Sunday, September 28, 2014


    The Madras University following the example of the other Indian Universities has adopted Devanagiri alphabet for Sanskrit and insists upon Sanskrit being brought up in that alphabet, which however prevails only in the other Presidencies. But from time immemorial that alphabet has been unknown to Southern India where the language has even been studied in the various vernacular alphabets current in the South. The Telugu, Canarese and Malayalam sections have been studying Sanskrit in their respective alphabets and another alphabet called Nagari seems also to be current in Mysore. The Dravidian alphabets have been so modified as to suit Sanskrit as well. The re-modelling of the Dravidian alphabets to suit also Sanskrit seems to have taken place at a very early period and there appear no traces of any other alphabet having been ever in use in the South for study of Sanskrit. The only language that has ever persistently refused to modify its alphabet on the Sanskrit model is Tamil and its Dravidian alphabet which is unsuited to Sanskrit is the ancient alphabet which has come down to us from the time of Agastya. Tamil therefore without interfering with its ancient alphabet framed another alphabet called the Grantha characters for the exclusive purpose of reading and writing Sanskrit. This is the only alphabet in which the Tamilians have ever been known to study Sanskrit.

    This persistent adherence to its ancient alphabet even at the sacrifice of much convenience and elegance is quite characteristic of the Tamil population who have with equal tenacity refused to borrow the Sanskrit metrical formulae for the purpose of explaining the Sanskrit metres which appear to be current in Tamil literature from a very ancient period. But with regard to the latter, there might well be a question even at the end of the Nineteenth century whether there are any Sanskrit metres at all in Tamil as there admittedly are in the three other Dravidian languages: though the author of Virasoshyam which seems to be a very ancient book has made a futile attempt to introduce the eight Sanskrit formula into the language under however names differing from those prevailing in Sanskrit which attempt has proved totally unsuccessful as those formulae are unknown to the Tamil grammarian. But as no attempt has even been made to explain, or scan, or classify or even name the countless Vrittahs which, on a careful investigation, appear to be divisible not only into ancient and modern Vrittahs but also with regard to their origin, into Tamil, Dravidian and Sanskrit, there might be some excuse for adhering to the ancient method formulae without borrowing from Sanskrit or altering them in conformity with its sister languages. But the introduction of Sanskrit words into the language is openly acknowledge by all and has never been an open question as Sanskrit metres in Tamil might prove to be whenever an investigation is started into their structure and origin; and various are the artifices resorted to by the Tamil writers and sanctioned by the grammarian in expressing Sanskrit words in the language. It rather preferred mutilating, distorting and otherwise changing the Sanskrit words in their passage to Tamil and laying down hard and fast rules as to the forms that Sanskrit words must assume in the inadequate Tamil alphabet, to re-modelling its alphabet on the Sanskrit as its sister languages have done.

    Sanskrit as studied in the North in Devanagiri seems to have attracted the attention of European scholars who began originally to study the language in that alphabet and their influence in the Madras University very probably accounts for the unmerited preference shown to it over the local alphabets of the South. We don't know what proofs there exist for supposing that Rama and Krishna wrote and studied in that alphabet; beyond the fact that this alphabet has prevailed in the North, the prior abode of the Aryans. Devanagiri seems to bear a close resemblance to the local alphabets of the North just as the Grantha characters resemble Tamil.

    Very strong proofs alone that Devanagiri is the ancient alphabet can justify the University in rejecting the time honored local alphabets and introducing a foreign alphabet unknown to the Pandits of Southern India. If Devanagiri were the ancient alphabet, no people would be more likely to appreciate, no people would be more likely to appreciate, adopt and perpetuate it on the ground of its venerable antiquity than the people of the South and yet they are never known to have recognized it, but on the other hand the different sections of Southern India have unanimously ignored it with all their reverence for antiquity and adopted their own and the Tamilians even went the length of framing a new alphabet when they found their own inadequate for Sanskrit. It is not a question of blind custom which can be replaced but the local alphabets have become too deeply associated with the language to be easily interfered with. These are significant facts and require careful consideration in determining the question of the superiority of Devanagiri. None of us ever aspire to become sounder scholars, or achieve greater fame, or exert more enduring influence over Southern India than Sankara, Ramanuja, Nilakanta, Appaya and others and are there proofs that these men ever read or taught Sanskrit in Devanagiri? Have they ever attempted to revive in the South the ancient alphabet prevailing in the North as they have revived their respective Siddhanti Schools of Philosophy? If these learned men have not thought fit to introduce the Northern alphabet, why should the University force it upon the unwilling students of the South. Bombay and other Universities adopt it because it is their alphabet and why should Madras follow it for the sake of mere uniformity if it is not the alphabet prevailing within its jurisdiction. A local Pandit commences to read this alphabet only on his appointment to a School or a College as a Pandit. The difficulties of a grey haired Pandit in learning to read and write an unwieldy foreign alphabet must be great and perhaps for years together he is unable to write even after learning to read. These drawbacks are not exposed as the Sanskrit students are not tested by Government Inspectors and Assistant Inspectors who do not generally know Sanskrit.

    Professor Monier Williams in the introduction to his Dictionary observes as follows with regard to Sanskrit alphabet. "It is certainly remarkable that the whole Vyakaranam of Panini unlike Greek Grammar appears to ignore written symbols as if Sanskrit was never intended to have any peculiar graphic system of its own. In South India, Sanskrit is written in different characters and the first inscriptions found on rocks are in Pali and Prakrit, not in Sanskrit. They are referred to Buddhist sovereigns who possessed political power in India about 3rd century B. C. The present form of Nagari is thought to be little older than tenth or eleventh century of our era, the power of ancient and sacred association cannot certainly be pleaded for the maintenance of the present form of Nagari."

    At first sight the question may seem to be of small moment but judged from the history of the University Sanskrit education in the past, the consequences are far reaching. School and College students have to import books from Bombay and Calcutta and sometimes have to wait for weeks together before they could find out the names of the book-sellers and write to them, while very cheap books in the local alphabets are procurable next doors and perhaps some of them annotated in vernaculars just as they are taught by their Pandits.

