Questions on the name kApya/kApeya in upaniSads

Srinivasan Pichumani srini at
Wed Mar 26 14:55:29 UTC 1997

Esteemed list members, please bear with me as I repost
this... it looks like a line got munged from my previous


>> 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 brief discussion of the name TolkAppiyar itself, and the author's 
possible Brahmanical/Jaina connections, and connections with the 
(Aindra) Sanskrit grammatical tradition.  
As regards the 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 
(< Skt. 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.
Study 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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