A. S. Gnanasambanthan
இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: அ.ச.ஞானசம்பந்தன்
A.S. Gnanasambanthan (1916 - August 7, 2002) was a Tamil scholar and a Saiva scholar. He was a renowned public speaker and researcher in Tamil classical literature .
Birth & Education
A.S. Gnanasambanthan was born in 1916 to A.Mu. Saravana Mudaliar and Sivakami. A.Mu. Saravana Mudaliar was a famous Tamil scholar from Arasankudi near Kallanai in the Tiruchirappalli district. A.Mu. Saravana Mudaliar, was awarded the title Peruncholvilakanaar.
A.Mu. Saravana Mudaliar was running a clothing store when he got in touch with Na. Mu. Venkatasamy Nattar. A.Mu. Saravana Mudaliar, who was already well versed in literature and the Kamba Ramayana, wrote a commentary on the Thiruvilayaadal Puranam with Na.Mu. Venkatasamy Nattar and published it. Later, he worked as a Tamil teacher at the Board High School, Lalgudi.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan received his primary education from his father. He completed his secondary education at Board High School, Lalgudi. In 1935, he did his intermediate studies in Physics at Annamalai University. Navalar Somasundara Bharathiar, who was also a Tamil professor at Annamalai University, recognized his knowledge Tamil and he persuaded him to switch from Physics to Tamil. While he was studying at this college, he became acquainted with Tamil scholars such as V.S. Srinivasa Sastri, Thiru. Vi. Kalyanasundara Mudaliar , R. Raghava Iyengar, and Te.Po. Meenakshisundaranar. He finished his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Tamil at Annamalai University.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan fell in love with his classmate Rajamal and married her - after facing several obstacles - in a ceremony held in Chennai headed by Dr. Dharmambal. They had two sons, Meikandan and Saravanan, and four daughters, Sivakamasundari, Pangayachelvi, Anbuchelvi, and Meera.
Career In Education
After obtaining a Master's degree in Tamil, he joined Pachaiyappa’s College, Chennai in 1942 as a Tamil lecturer. He worked there until 1956. Later, he worked as a production in-charge of dramas at All India Radio in Chennai. From 1959, he served as the Joint Director in the Translation Division of the Press Department for the Government of Tamil Nadu. He also worked as the Joint Director of the Tamil Publishing Department. From 1967 to 1970, he served as the Director of the Department of Tamil Development. In 1971 when Te. Po. Meenakshisundaranar became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Madurai, A.S. Gnanasambanthan was invited to join the University of Madurai as the Head of the Tamil Department. In 1973, he retired from this position. In his last days, he started losing his eyesight gradually due to diabetes and eventually lost his sight completely. He had an assistant who wrote his books for him.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan wrote a novel titled Naan Kanda Periyavargal. He dedicated the novel by writing, "I offer this novel to Mahan Yazhpanam Sithar Davathiru Yogar Swamigal's feet, who gave me the strength to speak and instructed me to write about Kamban and Sekkizhar when I was unable to speak and feared for my life fifty years ago". He has mentioned sage Vaalaianandha Swamigal who cured his illness in youth, Thirupathi Iyya a spiritual elder who was not a sanyasi, and Kanchi Chandrasekhara Saraswati as his spiritual mentors.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan was close with Thiruvannamalai Yogi Ramsuratkumar. He has taken his teacher Te.Po. Meenakshisundaranar to meet Yogi. A.S. Gnanasambanthan had a strong religious affiliation to Saivism. During his last days, he put forward a Saiva tradition leaning towards the Tamil philosophy through his speech on Thiruppugazh.
Thiru. Vi. Kalyanasundara Mudaliar introduced Te.Po. Meenakshisundaranar to A.S. Gnanasambanthan while he was studying at the Annamalai University in Chidambaram. A.S. Gnanasambanthan accepted Te.Po. Meenakshisundaranar as his teacher.
A renowned educator, A.S. Gnanasambanthan personally taught students like Ma.Ra.Po. Gurusamy, P. Raman, and N. Sanjeevi, who became popular later on. He coined the term Thiranaaivu (criticism). During his tenure as the Director of Tamil Development from 1967 to 1970, he translated and published more than 350 science and history textbooks in Tamil, with the intention of bringing all of the courses to Tamil. These books are still considered as important textbooks in the Tamil language.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan’s father was a Saivite orator. A.S. Gnanasambanthan started attending lectures with his father and gave his first speech at the Thuraiyur Saiva conference at the age of nine. When he was eleven, he earned the appreciation of V.O. Chidambaram Pillai and R.P. Sethu Pillai for his speech at the Tuticorin Saiva conference. He continued speaking on stage until the end of his life.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan became a renowned stage speaker. He coined the word Pattimandram (Debate). He created a tradition to discuss the Kamba Ramayanam in the debates. In 1940, when Karaikudi Kambam Kazhagam was established by Kambam Addipodi Sa. Ganesan, A.S. Gnanasambanthan participated in all the ceremonies. He spoke about Kamban from 1940 till 1985.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan was an orator, and his orations were also published as books. In 1955 he went to Jaffna for a ten-day lecture and suddenly lost his voice. He had stated that he regained his voice after meeting Yazhpanam Yogar Swamigal. As per his order, A.S. Gnanasambanthan wrote commentaries for the Kamba Ramayanam and Periya Puranam.