    If local Sanskrit editions with commentaries are purchased by Sanskrit students, Pandits may come forward and bring out school editions of the books with vernacular annotations excellently suited to students. Not only would Sanskrit Pandits be thereby indirectly patronized but an impetus to Sanskrit study would be given by offering facilities to amateur readers. But as matters now stand, there seems be no touch whatever between the University students and the local Pandits. There are two points standing and the local Pandits. There are two points standing in the way of the local Pandits helping the Sanskrit students. The 1st is the alphabet which is unknown to the local Pandits and the 2nd is the study of Sanskrit under English annotations. Upon merits we don't object to the latter method as English bears a closer resemblance to the structure of Sanskrit than the vernaculars. But a study of Sanskrit under vernacular annotations is for all practical purposes preferable as such a course would help the student in his after study. But perhaps the method of questioning and answering the Sanskrit papers in English cannot be given up at present though we don't see how the difficulty is insuperable if only proper books by local Pandits are placed in the hands of students from the very beginning instead of Grammars written and Text books annotated in English. But whatever may be said on that point, it is feasible to bring the local Pandits into closer touch with the students by encouraging the latter to purchase local books with local vernacular notes. It is the Sanskrit Pandits that are the least favored of the vernacular Pandits. We do not mean to impose upon the University the duty of patronizing the Sanskrit Pandits but we only desire to afford greater facilities to Sanskrit students and by inducing a larger publication of cheap vernacular editions of classical Sanskrit works, to promote a study of Sanskrit by amateur readers. That the University does exercise some sort of influence over the revival of vernacular study may be seen from the fact that in Tamil several ancient classics quite unconnected with Theology the sole study of the modern Pandit and reader have been lately published under the indirect auspices of the University who prescribe portions therefrom for examinations. No such influence is traceable to Sanskrit literature of the South. Its influence if any passes over the other Presidencies and local literature and local Pandits have not in the least felt the influence of the University. Sanskrit Pandits derive no sort of support from the University not only because their books are not purchased but they are not in a position to annotate the University Text books which are brought out by men of University education who cannot lay claim to as much proficiency in Sanskrit as those who have exclusively denoted their time to it. The Sanskrit alphabet therefore requires the reconsideration of the Senate and unless conclusive proofs are forthcoming, the local alphabets must be restored by the University but if it does not see its way to the abandonment of its favorite alphabet altogether then it might require every student at the Matriculation to know Devanagiri as well. Each student may be required to bring up his own alphabet and as is very likely the case, if Devanagiri is not brought up then he may tested in that alphabet at the entrance examination.

    A Tamil Sanskrit graduate may have the richest legacy of Sanskrit classics in Grantha characters but if he does not know the alphabet they will be of no use to him and may fail to create in him that taste for study which the possession of a good library must induce in a graduate. Theological treatises in Tamil abound with Sanskrit quotations and these are of course printed in Grantha characters and a Sanskrit graduate reading such works will find the quotations unreadable though in his own language. Perhaps all Sanskrit works are procurable in Devanagiri in the other Presidencies but how can we get out Bombay and Calcutta friends to bring out editions of Tamil works with the Sanskrit quotations in Devanagiri? The Sanskrit graduate therefore unless he takes special care outside his college to read the Grantha alphabet can derive no help from the local books nor help his own men with his own productions if any. The new University alphabet is therefore attended with a good many serious consequences as judged from the history of the past and it is doubtful whether at the time of its introduction very serious consideration has been bestowed on the subject and now that the question of the oriental side is under consideration it will not attended with the full measure of success unless this little change is made in the University Sanskrit.



[* A paper read before the Young Men's Hindu Association, Madras.]

    KURAL, in Tamil, signifies a couplet of a peculiar metre. As the work is composed of such couplets, it passes by the name of Tirukkural, by synecdoche, Tiru ( ) denoting holy. The author goes by the name of Tiruvalluva Nayanar. These are the popular names by which the work and the author pass current in Tamil Literature and among Tamil scholars. There are other honorific designations for the author, such as Saint, First Poet, Divine Poet, Brahma and Great scholar; and for the work, such as the work of three books, Modern Veda, Divine Work, Faultless word, Tamil Veda and Universal Veda.

    Those of you, who wish to have our idea of the personal appearance of the sage, may proceed to his shrine at Mylapore, a minute's walk from the Barber's Bridge, and witness the statue of the canonized saint. The folded knot of his lock, the bushy moustache and beard sweeping over his breast, the gravity of the forehead, the broad eyes revealing his noble heart, and the grace of his majestic frame are such as remind one of Plato and Socrates. Add to these, the beads in his right and the moral code in the left hand, the saint in a sitting posture on a raised seat, seeming to impart instruction to his disciples, you will verily believe that he is a Tamil Rishi next to Agasthya. He is in fact said to be the great grandson of Agasthya. At least the genealogy framed by the pandit's states so.

    Modern researches of Tamil scholars of critical acumen, and also internal evidence of two of the Five Great Tamil Epics, go to establish, that Tiruvalluva Nayanar live in the first century of the Christian era, if not earlier. At any state, the Dark Ages of Europe had not entirely passed away, the Middle Ages had not yet dawned, the Mohamedan caliphate there was not, and Christendom was just in its seed-pot, when our moralist was planning his work, and bending over his loom for his daily bread, in the great historical city of Mylapore. Most of the great Champions and Leaders of Hinduism, in its various aspects of Sivaism, Vaishnavism, and Adwaitism, made their avatars a considerably long time after our great Eclectic. Nevertheless it was an age when the Tamil country was, within historical periods, for the first time, in its zenith of power and fame. The Tamil country was a great commercial Emporium between the East and the West. The Aryan Brahmans had long ago colonized the Dravidian country, and secured, to some extent, ministerial and spiritual offices under the Three Great Tamil sovereigns. The third and last Tamil College of the Pandiyas in Madura – the then great University of Southern India – was in a flourishing state. At the metropolitan seats, we understand from contemporary literature there were Buddhist and Jain shrines side by side with Vaishnava and Saiva temples. There were temples dedicated to Indra and Brahma now forgotten deities. It seems to have been an age of Religious toleration. It was an age, when learned scholars were patronized by gentlemen, heroes and kings. It was an age of wide poetical creation. It was also an age, when other fine arts received princely patronage. It was the Elizabethan and the Augustan age, as it were, of the Tamils. Excepting the modern wonders of the Press, steam and electricity, the age seemed to be an archetype of the enlightened current century.

    In such an age, and such a country, and amidst such classical surroundings, was born, at Mylapore, the Socrates of Southern India – the last of the seven issues of the intermarriage of a Brahman and an outcaste, as tradition would have it. It is not our purpose here to eke out truth, by analyzing the myths and legends in the crucible of modern scholarly criticism. That there was such a personage who produced the great work is sufficient for our present purposes. Nor need we expatiate upon the spotless and unsullied life said to have been led by this Solo Gnanion of the Tamils.

    His work is one of the two oldest works now extant in Tamil Literature in their entirety, the other being the great grammar of Tolkappiyanar. That this work has been preserved these 1800 years and more, without the least addition or omission, is a lasting evidence of the greatness and immortality of the work. Many subsequent works of even a later production have undergone such multifarious textual variations that it is impossible in many passages to find the real author. The Tamils regard the Tirukkural of Tiruvalluva Nayanar in such high veneration, that they believe the author to be an incarnation of the creator of the universe – the great Brahma, and have canonized this paragon as a literary saint. Kural is to the Tamils what the Holy Bible is to Christendom, the Koran to the followers of the Prophet, and the divine Vedas to the Brahmans. And its unique feature is that it is not admixture with any mythology or any special theology. Let us now analysis the contents of this great moral code – 'the master-piece of Tamil Literature'.

    Tamil Literature is based from very remote times on a peculiar philosophical classification. Subject matter of the domain of literature relates to either internal or external phenomena, matter interior (அகப்பொருள்) or exterior (புறப்பொருள்). The former deals of the passions and affections of the mind which act on man internally; and the latter of things external to man. The former treats especially of clandestine and wedded love; and the latter of the ways of living and thriving in the world, i.e., of virtue and wealth. Virtue, wealth and love are all held as subservient to, and as means of, obtaining Eternal Bliss, which is not discussed in books, as it is incomprehensible and indescribable. It is now clear that the Brahman classification of the objects of humanity into Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha is well involved in a highly philosophic form in the Tamil classification. Tiruvalluva Nayanar, in the largeness of his heart, has imposed upon himself a humanizing task of leaving to the world a work which forms as it were a ladder to Eternal Bliss. Any genius, even of the first class, can add no more to his work complete in itself. He discusses at large Virtue, Wealth and Love, leaving his readers to infer that one who passes safely through these three ordeals is a welcome guest in Heaven.

