Inferable Link of Bhagavatpada Sankaracharya with Kumbhakonam – A.Kuppuswamy Iyer (2/3)

Migration of Tamilians to Kerala

It is believed that Parasurama after his surrender to Rama, prince of Ayodhya, came down to the South and was instrumental in colonising the Kerala region with Tamilians.

It seems quite probable that another migration of Tamilians to Kerala did take place in the middle of the first millenium before Christ. Even now there are some villages around Tiruchur and Kaladi with names similar to those of certain villages near Sivapuram. Some of these are:- Mathur, Sedinipuram, Chandrasekharapuram, Karukkudy (Marudanallur-called in Kerala ‘Karukkurry’.”). Names of places such as Alathur, Tiruvaloor ( Tiruvarur), Tiruvangad (Tiruvenkadu) are also found in the Chera country. There as is also a place called ‘Kandiyur’ in Kerala. Kandiyur is the name of a village about 20 miles west of Kumbhakonam.

It is evident that the very name ‘Kaladi’ given to Sankara’s birth place is a Tamil name. Perhaps the place got the name ‘Kaladi’ after the advent of Sankara. Sankara is also known by the epithet ‘Bhagavatpada’. ‘Pada’ signifies ‘foot’ and ‘Kaladi’ means ‘footstep’.

Ancient literary works like the ‘Sivarahasya’ indicate that Sankara was born in a village known as ‘Sasalagrama’.

Hence it can be concluded that ‘Kaladi’ is a Tamil name and a later name. Sivaguru, Sankara’s father was a native of Kaladi. Perhaps Sivaguru’s parents gave their only child the name ‘Sivaguru’ after the name of the Lord of Sivapuram (near Kumbhakonam) which might have been the ancestral home of their forebears.

That settlers in new lands generally named their new colonies after their original native places is borne out by history. Protestant emigrants to the coasts of North America from the time of Elizabeth Tudor till the time of George III, named their new settlements in America, after their original homes in England, with a prefix ‘New’ in certain cases. There is a city ‘York’ in England and one ‘New York’ in America, as also a ‘Plymouth’ in England and a ‘New Plymouth’ in America. In both England and America there are towns called Ports mouth, Halifax etc. And one can find names of certain villages with almost identical names in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Alwaye and Alavai

There is a river flowing near Kaladi called ‘Alwaye’ (called ‘Choorna’ or ‘Poorna’ in olden times). On her bank there is a town also ‘Alwaye’. There is a river flowing through the city of Madurai (in Tamil Nadu), known by the name ‘Vaikai’ (pro- bably a later nickname as per Tiruvilayadal Puranam), having its source very near that of the river Alwaye.

It may be mentioned that the city of Madurai is known in Tamil classics as ‘Tiru Alavay” (“Tiru’ being only a prefix denoting sacredness). And we have a Sanskrit name for Madurai in an almost similar sounding- word-“Halasya”.

Similarity of the name of a town in Kerala with the classical name of a town in Tamil Nadu provides another indication of the migration of Tamilians to Kerala.

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