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Post Info TOPIC: NVK ASHRAF - Jaina ideas in Kural


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NVK ASHRAF - Jaina ideas in Kural
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 Jaina ideas in Kural - Intro

 
திருக்குறளில் சமண தழுவல்கள்: முன்னுரை 

"It is claimed by many that Tiru-Valluvar was a Jain. I do not accept this theory"~ C. Rajagopalachari ~

Introduction 
 
Tamil which has an unbroken literary history of over two millennia (Sharma, 2000a), has produced many a literary gems. Undoubtedly the foremost among them is Thirukkuŗal (Sacred Couplets), attributed to Thiruvalluvar. Because of its poetical merit, ethical values and overwhelming popularity, the work continues to attract the attention of scholars to write commentaries and produce new translations in different languages. The catholicity of the work meant that it has not spared the attention of all scholars irrespective of their religious affiliations. Be it the government of Tamil Nadu or the Universities that deal with Tamil literature, the popular trend has always been to project the Kuŗal as a non-sectarian work of universal values. 
Like all people of his time, Valluvar would have also been born into some religion, but he seem to have made a deliberate attempt not to force his religious ideas through his work. Though many religious groups, including Jains, Saivites, Vaishnavites, and sometimes even Buddhists and Christians have claimed the Kuŗal to be a reflection of their ideologies [Aiyangar, 1923; Kasthuri Raja, 2005; Shanmugampillai, 2005, * , * , *), the Kuŗal has invariably been considered by the majority Hindu community as a work bearing affiliation to their religion. Whenever questioned about the presence of some verses in Kuŗal that are either contradictory to Vedic practices or in support of other religious traditions, the common response has been to project Valluvar as an "unconventional" Hindu (see Subramanian and Rajalakshmi, 1984) or as one belonging to a lower caste under Brahmnical religion (Aiyangar, 1923).
 
There is a widespread belief amongst Jaina and many non-Jaina scholars that Valluvar must have been a Jain or a person inclined towards Jaina ideals. The Jains have made remarkable contribution to Tamil literature in the form of epics and ethical literatures (Chakravarti, 1944), and also to Tamil language and linguistics through written works on grammar, prosody and lexicography (Champakalakshmi, 1994). Though medieval Jaina scholars like the commentator Vāmana Munivar of Tamil work Neelakési  had regarded the Kuŗal as their scripture (Zvelebil, 1975; Subramanyam, 1987; Venugopala Pillai,undated) and many contemporary writers had deliberated over the issue of Valluvar being a Jain (Zvelebil, 1975; Gopalan, 1979; Subramanyam, 1987; Venkataramaiyah, 2001), it was Chakravarti (1953) who made the first significant contribution to this claim in his long introductory section of his complete translation of Tirukkuŗal. He not only provided a series of internal evidences from the Kuŗal to claim that the Kuŗal is a Jaina work, but also identified the author of the Kuŗal with the great Jaina Āchārya Sri Kundakunda or Elāchārya. Chakravarti's work was followed by Subramanyam's (1987) work "Tiruvalluvar and His Kuŗal" where the author, besides profusely quoting from Chakravarti's work, also produced his own series of both internal and external evidences to show that Valluvar was a Jain. Besides such works that address specifically the issue of Valluvar's Jaina background, many well known translators of Tirukkuŗal have also touched upon the claims of Kuŗal being a work of a Jaina. Reproduced below are some of the most popular remarks made by different scholars over a period spanning more than a century.  
 
"The Jains especially consider him their own, and he has certainly used several of their technical terms, and seems to have been cognizant of the latest developments of that system"G.U. Pope, 1886
"There is no doubt that the author of Kuŗal fully accepted the Jaina teaching on ahimsā"
H.A. Popley, 1931   
"The book Kuŗal is an exposition of the fundamental principles of Jainism"A. Chakravarti, 1953
"Descriptions of God found in chapter 'Praise of God' lead one to conclude that 
Valluvar must have been a Jain"
Prof. Vaiyapuri Pillai, 1956
"It is claimed by many that Tiru-Valluvar was a Jain. I do not accept this theory"C. Rajagopalachari, 1965
"According to my modest capacity of research and the establishment of truth, 
Valluvar's work has as its basis the Dharma of Jainism"
V. Kalyanasundaranar (cited by Kulandai Swamy, 2000)
"The ethics of Kuŗal are rather reflective of the Jaina moral code"K.V. Zvelebil, 1975
"Though the Kuŗal contains ideas cherished by the Jainas, it is not probably a Jaina work"S. Gopalan, 1979
"None of the positions that the poet advocates in his verses are inconsistent with Jaina practice"K.N. Subramanyam, 1987
"There are some indications in the Kuŗal of Valluvar having being a Jain"P.S. Sundaram, 1990
"One can see the touch of Jain philosophy in the aphorisms of Kuŗal"Shanker Dayal Sharma, 2000
"He most likely was a Jain ascetic of humble origin who worked as a weaver"Webster's Encyclopedia on Literature
 
    Listed above is only a fraction of what has been said or written about the claims of Jaina background of Tiruvalluvar. Many writers in recent times have also supported the claims of TirukKuŗal being the work of a Jaina (see Venkataramaiyah, 2001; Jain, 2002b, Shanmugampillai, 2005). Also available are few comprehensive research works analyzing the claims of different religious groups. These works invariably project the Kuŗal as a work containing verses for and against all these religious sects, and therefore belonging to none. Notable amongst them are the works of Kamatchi Srinivasan (1979), Gopalan (1979) and K. Mohanraj (1983). Some of the major conclusions of Mohanraj are worth reproducing here:
  • That the Kuŗal is not a work of any religious affiliation; however, it does contains some religious ideas.
  • That the Kuŗal contains references in support of almost all religions, as well as ideas that oppose the same.
  • Though Valluvar would have born into some religion, he did not reveal his religious background anywhere in his work.
  • The way the author has referred the Deity with attributes common to all religions only goes on to show the author's catholicity.
  • That the author, by describing a deity with eight attributes, has presented a Deity who is acceptable to everyone for worship.
We will see in the following sections of this long drawn out article, whether these conclusions are appropriate. With Valluvar's Jaina background being discussed in every major translation or scholarly publication, it is possible that there is some truth behind these claims. There is a proverb in Tamil that no smoke can emerge without some fire (நெருப்பு இல்லாமல் புகையாது)The objective of this article is to investigate into such claims and see (i) if the moral values taught by Valluvar in Kuŗal is based on Jaina dharma, (ii) if the deity praised by Valluvar in his first chapter could refer to Jaina Godhead, and (iii) if internal evidences are sufficient enough to show Valluvar as a Jaina.
 
The outcomes of this long drawn-out investigation has been presented here in the following sections:
1. Kuŗal's affiliation to various philosophical traditions
2. Kuŗal in light of Jaina, Buddhist & Hindu classics (Part I, Part II)
3. Arguments against Hindu, Jaina & Buddhist alliances
4. God and gods in Tirukkuŗal
5. First chapter on the "Praise of God" (Part I, Part II)
6. Jaina claims of Tiruvalluvar and Tirukkuŗal
7. Conclusions
There are few other works attributed to Tiruvalluvar. These include jnānavettiyān (ஞானவெட்டியான்)navarattina cintāmańi (நவரத்தின சிந்தாமணி),panjarattinam (பஞ்சரத்தினம்) and uppusāttiram (உப்புசாத்திரம்) (*). Surprisingly, none of these works even find a mention by writers whenever they introduce Valluvar and his work Tirukkuŗal to the readers; and not to forget that these works are never taken into consideration while attempting to show the religious affiliation of Valluvar.  The very obvious spurious claims of Valluvar's authorship to these works could be the reason for scholars to totally ignore these works.  The fact that most of these are Siddha literatures composed during the 16th and 17th centuries with plenty of words of Sanskrit origin in them accounts for their outright rejection as the works of Tiruvalluvar (***).  We are not taking these works into consideration here since our objective here is to reveal the religious affinity of Tirukkuŗal and through that show the religious inclination of the author. 
  
Next section: 1. Kuŗal's affiliation to various Indian philosophical traditions
 


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01. Jaina ideas in Kural - I

 
திருக்குறளில் சமண தழுவல்கள் (பாகம்-1) 
 
I. Kuŗal's affiliation to various Indian philosophical traditions

"There is no doubt that the author of Kuŗal fully accepted the Jaina teaching on ahimsā"
(H.A. Popley, 1931)
 
Diaz (2000), like majority of translators and commentators, mentioned that Valluvar was a Hindu and that the all pervading basis of his work was a proof for this. If Valluvar was a Hindu, to which sect of Hinduism did Valluvar's work bear affiliation? Rajasingham (1987) and many others like Satguru Subramania Swamy (2000) consider the message of the Kuŗal to be of Saivism or Saiva Siddhanta, which by far appears to be the most widely held view among native scholars. Subramanian and Rajalakshmi (1984), while introducing the Kuŗal to the readers in their work on Concordance of Thirukkuŗal, mentioned Valluvar as an 'unconventional Hindu'. Chakravarti (1953), Vaiyapuri Pillai (1956), Zvelebil (1975), Subramanyam (1987) and many other scholars were convinced that that the Kuŗal is the work of a Jaina. G.U. Pope (1986), being a Christian scholar himself, was convinced that the author of the Kuŗal was a Hindu who at the same time was influenced by Biblical ideas. Though Buddhist claims have always been a feeble one, there are occasional vehement arguments in support of this (see Uthayakumar, 2004). Kaul Graul (1814-1864), who carries the distinction of translating the Kuŗal into Latin as well as German, had characterized the Kuŗal as `a work of Buddhist hue' (*). We will soon see in the later chapters and sections of this essay how closely Tirukkuŗal resembles some of the well known Buddhist texts.
 
The objective in this section is to find out the affiliation of the Kuŗal to the different philosophical traditions existed during the time of Valluvar (between 100 to 400 AD). Gopalan (1979) compared Kuŗal with the Indian traditions that were prevalent during the time of Valluvar to find out the school of Indian philosophy the Kuŗal resembles the most. He identified Brahminical Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism as the three possible philosophical traditions that could have influenced the author of Kuŗal. Though these sects wouldn't have existed as established religions as we see them today (Veeramani, 2005), their ideas and ideals were indeed in practice among people as we see evidences for this in many literary works of that period (e.g. Samayasārā of Jainism, Manu Smriti of Brahminical Hinduism and Prajna-pāramitā of Buddhism). In this section, we investigate one by one the possibility of Valluvar being influenced by these philosophical traditions.
 

1.1. Brahminical Hinduism
 
    During the time of Valluvar (100 to 600 AD), what we call Hinduism now must have existed then as the Brahminical Hindiusm, a religion based on the varna or caste system.  It is also important to distinguish between Vedic and Brahminical Hinduism. The actual Vedas themselves do not emphasize Brahmnical ideals, unlike later texts like Brahmanas, Upanishads or the Sastras and Smritis. Since Valluvar's period is generally agreed to fall somewhere between the 1st century AD and 4th century AD, it is only pertinent that we compare Valluvar's work with the thoughts and ideas that were expressed in texts that appeared during the post-Vedic period of Brahminical dominance. Though Brahminic law is said to have been based on the Vedas (Manu II.7), there is no doubt that the law superceded the Vedas. Moreover, Valluvar makes references to the priestly class (அறுதொழிலோர்) or Brahmins (பார்ப்பான்) which further goes on to show that he must have lived during the period of Brahminical Hinduism. 
 
Manu Smriti (Laws of Manu) is widely regarded as the defining document of Brahminical Hinduism (Kishwar, 2000). We take Manu Smriti, a text to which the Kuŗal has some resemblances (Aiyankar, 1923; Sundararam, 1990), for comparison here. 
 
Five virtues (dakshinās) in Upanishad
 
In every religious tradition of India, there appears to be a set of five mandatory moral commandments to be followed by householders and/or monks. Chāndogya Upanishad (3.17.4) mentions that the inculcation of the following five virtues for priests and others (Sharma, 1991):
 
(i) Penance (tapah)
(ii) Charity (dānam
(iii) Right conduct (ārjavam)
(iv) Non-injury (ahimsā) and 
(v) Speaking truth (sathya vacanam)
 
Kuŗal has specific chapters dealing with these virtues. Penance (Ch. 27), Charity (Ch. 23), Right Conduct (Ch. 14), Not killing (Ch. 33) and Truthfulness (Ch. 30). We see another closely similar set of five ethical commandments in Manu Smriti. Manu declares the following as the summary of the law for the four castes (Manu Smriti. X:63):
 
(i) Abstention from injuring (creatures), (ahimsā)
(ii) Veracity or Truthfulness (satyam
(iii) Abstention from unlawfully appropriating (the goods of others), (asteyam)
(iv) Purity (saucham), and 
(v) Control of the organs (indriya nigraha)
 
Once again, we can identify the equivalent chapters in Tirukkuŗal for most of these virtues. The most obvious similarity between these two lists is the mention of "Non-injury" (ahimsā) but at the same time "truthfulness" (satyā). We see Manu condemning meat eating, that too in Valluvar's own terms (Manu 5:52 is just like Kuŗal 251!), which makes us believe that Manu promoted vegetarianism. Though this sounds very similar to the ethics of Tiruvalluvar, Manu does not consider animal sacrifice as himsa!   
 
Svayambhu (the Self-existent) himself created animals for the sake of sacrifices; 
Sacrifices (have been instituted) for the good of this whole (world); 
Hence the slaughtering (of beasts) for sacrifices is not slaughtering.
 
(Manu Smriti 5:39)
 
But the most important reason for considering Manu Smriti as a Brahminical text stems from the the frequent references Manu makes on the four varnās - the caste system, giving special preference and exceptions to Brahmins. Manu says a Brahmana retains his divinity whether he is learned or ignorant (IX: 317), but Valluvar would say "The ignorant, however high-born, is lower than the low-born learned" PS (409). Manu Smriti adores varnā system, but the Kuŗal has not a word about it. Valluvar, in the following couplet, says inequality arises not by birth but by one's deeds:
 
Kuŗal 972:
By birth all men are equal. The differences in their action 
Render their worth unequal.
 SM
 
With respect to the varņā concept, the Gītā is also no different from Manu Smriti for it also sanctions the division amongst men. Lord Krishna says in Gītā (4:13) that the four divisions of human society were created by him. 
 
By highlighting the absence of clear cut references to the āśrama scheme (i.e. stages of Student, Householder, Retirement, Renunciation) and the absence of delineation of duties as per the Vedic varņā concept found in Dharma Śāstras like Manu Smriti, Gopalan (1979) concluded that the Kuŗal does not wholly accept all the major ideas of Brahminical Hinduism. But Gopalan missed out this verse which Chakravarti (1944) believes is a condemnation of animal sacrifice, an age old Vedic practice. 
 
Kuŗal 259:
Better than a thousand burnt offerings 
Is one life un-killed, un-eaten.
 PS

This is the only couplet in Chapter 26 "Shunning meat" that links meat eating with burnt offerings or sacrifice. Since "burnt offerings" (அவிசொரிந்து வேட்டல்) has been linked to "killing and not eating" (உயிர் செகுத்து உண்ணாமை), one may be tempted to argue that Valluvar is discouraging the practice of animal sacrifice here. The truth of the matter is that Valluvar here does not consider offerings as a practice to be avoided. We see verses of similar import in may sacred texts of the word that employ "burnt offerings" as simile to compare with a virtuous act. In Dhammapāda (106), Buddha says "Better is reverence to one soul than a hundred years of sacrifice with a thousand offerings". Hitopadesa (IV.13) has this verse: "When weighed against each other, truth alone weighs more than thousand horse sacrifices". In the Bible also we have few verses that speak about offerings. We see this, for instance, in Hosea (6:6): "I desired Mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God is more than burnt offerings". Even Sankardeva, 16th century Vaishnavite saint of Assam, had this to say: "Even the performance of millions of horse-sacrifices is not equal to the one deed of giving shelter to a distressed creature” (Bhagavata, VIII. V. 205). All these verses do not condemn offerings or sacrifices done with animals. So also when Valluvar says leaving one life without being killed is better than a 1000 burnt offerings.

Interestingly, the Manu who promulgated animal sacrifice says in another place that one who abstains from meat obtains the same reward as one who does hundred years of horse-sacrifice (Manu Smriti, V.53). This is similar to what Valluvar said. In many other couplets, Valluvar links meat eating with grace, compassion and mercy (couplets 251, 252, 253), predicts hellish life for meat eaters (255) and even digs at those who eat meat without themselves being responsible for killing (256). It is pertinent to refer to Parithiyar's commentary on this verse here because it differs from what we have inferred so far: "நெய் முதலானவற்றை ஓமத்திலே சொரிந்து ஆயிரம் யாகம் செய்வதில், ஓர் உயிரைக் கொன்று புலால் தின்னாமைநன்று என்றவாறு." (i.e. Better not kill a life and eat it while doing 1000 burnt offerings). Being such a staunch promoter of vegetarianism and not-killing, it is quite natural that Valluvar would have anyway opposed the Vedic practice of sacrifice with animal offerings. 

Though Hindu Sāstrās sometime dictate not to take any life, the Hindus at least hold that it is not a sin to kill animals during Yājnās involving animal sacrifice (Vivekananda, Complete Works V 481.2). In fact animal killing is obligatory on the part of Hindu householders in some occasions like Shraddha(Vivekananda, Complete Works V 482.1) (Vivekananda, 1989). This is what exactly has been reflected in Manu Dharmasāstra. Though Manu has prescribedahimsā, it is conspicuously missing from the tenfold law (Manu Smriti VI:92) that he prescribes for Brahmins and others (Table 1).
 
Table 1. Tenfold law of Manu and the corresponding chapters in Kuŗal
No
Prescribed by Manu
Equivalent chapters in Kuŗal
1
Contentment (Dhairiya)
Avoiding fraud (கள்ளாமை)
Self control (அடக்கமுடைமை)
2
Forgiveness (Kşamā)
Forbearance (பொறை உடைமை)
3
Self-control (Dama)
Self control (அடக்கமுடைமை)
4
Abstinence from misappropriation (Asteya)
Not coveting (வெஃகாமை)
5
Obedience to the rules of purification (Śauca)
(Not represented in Kuŗal)
6
Coercion of the organs (Indriya nigraha)
(Not found, though chapter 15 can be considered)
7
Wisdom (Dhi)
Possession of wisdom (அறிவுடைமை)
8
Knowledge of the Supreme (Vidyā)
Truth Realization (மெய்யுணர்தல்)
9
Truthfulness (Satya)
Truthfulness (வாய்மை)
10
Abstention from anger (Akrodha)
Avoiding wrath (வெகுளாமை)

From the information we have gathered so far, we cannot conclusively establish that Valluvar was against the Vedic practice of killing animal during Yājnās. Valluvar makes occasional references to some of the Brahmincal religious beliefs that prevailed amongst the people of his time, some of which appear to be of Brahminical Hindu origin. This has been dealt in section 4 on "God and gods in Kuŗal".
 

1.2. Affiliation to Buddhism
 
    Though claims on Kuŗal being a Buddhist work are rare, it is not uncommon to see questions being raised, and articles being written every now and then to show that Valluvar could have also belonged to the Buddhist sect. Uthayakumar (2004), in his detailed article on "Kuŗal and Indian Politics" reiterates that the Kuŗal is nothing but a work of a Buddhist author of Mahayana sect. He asks why the chapters in Kuŗal namely "Praise of God", "Glory of rain", "Greatness of ascetics" and "Emphasis on Virtue" have been placed in the beginning as the first four chapters. He identifies Chapters 1, 4 and 3 (Praise of God, Emphasis on Virtue and Greatness of ascetics) with the Buddhists Triple gems of BuddhaDhamma and Sangha. The Dhammapādā (190) says "One who takes refuge in the Buddha, in the Dhamma and the Sangha, with perfect knowledge, perceives the four Noble Truths". No one has thought of the Proem (பாயிரம்) in Kuŗal in this angle and the claim definitely is worth considering. The invocations in the first chapter should then fit the descriptions of Lord Buddha. We will take this for a detailed analysis in section 5.
While investigating the possible affiliation of the Kuŗal to Buddhist philosophical tradition, Gopalan (1979) took five characteristics of Buddhism namely anātma (no soul), atheism, nihilism, pessimism and renunciation and compared these with the ideas found in Kuŗal. He pointed out the difference in the treatment of renunciation between Kuŗal and Dhammapāda, and the similarity in the treatment of extirpation of desire between these texts. Since there is no evidence of nihilism or pessimism in the Kuŗal, he concluded that it cannot be considered a work of Buddhist influence. However, as we will see repeatedly in the article, the religious affiliation of an ethical treatise like Tirukkuŗal cannot be established by looking for the presence or absence of religio-philosophical ideas in it.
 
Five moral percepts (pañca-sila) in Buddhism
 
Like the five virtues enlisted in the Chāndogya Upanishad and Manu Smriti, Buddhism has first five (pañca-sila) of the 10 moral percepts (Mahāvagga 1:56):
 
(i) To abstain from killing, 
(ii) To abstain from taking what has not been given, 
(iii) To abstain from sexual misconduct, 
(iv) To abstain from false speech, and 
(v) To abstain from intoxicants that cloud the mind.
 
The fact that these five moral percepts are important Buddhist virtues can be realized from its very presence in Dhammapādā itself: "Whoever destroys life in the world or speaks wrongly, takes what was not given, or goes to another's wife, or a person who drinks intoxicating liquors, digs up his own root in this very world" (Verses: 246-247). The householders could observe these first five in lieu of observing the second five, and also support the monks who observed all of them (Mathews, 1991). But for the last percept, the first four look strikingly similar to the five vows or vratās of Jains! Valluvar has indeed devoted a chapter each for all these moral percepts!
 
The second five percepts to be followed by monks are (i) Eating moderately, (ii) avoiding spectacles like singing and dramas, (iii) not using flowers, perfumes or jewelry, (iv) using simple beds and (v) accepting no gold or silver (money). Of these five, Valluvar has only emphasized on moderate eating.
In addition to pañca-silas, Buddha has put of forward a second course of action for laymen to follow, called Brahma-vihāra or the 'sublime way of life' (Baruah, 2001). These are kindness (mettā), compassion (karuña) and equanimity (upekkhā). No doubt Valluvar has devoted chapters for these as well. Parallels from the Kuŗal can be found even for the 10 perfections (pāramis) enrolled in Buddhism (Sangharak****a, 1985). These have been tabulated in Table 2 with corresponding chapters in Kuŗal.
 
Table 2. Buddhism's ten perfections and the relevant chapters in Kuŗal
No
Ten Perfections(paramis)
Relevant chapters in Kuŗal
Chapter number
1
Generosity (dāna)
Charity (ஈகை)
23
2
Morality (síla)
Virtue (அறன் வலியுறுத்தல்)
4
3
Renunciation (nekkhamma)
Renunciation (துறவு)
35
4
Wisdom (paññā)
Wisdom (அறிவுடைமை)
43
5
Energy (viriya)
Energy (ஊக்கம் உடைமை)
60
6
Patience (khanti)
Forbearance (பொறை உடைமை)
16
7
Truthfulness (sacca)
Truthfulness (வாய்மை)
30
8
Resolution (adhitthāna)
Self control (அடக்கம் உடைமை)
13
9
Loving kindness (mettā)
Kindness (அருள் உடைமை)
25
10
Equanimity (upekkhā)
Impartiality (நடுவு நிலைமை)
12
 
Parallels can also be found in the Kuŗal for nearly all the 10 good acts advised for lay and monastic in Mahayana sutras. (i) Not to kill, (ii) Not to steal, (iii) Not to commit adultry, (iv) Not to lie, (v) Not to use harsh words, (vi) Not to utter words causing enmity between people, (vii) Not to engage in idle talk, (viii) Not to be greedy, (ix) Not to be angry and (x) Not to have wrong views. The first four coincide with the first four concepts emphasized in Hinayana Buddhism, the fifth one being not to drink intoxicants which also finds a place in Tirukkuŗal. Subramanian and Rajalakshmi (1984) mention that the Tamil Buddhist work சீலபாரமிதை prescribes many of the ethical values found in the Kuŗal. These include கொல்லாமை (Ch.33), கள்ளாமை (Ch. 29), காமமின்மை (Ch. 37), பொய்யாமை (Ch. 30),புறங்கூறாமை (Ch. 19), வன்சொலியம்பாமை (Ch. 10), பயனில மொழியாமை (Ch. 20), வெஃகாமை (Ch. 18), வெகுளாமை (Ch. 31),தற்காட்சி (Ch. 36). 
 
We can safely say that Kuŗal contains plenty of Buddhist ideas as well for us consider the Kuŗal as a work based on Buddhist percepts. Since Kuŗal is an ethical work and Buddhism is a religion of moral values, the author has only taken advantage of the moral teachings like percepts and perfections found in Buddhism and not the Buddhist doctrines like existence of suffering, cause of suffering, methods of cessation of suffering etc.
However, Valluvar seem to differ in one important aspect from the Buddhist views. Let us go back to the first of the five percepts, namely abstinence from killing which is nothing but an emphasizes on  ahimsā dharma. One of the unanswered mysteries in Buddhist concept of ahimsā has been the sanction to eat meat as long as they do not kill the animal (see Chakravarti, 1944, page 34). We do not know if Buddha himself gave this relaxation, but we know for sure that this is the practice in Buddhism. It is clear from Kuŗal that Valluvar was not in agreement with this Buddhist compromise. The following couplet from Kuŗal seem to have been composed to answer the Buddhist conception of eating meat of animals that have not been killed by them: 
 
Kuŗal 256:
The world may say: “Meat we eat, but don’t kill’. 
But no one will sell if there is none to buy.
 * KS
ahimsā
 
    Gopalan (1979) deals with Jaina claims more elaborately for he himself agrees that stronger claims have come from Jainism than from Buddhism. Let us now look for Jaina ideas in Kuŗal. If ahim or no-violence is the foundation of Jainism, then we have many places in Kuŗal that reiterate the principle of non-killing.
  • Valluvar himself asks the question: What is virtue?
    And the reply is "not killing because killing causes every ill" (321)
  • In a different context, he asks: “What is grace and disgrace?”. 
    He gives the same reply: "killing is disgrace and non-killing grace". (254)
  • To another question, “What is the perfect path”, he says the same: 
    “It is the path of avoiding killing anything” (324)
  • If you ask him “What is the characteristic of penance” 
    He says it lies in "harming no life" (261) and in "non-killing" (984)
  • And what is the topmost teaching ever written? Here also the answer is no different:
    "It is to share your food and protect all life" (322)
Sutrakritanga of Jainism says "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated" (1.11.33). Valluvar even goes a step higher and says in couplet 327:

Avoid removing the dear life of another 
Even when your own life is under threat.
 NV
 
    There is no doubt that the foremost teaching of Valluvar is ahimsā or Not killing. But are these references to ahimsā sufficient enough to conclude that only a person of Jaina faith would have written the Kuŗal? Many non-Jaina works also reiterate the concept of ahimsā, but they do not repeatedly emphasize Not-killing as a virtue, grace, as a characteristic of penance, as the perfect path and the topmost code to have been ever written!
 
Five vows (vratās) in Jainism
 
    Valluvar has also dealt with the five vows in Jainism in different chapters. Just like the five moral percepts in Buddhism, the Jaina religion has laid down the five small vows for a householder. A Jaina householder is expected to abstain from following acts called (five) small vows: 
 
(i) Injury to living beings (himsa),
(ii) Speaking falsehood, (iii) Taking away a thing which is not given (theft),
(iv) Sexual enjoyment with other than one's own wife (incontinence), and
(v) Limitless desire for possessions (parigraha)
(Saman Suttam, Sūtrā 309)
 
    A closely similar set of five vows are listed as five great vows (mahāvratās) for monks. These include: (1) Non-injury (2) Refraining from falsehood, (3) Not appropriating un-offered things (4) Celibacy and (5) Freedom from possessions (Ashta Pahuda, III:31). As in the case of Buddhist moral percepts, so too for Jaina vows one can identify relevant chapters in Tirukkuŗal. Valluvar has devoted separate chapters to discuss all these five, spread across Domestic virtue and Ascetic virtue.
 
Chapter 33: Non-killing 
Chapter 30. Not speaking falsehood
Chapters 18 & 29. Not coveting & Avoiding fraud
Chapters 15 & 28. Not coveting another's wife and Hypocrisy
Chapters 3718, & 29. Eradicating desire, Not coveting & Avoiding fraud
 
However these five vows also occur in some Hindu scriptures like Yoga Sutra as five restraints. We have already seen Manu (10:63) summarizing the law for the four castes in five points using almost the same words and roughly in the same order! In Yoga Sutra, Patanjali's says "Non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity and greedlessness are the restraints" (Yoga Sutra, II.30). This uncanny resemblance of these five yāmās to the five vows of Jainism has been already pointed out by scholars like Worthington (1982) and Zydenbos (2006) who attribute this to the strong influence of Jainism [*].  Patanjali's work has been traditionally attributed by scholars as a 'Hindu' work (Sivananda, 2009) as it contains references to Ishvara and prānava (the symbol "OM") (Sutras I.24-26). However Patanjali has been frequently criticized for his diluted concept of Ishwara (Feuerstein, 1979) as it is not according to the established tradition (Pungaliya, 2004). His Ishvara is not a creator but a person whose sins are destroyed, a concept said to be very near to Jaina dharshana (Sree Swatmarama Yogi, cited by Pungaliya, 2004). Prior to the period of Hindu revivalism, when no clear distinction with regard to moral percepts existed between Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina and Sankhya systems, it not surprising to see such an overlap of ethical ideas in sacred texts of these philosophical systems. It is therefore difficult to accredit certain works to any particular system recognized in the present day. The vows are sometimes emphasized by Hindu monks even in contemporary times. Swami Vivekananda, says: "These practices - non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, and non-receiving - are to be practiced by every man, woman and child....." I.261.1.
The characteristic of Jainism is that, of the five vratās or vows, the second vratā truthfulness is subordinate to the the first vratā ofahimsā (Jain, 2002a). Valluvar states this explicitly in Kuŗal in the following words:
 
Kuŗal 323. 
ஒன்றாக நல்லது கொல்லாமை மற்றதன் 
பின்சாரப் பொய்யாமை நன்று. 
The first and foremost good is ‘Non killing’. 
Next to it in rank comes ‘Not lying’.
  NV
 
Valluvar places satyā after ahimsā which is in direct contradiction to Harichandra who put satyā above ahimsā (Subramanian and Rajalakshmi, 1984). Interestingly, the Jaina definition of 'Truthfulness' or 'Not speaking falsehood' itself has ahimsā connotation. Says Jain (2002) in his book on Jaina Tradition: "It is interesting to note that even speaking truth which results in injury to others should be avoided". Sūtrā 400 under Self-control in Saman Suttam, an anthology of popular Jaina sūtrās, says:.

तहेव फरुसा भासा, गुरुभूओवघाइअणी 
सच्चा-वि सा न वत्तव्वा, जओ पावस्स आगमो ॥१७॥
The monk should not use harsh words 
Or speak what is harmful to other living beings; 
Even if its true, because it is sinful.
 (400)
 
Three points have been brought out in the above Sūtrā:
(i) What is to be avoided? Speaking harsh words. 
(ii) What is a harsh word? That which harms other living beings.
(iii) What to do if the truth to be conveyed causes harm? Avoid it, because it is a sin. 
 
The last point is worth taking note of. Anything that harms others should be avoided, even if it is the truth. In other words, better lie than speak the truth in situations that may harm the other. This is exactly what Valluvar says in the very first two couplets in chapter 30 on Truthfulness. 
 
