Sunday 26 May 2013


2013-17 Auvaiyar: Aathichudi - Alphabet Aphorisms

[Abithana Chintamani states that there were three female poets titled AuvaiyarAmong them, Avvaiyar I lived during the Sangam period and extolled the generosity of Paari and Athiyaman among her 59 poems in the Sangam literature.

Avvaiyar II lived during the period of Kambar and Ottakoothar during the reign of the Kulothunga Chola III. She wrote Aathichudi, Kondraivendan, Moodurai and Nalvazhi, that remain very popular even now and are inculcated in school textbooks in Tamil Nadu.

Auvaiyar III is said to have written Vinayakar Agaval of 72 lines in praise of Lord Ganapathy and Auvai KuraL, comprising 310 stanzas of theosophical aphorisms. ]

Study of literature helps us mould our character.  Themes such as valour and love, nobility of conduct and spirit of sacrifice, abound in Tamil literature. Moreover, classic poets have a brevity and forcefulness of expression, combined with a wealth of striking similes which make even didactic literature, works of real art and beauty.

By considering universally acceptable values in just one line Auvaiyar even excelled  Thiruvalluvar's brevity* and succeeded in making them stay in memory for the rest of one's life... She directed her moral instructions at children who have open minds and are very receptive.
The following quotes from Auvaiyar’s book Aathichoodi, illustrate the simplicity of her style and profoundness of her message:

Alphabet Aphorisms
அறம் செய விரும்பு
 Desire to do virtuous things
ஆறுவது சினம்
 Mitigate anger
இயல்வது கரவேல்
 Don’t hide what you can give
ஈவது விலக்கேல்
 Never refrain from charity
உடையது விளம்பேல்
 Don’t boast about what you have
ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல்
 Don’t give up  enthusiasm
எண் எழுத்து இகழேல்
 Don’t despise learning
ஏற்பது இகழ்ச்சி
 Begging is despicable
ஐயமிட்டு உண்
 Feed the hungry; then eat
ஒப்புர வொழுகு
 Live in harmony with the world
ஓதுவது ஒழியேல்
Don’t give up study of scriptures
ஒளவியம் பேசேல்
Don’t talk bad about others

*I cite below just two examples from Auvaiyar's Kondrai Vendan, with similar stanzas from Thiruvalluvar's Thirukkural, to illustrate the brevity and forcefulness of  expression of Auvaiyar:

Auvaiyar:       "மருந்தே ஆயினும் விருந்தோடு உண் "   
                    [Even if it is nector, eat with your guests. K 70]

Thiruvalluvar:  "விருந்து புறத்ததாத் தானுண்டல் சாவா
                             மருந்தெனினும் வேண்டற் பாற்றன்று "  
T 82

Auvaiyar:      "எண்ணும் எழுத்தும் கண் எனத் தகும் "
                    [Numbers and letters are like two eyes for human beings.  K 7 ]

Thiruvalluvar: "எண் என்ப ஏனை எழுத்து என்ப இவ்விரண்டும் 
                              கண் என்ப வாழும் உயிர்க்கு " T 392

                 Note:   K: Kondrai Vendan   T: ThirukkuraL

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