse. If it is not so and the boundary of the country where the work prevails is the same, it will not find a place in the special introductory verse, but will form part of the general introductory verse. This will not be helpful in determining the boundary of a country. As this is not the case in this verse, it should be taken to mean that it is not the Thamizh country’s boundary but the border of the area where it prevailed and became popular.
Moreover, commentators, while mentioning the author’s name specifically say this is the name of the author of the work and the area where it will prevail. Hence in this case they have said that they are the boundaries of the land where the work will prevail. The commentators of the “Tholkappiyam”, Ilampuranar and Nachinarkiniyar, also hold the same view and give it the name “Ahappaattellai”.
“Ahappaattellai” would be of a smaller kind and it would form part of the “Purappaattellai”.
These boundaries are mentioned in the sale deeds and lease deeds executed by ancient Thamizh people and those who came later.
Hence what has been given in the special introductory verse of the “Tholkappiyam” is not the “Ahappaattellai”, which is the area where the literary work is studied and not the “Purappaattellai”, which marks the borders of the Thamizh country.
Why the borders of the area for studying various classics were earmarked by ancient Thamizh people? This was because the language of Thamizh, spoken in different regions, slightly varied and if the works weer composed in the dialects spoken in different regions, they would be more helpful to the people who studied them. Moreover they would not find fault with the dialects used in them. If it was not so, they would not not accept these literary works as they would consider them to be full of mistakes.
An expert in astrology, while writing an almanac, would have to specify the area where it would be in circulation. Otherwise it would be rejected by those in places where the time, month and year were different. This could be substantiated by different names given to months, years, etc., by those who resided in the areas north of the Vindhyas and those who lived in the southern part of the country.
Like that one who wanted to write a book on agriculture and cultivation of crops like pepper, wheat, cardamom etc., would have to specify the area where they could be cultivated. If the seeds were sown in other areas they would not be successful and the man who cultivated the crop, following the instructions in the book, would be ruing his fate and would curse the author of the work.
Like that books on various measurements would have to specify the areas where they were prevalent. The measurements vary from one area to the other, and the book written taking into consideration the measurements in one area would not be found useful in another area.
This was the main reason for specifying the areas where literary and other works would be of relevance.
During Tholkappiyar’s period, the Thamizh country included Malai Naadu (Kerala) also and hence he said “Vadavenkadam, Thenkumari” as the area where the literary work was in circulation. But during the period of Pavananthi Munivar, the author of “Nannool”, another grammar work, he could not include Malai Naadu as it did not form part of the Thamizh country and hence while specifying the area where his work would prevail, he spoke about “Guna kadal (sea in the east), Kumari, Kudagam (Coorg), Venkadam” as the area where his work could be studied.
Though the entire world was Thamizh country during Tholkappiyar’s period and Thamizh was the spoken language, it consisted of different regions and the Thamizh language spoken in them differed from one region to another; the Thamizh kings (Chera, Chozha and Pandya) joined hands to establish the Thamizh Sangam (academy) and conduct researches into Thamizh study as they wanted to specify the areas where they were studied and hence they considered the Venkada hills and Kanyakumari as the boundary for the same.
Tholkappiyar wrote the grammar for the language spoken in that area and hence Panamparanar, who wrote the special introductory verse known as “Paayiram” mentioned the borders of the area where it would prevail.
Even now various universities have their own regions where their rules prevail and they could not dictate the same to colleges and institutions in other regions where the rules of other universities would prevail. These universities have their own textbooks, conduct their own examinations and confer degrees.
In ancient Thamizh country institutions of higher learning divided the classes as “Keezh vaguppu” (lower classes) and “Mael vaguppu” (higher classes) and the textbooks meant for the former were known as “Keezh kanakku” works and those meant for the second category were known as “Mael kanakku” works.
Though the term “Kanakku” is now used to denote mathematics and the subject concerning numbers, in the past it was used to notify those concerning letters also. This is proved by the fact that the alphabet was known in the past as “Nedun kanakku” and those who taught it were known as “Kanakkayanar”. “Naaladiyar” calls teachers as “Kanakkayar”.
