New Message.

n.rao at n.rao at
Thu Sep 21 12:09:25 UTC 1995

>Peter Claus writes
>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. 

Though this would not make any substantial difference to his query, the 
following slight correction to the above assertion may be useful.. 'Paatri' 
is not merely used to non-brahmin priests, but also to refer to the brahmin 
who performs a certain function:  one who carries the idol on his head 
during the yearly  temple festivals in Dakshina Kannada (South Kanara) dt. 
Similarly, the word 'Pujari' is in use to all the temple (and /or the 
'sAnas' of bhUtas) priests including brahmin and non-brahmin ones. Perhaps 
this usage is more in vogue in Kannada of D.K., and Tulu influenced by 
Kannada, rather than in Tulu itself.  'Pujari', by the way is also used as 
an epithet  to refer to a caste that is equivalen of Elava community of 
Kerala. Certain section or sub-community of this caste has a certain 
function in butasAnas (the equivalent of temples for a sort of Spirits - a 
form of  'religious' practice specific to D.K.).  
>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
Dr. B. Narahari Rao
F.R. 5.1. Philosophie
Unversitaet des Saarlandes,
Postfach 15 11 50,
D-66041 Saarbrücken


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