Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at
Sun May 19 11:41:10 UTC 1996

	It is true that there are a lot of pre-Paninian fanciful 
etymologies and that the Paninian tradition attempted to bring some 
methodological sophistication.  However, we should not brush aside 
'fanciful' etymologies, except when they are offered as jokes.  For 
example, the Prakrit word 'arihanta' is indeed accountable as a transform 
of Skt. arhant with an epenthetic vowel.  However, the Jains and the 
Buddhists interpreted, in all seriousness, this word as ari+hanta 
"destroyer of enemies", where these enemies are the unwholesome states of 
mind, etc.  Such linguistically fanciful etymologies are critical for our 
understanding of the synchronic comprehension of those terms and concepts 
by the respective communities.  Similarly, while the historical origins 
of the name Hindu is clearly connected with the river Sindhu, and the 
Persian pronunciation of this name, one need not throw out the midieval 
etymology of the word 'hindu' with 'himsaam duuzayati'.  Such an 
etymology reflects what is seen by large segments of Hindus as a 
prominent feature of their religious identity.
	Madhav Deshpande

On Sun, 19 May 1996, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:

> On Fri, 17 May 1996, Girish Beeharry wrote:
> > Another interesting, but non astronomical word, is hR^idaya. To take and to
> > give is exactly what the heart does to blood, no?
> >
> > What I would like to know is whether this is just a fanciful idea  [...]
> Yup, it's fanciful, I'm afraid.  The root h.rd is no doubt avery old IE
> word, and ultimately cognate with "heart" etc.  But an acquaintance with
> Sanskrit grammar shows that the "daya" in h.rdaya is nothing to do with
> "daa" to give.  The "d" is part of "h.rd", and "aya" is a suffix.  The
> "H.r" in h.rdaya is likewise nothing to do with the root "h.r" to take,
> but is the beginning of the base "h.rd".
> The kind of etymologizing above that Girish suggests is fanciful is
> characteristic of pre-Paninian thinking, especially in Yaska's Nirukta. It
> is also characteristic, if I may say so, of non-Paninian thinking, i.e.,
> one finds it in the literature of authors who were either not acquainted
> with Panini, or who were more interested in associative and symbolic
> thinking than in Paninian bit-twiddling.
> However, if it is history we are trying to do, the Paninian and
> philological approach is essential.
> --
> Dominik Wujastyk
> Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
> 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, England.
> FAX +44-171-611-8545
> email: d.wujastyk at
> WWW:

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