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Concordance for the volumes of Deivathin Kural.

1. Concordance - the basic motivation

     The seven volumes of Deivathin Kural constitute a huge encyclopedia of information relating to our scriptures, history, languages, life styles, puranic history of temples and lot more.

This massive store of knowledge in seven volumes, is a rich source of information for us to

  • understand what our scriptures say,

  • research into our past,

  • answer questions about Sanathana Dharma,

  • find out how places got their names,

  • how Sanskrit stands as a base language from which words in different Indian languages as well as other languages of the world, have come,

  • and many more intriguing thoughts.

     With a thousand pages or more in each volume, it will not be easy for any interested person to cite the section or page in a volume that refers to a phrase, concept or principle.

A word list for each volume would run into several thousands and it is for this reason a printed index accompanying each volume is practically ruled out.

The computer age is providing us an opportunity to try an attempt at generating the Concordance.

2. The richness of the text in the seven volumes

     The volumes of Deivathin Kural are written in Tamil and cover a vast range of words and phrases from Tamil and Sanskrit literature.

It is no surprise for the reader who will often find that Maha Periyava had provided in a simple manner, explanations which automatically include meanings for many words, thus making each volume almost like a dictionary. This will help linguistic scholars cite references to the volumes when faced with a need to provide a meaning to an obscure usage of a word or phrase.

The volumes include hundreds of quotations which serve to understand a concept, refer to historical events, recall proverbs, etymology of words and more.

The references to Slokas and lines of Poetry from Scriptures and Literature is a noteworty aspect of the contents of each volume. This reference is provided by actually quoting the original text that is being referenced. Often footnotes carry additional details of the location of the reference in its original source. In essence, this authenticates the reference beyond doubt.

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3. Organization of text seen in the volumes

     The following picture illustrates the basic organization of text in each volume. A major concept is explained through a number of sub-sections, with specific titles, and each subsection in turn is split into short essays relating to a general topic pertinent to the concept and the sub-section. Each essay is given a title and the title itself can provide clues to what one may be searching for.

Deivathin Kural Text organization Text organizatiomn-Terms

Each essay is made up of paragraphs and may include quotations from scriptures, Sanskrit and Tamil literaure. Interestingly Maha Periyava had often resorted to citing English words to illustrate an idea which the reader familiar with English may easily understand whereas the same expressed in Tamil may call for more effort, simply on account of the difficulties with Tamil or Sanskrit vocabulary.

Important words and phrases are generally given in quotes for the reader to appreciate their role in the context of the subject or concept under discussion.

Most essays include footnotes which serve as additional information for the reader to relate the text to well established references.

Many essays include long and sometimes very long paragraphs. Such long paragraphs were not a problem for readers of the earlier generations but may pose difficulties for the modern younger generation. Also, Tamil writing style allows long compund words built up by combining three or even four basic words. Here are a few examples.

Examples of very long words

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4. Word statistics

     The table below provides details of the results of analysis of the words from all the volumes of Deivathin Kural.

Vol All words
in the volume
Long words*
Short words*
Vol-1 126955 19846 15098
43830 28083
Vol-2 163834 26111 19211
53554 31836
Vol-3 148802 26546 20566
50500 33289
Vol-4 178436 28584 21317
62101 33289
Vol-5 180020 29438 21907
59217 33869
Vol-6 213077 30980 23203
71352 40707
Vol-7 150154 23355 19029
50688 34014

     * Explanation of Figures in parentheses is given at the end of this section

All words refer to the total count of the words in the volume. A word in this context is a string of aksharas bounded by the space at both ends. This list will include words which have just one akshara, a number, words in English, Roman numerals and possibly some special symbols. The figures do not reflect the accuracy of computations but can be taken to show values which are probably correct to the nearest 50.

All Long words are characterized by their length above 6 aksharas. In this list, duplications within a paragraph have been eliminated but those across the titles are retained as also occurrences in the same title. Long words tend to have fewer duplications.

Root Filtered Long words constitute the set where the first four aksharas will typically share a root. What this means is that words sharing the first four aksharas are likely to be derivations with varying suffixes. Identifying the basic root words permits the long words list to be shrunk to a much smaller set. This set is therefore the important collection of words most likely to be searched for in the context of scriptures, historical data etc.

