MEANING OF THE WORDS SŪTA, MĀGADHA AND VĒTĀLIKA IN SANGHAM LITERATURE

          There are so many technical terms used in Sangham literature of Tamil. Some of the terms are understood in the light of commentaries only. Some of such terms are Sūta, Māgadha and Vē(ai)tālika. Madhurai Kāñcī refers them as follows.

cūtar vāḻtta mākatar nuvala

vetāḽikarŏṭu nāḻikai icaippa

imiḻmuracu iraṅka eṟumāṟu cilaippa

(maturaikkāñci : 671-672)

          It describes the sun rise. Sūtas were praising, Māgadhas were singing. Vētālikas along with the time-keepers were eulogizing. The drums were making sounds.

          Thus the description goes on. The terms Sūta, Māgadha and Vetālika are explained as “one who eulogizes by standing”, “one who eulogizes by sitting” and “one who dances according to his procedures” respectively by the commentators.

          The Pukār kāṇḍam of Cilappatikāram too mentions them as follows.

cūtar mākatar vetā ḽikarŏṭu

nāḻikaik kaṇakkar nalampĕṟu kaṇṇuḽar

          The city was surrounded by Sūtas, Māgadhas, Vetālikas, Ghaṭikas (Time-keepers) and the dancers. The same explanation is given by the commentators of this text. Maṇimekhalai too gives the same explanation.

          But it should be noted that these words were borrowed from Sanskrit which can be strongly felt by the Sanskrit scholars. The details of Sūta, Māgadha and Vaitālikas are found in Sanskrit grammar, Viṣṇu purāṇa, Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata.

          These are told as Stuti Pāṭakas – eulogizers in the Sanskrit scriptures. Viṣṇupurāna tells that these were born during the sacrifice of Vena.

ततोऽस्य दक्षिणं हस्तं ममन्थुश्च तदा द्विजाः।

मथ्यमाने च तत्राभूत् पृथुर्वैण्यः प्रतापवान्॥

तस्य वै जातमात्रस्य यज्ञे पैतामहे शुभे।

सूतः सूत्यां समुत्पन्नः सौत्येऽहनि महामते!॥

तस्मिन्नेव महायज्ञे जज्ञे प्राज्ञोऽथ मागधः।

प्रोक्तौ तदा मुनिवरैस्तावुभौ सूतमागधौ॥

स्तूयतामेषः नृपतिः पृथुर्वैण्यः प्रतापवान्।”

विष्णुपुराणे १ अंशे ४१ अध्यायः

tato’sya dakṣiṇaṁ hastaṁ mamanthuśca tadā dvijāḥ|

mathyamāne ca tatrābhūt pṛthurvaiṇyaḥ pratāpavān||

tasya vai jātamātrasya yajñe paitāmahe śubhe|

sūtaḥ sūtyāṁ samutpannaḥ sautye’hani mahāmate!||

tasminneva mahāyajñe jajñe prājño’tha māgadhaḥ|

proktau tadā munivaraistāvubhau sūtamāgadhau||

stūyatāmeṣaḥ nṛpatiḥ pṛthurvaiṇyaḥ pratāpavān|”

viṣṇupurāṇe 1 aṁśe 41 adhyāyaḥ

          Their caste and other details are well explained in Mahābhārata and Manusmṛti. Of them, Sūta is entitled to tell the purāṇas and they are called as Sūta paurāṇikas. Māgadhas  are called as “Vāg-jīvana” meaning leading life with their speech. Those who are waking the kings in the morning are called as Vaitālikas. These details are mentioned in Medinī kośa. The dramas of Kālidāsa, the Ratnāvai nāṭikā of śrī Harṣa and the Māgha kāvya describes the early morning song of Vaitālika. Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa too mentions that the Ayodhyā was filled with Suta, Māgadha and Vaitālikas.

          It is very surprising that the commentators didn’t mention that these are the Sanskrit words.

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One thought on “MEANING OF THE WORDS SŪTA, MĀGADHA AND VĒTĀLIKA IN SANGHAM LITERATURE

  1. வடமொழிச் சொற்கள் பண்டைத்தமிழில் மிகுதியாக உள்ளன,ஆனால் அவற்றை உரையாசிரியர்கள் வடமொழி எனச்சொல்வதில்லை. ஏன் எனில் தொல்காப்பியரே இயற்சொல்,திரிசொல்,திசைச்சொல்,வடசொற்களை செய்யுளில் பயன்படுத்த அனுமதிக்கிறார்.ஆனால் தமிழ் ஓசையில் வடமொழியாக்கம் எழுதவேண்டும்.எனவே உரையாசிரியர் அதைக்கூறவேண்டியஅவசியம் இல்லை. மேலும் சூத,மாகத,வேதாளிகர் என்ற சொற்கள் ஆராயாமலே வடசொற்கள் என்பது புலனாம்.

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