4. The Chozha King’s message

After the music and dance program, King Paali turned his attention to the messenger Kaarvannan, enquiring after his welfare. Kaarvannan, after bowing to the King in reverence and asking for his permission, recited a poem in praise of the King Paali, and continued with his praises addressing the King along the following lines.

“Oh! Great King born in the dynasty of Senkan Maathu Vel, Paalivel!

Irania Muttathu, Perunkosikanaar, in his long poem Malai Padu Kadaam, has praised the valour and philanthropy of your ancestor Nansei Nannan. He says, just as the river that takes birth in the mountains seeks the ocean, koothar and viraliar come in search of you, naturally. Living testimony to that is today’s performance by Koothanaar and his viraliar, at your court.

The natural bounty of your Kodagu country – bamboo, jack fruit, tapioca, and honey grow and thrive here without irrigation. Even if the Moovendhars (three prominent kingdoms of Tamil country: the Chera, Chozha, and Pandya) join forces and attack you with their cavalry forces, they would be defeated and bound to trees here.  It is not easy to conquer you, so the poets sing.”

“Hence the Chozha King, instead of sending troops, sent a scholar like me. The Chozha Emperor Perunarkilli wants to keep friendly ties with other kingdoms of Tamil country, however big or small they might be. Though I have not brought paanar and viraliar with me to keep you in good spirits as the poet Kapilar has said, in your court today Paandaram Koothanaar, paanar and viraliar, provided a feast of art fit for a connoisseur such as you. In this pleasant atmosphere, I submit this scroll of the great Chozha King.” with these words the messenger started his diplomatic mission.

“Apart from that, I would like to place before you a request from my King: the great Chozha King has decided to perform the Rajasooya yagna. However, Cheramaan Mandharal Cheral Irumporai opposes this idea. If that enemy king tries to intervene in the Rajasooya there is a possibility of war with him. In such an eventuality, it is the earnest request of the great Chozha King that the bow of Velmaan Pali stand as a friendly force and help strengthen the Chozha’s hand. He also wants to convey the news that Therven Malayan king of Mulloor mountains, has already sworn his allegiance to the Chozha empire”.

King Pali, who listened to the messenger without giving away his reaction, received the scroll and took his time to read it. He then addressed the messenger.

“Kaarvanna! Son of the scholar Nedum Kannanaar! I trust your father is well. I have noted the messages from your King. We shall discuss this message of the great Chozha king in our Mantraalochanai sabha (council of ministers) and will give a reply for you to take back. Until then, you are the honoured guest of our Kodagu country. You have already heard about the wealth provided by our Brahmagiri mountain which also generates the river Kaveri, through the poems of the great poet Perum Kosikanaar. While it is true that the great port city Kaveri Poompattinam surpasses us in material prosperity and trade, this humble kurinji (mountain land) has an exclusive wealth of natural beauty unsurpassed by any city: the mountain peaks embraced by clouds, silvery waterfalls, and crisp mountain air. Be my guest and enjoy this natural wealth – the honey, the jack fruit, fresh juices, our own special regional delicacies! Let the rich abundance of our kurinji induce your poetic skills!” King Paalivel said.

Delighted by the warm welcome and hospitality of the King, Kaarvannan left for the royal guest house followed by his retinue of soldiers. The courtly business of the Naalolakkam continued. One of the main topics of discussion was the request of the Chozha King from Kodagu country’s point of view.

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