    In the Third Book of 25 chapters, on clandestine and wedded love, will be found the various shades of niceties in the growth and fruition of Love, better than you can trace them in the plot of a well-developed English or French novel. There are also a number of other works in Tamil which elaborate Love in all its traits. They seem to uphold an imaginary and airy ideal of Love. Some of these traits are embodied even in purely religious hymns and sonnets. Manickavasagar a veriest ascetic – has written a work detailing these traits in praise of Siva at Chidambaram. And it seems a paradox that there should be a Book on Love at the end of our profound moral code. This ideal is explained by a great scholar and poet of the Madura College in the following manner: - One who is initiated into this ideal of love will ask his reverend master "what, sir! Is the way of enjoying this love impossible for mortals?" The reverend sage answers the question – "You will have, my dear son, before you enjoy this divine love, to perform austere penance", and initiates his willing disciple into the mysteries of penance.

    The disciple after passing through the ordeal of penance penetrates into himself, and begins to abhor the burden of his flesh and its meanness, to depreciate the lusty love which opened his way to penance, and to see divine light. This divine light leads him unto heaven and perennial bliss even unto eternity. This is the philosophy of the Love of Tamil Literature. And it is a matter of gilding the pill. To those who have not a lesson of this philosophy of Love, one half of Tamil Literature is but a lusty love. You now see that there is Ethics, why even divine Ethics too, in this Third Book of Kural.

    Passing over the first four chapters of the work, which form only a kind of introduction to it, we will take a pleasant walk through an avenue of 104 chapters, which are distributed between virtue and wealth, 34 for the former and 70 for the latter. Of the 34 chapters on virtue, 20 are devoted to Domestic virtue, and 14 to Ascetic virtue. This is the First Book. As for the Second Book on Wealth, it should be here observed parenthetically that Tamil scholars are of opinion that a delineation of the virtue and policy of the sovereign involves all that should be said on Wealth. Of the 70 chapters on wealth. 25 chapters are devoted to Royalty, 10 to Ministers of State, 22 to essentials of a state. The remaining 13 chapters form an appendix to this Book or rather to the first two books. The earthly Ethics of Kural must therefore be evolved from the first two books.

    These first two Books draw the attention of every foreigner who begins and likes to have any acquaintance with Tamil Literature. The extreme exaggerations and hyperbolical language of the Epics repel him. But he pauses over these two Books, and admires the logical order of the subjects discussed, the pithy moral enigmas, and the sublime tone of morality inculcated therein. He who first despised the Tamils as half clad heathens and semi-barbarians now admires them for the valuable treasure locked up in their language. These two books are an eye sore to the Christian missionary who always comes to the east puffed up with the so-called sublimity of Christian morality. He can deprecate any other thing in Tamil Literature. But this ancient and splendid monument, he dares no slander. This is a stumbling block which can brow-beat the most sublime ideas of Christian morality. The Christian missionary, under the impression that our author lived between 800 and 1000 A. D. has attempted to establish, that the Christian scriptures were among the sources from which the poet derived his inspiration, as in that time Mylapore was a center of Christian asylum on the Coromandal coast after the advent of St. Thome after whom the place is now called by Europeans. But this statement of the missionary is an absurd literary anachronism. Our friend does not give his reasons; but that it is correct there can be no doubt. Prof. Seshagiri Sastriyar, M.A., states some of them in his new pamphlet "Essay on Tamil Literature" which will be noticed more fully in our next.

    Except in the appendix we can only glean morals incidentally here and there from the Second Book. The appendix has some chapters on affirmative morality such as Honor, Greatness, Perfection, Courtesy and self-reprobation; and also some on negative morality such as Dread of Poverty, Mendicancy, and Dread of mendicancy and Vileness. The general drift of the appendix is that one should by dint of perseverance and industry try to raise his social status, and preserve his self-respect and independence. The author advocates Agriculture as the best of professions. This appendix in short reveals the ideal citizen who instead of being a drone feeding on the product of other's labor should be an ornament of society by exhibiting traits of nobility, honor, greatness, and perfection, at the same time relieving the indigent, and sustaining the prestige of the family.

    The first part of the Second Book on Royalty explains the ideal sovereign. He should be well read, and keep befitting company. He should not let opportunities slide. He should use his discretion in the choice of civil and military servants. His scepter should be of gold firm yet popular and not of iron. He should ever be active without any despair in affliction.

    The second part on ministers of state discusses their qualifications, and their conduct in the royal court and while on embassy. Here the author shows such minute observations and study of political manners that he is really Baconian in his discussion.

    The third part on the Essentials of a state explains the necessaries of a kingdom, policy to be observed in international relationship, and the tactics of warfare. This part also forbids Uxoriousness and Harlotry, Intoxication and Gambling. The last chapter explains a very simple practical art of prolonging life and health.

    The last chapter of the First Book discusses the Force of Destiny which is all powerful. The second part of the First Book on Ascetic Virtue teaches mercy to animals and forbids Animal food; insists on Penitence and protests against the Inconsistent conduct of Ascetics; discourages Fraud, Wrath, Giving pain to others and killing; and encourage Truthfulness. This part also commends Wisdom, Knowledge of Truth, Renunciation and Extirpation of desire, and reveals the Instability of earthly things. This part might well have found a place at the end of the volume, but the author's plan justifies its present place.

    The first part of the First Book depicts Domestic Virtue, and it is the part which upholds the model man and householder. The author finds that Domestic Virtue preponderates in the balance, and gives his palm to it.

    "The ideal householder leads on earth a consecrated life, not unmindful of any duty to the living or to be departed. His wife – the glory of his house – is modest and frugal; adores her husband guards herself, and is the guardian of his house's fame. His children are his choicest treasures; their babbling voices are his music; and his one aim is to make them worthier than himself. Affection is the very life of his soul; of all his virtues the first and greatest. The sum and source of all is Love. His house is open to every guest, whom he welcomes with smiling face and pleasant word, and with whom he shares his meal. Courteous in speech, grateful for every kindness, just in all his dealings, master of himself in perfect self-control, strict in the performance of every assigned duty, pure, patient and forbearing, with a heart free from envy, modest in desires, speaking no evil of others, refraining from unprofitable words, dreading the touch of evil, diligent in the discharge of all the duties of his position, and liberal in his benefactions, he is one whom all unite to praise" Rev. Dr. Pope.

    We have glanced over the contents of the volume. We are not in Utopia. The work propounds an ideal monarchy with ideal householders and citizens and true ascetics, all enjoying the sweets of the world unsullied, and attaining Divine Bliss. Those who can command leisure can make a comparative study of Valluvar's Kural and Plato's Republic. I am sure Valluvar's monarchy will out do Plato's Republic.