All Short words are obtained by identifying all the words having 3-6 aksharas. Duplicates within a paragraph have been eliminated but duplication across titles is retained. This set is perhaps the clue to common words which are also part of the set used in the scriptures, historical texts, names of places etc.

Root Filtered short words are obtained by identifying words with common roots within the set and selecting one or two to represent the root. This set is likely to include most words one is likley to look for. Identifying the root words is done based on the first three aksharas in a word.

Quoted words constitute the set of all words seen within quotes in each titled section. These may be just one word aksharas or longer ones. The count of words under quoted phrases refers to all the instances of a phrase consisting of 2 to 20 words seen inside quotation marks. The quoted words and phrases are likely to be of great interest to viewers.

English words refer to all instances of use of English within a titled section. in this list common words like the artilce "a", "the" , "and" , "of" etc., have been removed.

(*) For Root Filtered words, the figure in parentheses indicate the number of words selected through a manual scan. This manually selected list will be helpful for offline reference. More information on this is given in The approach to creating the concordance

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5. Variations in spelling words

     Text in all the volumes relate to concepts, ideas, and common aspects of life across the country. When a word relates to a language other than Tamil, writing the same in Tamil can often lead to variations. Tamil orthography (writing system) employs fewer symbols compared to Devanagari and most other scripts of India's languages. Consequently the same word, typically from Sanskrit, may admit of multiple representations in the Tamil script.

On account of this one may find the same word typed in differently in different pages across the volumes. Searching for a word may then pose difficulties if matches cannot be obtained due to spelling differences. However, this may not result in frustrating attempts to locate a word since matches in the first three aksharas are what count. It is therefore adequate to remember possible variations for the first few aksharas of the word in the query.

The image below illustrates some of the most common differences observed in the volumes when the same world is seen typed in differently. One may keep this point in mind when searching for words, typically from Sanskrit or even English.

Spelling variations

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6. Rationale behind the current approach

     At this point in time when Web Technologies have advanced to a high level of sophistication, one can certainly question the need to have an independent search application as provided at this site. While this is a legitimate point, we wish to state the important reasons behind our efforts to create this site along with the search application.

One does not look for keyword matching alone when attempting a search. The person looking for information has a "context" in mind and this context is difficult to specify in terms of keywords alone. That is perhaps the reason why search engines return hundreds of results since all of them work on keywords or keyword based phrases, for ascertaining the context is a very complex issue.

At this site, the context is restricted to information contained in the volumes of Deivathin Kural. Besides, the context is also enhanced when the type of word one is looking for is also specified, not in the form of a keyword but as a parameter in search. This helps considerably in practice as it allows a person to specify the context, which in turn helps the application narrow down the results.

Certainly no claim is made about the specific advantage of this approach. one must concede however, that a massive store of information about our culture, history, life styles, languages etc., contained in the seven volumes does benefit from the availability of a facility to locate information in the store that is structured to cater to the context specified above.

These ideas are further elaborated in the section on The approach to creating the concordance

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7. Possible enhancements

     At this point in time (Nov. 2018) the exercise of concordance generation has limited itself to preparing a word list. The somewhat arbitrary approach to filtering words for concordance may be helpful but it is possible that one might think of specifying contexts differently, say based on what scholars have traditionally looked for in the volumes while citing a reference. This may lead to a search feature that might identify phrases(other than those which appear in quotes), where the context relates to specific scriptures, history, epigraphical references and such.

Viewers who find our exercise a worthy attempt, may kindly offer their views on this. Also, the computer savvy among the younger generation may come forward to take this effort forward.

8. Offline versions of word lists

     The downloads page has links to downloadable files for offline reference. These lists are shorter in that they display only a few thousand words for each volume. Yet, one may find that these lists offfer a first level reference for the roots which may reach out to much larger list through the search application at this site.

About Concordance

Items discussed in this page

Richness of Text seen in the volumes

Organization of Text in each volume

Word Statistics

Variations in spelling words

Rationale behind current approach

Concordance search

The concordance search page at this site will help you search for words in all the volumes of Deivathin Kural

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