Date of Silapathikaram

Let us see how the date of tamil language is advanced

Date of Silapathikaram
Gajabahu synchronism
Gajabahu synchronism is the chronological device used by historians to help date tamil literature. From a mention in the silapathikaram, the Lanka king Gajabahu is taken to be a contemporary of the cheran king senguttuvan

The passage
"The monarch of the world circumambulated the shrine thrice and stood there proferring his respects. In front of him the Arya kings released from prison, kings removed from central jail, the Kongu ruler of Kudagu, the king of Malva and Kayavaku, the king of sea-girt Ceylon, prayed reverently to the deity thus.."

Kayavaku here, despite disagreement has been taken to mean Gajabahu. According to the Mahavamsa , Gajabahu I reigned between 113 - 134 CE, while Gajabahu II reigned in the 12th century CE. This, in turn, has been used to imply that the Chera king, who according to the pathirupattu ruled for 55 years may be dated to c. 110 - 165 CE. This computation, which was first proposed by V Kanakasabhai Pillai in his book, The Tamils 1800 years ago (1904), has come to be known as the Gajabahu synchronism. Kanakasabhai also mentions another reference from Silappatikaram which has the Chera king meet the Magadha king Nurruvan Kannar who is interpretted to as satkarni, satvahana dynasties as an additional proof for the synchronism.

Kanakasabhai's reasoning for not considering Gajabahu I as the king mentioned is as follows:

“ In the long list of kings of Ceylon preserved in Singhalese chronicles, the name Gajabahu occurs only twice. Gajabahu I lived in the early part of the second century A.D. and Gajabahu II in the twelfth century. If the latter was king referred to in the Cilappathikaram, Karikala Chola, the grandfather of the Gajabahu contemporary, Imaya Varamban should have lived in the eleventh or twelfth century A.D. But in many Tamil poems and inscriptions on copper plates recording the grants of Chola kings who lived in the tenth and the eleventh centuries, Karikala Chola I is described as one of the earliest and most remote ancestors of the Chola kings then reigning. It is evident therefore that the Gajabahu referred to in the Cilappathikaram could not be Gajabahu II, but must have been Gajabahu I, who was king of Ceylon from about A.D. 113 to A.D. 125."

However Many contentious points remain
1. How come Kayavaku becomes GajaBahu
2. How come Nurruvan Kannar becomes Satkarni
3. Gajabahu is dated by Mahavamsa at 110 to 165AD , But satkarni is not the same period how come they have come and attended a ceremony.
4. How come there is no other citation of Satkarni attending the ceremony.
5. A king of malwa attending the ceremony should be great news , how come it goes with just reference.
6. There is no reference of of Gajabahu ever coming to Kerala both in Mahavamsa and others.

Not just this there is no evidence of author Ilanko adigal ever lived as witness, he does not have any evidence to show that he was a eyewitness. As he never goes into details. The king senguttuvan is said to have taken a great expedition and conquered himalayas , that also we dont have any proof.
Since karikalan cannot be dated to 12th century does not mean he has to be dated to 2nd century , he might well be 9th century or 10th century AD.

So the whole Gajabahu synchronization falls flat on the face.

That is used to justify the antiquity of tamil literature is a really not going with facts.


  1. Maybe tamil literarians interpreted Satkarni (Sata Kanna), which when you loosely translate becomes "Nooru Kanna".

  2. The point is that there is no meeting of satakanni, Gajabahu and Senguttuvan. They never met. Gajabahu synchoronism is a legendary creation of author ilango to raise senguttuvan to the ranks of other two kings.

  3. You said:
    > There is no meeting of satakanni, Gajabahu and Senguttuvan. They never met.

    I don't know if this is a statement of fact or your opinion. Nevertheless, I care less whether they met or not. I am more interested in chronology of key events in tamil history and to understand the start of Sangam age and time and events earlier than that. The thoughts and expressions documented in Sangam literature is so advanced that, it should have underwent quite an evolution (at least 500+ years).

