Madhvaacharya was a prodigious sage from 13th Century Udupi who disagreed with the Shankaracharyas doctrine of ‘Advaita’(unitary) theosophy and founded the religious school of ‘Dwaita’ or dualism of Atma or Jiva (Soul) and Paramatma (Creator). Narayana Pandithacharya subseqently wrote biographic narration of life and travels of the sage Madhva in a Sanskrit work known as Su-Madhva Vijaya. Poet Narayana Panditacharya was son of Trivikrama Panditacharya, the principle disciple of Madhva. Narayana Panditacharya was fond of Sanskrit, the pan-Indian link language at that time. He has translated even the local Tulu place names into complex Sanskrit words in his work and eventually also added explanatory notes to his poetic work called ‘Madhva Vijaya Bhava Prakashika’. Further Vishvapati Tirtha in a commentary called ‘Padartha Deepikodbhodika’has given some of the equivalent Tulu place names for the Sanskrit names created poetically by Narayana Panditacharya. On the whole these works provide some rare insight into the Tulu place names as well as general attitudes of people at that historical juncture.
Dr Uppanagala Rama Bhat wrote an interesting review paper in Kannada on the“ Tulu words in Madhva Vijaya”. The Kannada paper (entitled ‘Madhva Vijayadalli Tulu Shabdagalu’, pp 415-419) has been included in the compendium ‘Tulu Sahitya Charitre’(2007) published by Kannada University at Hampi. In this post let me share some of my observations and analysis derived from the reading of this interesting paper.
Sage Madhva was born at Pajaka in Belle village ,Udupi taluk bearing the name of Vasudeva. His father was known by his surname Naduvantillaya.His full name has not been recorded.The surname ‘naDillaya’ or ‘naDuvantillaya’ in Tulu means one hailing from the middle house. This pattern of surnames with -aya (=person) at the end are common feature among Tulu Brahmins. Narayana Pandita has translated the surname ‘Naduvantillaya’ into ‘Madhyageha’ Bhatta.
Vasudev was inducted as ‘Poornaprajna’ into sagehood by Guru Achuta Preksha and subsequently after taking charge of administration of the Mutt, Poornaprajna became known as ‘Ananta-tirtha’. However, Vasudev finally preferrred to adopt the name of ‘Madhvācharya’. (Acharya=learned person, teacher).
Madhva = Nadillaya
According to Narayana Pandita, the Sanskrit name ‘Madhva’ represents ‘Ananda-tirtha’. Madhu= Ananda (=happiness), va=tirtha(=sacred water). However, it is possible that the actual meaning of the name Madhva preferred by the sage for himself may be different from what Narayana Pandita has speculated. There are many Tulu village/hamlet/habitation names ending with suffix –va: Shirva, Kakva, Urva etc. Therefore it seems logical to predict that the Madh(ya) in Madhva possibly represented the ‘middle’ and –va suffix represented family house or habitation. Thus the original intention of the sage was to represent his family surname ‘Nadillaya’ or the ‘Madhyageha’, the one hailing from the middle house.
The area around the original Shiva temple in Udupi was known as Shivalli, the Shiva’s village.However, the town ‘Odipu’ or the ‘Udupi’ has been translated as ‘Rajatha-peeta-pura’in the work of Narayana Pandita.(‘rajatha’=silver; ‘piTa’= seat,foundation; ‘pura’=town). Many have wondered how the word silver(‘rajatha’) came to be associated with Shivalli and the Odipu.
One possible explanation to this riddle is that Madhva loved his native village, known as Belle.The word ‘Belle’ originally might have represented the immigrant white people, but the word ‘belli’ also means silver. Therefore Madhvaacharya could have named Udupi-Shivalli town (pura) as the theological foundation (peeTa) created by people of Belle (rajatha) village.
Brief notes on some of the place names cited in the commentaries on the Madhva Vijaya:
Pajaka: Uppanagal Rama Bhat has analysed the place name ‘Pajaka’ as pāja=pāde(rock) and ka=water.However the original Tulu toponym as recorded in Survey of India Topo-sheets appears to be "Paajai"
Kodavur-kana: The Kodavur village near Malpe was known as Kodavaur-kana during 13th century , (kāna=forest) implying that the area was covered with dense growth of trees.
Nayampalli: There is avillage known as Nayampalli or Neyampalli near Udupi. The Neyampalli vallage name has been translated as Ghrithavalli by Narayan Pandit. (The words ‘gritha’(Sanskrit) or ‘neyi’ (Tulu) means clarifed butter.However, the original name of the village appears to be ‘Nāyampalli ‘(village of the dog) rather than village of the refined butter. There are several villages in southern India named after dogs in the antiquity. Southworth has cited ‘Napalli’ or ‘Navalli’ from Maharastra as named after a dog.
Talikude: (Tali or tari=palmyra, toddy palm; kude= cavity). Talikude is said to be a part of Bannanje suburb near Udupi.
Kokkada: Kokk+kada. (Kokk or Kukke= an ancient tribe; kada=river bank). A village in Belthangadi Taluk on the bank of initial flow of River Nethravathi. It is said that Kokkada was also known as Iddya.The hamlet ’Idepadi’ that elicited the surname ‘Idepadittaya’ might have been an ancient locality near this village.
Ujire: The village Ujire near dharmasthala was known as ‘Ujiriya’ during the 13th entury. Ujir+iya, village with a water spring. Possibly there was a spring (Ujir) during early times that fetched the name.However, now there are no conspicuous springs in the area.
Goa: It is cited that the coastal territory of Goa (or specifically ‘gova’, gov+va,=cattle habitation) was also known as ‘Pashupe’ in Tulu.
Kumble :The Kumble town of present Kasargodu district Kerala,was known as ‘Kabenaad’.Cricketer Anil Kumble derived his surname from this village name.(Kabe=pillar).
Books for Reference
- A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
- Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
- Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
- Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
- Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
- Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
- Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
- Studies in Tuluva History and Culture.by Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
- Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
- TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
- TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
- Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
- TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
- Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999
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