Sangam song used in Thiruvilayadal movie


Watch the below video from 55th minute to 60th minute.
(note: the history has been twisted to the core in this movie clip…Paranar,Kapilar and Nakkirar were never in the same court and they probably didn’t live in the same period also. Kapilar was court poet of Pari and not this Pandiya)
2. குறிஞ்சி – தலைவன் கூற்று
கொங்குதேர் வாழ்க்கை அஞ்சிறைத் தும்பி
காமம் செப்பாது கண்டது மொழிமோ
பயிலியது கெழீஇய நட்பின் மயிலியல்
செறியெயிற் றரிவை கூந்தலின்
நறியவும் உளவோ நீயறியும் பூவே.
-இறையனார்.

O bee,
with your hidden wings:
you have lived a life in search
of honey.
So tell me truly
from what you have seen:
among all the flowers you know,
is there one that smells more sweet
than the hair of this woman,
with her peacock gait,
and close-set teeth,
and ancient
eternal
love?

Poet:Iraiyanar

Translation: M. Shanmugam Pillai and David Ludden

This poem is most popularly believed to be written by Lord Shiva and recited by Tarumi in Tamil Sangam under the Pandiya King and headed by Nakkirar. The legend is Tarumi is a poor poet, god in order to help him writes a poem to clear Pandiya kings doubt whether women had natural fragrance.Tarumi recites this poem at the Sangam but Nakkirar finds fault in the poem and refuses to change his stance even when god came before him and said to the lord even if you open your third eye fault is a fault ‘netrikan thirapinum kutram kutrame’. Lord gets angry and burns him but later resurrect him and bows to him for not changing his stance even before the lord.
I would like to anyalse this event in historic point of view.
Since under historic point of view god couldn’t have personally written this Kurunthokai poem, how did this poem get into this Legend involving god ? People who believe that god personally could have written this song, I am sorry to say reading any further of this essay is a waste of time because the whole essay is started in a point of view that god couldn’t have written this poem.
With assumption that only the readers who want to analyze this legend analytically are reading the essay, lets start analysing the poem in investigation first.
Before going into the investigation of the poem I would like to explain certain concepts of Akam segment of Sangam Literature.
Sangam literature emphasises on some thing called ‘Kalavu’. Kalavu is Premarital love. The basic structure of Kalavu poems in Sangam literature are as below,
The Talaivan(Hero) meets Talaivi(heroine) accidentally by chance, usually while hunting or fishing , or while travelling in the mountains or along the sea shore. Talaivan sees Talaivai and vice versa, the beauty of Talaivi makes Talaivan feel whether she is a human being or a goddess(ananku). Then our Talaivan looks for signs like whether her feet is on the ground, whether she perspires, whether she casts a shadow, whether bees hum around her hair, whether her garland withers. If any one of these happens he confirms that Talaivi is human. Their eyes meet ( you are right even Kamban got inspired to insert this in his Ramayana and hence the famous line ‘Annalum nookinar avalum nookinaal’) and they fall in love at once(ethan pa na tamil Pada inspiration, kandathum kadal !).
This indigenous love situations of Sangam are inspiration to many sources till date. I guess this must be the story line of 1000 Tamil films till now. This inspiration seems to be there even in Thirukuaral .
Thirukural 1081 (5th century AD)

அணங்குகொல் ஆய்மயில் கொல்லோ கனங்குழை
மாதர்கொல் மாலும் என் நெஞ்சு.

Is this a goddess(ananku),a splendid peahen,

or a jewelled female ? my mind is perplexed.

Translated by Kamil Zvelebil

 

So now we move on to next concept ‘Iyarkai punarchi'( please be patient, I will come back to Thiruvilayadal soon!). ‘Iyarkai Punarchi’ means Spontaneous Sexual Union. The Talaivan and Talaivi (I like this terms better than Hero and heroine) meet accidentally by chance. Unlike by later Alien Hindu traditions like arranged marriage and native traditions like cross cousin marriage , the Sangam literature is all about lovers who meet by chance. There are poems which praises this kind of meeting. The best example is Kurunthokai 40(see my old blog) where hero asks what is the relation ship between their parents and how the two strangers heart mingled together naturally.

There are always people to spoil the native and indigenous traditions. Later commentators just couldn’t digest this spontaneous love and commented they met accidentally because they were lovers is previous birth.Just because of their Karma they met again, clearly spoiling the beauty of these brilliant naturally emotional poems.

Coming back to the topic, Talivan usually meets Talaivi when he is either fishing or hunting. Hence he meets the lover accidentally either in Kurunji(mountain regions) or neytal( coastal region). Then love at first sight starts. I have already quoted how Kamban was inspired by this situation. Now the hero makes a gentle approach to the women , realising that she, too, desires him. He praises her beauty and convines her of his love and promises never to forsake her and makes love to her. To cut it short Talaivan flirts with Talaivi intially and convinces her and makes love to her. How Talaivan flirts is left to the poet to describe in detail. Talaivi also tells him with her subtle action that she too loves him. There are chances that she might reject him (Kurunthokai 1 see my old blog).

