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Communication by birds in Tamil Literature

People must be familiar with the communication used by Kalidasa in Sanskrit where he had used Cloud as a messenger in his Meghaduth. Here is the article on Tamil scholars used the birds as communication messenger in love, friendship etc., Please read on.


In Tamil literature, many poets have used the technique of communication through birds to send messages between lovers, husband and wife or even between kings, friends. This shows their in depth knowledge not only on literature but also on the worldly things especially nature. Usually the communication used by Kalidasa is mainly referred as Indian tradition in Sanskrit where he had used Cloud as a messenger in his Meghaduth. But the techniques used by Tamil scholars are mostly the birds due to their migration capacity according to the climate and also for food. In fact, people in olden days assumed the path of birds even when they use the other techniques like Pushpak Viman etc.,


Pisiranthaiyar is a Tamil poet and the Tamil Literature called Purananunu which talks about 400 worldly things and also collection of verses from different poets and each verse is called as Puram and in one of his verse he sends a message through a swan to his friend (who have never met until) travelling from Kanyakumari to Norhtern Mountains when these swans returned to north after satisfying their hunger by eating fishes from ocean. He asked the swan to take a message to his friend Kopperuncholan(king) with a poem which bosom him and even told the swan that his friends will greet the swan with what ever he wants including gold armaments.

The translation of verse is
Oh swan! You are flying towards the Cola country.
When you sight the king's palace, alight and enter into it.
Then introduce yourself to the king, using my name.
On hearing my name the king will offer everything you want
including the jewellery you need for your wife.

Also another poet(Saththimutraththu Pulavar) at a later date used same type of technique and used a crane to deliver a message.

Husband and wife

The same kind of technique is also used in Nala Charitram in Mahabharata. Here Nala sends a message to Damayanti with a goose. Here the return of message is also showed that the same goose has returned with an answer from her to Nala.

In Tamil literature, called Perunthogai (collection of long verses) a poem about a poet namely, Cattimurrap pulavar used stork as a messenger. In this verse, hero sends a stork to his wife in Cattumurram(a place in TN) with a message from Madurai(another place in TN) about his poverty but also felt bad about saying out about his poverty and hence he used the technique in a very powerful way and its translation verse is

Stork! Stork! Red–logged stork!
Red legged stork with the sharp red beak
Like the cleft root of the fruit–bearing palmyra palm!

When you and your female have bathed
At the Southern Kumari, if you should return
to the North and bath in Kaviri,
stop at the home of Cattimurram

and tell my wife, who must be watching
the clicking lizard on the rain–wet wall,
that in the city hall of our king Valuti

without a garment, shivering from cold,
covering my body with my legs,
and sighing like a snake in a basket
opening its mouth with its sharp teeth
the miserable me you have seen here.


There are many devotional(Bakti) literature used the technique of sending messages through animals/birds/insects etc.,

Enquiry to honey bee is a famous one among Tamil speaking people as it has popularized in one of the famous Tamil Movie Thiruvilaiyadal which combines the Bakti as well as love of King with queen. The original verse is available in another literature called Kurunthogai (collection of small verses) and its translation is

O bee,
with your hidden wings:
you have lived a life in search
of honey.

So tell me truly
from what you have seen:

among all the flowers you know,
is there one that smells more sweet
than the hair of this woman,

with her peacock gait,
and close-set teeth,
and ancient


So I feel the Tamil poets have really enjoyed the depth of literature as well as the nature and linked the migration of birds and used as carrier of messages. The pity thing is these literature have written in strong literature base so that only those who studied the language deeply only can understand the real sweetness.

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Author: Kailash Kumar23 May 2015 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

Heartiest congratulations to the author for an excellent scholarly article.
However in the conclusion the author herself has remarked that-
'The pity thing is these literature have written in strong literature base so that only those who studied the language deeply only can understand the real sweetness.'
The above limitation renders the resource article meaningful for a specific target group only.

Author: Sarojah24 May 2015 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

Yes Kailash kumar, while writing also I feel the translation any way does not meet the requirement of a poem, rhythm and its various forms and especially in the language of Tamil, the presence of Edugai and Monai is very novel(even I am not in a position to give what they are in English because that was unique in this language and one more letter is very unique here that is generally translated as zha but actual pronunciation is different and unique in Tamil as it is the third form of 'la' which is not available in any other language. Even in other article I have written on Tirukkural, I found while writing in English, the translation does not serve the real depth of language and hence I told that the real sweetness will be tasted only if a person knows literature Tamil and not even to some who knows only modern Tamil to speak.

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