Kaladi and Sankara

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun Nov 14 00:05:16 UTC 1999

In a message dated 11/12/99 7:11:26 PM Central Standard Time,
vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM writes:

> >All these make one wonder if the veLLALas in the 12th century knew what
>  >Sankara and Manu thought of the zUdras? Or was it just syncretism on the
>  part
>  >of kALaTiccaGkaran2's parents to name their son after Sankara of Kaladi?
>  >was there a compromise between advaita and zaivasiddhAnta? Or had the idea
>  of
>  >Sankara as an avatAra of dakSiNAmUrti become so popular as to lead to his
>  >acceptance even by devout zaivite veLLALas who would otherwise be opposed
>  to
>  >advaita? Coincidentally, western tirunelvEli region is also where we find
>  >potiyil, the original locus of the dakSiNAmUrti cult.
>  All interesting questions, no doubt, but the only one that can be explored
>  based on proper evidence is the issue of the relationship between advaita
>  and zaivasiddhAnta. This would be the mAnasollAsa attributed to Surezvara.
>  The other questions would call for too many suppositions to be answered
>  one way or the other.

On the first of the many questions I raised, I think now we have reason to
say that these veLLALas like cEkkizAr probably did not have a clear picture
of what the appellation "zUdra" meant. In his story of iLaiyAn2kuTimARa
nAyan2Ar, cEkkizAr first calls him a zUdra in the following lines.
nampu vAymaiyin2 nITu cUttira naRkulam cey tavattin2Al
impar JAlam viLakkin2Ar iLaiyAn2kuTip pati mARan2Ar  (per. 440.3-4)

Note the praise of zUdras as those speaking the truth. Note the contrast with
the story of satyakAma jAbAla.

A few verses later, he says

in2n2avARu vaLam curuGkavum empirAn2 ilAiyAn2kuTi
man2n2an2 mARan2.....                                                  (per.

Here mARan2, who had been called zUdra earlier, is called the man2n2an (king)
of ilAiyAn2kuTi. mARan2 must have been a chieftain at least if he were to be
called "man2n2an2".

Moreover, cEkkizAr was a veLLALa and a minister! What would Manu say about
zUdra being the king's adviser?

There is another interesting inscription (during the reign of Uttama Chola)
in Govindaputtur in Tiruchi Dt. According to the epigraphist Srinivasa Rao,
"In the Sanskrit portion with the inscription begins, the donor is said to
have been a member of the fourth caste and a personification of all the good
qualities, with whose valour the king was greatly pleased and conferrred on
him the title 'vikrama chOLa mahArAja'." This chief builds a temple and gives
700 coins to the brahmin sabha. In another inscription he creates an
endowment which included feeding 50 brahmins! I do not know if these match
what the zUdras are supposed to be according to Manu.

I have heard that there are literally thousands and thousands of unpublished
estampages of Tamil/South Indian inscriptions at the ASI, Mysore. If those
inscriptions get published, I am sure they will add significantly to our
knowledge regarding religion, society, history, etc. in South India.

S. Palaniappan

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list