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