On Agastya and Aryanization-1

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Fri Oct 2 06:21:25 UTC 1998

In a message dated 98-09-30 14:03:56 EDT, naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM writes:

<< p. 237
 KZ quotes K. A. Nilakanta Sastri "one historical Agastya, the
 author of the vedic hymns and husband of Lopmudra, who played
 an important role in his time in furthering the *aryanization*
 of the South .."

 p. 240
 "Originally there were perhaps two rival medieval legend about
 Agastya current in Tamilnadu. Both admit that the Vedic sage was
 the pioneer of Aryanization, but one maintains that he was also
 the creator of the Tamil language and grammar and that Tolkaappiyar
 was his pupil, whereas the other asserts that Agastya and Tolkappiyar
 quarreled ... >>

What follows is a result of my research on "Aryanization" of Agastya. Since
the material is long, I am splitting it into multiple postings. Comments are


There is a term "ko/Otukula" which occurs in Tamil inscriptions which give
important clues to the religious and cultural history of South Asia.
Specifically, the early followers of ziva seem to have been potters. It looks
like this term "ko/Otukula" has not been understood by epigraphists or
religious scholars or practising zivAcArya priests till now.

Even the correct form of the word has not been decided on until now. For
instance, G. V. Srinivasa Rao, the editor of some volumes of South Indian
Inscriptions, transliterates a name obviously derived from 'ko/Otukula" as
"kOdukulavan" in Vol. 13  and as "gOdukulavan" in vol. 19. Tamil Lexicon
considers the form to be "kotukula". Allowing for the variations in
transliteration of -t-  as -d- or -t-, one has to decide on the initial
consonant and vowel. The reason for the variation is that most written texts
in Tamil did not distinguish between short e and long E and between short o
and long O.until the time of Beschi. Also, Tamil cannot have voiced stops in
word-initial positions. So the lexicon considered the first vowel to be short
while Rao considered it to be long. Also, Rao seems to have "reconstructed"
the first consonant to be "g" in one case and  taken as "k" in another.

The correct form of the word is obtained from a tirumantiram verse as shown

nAtan2 oruvan2um nalla iruvarum
kOtu kulattoTum kUTTik kuzaittan2ar
Etu paNi en2Ru icaiyum iruvarukku
Ati ivan2E aruLukin2RAn2E.              (tir.408)

> From the rhyme of the verse, it is obvious that the first vowel indeed is long
"O". As for the consonant, there is no evidence to consider it to be "g". In
fact, as I shall show later, it is most probably "k" and not "g". So the
correct form is decided as kOtukula using the standard transliteration scheme.

Then the next question is, what is the meaning of "kOtukula"? According to the
Tamil Lexicon, kotukulam refers to a caste called tUtar. It gives an
epigraphic citation as "kotukulac cavaiyAriR cUriyan2". A later publication,
KanniyAkumarik kalveTTukkal, pt.3, no.323, (TAS, v.6, pt.2, p.130) of 1532 AD
gives the revised reading as  "kotukulac cavaiyAril Ariyan2 cokkan2 periya
perumAL mAttANTap piramAtarAyan2". The title of "piramAtarAyan2" (= Skt.
brahmAdhirAjA) given to this person belonging to this sabha (cavai) shows he
was a brahmin. So the sabha must have been an assembly of brahmins. It leads
to the next question. Why was this assembly called kOtukula sabha?

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