Req: "dirty" words in Sanskrit

thompson at thompson at
Sun Nov 3 12:29:40 UTC 1996

>Bijoy Misra has a good point.  How do we know which expressions were felt
>to be "dirty" and therefore were either used or avoided in different

It is true that the task is not easy, especially in the case of Vedic, from
which we are separated by a few thousand years.  Admittedly the
distribution of the verb yabh- in Vedic doesn't prove anything, but it sure
is suggestive.

There is other evidence of taboo avoidance of sex [at least with animals]
in Vedic.  RV 10.86 depicts graphic sex between Indra's kapi' ["monkey"]
and IndrANI.  VERY graphic stuff, say, at verses 6-8.  What makes me think
that this topic might have been considered "dirty"?

Well, the verb adUduSat in stanza 5:

priyA' taSTA'ni me kapi'r       vya`ktA vi' adUduSat

"the monkey has *dirtied* my pretty little things"
[literally "well-made, nicely anointed"]

"To spoil, to defile, to dirty" seems like a reasonable gloss of the verb
duS- here.

Here it is, a fine Sunday morning in New England.  I should be in church,
instead of discussing Vedic bestiality!


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