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Re: Origin of Iyengar

From: nnarsi (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 17:38:43 PST

I remember to have read a scholarly article by Late Sri Navalpakkam 
Ammini Devanatha Tatacharya, a philologist and a recipient of 
President of India's award for Sanskrit, about the origin 
of "Iyengar". This word as well as "Iyer" has same origin in the 
Tamil word "Aiyan" meaning a respectable one. Iyengar is a Telugu 
variant of Aiyan (Aiyan + Garu). 

It is also said that originally Tatacharyas (who were gurus to 
Vijayanagar Kings) were respectfully referred to as "Iyengars", the 
term which later on came to be broadly applied to all Srivaishnavas 
(Like trademark Xerox popularly extended to all copiers). Even now, 
those who are familiar to Kanchipuram traditions, use "Iyyengar" to 
specifically mean Kanchipuram Tatacharyas. 

Dasan Narasimhan

--- In bhakti-list@y..., "vtca" <vtca@y...> wrote:
> Dear BhagavatOttamas,
> Recently there had been some correspondence regarding the 
> meaning of the word "iyengar". The word "i" denoting
> five is also a Tamil word (not Sanskrit, Telugu and
> Kannada alone). I am attaching a mail on the subject
> forwarded by adiyEn's brother Sri TCA Sadagopan.
> adiyEn madhurakavi dAsan
> TCA Venkatesan
> --
> Sri TCA Sadagopan writes:
> The title Iyengar denotes "A Person who performs the PANCHA 
> SAMASKARAMS in their daily routine". Such eligibility occurs to 
> after the ritual of "Samaachrayanam" by a worthy and True 
> The Pancha samaskarams are : 1. Daily Snanam (in the morning and 
> evening) with application of Urthva Pundaram, 2. 
> (including Manthra pushpam, Sandhya vandanam, Perumal amudhupadi) 
> Aacharyan tiruvadi saranaagati or sambandam, 4. Vaishnava Ghoshti 
> kainkaryam (including adhithi samaaradanai) and 5. Bhagavat 
> prabhatti. ( Thayar & Perumaal sevai). 
> Just as a person perceives this world through the 5 sensory organs 
> Mey, Vaai, Kann, Mukku, & Sevi, an Iyengar perceives his world 
> through these 5 samaskaraas, taking these as the Angaas for 
> life. Thus the name Iyengaars - meaning "I" (5 in chaste Tamil - 
> like "ai aindum ariyaada maanidarai") "Angaars" - Angangalai 
> udaiyavar.

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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