There is an interesting story about Tolkappiar in the commentary written by Nachinarkkiniar (abbreviated as Nachi.)  Nachi was a Brahmin who lived in 14th century Tamil Nadu. He wrote commentary after commentary like the greatest commentator of India, Adi Shankara. Nobody has beaten Adi Shankara in Sanskrit and Nachi in Tamil. Nachi was a Tamil enthusiast and so he believed Tolkappiam was written even before the Vedas were classified in to four by Veda Vyasa. So he committed many blunders. In spite of his blunders, still he is held in high esteem by all the Tamil scholars for his sheer qualitative and quantitative Tamil commentaries.

(Kanchi Paramacharya Swamikal has pointed out the blunder committed by Nachi. without naming him in one of his lectures. See his 1932 lectures in Madras)

Tolkappiyar’s name was Trnadumagni and he was one of the 12 disciples of Agastya was the old story. Agastya’s wife was Lopamudra.

Now I give the version of PT Srinivasa Iyengar’s translation from his book “History of the Tamils”, page 224)

“ The worst myth is what what Nachinarkiniyar tells us in his commentary on the prefatory ode to the Tolkappiyam, called Payiram, that Agathiyanar asked his disciple, Trnadumagni, to escort the master’s wife, Lopamudra of Vidarbha to the Podhiya Hill. He at the same time warned his disciple not to approach his wife nearer than the length of four rods. When Trnadumagni and Lopamudra had to cross the river Vaigai, the river was in flood, and fearing that she would be washed away by the river, he extended his walking stick to her and asked her to cling to it. He thus isobeyed his master’s solemn injunctions, for in crossing the river, he was but one rod’s length from her.The irate master, when he heard of this, exclaimed, “ May you two not reach Swarga”. The pupil in turn said, “ As you have cursed us for no fault of ours, may you not reach svarga”. This legend was invented perhaps to explain the fact tht the Agathiyam has perished, where as the Tolkappiyam has not.”


My Comments:

People who wanted to date Tolkappiyar must remember certain facts:

  1. The Payiram says that it was launched at the court of Nilam Tharu Thiru Vil Pandyan in front of the teacher Athangottu Asan, who was well versed in the four Vedas.
  2. Tolkappiar’s Tamil is not very far from Sangam Tamil. So there was not a big gap between the two.
  3. Tolkappiayar mentined Vedic Gods Indra and Varuna as Tamils’ Gods. He also mentioned Dharma Artha Kama Moksha (Aram Porul Inbam Veedu).
  4. He also mentioned the pamyra flag of Balarama, Krishna’s brother.
  5. He used the word Adhikaram for the the three sections like Tirukkural and Sillpadikaram.
  6. If anyone argues any of the above as interpolation then we have to reconsider everything in Tolkappiyam. We are shaking the very foundations of Tamil. My guess is, if given into computer, his vocabulary will show that he belongs to 5th century or fourth century AD. No body dared to probe into this for the fear being dubbed as a Tamil Traitor.
  7. If he was proved to be a Brahmin belonging to Kappiya Gotra and his original name was Trna Dumagni or Trna Bindu, he must be the person who invented the special Tamil letter (247th in Tamil Alphabet known as Aytha Ezuthu). Trna Bindu means Three Dots=  Aytha Ezuthu of Tamil language.


Please read DID TOLKAPPIYAR  COPY SANSKRIT BOOKS? In the second part: London swami. Contact swami_48@yahoo.com


Leave a comment


  1. Awe some but can there be any epigraphical evidence of sanskrit before 3rd century AD, which means Sanskrit and vedas were evolving beyond 3rd cecntury AD and Rg Veda itself might have been recorded around 6-7th century.or may be 2 or 3 centuries earlier.

  2. No proof/evidence that sanskrit was a Bhasha of the masses or Lingua-franca.No speakers of this tongue today though some artificial attempts are being made.

  3. Sanskrit is the only language in the world which is not in the name of a race like Tamils,Hebrews, Chinese etc.

    Hinduism is the only religion in the world without a founder or a date. It is called eternal religion (sanatan Dharma).

    Sanskrit is the only INDIAN language with the oldest reference in inscriptions. Vedic Gods’ names and Sanskrit numbers are in the clay tablets excavated in Syria. They are dated 1340 BC.

    Dasaratha’s ten letters are in Egypt.

    I have written all these and the greatness of Sanskrit in six articles in my blogs.