Couplet 291. 
வாய்மை எனப்படுவது யாதெனின் யாதொன்றும்
தீமை இலாத சொலல். 
What is truthfulness? It is nothing but 
Utterance wholly devoid of ill
. VS, PS
Couplet 292. 
பொய்மையும் வாய்மை இடத்த புரைதீர்ந்த 
நன்மை பயக்கும் எனின். 
Even a lie would take the place of truth,
If it brings blameless benefit. 
NV, VR
 
  Valluvar's definition of truthfulness is perhaps the most clinching evidence, if one may say so, to prove his inclination towards Jaina ideals and morality. The Jaina commentator of the 16th century AD Vāmana Munivar (சமய திவாகர வாமன முனிவர்) while commenting on the Jaina work Neelakéci, cites this couplet from Kuŗal and adds the phrase "so says our scripture" (எம் ஒத்து ஆதலின்) (Zvelebil, 1975; Shanmugampillai, 2005).  Sabramanyam (1987) reiterates that it is in this chapter that the poet implies the ahimsā doctrine of the Jainas. Interestingly such a definition of truthfulness is not hard to find in other texts as well! In Panchatantra (Book III in 'Crows and Owls'), we see a similar pronouncement: "Even truth should be concealed if causing sorrow when revealed". The popular recensions of the Pancatantra have anyway been the works of the Jainas ensuing in a number of Jaina editions of Pancatantra (Jain, 1999).  In Manu Smriti (8:103) we see Manu saying that one does not lose heaven even if one, though facts are different, gives false evidence for a pious cause. This list does not end here as we see a similar one originating from the Semitic world where a Hadith attributed to prophet Muhammad speaks the same way as that of Manu.
 
1.4. Conclusions
 
    Valluvar spoke of Love (Chapter 8), Kindness (Chapter 58) and Compassion (58) which he believed are essential qualities for leading a life of non-violence. Some of these qualities have also been emphasized by Hindu sages like Kabir, in the sacred texts of Buddhists like the Dhammapada and even in the Bible of the Christians. The keynote of Jainism is "ahimsā" and Valluvar's emphasize on ahimsā (Not hurting, Not killing and Avoiding meat) alone cannot be considered proof enough to show the Jaina inclination of Tirukkuŗal, for the simple reasons that such ideas exist even in some non-Jaina texts in one form or the other (e.g. Manu 4.48, 5:52; Tirumandiram 199). Moreover, all the five principal moral inculcations of Brahminism, Buddhism and Jainism taken into consideration for discussion in this section, also speak of ahimsā (see table 3 below):
 
Table 3. Five virtues in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism
Five virtues in Brahminism
Five percepts in Buddhism
Five vows in Jainism
(i) Penance
(i) To abstain from killing,
(i) Avoid injury to living beings
(ii) Charity
(ii) Avoid what has not been given
(ii) Avoid speaking falsehood
(iii) Right conduct
(iii) Avoid sexual misconduct
(iii) Avoid things not given
(iv) Non-injury
(iv) Avoid false speech
(iv) Avoid sexual misconduct
(v) Speaking truth
(v) Avoid intoxicants
(v) Avoid undue desire for possessions

There is a remarkable similarity between these five virtues, percepts and vows of Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina dharmas! Two virtues that runs through all these these are ahimsā and sathya, i.e. non-violence and speaking truth. In the order of priority, they occupy the fourth and fifth position according the Upanishad, first and fourth place in Buddhism and first and second position in Jainism. The characteristic of Jainism is that, of the five vratās or vows, the second vratā truthfulness is subordinate to the the first vratā of ahimsā(Sharma, 1991; Jain, 2002a). Since Valluvar also places Non-injury as the first and foremost good and next in rank to "Not lying" (Kuŗal, 323), we can infer that Valluvar's virtue (அறம்) follows Jaina dharma than any other system.  It is not a surprise to see Webster's Encyclopedia of World Literature mentions that the principal teachings of Kuŗal are Not-killing and Not-lying (கொல்லாமை,பொய்யாமை). We have also seen Valluvar's definition of "truthfulness" matching perfectly with the Jaina one found in Saman Suttam. We have also seen the relaxation given to ahimsā by Manu during times of animal sacrifice and the exception given to Buddhists on meat eating, both of which were denounced by Valluvar in couplets 259 and 256 respectively. It is clear from all these evidences that it is to Jaina philosophical system that the Kuŗal shows the greatest affiliation.


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 II. The Kuŗal in light of Jaina, Buddhist and Hindu classics

 
"Valluvar's work has as its basis the Dharma of Jainism"
(V. Kalyanasundaranar)
 
 
 
    In this section we compare the contents of Thirukkuŗal to a chosen Jaina, Buddhist and Hindu classic that emphasize their respective dhārmic values. The aim is to compare and contrast the ethical teachings found in these select classics with those of Thirukkuŗal and see if we can get a lead into the religious affiliation of the Kural. 
 
Since the objective here is to establish the religious inclination of Valluvar by comparing the dhārmic values emphasized in the different religious classics, one may be tempted to restrict all comparisons to the first division of Kuŗal, namely Dharma (Virtue: Aŗattuppāl: அறத்துப்பால்). However, the second division on Arthā (Wealth: Porutpāl: பொருட்பால்does have many chapters of dhārmic nature. For the purpose of an unbiased analysis, 42 of the 70 chapters in the second division were also been taken into consideration. Therefore a total of 80 chapters (38 from first division and 42 from the second division) have been considered for comparison. Chapters 39, 47, 48, 49, 50 to 53, 55 to 57, 59, 64, 68 to 78, 87 to 89 and 104 were excluded because they deal with Polity and Management.  The III divisions is anyway on Kāmā (Love: Inbattuppāl: இன்பத்துப்பால்and therefore has nothing to do with dhārmicvalues of ethico-philosophic nature. 
2.1. The Kuŗal and Jaina anthologies

 

Jainism is essentially an ethico-metaphysical system as it demands moral code and ethical discipline to achieve Moksha the final goal of life (Sharma, 1991). Therefore there is no dearth of ethical dictums in Jaina scriptures, which are called 'agāmās'. Since Jaina agāmās are voluminous writings beyond the reach of common man, Jaina scholars in recent times have embarked upon the task of producing small anthologies consisting of important sūtrās collected from different Jaina scriptures. Two such Jaina sūtrā compilations available to the author were Saman Suttam (by Jidendra Varni) and Pearls of Jaina Wisdom (by Dulichand Jain). Saman Suttam is a Jaina collection of 756 Sūtrās in Prakrit sourced from ancient texts by an assembly Jaina scholars, Āchāryās and laymen held in 1974 in Delhi (Jinendra Varni, 1993).  Saman Suttam contains some surprising parallels with the Kuŗal in the usage of similes. There are references to 'நுனிக்கொம்பு ஏறினார் ஊக்கின்' (476), 'ஒருமையுள் ஆமைபோல் ஐந்டக்கல்' (126), 'உரன் என்னும் தோட்டியான் ரைந்தும்காப்பான்' (24), 'தெருளாதான் மெய்ப்பொருள் கண்ற்றால்' (249) etc. [Sūtrās  60, 137, 146, 692]. Many of these similes can be found in sacred texts of Hinduism (e.g. in Bhagavad Gītā, see section 2.3) and Buddhism (e.g. in Dhammapādā, see section 2.2). More than these similes, some Sūtrās look astonishingly similar to the couplets in Kuŗal (Table 4).

 

Table: 4. Ten select verses strikingly similar verses in Saman Suttam and Thirukkuŗal
No
Saman Suttam
Tirukkuŗal
1
What you desire for yourself desire for others too, what you do not desire for yourself do not desire for others too – This is the teaching of Jina. - Sūtrā 24 (Bŗhatkalpa-bhāsya 4584)
Do not do to others what you know has hurt yourself PS. (316)
2
He who desires his own good, should avoid causing any harm to a living being. -  Sūtrā151
If you love yourself, refrain from causing ill of any degree * PS. (209)
3
There is no religion equal to the religion of ahimsā in this world. - Sūtrā 158
What is the perfect path? It is the path of avoiding killing anything NV. (324)
4
He who is free from attachments secures release from mundane existence; while, one who is not, continues to wander in it endlessly. - Sūtrā 77
Those who give up all are saved; the rest are caught in the snare of delusion * PS. (348)
5
The monk should not use harsh words or speak what is harmful to other living beings; Even if its true, because it is sinful. - Sūtrā 400
What is truthfulness? It is nothing but utterance wholly devoid of illVS, PS (291). Even a lie would take the place of truth, if it brings blameless benefit. NV, VR  (292)
6
A person who is free from worldly attachments becomes free from sorrow. - Sūtrā 81 
Sorrows will never give up its hold on those who never give up their hold of desire. * DL(347)
7
Shake off the attachments to the body because it is the cause of suffering and pain. - Sūtrā 79
When the body itself is a burden on the way to liberation, why carry other attachments? * PS(345)
8
A person does not become a monk by merely shaving his head. - Sūtrā 340
No need of tonsure or long hair. (280)
9
A person does not become a Brahmin by repeating the Ōmkāra mantra, but his celibacy. Sūtrā 340-341
Scriptures forgot can be recapitulated; bad conduct debases a Brahmin and his birth. * PS. JN (134).
10
Sūtrā 353
What use is a sky-high pose to one who knowingly does wrong? PS (272)
 
Of the several similarities, the important one is the Golden Rule or the "Ethic of Reciprocity" (Do do not do to others what you find will harm yourself), found in scriptures of nearly every religion (Wilson, 1991). No doubt the Golden Rule is the corner stone of Jaina ethics. The entire chapter 32 "Not hurting" in Kuŗal has its affiliation to this Jaina ethic. 

 

Similarities in chapter headings

 

The chapter headings used by Valluvar in the first division Dharma (or Virtue) closely resemble the headings in these collection of Jaina sūtrās. Thesūtrās in Jaina anthologies like Saman Suttam and Pearls of Jaina Wisdom have been grouped by the compilers under various headings keeping with the spirit of the Jaina tradition (Jain and Chordia, 1996). While sūtrās in Saman Suttam were brought under 44 headings, that of Jaina Wisdom under 71 headings. The table 5 below shows the interesting similarities between the chapter headings in Pearls of Jaina Wisdom and Kuŗal.

 



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Table 5. Chapter headings common between Thirukkuŗal and Pearls of Jaina Wisdom.

 
No
Chapter headings in
Pearls of Jaina Wisdom (PJW)
Chapter 
Nos: in PJW
Chapter headings in 
Kuŗal
Chapter Nos: in Kuŗal
1
Self restraint
5
Self control
13
2
Right Knowledge
8
Possession of wisdom
43
3
Right Conduct
9
Possession of decorum
14
4
Essence of righteousness
10
Emphasizing virtue
4
5
Anger
14
Avoiding wrath
31
6
Pride
15
Pride / Greatness
98
7
Desire
18
Eradicating desire
37
8
Attachment and Aversion
21
Renunciation
35
9
Doctrine of Karma
24
Fate (in many other places)
38
10
Impermanence
26
Impermanence
34
11
Dharma
36
Emphasizing virtue
4
12
Code of Conduct for monks
38
Ascetics, Imposture
3, 28
13
Code of Conduct for householders
40
Domestic life
50
14
Non-Violence
41
Not hurting and Not killing
32, 33
15
Truthfulness
42
Truthfulness
30
16
Non-stealing
43
Not coveting
18
17
Celibacy
44
Greatness of ascetics
3
18
Austerity
46
Penance
27
19
Forgiveness
47
Realizing gratitude
11
20
Equipoise
48
Impartiality
12
21
Charity
45
Charity
23
22
Learning
57
Learning
40
23
Forbearance
60
Forbearance
16
24
Restraint in speech
61
Pleasant speech
10
25
Vigilance
62
Vigilance
60
26
Food regimen
64
Medicine
95
27
Company of the virtuous
66
Company of the great
45

 

 


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 37% of the chapters found in "Pearls of Jaina Wisdom" could also be found in Tirukkuŗal. In other words, about 32% of the chapters are similar to those 80 Tirukkuŗal chapters we had identified in the beginning of this section. i.e. twenty six headings fall within the 80 chapters we short-listed from the first and second divisions of the Kuŗal. Interestingly 20 of these 26 chapters could be identified with a chapter in the first Division "Virtue". i.e. a high 77%. Now let us look at the 44 chapter headings in Saman Suttam and see how many of these resemble the chapters in Kuŗal (Table 6). 

 
Table 6. Chapter headings common between Thirukkuŗal and Saman Suttam
No
Chapter headings in
Sama Suttam
Chapter 
Nos
Chapter headings in 
Kuŗal
Chapter Nos: in Kuŗal
1
Percepts on the Auspicious
1
Praise of God
1
2
Percepts on Karmas
6
Fate (in many other places)
38
3
Renunciation of Attachment
8
Renunciation
13
4
Self restraint
10
Self control
27
5
Non-violence
12
Not killing
33
6
Vigilance
13
Possessing vigour
60
7
Education
14
Learning
40
8
Knowledge
19
Possession of wisdom
43
9
Right conduct
20
Decorum or conduct
14
10
Spiritual realization
21
Truth Realization
36
12
Householder's religion
23
Domestic life
5
13
Religion of monks
24
Greatness of ascetics
3
14
Carefulness and Self control
26
Self control
13
15
Percepts on penance
28
Penance
27

 

Here also we see 15 of the 44 chapters (about 34%) matching with the names used by Valluvar in Tirukkuŗal. Twelve of these 15 titles (80%) fall under the first Division, Virtue. Noticeable is chapter 28 in Saman Suttam on the "Percepts of penance" and chapter 46 on "Austerity", a characteristic element of Jainism which is also reflected in Chapter 27 in Tirukkuŗal "Penance". In Jainism, "Religion is supremely auspicious; non-violence, self-control and penance are its essentials" (Saman Suttam, 82). Valluvar has devoted full chapters to all these three Jaina essentials. 
 


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2.2. The Kuŗal and Buddhist classics

Dhammapādā is the most popular book amongst the Buddhists, just like the Bhagavad Gītā for Hindus. My unanimous choice to compare with Tirukkuŗal is Dhammapādā. Unlike the Gītā and Jaina texts taken up here, Dhammapādā is more of an ethical treatise like the Kuŗal and has many verses of similar style and content to the Kuŗal. This is natural because Buddhist ethics are humanistic and more compassionate and less metaphysical than Jainism (Sharma, 1991). Mentioned below are some of the verses similar to the Kuŗal (Table 7). 
Table 7. Ten select verses of similar import in Dhammapada and Thirukkuŗal 
No
Buddha in Dhammapādā
Valluvar in Kuŗal
 1
The fool who recognizes his foolishness, is at least wise in that! (63)
Even a fool is fine if he can hold his tongue before the wise! PS (403)
 2
It is better to live alone, for one cannot take a fool as a companion. (330)
It is a gain by itself, if one gets away from the friendship with fools. CR (797)
3
Four punishments await the man who covets the wife of another: Shame, troubled sleep, condemnation and hell. (309)
The adulterer has no respite from these four: hatred, sin, fear and disgrace.* VS (146)
4
A jar is filled drop by drop. Even so the sage fills himself little by little with goodness. (122)
The more you dig a sand-spring, more the flow. The more you learn more the wisdom. NV (396)
5
The fools, those who are ignorant, have no worse enemies than themselves. (66)
The harm fools do to themselves is beyond anything their foes do to themPS (843)
6
Wherever he may be, the true sage renounces all pleasures. Neither sorrow nor happiness can move him. (83)
He who never exulted in joy will not be depressed by sorrow. PS (629)
7
Oppose anger with serenity, evil with good. (223)
Punish an evil-doer by shaming him with a good deed.PS (314)
8
We should seek the company of the sage who shows us our faults, as if he were showing us a hidden treasure. (76)
Seek a friend who will make you cry, rail and rate when you go astray. PS (795)
9
He in whom there is truthfulness, non-violence, restraint and self-control, that faultless sage is called an Elder (thera). (261)
The pillars of excellence are five: love, modesty, altruism, compassion, truthfulness. PS(983)
10
Those who are afraid of what should not be feared, and those who do not fear what is to be feared, are destined to a painful state. (317)
It is folly not to fear what ought to be feared. The wise dread what ought to be dreaded. SS (428) 
 
 
Apart from this exciting list of parallels, Dhammapādā also contains many similes of the type found in the Tirukkuŗal. There are verses in Dhammapādā that contain the following similes employed by Valluvar: உரன் என்னும் தோட்டியான் (Dhammapādā 326), களிறு கால்ஆழ் களரின் (Dhammapādā 327), இணர் ஊழ்த்தும் நாறா மலர் (Dhammapādā 51) and அம்பின் பட்டுப் பாடு ஊன்றும்களிறு (Dhammapādā 320) but the author of Dhammapādā has used them to emphasize different moral percepts.


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03. Jaina ideas in Kural: II

 

Similarities in chapter headings
 
Here I list down the topics that are identical to those found in the Kuŗal and two Buddhist works, namely Dhammapādā and "Tibetan Dhammapādā" (or Udānavarga). Tibetan Dhammapādā is a compilation of verses taken from the works attributed to Lord Buddha and later arranged into a string of 33 topics by Dharmatrata (Tibetan: Chos.skyob) who lived somewhere between 75 B.C. and 200 A.D. (Sparham, 1983). It resembles closely to Dhammapādā except that it has 33 chapters as opposed to the 26 chapters in the 'original' Dhammapādā (Table 8).
 
Table 8. Similarities in chapter headings between Tibetan Dhammapada and Thirukkuŗal
No
Chapter headings in
Tibetan Dhammapāda
Chapt. in Tibetan
Dhammapāda
Chapter headings in 
Kuŗal
Chapter Nos.
in Kuŗal
1
Impermanence
1
Impermanence
34
2
Desire, Craving
2, 3
Eradicating desire
37
3
Ethics
6
Virtue
4
4
Fine conduct
7
Conduct
14
5
Words
8
Sweet speech & Useless talk
10 & 20
6
Honours
13
Honour
24
7
Wrath
20
Wrath
19
8
Thathagata
21
Greatness
99
9
Listening
23
Listening
42
10
Intimate friends
25
Old or intimate friends
81
11
Evil
28
Dread of evil deeds
21
12
The Monk
32
The greatness of ascetics
3
13
Animosity
52
Hostility
86
 
Though 40% of the chapters in Tibetan Dhammapādā are similar to those found in Tirukkuŗal, it contains only 16% of the 80 chapters short-listed for comparison. The percentage would have been higher had we chosen an anthology of Buddhist verses of a later date like Saman Suttam, especially if the topics in the anthology were based on the 10 moral percepts and 10 perfections (pāramis) in Buddhism. As we have seen in section 1.2, sixteen of these 20 percepts and perfections could be identified with different chapters in Thirukkuŗal. Now let us compare the Kuŗal with the chapter headings found in Dhammapādā (Table 9).


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                                          Table 9. Similarities in chapter headings between Dhammapada and Thirukkuŗal

No
Chapter headings in
Dhammapāda
Chapt in 
Dhammapāda
Relevant chapters 
in Kuŗal
Chapter Nos.
in Kuŗal
1
Vigilance
2
Possession of vigour
60
2
The Fool
4
Folly
84
3
The Sage
6
Company of the great
45
4
The Adept
7
Self control
13
5
Evil
9
Dread of evil deeds
21
6
Punishment
10
Pleasant speech & Not hurting
10, 32
7
Pleasure
16
Courage in Trouble
63
8
Anger
17
Avoiding wrath
31
9
Impurity
18
Faults
44
10
The Just Man
19
Goodness
98
11
Craving
24
Eradicating desire
37
 
Once again, a high percentage (42%) of the chapters in Dhammapādā have equivalents in Tirukkuŗal, though only 14% of the 80 chapters short-listed from Tirukkuŗal for the purpose of this comparative study appear in Dhammapādā. This is because Tirukkuŗal is much more comprehensive when it comes to dealing with the topics on the conduct of man in this world.
 
2.3. The Kuŗal and the Hindu classics
 
The sacred text that readily comes to our mind when we think of a religious classic in Hinduism is the Bhagavad Gītā. Sharma (1991) describes it as the quintessence of Hindu culture and the sum and substance of Indian philosophical theory and practice, metaphysics and ethics, mysticism and religion. In that sense, the Gītā is an ethico-philosophical work, unlike the Kuŗal which is primarily an ethical treatise. This could probably be the reason why Subramanian and Rajalakshmi (1984) maintained that the content of the two works clearly rule out even a comparison. However, there are many verses of similar import in both the Kuŗal and Gītā. The second work chosen here for a comparison is Manu Smiriti because it is easily the most popular of all Dharma sāstrās in Hinduism. Moreover scholars like Aiyangar (1923) and Sundaram (1990) are of the view that there are evidences in the Kuŗal of Valluvar's indebtedness to Manu'sDharmasāstra, besides NitisāraArthasāstra and certain Ayurvedic treatises. Though the kind of Aŗam spoken in the Kuŗal has little relation to the Dharma of the śāstrās (Subramanian and Rajalakshmi, 1984), it is essential for the objective of this exercise that we decide on the Hindu classics to do a comparison with Tirukkuŗal. Manu Smriti also has some interesting parallels with the contents of the Kuŗal with respect to the second Divisions Artha or Wealth (பொருட்பால்) as it also talks about qualities of king, ministers, envoys, fort etc. These will not be taken into consideration here for this investigation as we have already set aside the chapters on polity and management. The third book to be take up here is Bhartrihari's Sātakas (Niti, Sringāāra and Vairāgya Sātakas), a work in many ways found to be comparable to the Kural. Nearly every third verse in Nitisātakam conveys the same message, often in matching terms.


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Given below in table 10 are some of the parallels between Gītā and Kuŗal. 
 
Table 10. Select 10 verses of similar import in Bhagavad Gītā and Thirukkuŗal
No
Bhagavad Gītā
Kuŗal
1
I am the letter A among alphabet, the dual among compounds. (10:33)
With alpha begins all alphabets; 
And the world with the first Bagavan.
 KN, SI (1)
2
You are the greatest Guru(for) there exists none who is equal to You.(11:43)
They alone escape from sorrows who take refuge
In the feet of Him beyond compare.
 * VS (7)
3
One who draws away the senses from the objects of sense, as the tortoise draws his limbs into the shell, his intelligence is firm in its seat. (2:58)
Like a tortoise, withdraw your five senses in one birth, to protect you in the next sevenNV (126)
4
Those who are self-controlled, striving earnestly through the right means, will attain the goal. Those who lack it will find it difficult to progress.(6:36)
Self-control takes one to the gods. Want of it will push one into utter darkness. CR (121)
5
Triple is this gate of hell, destructive of the self: lust, anger and greed.(16:21)
Lust, wrath and delusion: Where these three are unknown, sorrows shall not be. PS (360)
6
(One who is) ...... free from (the notion of) "I" and "my", .......... such a devotee is dear to Me. (12.13)
His is the world beyond heaven who is free of the delusion of "I" and "Mine". PS (346)
7
Your duty is to work, not to reap the fruits of work. (2:47)
Duty is not for reward. Does the world recompense the rain-cloud? PS (211)
8
That gift which is given, knowing it to be a duty, in a fit time and place, to a worthy person, from whom we expect nothing in return, is held to be sattwic. (17:20)
To give to the needy alone is charity. All the rest is investment for a return. SM (221)
9
Tamas, the deluder of Jeeva, is born of inertia. It binds by ignorance, laziness, and sleep. (14.08)
The pleasure-junks of destruction are four: Procrastination, forgetfulness, sloth and sleep.  PS  (605)
10
Men will recount thy perpetual dishonour, and to one in noble station, dishonour is worse than death. (2:34)
The world will admire and worship the glory of men who prefer death to dishonour. * CR (970)
 
There are some exciting similarities between Kuŗal and Manu Smriti and between Bhartrihari and Valluvar as well (Tables11 and 12).
 
 


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Table 11. Ten select verses of similar import in Manu Smriti and Thirukkuŗal
No
Manu Smriti
Kuŗal
General ethics
1
There is no greater sinner than that one who seeks to increase his own flesh by the flesh of other beings. (V:52)
How can one command grace who eats the flesh of others to swell his own flesh? NV (251)
2
The killing of living beings is not conducive to heaven; hence eating of meat should be avoided. (IV:48)
What is the perfect path? It is the path of avoiding killing anything. NV (324)
3
An offering, consisting of muttered prayers, is ten times more efficacious than a sacrifice performed according to the rules (of the Veda). (II:85)
Better than a thousand burnt offerings is one life unkilled and uneaten. PS (259)
4
In (some) cases a man who, though knowing (the facts to be) different, gives such (false evidence) from a pious motive, does not lose heaven. (VII:103)
Even a lie would take the place of truth, if it brings blameless benefit. NV, VR  (292)
5
The body is cleansed by water, the internal organ purified by truthfulness. (V:109)
Water ensures external purity and truthfulness shows the internalPS (298)
6
If a wife obeys her husband, she will for that (reason alone) be exalted in heaven.(V:155)
The woman who gains her husband’s love gains great glory in the heaven. * PS, SM (58)
7
Excessive eating is prejudicial to health, to fame, and to (bliss in) heaven. (II:57)
Once digested, eat with moderation. That prolongs the life of one embodied. * DL (943)
8
Drinking, dice, women, and hunting, these four (which have been enumerated) in succession, He must know to be the most pernicious in the set that springs from love of pleasure. (VII:50)
Fortune leaves those whose friends are wantons, wine and dice.PS (920)
9
After the Brahmanas, the kinsmen, and the servants have dined, the householder and his wife may afterwards eat what remains.(III:116)
Should his field be sown, who first feeds the guests and eats the rest? SB (85)
10
As the man who digs with a spade (into the ground) obtains water, even so an obedient (pupil) obtains the knowledge which lies (hidden) in his teacher. (2:218)
The more you dig a sand-spring, more the flow. The more you learn more the wisdom.  NV (396)
 
 
 


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 Table 12. Ten verses of similar nature between Bhartrihari's Sātaka& Thirukkural
No
Bhartrihari's Sātakas
Kuŗal
1
Conquering the heights of desire and avarice, a human being can experience. That unique contentment that even Lord Indra has ever been seeking. (Vairagyasātakam, 17)
Even the celestial king Indra will vouch the strength of one who rules his senses five. KK, PS (Kural 25)
2
Those men are evil who desire the wife of a neighbor or a friend.(Nitisātakam, 52)
No different from the dead are those who wickedly desire the wife of a friend. SS (Kural 143)
3
Forbearance in times of adversity, humility and forgiveness in times of prosperity, these are the innate qualities of great souls.(Nitisātakam, 63)
Adversity and prosperity come and go, but an unbiased heart adorns the noble. NV  (Kural 115)
4
Those men are evil who envy the prosperity and progress of their relatives and friends. (Nitisātakam, 52)One who eyes the growth of others with envy forfeits the wealth of virtue. JN (Kural 163)
5
Beware! Some evil persons would be ever inimical. Like the hunter who kills a deer subsisting on grass of the forest.(Nitisātakam, 61)A posing ascetic who sins secretly is like a fowler hiding in bush to trap birds. KV (Kural274)
6
It’s a gift divine for fools to hide their ignorance sublime! Keep shut your mouth in the assembly of wise. (Nitisātakam, 7)
Even a fool is fine if he can hold his tongue before the wise! PS(Kural 403)
7
Forever you keep good company. That alone illuminates your mind. (Nitisātakam, 23)
Even though the wise have a good mind, they strengthen it by good company. NV, PS (Kural 458)
8
The sages have described the qualities of a sincere friend as thus: He keeps his friend away from misdeeds and propels him to good deeds; He covers his friend’s weakness and highlights his positive attributes; In times of distress, he helps his friend and does not desert him when his chips are down. (Nitisātakam, 73)
Friendship saves from ruin, guides towards right, and shares the pain of distress. * PS, GU (Kural 787)
9
The good, the saintly are ever ready to benefit others. They are like the cloud that showers rain upon the earth without prayer.(Nitisātakam, 74)The brief want of the benign rich is like the monsoon clouds just shed its moistureSB, NV (Kural 1010)
10
Modesty adorns you more than jewels. (Nitisātakam, 21)
Is not modesty the jewel of the great, and without it a curse for their pride and demeanor? * SS, NV (Kural 1014)
 
Such parallels, some of which though strikingly similar in content and style, is not uncommon between ethical literatures of the world. As we see in many places of this article, Baghavad Gītā and Manu Smriti differ a great deal from the Kuŗal in other aspects. Kural being an ethical treatise like Bhartrihar's three Sātakas, (of Virtue, Renunciation and Love), there is a great deal of similarity between these two works than to the Gita and Manu Smriti. We will come back to this point under "Discussions and Conclusions" of this section. 
 
Similarities and chapter headings
 
The chapter headings in Manu Smriti and Bhagavad Gītā are in no way comparable to those found in Thirukkuŗal. While Manu contains 12 untitled chapters, the Gītā has 18 chapters that do not in anyway match with the ones in Tirukkuŗal. Even Bhartrihari's Sātakas, containing a total number of 326 verses, is not organized under thematic chapters. Unless we come across an anthology like Saman Suttam or Pearls of Wisdom of Jainas, it would be impossible to make a meaningful chapter-wise comparison of three works with the Kuŗal. 
 
2.4 Discussion and conclusions
 
What has been shown in tables 4,7,10 and 11 are only 10 select verses of similar import between Tirukkral and sacred texts like Saman Suttam, Dhammapādā, Gītā and Manu Smriti in that order. Overall I could identify with couplets from the 80 chapters we short-listed in the beginning of this section, 21 verses of similar nature from Gītā, 23 verses from Manu Smriti, a high number of 44 from Dhammapādā, 35 verses from the three Sātakas and a meager 16 verses from Saman Suttam  In terms of percentage, there is no appreciable difference between these figures as it ranges from 2-5.5% of the 800 Tirukkural verses. It would be futile to derive any conclusion on Tirukkural's affiliation to a particular philosophical system from these figures of narrow variance. Moreover similar figures of comparable weightage could be seen even from works of non-Indian origin. For instance, the percentage from the 800 Thirukkural couplets for the Persian Gulistān is 6% and Biblical Proverbs 5.4%. With a higher percentage unearthed from such works, we cannot be carried away by the figure of 5.5% from Buddhist Dhammapādā. 
 
The variance, however, widens considerably when we look at the prevalence the other way. i.e. the number of Kural-like verses from the respective texts. Bhagavad Gītā has 700 verses (of which 574 are those of Lord Krishna), Manu Smriti has 2,725, Saman Suttam 756, the Sātakas 326 and Dhammapādā 423 verses. Almost 13% of the verses in the three Sātakas of Bhartrihari and about 10% of the verses from Dhammapādā resemble those of Kural, while it ranges from about 1% to 3.6% from the rest (Manu Smriti, Saman Suttam and Gītā). Since it is with Brahminical Bhartrihar's Sātakas and Buddhist Dhammapādā the Kural has the greatest similarity, can we now conclude that Valluvar was influenced by Hindu and Buddhist moral values? Is there a Jaina work that comes close to this percentage in similarity to the Kural? When we take the Tamil Jaina classic Nāladiyār - widely regarded as an amplified version of the Kural (Pillai, 2000) - into consideration for a comparison, more 10% of the couplets in Nāladiyār are of similar nature and content to those found in Kural. This has been graphically represented along with the corresponding figures for Proverbs (915 verses) and Analects (366 of 499 are attributed to Confucius) and Gulistān (about 774 maxims & sayings roughly counted) (see Fig. on the left).
kurallike.JPG
 
With respect to chapter headings, Nāladiyār surpasses Buddhist works Udānavarga and Dhammapādā which so far has the leading figures (42 and 40% respectively) . Redactor Padumanar, who arranged Nāladiyār under forty chapters, would have looked at Tirukkural as paradigm while organizing his anthology (Pillai, 2000). Only eight of 40 chapters found in Nāladiyār does not find a place in Tirukkural. This means a whopping 80% within Nāladiyār and  high 47.5% of the chapters in Nāladiyār being similar to the 80 chapters in Kural we identified at the beginning of this section.
With such a fluctuation in similarities being evident between one sacred text and the another, it is impossible for us to come to a conclusion on the religious affinity of Thirukkural based on the data of percentage similarities in verses and chapter headings we have seen so far.
 
