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Eladi – One Of The Works In Pathinenkilkanakku

Eladi is one of the works in the Tamil Pathinenkilkanakku written by Kanimedaiyar. After Sangam period, the next great epoch in the annals of Tamil literature extends to about three centuries between the 2nd and 5th centuries CE. The influence of Sanskrit literature became more marked than earlier. Numerous concepts in the domain of ethics, religion and philosophy were freely borrowed from Sanskrit and incorporated into Tamil.

It was a period of turbulence in the Tamil kingdoms of Chera, Chola and Pandyas. There was a need for literature to inform people of moral values. These works were also known as nitinul (ethical works). This period seems to be called Nitinul Kalam (age of ethical works). It was also known as Sangam Maruviya Kalam (post-Sangam age).

The period saw a number of Jaina and Buddhist writers producing a great volume of popular devotional literature. Most of the important works composed during this period are grouped together under the title of Pathinenkilkanakku (Pathinettu Kilkanakku). The eighteen minor works can be attributed to Pathinettu Melkanakku, the eighteen major works, which consisted of Ettuthogai and Pattupattu of the first Sangam period. The most famous work under this collection during that era is Thirukkural by Thiruvalluvar. However, not all were on ethics, there were five works on love and one on war.

The name Eladi is taken from a well known medicinal preparation. Medicines cure illness of the body and restore health, and the morals imbibed through this book cure the mind and spirit and set the reader on the road to virtue and happiness, it is believed.

Eladi contains eighty verses, and every verse has six moral lessons to ensure moral health. Kanimedaiyar was a student of Makkayanar. The author was a Jaina, and his other work comprising one hundred and fifty verses, Tinaimalainutraimbathu, describes the natural beauty of the areas of surrounding Madurai. This book is also included in the collection of eighteen minor works.