Etymology of puujaa

Asko H S Parpola aparpola at
Fri Oct 13 06:18:11 UTC 1995

I just pointed out that smearing (implied by the Dravidian etymology from 
puucu 'to smear') constitutes an integral part of the early worship of 
trees. I referred to Auboyer's book, where red-coloured powders and oils 
are mentioned as the substances smeared on tree trunks. The 
red-coloured powders surely are substitutes for the blood of sacrificed 
victims, which continues being smeared on cult idols or trees in 
connection with bloody offerings. Red powder/blood is applied also on the 
forehead of human beings on such ritual occasions - this is the origin of 
the forehead mark (Dravidian poTTu, Sanskrit tilaka, Tiikaa / Tikaa < 
lalaaTikaa). The antiquity of the forehead mark and its Harappan / 
Dravidian origin in India is discussed extensively in my book 'Deciphering 
the Indus script' (1994), page 261-272.


Asko Parpola  (E-mail Asko.Parpola at Helsinki.Fi)
Department of Asian and African Studies, Univ. of Helsinki


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