S(42 and 40%) Dhammapādā and Tibetan Dhammapada being identical to those in Tirukkuŗal. A comparatively lower percentage of 37 & 34% for "Peals of Jaina Wisdom" and "Saman Suttam" respectively could be attributed to the presence of other chapters that are largely metaphysical or philosophical in nature. Chapters on Religious order, Wrong faith, Soul, Path of liberation, Three jewels, Right faith, Vows, Mediation, Non-absolutism etc. are no doubt metaphysical in nature and have therefore found no place in the Kuŗal.
 
Buddhism Two points emerge when we closely analyze the similarities listed in Table 4 with the Jain classic Saman Suttam and in Table 7 with Buddhist Classic Dhammapādā. The first obvious point is that the authors of both Tirukkuŗal and Dhammapādā had employed some strikingly similar ideas for conveying the same message. The second observation is that most of the similarities with Dhammapādā are on moral percepts as opposed to percepts of dhārmic nature with Saman Suttam.
 
Valluvar has devoted two chapters for this, dealing with the great qualities of an ideal ascetic in the very third chapter and on deceitful ascetics who lead a double life in chapter 28. Apart from these, Valluvar has also referred to the ascetic practices outside these two (Chapters 5, 16, 31 etc.). 
 
Couplet 261:
The characteristic of penance lies in 
Enduring hardships and harming no life.
 NV

267:
As the intense fire makes gold shine, 
So does the burning austerities relieve pain.
 SS, NV
 
Saman Suttam and Pearls of Jaina Wisdom contains chapters on Penance (तपः सूत्र) and Austerity, whereas we do not see any chapter or verse on penance.
 
Neither nakedness nor matted hair nor mud nor the refusal of food nor sleeping on the bare ground nor dust & dirt nor squatting austerities cleanses the mortal who’s not gone beyond doubt" (ā 141).
 
Those ostentatious penances and austerities which are performed 
In order to gain respect, honor and reverence are said to be in the mode of passion. 
They are neither stable nor permanent.
And those penances and austerities which are performed foolishly 
By means of obstinate self-torture, or to destroy or injure others, 
Are said to be in the mode of ignorance.
By recognizing penance as a method of self-realization, one may be tempted to conclude that the Kuŗal has shown its religious inclination to Jaina philosophical tradition than to Buddhism. However, with respect to the ethical principles delineated in Tirukkuŗal, we have seen that there are more parallels with Buddhist ethical values than with the Jaina ones. 


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04. Jaina ideas in Kural: III

 

திருக்குறளில் சமண தழுவல்கள் (பாகம்-3)

III. Arguments against Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina influences
  
There is a general consensus amongst Tirukkuŗal scholars that the work contains statements that are in agreement with every religious philosophy and ethics, and at the same time views that are against the same (Gopalan, 1979; Mohanraj, 1983). This has been one of the reasons why the Kuŗal is often projected as a work containing all religious ideas and therefore belonging to no sect in particular (Srinivasan, 1979, Gopalan, 1979 and Mohanraj, 1983). 
 
Notable amongst the research works analyzing the claims of different religious groups is the work "Idealism and Universalism of Tiruvalluvar" by Mohanraj (1983) where the author reviews all the claims and disclaims from each sect and concludes that it only goes on to show the Valluvar's all-embracing nature. 
 
3.1. Arguments against Jaina authorship
 
As much we have strong claims for Jaina authorship of Thirukkural, there are also equally vehement arguments against such claims. Here we take up for discussion from Mohanraj's work, the major points against Jaina claims: 
 
"Some of the common arguments against Jaina influence of Tirukkuŗal has been the following: 
  • That Valluvar, contrary to the general Jaina belief, placed the path of the Householder above Ascetic path
  • That Valluvar did not denounce the recitation of Vedas and offerings to gods
  • That Valluvar did not denounce the existence of a creator God and
  • That the third division on "Love" (Kāmā) is totally against the Jaina principle of glorifying Asceticism
    Let us take these points one by one. To begin with, the issue of Householder (Grihasthaஇல்வாழ்க்கை) and Asceticism (Sanyāsa:துறவு). If one analyses the couplets in chapters 3 and 5 on "Ascetic greatness" and "Domestic life" carefully, it will be clear that Valluvar has actually glorified the greatness of both Ascetics and Householders. In Couplet 48, he says: "A virtuous householder endures more than the penance of the penance doer. * DZ, DLBut the same Tiruvalluvar says in Chapter 3 on "Greatness of Ascetics": "The world shines on the greatness of those who, knowing both, choose renunciation" * PS Why is this apparent contradiction? One may also ask why Valluvar placed "Greatness of Ascetics" (Chapter 3) ahead of Domestic Virtue (Chapter 5), if he had clearly ranked Domestic Virtue over Ascetic Virtue!

Popley (1931) said Valluvar included two chapters (Not killing and Not eating meat) under the subdivision Ascetic Virtue and not under Domestic Virtue. He argued that if Valluvar had been a Jain, he would not have listed these two chapters under Ascetic Virtue, giving an impression that ahimsā and vegetarianism are something to be followed by monks alone. But a cursory look at the organization of different subjects and chapters in Kuŗal will reveal that many chapters of relevance to either groups (householder and monks) have been listed under both subdivisions of Ascetic and Domestic Virtue, and sometimes even under the II Division "Wealth" which according to some scholars are meant for Rulers! Chapter 29 (Thieving: கள்ளாமை) has been placed under "Ascetic virtue" and couplet 283 says "Stolen wealth may seem to swell but in the end will burst" (PS). Ascetics are not supposed to even have a desire for wealth, leave alone accumulating wealth, or for that matter indulge in thieving! In fact most of the couplets in this chapter talk about evils of thieving, a more appropriate more dictum for householders who are occupied in social life and therefore have opportunities to indulge in thieving, corruption and the like! Let us take the other chapter 18 (Covetousness: கயவாமை) placed under "Domestic virtue" and these two couplets: "They will not sin for fleeting pleasures who seek eternal joy"-173 and "Their senses conquered, the clear-eyed cite not their poverty to covet"-174. Clearly these couplets are more appropriate for placement under "Ascetic virtue" than "Domestic virtue". Chapters 13 and 16 (அடக்கமுடைமை andபொறையுடைமை) are placed under "Domestic virtue". Does it mean "self control" and "forbearance" are not demanded from those who follow the ascetic path? Subramanian and Rajalakshmi (1984) who dwelled in some detail about the distribution and sequencing of some chapters in Kuŗal, ask why the chapter 92 on Prostitutes, 93 on Abstinence and 94 on Gambling were not deemed serious enough to merit inclusion in the first division Aŗattuppāl (Virtue)!
 
Saman Suttam, the well known anthology of Jaina principles and teachings, says a householder is one who is free from seven vices (sūtrā302) such as (i) sex with other's wives, (ii) gambling, (iii) liquor, (iv) hunting, (v) harshness in speech, (vi) harshness in punishment and (vii) misappropriation of wealth. Valluvar has devoted a chapter each to deal with these subjects but all are not under the subdivision Domestic Virtue. Of the seven, only three (i. sex with other's wives, v. harshness in speech and vii. misappropriate of wealth) are under 'Domestic Virtue' (chapters 15, 10, 18 respectively), while the rest are under 'Ascetic Virtue' (iv) or in the second division on "Wealth" (ii, iii and vi). Therefore, it appears that the relevance of any couplet or subject matter to householders and monks cannot be decided based on its placement in Kuŗal. Commenting on the distribution of chapters and couplets in the Kuŗal, Subramanian and Rajalakshmi (1984) concluded that the verses themselves are couched in such general language that it is difficult to say to whom especially they are meant.
 
As for the recitation of Vedas (134, 560), burnt offerings (259, 413) and special worship to gods (18), we will see in section 4 on "God and gods in Tirukkuŗal" that these are passing references that the author makes to emphasize a moral dictum. The emphasis is not that Vedas should be recited but what would happen if rulers of the land fail to protect his subjects (காவலன் காவான் எனின்: Couplet 560) and Brahmins fail in their conduct (பார்ப்பான் பிறப்பு ஒழுக்கம் குன்றக் கெடும்: Couplet 134). The mention about offerings (yājnās) in couplets 259 and 413 does not mean that the author is suggesting that such ablutions are necessary to satisfy gods or for that matter to achievemõksha or liberation. In couplet 18, Valluvar says the very gods will lack festival and worship if the heavens dry up. Once again, the emphasize here is on 'rain', and not on 'worship' which is used only as a simile. Moreover, as we see in section 4.3, Jainism also has a large pantheon of gods, godlings, celestials or angels who are divine beings but not divinities or deities (Kalghatgi, 1984; Jain, 1999). It is pertinent to reproduce here what Mohanraj (1983) wrote on the mention of these worships in Tirukkuŗal. "The reference to "pūjās" or worship (18), venerating ancestors (43) and burnt offerings (259, 413) in Tirukkural only goes on to show that Valluvar was aware of these methods of worships that were prevalent amongst the Tamils and Aryans. Notable is the conspicuous absence of such references in the designated first chapter on 'Praise of God'.....".
 
The next issue we take up for discussion is the reference to Creator God in couplet 1062.
 
இரந்தும் உயிர் வாழ்தல் வேண்டின் பரந்து 
கெடுக உலகு இயற்றியான்
If some must beg and live, let the Creator of the world 
Himself roam and perish! 
PS, SI
 
Here Valluvar's emphasis is on the dreads of begging and the baseness of the wicked, just like in couplet 55 where his emphasize was on the virtues of being an obedient wife. Popley (1931) and Gopalan (1979) maintained that no other couplet in the Kuŗal can be more opposed to the Jaina idea than the couplet 1062 on Creator God. Their contention is that Valluvar believed in a Creator God and therefore he referred to Him as the Creator. No doubt that Jaina dharśana is opposed to Srstivāda (Creation Theory) and it only speaks of a Paramātman or Sarvajña, the Omniscient Being who serves as an ideal to be aimed by man (Jain, 2002a). According to Chakravarti (1953), however, Valluvar here strongly condemns the religious attitude which tries to justify social evils as a result of divine will. The same opinion is expressed by Murugaratnam (1975): "Poverty is not divinely ordained. It is man-made. If anyone says poverty is God-made, let that God who made it himself turn a beggar and taste its bitter pills, so claims Tiruvallluvar". In couplet 1062, Valluvar is thus cursing God if He is the cause for some men to turn beggars! In other words, Valluvar wouldn't have done so had he believed in a God who is just and full of mercy and compassion. In Jainism, which has an extreme position of Law of Karma [*], grief and joy in this life has nothing to do with God but to the consequences of one's deeds in the past alone. Nāladiyār, a Jaina classic beyond doubt, declares:
 
Nāladiyār 107:
If people, with heart full of grief, beg from door to door and suffer endless misery,
It is the result of their deeds in a former birth.
 
Valluvar seems to have only reinforced this idea by saying that the Creator God may himself go begging if He has to be held responsible for some to thrive on begging. The same Valluvar has mentioned elsewhere in the Kuŗal that propriety of conduct is great birth, while impropriety will sink into a mean birth (Kuŗal 133). In couplet 330, he says a deprived life of diseased bodies comes from depriving the life of another (in the previous birth). So too begging, which is a result of one's deeds in the past and not a result of Creator God's will. It is not uncommon to see Valluvar denouncing God and gods and at the same time elevating people to the status of gods. In couplets 50, 388 and 702, he rises earthly humans to the level of heavenly gods and in couplet 1073 brings heavenly gods down to level of the wicked on the earth!  
 
The phrase in the very first couplet "ஆதி பகவன் முதற்றே உலகு" is sometimes taken to mean God as the cause of the universe. In Jainism the world does not proceed from God because He is not the cause. Most translators take the word “ulaku” in this couplet to mean the physical world but the interpretation differs. The are three renderings: (i) The world begins with God (DZ,VS,GV,KK), (ii) He is the first in the world (MS,GU,DL), and (iii) (rarely) the source, mover or cause of the world (SS). "Ulaku" can also be taken to mean the people who live in the word, as it means in couplet 256. The point to be noted is the simile “all alphabets" (எழுத்து எல்லாம்) which is plural and the word "world" (உலகு), if taken to mean the physical world, is singular. It makes sense if we take the “world” in plural and the only way to do so is to take it as a reference to the people of the world. This issue has been taken up for a detailed discussion in Section 5.1.
 
The last objection to be taken up for a discussion is the occurrences of the third division on "Love" (Kāmā) in Tirukkuŗal, which many scholars hold against the Jaina principle of glorifying Asceticism. The argument is that Valluvar wrote on Kāmā and therefore he could not have been a Jaina (Veeramani, 2005). We know that Valluvar's kāmathuppāl follows the Tamil literary convention of akam(Internal) love poetry and has nothing to do with any sexual methods or any of that sort like kāmasūtra. There appears to be a widespread notion amongst many native scholars that Jaina writes should have been Ascetics or Āchāryas. No doubt Jainism and Buddhism gave importance to the Ascetic path (and thus called Śramana paths), but they also had laymen or householders without whom the ascetics wouldn't have survived and the Jain community wouldn't have multiplied! Moreover, Valluvar is not the only "Jaina" to have focused on Kāmā
It is also pertinent to mention here thaJains hold Lord Rsabha, the first of all Tirthankaras, to be the harbinger of human civilization (Jain, 1999). Above all, the Kuŗal is not a work on religious philosophy and sundry laws for it to be judged on this criteria. Kāmathuppāl would have definitely looked out of place in a Jaina religious literature, but the Kuŗal is not a work on Jainism but merely an ethical masterpiece. Many known Jaina authors have written love poems of considerable explicit nature than those written by Thiruvalluvar. Svetambara Jain Jayavallabha's Vajjalaggam, which is also based on the Trivarga of Virtue, Wealth and Love, has nearly 50% of its poems written on Love. Even the well known Tamil anthology of Jaina verses Nāladiyār has 10 quatrains on Love. To argue that a Jaina would be least concerned with Kāmā is therefore a weak one. 
 
3.2. Arguments against Saiva, Vainava and Buddhist authorships
 
Mohanraj (1983) also reviews arguments put forward by many scholars, especially those by Srinivasan (1979), against Saiva authorship of Tirukkuŗal. Some of the common arguments against the influence of Saivism in Tirukkuŗal are:
  • That Valluvar has not clearly said anything on cosmology and theory of creation
  • That there is no reference to the Triune in Saiva Siddhanta, Pati-Pasu-Pāsam (God-Soul-World)
  • That there is no reference to māyā, which as Vivekananda (Complete Works, III 419.3) describes is the combination of the three ideas namely space, time, and causation.
  • That there is no mention of the liberated souls attaining bliss in union with Shiva
  • That there is no reference to Saiva rituals and ways of worship
  • That there is no explicit references to Lord Shiva Himself
No doubt these are some of the common references found in classical works of Tamil Saiva Siddhanta, but as reiterated elsewhere in this document, it is not correct to arrive at the religious inclination of Valluvar by looking for the presence of such religio-philosophical ideas simply because the Kuŗal is only an ethical treatise and not a religious work like Tirumandiram, Devaram or Nilakési. 
 
Another argument against Saiva authorship is the absence of any reference to Shiva and that Saivism came into existence only after Valluvar's period (Veeramani, 2005).  These arguments do not make sense since Valluvar has not explicitly mentioned any deity by name in his work. Moreover, though Saivism as a distinct religious sect might have come into existence after the period of Valluvar, the cult of Shiva worship is as old as Yajur Veda (Tagare, 1996). We also see references to attributes of Shiva in Tamil works that predate Thirukkural (see Puranānūru - 1, 55, 90).
 
Mohanraj (1983) also reviews some of the arguments against Vaishnava authorship of Tirukkuŗal. The three references in Kuŗal which are often quoted in support of Vaishnava background of Valluvar are these: (i) The presence of the phrase "அறவாழி அந்தணன்" in chapter 1 which is construed as a reference to  wheel of Vishnu (Vishnuchakra), (ii) couplet 610 containing the phrase "அடி அளந்தான்" which is also construed as a reference to Tirumāl (Lord Vishnu) measuring the Earth, Heaven and Bali's head in three steps, and (iii) another phrase "தாமரைக் கண்ணான்" in couplet 1103 which is understood as a reference to the lotus-eyed Vishnu. If the word "ஆழி" in couplet 8 is taken a reference to "wheel", then "அறவாழி" would actually mean "wheel of virtue" and not a weapon as ‘Vishnuchakra’ is projected. It is more relevant to Lord Buddha and Jaina Arhat. The next two references namely "அடி அளந்தான்" and "தாமரைக்கண்ணான்" could well be references to Lord Vishnu Himself, but these are passing references as similes to emphasize the ills of indolence and compare the charms in the lover's arms. The emphasis here is on indolence and charms of arms, not the on Lord Vishnu, his legend and his heavenly abode. Thus Valluvar seem to have only used some of these beliefs which prevailed during his period to emphasize a moral point. A close look at these verses would also reveal that they have more often being used for rhyming or poetical reasons. For "மடிஇலா" Valluvar uses "அடி அளந்தான்" and for "தாம் வீழ்வார்" he employs "தாமரைக் கண்ணான்". As Srinivasan (1979) says we cannot consider Valluvar a Vaishnavite simply based on the usage of these phrases, which are used only as similar. In Nāladiyār, a Jaina work beyond doubt, there is a reference to Lord Vishnu (அங்கண் விசும்பின் அமரர் தொழப்படுஞ் செங்கண்மா லாயினும் ஆகமன்/Even if the visitor be Lord Vishnu Himself, adored by the celestials-373), but that does make it qualify to be called a work of Vaishnavite affiliation. As Marudanayagam (2005) said Valluvar the minimum use of Indian mythology only when it is required to explain some idea forcefully. 
 
Mohanraj (1983) has not provided the arguments against the claims of Buddhist inclination of Valluvar. Gopalan (1979), while investigating the possible affiliation of the Kuŗal to Buddhist philosophical tradition, took five characteristics of Buddhism namelyanātma (no soul), atheism, nihilism, pessimism and renunciation and compared these with the ideas found in Kuŗal. Since there is no evidence of nihilism or pessimism in the Kuŗal, he concluded that it cannot be considered a work of Buddhist influence. However, as reiterated earlier in this section and in section 1.1. on Brahminical Hinduism, the religious affiliation of an ethical treatise like Tirukkuŗal cannot be established by looking for the presence of religio-philosophical ideas alone.


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IV. God and gods in Kuŗal
 
"None of the positions that the poet advocates in his verses
are inconsistent with Jaina practice"

K.N. Subramanyam, 1987
 
    Valluvar makes passing references to some of the common religious beliefs of his time. Several words in the Kuŗal could be understood to have been used to refer a deity or godhead (இறைவன்,  தெய்வம்வகுத்தான்இயற்றியான்பகவன் etc.). Of these, two words namely'இறைவன்and 'தெய்வம்' are general ones, while the words 'வகுத்தான்' and 'இயற்றியான்appear to be attributes referring to the two acts of God namely Dispensing and Creation. The last one 'பகவன்' is something special, used by Valluvar only once and that too in the very first couplet. Not all the places where these words occur in Kuŗal could be taken as a reference to a primal Deity. For instance, the word'தெய்வத்துள்' in couplet 50 mean 'amongst the gods' and in couplet 388 the word 'இறை' could be taken to mean either god himself or the status of attaining godhood. The Kuŗal, like any other literary work of its time, also contains many references to celestials, gods and goddesses. In this section, we take up for discussion such references and see if they can be taken as evidence to prove Valluvar's religious affiliation.
 
4.1. Jaina concept of God
 
Jainism has its own concept of god [*,*]. With its state of highest spiritual evolution, divinity in one, connoting collectively all the divinities represented by all the emancipated and liberated souls (Jain, 1999). The Jaina disapproval of Vedic authorities, revolt against Vedic ritualistic sacrifices, emphasis on emancipatory self-effort, exclusion of Divine Grace and extreme position of Law of Karma are some of the root causes that make one believe that there is no belief in God in Jainism (Hemant Shah, *,*). Undoubtedly, God as an extra cosmic personal creator has no place in the Jaina philosophy (Kalghatgi, 1984; Jain, 1999). The Jaina darśana is therefore opposed toSrstivāda (Creation Theory) but only speaks of a Paramātman or Sarvajña, the omniscient Being who serves as an ideal to be aimed by man (Jain, 2002a). Says Ācharya Kundakunda in Ashta Pahuda:  
 
As pure gold is produced by proper treatment, 
So the self becomes Paramātman when helped by time.
 (AP, 6:24)
 
God in Jainism, unlike the powerful and blissful God of other religions, is therefore the Soul that was once embodied in a bondage, and has become God or attained Godhood by self-effort. The Siddhās and the Arhats represent the two types of divinity or godhead in Jainism, the former being the absolutely liberated bodiless pure souls, and the latter, also known as the kévalins or Jinas (including the Tirthankaras) are those who attained emancipation in life, the state of Jeevan-mukta (Jain, 1999). Therefore words like 'தெய்வம்', 'இறைவன்' and even 'கடவுள்' are not uncommon in Tamil Jaina works. 
 
The etymologically the word 'கடவுள்' is a perfect one to denote a Reality which is both Transcendent (கட) and Immanent (உள்). There are many literary texts in Tamil that underline this twin attributes of God, be it Shiva or Vishnu. The word "kadavuļ" does not find a place in any of the couplets in Kuŗal, but only as a title for the first chapter. Is not "kadavuļ" then a word to be used in non-Jaina works alone? Not necessarily. Tholkāppiar, considered to be a Jaina by some (Chakravarti, 1944; Vaiyapuri Pillai, 1956, **), mentions in Tholkāppiam, the oldest extant Tamil work:
 
கொடிநிலை கந்தழி வள்ளிஎன்ற
வடுநீங்கு சிறப்பின் முதலனமூன்றும்
கடவுள் வாழ்த்தொடு கண்ணிய வருமே!

(Tholkāppiam: புறத்-33) 
 
Iļango Adigal, the Jaina author of Cilappathikāram, has frequently used the words "கடவுள்" (1.5.178, 2.11.5, 3.24.13), "தெய்வம்" (1.2.47, 1.3.1, 3.24.1) and "இறைவன்" (2.20.37, 2.22,144) in his work. It is therefore misleading to call Jainism as nāstika darśana, for the termnāstika is also interpreted to mean those who do not believe in any higher Reality than this sense perceived world (Jain, 2000).
When we explore the places where Valluvar has used the words of God, gods and other deities in Tirukkuŗal, it seems he did not hesitate to use them as similes and superlatives while composing a couplet to give that extra punch to drive home his message. Two couplets would suffice to cite such instances in Kuŗal:
 
Couplet: 1062
If some must beg and live, let the Creator of the world 
Himself roam and perish! 
PS, SI


Couplet 1073
The base are like the gods: 
They also do whatever they like. 
PS
 
4.2. The word "தெய்வம்" (theyvam) in Kuŗal
 The word "theyvam" (தெய்வம்) occurs in six couplets in Kuŗal. Let us take these two first.
 
Couplet: 55
Even rains fall at the command of the wife who upon rising 
Worships not God, but her husband
SS
Couplet 1023
The Lord himself will wrap his robes 
And lead the one bent on social service.
 * SS, PS
 
From these couplets, we can appreciate that Valluvar was aware of the "belief in God", "worship of God" and also aware of the notion that "God has the capability to do all". If Jains do not believe in a Creator God, how come Valluvar used these beliefs in his work? The reference to such beliefs in God cannot be taken as an indication to prove that Tirukkuŗal is non-Jaina in character; for the simple reason that the emphasis in these couplets is not to affirm such beliefs but use them to stress virtues like industry in couplet 619, obedience to husband in couplet 55 and on social service in couplet 1023. We can look at some couplets in the Kuŗal to explain this modus operandi of Valluvar better. 
 
Kuŗal 931:
Don’t gamble even if you win for it draws you in 
Like fishes drawn to shining baits.
 PS, NV
 
One may ask how Valluvar, a staunch promoter of ahimsā and vegetarianism, can even mention about fishing. Well, the emphasis here is not on promoting fishing, but only use that as a simile to warn people of the dangers in gambling. In the third division on "Love", Valluvar says in couplets 1090 and 1201:
 
Wine won't delight unless imbibed, 
But love with a look delights! 
PS
Love is sweeter than wine;
Its mere thought intoxicates. 
PS
 
Here too, one may ask how Valluvar who wrote a chapter exclusively on "Abstinence from alcohol" could have compared love with wine and even suggesting that wine does delight and intoxicate when consumed! Once again, the author here is not upholding the habit of drinking wine but only using it as a simile to emphasis on the unique qualities of love. So also the word "honey" in verse 1121 which is there only as a simile. Interestingly when Valluvar says in couplet 1023 that even the Deity itself would wrap his robes and come to assist the one who is inclined to do social service, we get the impression that he was in all probability referring to Jaina deities which are invariably depicted unclothed.  
 
We also need to look at couplet 43 where he declares serving god as one of the five duties of a householder!
 
தென்புலத்தார் தெய்வம் விருந்தோக்கல் தானென்றாங்கு 
ஐம்புலத்தாறு ஓம்பல் தலை.

A householder’s main duty is to serve these five: 
God, guests, kindred, ancestors and himself. 
SS
 
The word "theyvam" here can easily be taken to mean a Creator God, though we also know that it is an adaptation of "Deva" (देव) in Northern tongue. Thus the word "theyvam" could well mean the adoration of a Jaina god as well, be it a Arhat or Siddha, and not necessarily applicable to a Creator God alone. Social service is a prominent part of Jaina ethics, and therefore Jainism prescribes six daily duties for every householder which includes salutations to Jaina gods - Arhat, Siddha and to those excel in austerities, scriptures and virtues (Sangave, 1991; Jain, 1992; Jain, 1999; *), some of which are similar to what Valluvar said above! 
 
देवपूजा गुरूपास्तिः स्वाध्यायसंयमस्तपः 
दानं चेति गृहस्थानां षट् कर्माणि दिने दिने 
Deva-pūjā, gurupāstih, svādhyāyah, samyamas-tapah,
Dānam cheti, grhasthānam sat karmāni dine dine
Worship of God, worship of preceptor, study of scriptures, 
practice of self-control, practice of austerities, and 
giving gifts are the six daily duties of householder.
 
There are also scholars who consider that the five duties listed by Valluvar are based on the pancha mahayajna of Hinduism (*). These five are listed as sacrifices in Satapatha Brahmana:
 

There are five great sacrifices, namely, the great ritual sacrifices: 
The sacrifice to all beings, sacrifice to me, sacrifice to the ancestors, 
Sacrifice to the gods, sacrifice to Brahman. 

(Satapatha Brahmana 11.5.6.1)

Manu had laid down a similar list of five duties - towards sages, manes, gods, animals and guests - very similar to pancha mahayajna(Manu Smriti, III.80). He says 
 

Let him worship, according to the rule, 
    (i) the sages by the private recitation of the Veda -  
    (ii) the gods by burnt oblations - தெய்வம்
    (iii) the manes by funeral offerings (Sraddha) - தென்புலத்தார்
    (iv) men by (gifts of) food and - விருந்து
    (v) the Bhutas by the Bali offering.

Mentioned below are the six Jaina duties, five Hindu duties and the equivalent terms used by Valluvar:
Hinduism
Pancha mahayajna 
(five great duties)
 
Jainism
Āvaśyakas 
(daily duties)
devayājna (worship of gods)
 
deva-pūja (worship of God)
pitrayājna (homage to ancestors)
 
guru-pāstih (worship of preceptor)
brahmayājna (study of vedas)
 
svādhyāyah (study of scriptures)
nryājna (honouring guests)
 
dānam (giving charity or gifts)
bhūta yājna (homage to beings)
 
tapah (practice of austerities)
Not listed
 
samyamas (practice of self control)
Not listed
 
Not listed
Not listed
 
Not listed


As we see in the table above, only three of the five duties mentioned in Thirukkural are common with Hindu Pancha mahayajna and only two with Jaina Āvaśyakas. Valluvar did not consider the study of scriptures, homage to beings, self control and austerities as the main duties of the householder, though he has emphasized the value of the last three elsewhere in his work.

Valluvar's list of five duties could be akin to the list of six obligatory duties (Sadāvaśyaka) propounded by Jinasena II in 9th century AD. In his Ādipurāna (38.24), Jinaséna he laid down six fold sets of practices for a layman which is a modification of Jaina daily duties (Āvaśyakas): worship (ijyā), acceptable profession (vārttā), charity (dāna), study of scriptures (svādhyāya), restraint (samayaha) and austerities (tapah). The replacement of  guru-pāstih (worship of preceptor) with vārttā (acceptable profession) by Jinasena is clear indication of his preference for the former over the latter. We cannot however come to the same conclusion in the case of couplet 43 as we do not see any deliberate attempt by Valluvar to replace a particular list that was popular during his time. It is clear from the Kuŗal that Valluvar's focus was people, be it heavenly, departed, relatives, strangers or self As commentator Manakkudavar says, Valluvar laid down duties towards the (i) departed souls, (ii) heavenly gods, (iii) new guests, (iv) kindred and (v) self. 
 
In some places, the word "theyvam" could taken to mean "fate". Nālatiyār, a Jaina work beyond doubt, has this verse: "திருத் தன்னைநீப்பினும்தெய்வம் செறினும்" which means "Even if fortune forsakes and gods frown" (verse 304). While Rev. F. J. Leeper translates this verse as "Though Lakshmi withdraw from them and God be angry", S. Anavaratavinayakam Pillai translates as "Though fortune forsakes him and fate frown on him". Note the choice of the word "fate" here. Saroj Bharadwaj (1992) who carried out an exclusive study on the concept of "daiva" in Sankrit texts like Mahabhatra mentions that the term is ambiguous and is a riddle ought to be solved. Citing Amaragośa, he points out that the word 'daiva' is variously expressed as "Destiny", "Luck", "Controller", "the Cause", "the Seed" etc.  Going by this logic, the word "theyvam" in couplet 619 (தெய்வத்தான் ஆகாது எனினும் முயற்சி தன் மெய் வருத்தக் கூலி தரும்) which comes under the chapter "Fate" (ஊழ்), could be better translated as "fate". Another word used by Valluvar to mean "fate" appears to be "vaguthān" (வகுத்தான்) in couplet 377 (வகுத்தான் வகுத்த வகை அல்லால் கோடி தொகுத்தார்க்கும் துய்த்தல் அரிது)Not surprisingly, this couplet also comes under the chapter "Fate". Marudanayagam (2005) writes that Valluvar uses works like 'theyvam' and 'ulagattu iyarkai' (nature of the world) to refer to fate; so also the words 'akul' and 'pokul' which mean benign fate and malign fate (fortune and misfortune) respectively. 
 
Therefore the word "theyvam" in Kuŗal could mean three different things depending on the context. It could mean "fate" (619), a deity to be worshipped (43) or a deity capable of doing what man cannot achieve (55).


