tantra and paa, suutra and nuul

GANESANS at cl.uh.edu GANESANS at cl.uh.edu
Sun Apr 20 22:53:50 UTC 1997


  Re: tantra and paa, suutra and nuul

As illustrated by Dr. S. Palaniappan, 'paa' in Dravidian
refers to both 'warp' and 'song'.  

If the sanskrit term 'tantra' is related
to 'tantu' whose main meaning is 'warp', (I agree. It can
generically refer to the whole art of weaving/spinning sometimes), 
there seems to be connection between 'paa' of dravidian 
and 'tantu/tantra' of sanskrit.

Are there any IE cognates between words meaning 'warp'
and 'songs/verses' as well? Sanskrit and Tamil have one
word to denote both.

The metaphor of relating weaving to composing a text 
can arise in any culture. I am reminded of the American usage,
"may be in Timbuktu". But the 'warp' and 'text' meanings 
in 'paa' or `tantra` do not seem like a mere coincidence. 

I like Palaniappan's explanation that 'nuval' originally
meant 'fine web' of spiders. From Nature, Dravidians
got the clue and used 'nuul/nuval' also for composing texts. That is why,
`nuul/nuval' refers to both 'thread' and 'text'.
Similarly, in Sanskrit also, suutra (related to 'sIv-', 'syU')
means 'thread' as well as 'text'. Are there any other languages
where some term from weaving industry and text are identical?
Again, Sanskrit and Tamil use a single word to denote
'thread' and 'text'.

Any thoughts,
N. Ganesan

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