    Having gained a comprehensive view of the author and his work, we may now recount the Ethics of Kural. We have here no scope for a psychological study of the work. An Ethical and Aesthetical study of it can very well be made, ethical in as much as we have a system of rules for regulating the actions of men, and aesthetical in so far the author conveys his ideas in a beautiful and attractive manner.

    Domestic Virtue is based on affection. Devoid of affection, one's body is but a bony frame clad in skin. Body is the seat of life only when love resides within. Hospitality is the essence of domestic virtue. The great at your gate is as delicate as Anicha flower. It withers with a smell, and the guest is abashed with but one cold look. Sweet words accompany Hospitality.

    Who sees the pleasure kindly speech affords*

    Why makes he use of harsh repellent words?

    When pleasant words are easy, bitter words to use.

    Is leaving sweet ripe fruit, the sour unripe to choose.


[* These verses are quoted from the excellent Oxford edition of Rev. Dr. G. U. Pope, M.A., D. D.]

    Gratitude comes next. To be grateful, one need not return a good done to him. Feel the benevolence of it, enough. It is so strong that the mere thought of one good effaces the deadliest injury done you by the self same person. Gratitude is not measure for measure and weight for weight. It is here that you should make a mountain of a mole-hill, a palmyra of a millet seed. It does not become you to forget a good done; it is very good to forget an evil done you. In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said "If ye forgive men their trespasses, you heavenly Father will also forgive you" But our author advises you to forget trespasses, and he is only in the positive degree. In his chapter on Patience he is in the comparative degree.

    With overweening pride when men with injuries assail

    By thine own righteous dealing shalt thou prevail.


    In another place where he would have you "shame your enemies by returning kindly benefits and pass unheeded the evil done by them", he is surely in the superlative degree. And yet he does not fall short of Jesus who preached in the above said resermon "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you." But in advising to forget other's trespasses.

Though our author is peculiarly strong on gratitude, yet he would not let you for its sake by impartial in your dealings.

    To stand, like balance rod that level hangs and right; weighs,

    With calm unbiased equity of soul, is sage's praise.


The author then admonishes us to guard our tongue that unruly member of our body: -

Whatever they fail to guard, over lips men guard should keep

If not, through fault of tongue, they bitter tears shall weep.

The sore inflamed by fire may heal, not so

The sore inflamed by tongue.


Those who soil the sanctity of the conjugal bed are numbered with the dead by the author. He would count with ascetics these who endure with patience the evil words of transgressors, and would place even ascetics in the lower grade for the sake of these men. Then Envy cause of all ruin.

Envy they have within! Enough to seal their fate

Though foemen fail, envy can rain consummate.


A word of warning against Coveting: -

What saves prosperity from swift decline?

Absence of best to make another's cherished riches thine.


And then against Back-biting: --

In presence though unkindly words you speak, say not

In absence words whose ill result exceeds your thought

It is greater gain of virtuous good for man to die

Than live to slander absent friend and falsely praise when nigh.


The chapter on
, which is given to the needy deserves the name of gift; all else has in view recompense". "To receive is bad though good it be said. To give is virtue though you gain no heaven". The goal of the householder is renown. Without this, life loses its charms. Even the ideal presented by the great peasant poet of Scotland in Cottar's Saturday Night does not excel our ideal.

Ascetic virtue is based on Grace, as Domestic virtue on Affection. Grace is interpreted as the renunciation of flesh eating. When there is no one who would eat flesh, there will be no one who would sell flesh.

Than Ten thousand rich oblations, with libations rare,

Better the flesh of slaughtered beings not to share.


Then are rebuked those who hood-wink the world under the cloak of asceticism. These are wolves in sheep's clothing.

If you shun what all the world condemns as wrong,

What's the worth of shaven head or tresses long?


Fraud is then condemned –

'Tis sin if in the mind man but the thought conceive,

By fraud I will my neighbor of his wealth bereave.


Then the author upholds Truth which he explains as speech free from all taint of evil. If you utter what you know to be false as true, your own heart brands you. It matters not if you may leave other acts of virtue undone, if you but uphold the cause of Truth.

Outward purity water will bestow

Inward purity from Truth alone will flow.


In this chapter of Truth, the author gives a plain practical advice, which rigid moralists may not allow.

Falsehood may take the place of truthful word,

If blessing, free from fault, it can afford.


This in that part of the book which preaches on Ascetic virtue! It is from this contextual position that the advice receives its striking significance. Our author is a humanitarian. He seems to belong to the school of utilitarian's who seek the greatest good of the greatest number. Truth is intended for the greatest good of the greatest number. If, at an exceptional moment, falsehood can do that office which Truth cannot do, of course without giving the least injury to any one, falsehood for the time being may (The words covey the idea that it is only a shift, like a gilt ornament for a really genuine gold one. It is no truth) occupy the place of truth. It will neither chide nor brand you, because no one suffers. And yet this is no sin as there is no equivocation in it as in "Aswathama Athah Kunjarah" of Krishna in the Bharata war.

Then follows Suppression of Anger. Suppressing your anger is really so only when you can do it where you can exercise your power and authority. What matter, if you check, or give it vent, where power you have none? As anger begets an endless train of evil, quench it: nip it in the bud. He who guards not against wrath, him his wrath shall stay. The drift of the chapter forbidding evil to others concurs with the great precept of Jesus "All things whatsoever Ye would that men should do to you, do Ye even so to them".

Whose soul has felt the bitter smart of wrong, how can\

He wrongs inflict on ever living soul of man.


Let us now proceed to gather some hints on morality from the many chapters of the Second Book on Wealth.

1.    So learn that you may full or faultless learning gain;

    Then in obedience meet to lessons learnt remain.


2.    Perceptions manifold in men are of the mind alone

    The value of the man by his companionship is known.


and this reminds us of the English saying

"Tell me your companions and I shall tell you what you are"

3.    Weigh well the good of each, his failings closely scorn.

    As these or those prevail, so estimate the man's.


4.    Of greatness and of meanness too

    The deeds of each are touchstone true.


5.    Whatever you ponder let your aim be lofty still,

    Fate cannot hinder always thwart you as it will.


6.    His family decays and faults unheeded thrive,

    Who, sunk in sloth, for noble objects doth not strive.


    Then on the Way of Earning Wealth.


    Their wealth, who blameless means can use right,

    Is source of virtue and of choice delight.

    Wealth gained by loss of love and grace,

    Let man cast off from his embrace.


    We then approach the chapters on Friendship.


1.    What so hard for men to gain as friendship true?

    What so sure defense against all that for can do?


2.    It is not for laughter but for reproof when

    You stray from right that you befriend.


3.    Mean is the friendship that men blaze a forth

    He's thus to me and such to him my worth.


4.    As hand of him whose vesture slips away

    Friendship at once the coming grief will stay.


5.    Buy at all cost the friendship of the good,

    And sell away even at a loss that of the bad.


    There are many other fine sayings on Friendship. But there are two couplets whose sublimity even Bacon will admire.


1.    Not folly merely, but familiar carelessness

    Esteem it, when your friends cause distress.


2.    To him who can neither receive as such, nor construe as such the injury inflicted by a friend, the day his friend offends will appear a day of grace.


    Whoredom, Intoxication and Gambling are condemned wholesale.