 

Now I am coming back to topic. The poem under consideration (Kuruntokai 2) is poem taking place in Kurunji, hence it about lover’s union and meeting. The poem is ‘Talaivan Kootrru’ (What Hero says) . If you careful see the poem the hero is just doing what i have explained before, he has met his love accidentely and fell in love and now he is trying to praise her beauty. Here hero does some thing called ‘Poi Paratal'(one of 27 divisions of Iyarkai Punarchi) which is nothing but false praise to woo the Talaivi.

Here in this poem Talaivan asks the bees to tell the truth that the smell of the Hair of the Talaivi is more fragrant than the fragrance of flowers. This is a ‘Poi Paratal’ he makes to woo his lover. To people who might think that my interpretation of the song is incorrect , I will quote you one more Kurunthokai song,

116. குறிஞ்சி – தலைவன் கூற்று

யானயந் துறைவோள் தேம்பாய் கூந்தல்
வளங்கெழு சோழர் உறந்தைப் பெருந்துறை
நுண்மணல் அறல்வார்ந் தன்ன
நன்னெறி யவ்வே நறுந்தண் ணியவே.

-இளங்கீரனார்.

Kurunthokai 116

The woman I longed for,
and stayed with, has hair that bees
swoop down on;
it is well arranged
and wavy,
like fine, black sand
in ripples on the long beach
of the prospering Cola’s
Urantai town;
it is cool and fragrant.
Poet : Ilankiran
Translated by M. Shanmugam Pillai and David Ludden

Here the hero suggests that bees mistake his lover’s hair for flowers because her hair is so fragrant.So this seems to be a popular motif where a bee is employed to suggest that Talaivi’s hair had natural fragrance. This is obviously a false praise employed by the Talaivan to woo Talaivi.

 

So how did this song get mixed with the legend. Sangam as an academy where poets work were adjudged is an concept introduced by Nakkirar (any where between 7- 10th century). My previous blog explains this legend. Also in my blog I have quoted an Appars poem- நன்பாட்டுப் புலவனாய்ச் சங்க மேறி
நற்கனகக் கிழிதருமிக் கருளி னோன்காண் mean “Look at him who was gracious enough to appear in assembly (Sangam) as a poet of fine poems and presented the purse of gold to Tarumi.” This seems to be first literary reference to Tarumi and Nakkirar legend. At this point I would also like to point out that there are Two Nakkirars , one who wrote the commentary to Iraiyanar Agaporul and hence the sangam legend(7th – 10th cent. AD) and the other a poet who lived in Sangam era(100BC to 250 AD).

Even in Appars version there is no mention about Nakkirar and ‘Netrikan thirapinum kutram kutrame’. There are reference to this legend of Tarumi singing song of God in Pandiyans avai is available in various sources dated between 7th to 14th century. I have quoted them below,

இச்செய்யுளை, ஑ஆலவாய் இறையனார் தருமி என்னும் பிரமசாரிக்குப்பொற்கிழி வாங்கிக் கொடுத்த சிந்தாசமுத்தி யகவல்ஒ என்று தமிழ் நாவலர்சரிதை கூறும.஢

