Tamil Inscriptions in SEA and China and the Dates of Kalagki, Pokar and Korakkar

Recently I came across a very interesting paper on the above topic by Jan Wissemsn Christie of Univ. of Hull . that appeared in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 29, No 2 , and  I give here excerpts on the inscriptions in English translations and later draw some implications about the possible dates of the Siddhas Pokar and his Guru Kalaangki Naathar.

Period 1 : The Ninth and Early Tenth Centuries.

A. Takuapa, Peninsular Tahiland

The revised translation published by K.A.Nilakanta Sastri reads:

[The first line is largely illegible, but contains the fragments of what appears to be a royal name……varmakku……]

"The tank dug [by]Nang[U]r-[u]dai[yan] [and] called Sri-A[vani]-NaraNam[is placed under] the protection of the members of the MaNigrAmam, the residents of the military camp(senAmuga[m], and  […]

Period 2: The Elevnth and Twelfth Centuries

a. Lobo Tuwa, West Sumatra. Dated 1088 A.D it reads as follows:

"In the Saka year 1010 current, month Masi, we , the NanaadesaiTisaiyaayirttu AinnjnjURRuvar, having met at the VELaapuram in Vaaroosu(Barus), also called the paddinam (commercial town) for the welfare of the merchant body blessed by Siva, decided to grant as follows to 'our sons', the nagara-sEnApati Naaddu-ceddiyaar, to Patinen-bumi-desi-appar (?), and to the mAvettugal (elephant- trainers?): [On each of the] ships [cargoes], the ship's, captain and crew will pay the fee anjcu-tuNdAyam in gold, pegged to the price of kasthUri(musk), and [then only] may 'step on the cloth spread' (ie. Enter the settlement to trade). Thus we, the Five Hundred of the Thousand Directions, known in every direction in all Eighteen Lands, had the stone inscribed and planted. Do not forget charity; charity alone will help you".

b. Neusu Aceh, North Sumatra

A provisional translation of the legible part:

"[…] that [we] would not hold (kaikollakadavadallla): for this decision. [If any violation comes or situation arises against it (?) … those] who put the [royal] emblem  (ilatchinai) will come to take and go (seize?) […..] that [we] would not get or collect (kolludal) interest [in kind]  (polisai) […even] afterwards our people (makkal) do in accordance with this  inscription [ikkalvettuku kokka[okka]. Let there be prosperity"

Period 3: The Late Thirteenth Century

a. Batu Bapahat, West Sumatra

c. Porlak Dolok, North Sumatra

Provisional Translation: (of Old Malay/Javanese part)

[Old Malay/Javanese text]: "Om! The auspicious Saka year evolved is […….sa], [of] the bright half of the month the eleventh [day], the day(waara ) of Sak[r]a, Rewati ( the fifth) Nakstra (lunar mansion). At that time (tatkaala) […….pan] senapati rakan Dipangkat [..] daa[.]a [……?] Ganga sena [….] being(?) [……] [may this] offering(?) [of/to the ] negara be considered as a meritoriuos act  akan puNya [of] paaduka Sri Maharaa[ja…] guya(?)

[ The final portion, of roughly equal length, is written in Tamil, using South Indian script. It apparently contains more or less the same information.  No merchant association is mentioned.]

c.    Nakhom Si Thammarat, Peninsular Thailand


d. Pagan, Upper Burma

It reads:

(Sanskrit): Hail! Prosperity! [I have ] no regard for merit , none for a heap of wealth, none at all for the enjoyment of lust. Whatever is to happen, O God![will happen] in accordance with previous actions. This [alone] is to be prayed for [and] highly valued by me. In every other birth also let [me] possess unswerving devotion to the pair of thy lotus-feet!"

(Tamil) " Hail! Prosperity! Let the wealth of [this] temple increase! [In] the temple of Naanaadeesi- viNNakar_Azvaar at Pukkam(Pagan), alias Arivattanapuram (Armaddanapura), I, Iraayiran Siriyaan alias Sri- Kulaseekara -Nambi of Magoodayapattanam in Malaimandalam, made a sacred maNdapa. [Let] this prosper! This meritorious gift [was made by ] a native of MalaimaNdalam."

e. Quanzhou, Eastern China

A late thirteenth century bilingual Chinese Tamil inscription; the Tamil part translated by T.N. Subramaniam.

[Tamil] " Obeisance to Hara (Siva)! Let there be prosperity !On the day of Citra in the month of Chittra in the Saka year 1203 (1281 A.D.), the Tavachchakkarttigal Sambanda- perumal ( a Saiva religious leader) caused, in accordance with the firman( written permission) of Chekachai Khan (the Mongol-ruler), to be graciuosly installed the God Udaiyar Tirukkadalisvaram Udaiya- nayinar (Siva), for the welfare of the illustrious Chekachai Khan."

The Times of Pokar., Kalangki and Korakkar

Now it terms of these inscriptional evidences it follows that trade was quite active between China and Tamil Nad towards the close of  the thirteenth century and that it might have carried over into 14th century as well. This gives a clue as to  the dates of Pokar who boasts in many places of his trip to China and his several exploits there. His guru Kalaangki Nathar is actually said to be a Chinese or at least someone who has lived for long in China. Pokar's contemporary  Korakkar also claims to have traveled to China. It was in fact  he who appears to have brought kanjca from  China and introduced  it to the Tamil Siddhas.  It appears from the above epigraphic evidences that these Siddhas and their contemporaries must have lived towards the close of the thirteenth century and the beginnings of the fourteenth. This is roughly the times of Kannudaiya Vallal of Ozivil Odukkam and Umaapathi of Sivap Pirakasam , one of the 14 Meykanda Sasteras.

Later I will consider in greater detail why these dates are very reasonable.