Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at
Sun May 19 10:07:18 UTC 1996

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

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