The Publication of Commentaries on Periya Puranam
A.S. Gnanasambanthan wrote two detailed research treatises on the Periya Puranam, at the request of V.I. Subramaniam. During his visit to the United States in 1992, he started an organization called the Sekkizhar Aaivu Maiyam (for conducting research on Sekkizhar, the author of the Periya Puranam) with the help of D.S. Thiyagarajan. They had decided to release the Periya Puranam with a foreword written by Thiru. Vi. Kalyanasundara Mudaliar. However, researcher M.V. Jayaraman, who was supposed to be doing it, suddenly passed away. The work was halted. A.S. Gnanasambanthan stated that he completed this work successfully with the blessings of Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, who was the head of the Kanchi Sankara Mutt.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan’s research treatise on the Periya Puranam is considered to be an important source of knowledge in the Saiva philosophy tradition. The book doesn’t restrict itself to the history of Saiva Nayanmars, but also includes a detailed review on the history of the Saiva traditions and methods of worship.
The Publication of the Kamba Ramayanam
He co-edited a Kamba Ramayanam with T. Gnanasundaram, published by Chennai Kamban Kazhagam, headed by Te.Po. Meenakshisundaranar. He was also the editor of the Kamba Ramayanam edition published by the Coimbatore Kamban Kazhagam. He has written many research treatises on Kamban, such as 'Ravanan Matchiyum Veezhchiyum', 'Thambiyar Iruvar', and 'Kamban Kaalai'.
The treatise that he wrote on Thiruvasagam, consisting of two thousand pages, is the largest book written by A.S. Gnanasambanthan. This was the book he wrote with the help of an assistant after he lost his eyesight. Although he had planned to research both Thirukural and Tholkappiyam, he wasn’t able to diverge from the Kamba Ramayanam and the Periya Puranam. He stated that the reason for this is the words said by Yogaswamy. (Naan Kanda Periavargal)
A. S. Gnanasambantham was involved in pannisiai from a young age. S. Ramanathan, a musician, studied with him at Annamalai University. While he was working for Chennai Radio, he set to tune the Thirupaavai and Thiruvempaavai, sung by A. P. Komala. He set the Aychiyar Kuravai to music in collaboration with S. Ramanathan. He composed musical dramas based on the Manimegalai, Kambaramayanam and Silappathikaram. The famous Tamil musician, M. Dandapani Desikar, composed music for these.
- Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar Award
- Thiru. Vi. Ka Award
- Kalaimaamani Award
- Dharmapuri Adhina Vidhvan Award
- Kabilar Award
- Sahitya Akademi Award - 1985 (Kambam Pudhiya Parvai)
- Sangapalagai Kural Peedam Award - Government of Tamil Nadu Award- 2001
A.S. Gnanasambanthan passed away on August 7, 2002.
Nirmala Mohan has written a biography on A.S. Gnanasambanthan for the Sahitya Akademi.
A.S. Gnanasambanthan is respected in the literary field for his three contributions.
- A.S. Gnanasambanthan is considered by many to be the best teacher. Famous students like Ma.Ra.Po. Gurusamy and N. Sanjeevi have documented him.
- A.S. Gnanasambanthan was a pioneer in establishing reading and inculcating aesthetics of classical literature amongst the general audience. He was very popular for his lectures on classical literature. His talks were later published as books and they perpetuated the interest in classical literature.
- As a researcher, A.S. Gnanasambanthan complied and submitted the basics of Tamil philosophy from books like Thiruvasagam, etc. Thus pioneered later researchers.
All of A.S. Gnanasambanthan's books are nationalized, and are available on the internet library.
- A. S. Gna Padhilgal
- Agamum Puramum
- Arasiyar Moovar
- Anaithulaga Manidhanai Nokki (Thakoor Katturaigal)
- Raman Panmuga Nokkil
- Ravanan Maatchiyum Veezhchiyum-1945
- Illakiyakalai -1964
- Illango Adigal Samayam Edhu?
- Indrum Inayum
- Kamban Edutha Muthukal
- Kambam Kalai -1961
- Kamban Nokkil Naadum Mannanum
- Kambam Pudhiya Parvai -1985
- Kural Kanda Vazhvu
- Sekkizhar Thandha Selvam
- Thathuvamum Bhakthiyum -1974
- Thambiyar Iruvar -1961
- Tamil Nadaga Varalarum, sangaradhasa swamigalum
- Thiru. Vi. Ka
- Thiruvasagam Sila Sindhanaigal Pagudhi -1
- Thiruvasagam Sila Sindhanaigal Pagudhi -2
- Thiruvasagam Sila Sindhanaigal Pagudhi -3
- Thiruvasagam Sila Sindhanaigal Pagudhi -4
- Thiruvasagam Sila Sindhanaigal Pagudhi -5
- Dhesiya Illakiyam
- Thotanaithoorum Mannarkeni
- Thoreau Valkai Varalaru
- Naan kanda Periyavargal
- Padhinen Puranangal
- Bharathiyum Bharadhidhasanum
- Pudhiya Konam
- Peria Puranam Oor Aaivu - Thogudhi -1
- Peria Puranam Oor Aaivu - Thogudhi -2
- Magalir valartha Tamil
- Mandhirangal endral enna?
- Manilavasagar -1974
- Murrura Sindhanaigal
- A. S. Gnanasambathan's books internet library
- A.S. Gnanasambanthan's Thendral Tamil Magazine
- A.S. Gnanasambanthan (Pustaka)
- A.S. Gnanasambanthan 10- Hindu Tamil