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symbolization of Buddhism - 9
Symbolization of the Teachings of Lord Buddha

1. Introduction:

Buddham Saranam Gacchāmi;

Dhammam Saranam Gacchāmi;
Sañgham Saranam Gacchāmi.

These mean:

I seek refuge in the Buddha;

I seek refuge in the Doctrine;
I seek refuge in the Order.

Thus, the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sañgha constitute Buddhism. These three are
called Triple-gem. Thus, Buddhism could be symbolized with the Triple-gem.

Following the death of Lord Buddha, the first Saňgha was held at the entrance of the
Sattapanni cave in Rājagaha. For the first time, Lord Buddha’s Preaching was put in the form
of writing here. It is called “Tipidaka.” In Pāli language, “ti “means, three; “pidaka” means,
basket ($il). Therefore, “Tipidaka” means, “Three Baskets.”

Tipidaka consists of “Vinaya Pidaka” (Basket of Discpline), “Sutta Pidaka” (Basket of

Discourses) and “Abidhamma Pidaka” (Basket of Ultimate Doctrine).

Therefore, the Tipidaka could be used to symbolize Buddhism.

Even an average non - Buddhist will know that the foundations of Buddhism are the Four
Noble Truths. Therefore, the Four Noble Truths could be used to symbolize Buddhism.
Likewise, Buddhism could be symbolized with a number of things. Some are:

1. the Triple-gem;
2. the Tipidaka;
3. the Four Noble Truths;
4. the Noble Eightfold Path;
5. the Middle-ness and the Middle Path;
6. three stages in the Path to Ńibbāna;
7. the Ten Precepts;
8. the combinations of these.

Thus, we have to prepare a list of “things” that could be used to symbolize Buddhism. Then
we have to create different symbols that could be used to signify different “things.” However,
we have to keep in mind that the “things” we select should be suitable to make
symbols, both literary and physically, and they must be simple. Here only constructive
imagination and the Word - Meaning Relationship become very important.

We are told that there were three Buddhist Saňghas (Councils). The first Saňgha was said
to be held three months after the Parinibbāna of Lord Buddha, in the eighth year of King
Ajātasattu’s reign. It lasted seven months.

The second Saňgha was said to have been held at Vesāli in the tenth year of King
Kālāsoka’s reign, one hundred years after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha.
The third Saňgha was said to have been held at Asōkarāma in Patāliputra (Patna) in the
eighteenth year of the reign of King Asōka, about two hundred and thirty-six years after the
Parinibbāna of the Buddha.

In the history of Buddhism, we find that the three Saňghas (Councils) were held to study
Buddhism, write sāsanas and to do other things.

Likewise, we are told that there were Three TamiĪ Saňgams to study Tamiĺ language, to
compose TamiĪ literature, etc. The details of these Three TamiĪ Sañgams were given by
“Nakkīrar’ in his commentary on the TamiĪ literature Iraiyanār Ahapporul .

There is a close resemblance between the type of description, poets, work done, years in
which the Saňgams were held, during whose reigns the Saňgams were held etc. in both
Buddhist Saňghas and TamiĪ Saňgams.

This raises two very important questions. They are:

(a) Were the three TamiĪ Saňgams a mere imagination, but based on the three
Buddhist Saňghas?
(b) Did the very same person write about the three TamiĪ Saňgams and the three
Buddhist Saňghas?

These questions may irritate the TamiĪs as well as the Buddhists. In particular, the Siňhala
nationalists and the TamiĪ nationalists who have based their nationalisms on praising
their “ancient” past!