1.    As one in darkened room some stranger corpse in arms,

    Is he who seeks delight in mercenary women's charms *


[* We draw the attention of our Gallant General to this Chapter.]


2.    The drunkard's joy is sorrow to his mother's eyes

    What must it be in presence of the truly wise.


3.    Gambling is misfortune's other name over whom she casts her evil.

    They suffer grievous want and sorrows sore bewail.


    We have then of Greatness –


    All men that live are one in circumstance of birth

    Diversities of works give each his special worth.


    The chapter on Perfectness – consummation of all morality deserves special attention.


1.    All goodly things are duties to the men, they say,

    Who set themselves to walk in virtue's perfect way.


2.    The good of inward excellence they claim

    The perfect men, all other good is only good in name.


3.    Love, modesty, beneficence, benignant grace,

    With truth, are pillars five of perfect virtue's resting place


4.    The type of penitence is virtuous good that nothing slays;

    To speak no ill of other men is perfect virtue's praise.


5.    What fruit doth your perfection yield you, say!

    Unless to men who work you ill you good repay?


6.    Call them of perfect virtue's sea the shore,

    Who, though the fates should fail, fail not for evermore.


    Notwithstanding all his sublime morals, the venerable author would not revolutionize society. When you are at Rome, he would have you live as the Romans do.

    As dwells the world, go with the world to dwell

    In harmony – this is to wisely live and well.

    Here is no danger, as in Tamil classics, world does not mean the masses, but denotes the wise.

    From this rough bird's eye view of the Ethics of Kural, we find that the author is a cosmopolite – citizen of the world, except that he speaks and writes in Tamil. His work is of universal interest. It has found a home in England, France, Germany and Italy. Every sectarian in India – at least in Southern India, claims kindred with the author. The Christian missionary has gone so far as to call this grand system of morals, an Echo of the Sermon on the Mount. The Rev. Drew, however, wrote in 1840 thus: - "The Kural has a strong claim upon our attention, as a part of the literature of the Country, and as a work of intrinsic excellence. The author, passing over what is peculiar to particular classes of society, and introducing such ideas only as are common to all, has avoided the uninteresting details of observances found in Manu and the other shastras and thus in general maintains a dignified style. It cannot be supposed necessary for the sake of Christianity to deny to such works whatever degree of merit they may possess. Christianity requires not the aid of falsehood or of concealment. Nor need we wish to blacken the systems and books of the country beyond what truth will warrant. The Kural itself, esteemed the best book of morals written by a Hindu, is an illustration of this remark". And again M. Ariel, quoted in Rev. Pope's preface to his valuable Edition of The Kural, speaks of the work as 'one of the highest and purest expressions of human thought' and adds "That which above all is wonderful in the Kural is the fact that its author addresses himself, without regard to castes, peoples or beliefs, to the whole community of mankind; the fact that he formulates sovereign morality and absolute reason; that he proclaims in their very essence in their eternal abstractedness, virtue and truth; that he presents as it were, in one group the highest laws of domestic and social life; that he is equally perfect in thought, in language and in poetry, in the austere metaphysical contemplates of the great mysteries of the Divine nature, as in the easy and graceful analysis of the tenderst emotions of the heart". Rev. Pope calls him "the greatest Tamil classic author, who sung of so many topics 'touching all things with poetic grace" and also asserts that "It is not probable that Tiruvalluvar translated a single sloka from Sanskrit. Kural is certainly not an anthology, but the perfect and most elaborate work of one master. The weaver of Mylapore was undoubtedly one of the great geniuses of the world. He is the venerated sage and lawgiver of the Tamil people of whom there are about ten millions inhabiting the central and southern Carnatic", and sings of the author thus.

    "Sage Valluvar, priest of thy lowly clan,

    No tongue repeats, no speech reveals thy name;

    Yet, all things changing, dieth not thy fame,

    For thou art bard of universal man."


The religion of Valluvar is a puzzle to this day. Every couplet of his work is tight enough for elaboration into a sermon in any country for any religion. The author bases morality no doubt upon theology. A good or an evil action is a passport to heaven or hell. Even his invocation of the Supreme Being does not give us a clue to his religion. His theology must, therefore, be only natural theology, and his religion only natural religion. Can it be otherwise with the bard who said that "Death is but sleep and birth but an awakening from it" which reminds us of Words worth's line in his ode in Intimations of Immortality.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,

The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star.

Hath had elsewhere its setting

And cometh from a far;

        Not in entire forgetfulness

        And not is utter nakedness

    But trailing clouds of glory do we come

        From God who is our home.


    Gentlemen, I am not a student of the Theory of morals. I cannot tell you precisely whether the author is an Intuitionist, Perfectionist or Hedonist. I leave the precision for theorists, though I am inclined to call the venerable sage a utilitarian – Perfectionist, on the whole, for he insists on the purity of mind, word and deed, for the happiness of all. Perfection of human nature is the be-all and end-all of Kural.

    "In the world there is nothing great but man

    In man there is nothing great but mind"


said somebody. Our author would add

    In mind there is nothing great but moral perfection.

    Is there any body in the world who would raise his voice against the moral perfection of man? What is any religion but a dull sermon on this perfection? The lives of great men and saints are but a commentary on this. A parliament of religions cannot have a better subject for discussion. The summum bonum of Education cannot have any other aspiration. This doctrine of perfection of human nature is the essence of the Ethics of Kural. A study of Sanskrit opened a high road to the region of Philology. A study of Kural may open another to the region of comparative morality, and thus pave a way for the long dreamed Universal brotherhood of man. Before I resume my seat let me make one humble bow to the Prince of Moralists.









Wednesday, September 17, 2014


    Nobody doubts now that India has a rich legacy of glorious traditions: but all thoughtful men are surprised to find they remain yet but a dead letter. Very fine to hear are some of the thoughts and deeds of our ancient progenitors; and to follow them out to their end in practice is of course out of the question with 90 percent of modern Hindus. And the worst of it is, that while the majority confess constitutional weakness and honestly cry quarter, there is now and then a small minority of self complacent and go a head men who would poo-pooh the whole as arrant trash invented by mischief-making brains to keep the common place coward down.

    Some of these lip-reformers of yesterday making for nothing more substantial than frothy talk are often as contemptible as the quarrelsome fanatics who show more fight to people than God and Religion. And it is a sad misfortune that we now have in our ranks for the most part only men of these diametrically opposite tendencies with whom the golden mean is at best but a chimera not possible of realization in the plane of man's scene of action.

    Sermons it would appear are now-a-days preached more as a fashion and for entertainment and the Godly are scarcely solicitous to aid their flock in the formation of their spiritual character.

    Men need to be made sensible that Religion is a personal thing, a matter of personal application and experience. His is but a partial and unsatisfactory faith which is concerned wholly with the state of society in general and allows him to neglect the discipline of his own affections and the culture of his own spiritual nature. Is it a wonder therefore that we sometimes observe and marvel that some of the so called gentlemen of education, who arrogate to themselves the credit of being the depositories of all that is wise in refinement, delicacy, and virtuous principle in this country of ours should often scandalously forget themselves or rather willfully act in a manner that gives the lie to all their presumptuous boastings. But the consolation, if it is one at all, is that India has been no single and glaring exception. History reveals as a demonstrable fact that intemperance, debauchery and crime have not and then desecrated the homes of the Godly to whose sniveling's, whining's and lugubrious lamentations the sacred halls of Jewish had echoed invariably.

