On Paatri

Pratap Kumar kumar at pixie.udw.ac.za
Tue Sep 19 11:21:06 UTC 1995

Dear Peter Claus:

I have a feeling it comes from the loan word Padre which in Andhra and 
Karnataka is used, though mainly in the Christian context, to mean 
priest.  Mangalore area has had a long contact with the western world due 
to its coastal area.  Many Portugese and Greek ships traded on that 
coast.  I remember reading a letter published in the Indian Express in 
Bangalore some time in 77 or 78.  The letter was written in Greek script but 
the language was Tulu.  When I read out the letter to a local librarian 
who spoke Tulu she could understand the language.  I cant remember the 
details now but it had to do with a Greek father writing to his wife 
and son in Tulu.  In the course of a long contact with the western world 
from the west coast of India many loan wordrs became part of Indian 
vernaculars.  So my hunch is Padre is one such word and it was perhaps so 
commonly used that the locals appropriated beyond its initial Christian 
context.  This is only my hunch but serious study needs to be done and I 
hope others would throw some light on this.   

On Puja

The word puja is mainly used in the Agama texts and in the context of 
berapuja (image worship) located in the temples.  Most Paancaratra and 
quite a few Vaikhanasa Agamas originated in the South and the word is 
most commonly used in most of these texts in the context of worship. I 
have not yet checked the etymological connections but it is most likely 
a Dravidian word.  The Tamil word Puusaali (Sk.puujaari) might indicate 
its Dravidian origins. It is most common for South Indian Hindus to use 
the word Puja whereas most North Indian Hindus use the word Havan.  The 
word puuja seems more at home in South Indian vernaculars than their 
counterparts in the North. These are just a few thoughts.
Good luck

Pratap Kumar
Department of Indian Philosophy
University of Durban-Westville
South Africa
kumar at pixie.udw.ac.za 

Tue, 19 Sep 1995, Peter Claus wrote:

> Date: September 18, 1995 
> Indology List
> indology at Liverpool.ac.uk
> Dear Members
> In the Tulu-speaking area of coastal Karnataka the term paatri is
> used in reference to non-brahman 'priests'. The term puujaari is
> also used in reference to non-brahman 'priests' and the
> distinction is often that the paatri, in addition to performing
> rituals, serves as a possession vehicle for deities. 
> I am interested in opinions you might have as to the derivation
> of the term paatri (which the Manner Tulu-English dictionary
> gives as paatiri).  There seems to me to be several possible
> leads with cognates in other languages. 
> 1) (Sanskrit?) paatre (paatra): a vessel, a drinking vessel
> 2) (Sanskrit) paati (as in paati-vrata): having to do with being
> chaste, worthy (paatrata)
> 3) (Telugu) paatara (or something like that): falling, dancing
> about, frenzied.
> Any of these could fit the case, it seems to me.
> Can anyone give me the latest thought on the derivation of the
> word puuja?  Is it from a Dravidian or Indo-European?  Related to
> what root concepts?
> Peter J. Claus                        
> pclaus at csuhayward.edu

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