Malaya location in 5th cent.

Petr Mares erpet at COMP.CZ
Tue Feb 16 22:02:38 UTC 1999

Dear Naga Ganesan

Thank You for the fast response. I wonder how somebody can write
that much that fast. Congratulation ;-)
>   Dear Petr,
>   Greetings from N. Ganesan.
>   Malai in Tamil means mountain. In Sanskrit, malaya is
>   a Dravidian loan word.
That is what makes the thing much clearer as the Gunabhadra who
is the first person we are sure about to translate Lankavatara came
from Central or Southern India by boat through South China Sea..
Although I have no Idea about what place he may be talking about
(there is no Potala mentioned in the scripture so far as I know but
he may have been Dravida speaker.
(there may be one older translation of this scripture according to
the fifth century catalogues, that was brough by Dharmaraksha
from Gandhara to NW China, but we have no remains at this time)

>   We have numerous texts locating Malaya mountain in
>   Pandya country, both in Sanskrit and Tamil. It is
>   the Mt. Potikai/Potiyil I am talking about.
>   I think Mahabharata, vAnaparvan section on Malaya mountain
>   has exactly the description you are telling.
>   The Mahabharata passage describes the abode of Agastya,
>   the muni/saint of Malaya mountain. This MBh. description also
>   describes the Lake on Malaya mountain. Check out the
>    MBh. vanaparvan passage in the English translation by
>    J. van Buitenan, UChicagop.
>   The same kind of description of Malaya mountain is provided
>   by Xuan Zang and also Chih Sheng. With a Lake on the Malaya/Potalaka
>   mountain.
>   I am looking at US Airforce map, a very detailed one.
>   The Mt. Potikai is about 6500 feet high. It is closer
>   to Quilon (Kollam) on the seashore of the Kerala (West) coast.
>   It is not far from Thiruvananthapuram either.
>   There is a huge lake from which the river taNporunai/tAmraparNI
>   flows. There are many lakes in Malaya mountain range,
>   Some miles north, there is a town, Periya kuLam, (Big Lake);
>   Some miles south there is a big lake in Kanyakumari district.
>   All in Malaya mountains of South India.
I will have to go and see myself. I always felt affection for South
India and since the Arunaachala in Tiruvanamalai is in state of
disaster at the moment this may be a wonderfull pilgrimage related
to the scripture of life. I do not have the map here so I just wonder if
this is where Veerapan lives.
>    There are many clues to GaNDavyUha; it talks of successive
>    kalyANamitra sites of South India. Few are in Tamilnadu.
>    For example, kollip pAvai narrated in Classical Sangam
>    texts finds a place in GaNDavyUha. The Lotus sutra also
>    few very South specific themes.
My trouble with the Sanskrit scriptures is their growing and changing with the time. If you come to
 Lankavatara of the Gunabhadra from 420A.D. and to the Lankavatara in Sanskrit as we have it now in
 its oldest manuscript. The Sanskrit is significantly bigger and differrent in many ways as the
people who were rewriting it always add something, changed or massed up.
>    May be LankAvatAra sUtra is also a South Indian text
>    talking of Mt. Malaya/Potiyil/Potikai.
According to my visits of South India I have a very strong feeling
this text either originated there or in some place of similiar
>    Two centuries later, Bodhidharma, Dinnaga, DharmakIrti
>    etal., from Kanchipuram spread Buddhism to the East.
Bodhidharma came to Canton from Tamil Nadu one century after
the Gunabhadra and start using this text to teach. But my question
is who brought and who compiled this scripture. And where? There
are 5th century buddhist sanskrit engravings in  Kedah in Malaysia
but is there anything such old related to Buddhism in Sanskrit
anywhere in South India?


Petr Mares
Lengqie Research
Hlavacova 1163
182 00, Prague 8
Czech Republic
Tel: 420-2-2422-9755
email: lengqie at

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