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Abithana Chintamani – First Encyclopedic Dictionary In Tamil

The first encyclopedic dictionary in Tamil, Abithana Chintamani was edited by A Singaravelu Mudaliar and was published in 1910 with the financial assistance of Panditturaisvamy Tevar, a philanthropist who established the fourth Tamil Sangam (Academy) at Madurai.

 Singaravelu Mudaliar collected several important items of information from Puranas, Itihasas, Shrutis, Smritis, Sthala Puranas and poetical works and codified them. Besides these Abithana Chintamani consists of relevant information about - 

  • Accounts of deities, saints and other illustrious personages
  • Descriptive and explanatory notes on places of sanctity and antiquity
  • Explanations of allusions to Hindu stories and history
  • Grammar, literature, and logic
  • Genealogical, geographical and historical facts
  • Dissertations on different systems of philosophy and religion
  • Descriptions of the birth and growth of Hindu sects and sub-sects that are extant
  • Genealogy of the principal characters that figure in our annals
  • Origin of precious stones
  • Physiognomy, astrology, medicine
  • History of illustrious Tamil authors and heads of holy mathas

Many other topics of interest to the student of Tamil literature and the antiquarian, all arranged alphabetically. In short the work is a compendium of the results of research in Tamil literature.

C. Gopalarayar, the headmaster of Pachaiyappa’s High School, assisted Singaravelu Mudaliar in writing and editing the work in 1890. Scholars like U.V. Swaminatha Iyer and Appasamy Nayinar helped the author publish the work, which took ten years to complete.

After its publication in 1910, Abithana Chintamani was revised in 1930 by the author’s son Sivaprakasa Mudaliar.

The Asiatic Educational Service Society published fiver revised editions during 1981 – 1986, which shows the popularity of Abithana Chintamani.