Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

The Tamil Academy: A Myth

By V. Narayanan

There is a volume of literary tradition that a ‘Sangam’ or ‘Academy’1 existed at Madura and that the two great Tamil epics, Manimekalai and the Silappatikaram, belonged to the epoch in which the Academy flourished.2 It may be useful to consider the evidence on which this tradition is based.

We have to start with a consideration of the evidence in favour of the so-called ‘Sangam works’3 being practically contemporaneous with each other. These works consist of eight anthologies, ten songs and eighteen minor poems.4

Let us start with the anthologies. The first of the eight is the Narrinai.5This consists of 400 akaval6 verses of the akam7 class, of nine to twelve lines each. One Pan-nadu-tanta Pandyan Maran-Valuti8 is responsible for this collection, but the anthologist's name is not known. The collections are prefaced by a poem in praise of Vishnu by one Perum-Tevanar. According to its editor9 there are 175 poets included in this anthology.10 The ‘excellent Kurum-Tokai collection contains 400 similar verses of three to seven lines each and is prefaced by a poem in praise of Shanmukha by the same Perum-Tevanar. Thecollection is compiled by one Purik-ko11 and includes the work of 205 poets.12 The third anthology Aim-Kuru-Nuru or the ‘Five Short Hundreds’ are by the five poets, Orampoki, Am-Muvanar, Kapilar, Otal-Antai and Peyanar. The prefatory verse is again by Perum-Tevanar.13 The anthologist is one Kutalur-kilar and the patron king is Yanaik-kat-chey Mantaram-Cheral-Irum-Porai. The next is Patirrup-Pattu or the ‘Ten Tens’ each ten being by a separate poet on a particular Chera king. The first and the last tens are not extant. The rest are on (a) Imaya-varam- ban Nedum-Cheral-Atan by the poet Kumattur Kannanar, (b) Imaya-varampan-Tampi Pal-yanai Sel-kelu Kuttuvan by Palai-Kotamanar (c) Kalamkayk-kanni Nar-Muti-Cheral by the poet Kappiyarru Kappiyanar, (d) Katal Pirakkottiya Sem-Kuttuvan by the poet Paranar, (e) Adu-kotpattu Cheral Atan by the poetess Kakkai-Patiniyar, (f) Selvak-katum-ko Ali-Atan by the poet Kapilar, (g) Takatur-Erinta Perum-Cheral Irum-Porai by the poet Arisil-kilar, and (h) Kutak-ko Ilam-Cheral Irum-Porai by poet Perum-Kunrur-kilar. The names of the anthologist and the patron of this collection are also not known. Paripatal is the name given to a species of poems set to music. Seventy such poems formed the fifth of the anthologies: only twenty-two of them and portions of two more are now extant. The anthologist and the patron of these collections are also unknown. The names of persons who set to music the extant poems of this collection are mentioned at the end of each poem. One hundred and fifty stanzas, in 'the verse mode Kalip-pa, form the Kali-Tokai, the sixth collection. One editor14 thinks that the poet Nav-Antuvanar was the author of all these poems. Another15 holds, on the strength of an old verse16 that Nav-Antuvanar was the author of only one of the sections of this anthology and that all the poems were wrongly ascribed to him because he was also the anthologist of the entire collection. The last two of the eight anthologies are the Akam and the Puram. The former, which also begins with an invocatory verse from Perum-Tevanar, includes 142 named poets besides a few anonymous ones. The anthologist is one Rudra-Janman17 son of Madurai Uppurikuti-kilan and the patron was the Pandyan king Ukkira Peru- Valuti. This king was also a poet, and one of his poems18 was included in the very anthology which was compiled under his directions. The Puram collection contains 399 poems, besides the benedictory verse of Perum-Tevanar, and includes 157 named poets19 the names of the anthologist and of the patron of this collection also are not known. The ‘Ten Poems’ or Pattu-Pattu consists of the Siru-Pan-Arrup-Patai by Itaikali-nattu-Nallur Nat-Tattanar, the Malaipatukatam by Iraniyamut-tattup-Perum-Kunrur Perum-Kausikanar, Perum-Pan-Arrup-Patai, Pattinap-Palai by Katiyalur Urittiran-Kannanar, the Kurinjip-Pattu by Kapilar, the Mullai-Pattu by Kaverippumpattinattu Pon-vanikanar-makanar Nak-Kiranar and the Maturaik-Kanji by Mangudi Marutanar and the Porunar-Arrup-Patai by the poetess Mutat-tama Kanniyar.

