Questions on the name kApya/kApeya in upaniSads

Srinivasan Pichumani srini at
Wed Mar 26 06:44:41 UTC 1997

>> 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

Please see the detailed entry on TolkAppiyam in Kamil Zvelebil's "Lexicon 
of Tamil Literature" (E.J.Brill, Leiden, 1995).  It contains a very brief 
discussion of the name TolkAppiyar, the author's possible Brahmanical/Jaina 
connections, and his connections with the Aindra Sanskrit grammatical 

As regards the kAvya, kAppiya in the name TolkAppiyar, the historian 
N.Subrahmanian in his book "The Brahmin in the Tamil country" has a 
somewhat different conjecture... it's elaborate too ;-) 
But since he is a very sober historian on the whole, his suggestions are
at least intriguing.  He connects kAppiya-kAvya in this name, and the 
kAppiyakuDi-kAvyakula mentioned in the CilappatikAram, with a pro-S'ukra 
(i.e. pro-kavi... hence kAvya) sect of Brahmins who he suggests were the
earliest Brahmins to migrate to the Tamil regions in the dim past.

See also P.T.Srinivasa Iyengar's remarks on TolkAppiyar in his "History 
of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D." which make for very 
interesting reading.  Although his book is quite dated, his critical yet 
humanistic approach to writing history is very striking.

of two ancient Indian grammatical traditions: the Tamil TolkAppiyam compared 
with the Sanskrit Rk-, Taittiriya Pratis'Akhyas, Apis'ali s'IkSa, and the 
aSTAdhyAyI" is invaluable.


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