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From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Tue Jan 19 1999 - 10:48:14 PST

"V. Srimahavishnu" <vsri@iitk.ac.in> wrote:
> ... I am unable to agree with SrI Sreenath Chakravarthy that PiLLai
> lOkAchAryar's disciplic succession was called "Ten"kalai because they
> preferred Tamil and that of VEdAnta DESikar called "Vada"kalai for their
> preferring sanskrit,for this theory was not known in those days.

While a debate over the origin of Sanskrit is outside
the scope of this list [*], Sanskrit was and is acknowledged
by all Tamilians, including the Alvars, as "vadamozhi" or
"vadacol", the language of the north.  (See Kulasekhara
Alvar's perumaaL thirumozhi 1.4, where the Alvar speaks
of Tamil and "vadamozhi" Sanskrit.)

While holding Sanskrit in great respect, the Alvars 
(as with most other Tamilians) preferred to compose in 
their native tongue of Tamil.

I agree, however, that this is most probably _not_ the origin
of the terms "vadagalai" and "thengalai".

Mani

[*] Readers interested in the linguistic history of Sanskrit
    should browse the archives of the INDOLOGY discussion group,
    where this topic has been debated many times:

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucgadkw/indology.html