    With civilizations concentrating around rivers (Sarasvathi, Ganga, Yamuna, Kaveri,Vaigai etc..), most of the literary and art works are lost to the floods more than anything else (Most of rich cultivable India was in the flood plains). It was exciting to read that a 1300 year old temple (Tiruvidaivayil) buried under mound of soil near Tiruvarur was discovered during 1917. I don't know how many such ancient treasures are buried under all the river plains across India.

  4. History is something which happens and recorded, many of the legends dont have any basis and people just make to make them feel superior. What you tell is the wishful thinking that is so prevalent.

    But experts look for proof , which you are not even ready to see.

    Thiruvidai temple is 1200 years old , not 1300 years. Of course all the temple activity started around 7th century AD in tamilnadu ,you will not find a temple older 7th century AD.

    refer to myth of sangam post for more on sangams

  5. >Gajabahu is dated by Mahavamsa at 110 to 165AD , But satkarni is not the same period how come they have come and attended a ceremony.

    Which Satkarni are you referring to? Vashishtiputra Satakarni is dated at 130-160 CE. So it does make them contemporaries

  6. Correct your dates
    Vashishtiputra Sātakarni (130AD to 160AD)ruled 7 years.
    Shivaskanda Satakarni, (157-159), ruled 7 years.

    Gajabahuka Gamani (c.114 - 136 CE)

    It shows Vashista putra satakarni and Gajabahu are not contemprories. It does not prove existence of senguttuvan either

  7. I guess you are providing these dates from wikipedia. The key thing to understand here is that the dates of the later Satavahana kings are not completely set in stone (pun intended :) )

    For eg Brittanica encyclopedia says "Satavahana power was revived by Gautamiputra Satakarni (reigned c. ad 106–130), the greatest ruler of the family", the same are the dates mentioned for Gautamiputra in "History of Ancient India" by Ramashankar Tripathi where Ramashankar mentions that "Gautamiputra was succeeded by his son Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi in about AD 130". In the book "Malwa through the ages" Kailash chand Jain mentions that "Soon after Saka year 46 (124 to 125AD) Malwa king Nahapana appears to be defeated and killed by Gautamiputra Satakarni". All the above 3 examples if taken as the right dates would mean that Gautamiputra himself was a contemporary of Gajabahu.

    Now there are other dates that are given for Gautamiputra as well.One other popular date seems to be 78AD to 102AD as the time of his reign. If we go with this, then 28 years of Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi reign would mean Vasisthiputra Satakarni becomes the emperor at 130AD, i.e just in time to be a contemporary of Gajabahu.

    Also even if we agree to go by jumbled up dates listed in wikipedia, wikipedia lists the following
    "Vasisthiputra Sri Pulamavi, or Puloma, Puliman (r. 78-114 CE)
    Vashishtiputra Sātakarni (r. 130-160), or Shiva Sri, Sivasri, ruled 7 years."
    i.e even it says the reign of Vashishtiputra Sātakarni began from 130AD (that is what the "r" in "r. 130-160" means) which makes him a contemporary of Gajabahu.

    Either way there seems to be one Satakarni and Gajabahu reigning at the same time which makes your following assertion invalid
    >Gajabahu is dated by Mahavamsa at 110 to 165AD , But satkarni is not the same period.

    Yep none of this has anything to do with Senguttuvan. I would like to discuss your assertions one at a time.

    Also one other question, you do realise that the dates for Gajabahu I himself comes from a literary source i.e Mahavamsa?

  8. "Yep none of this has anything to do with Senguttuvan. I would like to discuss your assertions one at a time."
    That comment summarises the discussion. If I claim that Emperor Ashoka came to my 5th birthday, it does not prove i lived at the time of Ashoka. I makes me a liar, that is what it is , but we call it decently as Legend.

  9. From : N.Shankarappa, Toranagallu

    Here is an example how Tamil antiquity is stretched back without supporting evidences.