However, these compel us to conclude that there existed a very close relationship
between Buddhism, TamiĪ and the TamiĪ speaking people. However, the question is,
what sort of relationship was it. To know about this, we have to analyze the TamiĪ
literatures and archaeological finds in Laňkā, South India and North India. Thus, the
study of symbols found marked on the coins, rock and plate inscriptions, seals etc. becomes
very important. Unfortunately, the studies conducted by the scholars on symbols were
unscientific and the conclusions do not help us to solve our problem. However, the
Naimmana Tamiĺ inscription and the symbols marked along with the inscription have
become the first inscriptional evidence for the close relationship that existed between
Buddhism, the Tamils and the TamiĪ Language in Laňkā.

2. The Three Tamiĺ Sangams and Buddhism:

Like the Siňhala – Buddhist nationalists basing their nationalism on what were said in the
Pāli chronicles Dīpavamsa and Mahāvamsa, the TamiĪ - Hindu nationalists base their
nationalism on the three TamiĪ Saňgams and what the accepted scholars call as “Saňgam

However, the analysis made here compels one to arrive at a conclusion that there existed a
close relationship between the TamiĪ Saňgams and the history of Buddhist Sangha.
However, the scholars say that the epic Manimēkalai and one verse of the small epic
Kundalakēsi were the only two literatures that made some connection between the TamiĪ and
the Buddhism. Therefore, a scientific study has to be done on the TamiĪ Saňgams and we
have to find out whether there existed a direct connection between the three TamiĪ Saňgams
and the Buddhism.

Though a number of verses had mentioned about the existence of Tamil Sangams, the only
person who gave the details about the “ancient” three TamiĪ Saňgams, Ńakkīrar, had
connected the first TamiĪ Saňgam with the year 4440, the second TamiĪ Saňgam with
the year 3700 and the third TamiĪ Saňgam with the year 1850. The wording in the
description of Ńakkīrar is vague and the scholars had fallen into confusion and unending

In the Commentary on Iraiyanar Ahapporul, when describing the first, the second and the
third TamiĪ Saňgams, Ńakkīrar had said:

“mtH ehyhapuj;J ehD}w;W ehw;gjpw;wpahz;L rq;fkpUe;jhH vd;gJ@”

“mtH %thapuj;njOE}w;wpahz;L rq;fkpUe;jhH vd;g@”
“mtH rq;fkpUe;J jkpo; Muha;ej
; J Mapuj;njz;Z
; }w;iwk;gjpw;wpahz;L vd;g.”

Some of the scholars have taken these years as the years for which each of these
Saňgams functioned, and arrived at a conclusion that the TamiĪ letters were invented
before (4440 + 3700 + 1850) 9990 years and the TamiĪ poets have been composing
literature etc. from that time onwards. A majority of the scholars rejected this on various
grounds. Though they could not find some scientific reasons, they were all out to reject this
interpretation. The hidden reason for the rejection of the interpretation was the fact that the
Western scholars had the opinion that no written language was invented by the human race
before a few thousand years.

Therefore, we have to analyze the data we get from the Commentary by Ńakkīrar and find
out the real nature of the three TamiĪ Saňgams.

2.1 The year 4440 and the First Tamiĺ Saňgam:

Ńakkīrar in his commentary had said: “mtH ehyhapuj;J ehD}w;W ehw;gjpw;wp ahz;L
rq;fkpUe;jhH vd;g.” Thus, the year 4440 should be a particular year in a certain era and
not the years the first TamiĪ Saňgam functioned. Again, we have a problem with the era. We
have to determine whether it is Kali, Sākka, Samvat or some other era.

In the Indian system, the pattern of the four Yugas was that the first, the Krita of 4000 years
also had two twilight periods at the start and at the end amounting to 400 years of each;
the trēta lasted 3000 years with similar twilights of 300 years; the Dvapara was of 2000 years
with twilights of 200 years; the kali lasted 1000 years with twilight periods of a 100 years
each. These added up to 12,000 divine years. To convert them to human years, they have to
be multiplied by 360 and the eventual figure being 432, 000 human years.