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4.3. Gods and celestials in Kuŗal
 
Does Valluvar refer to any particular God by name? Though not by name, he refers to Lord Vishnu in couplet 610 as "one who measured by His feet" (அடி அளந்தான்), an obvious reference to the Hindu myth of Vishnu measuring the Earth, Heaven and Bali's head in three steps (thus being called "Trivikrama"). Chakravarti (1953) points out that Jaina commentators interpret it as the world measured by divine knowledge, but I find it difficult to accept this explanation. Jain (1992) mentions that Jaina writers were always in search of some popular tales that they could make them suitable for their religious sermons. He cites the example of the Vishnu-Bali legend wherein God Vishnu is transformed into an ascetic Vishnukumāra by Jains. Whatever the case may be, the emphasis here is on the gains in store for a king can who is freed of sloth, and Valluvar has only used this belief as a simile. Couplet 580 could be a reference to Lord Shiva's act of consuming poison as some scholars indicate (Mudaliar, 1987) but this is not explicitly implied. 
 
Couplet: 580
Those desirous of refinement will drink with smile 
Even hemlock when offered. 
PS
 
We see a similar passage in Sangam literature Natrinai (முந்தை யிருந்து நட்டோர் கொடுப்பின், நஞ்சும் உண்பர் நனி நாகரிகர் - Poem 355) and Valluvar appears to have only modeled his couplet on this. From these occasional references we can only infer that Valluvar used these beliefs prevalent during his lifetime as a simile or tool to convey his message. Thirukkuŗal is such a work that some couplets can be interpreted as a reference to religions that were not even prevalent during Valluvar's time! Let us look at this couplet:
 
கழாக்கால் பள்ளியுள் வைத்தற்றால் சான்றோர் 
குழாத்துப் பேதை புகல்.  (840)
A fool's entry into a learned assembly
Is like entering a shrine with unclean legs.
 NV, PS
 
The word "பள்ளி" (palli) here could easily be interpreted as a reference to the Mosque, the common place of worship where devotees enter after washing their feet! Since there were no mosques during the time of Valluvar, we can only presume that it must have been a reference to either Jaina or Buddhist monastery. The monasteries of the Jains and Buddhist monks were called “பள்ளி” in the ancient Tamil country (Varadarajan, 1988). Following the near total disappearance of Buddhism and Jainism from Southern India, this word has now been used to denote the places of worship of Muslims and Christians in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Hindu temples were always known by the names "கோயில்ஆலயம்அம்பலம்" and never by the word "பள்ளி(palli).
 
Besides some obvious references to Lord Vishnu, the Kuŗal has many references to celestials (இந்திரன்அமரர்தேவர்புத்தேளிர்,வானத்தவர்வானோர்), female deities (செய்யவள்செய்யாள்தவ்வைதாமரையினாள்திருமுகடி), manes, ghosts and evil spirits (அணங்குஅலகைதென்புலத்தார்பேய்). There is a tendency amongst scholars to nail the Kuŗal as Hindu work because these words exist. Apart from worship of Tirthankaras/Arhats/Siddhas,  Jainism also has a large pantheon of gods, godlings, celestials or angels who are divine beings but not divinities or deities (Kalghatgi,  1984; Jain, 1999). Sharma (1989) in his work "Jaina Yakshas" mentions about the tradition of even Yakshini worship prevalent in many Jaina communities. Kalghatgi (1984) and Kandaswamy (2001) believe that such forms of worship, though foreign to Jainism, have been absorbed and assimilated, in the struggle for survival with other religions. One of the daily Jaina recitations that fall under the 32 "Pious Aspirations" (Bhāvanā-dvā-trimśikā) composed by Achārya Amita-gati, goes like this:
 
O' Sarasvati (goddess of learning), pray, forgive me for the mistake I may have committed inadvertently, in pronouncing, spelling, uttering, putting, explaining or understanding, grammatically or otherwise, and grant me the boon of 'knowledge absolute'(Recitation No. 10) (Jain, 1999)
 
Therefore goddesses like Sarasvati and Lakśmi , dévās like Indra and many celestials like angels, yakshās and demons fall under the scheme of Jainism. Sri Kundakunda, a well known Jaina Āchārya, in his work Ashta Pahuda says "Good people adorned with virtue are dear to the gods" (AP, VIII: 17). Valluvar also says in couplet 388: "A just king, who guards over his subjects, will be deemed god by themNV. Therefore gods and goddesses very well fall into the scheme of Jaina beliefs though they do not believe in an outside creator God (see Mathews, 1995). Moreover, a reference to a god or goddess of other faith cannot be taken as an indication to show Valluvar's inclination towards that faith, for the simple reason that the author seem to have had no hesitation in using the prevailing beliefs amongst the people of his time and use them often as similes to emphasize his message. Some of these words like 'செய்யவள்' and  'முகடி'are found in many established Jaina literary works as well. 'செய்யவள்' is found in Cilappadikāram (2.12.69) and 'முகடி' is Cūdāmañi Nigañdu (Verse 145). 
 
G.U. Pope (1886) considered that couplet 25, which refers to the King of celestials Indra, is destructive to the idea that Tiruvalluvar was a Jain. Swami Iraianban (1997), who translated the Kuŗal into English, also held the same view. 
 
Couplet 25. 
Even the celestial king Indra will vouch the strength of one 
Who rules his senses five.
 * KK, PS
 
Writes G.U. Pope: "...... a story regarding Indra is referred to as proving that ascetics have power over the gods. The sage was Gautama, who cursed Indra for deceiving the sage's wife, Ahalya. Now, according to Jaina ideas, a sage has no wife, nor can he feel emotion of anger, nor has he the power to inflict punishment." However, Pope fails to explain why he should think Valluvar would have constructed this couplet based on this particular story in mind. S.M. Diaz (2000), citing Manakkudavar's commentary, says it only refers to the insecurity Indra had, whenever a sage effectively controls his five senses and reached the heights of penance, lest he should ultimately endanger his own position - and so Valluvar used him as the witness to the ascetic's prowess. Chakravarti (1953) responds to Pope's  allegation in the following manner: "Pope is quite right in asking this question, but the assumption at the back of the question is unfounded. ........ It is a well known Jain tradition that whenever a person after conquering the senses becomes omniscient by realizing his own perfect self, Indra with his retinue is expected to go to him and offer worship".  It will be relevant here to quote a verse from Buddhist scripture Dhammapāda (94) which states that "Even the Gods esteem one whose senses are controlled as horses by the charioteer". In the Culavagga of Sutta Nipata (Sutta 8, verse 316), Buddha is stated to have said: "As gods pay their homage to Indra, pay thou thine to him who teaches thee".  Arunkala-c-ceppu, a terse Jaina treatise of 12th century A.D. in Tamil, proclaims that those who meditated chanting the Pañcanamaksāra would become supreme Indra among Indras ("indirarkkum indirare en" - 150).   It is therefore not an uncommon practice in the Indian literary tradition, including Srāmanic faiths like Buddhism and Jainism, to bring in the witness of the celestials or devas or the King of the celestials Indra to vouch for the greatness of ascetics. 
 
4.4. Scriptures and Brahmins in Kuŗal
 
In this section, we look for evidences in the Kuŗal for any references to scriptures and saints of any particular religious affiliation. Valluvar refers to Scriptures in at least five places. 
 
1. "panuval(பனுவல) in couplet 21
2. "maŗaimozhi" (மறைமொழி) in in couplet 28
3. "õththu" (ஓத்து) in couplet 134
4. "anthañar nūl" (அந்தணர் நூல) in couplet 543
5. "aŗuthozhilõr nūl" (அறுதொழிலோர் நூல) in couplet 560
 
Though none of these terminologies used by Valluvar could be taken as a reference to any particular scripture, the word "õththu" in couplet 134 could mean the Vedas since it specifically refers to Brahmins (பார்ப்பான்) forgetting their recitations. The Kuŗal does not regard a Scripture as something revealed by God from the heavens but as potent utterances of great sages (couplet 28). 
 
Commenting on the references to Brahmins through the use of words like anthañan and pārppān (அந்தணன்பார்ப்பான்) by Valluvar, Popley (1931) indicates that such references are contradictory to Jaina beliefs! On the contrary, such references are not uncommon to find in Jaina and Buddhist works. The author of the great Jaina epic Cilappathikāram, Iļango Adigal, employs the wordanthañan repeatedly in his work (மதுரைக்காண்டம் 2.13.41, 2.15.70, 2.22.70). Dhammapādā, the Gītā of Buddhists, has an entire chapter on "Brahmin". Both Buddhist and Jaina texts contain numerous references to Brahmins, Ascetics, Siddhās, Bikkhus, Pandits and they all have their own definitions. For instance, Jaina anthology Saman Suttam (314) says, "A person becomes Śramana by equanimity, aBrahmin by his celibacy, a Muni by his knowledge, and an Ascetic by his austerities". In the Buddhists text Dhammapādā, we see chapters that define and delineate the roles of a Sage (Pandita), Awakened one (Buddha), Monk (Bikkhu) and Brahmin (Brāhmana).
The Uttadhayayana Sutra (25:31) of Jains declares that one becomes a Brahmin only by deed, not by birth. The Kuŗal is definitely not like Manu Smriti which appeases Brahmins throughout the work. How does then Valluvar define his anthañan? The the word "அந்தணன்" occurs only thrice in Kuŗal (couplets 8, 30 and 543). The first time when it occurs in chapter one on "Praise of God", it means a saintly personality.  The second time it appears is in chapter 3 on "Greatness of Ascetics" and here it could mean none other than an Ascetic. 
 
Ascetics are called men of virtue for they assume
The role of mercy to all that live. 
(30) NV
 
Here Valluvar defines what "anthañan" or 'Brahmin' means to him. It is not a matter of coincidence that Lord Buddha, who promulgated compassion and non-injury, also defines a Brahmin as one who does not harm any living creature (Dhammapādā 405). The third time the word  "anthañan" occurs in Kuŗal is under chapter 55 on "Right Governance". The words ""anthañar nūŗkum" (அந்தணர்நூற்கும்) in the couplet 543 is usually translated as "scriptures of Brahmins". It should actually mean the scriptures of the great (sages) since Valluvar says "மறைமொழி" (scriptures) are filled with the great words of great people "மாந்தர்" (couplet 28). It is only when Valluvar employs the word pārppān (பார்ப்பான்does he refer to the Vedic Brahmin. Though Valluvar said in couplet 972 that men are all equal by birth and distinction arises only because of their deeds, he was at the same time aware of the prevailing custom of Brahmins reciting the Vedas and being considered of noble birth. Says Valluvar in couplet 134:
 
Scriptures forgot can be recapitulated. 
Bad conduct debases a Brahmin and his birth.
 * PS, JN
 
    In this couplet, Valluvar's intention is to say what happens to a person of good birth if his conduct is bad. The emphasis is on the morality and not on who is qualified to recite scriptures. Chakravarti (1953) writes that the honour and respect a Brahmin can expect from society must be based on excellence and not upon cultivation of memory. Relevant to cite here is the verse from Jaina anthology Saman Suttam (340) which says a person does not become a Brahmin by simply repeating the Ōmkāra mantra.


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 V. First chapter on the "Praise of God"

 
"Descriptions of God found in chapter 'Praise of God' 
lead one to conclude that Valluvar must have been a Jain"

Prof. Vaiyapuri Pillai (cited by Kulandai Swamy, 2000)
 
Placing a section "Proem" with an Invocation to a particular Deity or deities at the beginning of a literary work is a common practice followed in almost all ancient Tamil literatures. Valluvar was no exception as he also places a full chapter of 10 couplets in the beginning of his work, calling it "kadavul vāzhthu" (கடவுள் வாழ்த்து). We are not sure if all the chapter headings known to us through different commentators of Tirukkuŗal was the same as given by Tiruvalluvar. The word "kadavuļ" is conspicuously absent in any of the couplets in Tirukkuŗal, leave alone the first chapter. Also the word "theyvam" in chapter one. It does not mean that the occurrence of these words in the chapter 1 would have qualified the Kuŗal being called a non-Jaina work, since we have seen the frequent occurrence of these words in many Jaina works in Tamil. The word "கடவுள்" is frequently found in established Jaina texts like Cilappadhikaram and therefore cannot be taken as an indication to show the author's belief in a creator God. Cūļāmañi, a Jaina epic beyond doubt, has its Invocation titled"கடவுள் வாழ்த்து".
 
Amongst the two popular Brahmanic systems, namely Śaivism and Vaiśnavism, it is to Saivism that the Kuŗal is more often linked to (see Rajasingham, 1987; Subramuniyaswami, 2000; Kasthuri Raja, 2005). Of the two surviving Śramana (Ascetic) systems, namely Buddhism and Jainism, it is to Jainism that the Kuŗal is shown to have the most affinity (Chakravarti, 1953; Vaiyapuri Pillai, 1956; Zvelebil, 1975; Venkataramiaih, 2001). All scholars who regard the Kuŗal as a work of a Jaina, consider that the author's Jaina background is revealed in the first chapter itself! Those who claim the Kuŗal to be a Saiva work, often quote the following words of G.U. Pope: "Thiruvalluvar bases his ethics on the grand Truths Triparthartha: Pathi, Pasu and Pasam. In fact his creed is not a godless creed like that of Jains or Buddhists". This is indeed a surprising statement from a great scholar. It will be clear from the following sections that the Deity invoked by Valluvar in the first chapter can be more fittingly applied to even Buddhist deities. 
 
Jainism is sometimes called a nāstika darśana but it is misleading to say so for the term nāstika is also interpreted to mean those who do not believe in any higher reality than this sense perceived world (Jain, 2002a). Both Jainism and Buddhism thus do not hold that God is the creator, preserver and annihilator of the universe (Jain, 1992). In Mahayana Buddhism, Amitābha is both like and unlike a Supreme Being or God in many respects. He is unique in his own self created realm outside this world, source of all good, parent like perceptor, protector and helper of its inhabitants, omniscient who does not judge or punish, with an immeasurably long but not infinite life (Corless, 1995). The most famous of all invocatory practices in Mahayana Buddhism is surely that of calling on the name of Amitābha Buddha (Yuichi, 1995). According to Jains, God (or gods since anyone can attain godhood by practicing penance to annihilate one'skarmas) is free from attachment and aversion, is not eternal or omnipresent and not capable of doing or undoing things at his sweet will (Jain, 1992). It appears that Pope's understanding of god in Jainism and Buddhism was fragmentary. Each of the 10 couplets in Chapter 1 has a key word or phrase attributed to a Supreme being.  Table 12 below shows these 10 names and attributes and how they are interpreted by the Hindu (Saiva) and Jaina commentators and translators. 
 
Table 12. Saiva and Jaina renderings of key phrases in Chapter 1 of Thirukkural
No
Key words referring to Deity or Deities in chapter 1
Brahmana way (Saiva)
Based on renderings of Suddhantha Bharathi, Satguru Subramaniyaswami & Somasundaram Pillai)
Śramana way (Jaina)
(Based on the renderings of K.N. Subramanyam, A. Chakravari, Govind Rai Jain)
1
ஆதி பகவன்
Primordial God, Eternal God, Ancient Lord
Ādi Bagavan, First Lord.
2
வால் அறிவன்
Pure Knowledge, He who knows all
Pure Knowledge, All Knower,
Supreme Wisdom.
3
மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்
He who dwells in the lotus hearts,
Thriller of fervent heart,
God in Florid Brain
He who walked on flowers,
Lord who walked on divine lotus.
4
வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமைஇலான்
To whom no likeness is, 
One who likes or loathes, 
He who is free of desire and aversion
Lord who has neither desire nor aversion.
5
இறைவன்
God, Lord
Prabhu (प्रभु), Lord, Him.
6
ஐந்தவித்தான்
He who controls the five senses,
Who is sensual organs void,
He who has the sense signal away
Lord who conquered five senses
7
தனக்குவமை இல்லாதான்
One beyond compare,
Incomparable One
Incomparable Lord,
Him who has no rival
8
அறவாழி அந்தனன்
He who is a sea of virtue,
One who is an ocean of virtue
Righteous One, Benevolent Lord,
Lord with the wheel of dharma.
9
எண் குணத்தான்
8-fold attributes,
Possessor of 8 infinite powers,
Eight-virtued divine
Him that has eight qualities,
Lord with 8-fold excellence
10
இறைவன்
God, Lord, Holy
Prabhu (प्रभु), Lord, Him
 
 


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 5.1. Who is Ādi Bagavan?

 
அகரம் முதல எழுத்தெல்லாம் ஆதி 
பகவன் முதற்றே உலகு (1)
 
Rajasingham (1987), who produced his new translation and exegesis of Kuŗal with a Saivite interpretation, mentions that Ādi Bhagvan represents the coexistence of the conjoint principle Ādi, the feminine and Bhagvan the masculine. Thus the word Ādi Bagavan, according to him means "Him who gave his one half away" and a pointer to the highest stage reached in Saiva Siddhāntā. This explanation would hold good only if the Kuŗal shows some references to the teachings of Saiva Siddhāntā. The usual interpretation of this couplet is: "Letter 'A' is the first cause of all alphabets and Primordial God the first cause of the world". This way of comparing God to letter 'A'  is reflected in many Hindu scriptures, both Vaishnavite and Saivite."I am the letter A among alphabets" says the Baghavad Gītā (10:33). Thirumoolar refers to this phenomenon in at least three places in Tirumandiram:

"By One Letter, He all worlds became(ஓரழுத்தாலே உலகெங்கும் தானாகி) (885)
"None knows He is Letter-A(ஆரும் அறியர் அகாரம் அவனென்று) (1751)
"All exist as Letter-A the beginning" (அகார முதலா அனைத்துமாய் நிற்கும்) (1753) 
 
Since Thirumandiram is a work dated after Thirukkural, it is possible that Thirumoolar the author had only followed the tradition. Not surprisingly the phrase "Primordial God" or "Supreme God" has found its place in many Tamil religious literatures that appeared after the Kuŗal. Nammālzhvār, a Vaishnavite poet, says in his work Thiruvāimozhi (1-3-5) "கணக்கறு நலத்தினன் அந்தமில் ஆதிஅம் பகவன்". It has been a custom to employ Valluvar's wordings in many literary works that appeared after Tirukkuŗal and many Tamil Jaina texts refer to Ādi Bagavan in one form or the other. Of particular interest are the terms "ஆதி முதல்வன்in Mañimékalai (6.7) and the word ஆதிபிரான்” in Tirumandiram (319) and Thévāram (Thirumurai 3.2.12), and "ஆதி மூர்த்தி" in Thévāram (3.105.1125). Kandaswamy (2001) in his article on "Devotionalism in the Jain and Buddhist Tamil poems" has this to say: "Ādimudalvan, Ādi Buddha, Ādinātha and Ādi pagavan seem to be synonyms and convey theistic concept of Karandavyuha", the 'Manifestation of Appearance' in Mahayana Buddism.
 
Even the scripture of the Sikhs declares: "He created the vast expanse of the Universe with One Word" (Guru Grant Sahib, page 3). It will be relevant here to quote William Penn (1644-1718): "It is too frequent to begin with God and end with the World. But He is the good Man's Beginning and End; he is Alpha and Omega" (Reflections And Maxims, 1682, No. 27). But Valluvar mentions only the beginning, not the end. The question is whether the Kuŗal is referring to a primordial God as the causative agent for the beginning of the world. 
 
The first couplet has been often compared to the following verses from various scriptures: 
 
Scriptures
In the the respective languages
English translation
Gītā, 10:20
अहमादिश्च मध्यं  भूतानामन्त एवच
I am the Beginning, the Middle 
and also the End of all beings
Qur'an, 57:3
هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ
He is the First and the Last
Revelation, 1:8
egw eimi to a kai to w 
arch kai teloV
I am the Alpha and the Omega, 
the Beginning and the End
Isaiah, 48:12
אֲנִי רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן
I am the First and I am also the Last
Tirumandiram, 1570
ஆதிக்கண் தெய்வமும் 
அந்தமுமாமே
God is the Beginning and End of all
 
The couplet in Kuŗal differs from all these verses on one aspect. While the verses from Gītā, Qur'an, Revelation, Isaiah and Tirumandiram portray God as the "First and the Last" or the "Beginning and the End" (ஆதியும் அந்தமும்), the Kuŗal speaks only about the beginning (முதற்றே) of something which is the "first" (ஆதி). 
 
Since the usual reference to the "End or Last" is missing in couplet 1, we can safely conclude that Valluvar here was not talking about a Creator God who is often projected as the "Beginning and the End" but a god or deity who is adored as the first. This suits perfectly to the Jain Ādi Bagavan, the first of the Tirthankaras.
 
In Jainism the world does not start from God or proceed from him because He is not the cause. Most translators take the word “ulaku” here to mean the physical world, but rarely to mean the people who live in the word. While the simile “all alphabets" (எழுத்து எல்லாம்) is plural, the word "world" (உலகு), when taken literally, is singular. It makes sense if we take the “world” as plural and the only way to do so is to take it as a reference to the people of the world. Writes Somasundaram Pillai (1959): “It must not be objected that ulaku (the world) is in singular number, as this word like may similar terms in Tamil has frequently a plural and general significance as in the third couplet of chapter 3; so also the word ulaku in couplet 256. The word ‘ellām’ (எல்லாம்) is so placed in the sentence to qualify for both ‘ezhutthu’ (எழுத்து) and ulaku (உலகு) (Somasundaram Pillai, 1959).
 
எழுத்துகளுக்கு முதல் அகரம் (Alpha is the first for all the alphabets)
உலகத்தார்க்கு முதல் பகவன் (Baghavan is the first of the world)
 
Standing on its own, the phrase 'Adi Bagavan' can be translated both as 'First Bagavan' the Jaina way or as Primordial God, the Hindu way. The question is whether the word "ஆதி பகவன்" refers to the first Jaina Tirthankarā Adi Bhagvan, or the Primal God as most translators interpret. Lord Rsabha, the first Jaina Tirthankarā, is called the father of philosophy and human culture (Pragwat, 1970; **) and also has the distinction of being referred to be the harbinger of human civilization (Jain, 1999; ***). In a sense, he occupies the equivalent place of prophet Abraham who is referred as the "Father of all" in the Semitic world (Luke 1:7, John 8:53). Chakravarti (1953), Subramanyan (1987), Vaiyapuri Pillai (1956) and Govindarai Jain (1998) have put forward the idea that the word "ஆதி பகவன்(Ādi Bagavan) in the very first couplet in Kuŗal is a reference to the first Tirthankarā of Jains, Lord Rashaba. Tirthankarās are Fordmakers whose teachings provide the ford by which souls can cross to salvation (Bashan, 1988; Jain, 1999; Shanta, 2001). Just as the Mahāyanā Buddhists have their Buddhas or Bodhisattvās, Muslims have their prophets and Hindus their Avatārs, the Jains have their Fordmakers or Tirthankarā. Gopalan (1979) in his work on the social philosophy of Kuŗal considers this a weak claim since the historicity of Lord Rashaba has not been established unlike the last two Tirthankarās, namely Pārśva and the last Tirthankarā Mahāvira. This line of argument makes no sense when we consider the fact that the historicity of many of the religious figures have not been established. For instance, we cannot deny Islam as a Semitic faith simply because Adam and Abraham to whom the Qur'an makes frequent references, are not known to be historical figures. To cite another example, it is absurd to say that "Letter A among alphabets" does not refer to Lord Krishna simply because he is not a historical figure.
 
The crucial question to be answered is if Lord Rashaba could also be called Ādi Bhagavan. Sharma (2002), who authored an attractive and scholarly book on the history of Jainism, mentions at least seven additional names for the legendry figure Rashaba. Two of these names, namely Ādinātha and Ādiśvara Bhagvan (OISJ and JAA) are strikingly similar to the phrase used in Kuŗal Ādi Bagavan. The latter name Ādiśvara Bhagvan is also written as Bhagwan Ādināth or Ādināth Bhagwan (see these links: *, *,*). In fact there are Jaina books with the title as Ādi Bhagwan. R.B. Pragwat's (1970) book on Lord Rishaba is titled: "Ādi-Bhagavan Rishaba, father of philosophy and human culture"! Subramanyam (1987) mentions that the Jaina commentator of Kuŗal Kavirāja Pandithar idenfies Ādi Bagavan of the first Kuŗal as Lord. He also mentions that many other nighantus (meaning: lists of vocabularies) in Tamil, both of Jaina and non-Jaina origin, point to the term Ādi Bagavan as from the Jaina tradition.
 
Why did Valluvar use the words like "இறைவன்தெய்வம்" in other parts of the work, but opted for this twin words he never used any other place in his work? Is it because 'பகவன்' is an apt rhyming word for 'அகரம்'? We cannot take it this way because any writer mentions the message (பொருள்) first and then looks for the simile (உவமை).   The importance here is to Ādi-Bagavan ஆதி பகவன்” and the simile “உவமை” is akaram “அகரம்”. So he selects the phrase Ādi Bagavan first and then looks for simile which is "அகரம்". As Sarangapani (1973) said, Valluvar could have composed his first couplet based on the first verse in Tolkāppiyam which also begins with the phrase "அகரமுதல". Valluvar seem to have deliberately chosen this phrase "ஆதி பகவன் in spite of many other options likeஇறைவன்தெய்வம் etc. available to him. And that too words of Sanskrit origin in the very couplet of a work that contains very few words of Northern import!  
 
Venkataramaiyah (2001) points out the mention of Ādi Bagavan as "எண் எழுத்திரண்டும் பரப்பிய ஆதிமூர்த்தி" in section four of Mandala Purudar’s Nigañdu work. He also quotes this from Kayādara Nigañdu: 
 
கோதிலருகன் திகம்பரன் எண்குணன் முக்குடையோன்,
ஆதிபகவன் அசோகமர்ந்தோன் அறவாழி அண்ணல்
 
This verse has nearly half of the attributes mentioned in the first chapter of Kuŗal. Being a later work, the author has obviously styled his composition based on the Kuŗal. He might have used these attributes in his work realizing that they all suit well to describe the Jaina deity, Arhat (அருகன்). While it is true that the phrase "ஆதிபகவன்" can fit the description of a Creator God (Shiva or Vishnu), it can also suit Jaina Arhat but not Lord Buddha.

Considering all the points we discussed above, the best way of translating the first couplet in Kuŗal would be:
 
With alpha begins all alphabets; 
And the world with the first Bagavan.
 * KN, SI


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5.2. Who is Pure Knowledge?
 
கற்தனால் ஆய பயனென்கொல் வால்அறிவன் 
நல்தாள் தொழார் எனின் (2)
 
Shah in his article on the Jaina concept of God [*], mentions that in the state of Godhood, the soul is free and enjoys four infinites, namely Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Perception, Infinite Power and Infinite Bliss. From Jaina point of view, this couplet might actually be a statement of reference to the "Knowledge", one of the attributes enjoyed by the soul in the state of Godhood. There are many references in Tamil Literature where Jaina deities are referred as "Knowledge", "Knowledge of Virtue", "Knowledgeable", and as "Knowledge that spreads righteousness":  
 
அறிவன் அறவோன் அறிவுவரம்பு இகந்தோன் 
செறிவன் சினேந்திரன் சித்தன் பகவன்

(Cilappadikāram.1: புகார்க் காண்டம், 10. நாடுகாண் காதைLines 176-177)
 
Venkataramaiyah (2001) cites more references from other Tamil Jaina works, like Mérumandira Purāñam (அறிவினாலறியாத அறிவன் நீ)and Ceevacambõthanai (அறம் பகர்ந்த அறிவன). In spite of all these, the phrase "Vālaŗivan" (வாறிவன்) cannot be considered as something applicable to a Jaina deity alone since God as ‘knowledge’ is a common attribute found in almost all religious systems. In Islam, one of the 99 names of Allah is "Knower" (الْعَلِيم or Al-'Alim). Tirumandiram, a Tamil classic on Saiva Siddhāntā, calls Lord Siva as "All Knower" (எல்லாம் அறியும் அறிவு).
 

What avails you if you know all, 
But not the knowledge that knows all?

(Tirumandiram, 2596)

The contention is not how the word "Vālaŗivan" has to be translated, but to whom the attribute refers to. From the evidences we have seen so far, it is clear that the ‘Intelligence’ in this couplet can refer to the Deity of any religion. The following translation could be considered appropriate for couplet 2:
Of what avail is learning if one worships not
The holy feet of Pure Intelligence? * 
VS, GV
 
5.3. Who walked on flowers?
 
மலர்மிசை ஏகினான் மாண்அடி சேர்ந்தார் 
நிலமிசை நீடு வாழ்வார். (3)
 
This couplet has been given two different renderings, one the Jaina way and the other Hindu way. We will soon realize that it can easily be given a Buddhist interpretation as well. Jaina claims include that the one who walked over the lotus flowers placed for him by the gods is none other than the Tirthankara or Arhat (arugan in Tamil). This Jain deity is depicted as standing on a lotus flower (Pope, 1886). The feet of arugan are always supported by this divine lotus and hence addressed as one who walked on lotus flower (Chakravarti, 1953) or his feet referred as "மலர்மிசை நடந்த மலரடி" (Zvelebil, 1975). We see Kavunthiyadigal praising Jaina god Arugan in Cilappathikāram:
 
மலர்மிசை நடந்தோன் மலர்அடி அல்லதென்
தலைமிசை உச்சி தான்அணிப் பொறாஅத 

(1: புகார்க் காண்டம், 10: நாடுகாண் காதைLines 204-205)
 
The only other person two whom malarmisai ékinān could refer to is Lord Buddha. I am not aware of Buddha being called as "மலர்மிசை நடந்தோன்" or "பூமேல் நடந்தான்" in Tamil literature. But considering the fact that the general beat of the Kuŗal is the characteristic Śramana dharma of ahisma and satyā (கொல்லாமை மற்றும் பொய்யாமை), it can safely be concluded that this couplet fits the Jaina god arugan as well as Lord Buddha. 
 
The famous commentator of Tirukkuŗal Parimélazhagar makes this interesting statement: "இதனைப் பூமேல் நடந்தான் என்பதோர் பெயர்பற்றிப் பிறிதோர் கடவுட்கு ஏற்றுவாரும் உளர". (i.e. "There are also people who consider "One who walked on flower" a reference to some other god"). Who is this other god  "பிறிதோர் கடவுள்"? Parimelazhagar is obviously referring here to the Jains! Normal Cutler (1992) points out how Parimélazhagar reads his Vaishnava ideas into such practically simple phrases in Thirukkural. For Parimélazhagar, the paraphrase "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" becomes "he who went into the flower" (மலரின்கண்ணே சென்றவன்) which he explains as the speedy entry of God into the lotus heart of the devotee who thinks loving of Him (Cutler, 1992). Manakkudavar, generally accepted as a Jaina commentator, renders the phrase unambiguously as "He who walked on flowers". In chronology, Manakkudavar's commentary is considered to be the earliest (Sundaram, 1990).
Satguru Subramaniyaswami, Rajasingham and many others have rendered phrase (malarmisai ékinān) "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" as "He who resides in the lotus hearts". This interpretation, surprisingly one of the common ones, is little far stretched considering the fact that there is no reference to the heart in this couplet. It is iniquitous on the part of those who translate "நிலம் மிசை" in the second line as "on the earth" to translate "ர் மிசை" in the first line as "in the heart". Such an interpretation seems nothing but a extrapolation based on the Hindu belief that heart is the abode of God (e.g. Siva) which is not even implied any where in the Kuŗal. Here I quote Thirumandiram again which repeats this idea of "Siva abiding in the heart" throughout the work:
 
அகம் படிகின்ற நம் ஐயனை ஒரும்
அகம் படிகண்டவர் அல்லலில் சேரார்
Muse on the Lord who resides in your heart; 
They who see Him residing within, know sorrows none.

