Lesson - 4 : A01114

SEEVAGA CHINTAMANI




    This lesson tells you all about the epic, SEEVAGA CHINTAMANI, which is one of the five major epics in Tamil. The poet is Thirutthakka Devar. The epic narrates the story of Seevagan, the king of Emaangada Nadu-- how he married eight women, how he won the battle against Kattiyankaaran and reclaimed the kingdom which he lost, and how he finally became an ascetic. The lesson also teaches you the various social customs, religious rites and traditions followed by the people who lived during the age in which the epic was written.

    Among the five major epics in Tamil SEEVAGA CHINTHAMANI occupies the foremost place. It is based on Jainism.

    While SILAPPATHIKAARAM and MANIMEKALAI had Tamil women as protagonists, SEEVAGA CHINTAMANI has a North Indian king as its hero. The other characters, the setting and the story are all North Indian. But the poet belongs to Tamil Nadu. And the distinguishing feature of the epic, is the fact that the poet has fused the North Indian story and characters with the literary traditions, social customs and religious beliefs prevalent in Tamil Nadu at that time. Because of this, the epic was very popular during the Chola period.

    Although we have no authentic record to prove when SEEVAGA CHINTAMANI was produced, it is believed to belong to the 9th century A.D. The reason for its popularity even after twelve centuries, lies in its literary beauty and social relevance. It contains plenty of information regarding social customs and religious beliefs that prevailed at that time. In fact, most epics were written mainly for propagating a particular religion. SEEVAGA CHINTAMANI too follows this tradition in advocating Jainism. There are numerous references to contemporary art, architecture, dance, music, drama, astrology and politics.

    Thus, from this lesson you can learn all about SEEVAGA CHINTAMANI, the Tamil epic which deals with Jainism, the theory of Rebirth and Karma, and the story of Seevagan who, after an eventful life, took up sanyas or asceticism.

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