Su. a-ri-a and Tamil aariyan

The word "aryan " that has acquired a racial connation has become one of the most important words to divide of Indian into  Aryan and Dravidian with serious antagonisms along racial lines. The growth of 19th century Dravidian movements in Tamil Nadu which has become  political in the 20th cent.  and the cultural movements to purify Tamil by cleaning it of the so-called Sanskrit terms are related to this. The replacemnt of Tamil as the language of Temple Worship among the tamils  however has a different  historical basis. It was something introduced by Ramanuja and on philosophical grounds. The Sanskrit literature , under the impact of Sankara became predominantly Advaitic Vedantic and hence was seen as detrimental to the growth of Bakthi and for which reason Ramaunuja installed the recitation of Thruvaymozi in the temples in place of Vedic mantras. One can see the present movement of the Saivites to give the place of honour to Tamil particularly the Thevaram corpus as something like that of Ramanuja, who incidently was a Brahamin and who wrote only in Sanskrit despite being a brilliant  Tamil scholar.

At the moment and perhaps mainly due to IndoEuropean scholarship  the excitment and arrogance  with which the Brahmins in Tamil Nadu  received this, which is mainly a hypothesis , and who started to call themseves the scions of these Aryans is that which unnderlies the Brahmin-bashing that continues to this day.   I have a colletion of litwrature in Tamil towards the end of 19th ,where the Smartha brahmins called themselves Aryans and went on to criticise severely Saiva Sidddhanta and many  other philosophies of the Tamils.  The Dravidian identity was fostered by Bihop Caldwell with his epoch making "Comparative study of Dravidian Languages" which was well received by the Tamil scholars but vehemently  challenged by the Smartha Brahmins.

This association of Tamil Brahmins with Aryanism and also Sanskrit along with it, still continues and will continue perhaps for a long time. It is certainly unfortunate for such a hatred for the TERM  aryan is NOT to be met with in traditional India where the primary meaning of Aryan as used in Thevaram corpus Kamba Ramayan and so forth and perhaps also as Dhammapada did not have the racial sense at all rather that of "exceptional or brillinat individual" as in Tamil " ariyan'

In Sangam classics there are several uses of it .

1. aariyar tuvanRiya peerisai imayam: the famed Himalayas where dwell the Aryas. Here it certainly means a group of people bordering the Himalayas and in sense a generic term for all those who dwelt in the North of India,.

2. aariyak kuuttu: here it means a noisy kind of dance especially those like walking on ropes to the accopaniment of loud and boisterous music.

3. ariyamum tamizum: This phrase used by Appar and so forth applies to the Languages and here aariyam means  certainly Sanskrit. Here we see the beginnings of the use of Aryan and Dravidian (=Tamil) in linguistic terms but without any anatogonistic emotional undertones. For both are recognised as languages founded by Siva.

Ariyan as the Brilliant , Resplendent Priciple and hence another variant  for Siva

We see the use of Aryan in this sense in the following verse of Tirumular

Tirumantiram 134.

puraiyaRRa paalinuL ney kalataaR pool
tirai aRra cintaiyil aariyan ceppum
uraiyaR RuNarvoor udambing kozitaaR
karaiyaRRa cooti kalawthasat taame


BEING emerges  but stands as the Unconscious in the mind that
becomes unruffled by any earthly desires just like ghee
being present invisibly in the pure milk. Those who transcend
speech ( by transcending temporality) and LISTEN in
DEEP SILENCE to the instructions on Absolute Illumination that
BEING-the -Radiant  instructs on (through the language of Cin
Muttirai) will untie themselves from all attachments to the
physical body and becoming FREE from it, plunge  into
Boundless Radiance  and through that also become a Sat, an
absolute (just like BEING)

Here Ariyan is used as anohter name for Civa, the Immensely Radiant  BEING  who illuminates all and helps the attainment of genuine freedom through the severances to all the bondages.

The use of Aryan in the sense 'divine" that the above suggests is also available in Kampan's description of Rama as  "aariya maintan". Here it may also mean the "royal, the kingly" etc.

 Su. a -ri-a

The Tamil 'aariyan' that has has so many different  meanings and hence possibly with different etymological roots  also occurs in Sumerian in the sense "divine, royal " etc as the following line from Sulgis MutarIbuyam (Hymn B) would indicate.

11. lugal-e lugal-a-ri-a nin-e -tu-da -me-en

    I, the king of Royal descent, who a princess bore.

Ta. uLukaLee uLugak aariya(ariya) ninnee todda maan

lu> uLu> aaLu, aaL: person. gal> kaL: great   -e: -ee: the suffix that isolates that which is named ; the teeRRa eekaaram.  a-ri-a> ariya (the rare) ; aariya: the royal , divine etc. nin> Nin, nan: the lofty: tu-da> todda; to bear , to give birth; me-en> maan: the person as in ceeramaan, atikaimaan etc

The term" lugal-aria" is almost identical with the Tamil usage of Arya maintain such as that of Kamban. And this may be the sense in the use of Arya  by Buddha in Dhammapada.

It is also interesting that in the long history of Tamil literature nowhere we come across the Brahmins being called or call themselves as  Aryas. Even in Sangam epoch we have kapilar, known as a Brahamana calling himself AntaN and NOT Aryan. This term has been more in use with the royalties and as an alternative term for Siva , the Brilliant Principle, the supremely radiant BEING that illuminates all minds arising as the inner sun.