(Tirumandiram 1874) 
 
Who lives in the heart according Valluvar? Being a moralist and concerned with conduct of man in this world, he had only this to say:
 
உள்ளத்தால் பொய்யாது ஒழுகின் உலகத்தார் 
உள்ளத்துள் எல்லாம் உளன்
He who lives truly in his own heart, 
Truly lives in the hearts of all people. 
(294) SS
 
Is there any reference to Hindu deities being called as the One who walked on flowers? Mayilai Seeni Venkatasamy in his book "திருக்குறள் மூலமும் கட்டுறைகளும்" (part of this work "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" reproduced here by R. Banukumar: and here; see also *) brings to the notice a reference to Lord Siva as the 'one with flower embedded feet' in Thévāram: "தாளிடைச் செங்கமலத் தடங்கோள்சேவடியார் போலும்நாளுடைக் காலன்விடி வுதைசெய்த நம்பர் போலும்". Venkitasamy wonders if it was due to Appar's prior experience of being a Jaina chief that he calls Siva this way! We see more verses of this nature in Thévāram:
 
எரியாய தாமரைமேல் இயங்க னாரும்
இடைமருது மேவிய ஈசனாரே(Appar in Thirumurai 6.16.7)
பூமேல எழுந்தருளி இருந்தானை (Appar in Thirumurai, 6.84.1)
 
Sangam classic Paripātal has this this reference too:
 
மண்மிசை---அவிழ்துழாய் மலர்தரு செல்வத்துப்
புள்மிசைக் கொடியோனும்புங்கவம் ஊர்வோனும்,
மலர்மிசை முதல்வனும்மற்று அவனிடைத் தோன்றி
உலகு இருள் அகற்றிய பதின்மரும்இருவரும்,
மருந்து உரை இருவரும்திருந்து நூல் எண்மரும்
(Paripādal 8:1-5) 
 
Here the phase "மலர்மிசை முதல்வன்" apparently refers to Brahma on the lotus (தாமரை மலர்மேல் அமந்த பிரமனும்Subramanian et al,2004). Once again we see that this is not a reference to the one who "walked" on flowers but one who sat on it. There is no denying of the fact that there is hardly any Hindu deity that is not portrayed as standing or sitting on the lotus flower. 
 
The Jaina claim is further reinforced by similar references to the Jaina deity in Ceevakacintāmañi (பூந்தாமரை மேல் சென்ற திருவாரடி,2814), Mérumandira Purāñam (கமல மீதுலவும் உனசெய்யுள் 66), Cūlāmañi (தாமரைப் பூவின்மேல் சென்றான் புகழ் அடி, துறவு 71) and Neelakési (தண் தாமரை மலரின் மேல் நடந்தாய, 33).
 
Based on the discussion we had so far, we can conclude that the deity implied in this couplet suits perfectly the the Jaina Arhat. And to Lord Buddha as well in spite of the fact that there are not many references in Tamil literature like the one for Arhat. As far as the translation is concerned, one of the best ways of translating couplet three would be:
 
Long life on earth is theirs who reach
The glorious feet of Him who walked on flowers.
 PS, VS


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5.4 Who is beyond likes and dislikes?
 
வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இலான்அடி சேர்ந்தார்க்கு 
யாண்டும் இடும்பை இல. (4)
 
Here again the phrase "வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இலான்" ("He who has neither desire nor aversion") has a strong ascetic flavour and would therefore be more relevant to a Jaina, Buddhist or even a Hindu ascetic who has attained liberation. Deity in Jainism, by its very nature, is incapable of rewards and punishments and is absolutely devoid of love and  hatred, attachment or aversion (Jain, 1999). Lord Buddha states that only he is a Brahmin who is free from desire and aversion (rāgo ca doso) (Dhammapādā (407) or likes and dislikes (ratiñ ca aratiñ) (Sutta Nipata, Mahavagga, Sutta 9.642). In Bhagavad Gītā, we see Lord Krishna telling Arjuna that all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate (icchā dvéshaइच्छा & द्वेष) (7:27). A creator God is therefore not born into delusion for him to be overcome by the dualities of love and hate. Venkataramaiyah (2001) cites verses of similar import from some Tamil Jaina works like Thirukkampakam (வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமையில்லாத வீரன், 58) and Thiru Nūtranthāthi (ஆர்வமும் செற்றமும்நீக்கிய அச்சுதனசெய்யுள், 20). Interestingly we see Appar attributing this quality to Lord Siva: "வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை இல்லான்றன்னை" (Tirumurai, 6.46.9). Once again, we see Appar being different from other Saiva saints!
 
As far as the translation of this couplet goes, there cannot be any controversy since a literal translation will not affect the claims of either parties. 
 
No evil will befall those who reach the feet 
Of the One beyond likes and dislikes.
 NV
 
5.5. Who controls the five senses?
 



பொறிவாயில் ஐந்வித்தான் பொய்தீர் ஒழுக்க 
நெறிநின்றார் நீடு வாழ்வார். (6)
 
Translators in general have taken this couplet as a reference to God who controlled his senses. The question why should a creator God be praised for controlling his senses is rarely asked? P.S. Sundaram (1990) writes: "It may seem strange to refer to God as one who conquered the five senses as if this was for Him a matter of effort." S.M. Diaz (2000), another translator, also mentions that there is a controversy on the real meaning of "aindavithān" for it would be wrong to describe God as the one who has scotched the five senses as He is above all this. In Bhagvad Gītā, Lord Krishna says "One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence" (Gītā 2:61). Thus the one who is supposed to restrain the senses is an earthly being and not Lord Krishna. 
 
To get over the difficulty in attributing this quality to a creator God, some translators have tried to give the couplet strange renderings. Sivaya Subramaniyaswami translates the phrase poŗivāyil aindhavithān (பொறிவாயில் ஐந்வித்தான்) as "Him who controls the five senses" but as we saw the slôka from Gītā, only humans are required to control their senses. Another Saiva translator Rajasingham (1987) while commenting on his translation clearly mentions the difficulty in translating the couplet. In his attempt to make it conform to the nature of Lord Siva, he ended up producing a translation which was completely off the markl: "The deathless state to reach, liberation it is from falsehood; When path ahead is found, senses verily are restrained". Other translators like K. Krishnaswamy & Vijaya Ramkumarhave attempted to get over this difficulty by employing non-committal rendering: "He who has controlled the five senses and is established in the path of righteousness will lead a life of fulfillment". This rendering is also far away from the original. 
It is only in Jainism and Buddhism that Tirthankarās, Siddhās and Bodhisattvās, being men, have risen to the status of godhood or celestials by controlling their senses. A Hindu interpreter can even get away by translating Ādi Bagavan as Primordial God but not while translating couplet six, unless he takes it as a reference to a Hindu sage. Well aware of this difficulty, Rajasingham (1987) quite rightly agrees that this couplet is a difficult one to translate. 
 
Control of the five senses is the attribute of an ascetic, be it a Jaina, Buddhist or a Hindu. It is worth noting that the word ‘Jina’ literally means "conqueror or victorious", i.e. the conqueror of five senses. Cilappadikāram (10.198) says "ஐவரை வென்றோன்", Ceevacambõthanai (1-29) says "பொறிவாயில் ஐந்தவித்த புனிதன் நீயே" and Ceevacintāmañi (2563) says "பொறிவரம்பாகிய புண்ணியமுதல்வன்". Couplet six therefore appears to be a reference to a "Victorious" Jaina God who has conquered the five senses. This act of conquering five senses has been repeatedly mentioned in the Kuŗal.
Couplet 24.

The restraint of senses five by the ankush of firmness
Is the seed for the bliss of heaven.
 NV

Couplet 25:
Even the celestial king Indra will vouch the strength
Of one who rules his senses five. 
KK, PS

Couplet: 126. 
If you withdraw -like a tortoise- your senses five in one birth, 
It will protect you in seven.
 NV

Couplet 343. 
To be controlled are the senses five,
And to be given up at once are all cravings. 
 NV
 
What is implied in couplet six has been reemphasized by Valluvar under chapter 35 on "Renunciation" when he says: "Cling to the one who clings to nothing; and so clinging, cease to clingPS (Kuŗal 350). Only a human being, after conquering the five senses, would be expected to live a life free of any attachments. Valluvar here seem to ask ascetics to shed their desires by clinging to those who do not cling to anything in this world. This is exactly what Lord Krishna said Bhagvad Gītā:
 
One who can control his senses 
By practicing the regulated principles of freedom, 
Can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord and thus become 
Free from all attachment and aversion.
 (Gītā 2: 64)
 
It is therefore very clear through this slõka from the foremost Hindu scripture that only mortals are required to control their sense and thus get free of attachment and aversion (வேண்டுதலும் வேண்டாமையும்).
 
P.S. Sundaram's simple and straightforward translation reflects the style, content and spirit of couplet six:
 
Long life is theirs who tread the path of Him 
Who conquered
 the five senses.
 PS
 


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5.6. Who is that beyond compare?

தனக்குவமை இல்லாதான் தாள் சேர்ந்தார்க்கு அல்லால் 
மனக்கவலை மாற்றல் அரிது. (7)

The attribute in this couplet "thanakkuvamai illāthān" (தனக்குவமை இல்லாதான்), meaning "the one beyond compare" could perfectly suit any deity, be it of Brahmana, Śramana or Semitic origin. This attribute of being not equal to others or being unique is easily the commonest quality attributed to God in most religious scriptures.
  • "No one can compare to You, Lord" (ਤੁਮ ਸਰਿ ਅਵਰੁ  ਲਾਗੇ) says Guru Grant Sahib (p. 688).
  • "There is none like unto the Lord our God" (אֵין כַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵינו), says the Bible (Exodus 8:6).
  • "There is none comparable unto Him" (وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ) says the Qur'an of Muslims (Qur’an 112:3-4).
  • "There is none here below to equal Siva" (அவனொடு ஒப்பார் இங்கு யாவரும் இல்லைsays the principal text of Saiva Siddhānta, Tirumandiram (verse 5).
  • This attribute is also frequently mentioned in Thévāram: "ஒப்பில்லா ஒருவன் றன்னை" (6.26.4), "மற்றாருந் தன்னொப்பார்இல்லாதான் காண்" (6.24.10), "தன்னொப்பு இலானை" (7.68.1)
  • Nammāzhvār says in his Thiruvāimozhi (6-3-9) "None comparable to Him" (தன் ஒப்பாரில்லப்பன்)
  • Baghvad Gītā says "There exists none who is equal to You" ( त्वत्समः) (Gītā, 11:43).
  • In Samaya-sāra, the Jaina Āchāryā Kundakunda describes Jaina God as the one without compare (अणोवम) (Subramanyam, 1987)
From the numerous examples cited above, it is evident that this attribute is commonly used for a Creator God. Since there is no disagreement in the applicability of this attribute to any deity, all translators have given a direct translation of this couplet. The translation chosen here is that of VVS Aiyar.
They alone escape from sorrows who take refuge
In the feet of Him beyond compare. 
VS

5.7. Who is the sea of virtue?

அறவாழி அந்தணன் தாள் சேர்ந்தார்க்கு அல்லால் 
பிறவாழி நீந்தல் அரிது. (8)

The use of the word "anthañan" (அந்தணன்) in the chapter on "Praise of God" must be intrusive enough for a casual reader. Usual literal import of this word is "Brahmin", but since it comes under the Chapter 1, it has to be taken as a reference to a deity who must have been a “anthañan” or sage before. It is an uncomfortable term to mean a Creator God.
With the word "அழி" meaning both "circle" as well as "sea", the phrase aŗavāzhi (அறவாழி) can be taken to mean, either "sea of virtue" or "wheel of virtue”. Both the meanings appear to be correct. Similarly the word "பிறவாழி" in the second line could either mean "ocean of births" or "other oceans". As far the common English rendering of couplet eight is concerned, the rendering by Drew and Lazarus has been presented here as the apt one:
None can swim the sea of births, but those united 
To the feet of that Being, a sea of virtue.
 DL

However, depending on the combination of these meanings chosen, the couplet can be translated in the following ways also: 
"Only those who reach the feet of the lord, the ocean of virtue, can cross the other oceans" - * NC.  (The other two oceans could be oceans of Wealth and Pleasure)
[ii] "Only by clinging to the feet of the Lord of the wheel of virtue, that one can swim the ocean of this life" * - SG.

    Chakravarti (1953), Subramanyam (1983) and Sundaram (1990) mention that F.W. Ellis, who translated the Kuŗal into English in 1812, found the word  "anthañan" in the then dictionaries meant only two gods, namely the Brahminical Brahma and Jaina Arugan (Arhat). But when “aŗavāzhi” and “anthañan” are put together it is to the Jaina God Aruhan that the description suits well as he is the benevolent Lord with the wheel of Dharma (Chakravarti, 1953) and thus "caused and possesses the circle of virtue" (Sundaram, 1990). Even Parimelazhagar makes a reference to this in his commentary: “There are people who interpret the term “aŗavāzhi” as a reference to the anthañan who caused and possessed the circle of virtue”.
Jains believe that human beings are subjected to a continuous cycle of time represented by upward and downward turning of a wheel. The 24th and the last Fordmaker or Tirthankara of the present turning wheel was Mahavira. Buddhists also believe in cyclical timescale. The phrase "அறவாழி அந்தணன்" could also mean Lord Buddha for he is said to have set in motion the wheel of dharma (Dharmachakra), the popular symbol of the Buddhist universal law (Gour, 2001). The first sermon of Lord Buddha to the five ascetics has been named as "setting into the wheel of Dharma" which symbolizes the beginning of a new religious movement. There is indeed a reference to this effect in Mañimékalai "ஆதி முதல்வன் அறஆழி ஆள்வோன்" (Mañimékalai 6.7)! To make matters complicate further, even Vishnu, one of the gods of Hindu trinity, has wheel of Vishnu (Vishnuchakra). In Vaishnava work Tiruvāimozhi (திருவாய்மொழி)we find the statement "அறவனை அழிப்படை அந்தண" (1-7-1). referring to "the one of aŗam, the anthañan who has the wheel/disc weapon". Even though saint Nammāzhvār refers to Vishnu here, the use of the three words aŗamāzhi, and anthañan strongly suggest that he has modeled this on Thirukkural (Palaniappan, undated). Moreover, unlike what Indirakumari (2005) says in her article "Thirukkural and Dhivyaprabandam", ‘Vishnuchakra’ is anyway a weapon and not a dharma chakra.
Interestingly many literary works that came after Kuŗal also contain this phrase. I had earlier cited this verse from Kayādara Nigañdu, a Jaina work:
கோதிலருகன் திகம்பரன் எண்குணன் முக்குடையோன்,
ஆதிபகவன் அசோகமர்ந்தோன் அறவாழி அண்ணல்

Emphasizing that the aŗavāzhi anthañan of ThirukKuŗal is none other than Arhat himself, Venkataramaiyah (2001) cites the following references from several Jaina works in Tamil:
  • Ceevacintāmañi (1611) "அறவாழியண்ணல் இவன் என்பார"
  • Thirunūtranthāthi (செய்யுள்  7) "அருளோடெழும் அறவாழியப்ப"
  • Annūl (செய்யுள் 27) "அறவாழி கொண்டே வென்ற அந்தணனே"
And what about Saiva works? They also contain numerous references to Siva as "அந்தணன்"
  • Thirumurai (1.107.1) "அந்தணனைத் தொழுவார் அவலம் அறுப்பாரே"
  • Thirumurai (2.110.7) "அறவனாகிய கூற்றினைச் சாடிய அந்தணன்"
  • Thirumurai (6.33.4) "இமையோர் போற்றும் அந்தணனை"
Even Sangam literature like Paripatal carries the word “anthañan” (ஆதி அந்தணன் அறிந்து பரி கொளுவ, ……, - 25Paripādal, Chapter 5).Therefore we have enough evidences in Tamil literature to show that both Jaina, Buddhist, Saiva and Vaishnava deities being called"அந்தணன்". But we are concerned with "அறவாழி அந்தணன்and not “அந்தணன்” alone? Only in Mañimékalai and many Jaina treatises like Ceevacintāmañi that we see the phrase “அறவாழி”.


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5.8. Who is the one with eight qualities?

கோள்இல் பொறியின் குணம் இலவே எண் குணத்தான் 
தாளை வணங்காத் தலை. (9)

    Commentators have differed in their opinion as to what these eight or eight-fold qualities are. F.W. Ellis (1812)  who translated some selections of the Kuŗal is of the view that these eight qualities are special Jaina attributes. Anupapātika Sūtrā, an Upanga amongst Jaina scriptures, contains a famous Jaina hymn which is full of Jaina attributes of God (Sūtrā 20). Some these attributes are "Self eminent", "the master of the world", "the well-wisher of the world", "the path shower of the world", "the Omniscient", "the Good", "the absolute motionless", "the Pure and Perfect", "the unlimited and changeless" etc. [*]. Therefore it is not only in Brahminical or Vedic Hinduism but also in Jainism that the Supreme has such attributes. 
We take here into consideration seven different lists of these eight qualities or attributes mentioned in different texts and by various commentators:
(i) According to Subramanyam (1987) the eight qualities are a direct translation of the Sanskrit phrase asta-guna-samyukta. He does not, however, mention what these qualities are. Kundakunda, perhaps the greatest of all Jaina Ācāryās, says in his quasi-cannonial work Ashta Pahuda, III:7. "There are eight attributes of righteous faith: (i) freedom from fear (of doubt), (ii) desirelessness, (iii) freedom from disgust or hatred (humility), (iv) vision free from superstition, (v) covering up the defects (of others), (vi) steadying (one-self and others in right faith), (vii) self-less love and (viii) glorification (of right faith)".
(ii) "eñ guñatthān(எண் குணத்தான்could also be the eight conditions that define a person worthy of acquiring knowledge in Jainism; namely (a) not to indulge in gossip, (b) not to lose control of sense, (c) not to disclose secrets, (d) not to be undisciplined, (e) not to be blameworthy, (f) not to be covetous, (g) not to be short-tempered and (h) not to forsake truth. (Uttarādhyayana Sūtrā 11.4-5).
(iii) Couplet nine could also be taken as a reference to the Siddhās (liberated souls) of Jainism, the second among the five parmesthins. The five parmésthins are: 1. Arhats or Jinas (with 12 guñas), 2. Siddhās: liberated souls (with 8 guñas), 3. Āchāryas: (Master ascetics) (with 36 guñas), 4. Upadhyaayas: (Ascetics who teach as well as learn, with 25 guñas), 5. Saadhus: all ascetics (27 guñas) (Ashta Pahuda VI:104). The eight qualities or guñas of Jaina Siddhās (Chakravarti, 1953; Malaiya, 1995) have been listed in  table 13. Interestingly commentator Parithiyar mentions these 8 guñas as qualities of Lord Siva (also listed in the table below).
Table 13. Jaina and Saiva adoption of eight qualities mentioned in Tirukkuŗal.
 
Eight guñas of Jaina Siddhās
(Chakravarti, 1953; Malaiya, 1998)
Translation of the terms
Eight qualities of Lord Siva 
(Commentator Parithiyar)
(i)
Ananta jnana
Infinite Knowledge
அனந்த ஞானம
(ii)
Ananta darshana
Infinite Perception
அனந்த தரிசனம்
(iii)
Ananta virya
Infinite Power
அனந்த வீரியம்
(iv)
Ananta sukha
Infinite Bliss
அனந்த குணம்
(v)
Nirgōtra
Extinguished rebirth
கோத்திரமின்மை
(vi)
Nirvédaniya
Devoid of pain and pleasure
அவாவின்மை
(vii)
Nirnāma
No more new bodies
நாமமின்மை
(viii)
Nirayushya
Imperishable nature
அழியா இயல்பு

These eight qualities are derived from the well known eight types of karmās, the four destructive and for non-destructive karmās (Mathews, 1991).
(iv) The eight qualities could also be the eight mother percepts called pravacanamātā in Jainism which include the five sazmitis (Acts of carefulness) namely (i) vigilance in walk, (ii) vigilance in speech, (iii) vigilance in begging alms, (iv) vigilance in receiving and (v) vigilance in keeping down things, and the three guptis (Actions) namely (vi) control of mind, (vii) control of speech and (viii) control of body (Uttaradhyayana Sūtrā 24.2).
(v) According to Parimel Azhagar, the most of well known of all Kuŗal commentators, eight qualities attributed to Siva are: Self existence, Pure essence, Innate wisdom, Self realized, Habitually detached, Boundless grace, Inexhaustible nature, Infinite blissfulness. Rajasigham (1987) provides his own list of eight attributes of Lord Siva that appear to have no scriptural basis from Saivism.
(vi) Pope (1886) makes an interesting comment that these 8 qualities of the Supreme mentioned in couplet nine could be the attributes mentioned in the preceding eight couplets! He says they could be (i) Eternity, (ii) Wisdom, (iii) Omnipresence, (iv) Happiness, (v) Power (the King), (vi) Purity, (vii) Immateriality and (viii) Love.
(vii) Last but not the least, these eight qualities would remind a Buddhist of the 8-fold path prescribed by Lord Buddha! These include rightness in View, Thought, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness and Contemplation.  Therefore "eñ guñatthān" (எண்குணத்தான்) could also refer to a Buddhist sage who follows the 8-fold path.
Based on the discussion we had so far, the eight attributes ("eñ guñatthān- எண் குணத்தான்) appears to be valid equally to a Vedic god, Jaina Tirthankara or Siddhā, or Buddha or Buddhist sage. Veeramani (2002) cites Nāvalar Netunchezhian's interpretation of these words. According to him the word "" could mean "Value" and thus "eñ guñatthān" is "One with with qualities beyond measure" or "One with Infinite Qualities" (மதிப்பிடமுடியாத குணங்கள் உடையவன்). B. Natarajan (1991) was right when he translated "எண் குணன்" in Tirumandiram (554) as "He of marked virtues".
கொல்லான்பொய் கூறான் களவிலான் எண்குணன் 
நல்லான் அடக்க முடையான் நடுச்செய்ய 
வல்லான் பகுந்துண்பான் மாசிலான் கட்காமம் 
இல்லான் இயமத் திடையில்நின் றானே (554)
He does not kill, he does not lie, he does not steal; 
Of marked virtues is he; good, meek and just; 
He shares his joys, he knows no blemish 
Neither drinks nor lusts 
--This the man who in Niyama's ways stands.
"எண்குணன்" here does not refer to Lord Siva but to a human being who does not kill, lie, steal or drink. When the Saiva epic Thiruviļaiyādal Puŗānam (2027) says, "பரமன் என்குணன் பசுபதி வரகுணன்", it could be taken to mean Siva with "Infinite Qualities". However, the most common occurrence of the attribute "eñ guñatthānஎண் குணத்தான் or எண்குணன் appears to be in Jaina literatures. The following citations from Jaina texts clearly indicate this:
அங்கம் பயந்தோன் அருகன் அருள்முனி 
பண்ணவன் எண்குணன் பாத்தில் பழம்பொருள (188)

(Cilappadikāram 1.10. நாடுகாண் காதை)
We also see this "eñ guñan" in other Jaina works like Ceevasambõthanai (இரு நால்வினை கெடுத்து எண் குணனுமெய்தி) and Mérumandira Purāñam  (இறைவனீ ஈசனீ எண்குணத் தலைவனீ) (Venkataramaiyah, 2001). The evidences from Jaina texts can be taken to reinforce the fact that the quality of eight attributes suit well to describe a Jaina Siddha or Arhat.
Whether "எண்குணன்" is a reference to a God, Siddha or human being, the translation of the couplet would remain unchanged irrespective of the religious affiliation. One of the best ways of translating this couplet is:
Depraved, senseless and worthless is the head 
Unbowed at the feet of Him with eight qualities.
 PS, NV


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 5.9. Who is the Lord to be praised and clasped?

இருள்சேர் இருவினையும் சேரா இறைவன் 
பொருள்சேர் புகழ்புரிந்தார் மாட்டு (5)
பிறவிப் பெருங்கடல் நீந்துவர் நீந்தார் 
இறைவன் அடி சேராதார். (10)

These two couplets have been placed together here because they are the only ones in chapter 1 to contain the word "iŗaivan" (இறைவன்) in them. While the first one speaks of praising the Lord, the second one on reaching the Lord's feet. The Tamil word "iŗaivan" can refer to God, Sage or even a King. Since these verses appear in the first chapter "Praise of God", we can rule out King from the picture.
"இருள்சேர் இருவினையும்" (The twin deeds of dark illusion) here refers to the fruits of good and evil deeds. Using the word "இருவினை", Rajasingham (1987) interprets this to mean the inseparable dualities in union of the opposites, a characteristic feature of Saiva Siddhānta (We see in Tirumandiram [241, 1137], Siva and Sakti being described as fire and heat, flower and fragrance etc.). According to Chakravarti (1953), however, these twin deeds of dark illusion refer to the two groups of four Destructive Karmās and four harmless Karmās of Jaina philosophy. Jaina anthology Saman Suttam has this verse under "Moksamārgasutra": "Just as fetter whether made of iron or gold binds a person, similarly karma, whether auspicious (punya) or inauspicious (pāba) binds the soul" (202).  In Jainism, like in Hinduism and Buddhism, life in this world of Samsārā is associated with Karmic Bondage. Since Jainism does not believe in a Creator God, this effect of Karma on the quality of life has its great emphasis in Jainism. By translating the word "iŗaivan" as Lord, the rendering could be made equally valid for Jaina, Buddhist or Vedic deity.
All Indian religious traditions compare the struggle to obtain liberation from the cycle of rebirth with the simile of "crossing the river or ocean of births" (பிறவிப் பெருங்கடல் நீந்துவர்). Sometimes this simile is considered peculiar to Jainism and Buddhism, but the fact of the matter is it is applicable to all the religious traditions that evolved in India as evident from the following references from Hindu and Sikh scriptures:
"Enshrine the Guru’s Feet in your heart. 
Meditate on Him and cross over the ocean of fire"

(Guru Nanak in Guru Grant Sahib, p. 192)

"When you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, 
You will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries"

(Sri Krishna in Baghavad Gītā, 4:36)

"For one who worships Me, ...... 
I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death"

(Sri Krishna Baghavad Gītā, 12: 6-7)
However, it is in Jainism, because of its extreme emphasis on karma, that life is often compared to an ocean of miseries. Not surprisingly, the very word “Tirthankar’ means builder of ford (passage) which leads us across the ocean of suffering and to the bank of everlasting happiness, "Moksha". As far as the translation of couplets 5 and 10 are concerned, it would be appropriate to translate the word "iŗaivan" (இறைவன்as "Lord". Translations of S. Maharajan and P.S. Sundaram were found to be satisfactory, as they bring out the original meaning.
The twin deeds of dark illusion do not affect those 
Who delight meaningfully in Lord’s praise.
 * SM
The ocean of births can be crossed by none other than 
Those who reach the feet of the Lord.
 * PS

Uthayakumar (2004) who claims Kuŗal to be a work of a Buddhist, provides an interesting interpretation for "இருள்சேர் இருவினையும்சேரா இறைவன்". According to him the word "இருவினை" refers to the extremes of "self-mortification" and "self-indulgence" and therefore the god (இறைவன்) being praised here is the One who has avoided these extremes! He takes “இருள்சேர்” as an attribute of Lord Buddha. If we are to go by this interpretation, then the couplet in translation will look this way: "Delight in the meaningful praise of the Lord who has avoided the twin deeds of darkness". This does not read well simply because the word used by Valluvar is "சேரா", meaning "will not reach or affect" and therefore refers to a devotee than as an attribute of a Deity (in this case Buddha). However, the usual rendering itself is relevant to Lord Buddha, for that matter any deity.
5.10. Discussion

Rajasingham (1987) in his work 'Thiruk-Kuŗal, the Daylight of the Psyche" called Chapter 1 as as preamble of adoration to the Immanent and Transcendent Being. i.e. Lord Siva. Tirumandiram, for instance, has many references to this effect. Says Tirumandiram:
தராபரனாய் நின்ற தன்மையுணரார்
நிராபரனாகி நிறைந்து நின்றானே.

This they know not; He stood pervading the Jivas too, 
Immanent in them and transcending them.
 (3008)

However, there is no indication or whatsoever in the Kuŗal to even suggest that Valluvar meant the adoration of an immanent and transcendent god like Siva. Rajasingham (1987) gives the Kuŗal a Saivite rendering and says that seven of the 10 couplets in the first chapter refer to Siva's dancing Feet (தாள்அடி). On the contrary, Subramanyam (1987), who claimed the Kuŗal to be a work of a Jaina, says: "The very fact that the poet of the Kuŗal in seven out of ten Kuŗals refer to the Feet, might be considered intriguing in itself". These claims and counterclaims aside, it is a common practice in Tamil religious tradition to refer submission to the divine as "surrender to the divine feet" and as such it could refer to any deity, bet it Buddhist, Jain or Hindu. 
Chapter 1 could have been titled "கடவுள் வாழ்த்து" but as we said before such titles have been given to Invocations at the beginning of other Jaina works as well. Amidst all these claims and counter claims, we can still arrive at two conclusions. Firstly, Valluvar is not praising a creator God in this chapter as some of the qualities or attributes used by Valluvar are not applicable to a Creator God. The one who conquered five senses referred in couplet six cannot be a Creator God for He is beyond the senses. We have also seen a citation from Bhagvad Gītā that only humans out of delusion are prone to desires and aversions and therefore required to control their senses. Secondly, the phrase "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" in couplet three (மலர்=flower, மிசை=upon, ஏகினான்=who walked away) fits perfectly to the Jaina and Buddhist beliefs. But the frequent references to the Jaina Arhat in several Tamil literatures (as "பூ மேல் நடந்தான்" etc.) only goes on to show that such a practice has been more common in Jaina tradition.

If Jains do not believe in a Creator God who gives blessings and favours to those who worship Him, a question may be asked how they can seek refuge to a Jaina Deity to escape from sorrows (couplet 7) and to swim the sea of births (couplets 8 and 10). Worship in Jainism consists simply in reciting, praising, exalting, eulogizing and glorifying the attributes and attainments of the Perfect One (or Ones) so that he may complete his voyage across the ocean, that is samsāra (Jain, 1999). Moreover, in all religions there is invariably certain discrepancy between their principal teachings on one hand and what some of their scriptures (or agamas, in the case of Jains) say on the other. Both Buddhism and Jainism began with emphasize on achieving mõkśa purely by one's own effort (that's why they together belonged to the group of Śramanas, the strivers), but soon developed a tendency to invoke upon their founders and sages (Tirthankaras, Siddhas and Acharyas in the case of Jainism) for blessings and help.

Not only in Kuŗal, but it is also not uncommon to find similar invocatory verses of such type in Jaina scritpures and writings. Given below is such an invocations from Chatur Vinshati Stava (Logassa Sutra):

kittiya-vandiya-maye, je ae logassa uttamaa siddhaa | 
aarogga-bohilabham, samaahivaram_uttamam dintu ||
 


Those who I praise and worship, 
Noble Siddhās in the world, 
Freedom from disease, possession of wisdom 
Give me the noble blessing of Samadhi. 


