Tanagalai and Vadagalai

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun May 9 15:24:57 UTC 1999

In a message dated 5/9/99 9:07:53 AM Central Daylight Time, bhebbar at EROLS.COM

<< It  is  first of  all  "Tengalai"  (Tamil  for  DakShiNakala)  not
 "Tanagalai". >>

It cannot be dakSiNakala. I has to be dakSiNakalA. The Tamil words are
compounds. vaTakalai = vaTa+kalai. ten2kalai = ten2+kalai. "vaTa" means
"northern" and "ten2" means "southern". The equivalent of Ta. kalai (art,
science) is Sanskrit kalA. In these usages, the primary meaning of "kalai" is
"language" as seen in the AzvAr's usage "centamizum vaTakalaiyum tikaznta
nAvar" (periya tirumozi 7.8.4) .referring to brahmins whose tongues 'shine'
with Tamil and Sanskrit. Thus "vaTakalai" refers to Sanskrit and "ten2kalai"
refers to Tamil. By metonymy, these terms can be taken to mean Sanskrit texts
and Tamil texts. Strangely divya prabandha akarAdi,  GOML, 1961, glosses
kalai only as vastra and zAstra.

Like their zaivite counterparts, AzvArs also saw Tamil and Sanskrit as
equals. See periya tirumaTal 131 where viSNu is praised as being Tamil and
Sanskrit, using the words "ten2n2an2 tamizai vaTamoziyai...". In this
context, I am reminded of an earlier message in Indology.

In a message dated Tue, 12 Jan 1999 09:10:28 PST Shrinivas Tilak wrote:

<<In numerous postings to this list some scholars are passionately
motivated to demonstrate that a parallel Tamil universe exists beside
the Sanskrit one. But there is no need to play a game of one-upmanship

It looks as if in the early centuries of the first millennium AD, there
indeed were parallel Tamil and Sanskrit universes and there seems to have
been friendly interaction between the two. Conflicts  over the relative
status of Sanskrit and Tamil seems to have started later.

S. Palaniappan

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