Questions on the name kApya/kApeya in upaniSads

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at
Sun Mar 16 19:06:08 UTC 1997

On Sat, 15 Mar 1997 Palaniappa at wrote:


> 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?  

The text seems to indicate an actual possession of a woman by a non-human
spirit. There are other references in the upanishads where a wife or a
daughter of a sacrificer is possessed by a gandharva. And the gandharva
gives out a specific name, e.g. kabandha AtharvaNa, which is obviously not
the name of the woman herself. 

While on the subject of upanishads and women, I have another question. Who
was the first translator of the upanishads who said that Gargi Vacaknavi
was Yajnavalkya's wife? In the upanishad, Yajnavalkya's wives are called
Maitreyi and Katayayani. There is absolutely no indication that Gargi is
also a wife of Yajnavalkya. Whoever made Gargi Yajnavalkya's wife seems
to have succeeded immensely. I am getting tired of finding books in  
English (written by authors who should really know better) reiterate that
Gargi was Yajnavalkya's wife. Some authors further confuse themselves and
their readers by identifying Gargi with Maitreyi, which seems to be a
classic example of a double error. Or is there any reference elsewhere in
the Satapatha Brahmana that makes this identification? 

> Thus uddAlaka AruNi seems to have been familiar with gandhAra.

Patrick Olivelle's recent translation of the upanishads has a very nice
introduction, with ample references, tracing the geographical connections
of the various upanishadic teachers. 

> 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.

There is a minor gotra called kapi, the first three rishis being Angirasa,
Amahiva and Aurukshaya, whose members are mostly found in southern India.
Is there a connection between this gotra and the kApeyas or tolkAppiyan?

S. Vidyasankar

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