vaTakalai and ten2kalai (3)

Lakshmi Srinivas lsrinivas at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jun 11 17:18:29 UTC 1999

Dr Palaniappan,

Your posts make interesting reading. My objection at
that time, as it is now, is that your language centric
interpretation is quite foreign to what the tradition
itself understands. The tradition always thought in
terms of the Kanchi and the Srirangam groups of

Also, the language-centric theory needs to explain the
theory of vadama-cOzia origination of
vadakalai-tenkalai sects. It makes sense in a larger
context because of the geographical distribution seen
until late 19th century. Also, it is not clear if
there were any Tamil agama works of vaishnava
orientation (during/before Ramanuja's time)
considering the cOzia were mostly connected with
temple worship. In fact still are,  to some extent.

 I have not seen any fresh evidence to think that the
meaning of the word "kalai" in the ciRiya tirumaDal
verse is language or even texts. Knowledge of texts ?

 Also the use of this term for distinguishing the two
sects is circa 16th century, so I'm not sure if the
two contexts ( i.e., that of the pre 10th c texts and
of the 16th c sectarian appellation)  are relatable in
a direct sense.

Finally, one must bear in mind that the Vadakalai did
not deny the authority of the Prabandam nor did the
tenkalai, the veda. Actually far from it. Relative
emphasis from the point of view of daily religious
observance? Not at all. Relative emphasis from a
higher theological argumentation? Yes for tenkalai ,
not quite for vadakalai. Has it then given rise to the
self-appellation of the sects? I tend to think the
evidence garnered so far is weak.

When I can spare the time, I'll try hunting for late
usages of this word within the Srivaishnava canon
i.e., post 13th c to 17th c.  At this time, I'm rather
busy with my work so it might take a while.

Thanks and Warm Regards,


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