Besides the Ettu-Tokai or ‘Eight Anthologies’ and these ‘Ten Poems’, there were eighteen Minor Poems which went by the name of Patinen-Kil-Kanakku.20

Let us leave the ‘Ten Poems’ and the Eighteen Minor Poems aside for a moment and confine ourselves to the eight anthologies. These eight anthologies fall into five groups: the Akam songs in the akaval mode, which are, according to their length, included in one or other of the three collections, the Kurum-Tokai, the Narrinai and the Netum-Tokai or the Aka-Nanuru and in Aim-Kuru-Nuru; the Akam poems in the Kalippa mode which form the Kalit-Tokai; the ‘Ten Tens’ and the PariPatal, which were set to music, and lastly the Puram poems.

It may be noticed that the poet Kapilar has his poems included in all the anthologies except the Paripatal, and, for aught we know, he might have been the author of some of the missing Paripatals. One Orampokiyar's poems are found in five anthologies; so are the poems of Palai-patiya Perum-katum-ko, Paranar, Perum-Kunrur-kilar, Maturai Marutan Ila-Nakanar and Perum-Tevanar.21 Eighteen other poems are found in four of the eight anthologies, thirty are in three and sixty-eight in two.22 On the whole, according to one computation23 there are 486 named poets in the whole collection, while others consider that over 500 poets are included.24

With this knowledge of the nature and contents of these eight anthologies, we are in a position to appreciate the tradition about the three Sangams. The earliest mention of the Sangams is in the prefatory portion of the commentary ascribed to the poet Nak-Kirar on Iraiyanar's Grammar on Akam. There is an Iraiyanar whose poem is included as No.2 of the Kurum-Tokai and the tradition has it that this poet was no other than Lord Siva himself and that the poet Nak-Kirar found fault with this poem, as he found fault with many other Poems presented to the third Academy, and was for his pains cursed by the Lord. The curse, says the tradition, was removed by the poet singing Tiru-Kuruk-Arrup-Patai, one of the ‘Ten Poems.’ The same Nak-Kirar had this commentary read before the Academy and accepted as the best on the Lord's Grammar on Akam.

Certain distinctions must be kept in view in the discussion of this as well as other literary traditions. We have seen that the ‘Sangam works’ are in the nature of anthologies and, according to the manuscripts, they were collected at different periods by different anthologists. Such collections are known to the early Tamil grammarians as Tokai; and Dandin, the well-known Sanskrit author, calls them sanghata, and his annotator cites these Tamil anthologies as examples of sanghata. The manuscripts call these only Tokai. In the early references in literature there is no mention of the word ‘Sangam.’

Secondly, there were in Tamil India, as elsewhere, conferences of poets, pandits and religious men convened by kings. The convocations were also sometimes held for setting the hall-mark of approval on particular poems or doctrines. Such Assemblies or Sangams are referred to, which later miracle-mongers confused with the ‘Sanghata’ literature, and built stories on names like Iraiyanar. After the ‘Sangam’ anthologies had achieved the reputation of classics, later writers call their poems ‘Sanga-Tamil’ or Classic Tamil.25 Such claims are also made by annotators of works like the Silappatikaram and Manimekalai to indicate that those poems are done in the classic style. A confusion about these distinctions might help the growth of a tradition that there were three literary academies in the Tamil land at different times and that in the third, forty-nine poets sat in solemn conclave and passed judgment on four hundred other contemporary poets.26

