Question on Patanjali

Palaniappa at Palaniappa at
Sun Mar 16 05:45:10 UTC 1997

In a message dated 97-03-15 14:52:03 EST, you write:

<< Subj:	Re: Question on Patanjali
 Date:	97-03-15 14:52:03 EST
 From:	cnarayan at (Chandan Raghava Narayan)
 Sender:	indology-request at
 Reply-to:	indology at
 To:	indology at (Members of the list)
 One "folk" etymology my dad told me once was that pA.nini was once
 meditating under a tree, and a snake fell into his hands. Hence pat- (to
 fall) and anjali- (in pA.nni's hands). I guess this has to do with the
 common association of patanjali with snakes...
 Prof. Aklujkar gave an interesting paper on the history of mahAbhaSya
 studies in India at the Skt. conference in B'lore. In it he mentioned
 something about folk etymologies of "patanjali". Hopefully he can give you
 a better answer.
 Chandan Narayan >>

Dear Mr. Narayan, 

Thank you for your information. Your information led me to look up Zvelebil's
book "Ananda-tANDava of ziva-sadAnRttamUrti". In discussing the legend of
pataJjali at Chidambaram, he footnotes the following in connection with the
name. "Etymologized traditionally as pata 'to fall' + aJjali 'gesture of
folded hands in greeting'; allusion to a legend according to which the great
Rsi atri and his wife had prayed to viSNu to obtain AdizeSa as their child;
when, however, zeSa appeared in the folded hands (aJjali) of the woman
(fulfilling her wish), she let him fall (pat-), so frightened she was."


S. Palaniappan

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