GANESANS at CL.UH.EDU
Tue May 12 20:29:18 UTC 1998
Tamil texts usually attribute tamil's guru as "Siva,
(eg., kuutta nuul, tiruviLaiyaaDal puraaNam, kAnchip purANam, ...).
He teaches tamil to Murugan who teaches it in turn to
However, there is a 12th century grammar, ViiracOziyam.
Its author is puttamittiran2 (Buddhamitra), the
Chieftain of PonpaRRi naaDu.
He says in the foreword (paayiram) of the book that
AvalOkitiisvara taught Tamil to Agastya first.
"Ayum kuNattu avalOkitan2 pakkal akattiyan2 kETTu
Eyum puvan2ikku iyampiya taNTamiz IGku uraikka
nIyum uLaiyO? en2il, 'karuTan2 cen2Ra nIL vicumpil
Iyum paRakkum', itaRku en2 kolO collum! EntizaiyE."
I saw the following post in Indology. The above material
shows that grammar was taught by Siva or Avalokitiisvara
depending on whether it is a "saivaite or buddhist text
that we are reading. This legend is current not only in the Northwest part
of India, but also in the extreme South of India as well.
S. Palaniappan wrote:
*Of course, if candrAcArya is not the same as candragomin, then we have two
*similar and possibly separate traditions linking grammar and gods.
S. Palaniappan wrote:
In an excellent article in JAOS 117.3 (1997) entitled, "Who Inspired PANini?
Reconstructing the Hindu and Buddhist Counter-Claims", M. M. Deshpande traces
the competition of the zaivite claim on PANinian grammar with claims of the
Buddhists and "points out that the competing claims on behalf of ziva and
avalokitezvara can be best understood as originating specific local
traditions in the northwestern part of the Indian sub-continent, where the
same local divinity was recognized by the zaivas and Buddhists as ziva and
avalokitezvara, respectively. He also suggests that the "participation of the
Buddhists in the transmission and interpretation of the PANinian grammar
eventually led the PANinian grammarians gradually to separate the Vedic rules
from the rules for colloquial Sanskrit, and that this has resulted in an
attenuation of interest in the Vedic rules, and greater prominence for
I am not a Sanskritist. But based on the evidence presented by Deshpande, the
Tamil grammatical and literary traditions, and Chinese accounts of Tamil
region, a case could be made that the zaivite and Buddhist claims originated
not in the northwest of Indian subcontinent but in the southern portion of
ancient Tamil region which includes present Tamilnadu and Kerala. For this
to be resolved, the critical problem is the identification of a mountain
called "potalaka". Deshpande has used S. Beals report of Yuan Chwangs
travelogue. Other scholars such as Lal Mani Joshi and Shu Hikosaka based on
Thomas Watter's work on Yuan Chwang's travels, have identified the
"potiyil/potikai/potikai" mountain in Tamilnadu as "potalaka". According to
Joshi, maJjuzrimUlakalpa was discovered from Manalikkara Matam near
Padmanabhapuram in South India. Cunnningham, Nandolal De, and N. Dutt all
suggest that "potiyil" is "potalaka".
If all these scholars are right, and Beal is wrong, then there are many
reasons to believe that we should look to the "potiyil" region for
considerable grammatical contribution. After all the relationship between
Tamil, potiyil, and a sage at potiyil is part of Tamil tradition. Even MBh
associates potiyil with agastya. Tolkappiyar most probably hailed from the
area near potiyil. The preface to his grammar states that he based his
grammar on "vazakku" and "ceyyuL", i.e, "(common) usage" and "poetry". So the
contribution to PANinian tradition by Buddhists may very well have been due
to the Tamil grammatical tradition. "potiyil" is also known as "malaya" which
can be translated as "parvata". So the preservation of Paninian tradition by
candragomin may have been from "potiyil" as well. There are other interesting
resonances as well.
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