vaTakalai and ten2kalai (4)

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Mon Jun 21 00:37:28 UTC 1999

The inscription is SII, vol 24, no. 523 from 1617 AD. It describes rAmAnuja 
as "palkalaiyOr tAmen2n2a vantu an2aittulakum vAzap piRantu ten2n2aragkar 
celvam muRRum tiruttivittu pon2n2aragkamen2n2il mayalE perukum svAmi 
emperumAn2Ar..". The inscription was engraved by a ten2kalai person. Based on 
Lakshmi Srinivas' date of the beginning of the use of the terms vaTakalai and 
ten2kalai as 16th century, this inscription gives an example of the use of 
"kalai" after the start of that usage. Moreover, it refers not to any 
ordinary zrIvaiSNava but to rAmAnuja himself.  The inscription also mentions 
"svAmi zrIbhASyakArarukku tiruvuLLamAyirukkiRa inta polika polikai 

Let us see if "kalai" as used here can have any geographical connotation. The 
geographical connotation could be based on the following
- place of nativity (north or south Tamilnadu)
- headquarters of the teacher lineage (Kanci or Srirangam)
- vaTama or cOziya brahminhood

Tamil "palkalai" is a compound of "pal" and "kalai". "pal" means "many". 
"kalai" cannot be based on the place of birth because one cannot have many 
places of birth. The different lineages of Srirangam and Kanci are 
post-rAmAnuja. So "kalai" cannot be based on the geography of kanci or 
Srirangam. Since one can belong to only one of vaTama and cOziya brahmin 
groups, the use of "many" to describe "kalai" rules out the third possibility 

rAmAnuja is recognized in the inscription as one who wrote the zrIbhASya and 
also as one who loved the tiruvAymozi.  Given this and all my earlier 
discussions, it is obvious hat the term "palkalaiyOr" refers to rAmAnuja as 
well-versed in many texts (Sanskrit and Tamil). Indeed, I would take it as 
referring to him as ubhayavedAntin. Although, the term "irukalai" ("iru" 
means two) as used by periyAzvAr could be considered even a closer match , 
since Tamil does not have the dual number category, even "palkalai" can 
represent "ubhayavedAnta".

Thus the usage of "kalai" in this inscription rules out any traditional 
attribution of geographic connotation to the terms, vaTakalai and ten2kalai.

Finally, since apparently not many list members are interested in these 
discussions, considering the limit on posting, I would not mind any responses 
off the list.

S. Palaniappan

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