We are now in a position to evaluate the tradition recorded in the prefatory portion of the commentary to Iraiyanar's Aka-porul. "It is said that those who formed the last Sangam and scrutinized Tamil literature are Siru-Metaviyar, Sentam Putanar, Arivutai Aranar, Perum-Kunrur-kilar, Ilam-Tiru-Maranar, Maturai-Asiriyar Nav-Antu-vanar, Marutan Ila-Nakanar, Kanakkayanar-makanar Nak-Kirar and others numbering forty-nine.27 Including these, the poets were 449. Their songs are the four hundred Netum-Tokai, the four hundred Kurum-Tokai, the four hundred Narrinai, the five short hundreds, the ‘Ten Tens,’ the one hundred and fifty Kalis, the seventy Paripatals, Kuttu-vari, Per-isai, Sirr-isai, etc. Their nul or Grammars were Akattiyam and Tolkappiyam. They sat at the Sangam or academy and scrutinized Tamil for 1850 years, it is said; those who formed them into an academy were kings from Muta-Tiru-Maran whose kingdom was lost by the inroad of the sea, down to Ukkira Peru-Valuti, forty-nine in all, so they say. The place where they assemble was, they say, North or Uttara Madura. And it is said that among these, three Pandyas were accredited poets." 28

Some scholars29 have accepted this tradition with a pinch of salt. But it is obvious that Nak-Kirar of the anthologists could not be the author of this passage or of the commentary to which it is prefixed, as that commentary refers to a Mara-Varman, who is ascribed to the 8th century, unless, indeed, the anthologies which include Nak-Kirar's poems can all be said to have been compiled in the 8th century itself.

Nor can we agree with the view that the Sangam epoch covered a few centuries only and not 1850 years according to this tradition. An examination of the Contents of these anthologies reveals (a) that certain Poems celebrate mythological incidents (for instance, one of the Cheras is said to have fed both the armies in the Mahabharata War) and (b) that certain poems celebrate the same miraculous incidents, ascribing them however to different kings. A number of kings are said to have achieved what King Canute failed to do. They had each of them, after the manner of Lord Shanmukha, thrust their lances at the ocean and reclaimed lands there from.

Lastly, the poets used to sing about kings as if they were their contemporaries even when they sang about mythical kings and have often attributed the achievements of the heroes of old to their royal descendants. These features deprive, to a very great extent, the value of any information gatherable from the anthologies; and it is not proper, by skilful manipulation to reduce the dates of these kings, some of them mythical, to a period of five centuries of literary activity on no other evidence than the above-mentioned tradition.

All that we can say about these eight anthologies is this: they comprise poems which are the oldest available in Tamil literature; being anthologies, they range from the very beginnings of Tamil poetry down to the time when they were collated. The anthologies being collated on different occasions, some earlier and some later, the poets could not have been all contemporaries nor could they have belonged to a particular epoch exclusively. Probably the last of these anthologies was compiled in the 7th or 8th century30 at a time when the Silappatikaram and Manimekalai were published. The astronomical data in some of the Sangam poems point to the 5th and 7th centuries and there are other reasons urged against fixing the second century as the ‘Sangam Age.’ There will be no need to canvas arguments against the value of the evidences urged in favour of a later period, once the collation of these anthologies at a later date is admitted.

We may now consider the chronological evidences contained in the two Tamil epics, Manimekalai and the Silappatikaram. The other extant epic, the Jivaka Chintamani, has been assigned to the 10th century A. D. and it is only the former two epics that are claimed to belong to the ‘Sangam Age.’

In order to understand the arguments for and against this view, it is necessary to know something about the structure of these poems.

The story of the Silappatikaram is briefly told. A young merchant prince of Kaverippattinam, Kovalan, neglects his good wife Kannaki for a lovely courtesan, Matavi. He becomes impoverished, and one night when he suddenly returns home, his wife thinks it was to get money for this courtesan and offers her golden anklets to him. This rare sacrifice reforms Kovalan and he resolves to start life afresh in Madura, selling the anklets there.