One of the daily Jaina recitations that fall under the 32 "Pious Aspirations" (Bhāvanā-dvā-trimśikā) composed by Acharya Amita-gati, seeks forgiveness and blessings:
O' Sarasvati (goddess of learning), pray, forgive me for the mistake I may have committed inadvertently, in pronouncing, spelling, uttering, putting, explaining or understanding, grammatically or otherwise, and grant me the boon of 'knowledge absolute'.(Recitation No. 10) (Jain, 1999)
The principle objects of worship in Jainism are the five worshipful ones (Pañca-Paramésthin) arhatssiddhāsāchāryāsupādhyāyāsand sādhus (Jain, 1999). All the couplets in chapter 1 could be fittingly used for the invocation of these Paramésthins. Says T. S. Sripal (1979) in his work "The Ādi Bagavan" of Valluvar" (வள்ளுவர் வாழ்த்தும் ஆதிபகவன்that the special attributes like "One with eight qualities", "One beyond compare", "One who conquered five senses" and "He with beyond likes and dislikes" are all standings or status attained by hard penance ("எண் குணத்தான்", "தனக்குவமையில்லாதான்", "பொறிவாயில் ஐந்தவித்தான்", "வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமைஇலான்போன்ற சிறப்புப் பெயர்கள் அனைத்தும் தவ ஒழுக்கத்தால் வளர்ந்த தனிப்பெரும் பண்புகளாகும் - ஸ்ரீபால்). Zvelebil (1975) also mentions that epithets given by Valluvar to god have a strong ascetic flavour. The critical question we need to ask is which faith has a first God, whose God walked on flowers, conquered the five senses and turned the wheel of dharma? More than any other faith, all these ideas of godhead fits in perfectly for Tirthankara or Arugan. And other attributes to Siddha Paramésthin.
We have seen Valluvar using words like Ādi Bagavan, iŗaivan and seven attributes in the first chapter. Let us investigate the suitability of these names or attributes to different deities in different religions. Listed below are these 10 key words or phrases and their suitability to deities in Christianity, Saivism, Vaishnavism, Buddhism and Jainism – rated from 0-3 (Table 14). Since some scholars hold the view that Valluvar did not mean any Deity here but only great soul or a noble person (Veeramani, 2002), I have also included a column for "Noble person" of the stature of a learned wise men (what Valluvar calls as "சான்றோன்").


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Table 14. Suitability of 'divine' attributes in the first chapter of Thirukkural to different deities.
        
Couplet
Number
Key words or phrases 
employed by Valluvar 
in Chapter 1


christ.GIF
Jesus
om-tamil.gif
Siva
Vishnu.gif

Vishnu
buddh.gif

Buddha
hand.JPG
Jain god
Sage.jpg

Noble
person
1
ஆதி பகவன் (First god)
0
2
2
0
3
0
2
வாலறிவன் (Pure intelligence)
1
2
2
1
2
3
3
மலர்மிசை ஏகினான் (One who walked on flowers)
0
0
1
2
3
0
4
வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமைஇலான் (One who is beyond likes and dislikes)
1
1
1
3
3
2
5
இறைவன் (Lord)
3
3
3
2
2
1
6
ஐந்தவித்தான் (One who controlled five senses)
0
0
0
2
3
0
7
தனக்குவமை இல்லாதான்(One beyond compare)
2
3
3
3
2
1
8
அறவாழி அந்தனன் (One with sea or wheel of virtue)
1
1
1
3
3
2
9
எண் குணத்தான் (One with 8 attributes)
1
2
1
2
3
2
10
இறைவன் (Lord)
3
3
3
2
2
1
 
Marks out of 30
12
17
17
20
26
12

Key to rankings: 
0 means "not appropriate" 
1 means "can be considered with reluctance" 
2 means "appropriate" and 
3 means "very appropriate"
It is clear from the table that all the names befit to the descriptions of a Jaina godhead. Since the names and attributes are more applicable to someone who has raised to the stature of god or attained godhood than to a Creator God, I am not surprised to see Lord Buddha coming close second to the Jaina deity. All the seven attributes of the Lord in chapter 1 perfectly relate as qualities acquired by penance.
The first chapter appears to be independent of the rest of the Kuŗal. Being an invocation, it might have been written by the author in the end. V.O.C. Chidambaram Pillai, in spite of being a believer in God, regarded the first chapter to be a later addition (Veeramani, 2002). We do not know what made VOC to say so but we can speculate that the very noticeable references to Jaina gods in Chapter 1 would have made him to think so. Almost all translators have invariably rendered the couplets in Chapter 1 in Theistic terms indicating as a reference to Creator God. While some authors like Sundaram (1990) have given elaborate footnote for couplets that have doubtful applicability to a creator god, others have like VVS Aiyar have given it a non-committal rendering. Noticeably VVS  never used the word "God" in any of his renderings in Chapter 1. His translation of couplet eight is worth quoting here:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"The stormy seas of wealth and sense delights cannot be traversed except by those 
who cling to the feet of the Sage who is the Ocean of Righteousness"
 
(Kuŗal 8)
Note the word "Sage". VVS seems to have deliberately kept the word God from the first chapter, even for words like "இறைவன்". Interestingly, he has rendered the words theyvam (தெய்வம்) and iraivan (இறைவன்) that appear in other chapters also as "god or gods"!
43. "the performance of sacrifices to the Gods" (தெய்வம்
50. "he will be looked upon as a god among men" (தெய்வம்)
55. "the woman who worships not Gods, but her husband" (தெய்வம்
388. "he will be looked upon as a god among men" (இறைவன்)
619. "even though the Gods be against, ...." (தெய்வம்
702. "look upon that man as a God ....." (தெய்வம்)

It seems VVS was aware of at least one thing, that the first chapter is an Invocation and it is independent of the views expressed in the remaining chapters of Kuŗal. The choice of English words for translating words like "இறைவன்" and "தெய்வம்" by V.V.S. Aiyyar seem to be quite intentional. By using words as "gods" or as "a god" and not as "the God", he seem to have avoided referring to a Creator God even outside Chapter 1. He translates "ஆதி பகவன்" as the "Ancient One" and "மலர்மிசை ஏகினான்" as "Him who walked on flowers"!


-- Edited by Admin on Tuesday 26th of May 2015 07:46:35 PM

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VI. Jaina claims of Tiruvalluvar and Tirukkuŗal
 
We have seen how the claims of Jaina authorship by several scholars is indeed based on some internal evidences which indicate that the morality Valluvar outlines in his Kuŗal has its basis on Jaina ethics and that of the Deity or deities he invokes in the first chapter is more relevant to Jaina godheads. In this chapter we look at other claims of these scholars.
 

6.1. Sri Kundakunda, the author of Kuŗal?

 
    Some Jaina scholars identify Āchārya Kundakunda (popularly called Elāchārya) with Tiruvalluvar (Chakravarti, 1953,Champakalakshmi, 1994). Kundakunda is said to have occupied the pontiffs throne at Pataliputra or at Mylapore (Subramanyam, 1987). The theory seem to have been put forward since Valluvar's birth place is believed to be Mylapore and his traditional dating falls between first century B.C. to third century A.D, all these coinciding with the dates given for Kundukunda. Though various theories have been put forward, nothing is concrete about Valuvar's period and place of birth (see this article). Moreover Kundukunda was a Jaina ascetic who wrote all his works in Prakrit and it is hard to believe that a Jaina ascetic of his stature would have written a classic in chaste Tamil which also includes the 'Kamathuppaal' that containts 25 chapters on premarital and post-marital love. The Jains also depict Tiruvalluvar as a naked ascetic, quite contrary to the usual depiction of Valluvar with matted hair and long beard. It is difficult to even imagine how a poet who wrote some of the greatest sublime poetries on pre and post-marital love could have lived as a naked ascetic. 
Valluvar-beard2.GIF

Usual depiction of Valluvar
(Painting by K.R. Venugopal Sarma)
 
Valluvar-Jain2.GIF
Sri Kundakunda as Valluvar
(Depicted in Subramanyam, 1987)
 

 

One way of establishing Āchārya Kundakunda's association to Kuŗal is to compare the contents of his works in Prakrit with the contents in Kuŗal. We take here his work Ashta Pahuda (AP) for comparison. Ashta Pahuda is a small work of eight divisions, with 503 verses in total. It contains some similes similar to those found in the Kuŗal. The metaphor in couplet 1274 "முகை மொக்குள் உள்ளது நாற்றம்போல்" is employed by Kundakunda "as smell is embodied in a flower" (AP, 4:15), though he uses this simile in a different context. At another place the metaphor "வரன் என்னும் வைப்பிற்கு ஓர்வித்து" is reflected in Ashta Pahuda when Kundakunda talks about "the soul becoming a repository of bliss in heaven" (AP, 5:65). Such similarities in similes are of course of minor significance. Given below are five strikingly similar verses between Ashta Pahuda and Thirukkuŗal: 
 
 
Ashta Pahuda
Kuŗal
What was uttered by the Jina assumed the form of words in vernacular Sūtrās. (AP, 4: 61)
The scriptures of the world proclaim the potent utterance of the great. PS (28)
Before you are overpowered by old age or your body is burnt by fire or disease, you do what is good for the self. (AP, 5:132)
Better commit some good acts before the tongue benumbs and deadly hiccup descends. * KK, SB (335)
Those who bow to the lotus feet of the great Jina with devotion and love, root out the creeper of rebirth. (AP, 5:153)
The ocean of births can be crossed by none other than those who reach the feet of the Lord. * PS (10)
As pure gold is produced by proper treatment, so the self becomesparamatman when helped by time. (AP, 6:24)
As the intense fire makes gold shine, so does the burning austerities relieve pain. NV (267)

 

From this table, we could establish that there exist some similarity in ideas and wordplay employed by Tiruvalluvar and Kundakunda. However, if we are to take the presence of such verses as a proof of Kundakunda's authorship of Kuŗal, then we will end up giving the authorship of Kuŗal to a great many saints including Chanakya, Chinese sage Confucius, Jewish prophet Solomon, Lord Buddha and even to the Persian Poet Sa'di with whose works the Kuŗal bears many a resemblance (see: Introduction to the Kuŗal and its author andKuŗal in light of other ancient texts). Furthermore, in many Sūtrās, Kundakunda was unlike Valluvar. He emphasized the need for a Jaina monk to be naked. The highest and the best of the Jinas have declared nudity, said Kundakunda (AP, 2:10). Nudity is the path to emancipation and even a Tirthankarā cannot achieve perfection with clothing (AP, 2:23). Valluvar has devoted two chapters for ascetics (3 and 28) but nowhere has he even implied that nudity is a prerequisite for monks. Valluvar considered clothing as something common to all. 

 

Kuŗal 1012: Food, clothing and the rest are common to all. 
Distinction comes from sensitivity to shame.
 * PS

 

Like Nāladiyār, Kundakunda considered body as something despicable as it is a smelling case of flesh, bones, semen, blood, bile, intestines, pus etc. (AP, 5:42). All Valluvar had to say about the body was this:

 

Kuŗal 345: When the body itself is a burden on the way to liberation, 
Why carry other attachments?
 * PS


Kundakunda regarded women low. Being a staunch ascetic, he promulgated annihilation from sexuality. At one place he asks "Has any one seen dogs, donkeys, cows and other cattle or women attain Nirvana?" (AP, 8:29). Nowhere in the Kuŗal would one see such a partisan teaching against women. It is therefore difficult to comprehend Chakravarti's view that the author of the Kuŗal was none other than the Jaina ascetic Sri Kundakunda.

 

6.2. Kuŗal is not a work on Jaina philosophy

 

The author of Kuŗal might have built his moral percepts based on Jaina ethics, but was careful enough to avoid his work being categorized as a work on Jainism. He seem to have deliberately avoided typical Jaina terms that would have forced modern scholars to list the Kuŗal also along with many other Jaina works like Nāladiyār, Cívakacintāmani, Nílakéci etc. 

 

Let us also compare the Kuŗal with the Jaina classic Nāladiyār which is often considered an amplified version of Kuŗal (Ramachandran, 2000). No other work than Nāladiyār in Tamil comes so close to Kuŗal in similarity. The quatrains in Nāladiyār are strikingly similar in content to the Kuŗal, besides being organized the same way as the Kuŗal. In spite of such similarities, the Kuŗal is not considered a work on Jainism because it differs from Nāladiyār in many respects. 

 

While Kuŗal is life-affirming, Nāladiyār like any other Jaina work is life-denying. Unlike typical Jaina works, the Kuŗal does not harp on the transitory nature of life. Valluvar does talk about "Impermanence" (நிலையாமை) and at one place (Kuŗal 345) even asks why carry other attachments when the very body itself is a burden on the way to liberation [PS], but he does not go overboard and indulge in statements that are typical of a Jaina work. Emphasizing on the transient nature of youth, Nāladiyār asks not to cherish the love for woman whose beauty will soon disappear when she is old (Nāladiyār 17). But Valluvar on the contrary, in the third division "Love"(காமத்துப்பால்),  wondered if heaven can be sweeter than slumbering on the soft shoulders of the women you love (Kuŗal 1103). 

 

At another place Nāladiyār says: "See how they remove the corpse while kinsfolk gather around and carry it to crematory. Yet he marries and fondly imagines there is happiness in this world". But Valluvar said in couplet 61 that there is nothing worth than begetting intelligent children. Nāladiyār repeatedly despises the body throughout the work. It refers the body unstable (29), impure (43) and valueless (120). And not surprisingly, like in Kundakunda's Ashta Pahuda (AP, 5:42), Nāladiyār also states that the entrails of the body are nothing but marrow, blood, bone, tendons, flesh and fat (Quatrain 46). One would never see such statements in the Kuŗal. While the Kuŗal has an entire chapter on "Cherishing the Kindred" (Chapter 53), Nāladiyār would say that only fools forget the aims of life and continue to live because of the joy they find in domestic relations (182)! 

 

Let us take another Jaina classic, this time Saman Suttam for comparison. Chapter 29 Saman Suttam is about percepts of Meditation but Valluvar never indulged in technicalities of pathways to liberation. Valluvar has only dealt with Realization of Truth (மெய்யுணர்தல்)which is unfalteringly applicable to all faiths. Unlike we see in Saman Suttam, Valluvar has not devoted any chapter to describe the fundamental truths of Jaina philosophy. For instance, Valluvar describes soul as something distinct from the body (Kuŗal 338, 340) but does not go into details of the nature of soul. Being a Jaina ethico-metaphysical anthology, Saman Suttam describes soul as consciousness, something eternal, formless and enjoyer of Karmas (23:592). It also differentiates Soul as ajiva and jiva (593, 594) but the Kuŗal makes no such distinctions. Saman Suttam says "Birth is painful, old ages is painful, disease and death are painful, worldly existence where living beings suffer afflictions is also painful" (55). While Valluvar would only state that excessive eating would lead to unlimited ills (couplet 947), Saman Suttam would state that taking delicious dishes in excessive quantity would simulate lust in a person (293).  It is only these differences that prove to be a decisive factor in categorizing the Kuŗal as non-sectarian work, preventing scholars from regarding it a classic on Janism. Still Valluvar's morals are based on the foundation of Jaina ethics as we have seen in sections 1 and 2 of this article. Even though the very foundation of Valluvar's moral prescriptions is Jaina-based, he does not go overboard and indulge in statements that are life negating.  

 

Before we conclude, let us revert back to Nílakési's Jaina commentator Vamana Munivar's reference to the Kuŗal as the scripture of Jains. Firstly, the Kuŗal is not a scripture and is very unlike works like Tirumandiram or even Nālatiyār in that respect. Secondly, there is no evidence to show that the Kuŗal was written for any particular community. The author addresses humanity at large, his sole objective being to raise every man to the level sānrõr and live with fame.


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VII. Conclusions

 

We began this elaborate exercise to find answers to the following questions:

 

(i) If the morals taught by Valluvar in Kuŗal is based on Jaina dharma
(ii) If the Deity praised by Valluvar in his first chapter could refer to Jaina Godhead
(iii) If the answer is 'yes' to the above questions, are the internal evidences sufficient enough to show Valluvar as a Jaina.

 

In the beginning of this article, we compared the principal teachings of Valluvar to the then philosophical traditions that prevailed during the times of Valluvar. Then we compared the contents of the Kuŗal with some ethical treatises in Brahminic Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. We also looked at Valluvar's references to "God and gods" in light of the concept of god in Jainism. And finally, we made a detailed investigation of every couplet of the first chapter and tried to relate the names and attributes employed by Valluvar to deities in Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Vaishnavism and Saivism. 

 

Based on all these analyses, we have to come to a conclusion that the Kuŗal's principal teachings of Not-killing and Not-lying has its basis from Jaina ethics and the morality the author reiterates is closer to Jaina ethics than that of any other system. Next to Jainism, it is only to Buddhism that the Kuŗal shows plenty of affinity, more with the ethical values than with the "divine attributes" mentioned in chapter 1. The Kuŗal was written during early periods of the Christian era, a time when Buddhism and Jainism were at the peak of their zenith. This could also be the time when Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism had not diverged from each other and therefore had a common or overlapping protocols of ethics for householders, ascetics or both. According to Swami Vivekananda "Modern Hinduism, modern Jainism and Buddhism branched off at the same time" (Complete Works, VI.120.6). We have seen how the five Buddhist moral percepts and the "Ten Perceptions" show surprising similarity to some of the chapters listed in Kuŗal. Jainism is quite similar to Buddhism in many of its teachings and there are a number of scholarly works, attempting to compare and contrast the two (e.g. Prasad, 1932; ***). However, based on some of the fundamental differences like the concept of soul in Jainism and the concept of anātta in Buddhism, and the emphasis on a Middle path in Buddhism instead of the two extremes of Self-mortification and Self-indulgence, it is not difficult to differentiate a Jaina philosophical treatise from a Buddhist one. The task becomes more difficult in the case of an ethical work like Kuŗal where the emphasis is not on philosophical matters but morality. Quite naturally, there is hardly any moral dictum found in the Kuŗal that is not shared by these two non-Vedic paths.

 

It appears that most of the objections to Jaina claims come because most lay and even scholars are little informed of Jainism. Even the common objection of Kāmathuppāl being a part of a Jaina work has been shown a baseless argument in Section 3.1. One cannot reject or accept the claims of religious affiliation of a book based on the mere presence of one or two verses in support or against a particular faith. Evidences have to be rather consistent and distributed throughout the work. No doubt the Kuŗal has many references to Vaishnava, Jaina, Buddhist and perhaps even Saiva beliefs. However, such passing references cannot be taken as indication of the author's affiliation or inclination to any particular faith because such references have been found across literary works of known affiliation to all the three religious systems of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Thus, neither the reference to palli (பள்ளி) could be taken as a proof for Valluvar's Jaina or Buddhist origin, nor does the reference to adi aļandān (அடி அளந்தான்) be taken as an evidence to show Valluvar's inclination towards Vaishnavism. Or the references to "Goddesses of fortune and misfortune" (செய்யவள்தவ்வை) and "Brahmins"(பார்ப்பான்) be taken as evidence to show that the author of the Kuŗal was a Hindu. 

 

It is clear from the first chapter "Praise of God" that its contents are independent of other chapters in Kuŗal. Chapter 1 is Jaina in character, while remaining chapters have ideas of all faiths, with the ethic of non-violence being the fulcrum. It is only in the first chapter that the author lets himself free of all restrictions he imposed on himself while writing the other chapters. 

 

What makes Kuŗal Jaina in character is the combination of all these:

 

  • An Invocation in the very beginning that is consistent with the terminologies and beliefs employed for praising of Jaina godheads
  • Valluvar’s repeated emphasize on Not-killing and Not hurting even outside the chapters on Not-killing (கொல்லாமை) and Not-hurting (இன்னா செய்யாமை).
  • Valluvar’s definition of Not-killing as virtue (அறம்), grace (அருள்), perfect path (நல்லாறு), characteristic of penance (தவத்திற்கு உரு), and as the topmost code ever written (தொகுத்தவற்றுள் எல்லாம் தலை)
  • The chapter headings of the first division Virtue (அறத்துப்பால்), very much in line with the spirit of the Jaina tradition.
  • Ethical philosophy that matches with the Jaina spirit of ethical philosophy outlined in Jaina texts like Saman Suttam
  • His definition of truthfulness as something that should not cause any harm to others.
  • His decision to place Not-killing as the first vratā above’Truthfulness (II vratā)

 

In a state like Tamil Nadu dominated by the majority Hindus and with a tradition of four of the five great commentators of Kuŗal (Pariperumaal, Parithiar, Parimelazhagar and Kalingar) interpreting the first chapter in Hindu non-Jaina terms, it is nothing but natural that Jaina renderings have taken a back seat. Zvelebil (1975), citing M. Irakava Iyenkar's reference to an inscription of 1272 in Sri Varadaraja Temple in Kanchi that refers to a Jaina commentator, mentions that many of the Jaina commentaries of Kuŗal were suppressed by the commentary of the 13th century Parimelazhagar. 

 

While the majority are ignorant of the Jaina terminologies, the Jains who are supposed to know them are unfortunately a marginal minority. No wonder their voices are never heard. One is left to wonder, what would have been the recognition given to the Kuŗal had the state of Tamil Nadu been a Jaina majority. The Jains have every right to say that the author of the Kuŗal was inclined towards Jaina ideals than any other faith. But they do not have the right to claim the Kuŗal as their scripture for the simple reason that the Kuŗal was not written for any particular sect.  

 

Before we end this article let us now revisit what Rajaji said: "It is claimed by many that Tiru-Valluvar was a Jain. I do not accept this theory". But Rajaji didn't explain why he denied such claims. He only said "Tiru-Valluvar was one of those rare and great men whose catholic spirit rose above all denominations and whose vision was not clouded by dogma or prejudice of any kind". Even those who claim Valluvar to be a Jain say so. They also declare that in spite of being a Jain, Valluvar's Kuŗal is a non-sectarian composition, with the author making no attempt or whatsoever to impart the doctrines of his own religion on others.

 

Thirukkuŗal is not a book on Jainism or Jaina philosophy but a book written by someone who must have been either a Jain or someone who was impressed by Jaina ideals of life. As Kamil Zvelebil (1973) said, if there is at all any reflection of a particular doctrine in the work, it is rather the Jaina terminology and the Jaina atmosphere which we find in the work. Subramaniyam (1987) echoed the same when he said that Valluvar made great use of ideas that came his way, be it from Hinduism or Buddhism, but the greater part of his familiarity was with Jainism. 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  


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VIII. References

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Key to the initials of different translators:
CR - C. Rajagopalachari
KS - Kasthuri Sreenivasan
SI - K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar
DL -W.H. Drew and  J. Lazarus
KV K. Krishnaswamy & Vijaya Ramkumar
SM -S. Maharajan
DZ - S.M. Diaz
MS - M.S. Poornalingam Pillai
SS - Satguru  Subramuniyaswami
EL - F.W. Ellis
NC - Norman Cutler
TD - S. Thandapani Desikar
GU - G.U. Pope
NV - N.V.K. Ashraf
TK - T.K. Chidambaranatha Mudaliar
GV - G. Vanmikanathan
PS - P.S. Sundaram
VC V.C. Kulandai Swamy
JN - J. Narayanaswamy
SB - Shuddhananda Bharatiar
VR  - V. Ramasamy
KK - K. Kannan
SD - S.D. Rajendran
VS - V.V.S. Aiyar
KN - K.N. Subramanyam
SG - G. Siromoney, S. Govindaraju & M. Chandrasekaran,


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The final nail in the coffin

Here I provide the most important evidence, outside the first chapter on "Praise of God", to show that Valluvar defined the very basis of Kural's ethics, namely கொல்லாமை, இன்னா செய்யாமை and பொய்யாமை, in Jaina terms.

(i) Repeated emphasis on "Not killing" கொல்லாமை 

Gopalan (1979), who compared the Kural with Brahminical Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism to determine its affilitation, deals with Jaina claims more elaborately for he himself agrees that stronger claims have come from Jainism than from Buddhism. If ahimsā or no-violence is the foundation of Jainism, then we have many places in Kuŗal that reiterate this principle of non-killing. 

Valluvar himself asks the question: What is virtue?
And the reply is "not killing because killing causes every ill" (321) 

He asks a different question: “What is grace and disgrace?”. 
He gives the same reply: "killing is disgrace and non-killing grace". (254) 

To another question, “What is the perfect path”, he says the same: 
“It is the path of avoiding killing anything” (324) 

If you ask “What is the characteristic of penance” 
He says it lies in "harming no life" (261) in "non-killing" (984). 

And what is the topmost teaching ever written? Here also the answer is no different:
"It is to share your food and protect all life" (322) 

Sutrakritanga of Jainism says "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated" (1.11.33). In Kuŗal, Valluvar even goes a step higher and says in couplet 327:

தன்னுயிர் நீப்பினும் செய்யற்க தான்பிறிது
இன்னுயிர் நீக்கும் வினை.
Avoid removing the dear life of another 
Even when your own life is under threat
.
 NV

(ii) Repeated emphasis on "Not hurting" (இன்னா செய்யாமை)

And not to forget the chapter preceding to Chapter 33. This one on "Not hurting" together with "Not killing" forms the sum and substance of the ahimsā docrtine of "Non Injury". Two couplets from Chapter 32 would suffice here as examples to show Valluvar's resolve on not hurting.

Couplet 317
It is best to refrain from willfully hurting 
Anyone, anytime, anyway. 
PS

Couplet 320
Hurt comes to the hurtful; hence it is those 
Who don't want to be hurt cause no hurt.
 * PS

Like "Not killing", Valluvar has over and over again emphasized "Not hurting" in many places even outside the designated Chapter 32 (see couplets 109, 160, 579, 852, 881, 987) and at times the same idea has been put forward in different contextச். To cite an example, in Chapter 32: இன்னா செய்யாமை, Valluvar says:

இன்னாசெய் தாரை ஒறுத்தல் அவர்நாண 
நன்னயஞ் செய்து விடல். 
(314)
Punish an evil-doer 
By shaming him with a good deed.* 
PS

The same idea is repeated in Chapter 99 on Goodness (சான்றாண்மை):

இன்னாசெய் தார்க்கும் இனியவே செய்யாக்கால்
என்ன பயத்ததோ சால்பு? 
(987)
What good is that goodness if it does not return good 
Even to those who cause evil? * 
PS

Couplet 579 in Chapter 58 on "Compassion" also recaps the same idea:

ஒறுத்தாற்றும் பண்பினார் கண்ணும் கண்ணோடிப் 
பொறுத்தாற்றும் பண்பே தலை. 
That quality of forbearance and sympathy is the best, 
Even to those who hurt us. 
NV

Yet again the same idea is repeated, this time in Chapter 86 on Hostility (இகல்):

பகல்கருதிப் பற்றா செயினும் இகல்கருதி
இன்னா செய்யாமை தலை. 
(852)
Even if disagreeable things are done to cause rift, 
Better do nothing painful to avoid conflict. 
* DL, NV

There is no doubt that the foremost teaching of Valluvar is ahimsā as he has emphasized it not only through chapters like கொல்லாமை, புலால் உண்ணாமை, இன்னா செய்யாமை and இகல் but also through many other couplets in அறத்துப்பால் and பொருட்பால். One may ask if these references to ahimsā are sufficient enough to conclude that only a person of Jaina faith would have written the Kuŗal. Many non-Jaina works also reiterate the concept of ahimsā, but they do not repeatedly emphasize Not-killing as a virtue, grace, as a characteristic of penance, as the perfect path and the topmost code to have been ever written! And not to speak of "Not hurting" which has also been emphasized over and again.

(iii) Placing Ahimsā above Satyā 

The characteristic of Jainism is that, of the five vratās or vows (ahimsā, satyā, asteya, brahmāchārya and apārigraha), the second vratā truthfulness is subordinate to the the first vratā of ahimsā (Jain, 2002). Valluvar states this explicitly in Kuŗal in the following words:

Kuŗal 323. 
ஒன்றாக நல்லது கொல்லாமை மற்றதன் 
பின்சாரப் பொய்யாமை நன்று. 
The first and foremost good is ‘Non killing’. 
Next to it in rank comes ‘Not lying’.
 
NV

Valluvar places satyā after ahimsā which is in direct contradiction to Harichandra who put satyā above ahimsā (Subramanian and Rajalakshmi, 1984). One wonders what prompted Valluvar to talk about "பொய்யாமை" in the Chapter on "கொல்லாமை" and that too make a specific mention that "Not lying" comes only next to "Not killing" in rank! There can be no better explanation than this: that the author of Thirkkural was consciously defining ethics based on Jaina ideals. 

(iv) But Satyā should also be Ahimsic

Interestingly, the Jaina definition of Truthfulness (வாய்மை) or Not speaking falsehood (பொய்யாமை) itself has ahimsā connotation. Says H.R. Jain (2002) in his book on Jaina Tradition in Indian Thought: "It is interesting to note that even speaking truth which results in injury to others should be avoided". Avoiding harsh speech is one of the oft repeated pronouncements of Valluvar. He emphasized it not only under chapter 10 on "Pleasant Speech" (couplets 99, 100) but also in may places outside this chapter (see couplets 35, 386, 566, 567). 

Sūtrā 400 under Self-control in Saman Suttam, an anthology of well known Jaina sūtrās, says: 

तहेव फरुसा भासा, गुरुभूओवघाइअणी ।
सच्चा-वि सा न वत्तव्वा, जओ पावस्स आगमो
 ॥१७॥

The monk should not use harsh words 
Or speak what is harmful to other living beings; 
Even if its true, because it is sinful. 
(400)

Three points have been brought out in the above Sūtrā: 

(i) What is to be avoided? Speaking harsh words. 
(ii) What is a harsh word? Any speech harmful to other living beings.
(iii) What to do if truth to be conveyed causes harm? Avoid it, because it is a sin. 

The last point is worth taking note of. Anything that harms others should be avoided, even if it is the truth. In other words, better lie than speak the truth in situations that may harm the other. This is exactly what Valluvar says in the very first two couplets in chapter 30 on Truthfulness. 

Couplet 291. 
வாய்மை எனப்படுவது யாதெனின் யாதொன்றும்
தீமை இலாத சொலல். 
What is truthfulness? It is nothing but 
Utterance wholly devoid of ill.
 
VS, PS

Couplet 292. 
பொய்மையும் வாய்மை இடத்த புரைதீர்ந்த 
நன்மை பயக்கும் எனின். 
Even a lie would take the place of truth,
If it brings blameless benefit.
 NV, VR 

The second couplet is actually a supplement to the first. Valluvar's definition of truthfulness is perhaps the most clinching evidence, if one may say so, to prove his inclination towards Jaina ideals and morality. The Jaina commentator of the 16th century AD Vāmana Munivar (சமய திவாகர வாமன முனிவர்) while commenting on the Jaina work Neelakéci, cites this couplet from Kuŗal and adds the phrase "so says our scripture" (எம் ஒத்து ஆதலின்) (Zvelebil, 1975; Shanmugampillai, 2005). Sabramanyam (1987) reiterates that it is in this chapter that the poet implies the ahimsā doctrine of the Jainas. Interestingly such a definition of truthfulness is not hard to find in other texts as well! In Panchatantra (Book III in 'Crows and Owls'), we see a similar pronouncement: "Even truth should be concealed if causing sorrow when revealed". As I mentioned in one of my earlier postings, it is not a surprise to know that the popular recensions of Panchatantra have been the works of the Jains (Jain, 1999).

(v) From the concluding chapter of my article on "Jaina ideas in Tirukkural":

What makes Kuŗal Jaina in character is the combination of all these: 

a) An Invocation in the very beginning that is consistent with the terminologies and beliefs employed for praising of Jaina godheads, Arhat and Siddha 

b) Valluvar's repeated emphasize on Not-killing and Not hurting even outside the chapters on Not-killing (கொல்லாமை) and Not-hurting (இன்னா செய்யாமை) 

c) Valluvar's frequent reference to Not-killing as virtue (அறம்), grace (அருள்), perfect path (நல்லாறு), characteristic of penance (தவத்திற்கு உரு), and as the topmost code ever written (தொகுத்தவற்றுள் எல்லாம் தலை) 

d) The chapter headings in the first division Virtue (அறத்துப்பால்) that are very much in line with the spirit of the Jaina tradition (compared with Jaina anthologies like Saman Suttam and Pearls of Jaina Wisdom) 

e) His definition of truthfulness as something that should not cause any harm to others 

f) The special mention of Not-killing as a vow above Truthfulness (as I and II vratās respectively) 

Therefore there is no doubt that the ethic Valluvar builds in his work is based on Jaina principles. In a state like Tamil Nadu, dominated by the majority Hindus and with a tradition of four of the five great commentators of Kuŗal (Pariperumaal, Parithiar, Parimelazhagar and Kalingar) interpreting the first chapter in Hindu non-Jaina terms, it is nothing but natural that Jaina renderings have taken a back seat. Zvelebil (1975), citing M. Irakava Iyenkar's reference to an inscription of 1272 in Sri Varadaraja Temple in Kanchi that refers to a Jaina commentators, mentions that many of the Jaina commentaries of Kuŗal were suppressed by the commentary of the 13th century Parimelazhagar. 