    Religions then is much too often mistaken for its very opposite Irreligion and vice versa.

    Hinduism – Aryanism – Siddhanta – Vedanta – or even better – the Vedanta-Siddhanta as it is often expressed has suffered much at the hands of those who would seem to profess it today, not that our Religion has become degenerated; but it is a sure sign now that all Hindus as a nation have for long been blindly galloping towards rain and annihilation.

    The srutis, it would appear, begin with teaching ahimsa and end in taking us to total self-abnegation or our only goal – selflessness.    

    Non-injuring any living ting, aforliari non-killing the lowest form of life in God's creation on any account are the mottos that are blazoned on any and every banner claiming to be Hindu however widely they may differ one from another in minor details of dogmas and rituals. Hindu Ethics itself is based on this Divine Law or command and the Hindu believes that no salvation is attainable by one who is a perfect stranger to all Jeeva Karunya.

    Of course it is very comfortable to believe in a God who gave the animal for man as his food. As well might the tiger argue from his own standpoint that his God made man as his food. The argument answers both ways surely. But the humble Hindu does not understand the logic in it.

    His glory is to be perfectly innocent of the life (flesh and blood) of any living thing however low its manifestation might be. Non-killing is his watchword, he would therefore avoid altogether fattening on beef and pork and such pleasant things. But even that does not exhaust his idea of Ahimsa altogether. Sometimes a feeling or a sensation would kill with the fire of a thunderbolt in much less time than a dagger or an arrow would. He must accordingly exercise constantly what he calls Jeeva Karunya, the only anodyne to all evils humanity is heir to. This would no doubt involve bearing and forbearing on his part, no small amount of self-sacrifice as it is called. And it is in such self-sacrifice that Religion begins for him and ends when he attains to the supreme knowledge that he is not his little body.

    Having premised thus for, we shall now proceed to translate the treatise in Tamil on "கொலைமறுத்தல்"
by திருத்துறையூர் சாந்தலிங்க சுவாமிகள் only remarking enpassant that we shall only be able to treat our readers to a short history of the life and various works of our sacred author at a future date before we shall have rendered the whole work, into the Lingua Franca of the modern civilized world.









    (a) Plain. – I bow in adoration to the elephant Vinayaka Deva who was born to Shiva of Sakti to help virtue and good and destroy sin and evil in the world of man.

    (b) Philosophical. – Salutations to Sat-Chit-Ananda (Pranava Roopy) in whom ignorance or avidya is nowhere and ananda ever inherent as Swaroopa.

Vinayaka, One above whom there is none: or Him beyond whom there is no beyond or That which itself uncaused is yet the cause of all causes. Aum! The Pranava is the life and soul of all existence. The Vedas never begin or end anything without first pronouncing this Mantra – the holy of holies.

    Vedic Ritualism. No Karma would bear any fruit unless Ganesa is to begin with invoked and installed as the presiding deity over it.


Sunday, September 14, 2014


    Atmanam aranim kritva, pranavamcha uttararanim

    Gnana nirmathanabhyasath, pasam dahati pandithah.


IN our Tamil edition was appearing an excellent translation of Kaivalyopanishad by that great Tamil and Sanskrit scholar of Jaffna, Srimath Senthinathier, who is now staying in Benares. His commentary is a most valuable one, tracing as it does the passages in Kaivalyopanishad to other similar passages in various other Upanishads. This Upanishad is by some called a sectarian and a modern one. This we deny and we will take some other fuller opportunity to expound our views on the age of the Upanishads. At least this is older than the time of Sri Sankara who includes it among the Pancharudram which he has commented on. The Mantra,

Atmanam aranim kritva, pranavamcha uttararanim

    Gnana nirmathanabhyasath, pasam dahati pandithah.


following as it does Mantra 13 and 14, Part I. Swetaswatara Upanishad, and with Mantra 11 above would completely demolish the theory of that talented lady Mrs. Besant, that the Ishwara evolves and the sole purpose of his so evolving is that he make himself manifest from his unmanifest condition like butter from cream, fire from sticks &c. The passage as it occurs in her last beautiful Adyar lecture is as follows "As salt in the water, in which it is dissolved (Chandogya VI, 14) as fire in the wood before the fire sticks are rubbed together, as butter in the milk that is brought forth by churning, (Swetas I, 14 to 19) as cream in clarified butter (Ibid IV, 14) so is Brahman concealed as the Self of every creature" (Hinduism p. 16). No doubt the form in which she has quoted herself has misled her. The passages themselves are these (we quote from Mr. Mead's translation and from no other).

    "By knowledge of God, cessation of all bonds

    With sorrows perishing, birth and death's ceasing comes

    By contemplating him, with body left behind,

    All Lordship, Pure Passionless is He" – (Mantra 11).


    How is this knowledge of God to be obtained? The next verse says,

    "This is to be known as ever surely settled in the (self, soul); beyond this surely nought is knowable at all. When one hath dwelt upon what tastes, what is tasted, and what doth ordain, all hath been said. This is the three-fold Brahm (Sat, Chit and Ananda) (Mantra 12)." The unbelieving may ask, "how do you say God is concealed in our soul, body, we do not see it. No it is not there." The answer is given, illustrating it at the same time and explaining the mode of realization, in the next Mantra No. 13.

    "Just as the (outer) form of fire, withdrawn into its source, cannot be seen, yet there is no destruction of its subtle form, - once more indeed out of the upper and lower stick it can be drawn, - so both indeed (are to be found) by means of the word's power within the body."

    This is more fully explained in the next Mantra.

    "One's body taking for the lower stick and for the upper Om (the word), by meditation's friction well sustained, let me behold the God, there lurking, as it were."

    In the next Mantra, several similes are heaped together to illustrate the same subject.

    "As oil in seeds, butter in cream, water in springs, and in the fire sticks fire, so is that Self (Paramatma) found in the Self (Jivatma) – by Him who seeks for Him with truth and meditation – The Self pervading all, as butter milk pervades, in meditation and self-knowledge rooted, that Brahman, theme sublime of sacred teaching, of sacred teaching theme sublime."

    We will quote again Mantra 16 in part IV, relied on by Mrs. Besant, as well as the Mantra preceding it before we finish our comments.

    "Surely is He the guardian of all, in every creature hid; in whom the seers of Brahm, powers divine are (all) conjoined. Thus knowing Him, one cuts the bonds of death. Most rare, like as it were that essence rarer far then butter clarified, Him knowing (in his form) benign (Siva) in every creature hid, though one (yet) all embracing knowing Him God, from every bond one is free."

