Translations of Tamil names into Sanskrit

Tue Apr 29 23:11:16 UTC 1997

Palaniappa at wrote:
> Many place names and names of deities in Tamilnadu were translated into
> Sanskrit as is clear from inscriptions and literary texts.
> For instance, in the famous 10 th century CE Anbil plates of Sundara Chola
> (father of the famous Rajaraja Chola), the name of the village in the Tamil
> portion of the inscription is 'anpil' meaning 'place of love' and derived
> from 'anpu' meaning 'love'. But in the Sanskrit portion, it is called
> 'prema'. (See Epigraphica Indica Vol.XV) Similarly, in the 11th century CE
> Tiruvalangadu plates of Rajendra Chola, the village of 'pazaiyanUr' found in
> the Tamil portion is called 'purANagrAma' in the Sanskrit portion. (See South
> Indian Inscriptions, Volume III) The Tamil name meant 'the village of
> pazaiyan' where the name 'pazaiyan' is derived from Tamil 'pazaiya' meaning
> 'old',
> A place called 'mutukunRam' meaning 'old hill' has been sung by the Saivite
> Saints of the 7th century CE. Today it is known as 'vriddAchalam'. A
> comparison of names of places sung by the Saivite saints and their later
> names reveals many such translations into Sanskrit.
> Similar translations have occurred in the names of the temple deities also.
> The deity in the temple at 'tiruvaiyAru' meaning 'five rivers' is called
> 'pancanatIswarar'. The deity in 'tirumeyyam' derived from Tamil 'mey' meaning
> 'truth' is called 'satyamUrti'.
> I am curious if such a tendency is seen in other language areas?
> Regards
> S. Palaniappan	Dear Sir,
		With all respect, I wish to express a different view.
	Not in all cases has the translation done  correctly from Tamil 
	to Sanskrit .We see that with a certain motive in mind, the 
	translations have been bent to suit the motive.	
		WE find a certain trend in the Tamilland, during the
	Medieval times and thereafter. A town in order to have a 
	certain status, had to claim to greatness or create greatness.
		The easist way to claim that greatness was to have a
	Sthala Puranam. In order to give credibility and to sound 
	grandiose, Tamil names were Sanskritised.During the Pallava times 
	a deliberate step was taken to Tamilianise religion .But later, 
	it got 	reversed. Whatever was Tamil had to be Sanskritised.
		It was this reversed trend that actually made people 
	indulge inin translating.
		There is a place called "eRumbiyUr". It has been 	
	eulogised in thEvAram hymns as "thiruveRumbiyUr"."eRumbiyUr'
	is a place surrounded by hills.
		But the name underwent corruption and became,'eRumbUr".
	A "sthala purAnam" was created . It said that Siva was worshipped 
	by ANTS! in that place.Therefore the place was called 
	"thirueRumbUr' This was conveniently translated as 'pipIlikApuri"
	"pipIlikam" being Ant.
		padiththavan pAttaik keduththAn
		elzhuthinavan Ettak keduthAn
		:KodngunRam" means a leaning or bent hill."kodum"
	is bent. But the pandits translated it as "koTOra giri".
	"thiruk kodung gunRamudaiya nAyanAr' became 'kaTOra girIswarar'.

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