Etymology of puujaa

Sat Oct 7 13:56:50 UTC 1995

Regarding the recent discussion.

Axel Michaels correctly stated Thieme's and Buehnemann's discussions of 
the word.

according to G. Buehnemann (Puujaa. Vienna 1988, p. 30) the etymology of
  puujaa has not yet been explained convincingly. Mayrhofer (Kurzgefasstes
  etymologisches Woerterbuch des Altindischen. 4 vols. Heidelberg 1965-80)
  suggest a derivation from Tamil puucu 'to smeare'. However, Thieme (Kleine
  Schriften, p. 792) connects the word with *pRn^ca kR 'to prepare a mixture
  for someone'. As far as I know there there is no final conclusion regarding
> its etymology. Buehnemann gives a fair account of the various positions.

While the etymology remains unclear, it should be taken into accoun that 
the word, or rather the root, PUUJ occurs even in the Rgveda, though well 
hidden in an epithet of Indra: zacI-pUjana- 
This has nothing to do with Indra's (later!, "Homeric" wife, ZacI).

Further, the root occurs in names in Katha and Maitr. Samhita. It becomes 
more common only in the Vedic Kalpa Sutras. The old meaning seems to be "to 
honor" (also in early grammarians: Patanjali or Katyayana [I don't 
remember which]: rajnaam puujitah) .-- not anything like "to smear" as  
suggested by Dravidian. 
You don't smear your teacher or guests (at least not in India)  -----  not 
even with ointment. 
(The tilaka/tiika is a question appart, with a rather surprising origin)....

Though I hesitate to engage in guru-nindaa of my teacher P. Thieme,
it has to be said that the early occurence makes his particular Prakritic 
etymology (from which type of unattested Prakrit/Vedic popular speech?) rather 
unlikely. Details on the Vedic state of things in WZKS XXIV (1980), 
pp. 21 sqq. --  Thieme's etymology has been critized long ago by Katre.


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