Arrived at Madura, Kovalan leaves his wife at the shepherds’ quarters and goes into the city to sell one of the anklets. At the instigation of the king's goldsmith, who fathers his own theft of the queen's anklet on Kovalan, he is ordered to be killed by the king; Kannaki learning of her husband's death accuses the king of his rash judgment the king realising his error dies instantly of a broken heart on the throne. Kannaki's anger sets fire to the city.

Directed by the goddess of Madura, Kannaki goes to a distant hill in the Chera country where her dead husband comes to take her to Heaven with him in his aerial car. King Sem-Kuttuvan thereupon goes to the Himalayas to bring stones for the image of Pattini-devi Kannaki and builds a temple in her honour, bathing the stones in the Ganges on the way. The princes whom he conquered on the way in his pious expedition carried the stones on their royal heads. The Chola and the Pandya kings and king Gajabahu of Ceylon attend the installation of Pattini whose cult spread everywhere. These form the three books Pukar, Maturai and Vanji respectively, and are prefaced by a prologue which describes how the author heard from the hill-tribes of the neighbourhood of Kannaki's ascent to Heaven and how the poet Sattanar of Madura told him the story which he rendered into verse in the presence of his brother-poet. There is also an epilogue which narrates what the kings of Chola, Pandya and Ceylon did to appease the goddess Pattini.

Manimekalai takes the story from the end of the second book, the Madurai-Kantam. Manimekalai, the daughter, and Matavi, the courtesan, became anchorites on hearing of the deaths of Kovalan and Kannaki. The miracles in Manimekalai's life are then described and how she finds solace at last in Buddhism. The prologue to the poem says that Ilam-ko, the author of the Silappatikaram had this poem recited before him.

For Manimekalai there is no old commentary, but for the Silappatikaram we have an old commentary and a rather late one by Atiyarkku-Nallar. In the preface to the latter commentary we have reference to the second Sangam and also to the passages in the Silappatikaram where Manimekalai's name occurs31 and also to the opinion that in as much as the Silappatikaram treated of dharma, artha and kama, and Manimekalai treats of moksha, the two were together considered as one maha-kavya.32This plea of homogeneity apart, the poems have little in common.33 The patikam in the Silappatikaram is of doubtful authorship and one is led to doubt the authenticity of even the third canto, the Vanji-kantam.34 As has been well pointed out, the Silappatikaram differs from Manimekalai in this respect that its main story, up to the point of Kovalan's murder by the king's guards, is quite probable and miracles step in only later, whereas in Manimekalai the author resorts to the supernatural almost from the beginning.’ Again: ‘it revels in the supernatural and, towards the close, becomes boresome.’ For this fault and other reasons, a scholar of our day has doubted its reputed authorship, and suggested that it was probably put together by a monkish poetaster.’ In this connection, it will be well to remember the familiar practice of Jain and Buddhist writers to adopt, modify and supersede the Hindu legends with a view to inculcate their own doctrines and to propagate their own religious beliefs.35 It is therefore possible to assign a later date to Manimekali than to the Silappatikaram, to allow time for the Silappatikaram, the Hindu or Jain epic, to gather popularity before the Buddhist story is tacked on to it. We can dismiss the testimony of the authors of these two poems36 that they were contemporaries of the events they set forth and that Ilam-ko was addressed by the Pattini at the festival37 as a trick of the trade not unknown in other literatures or to our own age.38

Next, as to the data available for fixing the date of Manimekalai. The author, Maturai Kula-vanikan Sattanar, is referred to in the Silappatikuram (Patikam) as Tan-Tamil Sattan and in Chapter 25 (in the third Kandam) as Tan-Tamil-Asan Sattan and ‘Nan-nur-Pulavan.’ In the eight anthologies there occur the name Sittalai Sattanar39 and Madurai Kula-vanikan Sittalai Sattanar.40 Perasiriyar the commentator of the Tolkappiyam, refers to ‘Manimekalai composed by Sittalai Sattanar.’ Whether there is here any confusion of names of two different poets, we cannot say. Even if the poets of the anthologies referred to variously as Sittalai Sattanar and Madurai Kula-vanikan Sattanar41 are one and the same person, the author of Manimekalai, that does not help us in fixing the date of that epic, for we do not know when the Nar-rinai or the Kurum-Tokai or the Aka-Nanuru or the Pura-Nanuru were compiled.