    Any one reading these verses together as we have read it, will fail not to see that the theory of Mrs. Besant gets no footing here at all. This simply explains the way of salvation of the bound Soul (Jivatma) and the nature of the Supreme. The bound Soul which cannot see the 'subtler than Shiva' (IV 14), by pursuing the Sadana herein indicated, namely the search after Him with all one's heart and with all one's soul in all love and in all truth, with the aid of the divine word, will surely behold the Supreme, hid in himself, not the Supreme as himself, and then his bonds will be cut-off, and the darkness will vanish as the Sun rises in one's horizon. Butter is butter whether it remains in the milk or separately. It itself gains little in one condition or other, but it makes a vast deal to the person who has to eat it. No sane man will think that it matters anything to the Supreme, whether he remains or unmanifest but it matters a great deal to his creatures who are wallowing in the murky darkness of sin and misery. There are those again who think Pasatchaya is alone that occurs in Moksha and that the freed Soul is in itself and with no knowledge or enjoyment of any sort. No doubt, the moment of Pasatchaya is also the moment when he recovers his own self (one of the two comprised in 'both',* of Mantra 13, the other being God) and at the same moment is the Divine Effulgence cast full on him, enveloping him on all sides and swallowing him up wholly. "I know the great Purusha, sun-like beyond darkness, Him and Him only knowing one crosseth over death; there is no other path at all to go." – (Mantra 8, Part III).

[* Mr. Mead absurdly supposes that both refers to the lower Brahm and higher Brahman, that the God of Mantra 14 is the lower Brahman or Ishwara, the 'Self" of Mantra 15 and 16 is the higher Brahman. Reading again these verses together could any discover any difference in the nature of Godhead in these Mantras?]

    Nothing can be clearer than this passage, as to the person seeking salvation, the object of the search, and the mode of attainment, and the only path of securing it. But is one's powers all sufficient? No. "Smaller than small, yet greater than great in the heart of this creature the Atma (G0d) doth repose. That, free from desire, He (creature) see, with his grief gone, the mighty Isa, by His Grace." (Mantra 20, Part III).

    These two mantras are reproduced in the famous verse No. 7 "House of God" in Tiruvachakam a valuable translation of which we printed in our August number.

    "Light of Truth that entering body and soul has melted

        all faults, and driven away the false darkness,

    "O Splendor that rises in my heart, as asking I melt."

    "This day in Thy mercy unto me, thou didst drive away the darkness

        and stand in my heart as the Rising Sun."


    And the let reader ponder well again on the whole verse 7. Every blind man's heart desire is to regain his eye sight (His own self-atma) but suppose he regained his eye sight will the darkness be removed, which formerly pressed on his eye. Not surely, unless the Glorious Sun (God) deigns to show to him in His Supreme Mercy (அவனருளாலே அவன்றாள் வணங்கி), And the Sun is of course of no use to the blind man so long as his blindness lasted. So he has to realize himself by இருவினையொப்பு (being balanced in pleasure and pain) and மலபரிபாகம் (Removal of his Egoism) and to realize His maker, till now hid in his heart. And people have asked and will ask always, whether there is pleasure from this passage from bondage to Freedom. And Saint Meikanda Deva asks us to consider the case of blind man passing from darkness to sudden Light. Will there be pleasure or not? Did it ever matter to the Sun, in any whit when it was hid from the blind man and now when it shines fully on his newly opened eyes?

    "It was Thyself Thou didst give and me Thou didst take.

    Beneficent Lord, who is the gainer?

    Endless bliss I have gained. What hast Thou gained from me?

    O Lord, that hast made my heart Thy temple, Siva,

        dweller in the great holy shrine,

    O Father, Sovereign, Thou hast made Thy abode in my body.

        For it I have nought to give it in return."*


[* Verse 10 of the song Thiruvachaka Hymn. "The House of God."]

    To remove all doubts that the Being to be sought after is not one's own self, the passage 'Atmanam Aranim Kritwa' refers to the self (Atma) itself as the lower piece of firewood. In the Swetaswatara, it was the body that was the lower piece in which case both, Soul and God could be realized, but generally the phrases, in my body, in my eye, in my heart, in my mind, and in my soul mean almost the same thing, including soul and all below it.

    Our Saint Appar puts in beautiful and unmistakable Tamil, the idea conveyed in these Upanishad Texts:-    

    விறகிற்றீயினன் பாலிற்படு நெய்போல்

    மறைய நின்றுளன் மாமணிச் சோதியான்

    உறவுகோல் நட்டுணர்வு கயிற்றினால்

    முறுக வாங்கிக் கடைய முன்னிற்குமே.


    (Like the fire latent in firewood and ghee in milk,

    Non-apparent is the Great Light

    With the churner of love and rope of knowledge

    One excites friction, He will become manifest before him.)



Sunday, September 7, 2014




    THIS is called by Tamil authorities the 'second' great poetical classic, but for what reason it has this high rank learned men have not been able to discover. It is however a very remarkable quasi-epic, in twelve cantos, containing 2,131 quatrains; is a Jain composition, and bears a close resemblance, in many respects, to the Jivaga Chintamani, having much of the same fervid spirit of real poetry, and something of the same fairy machinery.* [* The only Tamil word for fairy is anangu (அணங்கு). This is a prakrit form of the Sanskrit an-anga (=incorporeal). Comp. Kurral 1081 etc.] The reader may, in spite of many obscurities, feel that it is even more interesting, as it is certainly more edifying, than the aforesaid superb poem.

    It has been edited by the veteran Tamil scholar, C. W. Tamotharam Pillai, Rao Bahadur, who has bestowed infinite pains on the text. The critical apparatus is still, alas! to come. Of the author, Tola-mori-devar (தோலா
) and of the sources of his inspirations, nothing really authentic has been preserved.

    The story of this poem is exceedingly peculiar, and will lead to some interesting questions, to which it is to be hoped scholars in Jain literature may find the answer.

    In this earthly world there is a country called Curami (சுரமை) ('The Delightful'), and its capital is the great city of Bothanam. Here a mighty king called Prajapathi reigned. His two principal wives were Migapathi and Caca. The descriptions of the country, the city, the magnificence of the king and the charms of the ladies occupy a very large space, and seem to us more than ordinary tedious, though each quatrain is faultless according to every precept of Tamil grammar and rhetoric. This kind of verse, consisting of an infinite number of cunningly imagined and executed mosaics, is certainly not adapted for stories possessing any absorbing interest. Petrarch's Sonnets and Canzoni are nearest to our author's style.

    These two queens became the happy mothers of sons, of whom the younger, Divittan, son of Caci, was in reality an incarnation of Krishna, and bore the same dark hue as the God.

    Of course, the Jain author of the poem regards Vishnu in all his manifestations as possessing supernal powers, no doubt, but still as not rising to the dignity of a real divinity. It is somewhat curious to see the use these Jain poets make of Hindu mythology, just as we might sing fairy songs in which Greek, or Latin, or Scandinavian, or Hindu divinities were introduced. The poem before us was written absolutely from a Jain standpoint.

    The elder son, whose name was Vijayan, was of a fair complexion, and a manifestation of Bala. † [† Compare புறநானூறு
56. Bala-raman (Bali [வாலி
], Bala-bhadra), was the elder brother of Krishna (See Muir's Sanskrit texts, vol. IV p. 260. etc.)] The younger son, Divittan, is the real hero of the poem. Both princes were of extraordinary beauty, and received the most careful training. Earth could not show their peers. When they had arrived at their eighteenth year, a soothsayer presented himself one day at the court of Prajapathi, and said to him: "O king, from the fairy world an elephant seemed to me in a dream to descend and bring a white wreath, with which it crowned the younger prince and bore him away. The meaning of this dream is, that a certain king of fairyland has a daughter who will come to be the bride of the younger prince Divittan within seven days. As a sign of the truth of this a fairy messenger will forthwith descend into your flowery park with a letter from that king.' Prajapathi was overjoyed, and commanded one of his guards to await in the pleasure park the arrival of the promised messenger.

