Avvaiyar is a prominent female poet of Tamil literature. She found great happiness in the life of children.

  1 Avvaiyar

Her works, Aathichudi and Konrai Venthan, written for children, are even now read and enjoyed by them.




Konrai Venthan

These works, even after a millennium, are often among the very first literature that children are exposed to in Tamil schools.


In the method of teaching the children, she composed very short single line verse, in the exact sequence of the alphabets. Each verse of the poem was not only alphabetically sequential but also had a simple life message that the children could learn as their first lessons and inculcate their import in their lives.

This idea of inculcating value as the first lessons to young child was intriguing to Dr. G.U. Pope a British educationist and Christian missionary who settled in India. He was in India in 1840’s in Tirunalveli, Madras and Bangalore.

In his quote he says

“It is Peculiar that Indians teach Philosophy to their Children”.


            Dr. G.U. Pope

Probably he misread inculcating good values to the young children as philosophy. For then back in England moral values and philosophy was start only in Theological Institutions.

Let us here see the alphabetical sequence of a simple beautiful value laden Aathichudi.





Avvaiyar also interacted with Lord Muruga, Skanda on the beauty of the Tamil language.


                                                        Lord Murugan interacting with Avvaiyar

Avvai Vizha, the day for this grand old lady Avvaiyar, is celebrated every year in the month of Panguni (mid-March to mid-April) on Sadhayam star day.

One of her most popular verse on what we know, what we learnt is:


The popularity of this poignant quote of Avvaiyar is not only limited to the Tamil land but have spread far, in the west to USA and in the east to Singapore.

Nasa quotes Avvaiyar


NASA on “Cosmic Questions Exhibited” Avvaiyar’s quote

“கற்றது கைமண் அளவு,

கல்லாதது உலகளவு”

“What we have learned is like a handful of earth,

 What we have yet to learn is like the whole world” 

                                                                                                    – Avvaiyar


                                                                            Cosmic Questions

Avvaiyar quoted in Singapore Parliament

In Singapore Parliamentary debates on 17th October 2011, Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang) Member of Singapore Parliament, quotes

“There is an old Tamil proverb by a wise old lady named Avvaiyar that goes like this (in Tamil): •••••• •••••• •••••••• ••••••. Now, that translates into saying that the sum of

your knowledge can be captured in the palm of a hand,

whereas the things you do not know is the size of the world”.


Singapore Parliament

Let us celebrate the first granny of the world who gave nursery rhymes with life messages in each one of the verse.



Chipko Movement

Chipko Movement was organized in the 1970s to prevent deforestation that was rapidly happening in the country. The word ‘Chipko’ means ‘embrace’. The movement sought to prevent cutting of trees, by hugging trees. It was a non-violent struggle against the destruction and exploitation of India’s precious natural resources, the forests.

Inception of the Movement

The movement started with local women in the Rani village rallying together on 26th March 1974, to safeguard Banj trees. The rapidity with which these trees were being felled invoked the concern of the Pahadi People, as they began to notice the drastic effect it had on their daily livelihood and in the environment.


The Benevolent Banj

Himalayan Tsunami

The Himalayan Tsunami of 2013 was a fallout of the disappearance of Banj trees. More on the importance of Banj trees in maintaining the ecosystem of the mountains in our article, Himalayan Tsunami, Waiting to Happen, Happened – Why?


Hugging Trees to Save Them

The Pahadi women formed human chains and hugged the Banj trees to prevent them from being felled. In 1974, the Pahadi women prevented the auctioning of around 2500 trees, by standing around them in embrace.

One of the popular slogans of the Chipko movement was,

‘Embrace the Trees and

Save them from being felled;

The property of our hills,

Save them from being looted’


Chipko Movement

Across the Country

Starting from this small village, the Chipko movement spread through the country and reached its peaks in 1980, when it forced the then prime minister Indira Gandhi to pass a law, banning the cutting of trees in the Himalayan region for the next 15 years.

Afforestations Carriedout

Over the next many years, the Chipko movement was instrumental in many afforestation work.


In 1987, the Chipko Movement was awarded the ‘Right Livelihood Award’.

Sunderlal Bahugana

Sunderlal Bahugana was the main leader of the Chipko movement. He travelled 5000 kms in 3 years, between 1981 and 1983, passing on the message of the Chipko movement. In 1989, Saunderlal Bahugana began many hunger strikes, in protest against the construction of a dam in the Himalayas, where the forests would be the casualties. The Chipko movement thereafter was known as ‘Save the Himalaya Movement’.


Sunderlal Bahugana

Among 100 who shaped India

In an edition of India Today magazine of 2008, the people who organized the Chipko Movement were counted among the ‘100 People who shaped India’.

They indeed shaped the Himalayan region. If not for the Chipko Movement, the Himalayas would have faced many Tsunamis in the last many decades, and been badly out of shape.

World Pyramid Day

The concept of Meru is pyramidal in shape. Pyramids are there all over the world. In Egypt, in Mexico, in Bosnia, in Turkey and in  many other places. At each place, the physical pyramids have different purposes. Researchers are today unravelling newer meanings for what these pyramids stood.



In the Indian civilization too, the concept of pyramids does exist, not in the physical form of gigantic pyramids but in the concept of Meru. At a ritual level, there is Meru worship.


For the noble factors that are inherent in Meru, it is referred to as Su Meru.


Sumeru Parvat

We call Egyptian pyramids as “pyramids”, as the word is derived from the Greek word, “pyre mid”, meaning there is fire energy in the middle of the pyramid. The ancient Egyptian word in the native Egyptian language in “Mru”. It is indeed interesting to note that Mru and Meru are phonetically similar and refer to a similar concept.


Egyptian Pyramids


Conical Meru Shaped structure, Turkey


Pyramid of the Moon Mexico

While archaeological remains of pyramids are available all over the world as hardware, the information on why they were made and how they were made has been lost in all these lands.

In India however, we have exhaustive texts on Meru, on what it means and on why we give importance to this concept of Meru.

Does this suggest that while hardware is strewn all over the world, the software to understand them lies in the ancient Indian Meru texts?

A connect is needed between the two to unravel the mysteries of pyramids. In iconography, one of the forms of Vishnu is known as Srivatsa. This can be identified with a pyramidal triangle etched on the chest of Vishnu over His heart.

Among many things, the Meru symbol also denotes knowledge. This symbolism of denoting knowledge is not just in Indian thought but can also be seen in architecture in Greco Roman style Fasad as well.

In the Indian thought, the base knowledge on each subjects originates from the Veda which is the starting point. That knowledge is explained in different Upanishads. This knowledge is also explained with stories in different Purana. The scholars and rishi give further information as relevance to their times. This creates a plethora of other subjects. In present day Hindi, these are commonly called as Tipany.

This way of arranging of knowledge from the source through all these explanatory texts are pyramidal in shape. Thus we see, among the many explanations for Meru, the explanation and arrangement of knowledge as it has come down to us today, is in the shape of Meru.

More on Meru, in our book, Brand Bharat Vol-2.