    Author : By Mr. Iravatham Mahadevan
    Article Source : Book "Rishabh Saurabh" Published on the occasion of Seminar on "Jaina Heritage of Karnataka, held at Bangalore ( Organised by Rishabh Dev Foundation , Delhi ) on 4th & 5th April 1994"

    Part of the Article :

    More recently another Tamil-Brahmi inscription from this cavern was discovered in 1982 by Emmanuel Jebarajan of the American College, Madurai. This still remains unpublished except for brief notices in epigraphical publications. The inscription deserves wider attention as it is among the earliest Tamil-Brahmi records and adds significantly to our knowledge of the early history of Jainism in Tamilnadu.
    The inscription is found engraved in one line on the brow of the overhanging boulder above the entrance to the cavern. As the usual drip-line is absent, the inscription has worn very thin due to weathering and has thus escaped attention all these years. However, now that the inscription has been spotted, it is not difficult to make out the text (Ink-impression in PI. 3).

    amanan matirai attiran urai utayanasa

    The abode (urai) of Attiran, the Jaina monk (amanan) of Madurai (matirai). [Gift] of Udayana (utayana).
    LANGUAGE : The inscription is written in Tamil as shown by the words amanan and urai and the characteristic-an ending of masculine personal names. However an unusual feature of the inscription is that the name of the donor is found written in Prakrit as utayanasa with the addition of the genitive case-ending -sa to the name (though da has become ta and na replaces na under the influence of Tamil).
    SCRIPT : The inscription is written in the Tamil-Brahmi script as shown by the use of the characteristic Tamil-Brahmi letters r and n not available in the Brahmi script.
    However a noteworthy feature of the inscription is the use of the Brahmi letter sa in the expression Utayanasa.
    ORTHOGRAPHY : The inscription shares the peculiar orthographical style (TB-I) of most of the earlier Tamil-Brahmi cave Inscriptions especially in the Pandyan country. Thus, for example, Attiran and urai have the apparent forms a-ta-ti-ra¬na and u-rai. However, we do not find the apparent -a medial sign in the second and the penultimate aksharas ma and na. They are either worn off or omitted by the scribe. (It may be noted that I have transliterated the text as it is intended to be read.)
    CHRONOLOGY : The Inscription may be assigned on palaeographical grounds to the second century B.C.
    CONTENTS : The inscription records the donation of a cave-shelter by Utayana to Attiran, a Jalna monk from Madurai.
    Amanan : This is the earliest instance of the use of the term amanan in Tamil Inscriptions. The occurrence of the word in a second century B.C. Tamil inscription is conclusive proof that Jalnism had spread to Tamllnadu even by that date. The linguistic testimony furnished by this word goes even beyond. The use of the evolved form amanan (formed by the loss of the Initial palatal c in camana) shows that the loan-word must have been borrowed into Tamil much earlier to allow sufficient time for the linguistic assimilation and transformation. On the basis of this evidence we may date the spread of Jalnlsm to the Tamil country in at least the third century B.C.
    Matlral : The ancient name of Madural. This is one of the earliest inscriptional references to the city found so far. The name also occurs as ma(t)tirai in two Tamil¬Brahmi inscriptions at Alagarmalai assigned to about 2-1 centuries B.C. (CTBI. 30 and 33, revised). Judging from the evidence of the Tamll-Brahmi cave inscriptions clustered around Madural, the city seems to have been the most Important centre of Jainlsm in the Tamil country receiving royal patronage of the Pandyas from the earliest period (d. Mangulam inscriptions of Netunceliyan) (CTBI. 1 & 2).
    Attlran : Name of the Jaina monk to whom the cave-shelter was gifted. The name does not seem to occur elsewhere in Tamil Inscriptions or literature and remains unidentified for the present.
    Ural : Literally a 'residence', but used in the Tamil-Brahmi Inscriptions in the technical sense of a cave-shelter gifted to the Jalna monks. The term also occurs in a cave inscription of the same period at Tiruvatavur (CTBI. 8) and in two other inscriptions of 1-2 centuries A.D. at Pugalur (CTBI. 56 and 57, revised), A cognate expression uraiyul with the same meaning is found in the Anaimalai Tamil-Brahmi inscription of 1-2 centuries A.D. (CTBI. 55).
    Utayana : The donor of the cave-shelter. He was most probably a lay Jaina devotee. The name is of exceptional interest. Udayana (Utayanan in Tamil literature) was the famous hero of the Jaina epic Brihatkatha composed by Gunadhya in the Paisaci Prakrit, probably in about the first century A.D. The work Is not extant, but has served as the source of several renderings In Sanskrit and other Indian languages. Konguvel, a Jaina author, rendered this epic in Tamil under the name Perunkatai (assigned to various dates between 6th and 10th centuries A.D.). The point of interest here is the occurrence of the name Udayana in a second century B.C. Tamil inscription, ante-dating not only the Tamil epic but probably even the original work by Gunadhya. It is likely that the story of Udayana is an ancient folk tale on which several later literary works were based. The legend must have been popular with the Jainas in the Tamil country even in this early period as attested by the occurrence of Udayana's name in this inscription.
    Observation :
    The name Udayana occurs in the inscription. He is the donor of the cave shelter. Mahadevan declares the period of this inscription as B.C. 200 . With no other evidence except the similarity in name he immediately links this name with hero of Brihatkata who is a legendary character. From there he goes to Perungantai period which oscillates between 600-1000 A.D. and suggest that Tamil Epic as well as Bruhatkatha shall be antedated.
    In due course somebody will pick up this argument and may come to conclusion that Perungatai belongs to B.C. 100.
    What happens when some other name like Gautama /Mahavira/Pandu is found in some other inscription ?
    By reference with single name how can we declare that Brihatkatha was popular among Jainas in Tamilnadu
    Does anywhere Sangam Literature talks/indicates about Jains, their legends, popular stories or themes ? Are there any other indications which lead to declare that
    If we go by such arguments in due course entire history will be ‘such name is occurring here. Same name occurred there. Hence this name has some connection with that. Both must be coexisting or that might have influenced this etc., etc.,

