On Agastya and Aryanization-2

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Fri Oct 2 02:21:31 EDT 1998

Tamil inscriptions come to the rescue. It was a custom during medieval times
to name volumetric units after the king/chieftain or the chief deity of the
temple. For instance, the measure used in the vEdAraNyam temple was called
tirumaRaikkATan2 after the name of the deity. Similarly a measure was called
pazuvUr nakkan2 after a chieftain kuvalALapuram ( nowadays called Kolar in
Karnataka). We have an inscription of 10th century which mentions a measure
called "kOtukulavan2" in a ziva temple in tiruneTuGkaLam in the Chola country.
Another inscription mentions a priest of the temple called "kOtukula paTTar".
So either it referred to ziva or a local king/chieftain. We can rule out king
or chieftain because we also find the name used in the 13th century in
kalliTaikkuRicci  in the Pandya country as "kAzyapa kOttirattu eccavarAkan2a
ANTamAlAn2a kOtu[ku]lapaTTan2" meaning kOtukula paTTan2 whose name was
"yajnavarAhan ANTamAl of kazyapa gotra". In another inscription, we find the
name kOtukula- as part of a name of an irrigation channel. In other
inscriptions, we also find non-brahmin officials with names such as
"kOtukulavan2 viraccOzanAkiya uttamacOza nen2malinATTu muvEnta vELAn" and
"kOtukulavan2 cAttanAn2a parakEcarimuvEnta vELAn2" of paruttikkuTi. We also
have a dancer named "kAman tiruviyAn2a kOtukula mANikkam". All these suggest
kOtukulavan2 referred to ziva as belonging to a community called kOtukulam in
the same manner as kRSNa is associated with the cowherd community. For
instance, inscriptions have names such as "kaNNapaTTan tiruvAykkulamuTaiyAn2",
a zri vaiSNava brahmin of kAzyapa gotra. Aykkulam means cowherd community. We
also have a brahmin named as "yAdavapaTTan2".

This means that in the history of zaivism, this community called kOtukulam had
a special relationship with the cult.  Who were these people?  To understand
these, we have to figure out what kOtu stands for. Fortunately, we find an
apparently related name of a ziva brahmin "iLaGko/Oti sUryan" of kAzyapa gotra
who was granted the right of worship in a temple. The context suggests that
iLaGko/Oti was the name of sUryan's father. In that case, the correct form of
the name was iLaGkOti or young kOti. . (Semantically, iLaGkoti meaning "young
heat"/ "young boiling" seems unlikely.) This is similar to a classical Tamil
poet named iLaGkaucikan2Ar or young kauzika. Thus we have the forms kOti, and

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