While the majority are ignorant of the Jaina terminologies, the Jains who are supposed to know them are unfortunately a marginal minority. No wonder their voices are never heard. One is left to wonder, what would have been the recognition given to the Kuŗal had the state been a Jaina majority. The Jains have every right to say that Valluvar was a Jain, or at least claim that the author of the Kuŗal was inclined towards Jaina ideals. But they do not have the right to claim the Kuŗal as their scripture for the simple reason that the Kuŗal was not written for any particular sect in mind. 

Let us now revisit what Rajaji said: "It is claimed by many that Tiru-Valluvar was a Jain. I do not accept this theory". But Rajaji didn't explain why he denied such claims. He only said "Tiru-Valluvar was one of those rare and great men whose catholic spirit rose above all denominations and whose vision was not clouded by dogma or prejudice of any kind". Even those who claim Valluvar to be a Jain say so! They also declare that in spite of being a Jain, Valluvar's Kuŗal is a non-sectarian composition, with the author making no attempt or whatsoever to impart the doctrines of his own religion on others.

The Deity Valluvar invokes in Chapter is sufficient enough to show that Valluvar must have been a Jain. In spite of all these, Thirukkuŗal is not a book on Jainism or Jaina philosophy but a book written by someone who must have been either a Jain or someone who was impressed by Jaina ideals of life. As Subramaniyam (1987) said, Valluvar made great use of ideas that came his way, be it from Hinduism or Buddhism, but the greater part of his familiarity is with Jainism.

References:

Jain, J.P. 1999. Religion and Culture of the Jains. Bharatiya Jnanpith. p. 191

Jain, H.R. 2002. Jaina Tradition in Indian thought. Editor: D.C. Jain. Sharada Publishing House, Delhi. pp 273-289

Shanmugampillai, M. 2005. Thiruvalluvar a Jain (வள்ளுவர் சைன சமயம் சார்ந்தவர்). Available at http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-IHs9F...Ww--?cq=1&p=13

Subramanyam, K. N. 1987. Tiruvalluvar and His Kuŗal. Bharatiya Jnanpith Publication. 220 pages

Subramanian, N. and Rajalakshmi, R. 1984. The Concordance of Tirukkural (With Critical Introduction). Ennes Publications, Madurai. 250 pages

Venugopala Pillai, M.V. (undated) Who is Adhibagawan? (English translation of Tamil essay). Available at Ahimsā Foundation.(http://www.jainsamaj.org/literature/...wan/300103.htm)

Zvelebil, K.V. 1975. Tamil Literature. E.J. Brill. p. 125-26



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 Valluvar's objective was to produce a classic on mandatory ethics for householders, ascetics and rulers and help everyone to progress to "சான்றான்மை". While doing so, he freely cited the prevailing beliefs and religious practices of his time. Valluvar was NOT a reformer of Hinduism. Hinduism, in the form we see today, never existed during the time of Valluvar for us to consider him a reformer of that religion. During the times of Vivekananda, Raja Ram and Bharathiyar, yes! And that's why we call them reformers. If reforming Vedic Hinduism was his objective, Valluvar would have definitively mentioned it in his work. What Valluvar has left us is only a set couplets from which we have to extract the information to pinpoint his religious inclination. 


Even if we are to agree that Jainism is a deviation from Hinduism, we cannot consider that vegetarianism was TAKEN from "Hinduism" because Hinduism as we identify now never existed during that time. In any religious tradition, there would have always been groups or sects emphasizing a particular point and you cannot conclude that they have TAKEN those ideas from that tradition when they manage to establish a faith of their own (like Jainism and Buddhism). Like the Sufi movement within Islam (surprisingly being tolerated by the majority in spite of it being radically different from orthodox Islam), Śramana practices were a movement within the Indian religio-philosophical tradition. You cannot call that Hinduism!. While writing about monastic practices in India, Buddhist scholar G.C. Pande (1995) wrote: "The immediate context of the emergence of Buddhism in India in the 5th century B.C. is the Śramana movement, in which independent ascetics freed themselves from Vedic authority, Brahminic ritualism and conservative social tradition, and established communities for the purpose of exploring new paths to spiritual liberation". This reminds us very much like the sects like the ascetic group of Essenes (apart from Sadduces and Pharisees) of Judea during the time of Jesus. The difference? While some of the Śramanas went on to establish the Jaina religion, the Essenes never found even a mention in the New Testament, in spite of Jesus being closely associated with them. 

Now coming to Devapriya's mention about Vegetarianism in "Thuraviyal". Devapriya had mentioned this point even in his earlier posting: "Valluvar has brought Vegetarianism and Against Killing in Thuraviyal and not for Family men, as per many scholars". To answer this issue, let me reproduce the following two paragraphs from my article on Jaina ideas in Tirukkural:

//
Popley (1931) said Valluvar included two chapters (Not killing and Not eating meat) under the subdivision Ascetic Virtue and not under Domestic Virtue. His line of argument is that if Valluvar had been a Jain, he would have listed these two chapters under Domestic Virtue, instead of giving an impression that ahimsā and vegetarianism are something to be followed by monks alone. But a cursory look at the organization of different subjects and chapters in Kuŗal will reveal that many chapters of relevance to either groups (householder and monks) are listed under both subdivisions of Ascetic and Domestic Virtue, and sometimes even under the II Division "Wealth" which according to many scholars are meant for Rulers! For example, chapters on Self-restraint (13) and Forbearance (16) are equally ascetic virtues but why are they included under Domestic Virtue? Why is Compassion (chapter 58), which can also be regarded as an ascetic virtue, listed under the second division "Wealth"? And why is "Greatness of ascetics" (chapter 3) not under Ascetic virtue? Subramanian and Rajalakshmi (1984) who dwelled in some detail about the distribution and sequencing of some chapters in Kuŗal, ask why the chapter 92 on Prostitutes, 93 on Abstinence and 94 on Gambling were not deemed serious enough to merit inclusion in the first division Aŗattuppāl (Virtue)!

Saman Suttam, the well known anthology of Jaina principles and teachings, says a householder is one who is free from seven vices (sūtrā 302) such as (i) sex with other's wives, (ii) gambling, (iii) liquor, (iv) hunting, (v) harshness in speech, (vi) harshness in punishment and (vii) misappropriation of wealth. Valluvar has devoted a chapter each to deal with these subjects but all are not under the subdivision Domestic Virtue. Of the seven, only vices (i), (v) and (vii) are under 'Domestic Virtue' (chapters 15, 10, 18 respectively), while the rest are either under 'Ascetic Virtue' (iv) and in the second division on "Wealth" (ii, iii and vi). Therefore, it appears that the relevance of any couplet or subject matter to either householders or monks cannot be decided based on its placement in Kuŗal. Commenting on the distribution of chapters and couplets in the Kuŗal, Subramanian and Rajalakshmi (1984) concluded that the verses themselves are couched in such general language that it is difficult to say to whom especially they are meant.

//

References: 

Pande, G.C. 1995. The Message of Gotama Buddha and Its Earliest Interpretations. In: Buddhist Spirituality. Editor: Yoshinori, Takeuchi. Buddhist Spirituality. p 3-33

Popley, H.A. 1931. The Sacred Kuŗal or the Tamil Veda of Tiruvalluvar. The Heritage of India Press, Calcutta. 

Subramanian, N. and Rajalakshmi, R. 1984. The Concordance of Tirukkural (With Critical Introduction). Ennes Publications, Madurai. 250 pages



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Tholkappiyam is dated around 50-100CE or later. Sangam Literature around 200 BCE TO 200CE. Tirukural 250 CE.

Silapathikaram and Manimekhalai- 275-300CE


Thani-Tamil Movement which came as a Tamil movement became a 
tool of Politicians and PAVANAR- who used his articles as Missionary tools.

The latest DNA Position puts Two Races- 1.Black from African Continent & 2.Brown or Fairer from India are two races appeared early in the earth. If Black is Negroes and Brown is Aryans. When these two moved and mixed and based on climate of living became white etc., Dravidians are people who came from outside..

But as Vedas stand Mother to India and Brahmins as Custodians for it Missionaries and Nonsense Researchers wrote meaningless articles all falsified.

Swami Vivekananda on Aryan-Dravidian-
//In India we have fallen during the last few centuries into a fixed habit of unquestioning deference to Authority. .. We are ready to accept all European Theories; “the theory of an “Aryan Colonisation of Dravidian India”; the theory of Nature Worship and Henotheism of the Vedic Rishis .. .. as if these Hazardous Speculations were on Par in Authority and Certainty with the law of Gravity and Theory of Evolution. 
So Great is the force of Generalisation and widely popularised errors that all the world goes on Perpetuating the blunder talking of the Indo-European Races claiming or disclaiming Aryan Kinship and building on that basis of falsehood the most far-reaching Political, social or Pseudo Scientific Conclusion.’// -Swami Vivekananda 

The Missionary minded Indologists who found that Sanskrit was Mother of Greek and Latin- which in turn were the Eldest of Most European Languages, and the amount of Depth and Knowledge in it brought the “Aryan” Invasion Myths- i.e., Indians are not capable of such a Wealth Language and Civilisation. It is a continual attack to run down India's great accomplishments and Civilisation... 

Proper Study of Harappah and Mohanjadero now confirms that most of its Contents are Aryan, And the Speculation of the Seals being Proto Dravidian is weakening. Even the Die-hard Aryan Incoming Supporters put that from BCE7000- 1500. Linguists who worked with Tamil, popularly Identified as Dravidianists from Caldwell, Burrows etc., – All say Dravidians came around 3000 BCE and later to India from Outside. 

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA : “There is not one word in our scriptures, not one, to prove that the Aryans ever came from anywhere outside India.... The whole of India is Aryan, nothing else.” 

U.S. archaeologist Jim Shaffer puts it : “Current archaeological data do not support the existence of an Indo-Aryan or European invasion into South Asia any time in the pre- or protohistoric periods. Instead, it is possible to document archaeologically a series of cultural changes reflecting indigenous cultural developments from prehistoric to historic periods” 

Kenneth A. R. Kennedy, biological anthropologist at Cornell University, U.S.A., who has worked extensively on Harappan sites to study human skeletal remains, concludes unambiguously: “Biological anthropologists remain unable to lend support to any of the theories concerning an Aryan biological or demographic entity.... What the biological data demonstrate is that no exotic races are apparent from laboratory studies of human remains excavated from any archaeological sites, including those accorded Aryan status [by the old school]. All prehistoric human remains recovered thus far from the Indian subcontinent are phenotypically identifiable as ancient South Asians.... In short, there is no evidence of demographic disruptions in the north-western sector of the subcontinent during and immediately after the decline of the Harappan culture.” 

J. M. Kenoyer, who is still pursuing excavations at Harappa, is even more categorical :There is no archaeological or biological evidence for invasions or mass migrations into the Indus Valley between the end of the Harappan Phase, about 1900 BC and the beginning of the Early Historic period around 600 BC. 

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA //”We are ready to accept all European Theories; “the theory of an “Aryan Colonisation of Dravidian India”; the theory of Nature Worship and Hynotheism of the Vedic Rishis .. .. as if these Hazardous Speculations were on Par in Authority and Certainity with the law of Gravity and Theory of Evolution.”// 


Sangam and Tholkappiyam to Manimekhalai are all based on Vedasand refers that so and I give-Historian M. G. S. Narayanan, who finds in Sangam literature – 
“no trace of another, indigenous, culture other than what may be designated as tribal and primitive.” And concludes : 
“The Aryan-Dravidian or Aryan-Tamil dichotomy envisaged by some scholars may have to be given up since we are unable to come across anything which could be designated as purely Aryan or purely Dravidian in the character of South India of the Sangam Age. In view of this, the Sangam culture has to be looked upon as expressing in a local idiom all the essential features of classical “Hindu” culture. M. G. S. Narayanan, “The Vedic-Puranic-Shastraic Element in Tamil Sangam Society and Culture,” in Essays in Indian Art, Religion and Society, p. 128. 

Nilakanta Sastri goes a step further and opines, 
“There does not exist a single line of Tamil literature written before the Tamils came into contact with, and let us add accepted with genuine appreciation, the Indo-Aryan culture of North Indian origin.” 

Jainism is a movement from Hinduism and its ideologies are totally agiasnt family life, Women etc., which is all totally against Valluvam

 

 

By15th & 16 th Centuries Muslim rule came to Tamilnadu, and Tamil rulers were weak, and came Marati and Vijaynagar Kings, and drove muslims out, they had earlier plundered Madurai- Meenakshu Temple and Srirangam among others. To make this Other Language Rulers Scholars used excessive Sanskrit filled Tamil, and this required little Cleansing, but the Tano-Tamil movement was Hijacked by Church and Barbaric Dravidian movement people, E.V.Ramasamy Naicker says entire Sangam and Tirukural Collections as Human Dung and to be Thrown. Tirukural, Vedas and Sangam Lit. were all misinterpreted.

Tiruvalluvar's 3 Kurals were Highlighted-
Athists and Anti Hindu Scholars used them.
Kural-18, IF no Rain, No Pujas. 
Kiral 259. It is more better Not to eat Animal fat then doing 1000 of Vedic Yagna.
Kural 30 Brahmins mean One with Dharma, and who love all Living beings.

The truth is all these Kurals are Purely Vedic, first do not need any explanation.
Kural - 259, when Valluvar take a Topic, he compares it with smaller to bigger, Kural 260 says When who don't eat NV shall be Worshipped by Entire World, An Exaggarted saying to emphasis importance of Vegetarianism. Kural 259 says Keep doing Vedic Yagnas and eating NV is useless, here Vedic Yagna is not put on a lower level, but equated highly.
Kural-30 Brahmin- is referred many a times in Tholkappiyam and Sangam Literature and always as people with Dharma, and Valluvar has not changed a little. Few Eg. Pathirrupattu 4:3-6
Puram 361: 4,5
Puram-397:20,21
Puram- 93:7
Puram 26:12-13
Pura, 6:19-23
Kalithogai- 119:12,13 etc.,
Valluvar goes by Sangam Tradition. Valluavar's Definition for Brahmin is as per Vedic & Sangam Tradition.

Valluvar calls them further by Paarpaan and Aru Thozil Anthanar, all these has been analysed well by Many Indian Universities and All references of NanMarai and Anthanar are all the Noble Indian Vedas, and Pavnar's quote has been given earlier.

As for as old quotes as Aryan Migration, when we quote old authors we retain them. Dravidians migrated to India also as per many Scholars including Caldwell, and others.
The Whole world used BC/AD when Jesus Christ is Unhistorical and now they are changed to BCE-Before Common Era & CE-Common Era. September- means 7 from Sanskrit Septhami, October-8 from Oshtami; November 9 from Sans- Navami and December means 10 from Sanskrit Dasami, Two Historical Kings name July for Julies Ceaser and August for Augustus CAeser were insereted and whole world uses them wrongly, these are due to Practice.
EVR, and Justice movement are from Justice party which was from Upper Caste Non Brahmins who supported British and opposed Independence and enjoyed lot of Postings in BRITISH Rule, EVR declared Independence day as Thukka Nal, and He held this till his Death, and wrote against Tamil till end, but his followers make him as a Patriot. 
These are the Pity of Life SITUATION.

Now on Tamil Alphatic Order follows Sanskrit and all the Tamil Specific Vuyir mei letters put in the end, confirming its burrowing and coexistance with Sanskrit and moreove Brahmi was mother of writing of all Languages in India.
Any Serious research with knowledge of Tamil/Prakrit/Sanskrit Vowles will clearly tell us that Brahmi was writing system developed for Sanskrit and adopted by all INdian Languages.
Sanskrit Hate campaign was a tool for Church to make people to hate Hinduism. Sankrot and Tamil has coexisted for 5000 years.

As per the Editor of Tamil Lexicon -Rig Veda has 20 Tamil words, others just SPECULATED meaninglessly to thier Blabbers by ignoring Tholkappiyam rules, P.Aruli tried but enc made a laughing stock of a=b=z. Tamil and Sanskrit both has adopted each other, Sankrit has Oldest tradions saved and Sangam Lit confirms it.

Valluvar says in Kura; 20- No Rains No water- and World will not exist. 
Kural 559 says If King rules badly Rains wont be there- ie., world exsistance is doubtful.
For a COUNTRY -Any Thing WORSE THAN NO Rains.
Valluvar says- Brahmins will forget Vedas.Kural560
What is the role of a King- To be in Frontal support of BRAHMIN'S Vedic Dharma, Kural 543.
Now Kural in more than 27 Kurals refers Vedic GODS SUCH AS Indra, Vishnu, Laskhmi, Manmathan, Raahu and KEthu etc.,
Kural refers to Temple going also.
So One India- Oneness be our goal.
Love Valluvar and look for what he wrote



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A discussion on soc.culture.tamil. In chronological order from Mar 16 1995 to Feb 3 1998.
Yashwant K. Malaiya

                    Thiru-Kural: First Kural


Responding to Arasu Chellaiah's comment that Dr. Abdul Rehman re-
gards Thirukural to be written by a Jain, Raghu Seshadri asked:

>In the very first Kural, and in many subsequest ones,
>Valluvar pays homage to God. Jainism, as we all know,
>is atheistic. So how could Valluvar be a Jain?

That is a rather interesting comment. For a Jain, or someone fam-
iliar  with  Jain  terminology,  the first kural would be perhaps
among the the most important reasons to think that it was written
by a Jain.

Dr. C.R.Selvakumar is right in pointing out the  universality  of
Kural  and  the  fact  that Kural is not written for readers of a
specific sect.  Thirukkural is not a  "Jain  book",  but  it  was
written  by  a Jain.  For a long time, I was not really convinced
that Kural was the work of a Jain. However having  looked  at  it
carefully,  it  is  clear  to  me that it is indeed the work of a
Jain. It was written in the age when  strong  sectarian  feelings
were  not common in the Indian community, and other books of that
era  also  tend  to  be  non-sectarian.  Incidentally  there  are
numerous secular books written by Jain authors.

There is evidence outside of the Thirukkural, of its author  hav-
ing been a Jain, as well as many kurals that support that view.

The first Kural is translated as following.

P.S. Sundaram's translation:

    A begins the alphabet
    And God, primordial, the world.

Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's translation

   "A" is the first and source of all the letters. Even so is
   God Primordial the first and source of all the world.

Both have chosen to translate "Aadi Bhagavan" as "Primordial God".
To  a  Jain, neither a translation, nor an explanation of the
term would be needed. Why?

It is commonly believed that the Jain idols  represent  Mahavira.
That is true in only some of the cases. They can represent anyone
of the 24 Tirthankaras or Jinas, of whom Mahavira (born 6th cent.
BCE)  was  the  last. The name of the first Jina was Rashabha. In
Jain  literature  (Prakrit,  Sanskrit,  as  well  as  in   modern
languages)  the common term used for him is "Aadi", his real name
"Rashabha" is used less often. In Jain tradition, he is not  only
the  first Jina, he is credited with having introduced culture in
the current cycle as a king.

Incidentally  Rashabha is mentioned in most of the  Puranas.  The
Puranas  agree  with  the  Jain  tradition  that  India was named
"Bhaarata- varsha" because the Chakravartin King Bharata, son  of
Rashabha.

The 6th kural praises "him who conquered the five senses",  makes
it clear that the first 10 kurals praise someone born as a mortal
and not the Supreme God.

For those who are interested,  I  include  Govindarai  Shastri's
translation  of  the  first  kural. When he lost his eyesight, he
started wondering what he should do with his life. He then decid-
ed  to translate Thirukkural he had come across 30 years ago when
he was a student.  He had once recited part  of  his  translation
for Chakravarti Rajagopalacharya.


  "a" varNo vartate loke shabdaanam prathamo yathaa |
  thaadibhagavanasti           puraaNapuruShottamah ||1||


                       @@@@@@@@@@@@


Notes

"Aadi" generally implies first of a (finite) sequence. Thus Aadi-
parvan  and Aadikaandam are the first chapters of Mahabharata and
Ramayana respectively,  and Aadi-Sankaracharya was the  first  of
the  Sankaracharyas.  The term "X aadi" implies a sequence with X
as the first element.

"Bhagavana" can be used as in "Bhagavana  Ram", "Bhagvana Buddha"
or  "Bhagavana  Mahavira"  or  independently to imply the Supreme
God.  In the first case, the usage is like  in  "lord"  in  "Lord
Jesus Christ".

The author of Thirukkural is pointing out the fact the lord  Aadi
Bhagavan's  name  starts  with  letter "a". The letter "a" is the
first  letter of all Indian scripts derived from Brahmi.

P.S. Sundaram mentions a tradition  that  "Aadi"  and  "Bhagavan"
were the names of Valluvar's mother and father.

Prof. Sundaram's translation attempts to capture the  brevity  of
the  original  verses. His view that the author of Kural may have
been a Jain, is mentioned in the introduction. In his  notes,  he
mentions  how  some of the verses may be differently interpreted.
As one can see from his notes, a simpler and more consistant  in-
terpretation of the first Chapter results if we assume the author
to be a Jain.

                          @@@@@@@@@@@@



                         The Third Kural

Badrinarayanan Seshadri wrote:

>In this regard, I want to mention the phrase `malar misai Ekinaan'
>that appears in the first chapter. Roughly translated, this means:
malar misai Ekinaan = one who went towards or reached the flower.

>I hope I have given the right meaning for the verb Ekuthal'. Some
>scholars opine that the person who is referred to as `malar misai
>Ekinaan' is Mahavira based on some historical records. It seems the
>Jain author iLangO adikaL in his work `silappadhikaaram' uses the
>same phrase to refer to Mahavira.

The third kural, in the first chapter is translated by Prof. P.S.
Sundaran as:

    Long life on earth is theirs who clasp
    The glorious flower-embedded feet

In his notes he writes: "Flower-embedded  feet  may  refer either
specifically  to  Aruhan, the Jain God who is usually represented
as standing on a flower, or to God in general whose seat  is  not
only  in  haven, but also in the flower-shaped-heart of his devo-
tees."

"Aruhan" (Arhant) can be any one of the 24 Jinas.

Here it would be interesting to compare the kural verse with part
of  a verse in Bhaktaamar Stotra, composed by Mantungacharya. The
44 verses of Bhaktaamar praise the  first  Jina  (just  like  the
first  chapter  of Thirukkural), as mentioned in the last quarter
of second verse:

 ...  stoshye kilaahamapi tam prathamam jinendram ||2||

 .. I will also praise the first Jina.

The  second  half  of  the 32nd shloka is:

    paadau padani tava yatra Jinendra dhatth,
    padmani tatra vibudha parikalpayanti ||32||

.. wherever you put your feet, gods create lotus flowers.

That reminds one of the scene in "Little Buddha". Actually,  most
of  the verses of the first chaper can also apply to Gautama Bud-
dha, since he is also "one who has conquered  his  five  senses",
however the mention of Aadi Bhagavan make it clear that it is the
first Jina being praised.

It would be interesting to look at Govindarai Shastri's  transla-
tion again.  This time, let me give his Hindi translation.

SharaNa liye jisne yahan, us vibhu ke padapadma,
Kanaka kamalagami vahi, kare use sukhasadma.
                     @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@


Notes

Bhaktaamar Stotra, is used by both  Digambaras  and  Swetambaras,
suggesting  it  was  composed before 6th century AD, before major
differences between the two branches of the Jains were introduced.
However as the oldest Jain literature is in  Prakrit, rather than
Sanskrit, it can not be earlier than 1st cent. AD.

Digambara monks today all belong to the ancient Mula Sangha (Ori-
ginal  Assembly). It is linked with Kundakundacharya, a monk from
Tamil Nadu who wrote his books in Prakrita in around 1st cent. AD.

Pali, language of the Buddhist books, is one of the Prakrits.

The emphatic support of vegetarianism suggests  that  the  author
must  have  been  a Jain and not a Buddhist. Buddhists should not
kill, but are not required to be vegetarian.

                    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@



                Thirukkural and its Author

I first came across Kural when I  was  very  young,  in  form  of
Govindarai  Shastri's  translation.  In  the introduction, he ex-
plains why he thinks its author was a Jain.

I was not convinced. Except the "Aadi Bhagavan" term in the first
kural,  I  could  not  identify (at that time) anything else that
would suggest it was written by a  Jain.  Also  since  Govindarai
Shastri was a Jain, his claim naturally would be suspected.

Having become interested into it recently, I got a  copy  of  the
English  translation  by  P.S.  Sundaram.  His translation of the
first chapter is in not sect-specific.  He does  mention  in  his
introduction "there are some indications in the Kural of Valluvar
having been a Jain". Coming from an obviously  non-Jain  scholar,
that raised my curiosity.

I was amazed when I looked at the notes in the back of the  book.
Sundaram  points  out  the  Jain interpretation of several of the
verses in the first chapter.  Not being a Jain, he misses  a  few
things.  I am convinced that Kural was written by a Jain. In fact
I think it is obvious. However let me explain my views on Thiruk-
kural.

I once came across an old textbook of high school algebra written
by  a  Bengali  author  in English. I can not recall the name. He
starts with a dedication page with a Sanskrit inscription  "Shri-
krashNaarpaNamastu" - dedicated to Lord Krishna. Similarly, I be-
lieve that the first chapter is the personal dedication by Vallu-
var, however the book itself is written for everyone.

Goswami Tulsidasa, author of the Raama-charita-maanasa  has writ-
ten:  "Jaaki rahi bhaavanaa jaisee, prabhu moorati dekhi tin jai-
see" - one sees in the idol of the lord, what one wishes to  see.
I  see  no  problem in people of different religions seeing their
own deity in the first chapter.

I agree with Selvakumar that VaLLuvar is beyond all religions, as
far  as  the  main  text of the book is concerned. His Jain back-
ground shows, but obviously it is a non-sectarian composition.  I
also  agree  with  Kannan that a reader of Thirukkural should not
focus on what religion Valluvar belongs to.

However it should be completely appropriate for  one  to  proudly
point out that a great author was "one of us".

I hope the readers of soc.culture.tamil would find my  views  in-
teresting.   I  will appreciate any comments or suggestions. I am
planning to write one or two articles on  Thirukkural  for  North
Indian readers, possibly in some Jain publications. Kural is vir-
tually unknown in the North, I am sure  people  will  benefit  by
knowing  about  it.  It  indeed ought to be considered a national
work.

                     @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
                     @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@


Theism as a concept, can be easily defined in within  the  Judeo-
Christian-  Islamic  context.  However in the Indian (i.e. Hindu)
tradition it can be hard to specify exactly.  The  various  terms
for  "god"  can be used for minor gods, for anyone who is the ob-
ject of worship, for souls that  have  achieved  perfection  (and
hence  release)  or  for the Supreme God. The term "atheism" con-
notes a purely materialistic point of view.

Jainism believes that one receives the  results  of  ones  karmas
without  the intervention of another entity. It believes that the
physical actions in the universe occur according to the  laws  of
nature, rather than being acts of a superior being. In this sense
one could say that Jainism is atheistic.  However, the difference
between  Jainism/Buddhism and other Hindu traditions, can be con-
sidered to be simply use of a different modeling scheme.  If  one
takes  Einstein's  view that the "God is the sum-total of all na-
tural laws", than its really the same thing. It is somewhat  like
modeling the propagation of  electromagnetic waves as propagation
of  energy  in  the  vacuum, or as    perturbations  in  the  all
pervading substance "ether". Just a different modeling scheme.


                 @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@




                   Tirukkural as DharmashAstra

In the broad definition, Dharma of an object is its  own  nature,
"vatthu sahAvo dhammo" as SamantabhadrAcharya wrote. More specif-
ically, the Dharma of a person is conduct that is both proper and
natural.

In Jainism (as well as in other Hindu traditions) the Dharma  for
a monk (anAgAra i.e. homeless) is different from the Dharma for a
lay person (sAgAra i.e. householder). The conduct for a  monk  is
given  in  books  like  AcharAnga or MUlAchAara. The books called
ShrAvakAchAras define the religious  duties  of  the  householder
(ShrAvaka "one who listens").

For a householder, the religious conduct does  not  fully  define
his Dharma.  While he accepts liberation as the ultimate goal, he
enjoys the pleasures of the world and  accepts  the  accompanying
responsibilities.

Somadeva Suri wrote Yashastilaka-ChampU in 959AD during the reign
of  Arikesharin II, a feudatory of RashtrakutaKrishna III. A sec-
tion of the this large book is UpAsakAdhyayana, which itself  may
be  regarded  as  a  separate  book on Dharma of an UpAsaka (wor-
shiper).  He writes:

  dvau hi dharamu gRahasthANam,
  laukikah, pArlaukikah |
  lokAshrayo bhavedAdyah,
  parah syAdAgamAshrayah ||

For the householder there are two dharmas, laukika (worldly)  and
paaralukika (beyond worldly). The basis of the first is world it-
self, for the second the Jain canon.

The fourth chapter of Kural praises Dharma. The first verse iden-
tifies the two components of the Dharma.

It is translated by Sundaram as

  What is better investment than virtue which yields
  Both wealth and release to the living?

Govindrai Shastri translates this as

  dharmAt sAdhutarah koanyo, vindanti mAnavAh|
  puNyam swargapradam nityam, nirvANnch sudurlabhah||

Thirrukural is different from most other treatises on Dharma,  it
is devoted almost entirely to the laukika (worldly) dharma of the
householder. A comparable Sanskrit work is  NItivAkyAmRata,  also
by  Somadeva  Suri  himself.  Not surprisingly, NItivAkyAmRata is
also not a sectarian composition, it quotes  from  numerous  past
authors in support, many from non-Jain traditions.

Here it is interesting to look at the Confucian philosophy, which
is almost entirely laukika. People sometimes say it is not a "re-

ligion", however it is certainly a dharma. In China, Confucianism
and  Buddhism  generally  existed  in  harmony, because the first
specified the laukika dharma and the second the pArlaukika  dhar-
ma.

Notice that the fifth Kural is from pArlaukika point of view.

                         @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Notes:

the 10th century was a good period for Jain Authors in Karnataka.
They  wrote  numerous  books  in  not  only Sanskrit, Prakrit and
Apabhramsha, they also wrote the earliest Kannada literature dur-
ing this period.  Many of these Jain authors were Brahmin, as was
the general Chamundaraya,  who  had  the  idol  of  Gommateshwara
carved in Shravanabelgola.

The Confucian Analects describes the discussion following   death
of  one  of  Confucious' favorite student Yen Yuan. Someone asked
about "serving" the spirits of the  dead.  The  Master  answered:
"While  you  are  not  able to serve men, how can you serve their
spirits?" He was further asked about death.  He  answered  "While
you  do  not know life, how can you know about death". The Confu-
cians can perhaps be considered atheistic, however they  do  have
the  concept  of the "heaven". Thus a dynasty rules as long as it
has the "mandate of the heaven". In Beijing, there is famous tem-
ple  and  an  altar,  both circular and empty, where the Emperors
used to worship "heaven".