“Pannirupattiyal”, another ancient literary work, specifies the classes where “Keezh kanakku” and “Mael kanakku” works should be taught.
That was why ancient Sangam works were classified under these two categories. That was also why Agasthyar, Tholkappiyar and other scholars have given the jurisdiction of the area where their works would hold good as “Vadavenkadam Thenkumari”. Tholkappiyar has also said that it was in this area that “Senthamizh” (refined Thamizh) was the popular language. Though the areas apart from the 12 countries (Then Pandi, Kuttam, Kudam, Karkaa, Vaen, Poozhi, Panri, Aruva, the area north of it, Seetham, Maladu and Punal Naadu) were also the Thamizh country, they were not the area where refined Thamizh (Senthamizh) was spoken and hence they were considered as the other Thamizh country (“Pira Thamizh Maanilam”).
All these only go to show that the Thamizh country, during Tholkappiyar’s period, extended far beyond the areas where the language is spoken now. In different regions different dialects of Thamizh were prevalent.
The claim that Thamizh was spoken in the landmass north of “Vada Venkadam” could be proved by the following facts also.
Rivers that flow in the areas north of Venkadam are known by Thamizh names like “Vadapennai” and “Thozhunai” and hence the regions where they flowed were also Thamizh country in the past. Otherwise they would have been known by non-Thamizh names.
“Silappadikaram” says that a portion of the Himalayas was known by the Thamizh name of “Kuyilaluvam”.
As Agasthya came to the South after mastering Thamizh language, it should have prevailed in the North during his period and even before that.
Moreover the 18 kings and 18 chieftains whom Agasthya brought to the Thamizh country along with him were all Thamizh people. If it was not so they would have patronised the languages they spoke and there is no mention about this in any of the ancient Thamizh work.
One of the ancient dance forms of the North was known by the Thamizh name of “Kudam” and the Thamizh works concerning such dance forms and dramas should have been prevalent there.
There is a “Purananooru” poem composed by Poet Kauthaman in praise of the king of Hasthinapuram, Dharma, and hence the “Kuru” country was also Thamizh area. There were Thamizh poets and Thamizh kings who patronised them in that country.
The Thamizh custom of raiding and seizing the cattle of rival kings was practised by Kauravas. Lord Krishna won a bull fight to take the hand of Nappinnai. All these prove that Thamizh was prevalent in those regions.
“Perunkathai” says that many thousands of Thamizh people lived in Ujjain and other areas of the Magadha country.
“Manimekalai” says that a Naga king, his wife and his daughter had Thamizh names like Valaivannan, Vaasamayilai and Peelivalai. Hence the Nagas also were Thamizh people.
Hence “Vadavenkadam” and “Thenkumari” as mentioned by Tholkappiyar were not the boundries of the Thamizh country, but the area where the grammar work, “Tholkappiyam” held good.
“Paattiyal”, “Seer”, “Thalaikodal” and other forms of poetics and various kinds of poetry, which all have not been mentioned in Tholkappiyar’s works, should have been imported from “other Thamizh areas” apart from those mentioned in his work.
Hence in the area beyond Venkadam and Kumari, Thamizh, slightly different from the one spoken in the mainland, was prevalent.
The second objection is that Thamizh is also known as “Thenmozhi” and “Dramidam” and Sanskrit as “Vadamozhi” and “Aryam” and hence the former belonged to the southern part of the country and the latter to the North. This view could not be accepted.
As Thamizh was patronised by poets in the South who conducted researches and wrote down its grammar, it was known as “Thenmozhi” and as Sanskrit was patronised by the Divine poets in the North it was known as “Vadamozhi” and “Devabaashai”.
Later the Brahmins who lived in the area north of the Vindhyas came to be known as Aryans and those who lived south of it were known as Dravidas. Hence it could be safely pointed out Thamizh was spoken in the area up to the Vindhyas. When those who lived in the North began to speak Thamizh in a wrong dialect they came to be known as Aryas and the Thamizh they spoke was considered as the best form of humour.
The above facts conclusively prove that “Thenmozhi” cannot be considered to belong exclusively to the southern country and “Vadamozhi” cannot be considered to belong to the North only.