Saiva Siddhanta Kazhagam

Thu Apr 17 16:18:39 UTC 1997

        Saiva Siddhanta Kazhagam

The book that Tiru. Jayabarathi refers to:

kArinAyan_Ar. # kaNakkatikAram. innUl koRukkaiayUr kArinAyan_Ar 
ceytatu. ikatu tiruvoRRiyur paramAn_anta- cuvamikaLAl paricOtikkappaTTu.. 
# caitApETTai ce. # ilakSumivilAca-accukkUTam # 1862 # 74 # º 
[treatise on arithmatic with a commentary] [brittle copy] {mathematics(k7)}

kaNakkatikAram. kArinAyan_Ar aruLicceytatu. 
tirunelvEli: caivacittAnta (1958). 24, 104 pp. 8 (kazaka veLiyITu. 931)
This is a medieval text on mathematics.

I got this information from Institute of Indology and Tamil studies
gopher at University of Koeln, Germany. They have built a fantastic 
library of Tamil books of about 40,000 books.
Thomas Malten and Ulrike Niklas informed me that soon the book catalog will
be on the Web.

Also, about 70000 Tamil book titles are available on-line from University
of Chicago web page. This collection exists due to the untiring
labour of one man, Sri. Roja Muttaiyah of Chettinad. These books are
available at Roja Muttaiyah Research Library at Madras. If you
are interested, please visit the library while at Madras.
Contact Jim Nye at university of Chicago.

Initially, scholars thought Tamil books printed before 1947 must be
around 15,000 or so. Information that was widely available came from
British Library catalogs of Tamil printed books (G. U. Pope
and L. D. Barnett (1909), L. D. Barnett (1931), A. Gaur (1981)).
These three catalogs talk of only about 10,000 books.
Now we know for sure, that books printed in Tamil before India's
independence must be in the range of 100,000. May be even 120,000!
With this wealth of printed works in 19th century, many more PhDs/books
can be done pertaining to Tamil, South India etc.,

Tamil manuscripts:

Tamil has 40000 stone/copper plate inscriptions from second century B.C
onwards. Karandai Tamil sangam copper plates of Rajandra Chola (1050 A.D.)
are the largest written inscription anywhere in the world from 
premodern times. (This Drs. R. Nagaswamy and C. Sivaramamurti told me once)

Tamil, other than Sanskrit, possesses a large number of manuscripts.
Many of the Tamil manuscripts remain unpublished. Out of a total of 
25000, there are about 2500 Tamil manuscripts scattered in many 
libraries all over Europe. This century's great Tamil scholars
like U. V. Swaminathaiyar, never travelled to Europe 
& they knew little or no English. Some Tamil sangam work or 
atleast few important prabandham/talapurANam
will be existing somewhere, hitherto unpublished or thought to have been lost.
Hope some Indian/Western/Eastern scholars in the future will come forward 
to study Tamil and help to preserve/publish the Tamil manuscripts.
Dravidian studies are roads less travelled, even today.
The following books give nice writings on how to read from 
palmleaves. It is very different than reading print!

1) K. C. Chellamuthu, International catalogue of Tamil palmleaf manuscripts,
5 vol. 1995, Tamil university, Thanjavur.

2) A descriptive catalogue of Tamil palm-leaf manuscripts,
The first 3 volumes in 6 parts has come out, Madras.

3) G. John Samuel, Palmleaf manuscripts in tamil and their preservation,
p. 85-100, Journal of the Institute of Asian studies, XIII, 1, Sep. 1995.

4) pU. cuppiramaNiyam, cuvaTi iyal, IITS, 1991, 328 p.

5) irA. iLangkumaran, cuvaTikkalai, Salem, 1991, 380 p.

6) ti. vE. kOpAlaiyar, tamizh ezhuttum ETum, Thanjavur, 1990, 68 p.

           Caring of Palm-leaf Manuscripts - Tamil literature

Two old poems from Tamil literature come to my mind.

U. V. Saminathaiyar who edited the Sangam classics for the
first time in print brought out  a messenger poem on Madurai Siva.
(UVS, maturaic cokkan^Atar tamizviTu tUtu, 1930, Madras, I
edition. 7 reprints were made after).

The heroine sends "Tamil" as her messenger to her Lord.
There are few couplets describing Tamil as a girl.
One of them is,

   manjaL kuLippATTi maiyiTTu muppAlum
   minjap pukaTTa mikavaLarn^tAy!

1) As for a girl, the meaning is:
When you were a baby, you enjoyed taking showers with turmeric (manjaL)
smeared  all over. decorated using cosmetics (mai/anjana) and 
consumed milk/juices that are essential for healthy growth.

2) As for the sweet Tamil, the meaning is:
All your treasures/literatures in palmleaves are protected with
turmeric, the letters on palmleaves are coated with soot (mai/anjana)
to make the writing more visible, and in the early stages of life,
Valluvar's KuRaL nourished you! (muppAl is another name for the
famous TirukkuRaL because it is divided into three sections.)

The second example comes from ParanjOti Munivar's tiruviLaiyATal
purANam (16th century?). The local stala purANam for Madurai.
(Dr. William Harman translated parts of this work.)
Here the imagery is grand and beautiful.
   cEya tArakai varuNamAt tITTiya vAnam
   Aya ETTinai iruLenum anjanam taTavi
   tUya vALn^ilA enumveN tUcinAl tuTaippAN
   pAya vElaiyil muLaittanan panimatik kaTavuL.

Siva appears in the sea. 
The crescent moon on his head sends out lunar rays to remove 
the darkness of the night sky and the stars shine.

It is like
The poet using a soft, white cloth to remove the carbon (anjanam) 
from the face of palmleaf manuscript and the letters look bright!
       Here, the comparison is:
          sky  ------>  palmleaf
          stars ----->  written letters
          darkness of the night ---> carbon smear
          moon's rays ----> soft cloth

Have a good day.
N. Ganesan
nas_ng at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list