    I have also written no one can erase the Sanskrit words from any Indian language including Tamil. If they remove Sanskrit words and references to Brahmins and Vedas, one third of Sangam Tamil literature would disappear!!!

    Please read NO BRAHMINS, NO TAMIL in my blog.

    You can challenge any Indian to speak without a Sanskrit word. They cant speak even for a few minutes!!!

    All the Government of India emblems have Sanskrit words !!

    In short NO ONE CAN ERASE THE INFLUENCE OF SANSKRIT FROM ANY WALK OF LIFE IN INDIA whether it is art or music or language or science; even satellite that went to moon. (Chandrayan) everything is Sanskrit. The day Sanskrit is dead, that day Hinduism would die.The day Hinduism is dead,that day India would die. The day India dies the world will come to end. Government of India’s emblem has the Upanishad Vakya : SATYAMEVA JAYATE.

    What I have said above was said by Swami Vivekananda and Gandhji. They have used different words, still the message is same.

  4. You ae mixing race with a language evolution and if that be so Sanskrit only mixes race with religion:
    Eg:Krunvantu vishwam Aryam-Rg Veda, Aryama Raja Varuna Upayatu such verses identify chandasa(sanskrit is a name derived in the 1st millieneum of AD, earlier it was bhasha and chandasa).
    The Patiram of Tolkapiyan in contrast describes the language as Tamizh Koorum Nal-ulagu(no reference to race).
    Hinduism is a misnomer infact this has no reference in Vedas and later text,it is dhrama and dharma all along and in Tamil it is “marabu” these terms are not religion centric perse hence your proposition is ill-conceived.
    No Proof in India hence you can say the language that evolved into sanskrit had syrian origin.
    The sanskrit itself mean refined which presupposes some language that existed to have been modulated prior to this language.
    Writing in Sanskrit (Epigraphical Hybrid Sanskrit, EHS) appears only later, in the early centuries AD.[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Indian_epigraphy
    Sanskrit was never intended to be a spoken language but a programme for higher order communication a coded language like computer programming,it has no speakers in the current and its evidence in writing(epigraph) is very late compared to its volume of literature.
    Appearance of Gods name in different parts of the world and evidence of sanskrit writing are two different things.
    Dasarathas 10 letters are in which script is what is material and wriiten in which language? words know no language it is when it associates with specific syntax it gets recognised out of spoken dialects.
    Vedas sanskrit as a programme are not disputed what is in dispute is the hoary antiquity alleged against evidence.Mind you in 100 years Hindi became a world recognised language among top five.Huge volumes of data are stored in in english with programming facilities in the past 30 years so age is vital when it gathers evidence.
    Tamil Brahmi has evidence thus far upto 7th century BC and Sanskrit in Asokan Brahmi has evidence from 3rd century AD,this despite so many antiquity supporters a thousand year gap.
    A reference to Indian account by a japanese or an egyptian literature does not result in void in their literature or even it results in some reference getting practised over the years in their culture, after thousand years possibly one will have complete alien culture reflected in Tamil or if sanskrit writing continues in sanskrit that does not demean sanskrit if all christian practices get prominence in the remnants of the sanskrit literature 1000 years ahead.
    “Please read NO BRAHMINS, NO TAMIL in my blog.”
    This is quite emotional, in a way racist arrogance.
    “You can challenge any Indian to speak without a Sanskrit word. They cant speak even for a few minutes!!!”
    Truely emotional and a wrong way to recognise a language, a language is a string of words when put in place to refer a context and words need not represent a language when a word appears in a language it belongs to that domain and cannot be associated with the other while we indians speak often we stray to refer the usages from many language words and many indains are bilingual or trilingual.To say Sanskrit(which itself is a term not refered in vedas to a language)is the oldest and all encompassing is like making oneself a fool of circumstances.Sanskrit is definitely a codified form of language structure to satisfy human intellectula instinct on specific metaphysical count.However it is yet to evidence antiquity and addresses scenarios and happenings that are either dramatised by the authors or happening that were real folk lores carried into generations before recording in the first millineum AD.

  5. Tamil And Sanskrit:

    The Common Source of these languages have remained to be explored due to sheer extraneous and other than linguistic considerations.

    Primordial Status of Tamil Language Structure.