It is interesting to note that the number 432,000 is also that of the Babylōnian year and the
Rig Vēda has 432,000 syllables and 108,000 stanzas. 108,000 multiplied by 4 gives 432,000.
The numbers 4 and 108 are very important in Buddhism. The Four Noble Truths are the
foundations of Buddhism. The Butsarana of the Siňhala literature Tunsarana examines 108
minor characteristics of Buddha, and 32 major signs. There are 108 statues flanking the
five gateways at Angkor. Thus, the numbers four and hundred and eight are associated
with Lord Buddha. Therefore, 4 x 108,000 (432,000) is also associated with Buddhism! It
compels us to raise the question whether a Buddhist scholar was responsible for all the
Indian astronomical calculations.

However, the first Tamil Saňgam year is associated with the years of the Krita Yuga (4000);
the second Saňgam with that of the trēta yuga (3000) and the third Tamil Saňgam with that
of the Kali yuga (1000 ).

However, the analysis done on the TamiĪ Saňgams compels us to arrive at the conclusion
that there had been a close resemblance between the three TamiĪ saňgams and the three
Buddhist Saňghas. Therefore, we have to consider the era of the year 4440 as the
Buddhist year and test it. As the cycle of Kali Yuga is 1000 years, we can divide the
Buddhist year 4440 into : 4440, 3440, 2440, 1440, 440 yrs. However, in the Buddhist era, 1440
and 440 years were only possible a few centuries ago. The Buddhist era starts with the
passing away of Lord Buddha. Some scholars say the year is 486 or 483 B.C. However,
according to the South Indian tradition, Lord Buddha died in 543 B.C. Therefore, 1440
year in the Buddhist era is (1440 – 543) 897 A.D, and 440 year in the Buddha era is (543
– 400) 103 B.C.

The year 103 B.C. is very important in the history of Jaffna, history of Laňkā, as well as that of
the North India. This year coincides with the kali year 3000. The Kali year 3000 was
mentioned in the verse 14 of the Laňkan TamiĪ chronicle “Vaiyāpādal” that says:

“ahopir gapy;Nthd; ,irj;j nrhy; Nfl;L mq;F

,jKWk; jdJ ike;jHfspw;
NfhSW fuj;Jf; Fhprpiy mspg;gf;;
nfhw;wtd; rf;fu gjp vd;W
Vo; ngUk; Gtpapd; ,yq;if aho;g;ghzk;
,Ue;J murpaw;wpdd; me;ehs;;
ehSW fyp %thapuk; tUlk;
ehL muR mspj;J te;jhd;.”

The verses from the beginning relates a story about a blind fiddler (Yārl player) getting the
Northern region of Laňkā as a gift from Vibīshana, and after planting various plants like
palmyrah, coconut, fruit trees like mango etc, requesting Tasarata’s cousin for a son to rule
Jaffna. The verse 14 says that the son kōl uru karattu kurisil ( Nfhs; cW fuj;Jf; Fhprpy;)
started ruling the country in kali 3000 years.

In the verse, it is stated: “ehSW fyp %thapuk; tUlk;” (Ńāl uru kali mūvāyiram
varudam). The word “uru”(cW) means: kpFjp (mi hu ti) (excess). Therefore, Ńāl uru kali
mūvāyiram varudam will be 103rd year B.C.

Though these verses say so, none of the accepted scholars was able to identify this
particular King. On the other side, it is interesting to note here that the verses of Vaiyāpādal
had brought the Rāmāyana period to somewhere around 100 years B.C.!

The year Kali 3000, i.e. 103 B.C., was given great importance in the history of South Laňkā
as well. However, the scholars have different opinions about the calculation of the years and
the Kings who ruled South Laňkā at that time. There is a cycle difference of 60 years in
the calculation. Thus, some historians connect the year with the reign of Tuddagāmani,
while some others connect this particular year with the reign of Vaddagāmani Abhaya.
However, according to the Pāli chronicle Mahāvamsa, very important events took place in
Laňkā in connection with Buddhism during the reign of both kings. Mahāvamsa says that
Tuddagāmani brought the island under Buddhism.

The chronicle Dīpavamsa does not say much about Tuddagāmani. However, Mahāvamsa
has described the life of Tuddagāmani in eleven long chapters! All what are being
spoken or written now on Tuddagāmani could be from the Mahāvamsa only. The
Mahāvamsa had associated Tuddagāmani to a special spear. The chapter - xxv (The
victory of Tuddagāmani) begins with the description:

“ When the King Duttagā mani had provided for his people and had had a relic put into his spear, he
marched, with chariots, troops beasts for riders, to Tissamaharagama, and when he had shown
favour to the brotherhood he said: ‘ I will go on to the land on the further side of the river and bring
glory to the doctrine.’…”

According to Mahāvamsa, his special spear was always carried in the front wherever he
went (Chapter xxvi). Thus, though it is claimed that there has been a one – to – one
correspondence between Laňkā and Thēravāta Buddhism from the third century B.C.,
we find Mahāyāna elements with the victory and reign of Tuddagāmani!
On the other hand, according to the Mahāvamsa, Vaddagāmani Abhaya did great service to
Buddhism and only during his reign the Tipidaka was written in Laňkā in book form.
However, year 103 B.C. seems to be very important in the history of Buddhism in Laňkā, as it
is said that only during this period the first schism in the history of the Buddhist Church in
Laňkā took place.

Thus, the year 103 B.C. is very important as far as the history of Mahāyāna Buddhism is
concerned. The Pāli chronicle Mahāvamsa is claimed to be the great book written on the
history of Thēravāta Buddhism in Laňka. However, the Mahāvamsa had given important
place to the history of Mahāyāna Buddhism! On the other hand, the TamiĪ Commentary on
Iraiyanār Ahapporul also had given importance to Mahāyāna Buddhism by connecting
the year 103 B.C. with the year of the first TamiĪ Saňgam. Thus, a very important
question arises, as whether the Commentator of the work Iraiyanār Ahapporul was a
TamiĪ Mahāyāna Buddhist and whether only TamiĪ Mahāyāna Buddhists wrote the
Laňkan Chronicle Mahāvamsa. However, we have to confirm this further with the other
years of TamiĪ Saňgam.

In North India, the year 103 B.C was associated with the king Agni Mitra who was said to
have direct blood relation with the Greeks. The scholars say that the great Sānskrit poet
Kālidasa had later composed a Sānskrit poem based on him.

If we consider the Buddhist year 1440, i.e. 897 A. D, it is found to be very important in the
history of South India as well as that of Laňkā. Historians say the year 897A.D. saw the
beginning of the rise of SōĪa dynasty with the victory of SōĪas over the Tondai Ńādu.
In Laňkan history also, the year 897 A.D. was very important.

Here a very important question arises. How did all the very important historical events
throughout India and Laňkā fall with the years of the 1000 years cycle of the year that
was associated with the firstTamiĪ Saňgam? Was it merely a coincidence? Or were the
histories actually “made” by a certain person who was called Ńakkīrar as well? Here,
we have to analyze the probability.

However, it is unscientific to arrive at any definite conclusion with the year associated with
the first TamiĪ Saňgam alone. Therefore, let us analyze the second TamiĪ Saňgam.

2.2 The year 3700 and the Second Tamiĺ Saňgam:

The year 3700 could be broken down into 3700, 2700, 1700 and 700. Out of these, the
Buddhist years 1700 and 700 are the only possible years. The Buddhist year 700 is (700 –
543) 157 A. D. The Buddhist year 1700 is ( 1700 – 543) 1157 A. D. Both these years are very
important in the history of Laňkā, South India, North India; the history of Mahāyāna
Buddhism and the history of Sānskrit literature!

In North India, the year 157 A.D. was associated with the reign of Kanishka II and the great
Sānskrit poet Asvagōsha. The scholars say that Asvagōsha was the first poet to compose
three dramas in Sānskrit. Also, this year was made very important in the history of
Mahāyāna Buddhism. A number of Sānskrit works on Mahāyāna Buddhism were said to be
written during that period.

In Laňkā, the year 157 A.D. was connected with Gajabāhu I. It is very interesting to note here
that the Pāli chronicle Mahāvamsa had associated this particular king with building the “Mātu
Vihara” (Mother Vihara). Mhv. XXXV.116 Says:

“ Hearkening to his mother’s word the king founded the Mātuvihara on the place of the thicket of
flowering kadambas, in honour of his mother.”
While the Pāli chronicle Mahāvamsa speaks about Gajabāhu I building Mātu Vihara at the
request of his mother, the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram at the beginning of its “Urai peru
Kaddurai” (ciu ngW fl;Liu) says:

“mJNfl;L f;; fly;; #o; ,yq;iff; fathF vd;ghd;>

eq;;iff;F ehl;gyp gPbif> Nfhl;lKe;JWj;jhq;F>
mue;ij nfLj;J> tuk; jUk; ,ts; vd> Mbj; jpq;fs;;
Mq;NfhH ghb tpohf;Nfhs; gd;Kiw vLg;g> kio tPww ; pUe;J
tsk; gy ngUfpg; gpisahH tpisAs; ehlhapw;W.”

The first line of the verse mentions about the “Kayavāhu of the island Ilaňkai.” The
second line says that Kayavāhu “eq;iff;F Nfhl;lKe;JWj;J Mq;F.”i.e. Kayavāhu built a
Vihāra for the mother (Kannaki). The third and the fourth lines say that every year, in the
month Ādi (Mb), he celebrated a festival for Kannaki and there was regular rain and the
country produced abundant rice.

However, in the Laňkan Pāli chronicles, the name of the king is wriiten as Gajabāhu, but in
the TamiĪ epic the name is written as Kayavāhu. Were these the names of two different
kings? Out of a number of inscriptions on Gajabāhu, in the inscription that was discovered at
Anurādhapura, the name was wriiten as Kayavāhu. This particular Inscription is kept now in
the Colombo Museum. This confirms that a Tamil person was involved in the writing of
the inscription. Was he the poet who composed the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram ?
Thus, the description in the chronicle Mahāvamsa saying that the Gajabāhugāmani built the
“Mātu Vihāra” indirectly agrees with what the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram mentions
about Kayavāhu.

Was this also merely a coincidence or was there any connection between the author of the
TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram and the author of the chronicle Mahāvamsa?

The other Siňhala chronicle RājavaĪiya had described Gajabāhu in the following way
(RājavaĪiya, Edited by B. Gunasēkara, 1900; Pages – 41, 42; Reprint 1954):

“Having in this way intimidated the king of SōĪi he received the original number supplemented by an
equal number of men, as interest, making 24,000 persons in all. He also took away the jeweled
anklet of the goddess Pattini and the insignia of the gods of the four dēvala, and also the bowl-relic
which had been carried off in the time of king Valagamba; and admonishing the king not to act thus in
the future, departed.”

The scholars opine that the chronicle RājavaĪiya belonged to the fourteenth or the fifteenth
century A.D. However, there has been a consistent continuity and emphasis in
connecting Gajabāhu with goddess Pattini. RājavaĪiya had connected Gajabāhu with
the jewelled anklet of the goddess Pattini!

The year 1157 A.D. was also very important in the history of Laňkā. Historians say this was
the year of the fall of Gajabāhu II and the rise of Parākkamabāhu I. Mhv.70.53 - 55 say:
“ When hereupon the Lord of men (Parākkamabāhu) heard that the Ruler Gajabāhu had fetched
nobles of heretical faith from abroad and had thus filled Rājarattha with briers (of heresy), wrath
seized his soul and he thought: though people like my kind are there, possessing insight, virtue,
miraculous power and extraordinary courage, he has nevertheless acted thus – and he commanded
his generals to take possession of Rājarattha.”

The Mahāvamsa uses some specific words and phrases that need careful study. It speaks
about “nobles of heretical faith from abroad.” Here the “heretical” faith is connected with
the “nobles” and “abroad.”

These indirectly agree with the description in the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram about Sēran
Seňgudduvan and making Kannaki a “Goddess.”
These compel us to raise some important questions:

1. How the 1000 years cycle associated with the year of the second TamiĪ Saňgam
(3700) fits into the important historical events of Laňkā?

2. How the important events that were mentioned in the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram
found their way into the Mahāvamsa? Did the same author compose the two works ?

3. We found that the first TamiĪ Saňgam year was associated with Mahāyāna Buddhism.
The year 157 A.D. was also associated with the important historical events connected
with Mahāyāna Buddhism and the history of Sānskrit literature of India. Therefore, the
events of Laňkā described in the years 157 A.D. and 1157 A.D. should be associated
with Mahāyāna Buddhism. Therefore we are compelled to ask the question: Is the
TamiĪ epic of Silappatikāram a Mahāyāna Buddhist work?

4. Were the histories actually “made” by a particular person who was called as
Mahānāma, Ńakkīrar and Ilaňgō as well?

5. Was Asvagōsha an imaginary creation?

Only the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram and its composer determine the answers to most
of these questions. Our analysis compels us to arrive at a conclusion that the epic
Silappatikāram is a Mahāyāna Buddhist work. However, the accepted scholars of India
and Laňkā say it as a Jaina work. The scholars say that the composer of the epic was a
“Chēra Prince” who became a Jaina ascetic.

The period of Asvagōsha falling with the 1000 years cycle of the second TamiĪ Saňgam
makes Asvagosha an imaginary creation. The person who created Asvagōsha should
be a TamiĪ Buddhist poet who was called as Ilaňgō, Mahānāma and Ńakīrar as well.
These inevitably push us to arrive at the conclusion that some TamiĪ Buddhist monks had
a very important role in composing the “ancient” Sānskrit literatures. This, on the other
hand, determines the years of composition of the three Sānskrit dramas said to be
composed by Asvagōsha.

Thus, the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram and the TamiĪ literatures become very important in
understanding the religious, political histories as well as the history of literatures of
India and Laňkā.

In the history of South India also, the year 1157 A.D. seems to be very important.
However, some scholars may still argue that there is a possibility for the years of two TamiĪ
Saňgams to coincide with the historical events of North India, South India and Laňkā by
chance. Therefore, we have to analyze the year 1850 that was associated with the third
TamiĪ Saňgam as well.

2.3 The year 1850 and the Third Tamil Saňgam:

This year could be broken down into 1850 and 850 with 1000 years cycle. The Buddhist year
1850 is (1850 – 543) 1307 A. D. This year is very important in the history of South India and
North India. The historians say that only in this year the southward thrust of the Delhi
Sultanate took place and Dēvagiri was captured by the Muslims. In the year 1310 A.D., the
historians say that General Mālik Kafour with his 3000 cavalry entered South India by land
and plundered and looted all the places up to Rāmēswaram. Historians say that he
destroyed the Hindu temple of Madurai and other temples. Also, according to the
historians, he destroyed the Hindu temple at Ramēswaram and built a Mosque there.
According to some Indian historians, he returned to Delhi on his own before the rainy
season with over 500 elephants and 20,000 horses carrying gold, gems, jewelry and other
loot. In 1320s, the historians say that the Delhi Sultānate captured Madurai and other places
and established their rule directly. These produced three massive waves of exodus from
the northern and southern regions of the South India. However, only one Laňkan TamiĪ
chronicle speaks about these three waves of exodus.

