Rig Veda, ta'ntra, nUl, and sUtra

sac51900 at saclink.csus.edu sac51900 at saclink.csus.edu
Mon Apr 14 02:20:21 UTC 1997

> Date:          Mon, 14 Apr 1997 00:55:49 BST
> Reply-to:      indology at liverpool.ac.uk
> From:          thompson at jlc.net (George Thompson)
> To:            Members of the list <indology at liverpool.ac.uk>
> Subject:       Re: Rig Veda, ta'ntra, nUl, and sUtra

> >> When I was a student I dabbled in folklore studies with Alan Dundes.  He
> >> had many memorable things to say, but I have found most useful his words of
> >> caution AGAINST arguments based on either UNIQUENESS or on UNIVERSALITY.
> >> Such arguments, he suggested, were especially vulnerable, for the reason
> >> that they were ENTIRELY discredited with the discovery of only one
> >> exception.
> >>
> >
> >One exception does not discredit such arguments, but only renders
> >them less probable. After all we are not  dealing with absolute proof
> >here.  Neither Palaniappan or Thompson are presenting anything
> >that *proves* their theories that these ideas are originally
> >Dravidian or IE.   If an exception existed only in Lakota,  I would
> >think it would have only a minimal effect on Palaniappan's theory.
> >It would still be reasonable if a very close resemblance in thought
> >existed between Dravidian and Vedic, but no such resemblance
> >was found in the rest of IE.
> >
> >Regards,
> >Paul Kekai Manansala
> Well, let me put it this way.  If someone shows me something and says that
> it is one of a kind, and then I find something else that is of the *same*
> kind and show it to her, I have not merely shown that her argument is
> *improbable*.  I have shown that it is wrong.  No?

No, I don't think so.

> In any case, I do not accept the premiss that there are no such
> resemblances between Vedic and the rest of IE.  As far as I can tell S.
> Palaniappan's argument depends on a false distinction between tan- "stretch
> [a warp]" and the other roots that belong to the semantic sphere of weaving
> [e.g., u-, ve-, "weave"; vRt- "turn, spin", sIv-, syU- "sew"].

This is not a "false" distinction.  It is a semantic distinction.

> By the way, would anyone care to contest Monier-Williams's analysis of
> UrNavAbhi, wherein -vAbhi is "from an obsolete root vabh- [= Grk. hyphainO,
> Old High Germ. web-an, "to weave"]?  I myself cannot find any discussion of
> this in the literature available to me.  Does anyone with easy access to
> Wackernagel-Debrunner care to look it up?
> One last note: I am willing to entertain S. Palaniappan's claim that there
> is a historical connection of some kind between the Vedic and Dravidian
> material.  But in order to consider the claim, for example, that the author
> of RV 10,71 "was cleverly punning with the concept of 'panuval' since he
> knew the two-fold meanings of Dravidian 'panuval' and its Indo-Aryan
> equivalent 'ta'ntra'", I think I'd need more evidence.
> Why?  Because there seems to be enough evidence, both from IE sources and
> non-IE sources, to suggest that one could come up with the metaphor, speech
> = weaving, independently of any knowledge of Dravidian.

Sorry, I haven't seen this evidence for such a metaphor.

> For example, I would consider demonstrable *quotation* of a Dravidian
> source in Vedic compelling evidence indeed [no question!].  

Do you mean a Vedic quotation attributing the practice of 
weaving to the Asuras?

Paul Kekai Manansala

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