    While it is very difficult to point out which language stands first in antiquity or whether humans started with a language structure or a language was a derivative of a group of spoken words in each community,it is definitely possible to pin-point the antiquity of a particular language structure from literary perspective.

    To share with you my perception of why i feel that Tamil could have been the primordial language or the syllable structure of Tamil could have guided, future development of encryption in other languages including and probably Sanskrit.

    The reason i believe are simple:

    1.Tamil structure of sound or syllable encryption recognises Vowel and consonent clustre in the first order.

    2.Tamil has Aytham which syllable has helped in development of encrypting consonents order probably in sanskrit and other indic languages.

    3.Tamil grammar as schematized in Tolakaapiyam do not restrain a length of a vowel or degree of a consonent and as has aptly been clarified by the Author that the restriction of Maththirai is to Iyar Tamizh and not to the Isai Tamizh which has unlimited exponentiation.

    4.If Tamil syllable encryption structure was not primordial,then it would have followed the course of other languages(including other dravidian)in encrypting orders by inter-extrapolating probably the Aytham.

    5.While restricting encryption to the first order- syllable for iyar tamizh, the phonetic values based on conventional positions have been adduced by language users.Thus while a word begins in the first order consonent,it goes to the second order anywhere else appearing in the word which can be reduced to first order by placing a preceding meyezhuttu.

    6.The sequencing of Alphabets as Uyir(Vowel)Mey(1/2consonent)and the combination of uyir and mey as a full consonent is simply fantastic simulation of a scheme which is lacking in any other alphabet series.

    7.While Sanskrit is considered as perfect for developing consonental orders,it could still not encrypt all the permutation and combination of pronounciations and sound production which is infinite.Thus if one goes into the dynamics of sound production(Vocal Chord Differentiation) and encryption it will be difficult to contain those consonental sound delivery within the four orders without erring in the encryption of sound produced and simply this has been taken by the Tolkaapiyar as isai tamizh which need not be subject to encryption.Thus Tamil scheme of things did recognise that limitation of encryption of phonetics,which is not limited to writing but emanates from speeches varied through vocal chord dynamics.The neuter(Ha)Aytham took care of the softening and hardening but remained primordial discovery to be implemented through Sanskrit scheme of things for encryption.

    8.Added to this confusion remains in framing words with the right kind of syllables,and questioning why a particular order cannot be placed instead of chosen order of a consonant for the particular syllable in a word.

  6. A book on Grammar , if classified so, as in the case of Panini-Ashtadhyayi and Tolkappiyam definitely implies evolution of writing system, for verbal communication or dialect do not have a grammer perse addressed in that context sanskrit should be acknowledged a written language from panini time or even a bit earlier.
    The question is when did panini write/formulate this grammar , not befor 3rd century AD is what the available epigraphical eviudence suggest.Now the observation of megasthanes on the writing system being non-existent perfectly fits into the oral tradition of Sanskrit supported by almost nil epigraphical evidence to sanskrit prior to 3rd century AD and fewer available upto 3rd century BC in Prakrit.
    The main question is whether sanskrit was a spoken language of the masses , going by the present status of sanskrit among the masses , the intent confine it as a deva bhasha and the Consonantal orders that has been addressed in the system well assumes lack of speech tradition that communicates messages day-in and day out among the masses.It has been a programmed group of language system which had oral tradition, communication of higher order intelligence and later evolution of writing.

  7. Dear Sirs
    This is an ever going ,never ending argument. I have presented my views and you have presented your views. Time alone will prove who is right and who is wrong.I am not surprised at your argument. We have been hearing it for decades. If and when Indus script is deciphered 90 percent of Indian historical writings will be dumped into Indian ocean. I am eagerly waiting for that day. Even Asko Parpola doubts such a day. We will keep our fingers crossed. Till then we will continue and enjoy more arguments!

  8. பாவிகளிடம் இருந்து தமிழ் தானே தன்னை மீட்டுக்கொள்ளும். சுமார் 1800 ஆண்டுகளாக தமிழையும் ..தொல்காப்பியத்தையும் அழிக்க / திசைதிருப்ப முயன்று முயன்று முயன்று கொண்டே இருக்கிறார்கள் ; தமிழ் தெள்ளிய நீர்…. அதில் எவ்வளவு அழுக்கு கலந்தாலும் தன்னை விடுவித்து கொள்ளும்…. நாம் நம் பணி செய்வோம்…. பூமி தன் பணி செய்யும்.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: