The elephant naLagiri/nalagiri

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 6 18:31:31 UTC 1999

One of the more extensive versions of bRhatkathA is in Tamil. KoGkuvELir
rendered it in Tamil. 800 AD?
Tamil peruGkatai has an elephant named naLakiri. It has a description
"kAriruG kun2RiR kavin2 peRat tOn2Ra" (PG.1.44.84). Here, the
elephant naLakiri(=naLagiri) is compared to a "big, black hill".
kAr = black (karu-), irum = big, kun2Ru = hill.

> From Abithana Chintamani, Ency. of Tamil lit., AES, Delhi, 1991
Draupadi, black in complexion, was in an earlier birth
called nalaayiNi, the daughter of naLa or naLaayaNa
and the wife of maudgalya RSi. NalaayiNi (later born ad draupadii)
myth  is permeated with  'darkness, black'. When faced with a curse
from  MaaNDavya RSi that in the morning she is to lose her leper
husband, she makes the sun never rise again and the dark night engulfs
 the world all the time. Then, ay be, the name nala, nalAyiNI in MBh.
are coined from the Dravidian root word, naL-, nal- meaning black.

N. Ganesan

PS: Is the sangam Tamil word, 'al' meaning night coming
from 'nal' (=darkness)? Eg., caMaNar -> amaNar, nIr -> Iram, ..
The word 'nerunal' as in 'nerunal uLan2 oruvan2 in2Rillai en2n2um
 perumai uTaittu iv ulaku'(kuRaL) contains 'nal'.
Does this 'nal' in nerunal mean night? What about
the sangam work title, neTunal vATai? Does 'neDu nal'
mean 'long night' here?

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