Periannan Chandrasekaran perichandra at YAHOO.COM
Sat Dec 23 18:02:34 UTC 2000

There are a few occurrences of pottakam in the sense of an album or book
in Tamil texts.

In the Jain Tamil epic peruGkatai (dated to ca. 8th century CE:

"niRai nUl pottakam neTu maNai ERRi" (peruGkatai:1:34/yAz kai vaittatu :25)

-->"...placing the book containing  treatises filled [with knowledge] on the
long bench..."

Another occurrence in the same book is:
"pUtiyum maNNum pottakak kaTTum" (peruGkatai:1:36/cAgkiyat tAy urai: 225)

-->"...[monks with] holy ash, [holy] earth(?), and  a book-bundle"

Another Jain Tamil classic "cIvaka cintAmaNi" of about the same date as
peruGkatai has:
"piNagku nUl mArpin2an2 peritu Or pottakam" (cIvakacintAmaNi: 2009:3)
-->"...[he with] an entangled thread on  his chest, a big book..."

--- "N. Ganesan" <naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> The Pali "potthaka" is usually explained by Tamilists
> from the following root words. Online Tamil Lexicon:
> I) pottu 1. covering, stopping, closing up; 2. mending,
> botching, closing a hole; 3. rent or puncture;
> II) pottu-tal 01 1. to bury; 2. to cover, close, as the mouth,
> eyes or ears, with the fingers or otherwise; 3. to close the
> fingers together; 4. to mend, patch,botch, as baskets or bags;
> 5. to stitch; 6. to hide, conceal; 7. to beat, flog; 8. to
> light, as a fire; 9. to tie, string together, as a wreath;
> 10. to invent, imagine; 11. to mix,unite; 12. to be filled
> Earliest inscriptions are written by the shramana sects.
> For example, Asokan inscriptions. Earliest Tamil inscriptions
> are have many gifts to Jain monks. There are claims by Sri Lankan
> archaeologists for writing to have started arond 600 BC. The earliest
> coins found in Sri Lanka contain unique Tamil names found
> in Sangam texts and these coins are dated to 3rd
> century BC by I. Mahadevan. From David McMahan, Orality,
> Vishal Agarwal wrote in IndianCivilization egroup:
> <<<
> Etymology of Pustaka
> ________________
> been  borrowed. 'pustaka' occurs much later than its immediate source
> from  'pusta' which is attested in a 6th century copperplate
> inscription from North Bengal (Paharpur). There is the mention of one
> chief  (pradhana) and seven mere pustapalas. From the context it
> appears that a pustapala (literally a guard of pusta) was a dignitary
> that  excercised jurisdiction over settlement and transfer of landed
> property, assessment of revenue and maintenance of state records. The
> precise meaning of pusta is unknown to us but we know that the
> materials of a pusta work were from the following verse cited by
> Sarvananda in his Tikasarvasva:
> Mrdaa vaa daaruna vvatha vastrenaapyatha carmanaa|
> Loharatnaih krtam va'pi pustam ityavidhiiyate ||
> 'It is called Pusta and is made of clay, wood, cloth, leather, iron
> (and metals) or valuable stones'.
> This indicates that leather was not the only material and it is a
> sufficient argument for the rejection for an Iranian source of
> pustaka.
> Pusta is a sanskritized form of MIA pottha which is attested in Pali
> potthaka (or 'hempen cloth') and Ardhamagadhi potthya potthaga
> 'coarse  cloth'. The source of MIA pottha is OIA pavasta ('covering')
> which is attested in one occurrence in RV: (dve pavaste 10.27.7a).
> The word goes back to Indi-Iranaina, as OP pavasta 'envelope' shows.
> Iranian post and Iranian pottha are therefore cognates.
> It appears, therefore that pustaka meant primarily a bundle or bunch
> of written sheets kept under a cover, and later in it came to mean
> manuscript of a book placed between wooden covers and with an overall
> covering of coarse cloth, as it has been done till recently.
> OIA pravista developed a double meaning in MIA: (i) covering,
> covering tablet (kilamudra of the Niya documents), and (ii) coarse
> cloth (used in covering). Both the meanings are there in 'pustaka'
> and the second meaning obtains in MIA pottha and in NIA (Bengali)
> pota 'coarse cloth used as covering'. It has also given rise to a
> verb 'pota' 'to put underground, to plant'. There is a ghost word
> 'prothita' used frequently in Bengali Sadhubhasha. There is no such
> root in Sanskrit.  There are however two homophonic roots in OIA,
> pruth and proth; pruth (to plant, neigh, snort) occurs in Rigveda;
> proth* (to match for, withstand, overpower, destroy) oconfined to the
> dhatupathas. These toots have nothing to do with the pseudo-Sanskrit
> prothita.

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