  10. Most of the so called Tamil Brahmi inscriptions are around Jain centres. Jainism came to Tamil nadu from karnataka , so many of the so called Tamil brahmi inscriptions can be kannada too. Iravatham Mahadevan tells tamil brahmi inscriptions does not make sense in tamil many times because they are influenced by Hale-Kannada. But why only influence, it can be in Hale kannada itself.

  11. From : N.Shankarappa Toranagallu
    Date of Shilappadigaram
    Below are a few facts which indicate the late date for Shilappadigaram
    # Senguttavan appears in Patirrupattu in the fifth decade which was exclusively sang by Paranar. No where here Ilanngo Adigal –supposed brother of Senguttavan- appears.
    # Ilango Adigal appears for the first time in preamble to Silappadigaram-which is not the original part of the epic.
    # The Alupa and Ganga kings mentioned in the epic are of a later period;
    # The Kunavayil Kottam or Kunavayil monastery, identified with that in Trikkanamatilakam, where the epic poem was composed according to the poet, came into existence only by 8th century as per epigraphic evidence.
    # The political institutions like Ainkuzhu and Enperayam found in the epic court are more advanced; The dance forms like Kudakkoothu and Kudaikkoothu are more stylized and Sanskritised and they belong to 700-900 C.E
    # The language of the epic is closer to classical Tamil than Sangam Tamil.
    # There was a gap of centuries between short simple songs and long complex epics in all literature in the East and West.
    # Swamikannu Pillai on the basis of atronomical data concluded that period was 756 C.E where as Rajarao on same basis concluded the date of Shilappadigaram as 465 C.E
    # As per K.K Pillai the probable composition took place in 500 C.E
    # Vaiyapuri Pillai fix the period at 800 C.E
    # K.A.N Shastri has declared that Shilappadigaram and Manimegalai are the two hoaxes of 800 C.E in which the author pretends to be contemporary of Senguttavan.

  12. Silapathikaram is the translation of Tulu Oral Epic Siri Paddana

    Manimekalai we already know is based of Nyayaprsa

  13. Kundalakesi (13th century AD) is translation of Dhammapada(5th century AD)

    Jiavaka Cinatamani belongs to Kambaramayanam Age

    Valayapathi existence is doubtful and if it exists, it is period of Kambaramayanam.

    Both Cintamani and Valaypathi is based on Brihat katha


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