The date of Manimekalai has however been sought to be ascertained from other data. At the time of the story there was a Chola viceroyalty at Kanchi. It is therefore inferred42 rightly that the story refers to a period before the Pallava ascendancy, but it does not follow that the author of the epic was also Pre-Pallava, unless we accept the tradition that the author was a contemporary of the events he described. It is very easy for the author who pretends contemporaneity to support his case by references to Pre-Pallava Kanchi in his poem. But the description of the Pre-Pallava Kanchi betrays the author's date. Reliance is placed on a reference to a battle at Kariyaru in Manimekalai which is interpreted as referring to a side attack by the Chera king, but the Chera and the Chola kings were friends according to the Silappatikaram and the Chola attended the installation of the Pattini-devi at the Chera capital.

The author is led into this error, probably because the Chera and Chola kings contemporary with him or of the immediately earlier period were often enemies of each other. Then again, in the Silappatikaram there is a prediction that Kaveri-pattinam would be destroyed by the sea, and during the course of events described in Manimekalai, the city is described as so destroyed. A perusal of the description of the destruction of the city indicates clearly that the poet was not a contemporary author at all. We can safely conclude that Manimekali was composed by a poet who came a long time after the Silappatikaram and after the events that he developed into a religious romance.

Lastly, Manimekalai has been studied from another view-point. The philosophic systems described by the author are, according to one set of scholars, post-Dinnagan, which takes the poem to a period after the fifth century; this is explained a way by saying that the particular school of philosophy exemplified in Manimekalai might have existed in Kanchi in the second century A. D., although it was put in book-form by a 5th or 6th-century author or philosopher, –a possible explanation if the original exponents were Tamil (which apparently they were not). This explanation is needless, for the evidence of the philosophical systems does not contradict any established fact but rather supports the date we are led to by other evidence.

There remains the discussion of the date of the Silappattikaram. Here also, the poet apparently is not a contemporary–at least of the events of the third Kantam in Uraiperu Katturai, is mentioned the contemporaneity of kings, Senguttuvan, Gaja-bahu, Korkaiyil-irunta Verri-vel Seliyan, the Kosars, and the Chola Perum-Killi. There is considerable difficulty in establishing the contemporaneity of these kings.43 This difficulty has led some to the inference that the poet probably blundered in his attempt to antedate his poem.44 These data, calculated the date to be 756 A. D.45 He remarks that although the Pattini cult might have been in existence in Ceylon earlier it came over to India only in the 8th century and in all probability this epic was written to support the new cult and advocate it.

Then, there is what is known as the astronomical evidence. The poet describes the appearance of the heavens when Kovalan fled with his wife from Kaverippattinam to Madura. The annotator supplies more details of the aspect of the heavens. One scholar has, relying on it is argued that two passages in the commentary on Iraiyanar-Akaporul refer to the Silappatikaram and that there is therefore no doubt that the epic was in existence at the time of the commentary,46 but this does not help us much as we have already seen that the commentary in is later than a Mara-Varman of the 8th century A. D. A similar inconclusive evidence is furnished by a Venba at the end of the second canto of the Silappatikaram and by a quotation from Manimekalai which refers to a particular Kural in praise of the chaste wife. The Kural has been identified by some as Muppal, one of the eighteen minor collections about the date of which, however, nothing is known.47 The Kural might have been composed some time after the eight anthologies had been made, if the tradition that the 49 poets of the academy praised it was a contemporary tradition. 48

