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Sea in Kalidasa & Tamil Literature

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(This is the sixth part in my series, which is part of my research thesis, to show that Kalidasa lived before the Sangam Tamil age i.e. around 1[SUP]st[/SUP] century BC. Tamil poets who lived during the first three centuries of modern era used a lot of his similes and images. If it is just five or ten similarities any one can dismiss them as co incidences or pan Indian approach. But I have 260 titles under which we see more than a thousand Tamil usages. Kalidasa was the most famous poet when it comes to similes. He used more than one thousand similes. It is not the sheer number that gives Kalidasa a great name, it is the way he used these thousand + similes. He used the apt similes in his works. No one has excelled him in the use of similes in any part of the word literature until today)

Indians have noticed natural phenomena and wondered about them for ages. Thousands of rivers pour water in to the sea for thousands of years and yet it has never filled and crossed its limits. The rain clouds take the water from the sea and pour it down around the world and yet the sea has not gone dry. This wonderful balancing struck their mind. Kalidasa used this simile in an apt place. Others followed him.

Kaliadasa praised Lord Rama’s sons Kusa and Lava for all the good work they did for the people and said that they remained within their respective geographical boundaries like the ocean that never crossed its boundaries though the rivers poured water in to it (Raghuvamsam 16-2).
Tamil poet Paranar said the same thing when he sang that the sea neither shrinks because the clouds drink its waters, nor swells because the rivers flow in to it. (Pathitruppathu 45)
When the commentators wrote commentary to the Bhagavad Gita sloka 2-70 (Apuryamanam Achalaprathishtam samudra apa pravisanthi yathvathh-------), they also mentioned this fact of sea never crossing its limits.

Sea is used as a simile to express anything that is vast, big and huge. Kalidasa compared it to the vast powers of a king (Ragu 1-16), vast education (Ragu.3-28,30), big army (Ragu 7-54), powers of Ravana (Ragu 10-34),Knowledge (Ragu 18-4) and sea as a source of gems (Ragu 15-1, 15-55).
Tamil poets also used these similes in several places:

Love or amorous feelings and huge armies are compared to the sea. Ammuvan (Ainkuru.184; Akam 215;Puram 37,42,96,197,351,377) and Tiruvalluvar used this simile. Love as vast as sea says Valluvar (Kural 1137). His friendship is bigger than the sea says another poet (Nar.166, Akam 128), Kalidasa has sung about it in Raguvamsam when he described the great love of Rama towards Sita. (Ragu 12-66)

Tamil poets also used sea of tears, sea of army (Madu.180,Akam.204, Puram 42, Pathi.69).
The heroine feels that her love is so powerful and influential that it overcomes her self-control like the great floods in Ganges that over flows its banks and smashes the dams in its course in Narrinai 369 sung by Nal Vellaiayar.

This is nothing but an echo of Kumarasambhavam slokam 8-16: Just as the bride loved the bridegroom worthy of her, so too did he love her. For the Ganges does not leave the ocean, and the ocean too, finds the greatest delight in tasting her mouth. Unless this Kalidasa’s sloka influenced a Tamil poet he wouldn’t suddenly talked about the Himalayas and Ganges for the amorous feeling of a Tamil woman.


Saku. II-10 (bound by ocean),III-19 (sea clad earth), Ragu.3-9 (sea clothed earth),9-10 (Udhathi nemim medhinim),11-86,12-66,15-1 (Ratnakara mekalam prithvim) 15-83(Samudra rasana vasundhara),18-22
Tamil: Puram.19-1 (Kutapulaviyanar), Kuru.101(Pathumanar),300 (Siraikudi Anthaiyar)
Indians knew very well that the earth was round and their verses about earth in Tamil and Sanskrit literature mentions the round shape of the earth.
Puram. 362 (Siru Venteraiyar) describes the sea clad earth.
Restless sea- ain.172,107,Kuru.163

SAMSARA SAGARAM (Sea of birth and death)

Ragu 12-60 (maruti: sagaram thirna:, samsaramiva nirmama:);Kalidasa said that Anjaneya crossed the ocean as the ascetics crossed the ocean of Samsaram.
Bhagavad Gita about Samsara Sagaram :12-7
Tiru Valluvar who lived around fifth century AD echoed it in his Kural 10: None but those who have meditated constantly on the feet of God can cross the ocean of births.