The year 1307 was associated with the accession to the throne of the king called
Parākramabāhu IV or Pandita Parākramabāhu of Dambadēniya. During his reign, a
number of literatures and other works on sciences were said to be composed in Siňhala and
TamiĪ. According to the TamiĪ and Siňhalese historians, the work on astrology,
“Sarasōtimālai” (ruNrhjpkhiy) was composed during his reign. The historians say that the
Naimmāna Tamil inscription was written on his order.

The year 307 A.D. is very important in the history of Laňkā and India. In Laňkā, the King
Mahāsēna was associated with this year. Very important religious problems were said to
have taken place during his reign. The chronicle Dipavamsa ends with his reign.

In the South Indian history also, the year 307 A.D. was made important. The rise of Pallavas
was associated with this year. In North Indian history, this year was associated with the

These compel us to arrive at the following conclusions:

1. The three TamiĪ Saňgams were imaginary creations and no TamiĪ Saňgams ever

2. The North Indian, South Indian and Laňkan histories are purely imaginary;

3. Dīpavamsa and Mahāvamsa could not have been written before 1307 A. D.;

4. The Pāli chronicles Dīpavamsa and Mahāvamsa were composed by a TamiĪ

Buddhist monk, probably a Mahāyānist.

We have to analyze the TamiĪ and other literatures as well as the archaeological finds and
see whether there are further evidences to support our conclusions. The actual years
of composition of the two Laňkan Pāli chronicles after 1307 A.D. have to be

The years associated with three TamiĪ Saňgams in the TamiĪ commentary of Nakīrar
emphasize that there had been a direct association between Buddhism and TamiĪ. We
have to confirm this through literatures and archaeological finds. However, at this juncture,
we have to remind ourselves of the conclusion of Irāvatham Mahādēvan that connects
TamiĪ with Jainism.

3. Muttamiĺ and Thunsiňhale

The number three seems to be very important in Buddhism. Triple-gem, Buddhist

Saňghas, Tipidaka etc. are associated with the number three. At the same time, the
number three has been very important in TamiĪ. There were three TamiĪ Saňgams analyzing
“Three TamiĪ” (Kj;jkpo;>; MuttamiĪ). TamiĪ is said to be consisting of three. They are: Iyal
TamiĪ (,ay; jkpo;;, Poetic TamiĪ)> Isai TamiĪ (,irj; jkpo;;> Music TamiĪ) Ńāddiya TamiĪ
(ehl;baj; jkpo;>; Dramatic TamiĪ). Even the TamiĪ dynasties that were said to be in
existence had been three in number; namely: Sēra, SōĪa and Pāndya. The great TamiĪ
epics Manimēkalai and Silappatikāram are made of three parts. The great TamiĪ work
Tirukkural also consists of three main parts. Was it because of the Buddhist influence?
Anyway, unlike in the case of the TamiĪ, there were no three Siňhala Saňghas. However, in
Siňhala also, we find “Thunsiňhala.” “Thunsiňhala” means: Three Siňhala, Trisiňhala,
Tisiňhala or Trisimhala. “Ti” in Pāli means: three. In Sānskrit, “Tri” means three. Simhala is
the Sānskritised Siňhala.
The phrase “Thunsiňhala” has been a problem for the Siňhalese scholars. Does
Thunsiňhala, like MuttamiĪ, mean Poetic Siňhala, Music Siňhala and Dramatic Siňhala?
In an article under the heading “Original Land of Sinhale” (The Sunday Times Plus, Page
– 4, Sunday November 23, 2003), the writer of the article Lt. Colonel A.S. Amarasēkara
has said: “It was later subdivided into Ruhunu, Pihiti and Maya, which together were referred to as

Thus, according to Lt. Colonel A. S. Amarasēkara, “Thunsiňhale” implies Ruhunurata,

Pihitirata and Māyarata.

