A few indological inquiries

Gerard Huet Gerard.Huet at inria.fr
Sun May 14 17:46:06 UTC 1995

I summarise the answers to my indology questions on etymology of deul and
other matters. Thanks to all who responded.

I guess the only remaining question is why the room next to the
main sanctuary in an Orissan temple is called "jaganmohana" i.e.
"enchantment of the world".
G. Huet


The word "deuL" (retroflex L) is used in Marathi also. It seems to be  
mainly a corruption of the Sanskrit devAlaya. I'm not aware of any  
alternative etymology for the term. 
S. Vidyasankar (vidya at cco.caltech.edu)

I am no Sanskrit expert, but I would imagine that  PrabhAvali should be 
divided like this: PrabhA meaning light, and Avali, meaning series or 
row; hence a string, series, or row of light(s).  As in ratnAvali, a row 
of jewels.

TiruvAci, or more completely TiruvAcikai would mean, in Tamil, the 
ornamental arch over an image, like the ring of flames, but could also 
refer to other sorts of arches, of flowers, etc.  To roughly translate 
this into IndoEuropean for  you Tiru=Sri, vAci (vAcikai)= bhAsaka (?)/vAcaka.

One of the major textual interpretations of the Cola Nataraja image is 
that of Ananda Coomaraswamy, The Dance of Siva.  I believe there is a 
whole chapter on the subject, which may answer some of your queries.  
This particular iconographic image dates from the Cola period (10th-12th 
c. AD) is associated with Saiva Siddhanta, and is perhaps most famously 
enshrined in the temple at Chidambaram (Tillai).  

"Daud R. Ali" <daudali at uclink3.berkeley.edu>

- Deul is prakrit for devakula "house of the god(s)".

- Prabhaavali(i) is from prabhaa + aavali(i) (not vali) meaning
  "range, series".

- Tiruvaaci is tamil tiru "divine" + aaci = sanskrit aazis "blessing,
  wish". The word denotes the arch over the head of a sacred image. (I
  am no specialist of tamil, though).

- In the common representation of Ziva NaTaraaja as usually seen in
  South Indian bronzes the dance is the naadaanta. This dance was
  performed by Ziva before the assembly in the golden hall of
  Cidambaram, regarded as the centre of the universe. The taaNDava, on
  the other hand, is a wild dance performed in the cremation grounds by
  Ziva accompanied by Devii and his retinue of ghosts.

- According to a myth related in the Kooyil PuraaNam, when Ziva danced
  before the hostile RSis dwelling in the Taaraka forest, the latter
  endeavoured to destroy him by various means. After several thwarted
  attempts, they drove against him a monster in the shape of a malignant
  dwarf, which the god trampled down under his foot.  Muyalaka appears
  to be the correct tamil name, but I am not sure of the etymology. As
  for the ApasmaarapuruSa, it means something like the "man of
  forgetfulness", and is usually considered as a personification of

       Paolo Magnone
       Catholic University of Milan
       p.magnone at agora.stm.it

> 1. In Orissa, the main structure of a temple, as well as its inner
> sanctuary, is usually called "deul". This does not appear to be a sanskrit
> word, although it could plausibly be derived from the root dIv/dev.
> What is the accepted etymology of this term?

Interestingly, "deuL" is also the Marathi
word for temple.  I would guess that it is
indeed from Sanskrit.
> 2. The room next to the deul is called "jaganmohana", which is sanskrit
> for "Illusion of the World" or "World Illusion" if I am not mistaken, although
> this word does not appear in Monet-Williams. What is the standard explanation
> for this terminology?

Although not a Sanskrit scholar, based on
my Indian background I would have understood 
"Mohana" as "enchanting" or "enchantment"
(in a positive sense), rather than "illusion."  
E.g., a popular word for Krishna is "Manmohan" 
("one who enchants the mind" -- NOT "one who creates 
an illusion")!

> 1. The halo of flames that sometimes frames idols such as Na.tarAja is
> usually called "prabhAma.n.dala" which means "Circle of Light". This
> etimology is pretty clear, although it is not clear to me whether the
> substantive prabhA comes form the verb pra-bhA or from pra-bhAs, since
> the roots bhA and bhAs have very close meanings.
> Sometimes this halo is referred to as "prabhAvali" where "vali", which
> usually means wrinkle in sanskrit, is sometimes spelled "valI" or even
> "vallI". Which is the correct spelling, and is the proper translation
> "festooned with light"?

Again, though not a Sanskrit scholar, I
would have guessed that it (I think it is
AvaLi, not VaLi) means "row" or "line."  

E.g., "DeepavaLi" is the
festival of "rows of lamps."  "Rangoli"
(actually, "Rangavali", I would guess)
is the designs one draws on the floor, 
with "rows" or "lines" of colours.


Narayan Sriranga Raja. <raja at galileo.IFA.Hawaii.Edu>


Deval, as it is used in Hindi, is probably from Skt. devalaya, house of the
god(s). The word occurs extensively in modern and premodern NIA languages.
Cf. the famous line from Kabir, "na main deval, na main masjid, na kaabe
kailas mein, moko kahan tu dhundh re bande?" ("I am not to be found in the
temple, nor the mosque, nor in the Kaaba, nor at Kailasa; where do you look
for me, O man?") The punch-line, of course, is that God is to be found in
one's own heart.

Aditya Behl
Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies,
1203, Dwinelle Hall,
University of California at Berkeley,
Berkeley, California 94720.

Electronic Mail: adi at uclink2.berkeley.edu
Telephone: 1 (510) 642-1610 (O), 843-1264 (R) 
Facsimile: 1 (510) 642-3582

I'm going to make some wild connections. Please bear with me :)
my contention: 'deul' is very likely a derivation from root 'dev'.

here's why:
	In telugu, a temple is called 'devAlayam' (deva+Alayam) abode of gods.
The other corrupt (if I may) and/or shortened forms are:
	dEvalam, dEvaLi etc. Of these dEvalam is quite popular in areas 
boardering tamilNadu, and probably is used by tamils as well.
	'duel' looks like another such derivation related to 'dev'.
Comments are welcome.

-vijay (bandi at cs.umn.edu)

Nataraja, an excellent source
Zvelebil, Kamil Veith. Ananda-Tandava of Siva-Sadanrttamurti (Madras: Institute
of Asian Studes, 1985)

You might also want to direct inquiries to N. Ganesan, who posts regularly on
Tamil arcana:  nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov
Michael Rabe
Saint Xavier University
RABE at vaxd.sxu.edu


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