Re Potala(ka), etc

Fri Feb 26 14:19:16 UTC 1999

N. Ganesan wrote:

> The Buddhist epic in Tamil from 6th century (Re: P. Schalk's
>volume on Manimekalai)  fixes Malaya as
>Mt. Potiyil/Potikai. Malaya as Potikai/Potiyil
>is used in the beginning of the B. epic. Also, many Sanskrit
>texts fix Malaya mountains in South Tamilnadu of which Potiyil/Potikai
>is the tallest peak (in entire Tirunelvely, Kanyakumari districts).
>On 24-Feb-1999, Dr. J.-L. Chevillard gave the original text and
>its translation:
>[Begin quote]
> "OGku uyar *malayattu* arum tavan2 ..." - Manimekalai 1.3
> "the great sage Agastya, who dwells on Potikai" (p.1)
>[End quote]
>Note that U. V. CAminAtaiyar uses Potikai/Potiyil as Malaya.

Please not that, as I remarked earlier,
the translation I quoted is not very litteral.

the text says "arum tavan2" (stern ascetic);
the commentator interprets this as designating Agastya;
then the translator takes the short road :-)

Similarly the equation "malayam"="potiyil malai"
found in the commentary becomes a substitution in the translation.

Since there is still space in this post, I give now
the whole passage as it stands
in this not at all litteral translation. (Manimekalai, Canto 1)

"The magnificent city of Puhaar is renowned throughout
 the world for the virtues of its inhabitants, who jealously
 preserve the heritage of a most ancient culture.

"Still further to increase the city's fame, the great sage
 Agastya, who dwells on Potikaï, the snowy mountain,
 counseled one of the Chola kings (bearer of the hero's bracelet
 for destroying the three flying fortresses of the treacherous
 demons) to establish a festival in honour of Indra the king
 of the gods.

"Making obeisance, the king requested Indra to come
 and dwell each year in the ancient city of Puhâr ..."

There seems to be a wide syncretism in this buddhist text.

As for geography, I very much doubt one can make any
precise deduction from it.



P.S. I am afraid I have been speaking too much these day:
I shall keep quiet for a few days, even if I do not agree
with what is written...

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