                      Date of Thirukkural

Vindha@aol.com (VINDHA) wrote:

  I vaguely remember reading in high school, that Valluvar was born in
  Mylapore.
  Is there any truth to this? From what you say, it seems quite likely, that
  valluvar is a JAin. It is also a  fact that Jainism was very popular
  during the Pallava period. In fact Mahendra varman was a jain before he
  became a saivite due to the influence of Appar. Since Mylapore area could
  very well have been a part of Pallave kingdom, by it's sheer proximity to
  Kancheepuram, Thiruvalluvar could have been a Jain who lived around
  Mahendra Varmans period. This approximately puts his time around 900 A.D.
  Again all this are based upon the above assumptions.

Perhaps somone has studied about the date of Kural and can give what scholars
think. Let me mention what I have seen.

First, Jainism has been in Tamilnadu since very early times. One indication
of that can be found in the Mahavamsa. It mentions that King Pandukabhaya
had buildings constructed for Nirgranthas (i.e. Jain monks) in Anuradhapura.
Assuming Buddha's nirvana occured in 544BC, Pandukabhaya's period would be
438-368BC.

Another mention of the  Nirgranthas occurs during the battles of  Vattagamini
Abhaya when a (apparently Tamil) Nirganta named Giri is mentioned. The
Abhaya-giri Mahavihara thus is the only Buddhist institution partly
named after a Nirgrantha monk!

Inscriptions in Tamilnadu from 1st and 2nd century BC mention existance of Jain
monks and householders. Among well known early Jain authors from Tamilnadu are
Kundakunda and Samantabhadra, both born in noble or ruling families according
to tradition.

Now about Thirukkural. Acording to Sundaram, it has been dated from 2nd cent.
BC to 8th cent. AD. However if I am not mistaken, most scholars tend to place it
between 1-4th cent AD. According to Jain tradition, the author was Elacharya
(also called Kundakunda) or his householder student. Kundakunda is dated around
2-3rd cent AD, he is well known for his  Prakrit books. It is hard to see how
a monk could have written on matters of household duties etc (although there are
such examples), however this tradition supports a date of about 2-3rd century AD.

Thirukkural hints at popularity of Indra worship. Indra is now generally not
invoked during the puranic rites, but is still invoked during the vedic
rites like upanayanam. This may also suggest early centuries of the Christian
era.

I will appreciate any suggestions on this.

Incidentally, Prof. Sundaram write that Mylapore might have been the place
of his death rather than birth. According to Dr. S. Padmanathan, he may have
been born near Kanyakumari.


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Related discussions:


From: MFPD@utcvm.utc.edu (Parthasarati Dileepan)

First, I
have not found anything about TK in aazhvaar's works.  I will
consult an Indian source shall post what I find later.  Badri has
already posted TK in silappathikaaram and maNimEgalai and I
won't repeat them.  From what I have seen it seems safe to
conclude that TK is after Tholgappiyam and before
Silappathikaaram. However, there seems to be a lot of
disagreement in placing Tholgappiyam.  With this preamble let me
quote the following passages.

"The Golden Anthology of Ancient Tamil Literature,"  Volume 1,
by Ilavazhaganar, Translated by  Nalladai, R. Balakrishna
Mudaliyar, The south India Saiva Siddhanta Works Publishing
Society, Tinnevelly, Madras - 1, 1959.
------------------------------------
Page x and xi:  "....Tholkappiam is believed to have been written
before the seventh century B.C. when the second Tamil Sangam
was in existence.  The other sangam works viz. Pattu, Thokai and
Kanakku are assigned to the third Sangam, between the 2nd
century B.C. and 2nd century A.D. though among the 18 shorter
works or Pathinen keezh kanakku, Thirukkural is considered to be
the oldest, it being assigned a period immediately following
Tholgappiyam, i.e. prior to the 5th century B.C."

 "The Sacred Kural, H.A. Popley,  Y.M.C.A. Publishing House,
Calcutta-16, 1958
---------------------------------------------
Page 6 through 10 (I am giving only highlights, read the book for
complete discussion.)    "... The date to be assigned to kural
depends upon the date fixed for the Tholgappiyam.  The date of the
Tholgappiyam was formerly fixed as the third or second century
before Christ, .... but many recent scholars date it later and the date
most generally accepted is the first century before Christ.....  The
dates fix the anterior limit for date of the Kural......   It is not so
easy to obtain a posterior limit for the date of the Kural.......  All
that we can say with any degree of certainty is that it was produced
between 100 B.C. and 300 A.C."

 The Poems of Ancient Tamil: Their Milieu and Their Sanskrit
Counterparts,"  George Hart, University of California Press, 1975.
-------------------------------
I was able to find discussion relating only to Tholgappiyam.  Hart
relates the date of Tholgappiyam to that of ancient Tamizh
anthologies.  He dates the anthologies at 1st - 3rd century A.D.
(Page 9).   He then cites Mahadevan's 1971 paper on "Tamil
Brahmi Inscriptions of the Sangam Age" to indicate, "parts of the
Tholgappiyam are quite late, though some parts may be as early as
has been generally claimed."  I take this to mean that according to
Hart, more than one author is involved and the work is between
2nd century  B.C. and 3rd century A.D. and TK being even later
or somewhere in between.

 @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
From: selvakum@sun14.vlsi.uwaterloo.ca (C. R. Selvakumar)

       Dr. Sankaran, I'm not an expert on dating any work but I can
       share my understanding based on some of the arguements I've heard.
       About Tholkaapiyam, nothing is certainly known except that it is
       claimed to be a pre-Sangam work ( i.e. the so called third and only
       Sangam we are aware of, although there are some ancient
       tamil songs which claim that there were 'kal kOL' s and much of the
       literature and lineage is lost.). The basis for believing that
       Tholkaapiyam to be earlier than the so called kadaic cankam ( last
       academy ) are mostly based on certain linguistic characteristics
       being unfamliar or not used in the third academy and assessed to be
       an earlier form....      Based on this it is argued that
       it is earlier than about 200-300 B.C. Some scholars like Ilakkuvanaar
       ( I don't have exact reference with me) have argued that it is
       700 B.C or earlier. I personally believe a more in-depth study is
       needed before one can assess much closer estimates about the period.
       Since there is nothing to prevent one from claiming 1000 B.C etc.
       some have done that as well. All one can reasonably say now
       ( even this could turn out to be incorrect) is that it 'probably
       belongs to a period earlier than about 300 B.C.

       About ThiruvaLLuvar ( Luv): He is said to have lived after Tholkaapiyar,
       because he seems to have adopted some thoughts from tholkaapiyam.
       For example Devaneyap paavaanar gives a ocurences:
       Tholkaappiya - nURpaa:

          "niRaimozhi maanthar aanaiyiR kiLantha maRaimozhi
           thaanE manthiraam enba ( thol. 1434)

      with thirukkuRaL: 'niRaimozhi maanthar perumai nilaththu maRaimozhi
      kaatividum' ( kuRaL - 28) and Devaneya Paavaanar gives a few more.

      About the later limit, thiruvaLLuvar definitely lived earlier than
      MaNimEkalai author since he quotes as Badri has give above.
      In addition to Badri's quote from Silappathikaaram, there is
      another apparent adoption of vaLLuvar's words in
          "muRpakaR ceythaan piRankEdu than kEdu
           piRpakaR kaNkuRUum peRRiya kaaN"  ( cilappathikaaram, 25: 3-4)

      Devaneyap paavaaNar gives some more considerations ( read his
      thamizh maraburai pages 7-11 ) and concludes that thiruvaLLuvar
      should have lived sometime between tholkaapiyar and Silappathikaaram-
      MaNimEkalai authors' time. He says it could anywhere between 200 B.C
      to even upto 500 A.D.

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From: Shyamala Parameswaran <u15297@uicvm.uic.edu>

With regard to approximation of the Tolkappiam in about 400-300 BC,
the TK anywhere between 2nd and 4th century AD, followed by the
Silappthikaram and Maanimekalai, the approximate placement
of Manu Smriti is as follows:

200 AD. Composition of Manu Smriti, Mahabharata and Ramayana.
        The Epics had further accretions.
300 c.-200 BC. Arthasastra of Kautilya, earliest form

From Cutler: Interpreting Tirukkural, JAOS, 112.4(1192):

"..Some of the names by which the text [Tirukkural] is known
... are tamilmarai ("Tamil Veda"), poyyamoli ("speech that does
not lie"), and teyva nul ("divine text") [fn4]. There is evidence
that TK has long occupied an honored place in the Tamil
literary canon. For example, quotations from or allusions to
verses from TK have been identified in classic works such as
Cilapatikaram, Manimekalai, and the Tamil Ramayana of Kampan [fn5]"

[fn5] S. Maharajan, Tiruvalluvar (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi:
1982), 17, 22. The dating of these texts is far from certain,
and the relative chronology of the TK and some of the texts
in which Maharajan finds allusions to verses from TK is
debatable. However, in Manimekalai a verse from TK (6.5) is
quoted verbatim. The fifth century A.D. has been suggested as
a likely date for the composition of Cilapatikaram and the
sixth century for Manimekalai. Dates ranging from the ninth
ninth to the twelfth century A.D. have been suggested for the
composition of Kamapan's epic. For detailed discussion of these
factors influencing the dating of these and other traditional
Tamil texts see Kamil Zvelebil, Tamil Literature, vol. 2,
fasc. 1 of Handbuch der Orientalistik, ed. Jan Gonda (Leiden:
E. J. Brill, 1975)

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The Fifth Kural

The fifth kural presents a concept which is somewhat strange
from a worldly point of view. It regards both good and bad
karmas to be undesirable. It is translated by P.S. Sundaram
as

  The delusions caused by good deeds and bad
  Shall never be theirs who seek God's Praises.

The Himalayan Academy translation is

  Good and bad, delusion's dual deeds, do not cannot cling
  Those who delight in praising the immutable, worshipful One.

This is actually a well known basic Jain concept.

  sovanniyam pi niyalam, bandhadi kaalaayasam pi jaha purisam|
  bandhadi evam jivam, suhamasuham va kadam kammam||

 Just as fetters whether made of iron or gold binds a person,
 similarly karma, whether auspicious (punya) or inauspicious
 (paapa) binds the soul.

Thus for liberation of the soul, karmas of both kind must be
exhausted through tapa.

The delusion mentioned in the fifth kural, delusion about the
"bandha tattva", is one of the seven delusions discussed in
Jain texts.


Meenaradchagan Vishnu wrote about Samkhya Karika:

>So according to Bharathidasan, thirukkuRal was based on 'eNNool' which
>is in Skt. known as 'Samkhya'.  However, thEva nEyap paavaNaar refutes
>this claim.
>
>Under the section "thiruvaLLuvar emmathaththaar?" of the "thirukkuRaL
>thamiz marapurai", paavaNaar says:
>
>"kadauL illai yenRum, meyppoRuL irupaththainthenRum kooRum caankiyak
>koLkaikaLai oppukkoLLaamaiyaal thiruvaLLuvar caankiyarallar"
>(ThiruvaLLuvar is not a Samkhya because he does not accept the atheism
>and the 25 categories of Samkhya philosophy)
>
>In my personal view, I think Samkhya played an important role in the
>non-Vedic philosophies (including Buddhism) of India.  VaLLuvar may
>have been aware of Samkhya philosphy but his work is unique.

Just like Cilappatikaram, ThirukkuRal is a non-sectarian work written
by a Jain.

ThirukkuRal was written for people of all sects. While the author's
Jain background shows up occasionally, it is not a sectarian book, with
the exception of the opening.

In the first chapter, the author praises lord Aadi, the first Jina,
using Jain conventions and expressions. It is possible that with
some effort the kurals of the first chapters can be interpreted
differently, but taken directly, they can only refer to the first
Jina.

The religious views of the Tamil society (as well as the Indian
society) when  ThirukkuRal was composed, are reflected in Manimekhalai
and in Cilappatikaram. While the monks and nuns generally belonged
to a specific sect, it was not necessary for ordinary people who
did not view the sects as being mutually exclusive.


I am grateful to C.R. Selvakumar for his comments. I have learned from
his exceptional knowledge of classical Tamil.

Following my comments on Meenaradchagan Vishnu's post (about the view
that Thiruvalluvar was Samkhya), Dr. Selvakumar wrote:

        "Borrowing your line, one can say that it is possible that
        one can interpret certain Kurals in the first Chapter as
        reflective of Jain philosophy but I would add that a closer
        look would reveal the lack of substance in this interpretation.
        ..
        Your interpretations of KuRaLs 1, 5 etc. are pretty narrow
       ( sectarian)."

In my view, a Jain interpretation is more direct. I believe that the
first chapter (and possibly the next 3 as well) should be taken as his
personal dedication (mangalacharana), just like many Indian popular
singers open public performances with a personal prayer.

      "If VaLLuvar was a Jain or a Buddhist or whatever, it does not
      matter, because what he says is what matters and what he says is
      secular philosophy of great value."

That is true. While it is hard for me to resist the temptation of
claiming VaLLuvar as one of us, what he is saying about the laukika
(secular) dharma, is important.

      "The only thing that can be said is that vaLLuvar speaks for the
      Theism but not some particular dogma of Theism."

We can perhaps assume that the sects prevailing at the time of
Valluvar were: Shaiva, Brahma-vadis, Vaishnavas, Veda-vadis, Ajivakas,
Nirgranthas (Jain), Samkhya, Vaisheshika , Bhuta-vadis (materialists)
and Buddhists; as discussed in Manimekhalai. Manimekhalai gives a
description of each of these.

Which of these are "Theists" and which are not? Selvakumar probably
excludes Jains and Buddhists from "Theists". They have indeed been
termed "Nastikas" by the rivals, even though they believe in the
atman (soul), cycles of rebirth, karma and nirvana. They also have
gods and goddesses, although their significance is minor. The Greek
term "theos" was originally applicable to all such gods.

In any case if you look at prayers, you will find Jains using the
term Bhagvan, Prabhu, Natha, Deva, Ish etc. for the Jinas.

       "Mr. Malaiya, I will give you one more ammunition to your pet
       theory. The Tamil word neeththaar ( renounced ones) oftentimes
       _specifically_ means Jinas ( specifically Jain saints) and
       VaLLuvar had devoted one chapter for neeththaar perumai
       ( glory/greatness of the renounced). You can use this chapter
       to bring more force to your argument."

Thanks. Yes, that is a good point. The Jains actually worship the ascetics.
Some Jain formulas invoke the following:

Arhats: The Jinas (like Vardhamana Mahavira, who was the 24th)
Siddhas: the liberated souls
Sadhus: the ascetics
and the Dharma.

The first chapter praises the Arhats (specifically the first one)
and also mentions liberation of the soul. The third and the fourth
chapters praise the ascetics and the Dharma. The second chapter
had been enigma to me for a long time, however I now believe it
can be explained using Cilappadikaram (and Manimekhalai) to
understand the historical background. I hope to write about it
sometime.




I must apologize for raising a question which is not really of
great significance to any reader of Thirukural. However it is
hard for me to resist the temptation.

This note is a response to Selvakumar's note of Sept. 6, 95.

Selvakumar writes:

        I quoted verbatim
        what Devaneyap Pavanar had said that vaLLuvar belongs to
        'kadavuL matham'. While this is closer to what appears to be
        the case, even this is I find it needless.

I will appreciate if you could elaborate on vaLLuvar belonging to
'kadavuL matham' and why you think it is closer to the truth.

        I honestly believe that vaLLuvar attained a
        certain wisdom and he had the talent and charity of heart
        to write down a code of conduct for human beings based
        on his wisdom.

I agree.

     ---------quote from Malaiya's recent posting of July 20th----
      The Fifth Kural

      .....

     Just as fetters whether made of iron or gold binds a person,
     similarly karma, whether auspicious (punya) or inauspicious
     (paapa) binds the soul.
     ...
     ----------end of quote------------------------------

     The concept quoted above can be shown from Saivism, Vedic philosophy
     and possibly from Vaishnavism.

I would be interested in seeing if the concept can be shown to be from
Saivism, Vedic philosophy or Vaishnavism.

     Based on my readings of Jainism books I could not find much support
     that vaLLuvar was a Jain as claimed by Mr. Malaiya.

Kural, with the exception of the opening, is written for all. While the
author's views on things like vegetarianism show his background, one should
not expect to find a discussion of Jain philosophy there. For the first
chapter, one ought to compare it with Jain prayers.



Response to some of the questions by Dr. Selvakumar.


[1] How many Jain philosophy books are from pre 5th century
    of the Current Era ( C.E), authentically  ?

All ancient books in India were handed down using oral tradition. That
includes Jain books also. Inscriptions are often very valuable
in establishing dates. As you know, for practically all ancient Indian
books, dating can be done only approximately.

Lord Mahvira (Vardhamana), the 24th Jina, attained nirvana in 527BCE.
His teachings were compiled into 12 Angas and 14 Purvas. There were
many other books composed in the period immediately following, which are
regarded to be part of Aagam.

At the time of Chandragupta Maurya (322-298 BCE), two branches of the Jain
tradition arose (later they became the two sects, Digambaras and
Shwetambaras). At the same time the Council of Patliputra took place
that collected and edited the canonical books. At this time,
only one person knew the complete Purvas, who did not participate in the
council. Thus after him only fragments of the Purvas were known.
Later councils took place in early fourth century AD in Mathura and
Valabhi (Gujrat). The Shwetambara sect had a council in 453AD at
Valabhi, when the Angas and other minor books were written down.

One famous South Indian  author was Acharya Kundakunda (perhaps
first or second cent. AD), who wrote several books. He is mentioned in
many ancient inscriptions.

Umaswati (2-3rd cent), Bhutabali-Pushpadant (2nd cent) , Gunadhara
(2nd cent), Samantabhadra (3-4 cent) all wrote before 5th cent AD.

You may want to check Manimekhalai for a mention of the Jain texts
(and an interesting introduction to Jain philosophy).

Jainism has been present in Tamilnadu since very early times. There
are many 2nd-1st cent BCE Jain inscriptions in Tamilnadu. According
to the chronicals in Ceylon, Pandukabhaya (438-368BC) had residences
built in Anuradhapur for Nirgranthas (Jain ascetics).


[1a] What is your understanding when Valluvar wrote his work ?

I would guess 1-3nd cent AD.

Manimekhalai mentions Gajabahu (171 AD-), King of Ceylon. It is also
believed by some scholars that Manimekhalai could not have been written
after the Pallava intrusion (around 295 AD). If correct, this would
fix Manimekhalai in 2-3rd cent AD, and thus Valluvar in 1-3 cent AD.

will continue.



Responses to Dr. Selvakumar's questions:



Below I continue my response to some of Selvakumar's questions.

Let me first comment on something he wrote:

  "Current Jain practices and philosophies (temples, prayers, relgious
  doctrines) are said to be influenced by Hindu, Buddhist religions
  and even other religions, just as these religions were influenced by
  Jainsism."

It should be pointed out that at the time of composition of Thirukural,
there was no such thing as the "Hindu" religion, unless it also included
Jainism and Buddhism. Various sects developed in presence of each other.

Some of the supposed influences of "Hinduism" on Jainism and Buddhism,
were in fact developments that occured in various sects at around the same
time. Earliest available anthropomophic Jain idols date from Maurya or
Shunga period. The earliest known idol of Saraswati was installed by a
Jain monk in Mathura, and the earliest representation of Laksmi occurs
on the Buddhist stupa of Sanchi.

Selvakumar has talked about authenticity of books. Practically all the
books in India were transmitted using the oral tradition. Some scholars
believe that Mahabharata and Ramayana were finalized in the present form
by 5th cent AD. That does not mean that they originated in 5th cent
A.D.

Selvakumar wrote:

    "As I understand several changes in Jain practices and doctrines were
    introduced after encounters with Saivites in TN ( around 600-750 C.E)
    and a few centuries later in Karnataka."

That is rather odd. It is perhaps possible for Jains in Tamilnadu to
be influenced by the TN Saivites. But why would the  Shwetambaras in Gujrat
(who had written down the oral tradition by  453AD) and Digambaras in
North and Central India be influenced by Tamilnadu Saivites?

I would be very interested in knowing exactly what changes in Jain
practices and doctrine he is thinking about. Even though the two Jain
sects, Digambaras and Shwetambaras separated a long time ago, even now
the basic principles are the same, with the exception of some well known
differences.

Continuing the list of questions by C.R. Selvakumar:

[2] What are the sources of the 'Jain' prayers and slokas
    quoted by Mr. Malaiya and what is the proof that they were
    not adopted after 5th century C.E. or after encounters with
    Saivites in TN ?

I only have a few popular Jain books including some prayer books. About
Lord Adi (first Jina) the Sanskrit shloka and the Gujrati verse
are from the Shwetambara tradition. Their centers have been in Gujrat/
SE Rajsthan region. The Sanskrit shloka is older, but I can not say
when it was written. The Hindi verses (from Digambara tradition) written
probably in Rajsthan, are not old; but it would be hard to see why the
authors would have been affected by Tamil Saivism.

Thirukural is practically unknown in North India (which ought to change).
Would Jains in the North start using the term Aadi for the first Jina
(Rashabha), just so that they can claim Thirukural?

[2a] Were there redactions after 5th century C.E in Jainism?

Like what?

[3] While Adinaatha and Vardhamana are used for Rsaba,
    when was the term Adibagavan used for Rsaba first ?
    Is the word Adibagavan found in a well dated Jain work
    prior to 5th century C.E. ?

That would require research. But I would like to ask: When
was the word "Adibagavan" first used in a well dated "theist"
work?

[4] If Bharathi uses 'veLLaith thaamarai meethu' when he says
    Saraswati sits on white lotus flower, would he
    become a Jain ?

No. By tradition the Jinas walk on lotus flowers, but that
is just one clue.

[5] What is the understanding of those who argue that vaLLuvar is a
    Jain about the relgious understanding, philosophical
    maturity and spiritual knowledge of Tamils?

Prof. P.S. Sundaram and Dr. Abdul Rehman must have a good
understanding of the Tamil culture. Tamil Jains whose work I
have seen, must have a good knowledge. I strongly suspect that
many readers of soc.culture.tamil, who have agreed with me also
have a very good understanding of the Tamil society. 

[6] When sEkkozhaar ( who wrote Periya puraaNam, a hagiography of
   Saivite Saints) says the following re Appar would he become a
   Jain, because he uses 'iruvinai' ?

    "thaNdamizh maalaigaL paadi tham perumaan...
     ...
     ...
     iruvinaip paasamu malakka laarththalin
     ===============
     varupavak kadalil vIzh maakka LERida
     aruLumey yaNYcezhuth tharaicai ikkada(l)
     oru kanmE lERRida(l) uraikka vENdumE

No.

But a Bhagavan, who conquered his five senses (born as a person),
called Aadi, must be the first Jain Tirthankara.

Selvakumar further writes:

  ".. If he is a Jain, consider me a vaLLuvar Jain; .."

No need to become a Jain to follow Thirukural. Anyone can do it.


The sixth kural in the first chapter  is

\BT poRi vAyil aintu avittAn2 poy tIr ozukka
 neRi nin2RAr nITu vAzvAr \bt


The Himalayan Academy translation is

A long and joyous life rewards those who remain firmly
On the faultless path of Him who controls the five senses.


The translation by Prof. Sundaram is,

Long life is theirs who tread the path
Of him who conquered the five senses.

Sundaram comments:

 "The stanza is almost invariably interpreted as referring not
 just to anyone who has controlled his senses, but to the
 Supreme One-God. It may seem strange to refer to God as one
 who conquered the five senses as if this was for Him a matter of
 effort. But Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, like the Buddha,
 took birth as a man and achieved godhead by overcoming the
 temptations of the flesh."

Only a person born as a human being can conquer his five senses.
A Supreme God, by definition, is not subject to senses. This
verse like others in the first chapter, refers to Lord Aadi,
the first Jina (mistakenly called Mahvira by Sundaram).

The word "Jina" in fact literally means a "conqueror", conqueror
of the five senses.

An ordinary reader of the Thirukkural is not expected to be
a conqueror of the five senses. He is a householder, who
enjoys a sensuous life which is entirely proper for him
as long as it is in accordance with the dharma. Kural, while
it praises the ascetics, is written for the ordinary people.

Here is the Govindrai Shastri's Sanskrit translation:

Aatmanaa jayinaa tena, yo dharmadhva pradar****ah |
Tam nityam yeenugachchhanti te nunam dirgha-jivinah ||



Muthuram M. Sujana Kumar:

You have asked some interesting and specific questions. Somtime perhaps
I would like to resond to them. But first, let me address a few things.

I am not a scholar in these things. I have expressed my views based on what
I have read, and have really learnt quite a bit from others, those who have
expressed opposite views as well as those who have supported my view.

I am convinced that Kural is an essentially non-sectarian work written by
a Jain. I have shared my views why I think so. I recognize that Kural
is very close to many, and I can not expect to change their views.

You write:

 "There is absolutely no way anyone can understand the kural without seeing
  that as the essence of Vedanta. I am tired of people commenting on the kural,
  without knowing a word of vedanta, and just interpreting this, sometimes
  even as an atheistic work.  The kural is nothing but the essence of the
  vedas."

I disagree.

First, Kural is mostly about laukika or secular dharma which is separate
from paarlaukika considerations. One does not have to know about any
specific religion or believe in it, to understand Kural.

Secondly, most verses of Kural are simple and direct. That is the beauty
of Kural. You do not need to be a philosopher to understand them. Since they
are brief, like sutras, and they are in an older form of the language,
commentaries are useful.

To say Kural is nothing but the essence of the Vedas is a good tribute
to the Kural and the Vedas. In practice, anyone who has studied Vedas
will benefit from studying the Kural, and vice versa.

You write:

 "Jain philosophy and Buddhist philosophy are without God, as well as they
 both deny the authority of the Vedas."

Many philosophical differences occur because of use of different modeling
schemes. You are using a standard phrase to dismiss Jain and Buddhist
philosophy, which has been used for many centuries. Have you studied
Jainism or Buddhism? Do you know about them through sources other then
partisan references? Jains and Buddhists do not use Vedas but they have
always recognized Vedas as ancient wisdom.

You wrote:

 "I have to ask you, how you can assume that supreme God cannot have senses.
 I do not know what you mean by "subject to senses".  There is no reference
 to effort being necessary to conquer the senses, as Sundaram refers to.  I
 am not sure if you are saying that God should be without senses, which is
 not correct again."

Does Supreme God have physical urges like we have? We have urges because we
have the five senses. The ascetics control those five senses. For the
Supreme God the question does not rise.



The ninth kural is:

 \BT kOL il poRiyin2 kuNam ilavE eNkuNattAn2
 tALai vaNagkAt talai \bt

The Himalayan Academy translation is:

The head which cannot bow before the Feet of the Possessor
Of eight infinite powers is like the senses lacking the power to perceive.

The translation by Prof. Sundaram is:

Palsied and useless the head unbowed
At the feet of the God of eightfold virtue.

The Sanskrit translation by Govindrai Shastri is:

nishkriyendriyasankaasha manvaaste mahiitale |
paadadvayam namasyanti ye naashta-guNa-dhaariNah ||

This praises the Siddhas (liberated souls), the second among the
five parmeshThins. The first parmeshThins are the Arhats (or Jinas)
who while living on the earth, preach the Dharma.

What are their eight guNas?

Ananta jnana
Ananta darshana
Being vitaraga
Ananta labdhi
Ananta sukha
Akshaya sthiti
Being arupa
Aguruladhutaa

These eight guNas are obtained by having destroyed the
eitht kinds of karmas.

Here is the complete list of 5 parameshThins:

1. Arhats or Jinas (with 12 guNas)
2. Siddhas: liberated souls (with 8 guNas)
3. Aacharyas: (Master ascetics) (with 36 guNas)
4. Upadhyaayas: (Ascetics who teach as well as learn) (with 25 guNas)
5. Saadhus: all ascetics (27 guNas)

The Suddhas are worshipped by worshipping the footprints at the site
of the nirvana, or by worshipping "negative" idols, blocks with
a human form carved out to symbolize the liberated soul which is
non-physical.



Shabari  Kumar  <smk9@columbia.edu> wrote:

>recently, i revisted the tirukkural, on the theory that so many eminences
>(who praise it) can't be wrong. i read it in penguin translation (my
>tamizh is not what it once was), so the poetry is not there obviously.
>i'll take the eminent word that it exists (altho even the kama sections
>struck me as unmoving, compared to cankam verses i've read). i found it
>disjointed (the kama section is totally at odds with the rest as it is
>the only one with characters and not platitudes), the philososphy
>unremarkable when not downright offensive.  this is all bringing me the

It should be recognized that tirukkural is devoted to earthly matters
of the householders. While it praises the ascetics, and mentions the
ultimate aim, release of the soul, its focus is the householder's
laukika dharma, nIti and the pleasures.

Let me present some of the sutras from Dharma-Bindu by Acharya Haribhadra
(approx. 6-7th cent.).

  so.ayam-anushhThaatR^i-bhedat dvi-vidho
  gR^ihastha-dharmo yati-dharmash-cha |

  Because of the difference in practice, Dharma is of two kinds,
  for the householders and for the monks.

  tatra gR^ihastha-dharmo.api dvi-vidhaH
  saamanyato visheshhatash-cha |

  Of the householder's dharma, there are two kind,
  "ordinary" and "special"

  tatra saamnayato gR^ihastha-dharmaH kula-krama-agatam-anindyaM
  vibhavady-apekshayaa nyaato.anushhThaanaM |

  The ordinary gR^ihastha-dharma should be carried out according to
  tradition, such that it is not objectionable, according to ones
  abilities such as wealth, in accordance with nyaya (everyone
  treated fairly and according to laws).

Somadeva-suri (10th cent) calls the "ordinary" and "special"
dharmas laukika and the paralukika dharmas respectively:

  dvau hi dharamau gR^iahasthANam, laukikaH, paarlaukikaH |
  lokaashrayo bhavedaadyah, parah syaad-aagama-AshrayaH ||

A householder follows both laukika and the paralukika dharmas at the
same time. Thus the kama (desires) section does not appear at odds
with the rest of the Thirukkural to me.



                The 8th Kural: Virtue-wheel


The eighth Kural can confuse even Jains who are not familiar
with historical Jain tradition. Prof. Sundaram translates it
as:

  The feet of the Lord with the Virtue-wheel
  Will help to cross the sea of birth.


However Sivaya Subramuniyaswami's translation is

  They alone can cross life's other oceans who take refuge
  At the Feet of the Gracious One, Himself an ocean of virtue.

Sundaram explains:

"aravaazhi" could mean either the "ocean of virtue"  or  the
"wheel  of  virtue", the "dharma chakra". The latter meaning
would be appropriate to the Jain God Aruhan who "caused  and
possesses the circle of virtue". According to Ellis the dic-
tionaries give the name  "antanan"  (Brahmin)  to  only  two
gods,  viz.,  Brahma  (from  whom comes Brahmin) and Aruhan.
With the meaning "the sea of virtue" , the  verse  could  be
translated, "Except with that raft, the sea of virtue, other
seas can not be crossed," the  other  seas  being  those  of
wealth and happiness.

I do not know if Prof. Sundaram is familiar  with  the  fact
that  for  several  centuries, it was a common convention to
show a "dharma-chakra" just below the idols of the  Tirthan-
karas. A large number of Kushana period (first to third cen-
tury AD) idols, excavated at Mathura show  a  dharma  chakra
located  below  the  Jina's  feet.  Many show dharma chakras
inscribed on the soles of the feet of the Jina. It was  once
common  for Jains to worship the dharma chakra, and even now
it will occasionally be found in Jain temples. A first  cen-
tury dharma chakra has been found as part of a collection of
Jain bronzes unearthed in Bihar.

A dharma chakra is one of the items traditionally associated
with  a  Jina. Dharamachakra also had a similar significance
for Buddhists.


{Response to Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan's note}


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