Hindus believed that there is fire under the ocean. Now it is scientifically proved that there are lot of sub marine volcanoes under the sea. They constantly throw out tons of red hot earth. People who have watched (in TV Channels about Nature) volcanoes in Hawai (USA) and Iceland know very well about it.

Saku.III-3, Ragu 9-82,11-75,13-4,13-7 (sub marine fire)
Siva’s fiery wrath must still burn in you
Like fire smouldering deep in the ocean’s depths (Shaku.iii-3)
When Dasaratha killed the son of an ascetic by mistake during hunting, the ascetic cursed that Dasaratha sould also die due to agony on account of his son. This curse remained in his mind like submarine fire called Vatavagni (Ragu9-82)

Tamil References

Tamil :Kuru.373 (Kollan Pullan), Nar.201,, 289, Pathitru. 62 (Kapilar),72-8 (Arisil kizar), Puram.34-5,,Kali-105 (Naluruthiran).

Kapilar compared the Chera king Selakadunko Vaziyathan to “Vatamukagni”-horse shaped sub marine fire- that destroy the world (Pathiru.62); Arisil Kizar praised Peruncheral Irumporai in the same way (Pathr.72); Also Kali. 105 Nalluruththiran.

There is no need to say that the belief in sub marine fire came to south from the Sanskrit literature. Since the Brahmin poets Kapilar and Paranar used lot of similes or images from Kalidasa, we may conclude this Vatamukagni ( In Tamil Matangal, Vatavai or Uzi thee) also came from Kalidasa.
There are references to earth quakes which are always associated with the Armageddon in Tamil literature (Nar.201, 289; Kuru.373; Puram.34-4).

1. மழைகொளக் குறையாது புனல் புக நிறையாது
விலங்கு வளி கடவும் துளங்கிருங் கமஞ்சூள் (பதிற்றுப் பத்து 45)

2. ஐங்குறு.184 (அம்மூவன்): கடலினும் பெரிது அவருடைய (காதல்) நட்பு
ரகுவம்சம் 12-66ல் இதே கருத்து உள்ளது. சீதை மீது கொண்ட காதலால் கடலே அகழி ஆனது என்ற ஸ்லோகத்துக்கு கடலை விட பெரிய காதல் என்று உரைகாரர்கள் எழுதியுள்ளனர்.
இமயமலையிலிருந்து வரும் கங்கை நதி கரைககளை உடைத்துச் செல்வது போல காம வெள்ளம் பாய்வதகவும் நீந்த முடியாமல் தவிப்பதாகவும் மதுரை ஓலைக் கடையத்தார் நல் வெள்ளையார் பாடுகிறார்.(நற். 369)

ஞெமை ஓங்கு உயர்வரை இமயத்து உச்சி
வா அன் இழி தரும் வயங்கு வெள் அருவி
கங்கையம் பேர்யாற்றுக் கரையிறந்திழிதரும்
சிறையடு கடும் புனல் அன்னவென்
நிறையடு காமம் நீந்துமாறே (நற். 369)

இருங்கடல் உடுத்த இப் பெருங் கண் மாநிலம்
உடையிலை நடுவனது இடை பிறர்க்கு இன்றி
தாமே ஆண்ட ஏமங் காவலர்
இடுதிரை மணலினும் பலரே: (புறம் 363,சிறு வெண்டேரையார்)
மருள் தீர்ந்து, மயக்கு ஒரீஇக்
கை பெய்த நீர் கடல் பரப்ப (புறம்.362,
சிறு வெண்டேரையார் )

(அந்தணர்க்கு அவன் ஈத்து வார்த்த நீர் கடல் போல இருக்கும்)

Tirukkural திருக்குறள்
பிறவிப் பெருங்கடல் நீந்துவார் நீந்தார்
இறைவன் அடி சேராதார் --(குறள் 10)

கடலன்ன காமம் (குறள் 1137)

Dear KRN

Thanks for your compliments.

More articles will be loaded in the next few days on Kalidasa and Tamil literature.
Because of Mayan-Hindu links and India needs Indiana Joan articles I have withheld them. My research shows Brahmin poets of Sangam age like Kapilar and Paranar knew very well about Kalidasa. So Kalidasa lived around first century BC, during the reign of Vikramaditya.
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