THE WORD "ULAKU".
The article in the "Light of Truth" Vol. III. No.2 on Tamil philology is very interesting and instructive. There can be no doubt as to the fact of Sanskrit and Tamil having borrowed words from each other or from a common source. I feel however a slight difficulty in following the account given of the origin of "ulaku."
The termination "ku" in such words as கிழக்கு, திக்கு, புறகு & c. does not denote "place" but is the same as the dative affix "ku." If they happen to be occasionally used as nouns, (instead of adverbs which they properly are) such use may be accounted for by a comparison with the use of the English "to-day," to-night" &c, which are used as nouns though they are adverbs in reality.
Take for instance the word ஆங்கு or யாங்கு. Here the "ku" has all the appearance of meaning a "place." However, when it occurs in a sentence, it invariably occurs as an adverb in all its various uses. In the Puram: - நின்றாங்கு (st. 35. B. 18) means "as it stood." In (st. 234, b.4) யாங்கு means "how." In 245 it means "however."
Beside this "ka," there is another which occurs as an affix in the formation of derivatives, like, பு, சு, கை, சி, தி and a host of others which have no definite meaning but serve to indicate some variation from the sense of the root-word.
If உலகு is Tamil, the "ku" must be the same as the "ku" in உலகு "pledge" added to the root of அடை, அடு, "to place."
அசைவு, குழைவு and உலைவு form one set of derivatives, while அடகு, குழகு and உலகு form another.
I suspect the "ku" to have been added to the Sanskrit ghosha, for the sake of euphony only.
If the termination "ku," in "ulaku" be taken as the word "ku" and not as the affix "ku," it will be necessary to prove that this word "ku" also in Tamil and not Sanskrit.
If we cannot prove it to be Tamil, we prove "ulaku" to be but a mongrel term of no literary importance.
In Sanskrit the word "ku" means not a "place" but the "Earth." As in சிறுவனளை பயறு செந்நெற்கடுகு.
The impermanence of everything on Earth may have readily impressed itself on a mine which invented such names as உயிர்மெய் and விண் மீன். But the impermanence of the Earth itself and the worlds above and below it could only occur to one that had already been tutored in the system of the universe known in India. The existence of such a system must necessarily presuppose the existence of a word for expressing that which we call "a world." This consideration, however, is not a serious objection. This consideration, however, is not a serious objection. For the word "ulaku" is necessary in Tamil only in connection with the system of the universe for common use நிலம் and மண் are quite enough to express the Earth. And it is curious to observe நிலம் that comes from the idea of "stability" an idea quite natural to start with.
Intimately connected with nilam is the word நிலையம் from which the Sanskrit nilaya has evidently been borrowed.
What Nachchinarkinayr says in his note on the first stanza of the Chintamni is too brief to found an argument on. There he refers to the 58th rule in கிளவியாக்கம் of சொல்லதிகாரம் His commentary on that rule has reference to Senavaraiyar's view, which is as follows: -
Ulakam has two original and proper meanings namely a "place" and "mankind." The latter meaning is not due to a figure of speech arising from the former. For Sanskrit books say that ulaham has those two separate meanings.
Referring to this view of Senavaraiyar, Nachchinarkinyar says thus: - "The (words) called kalam, Ulakam are not Sanskrit words, as the author would not take up Sanskrit words and lay down rules about them."
In saying that they are not Sanskrit words he means only that their usage in Sanskrit cannot form the subject or cause of the rule in the Tolkappiam. For we know they are masculine in Sanskrit, while the rule in the grammar is founded upon their neuter, form and epicene signification.
He does not mean that they were borrowed by Sanskrit from Tamil. Nor can he possibly mean to say that Tolkappian never uses a Sanskrit word. If he mean that, does he also mean that the words தெய்வம், பூதம், மயம், நிமித்தம், பக்கம், உவமை, காமம், நாடகம், மாராயம், அரண்தேயம், மங்கலம், திரு, பார்ப்பார், பலி, ஆனந்தம், அமரர் சூதர், சிந்தை, பரத்தை, இரவு, அமுதம், அந்தம், அந்தரம், பரதன், கயந்தலை and a host of similar words which occur in the தொல்காப்பியம் are not of Sanskrit origin? I dare say a good many of these words may be shown to have no Sanskrit origin. But a single word that is admitted to be of Sanskrit origin must be fatal to that position. But in his commentary on rules 5 and 6 of the எச்சவியல் of சொல்லதிகாரம் are found நிமித்தம், பக்கம், உவமை உலோகம் in a list of words which he gives as words derived from Sanskrit.
In those Rules the author says that all Sanskrit words are admissible in Tamil if they can be spelt with Tamil letters exactly as they are in Sanskrit or with some adaptation to suit Tamil spelling.
It is plain therefore that Tolkappian lived after Tamil has received an admixture of Sanskrit words.
On the evidence of what is found in Nachchinarkinyar I am not disposed to place much reliance.
1. It has not been established that he is a reliable authority on history or philology.
2. Long passages are found among his writings which shown either that they are interpolations by copyists or that he forgot in one place what he wrote in another.
3. The age in which he lived has in no way been established. There is proof that he lived before 300 years ago, but how long before is merely a conjecture based on no argument or fact.