Questions on the name kApya/kApeya in upaniSads

Palaniappa at Palaniappa at
Sat Mar 15 18:41:30 UTC 1997

Given below is an interesting passage in bRhadAraNyaka upaniSad.

      Then uddAlaka AruNi asked him, 'yAjJavalkya', said he, 'we lived in the
house         of pataJcala kApya among the madras, studying the scriptures on
the sacrifices. He had a wife who was possessed by a gandharva. We asked him,
"Who are you?" He said, " I am kabandha AtharvaNa." He said to pataJcala
kApya and those who studied the scriptures on the sacrifices, "Do you know, O
kApya that thread by which this world , the other world and all beings are
held together?"...(bRhadAraNyaka upaniSad, III.7.1, S. Radhakrishnan's

Does the name kApya have any relation to the 'son of kApI'   mentioned in the
line of teachers bRhadAraNyaka upaniSad, VI.5.1, or 'zaunaka kApeya'
mentioned in chAndogya upaniShad, IV.3.5?  zankara in his commentary on
vedAnta sUtras, says that kApeya was a brahmin and cites a passage in a
brAhmaNa which says, 'the kApeyas made caitraratah perform that sacrifice'
(tAND. brA.XX, 12, 5).(Source: George Thibaut's translation) 

Who were these kApyas or kApeyas? Were they Vedic Aryans, Vedic non-Aryans or
non-Vedic Aryans? Did they live in the gandhAra region? What is the meaning
of 'was possessed by a gandharva (gandharva-gRhItA)? Was the wife of kApya a
gandharva woman?  

Significantly, uddAlaka AruNi also brings up gandhAra in another context. In
chAndogya upaniShad, when he is teaching his son zvetaketu, he says, "Just as
my dear, one might lead a person away from the gandhAras with his eyes
bandaged and abandon him in a place where there are no human beings, and just
as that person would towards the east or the north or the south or the west,
'I have been led here with my eyes bandaged, I have been left here with my
eyes bandaged. And as, if one released his bandage and told him, 'In that
direction are the gandhAras, go in that direction; thereupon being informed
and capable of judgment, he would by asking (his way) from village to village
arrive at gandhara; in exactly the same manner does one here who has a
teacher know"I shall remain here only so long as I shall not be released
(from ignorance). Then I shall reach perfection."'(chAndogya upaniShad,
VI.14.1-2 from S. Radhakrishnan's S. Radhakrishnan's translation)

Thus uddAlaka AruNi seems to have been familiar with gandhAra.

tolkAppiyan, the author of the earliest extant grammar in Tamil, has been
said to be of Aryan origin by some Tamil scholars like tevaneyap pAvANar. The
name tolkAppiyan is derived from a family name kAppiyan. I wonder if there is
any connection between the Tamil tolkAppiyan and Sanskrit kApya or kApeya.

I would appreciate any explanation or comments regarding the Sanskrit
material. Thanks.

S. Palaniappan

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