You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1999


From: M.K. Krishnaswamy (
Date: Wed May 05 1999 - 07:30:28 PDT

The root-word for both Iyer and Iyengar (Ayyar, Ayyangar) appears to be
Iyen (Ayyan) which, in turn, may be derived from Aryan. Since the ending
with the letter N indicates lack of respect, Iyen became Iyer.
Similarly, 'garu' in Telugu is added to show respect and Iyen became
Iyen-garu which in turn was contracted to Iyengar.
If this (unsupported) explanation is accepted, why was a telugu
appellation adopted for Sri Vaishnavas?  May be, historically, many
lived around 1500 AD in Telugu areas?

This version of the origin of the words is advanced merely for the
purpose of consideration as to aptness and discussion by the Bhakti

Narsi Mehta, the author of 'Vaishnava Janato" song has described the
admirable qualities of a Sri Vaishnava who is dedicated to the Lord.
Intolerance towards a non-believer of Sriman Narayana is certainly not
one of them.

Adiyen dasan,
MK Krishnaswamy