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Re: Chakrataazhwar

From: Badrinarayanan Seshadri (
Date: Thu Jul 06 1995 - 11:53:36 PDT

Mani wrote:

* I think the word "aazhvaar" has two meanings.
* When used for the saints proper, it is usually
* interpreted as meaning "one who is immersed in
* the Lord". When used for others, such as kooratthaazhvaan
* or chakkratth aazhvaar it is added as a respectable
* suffix meaning "one who rules", or "one who is lordly". 
* Someone else may be able to supply the exact
* Tamil etymology of the two words.

aazhdhal = amizhdhal = immerse (oneself) deeply
aazham = depth

So I would consider the former meaning.

aaLukai = aatchi = rule
aaLudhal = to rule over
aaLvaar = one who rules.

aaLukai also has usually somewhat a negative connotation as
in enforcing one's power over the other, or holding a spell
over the other etc.

I doubt if `aaLvaar' became `aazhvaar'. With the aazhvaars
emphasising bhakti and absolute surrender to Him, I can hardly
imagine them being denoted by a word that means "power".

(btw, `aaludhal' is also a legitimate word, meaning `aaduthal'
 or "to dance" as in thoNdar adippodi aazhvaar's
 mayilinam aalum sOlai)

* Friedhelm Hardy suggests that the latter meaning
* was the original one even for the saints.  Which is
* why he thinks that "aandaaL" is the feminine equivalent
* of "aazhvaar", i.e., "one who rules".

I disagree. aaNdaaL alone has this name that suggesting that
she ruled His heart (avan uLLaththai aaNdaaL). The same is
not true of the others.

Further, the word "aazhvaar" is tenseless (vinaiththokai) 
applicable to all three tenses. "aaNdaaL" is clearly in the
past tense. They are not equivalent.


* Mani

Graduate Student
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Cornell University