    In all the poetry of South India the soothsayer is a very important person. He is the interpreter of omens, sees visions and dreams, and is consulted on every emergency. In each court there are astute councillors, and stalwart warriors, and sacred Brahmans; but the soothsayer, who often lives in a hermitage remote, is more influential than they all.

    Now the land of the fairies was away over the mountains in a higher sphere, and there was a city called Irathanupuram (jewelled anklet), whose king was Culanacadi. He had a son, Arukka-Kirtti, and a daughter Cuyamprabai. This latter was a young princess of amazing beauty and accomplishments, add her father held many councils and dispatched many envoys in hope of finding a fitting bridegroom for her. Before him comes a soothsayer, who announces that the bridegroom for the princess was to be found in the earthly world, in the person of the younger son of King Prajapathi. 'The sign of this,' he added, 'shall be that in one month you will hear of him as the slayer of a lion.' Accordingly the fairy-king sent a trusty envoy called Maruci, with a missive addressed to the monarch of Bothanam. King Prajapathi was utterly amazed at the reception of such a letter, and replied to the messenger, 'We are but human beings, and you belong to the lands of the genii. What connexion can there be between races so dissimilar'? After a while however he consented, and Marcui returned to his master, who now waited for the sign – viz., the slaughter of the lion by the young prince. This was brought about as follows: in fairy-land there was a mighty sovereign to whom Culanacadi was tributary. The name of this fairy Emperor was Achuva-kandan. One day the soothsayer came to him, and in the course of conversation said: 'There is upon earth a man who is your predestined for, though you unite all worlds beneath your sway.' The monarch smiled contemptuously" 'What can a mere man do? Yet since you, the soothsayer, say this, I must consider it.' So he summoned his council, and it was arranged that he should send messengers to demand payment of tribute from Prajapathi, as a test. The messengers were accordingly dispatched, and the terrified Prajapathi immediately gave orders to make ready the required tribute of a thousand pieces of gold, a thousand damsels, with abundance of pearls, coral and ivory. While these were being collected and about to be dispatched, the two princes came in and heard the whole story, when Divittan angrily interposed and forbade the dispatch of the tribute, sending back the defiant message, 'We owe no fealty to any fairy king!'

    The messenger returned, and told the fairy king of this refusal and Divittan's defiance. In order to revenge themselves, a councillor of the Fairy empire assumed the form of a lion, endued with magical power, and proceeded to the forests near to the city of Bothanam, causing it to be made known to the young prince that a mighty lion was devastating the land. The two princes, in wrath, set out to slay the lion. On their approach the pretended lion fled to a cave, in which there was a real lion, and there disappeared, Divittan entered the cave, seized the lion by its mane, and soon dispatched it, returning in triumph to his city. The Fairy King of Iratha-nupuram, hearing of the circumstances from his spies, and recognising in it the fulfilment of the soothsayer's words, resolved at once to set out with his daughter and marry her to the gallant prince. The poem, with a perfectly astounding variety of illustration, and (we are bound to say) most wearisome minuteness of detail, conducts the bride to the city of Bothanam, and marries her to the young hero. Meanwhile, the Emperor of the fairy lands is sorely wrath with Divittan because of his defiance, and with the King of Iratha-nupuram for allying himself with a human rebel. He accordingly advances with a mighty host, attended by many tributary kings, and a great war begins – for every epic must have its conflict. The whole interest of the war lies in the exploits of Divittan, who levels mountains, rides upon magic horses through the sky, and wields the weapons of Vishnu himself – of whom he is seen to be an incarnation. Of course, the result is that Achukandan is defeated and slain, and Divittan's father-in-law becomes supreme ruler of all the fairy lands. Divittan also becomes king of his own country, sharing the royal authority with his father. The astonishing statement is added that, in addition to his fairy bride, he took to himself other 10,000 spouses, with whom he dwelt in joyous rapture! A son is born to him called Amirthasenan. On the same day the Queen of the son of the Fairy King, Arukka-kirtti, who was Divittan's sister, became the mother of a daughter called Sutharai, and also a son who succeeded to the throne of the fairy kingdom. Afterwards Divittan had a daughter called Minjothimalai. To find a fitting bridegroom, for this latter, a Suyamvaram (a general assembly of kingly suitors) was proclaimed, and lovesick princes thronged from every corner of the universe. An elaborate and terribly ornate account of such an event is bound to find a place in every great Tamil Epic. Here the result was that the daughter of Divittan was married to the son of her mother's brother Arukka-kirtti, and that the fairy princess was married to Divittan's son: two pairs of cousins thus uniting quadruply the royal families of the earthly and fairy kingdoms. Now comes what almost seems to be the main object of the poem Prajapathi sees sons and grandsons dwelling around him in a region that unites all the delights that earth and heaven can give, and begins to reflect: "All this superabundance of blessing that has fallen to me and my children is the result of virtuous acts performed in a former birth; in order to secure a continuance of these propitious fates to my race I must renounce my kingdom, retire into the wilderness, and spend my days in mortification and devout meditation." He accordingly celebrates a peculiarly imposing festival in honour of Arugan, the Jain deity, who appears to him, receives his homage, and enlightens his mind. He is taught all the mystery of the Jain system; the various conditions of the departed in the world of the gods, in the region of demons, in mortal embodiment, and even in bestial transformation, are revealed to him. He passes though Inforno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. He takes tender farewell of sons and daughters and their children, commends his kingdom, which now seems to embrace the fairy land also, to their care, and obtains RELEASE. In the Saiva-Siddhanta system ten different theories about 'release' are enunciated. The release of the Jain is one of these – the 'victory over earthly desires.'* [* But see சிவப்பிரகாச வியாக்கியாநம் p. 214 etc. திரிகுணமும் அடங்கும் முத்தி] This Prajapathi obtained, and in the chapter which relates his renunciation there is a very great deal that is worth attentive study as illustrating Jain ideas. Much of it is to be found reflected in the Kurral, the Naladiyar and other Tamil gnomic works. Extracts are not here given, principally because though all is elegant, most rhythmical and artificial, there are no passages of especial force and beauty. A work has been written by Mr. S. Radhakrishna Aiyar, Professor in the Maharaja's College at Pudukkottai, which is entitled "Readings in Tamil," and which is an exceedingly valuable anthology. We have been indebted to it on this and many other occasions.

    The Sulamani (சூளாமணி) has failed to gain popularity among the Tamil people. In fact, it has become well-nigh obsolete. It remains to be seen whether this, its first appearance in print, will brush away the dust of ages. No lover of Tamil literature will pass it by but 'the old order changes,' and we trust that the study of ancient Tamil will lead in time to the formation of a new school of poets with wilder views, and less fettered by arbitrary rules than were the undoubtedly great singers of the olden times.

    G. U. POPE, M.A., D.D.