This item was on the 01-2017 LoAR
9: Virupakshapura Vidya - New Name & New Device
Argent, an elephant passant vert armed Or.
Submitter desires a feminine name.
Language (Sanskrit) most important.
Culture (Early Vijayanagara Empire (15th c.)) most important.
Period cultural name pattern is : Byname - Given name.
Submitter will accept major changes to byname, desires to keep Vidya.
Origin : alternate name for Vijayanagara, the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire, specifically the area around the Virupaksha temple (in modern day Karnataka, the western side of the Vijayanagara Empire).
According to Hoysala inscription (empire immediately prior to Vijayanagara empire), "Virupakshapura" referred to the area surrounding the Virupaksha temple, which was once located in the Vijayanagara capital of Vijayanagara and now located in the historic ruins at Hampi. This temple predated the Vijayanagara Empire and, according to the New Cambridge History of India volume on Vijayanagara, there were residents of this area : "The road in front of the riverside Virupaksha temple extends for one-half mile and along its sides are structures of various sorts, some probably being public buildings, perhaps audience halls, and others being shops and residences of merchants" (Stein, 32-33).
Usage of place names as identifiers : In this period (reign of Deva Raya II, 1425-46), the vast majority of women whose names were recorded only used one name, perhaps along with a title. Currently, there is a naming practice in Karnataka that involves using the name of one's home/village as part of their name, often in the form of (Place Name)(Father's Name)(Personal Name). This practice is followed in both Kannada- and Telugu-speaking areas, which were the main languages of the Vijayanagara Empire. As a second name is needed for SCA registration and locations are used in registrations such as "of Mooneschadowe," using a period place name for my persona seems appropriate.
Use of place names is seen in the names of women in the past as well, though the examples I could find are technically post-period, even if they are in the same region. For example, there are two women noted for their poetry in Karnataka, though they are post-era examples of the early 1700s, when second names became more in use thanks to colonization : Helavanakatte Giriyamma and Tarigonda Vengamamba (Chandrababu, 232-233). Giriyamma was from a place called Helvanakatte (now in Ranebennuru), and Vengamamba was from a village called Tarikonda.
Sanskrit epithet of a goddess; can be translated as knowledge or wisdom.
Vidya, sometimes transliterated as Vidhya, can be found as an epithet for Durga (or Mahadevi/Parvati/Lalita Devi/the "Divine Mother") in at least two texts : the Devi Mahatmya and the Lalita Sahasranama. The Devi Mahatmya is part of the Markandeya Purana, composed in Sanskrit circa 400-500 CE and tells the story of Durga's victory over Mahishasura. In it, "Durga is referred to as Mahavidya twice (1.58 and 11.21) and as Vidya (1.44 and 4.8)" (Kinsley 1997, 60). The Lalita Sahasranama is part of the Brahmanda Purana. In it, the goddess is given many epithets and number 540 is Vidya or "knowledge" (sometimes translated as "she who is learning").
Vidya is also used in other texts, such as the female being named Vidya in the Mahabharata, who is a member of Parvati's entourage, cited by David Kinsley as occuring at 3.221:20 (Kinsley 1997, 60).
Sources for usage of epithets as names: There is evidence from the period and region of women receiving as personal names the names of goddesses, variations of the names of goddesses, or epithets of goddesses. For example, Akka Mahadevi was an early female Kannada-language pet during the 12th century in modern-day Karnataka. "Mahadevi" is an epithet for the goddess Parvati that is still used today in India as a name for women. As another example, Gangadevi was a princess and Telugu poet later on in the Vijayanagara Empire during the 14th century. Her name derives from "Ganga," the name of the goddess and holy river that in the West is known as the Ganges. This pattern also exists in other areas of India, such as in the Kakatiya dynasty of the Deccan Plateau during the late 13th century where we find Rudrama Devi, born Rudramba, the daughter of an emperor. Rudra is an epithet for Lord Shiva and "amba" is a gender modifier.