As a result of this discussion we may conclude that the tradition about a ‘Sangam Age’ is opposed to and is not supported by reliable evidence, and is a mere myth, that ‘the eight anthologies’ were collected at different periods of Tamil history, that in all probability the Sattanar of these collections was different from the author of Manimekalai, that the Silappatikaram was in all probability a work either contemporaneous with the latest of the eight anthologies or even later still, that neither the Silappatikaram nor Manimekalai treats of events contemporaneous with the authors thereof and that Manimekalai came several years after the Silappatikaram and was in no sense its twin.49

1 The tradition in fact is that three such academies existed; but Dr. S. Krishnaswami Iyengar thinks it is one academy with three marked periods of literary activity: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture, II.

2 Dr. S. Krishnaswami Iyengar has accepted this tradition with some convenient modifications in his Manimekhalai in its Historical Setting.

3 I have pointed out in the Journal of Oriental Research, ii, 149-151, that the word Sangam is in all probability a variant of the Sanskrit word Sanghata, which means an anthology. Perhaps, the credit for the discovery should go to the printer of Dr. S. K. Aiyangar's Some Contributions, –he having made it appear that ‘Sangam is the Sanskrit Sangha’ –for Dr. Aiyangar has stated that the latter word ‘means ordinarily no more than an assembly’ (p. II).

4 According to the preface to the commentary on the grammar on ‘Akam’by Iraiyanar which contains the earliest reference to the three academies.

5 First in the order of an old venba which sets out the names of the eight anthologies; the order is influenced by the exigencies of the verse-mode and is neither chronological nor logical.

6 Akaval and kali are verse-modes.

7 Akam and Puram are two broad classifications in Tamil literature. Dr. S. K. Iyengar renders Akam by ‘erotic’ and Puram by ‘heroic’.

8 His date has not been fixed.

9 The late Pandit Narayanaswami Iyer, 1914.

10 There are about 2,500 poems sung by different poets on different occasions in various verse-modes, Akaval, Kali and Paripatal, and falling under the two-fold classification Akam and Puram. These poems were gathered into eight anthologies under the directions of different kings and by different anthologists.

11 Nothing is known of this Purik-ko either.

12 Vide the introduction to the Pura-Nanuru, edited by Mahamahopadhyaya V. Swaminatha Iyer, and the introduction to Kurum-Tokai, by Tiru Maligai Sauri-Perumal-Arangar.

13 From the fact that Perum-Tevanar's poems are prefixed to some of these collections, Mr. G. S. Duraiswami considers him to be a post-Sangam poet: Tamil Literature: Sangam Age.

14 The late Pandit Damodaram Pillai in his edition of the Kali-Tokai.

15 Pandit E, V, Anantarama Iyer in his edition. Mahamahopadhyaya V. Swaminatha Iyer agrees with him.

16 The five poets according to this venba are Perum-Katum-ko, Kapilar, Marutan Ila-Nakanar, Nal-Urittiranar and Nav-Antuvanar.

17Dr. S, Krishnaswami Aiyangar has erroneously read this name as 'Rudra Sarman'. .

18 The 26th in Pandit Rajagopala Aiyangar's edition.

19 K. S. Srinivasa Pillai puts the number at 159 in his Tamil Varalaru.

20 Differences exist in the enumeration even of these eighteen minor poems, which are due partly to differences in identification of the names given in an old verse and partly to variations in its reading. I have in my introduction to the Nalatiyar (Mylapore) pointed out these differences. The generally accepted eighteen are: -

(1) The Nalatiyar. (10) The Tinaimalai Nurraimpatu.

(2) The Nanmanikkatikai. (11) The Tiruk-Kural

(3) The Iniyatu Narpatu. (12) The Tiri-katukam.

(4) The Inna Narpatu. (13) The Asarak-kovai,

(5) The Kalavali Narpatu. (14) The Palamoli.

(6) The Kar Narpatu. (I5) The Siru Panchamulam.

(7) The Aintinai Aimpatu. (16) The Mutumolikkanchi.