இது, பாண்டியனால் சங்க மண்டபத்தின் முன் கட்டப்பட்டபொற்கிழியைத் தருமி என்னும் பிரமசாரி ஒருவன் பெறும் பொருட்டு ஸ்ரீசோமசுந்தரக் கடவுள் இயற்றி அவனுக்கு அளித்ததென்று கூறப்படும்;”பொதியப் பொருப்பன் மதியக் கருத்தினைக், கொங்குதேர் வாழ்க்கைச்செந்தமிழ் கூறிப், பொற்குவை தருமிக் கற்புடனுதவி, என்னுளங் குடிகொண்டிரும்பய னளிக்கும், கள்ளவிழ் குழல்சேர் கருணையெம் பெருமான்ஒஒ(கல்.1); “வழுத்திய மறையோன் றன்மை கண்டவன் மனத்தினாசை,ஒழித்திடு வான்வி ரும்பி யுரகமா ணிக்கச் செம்பொற், குழைக்கியை காதனங்கட் கொங்குதேர் வாழ்க்கை யென்றோர், கிழிக்கிசை கவிதை பாடிக்கொடுத்தனன் கீர்த்தி வேட்டு” (திருவால.16:10); ஑஑திருந்துசிவ முனிதருமிதளர்ந்தேன் மன்றல் செய்வான்வண் பொருளிலையென் றேத்த விங்குப்,பொருந்துமடந் தையரொடுயர் தலத்து லாவும் புகழ்மாற னணைந்தமணங்கண்டீ தென்கொல், அருந்தமிழா லிதுபொருந்தப் பாடுவாரே லளிப்பலென்றோர் பொற்கிழிநற்ச் சபையுட் டூக்க, மருந்தனையான் கொங்கென்றோர்கவிதை பாடிக் கிழியறுப்பான் வழங்கியொப்பித் தனன்கீழ் நின்றே”(கடம்பவன புராணம், 10:17);ஒஒதென்ன வன்குல தெய்வமாகிய,மன்னர்கொங்குதேர் வாழ்க்கை யின்றமிழ், சொன்ன லம்பெறச் சொல்லி நல்கினார,ச்இன்ன றீர்ந்தவ னிறைஞ்சி வாங்கினான்ஒஒ (திருவிளை. தருமிக்கு.88);஑ஒஅங்கதை யிப்பா வேந்தர்க் கறைந்தனை பெறுதி யென்று, கொங்குதேர்வாழ்க்கை யென்னுங் கோதிறூக் கீந்து விட்டான், பொங்கிய களிப்பி னானும் போய்த்தொடர் பமுதந் தன்னைத், திங்கள்வெண் குடையி னான்றன்செவிப்புலத் தூற்றி னானால்ஒஒ (சீகாளத்தி. நக்கீர.61); ஑அப்பாலோர்வண்டை யனுப்பி னவர்காமம், செப்பாதே யென்றாற் றிகைக்குமேஒஒ,஑தருமிக்கே, ஓர்வாழ்க்கை வேண்டி யுயர்கிழிகொள் வான்கொங்கு,தேர்வாழ்க்கை யென்றெடுத்த செய்தியும்ஒஒ (தமிழ் விடுதூது, 108, 114-5);஑கொங்கய வன்மீ னவர்க்கு வகுத்துச் சொல் பவள- கொங்குதேர்வாழ்க்கையென்னும் கவிதையைக் கனவட்ட மென்னும் குதிரையையுடைய வலிய பாண்டியனுக்கு, கூந்தற்கு இயற்கை மணமுண்டென்பதனைவிளக்கத் திருவுளம் பற்றும் பவளம் போலும் சிவந்த வாயினை யுடையாய்”(திருமயிலையமக அந்தாதி, 53, உரை.)

So where did Nakkirar actually get into this legend. This has actually happened in version of Triuvilaiyatarpuranam of Parancoti (16th – 18th cent. AD). A very late account where Nakkirar is introduced as a judge and ‘ Netrikan thirapinum kutram kutrame ‘ episode.

 

So what are the logical reason behind this legend:

First possible reason can be analysed from another work attributed to god. Iriayanar Agaporul is supposed to be a grammatical work written by God himself. The original name of the book is Kalaviyal. The author of the book is not mentioned in the book or in its commentary. Later one commentator Illampooranar(around 10th cent. AD) in his commentary said that it was written by the god himself. Similarly this might be anonymous poem which may be quoted as written by the god for some poet Tarumi by a later commentator.

The Second and most probable reason might be, Tarumi might had written this poem and sung it before the Pandiya king(not for clearing his doubt, but just as a poem where hero flirts with his women). Tarumi being a relatively unknown poet might have attributed this song to god(many people have done this, Arunakiri’s legend says lord Muruga himself made Arunagiri sing the first song, Kasiyappa Sivacariyar has said in his Kandapuranam that Lord himself argued for him in a debate,authors of many sthalapuranas also claim that god came in thier dream and recited the whole purana they have written). So down the line this might have become a Legend where God himself wrote the poem for the poet. And as a very very late addition in Parancoti’s version Nakkirar and ‘netrikan ‘ episode being added.

These are the logical conclusions I could make after going through various sources. I would surely appreciate your comments on this work.

References:

Songs of Experience by Norman Cutler

Lexicon of Tamil Literature by Kamil Zvelebil

Smile of Murugan by Kamil Zvelebil

Kurunthokai by Swaminathan Iyer

Tamil Literature by Kamil Zvelebil

Literary conventions in Akam Poetry by Kamil Zvelebil

Tamil Temple Myths by David Shulman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Sangam song used in Thiruvilayadal movie

  1. The analysis of the poetry sung by God himself is really very interesting. The poem in Tiruvilaiyadal, is one of the beautiful poems which praises women(thalaivi). Keep on the good work.

  2. i do wonder why these so called “erotic” works are at the most G-rated…unlike in sanskrit literature, i have never seen an ancient literature work that has lewd, explicit descriptions..probably a reason why tamil culture then can really be said to be divine, hats off to that…

  3. சங்க தமிழ் பாடல் படம் ; என் சுவாசக்காற்றே , கன்றும் உண்ணாது;கலத்தினும் படாது….(குறுந்தொகை 27)என்ற முழுபாடலுடன் தீண்டாய் மெய் தீண்டாய்…..என தொடங்கும் கேளுங்கள் இனிமையான பாடல்.

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