In the “Introduction” to the book “Tri Siňhala” ( 1936) written by Sir Paul E. Pieris, at the
very beginning, SiňhaRaja Tammita-Delgoda has written:
“According to tradition the kings of Laňkā had always been ‘Trisiňhala Adisvara,’ ‘Lord of the three
Siňhalas.’ This title originates in the ancient division of the country into three parts – Rāja Rata,
Ruhunu Rata and Māya Rata - and recalls the days when the Siňhalese Kings held sway over the
whole Island.”

Here, for “Trisiňhala Adhisvara,” “Lord of the three Siňhalas” is given as the meaning, and for
“ Three Siňhalas,” three ratas are given as meaning.

Though the present Siňhalese scholars give ‘Three Ratas’ as the meaning for the Tri
Siňhala, it had been used in a different context by the earlier poets of Laňkā.

An average Siňhalese would have heard of a beautiful SiňhaĪa poem dealing with the early
incidents of the life of Kannaki and Kōvalan called the Vayańtimālaya. The popular TamiĪ
epic Silappatikāram composed by the popular poet Ilaňgō deals with the story of Kannaki,
Kōvalan and Mātavi. Like a majority of the Siňhala kāvya writers, the composer of
Vayańtimālaya also begins the poem with verses of adoration in honour of the Triple-
gem and invocation of the blessings of the Gods.

Like the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram, the Siňhala kāvya Vayańtimālaya that contains hundred
and nineteen stanzas is a very good example for poetry, music and dance. The
description of dancing performance of Mātavi is one of the finest in the whole field of
Siňhalese poetry.

In short, while the TamiĪ epic Silappatikāram deals with the MuttamiĪ (three TamiĪ),
Siňhala kāvya Vayańtimālaya deals with Three Siňhala, the Thunsiňhala: Poetic, Music
and Dance (or dramatic) Siňhala. The poet who composed the kāvya Vayańtimālaya is
said to be “Tisimhala Kavitilaka of Vīdāgama.” Similarly, there was a TamiĪ poet called by
the name “MuttamiĪ Virahan;” having the meaning: “Lord of MuttamiĪ” (Lord of Three
TamiĪ). The actual name of the particular poet is said to be Vīra Rāgavan. Thus, the phrase
“MuttamiĪ Virahan Vīra Rāgavan” has the meaning: “Lord of Three TamiĪ, Vīra

Therefore, “Tisimhala Ādīsvara…..” means, “Lord of Three Siňhala …..”According to

Puttamitiran who wrote the five-grammars “VīrasōĬiyam,” Agastiyar received MuttamiĪ from
Lord Buddha (Avalōhitan). Likewise, “Tisimhala Ādīsvara” could associate Lord Buddha
with Three Siňhalas!

This cannot mean that Lord Buddha himself composed all Siňhala and TamiĪ Literatures.
However, this implies that the Buddhist monks with the names denoting Lord Buddha
only composed all the Siňhala and TamiĪ literatures.

From these, it is clear that the TamiĪ Buddhism had great influence in the creation of
Siňhala literatures also, and the present Siňhalese scholars giving three Ratas as
meaning for Trisiňhala is baseless.
This clue may help us to identify the ancient “Siňhalese” poets who have been an
unsolvable problem to the present accepted scholars, and to arrive at a better understanding
about the “ancient” Siňhala, Pāli, TamiĪ and Sānskrit literatures discovered in South Laňkā.
This gives us further hope that “TamiĪ Buddhism” could help us to understand the
symbolization of Buddhism as well.

Our preliminary analysis and the conclusions arrived at may cause some sort of irritation and
emotional feeling among the Siňhala nationalists and the TamiĪ nationalists. However, in a
scientific analysis, there is no place for emotion, liking and hate. We have to accept the
outcome of a scientific analysis. Anybody who rejects the outcomes of the analyses made
here must do it with the scientific evidences. This will only help us to raise the level of our
knowledge and develop further our analyzing power, and, thereby, the eradication of

© A. S. Uthayakumar B. Sc. (Mech. Eng.)