(8) The Aintinai Elupatu. (17) The Elati and

(9) The Tinaimoli Aimpatu. (18) The Kainnilai.

Of these No. (11) infringes the Ilakkanam or description of these eighteen poems and therefore some think that there was another Muppal not now extant. Some Mss. read Innilai for Kainnilai. An Innilai has been published by Mr. Tillaiyati Ta. Vetiyappapillai with commentary by Mr. V. O. Chidambaram Pillai.

21 Probably a poet of the period when some of these anthologies were made whose verses the anthologist has freely borrowed for the purpose of invocatory verses.

22 Mr Duraiswami's Tamil Literature: Sangam Age.


24 K. S. Srinivasa Pillai in his Tamil Varalaru says: "From a computation made from the available Sangam poems alone, Kanakasabhai Pillai says that there are names of over 500 poets, and Mahamahopadhyaya Swaminatha Iyer says that there are over 700 names. It will be useful to examine their names, their places of birth, their lives, their poems and their contents with a view to learn the following: (1) which of these poets were earlier and which were later; (2) the patrons and the kings contemporaneous with them, (3) the prevailing modes of life and beliefs (4) the early history and early religions in South India (5) The general life of the Tamilians of these times." If none competent to undertake this monumental task were forthcoming. Mr. Pillai thought of doing it himself. It is not yet known whether he

has left any valuable manuscripts behind.

My friend Mr. T. G. Aravamuthan, who has been engaged on a similar work for some years, has almost completed a comprehensive account of the numerous poets and potentates of the literature of the Sangam Age, and endeavored to marshal them in chronological sequence, on the basis of the evidence gleaned from that literature.

25 Instances of this are found in Sri-Andal's Tirup-Pavai, in Tirumangai-Mannan's Periya Tirumoli, and in the Tevaram.

26 ‘What actually does make the tradition look very suspicious is the extraordinary length of time that is given to each one of these periods. It is this impossible longevity in the traditional account that stamps the whole tradition connected with these two bodies as entirely false in the estimation of modern scholarship’–Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture p. 12.

27 Some of the names of poets included in the eight anthologies ascribed to the third Academy are herein recited as having sat in the first or the second Academy–a fact which reduces this record of the tradition to almost no value.

28 The uselessness of this passage for historical research is made out by the late K. Srinivasa Pillai in his Tamil Varalaru, ii 15 to 21, and by Mr. G. S. Duraiswami in his Tamil Literature, 54 to 56.

29 Dr. S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar and Mr. G. S. Duraiswami among them.

30 In that case, there may be some truth in considering Perum-Tevanar's poems as having been included in the original anthologies: besides, there may be some truth in the tradition that Iraiyanar's Grammar was annotated by Nak-Kirar and reduced to writing (in an enlarged form possibly) some generations later.

31 The original passages are capable of other meanings and explanations than those attributed to them by the annotator.

32 This ingenious interpretation of Atiyarkku-Nallar is due to the erroneous rendering in Tamil of the Sanskrit phrase of Dandin about maha-kavya lakshana. A maha-kavya need not deal with all the four purusharthas: it is sufficient if it deals with one of them. In fact, no kavya deals with moksha directly, either in Sanskrit or in Tamil. Valmiki claims for even the Ramayana that it is only dharma-artha-kama-sahitam, dealing with dharma, artha and kama. It is significant that the Tiruk-Kural deals only with these divisions, and there also the Tamil annotators consider an explanation necessary. Mahamahopadhyaya Swaminatha Iyer apparently doubts the authenticity of this passage. It is interesting to note the scholastic reasoning of Sabhapathi Navalar in his Dravida Prakasikai, 292, defending the Saivite Sattanar's exposition of Buddhism in his Manimekalai.

33 A. Madhaviah says: ‘Besides being comparatively simpler in style than most other poems of the Sangam Age, Manimekalai is by far the most modern in spirit of them all’–an observation of an acute critic, which is significant when the test of style or spirit is applied to the problem whether the poem belonged to the Sangam age or not.

