New issue of EJVS: Mahadevan on Southern Mbh, Vedic Brahmins & paleography

Mahadevan, Thennilapuram tmahadevan at HOWARD.EDU
Fri Jul 25 07:44:16 UTC 2008

I am at Kanchipuram at this writing, and I have just learnt that the the aparazikhA (ApastaMba) tradition also has the garuda ("kite" in Sangam poetry) as the usual citi or syena, for the agnicayana,  contrary to my earlier information.  I am not able to ascertain yet if this is a paNchapatrikaa or Sadpatrikaa bird.  I will be addressing this issue in detail in forthcoming work.
Thennilapuram P. Mahadevan

From: Indology [INDOLOGY at] On Behalf Of Michael Witzel [witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU]
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2008 8:07 AM
Subject: New issue of EJVS: Mahadevan on Southern Mbh, Vedic Brahmins & paleography

We are happy to announce a new issue of the Electronic Journal of
Vedic Studies, Vol. 15, issue 2 (July):
The Southern Recension of the Mahabaharata,
Brahman Migrations,
and Brahmi Paleography


    Tennilapuram P. Mahadevan


The paper  is important  in several respects. It provides evidence
for the
early (Sangam period)  movement of Northern  (Madhyadesha) Vedic
Brahmins into the peninsula and of that of their later successors in
and Cola time. The first group includes among others, the rare
schools of
the Vadhula Taittiriyas, the Kaushitaki Rgvedins and the Jaiminiya

The first  group wears the traditional tuft—shikha in Sanskrit and
kutumi in
Tamil—toward the front of the head and is known thus as the Purvashikha
Brahmans; the second group wears it to the back of the head, and thus
called  Aparashikha Brahmans.

The  Purvashikha group brought the archetype of the Mahabharata or its
proto-Sharada version to the peninsula, where it  evolved into the
Recension (SR), written in Southern  Brahmi script by the beginning
of the
Common Era. It was taken, in Kalabhra times, to Malabar by the

The SR text initially  also remained behind in the Tamil country with
historical Sholiya Purvashikhas. The Aparashikha Brahmans arriving
the Pallava period brought along a Northern Recension (NR) text giving
rise to the much  inflated Grantha-Telugu versions of the SR text.

This scenario explains the anomalous situation that the Malayalam
of the  SR is the shortest of the SR texts and that  it is closely
aligned to the
Sharada text of Kashmir.  It  also explains the influence of another
NR text
on the  Grantha-Telugu versions of the SR text.

Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS)
2008, Vol.15, Issue 2, p. 43 sqq
(c) ISSN 1084-7561


Michael Witzel
witzel at

Dept. of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
1 Bow Street
Cambridge MA 02138, USA

phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295 (voice & messages), 496 8570, fax 617 - 496
my direct line (also for messages) :  617- 496 2990

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list