34 For which Atiyarkku-Nallar has no commentary.

35 The usefulness of such a procedure adopted by men of religion for inculcating their own views through poems is exemplified by the case of the other Tamil epic the Jivaka-Chintamani. It is said that it was with a view to avert a Chola king’s succumbing to a study of the Chintamani that the Periya-Puranam was composed by the Saivite saint, Sekkilar.

36 There is only the evidence of the prologues to support this which might be the composition of another author and possibly of a later time even. Dr. S. Krishnaswami Iyengar in his 'Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.'

37 This reference to Varam-taru-katai is ambiguous and the whole of the third kantam stands apart from the first two kantams of the Silappatikaram.

38 Mr. A. Madhaviah in his Manimekalai, viii. He says: ‘I remember how Valmiki too claims to have lived at the time of Rama and to have taken no insignificant part in the incidents of the immortal epic which bears his name. It may be that this was a form of literary convention in those days. Nor do I forget the fact that several historic personages whose co-existence has been verified by other and more authentic records and referred to are made to figure in these works.’

39 In the Nar-rinai and the Kurum-Tokai and in two of the Aka-Nanuru poems.

40 In the Pura-Nanuru and in three of the Aka-nanuru poems. The Puram poem is sung in praise of Pandyan Chitra-matattu-tunjiya Nan-Maran. Apparently, this anthologist does not adopt the story of contemporaneity of Sattanar with the Pandya who died on the throne, Arasu-kattil-tunjiya Pandya Nedum Sataiyan.

41 The probabilities are that they are different and the poet of the anthology belonged to a place called Sittalai, while the corn-merchant author of Manimekalai belonged to Madura. Sittalai is probably a place name. A venba in the Tiru-Valluva-Malai or Garland of Verses in praise of the author of the Tiruk-Kural attributed to the 49 poets of the Sangam, refers to the ‘pus-pate of Sattan’, or rather to his headaohe, but the whole ‘Garland’ is obviously spurious; although Ilam-Puranam, a commentary on the Tol-kappiyam, supports this interpretation.

42 By Dr. S. Krishnaswami Iyengar.

43 Sem-Kuttuvan's age is determined on other evidence by Pandit M. Raghava Iyengar, but the other kings in that case are not his contemporaries.

44 Mr. Subramania Iyer, in his article on ‘Ancient History of the Pandya Country in the Christian College Magazine, 1914, says: ‘My own view is that the authors, not knowing the time when the kings mentioned by them individually flourished, have treated persons belonging to different ages as contemporaries and thus brought together a Gajabahu, a Nedunjeliyan, and a Karikala as living at the same time. In my article on the date and times of the last two kings, I have adduced reasons to prove that they must have lived at least a century apart. I would further state that if you examine carefully the contents of Manimekalai, you find mentioned in this work, assigned to the second century A. D. systems of belief and philosophy that could not have struck root till the 8th and 9th centuries.’

45 The late L. D. Swamikannu Pillay. About this Dr. S. Krishnaswamy Iyengar in his Beginnings of South Indian History says: ‘The few details that the author mentions in the texts are taken in combination with perhaps the somewhat clumsy calendrical efforts of the commentator who at the lowest estimate came three centuries after the author and what is worst of all in the case, these details from this combination are altered in almost very essential and particular to fit in with the fixed date 756 A. D.’

46 By Dr. S. K. Iyengar in his Beginnings of South Indian History.

47 The Nalatiyar is an anthology by one Padumanar who has been ascribed to the 9th or 10th century.

48 But apparently it is not; and stanzas from the Kural might well have been excluded from the anthologies although their author was earlier because the schemes of the anthologies did not allow its inclusion.

49 The prose passage at the end of the Silappatikaram, which is called Nurkatturai and which ends with the words Manimekalaimel Urai-porul-murriya Silappatikaram-murrum, is an obvious accretion to the text after Adiyarkku-Nallar and his commentary.

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