Dravidian Cryptography:some thoughts

DKumar6248 at aol.com DKumar6248 at aol.com
Fri Sep 5 03:18:59 UTC 1997

Dear Professor Dominique THILLAUD,

Because of an error in the email, this communication which I had sent earlier
was returned to me. I am sorry for the delay which is thus involved. I am
sending it back to you with an attached file. Best regards.

V. Keerthi Kumar

<  http://www.mninter.net/~kumar/  >
email:  <  dkumar6248 at aol.com  >


On 97-09-03  19-38:54 Dominique THILLAUD  <  thillaud at unice.fr  > wrote

>>At 6:39 +0200 3/09/97, DKumar6248 at aol.com wrote:
>>	I thought I would take a leaf from my work book, and
>>write a note about another rishi Aasanga, who was the son of Playoga. This
>>rishi, according to the information about him, got into a predicament: the
>>gods cursed him to become a woman. He appealed to another rishi Medhatithi
>>about this condition, and Medatithi helped him get his male sex back.
>>was pleased to no end. He gave great gifts to his benefactor, and addressed
>>to him some verses of praise which are in the Rig-veda to this day. It is
>>thought that this legend conceals that the author of these verses
>>to Aasanga was also a woman, or at the least, a eunuch, and not a man at
>>In Dravidian Kannada, the word: hengasu, precisely denotes: female (DED.
>>#4395), and the name Aasanga, (the bearer of which was cursed by the gods
>>become a woman), is an inverted and substituted form of this Kannada word:
>>hengasu. Again, by realizing the existence and operation of the linguistic
>>phenomenon of inversion and substitution, we have realized that the legend
>>concerning Aasanga is not an idle one. I do not think we can dispute the
>>that Indology is getting to be more interesting. Best regards.

>	Till now, I refrain to comment the 'Dravidian cryptography',
>because I don't know any word of Dravidian. But this mail is very

>	1) We know very few about Aasanga who appears just in few slokas of
>RV VIII, 1. The Hymn and the comment of Sayana give just the impression he
>was impotent and that prayers of his wife restore his virility. But the
>story is actually unknown and the romance of Mr Kumar is purely
>speculative, just sustained by an isolated passage of the Zaankhaayana
>Zrauta Suutra (XVI.11.17) where zaazvatii is taken for a woman's name.
>Aasanga is not the better example of a woman!

First of all I would like to make it known that I have no romance with anyone
who is or was a man and has been cursed by the gods to be a woman. It is true
that not much is known about Aasanga, but what is known about him is neither
a secret nor obscure. What I referred to about Aasanga (that he was a man,
and that he was cursed by the gods to become woman, that he appealed to
MedhAtithi - correct spelling, as far as I know - who helped him get his sex
back, that Aasanga was pleased and gave gifts to MedhAtithi, and also
addressed to him certain verses, that the author of these verses attributed
to Aasanga has been thought to have been a woman) can be read in as popularly
available books as The Hindu World by Benjamin Walker (Frederick A. Praeger;
New York, Washington;1968;Vol. I;p.526). So I have not speculated about it or
contrived the story. In the same place, it is stated that the said author of
these verses was, perhaps, a eunuch, but I did not refer to this point.
I can do that here. In Kannada (heN means: female) hengasu, in the daily speech specifically denotes: a woman. Also in the daily speech, hengasya (Dharwad dialect)
denotes: a man who behaves like a woman, (as a eunuch usually behaves).
I am of the opinion that AAsanga is an inverted and substituted form of the
Kannada word hengasu, because, among other reasons, there are numerous other
examples like this. I can not give all the examples in emails. I hope you
have seen a few such as Vyasa, NArada, rishi in some of my previous postings.
You may notice that on the same page (ibid) the name of another rishi, kaNva,
is there. As you know KaNva is supposed to have been born when SUrya was
sweating while churning the ocean. The element kaNa, denotes: a drop. Here,
note the Kannada word: haniku, which denotes: to fall in drops (DED. #4035),
and it is my opinion that the name KaNva is an inverted and substituted form
of this haniku. Here also, an addition of h (ha, in this case) has been

I do agree with you that Aasanga is not better example of a woman. He is not
the better example of a man either. 
>>	2) Aasanga and hengasu are very hard to connect, even with a
permutation: what about the 'h' and the vowels ?

I am not sure whether you have read the whole documente at <
 http://www.mninter.net/~kumar/  >, especially the illustrations 
or tables numbered 078, 079, 080, 081, 082, where an addition of ha and he,
(as I have said there), becomes necessary in order to comprehend the inverted
and substituted forms of the noted words in their current forms. As I have
noted there also, such things become necessary, since the Dravidian languages
have had ample time to grow and develop even though they have not
significantly changed. About the element h in Dravidian, however, the scholar
Kamil Zvelebil has written something, (I am pretty sure it is in an article
in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, under Dravidian), you might want to look
that up. As far as the vowels are concerned, I have noted early in that work
that my concern is with the consonants of the participating words in the
phenomenon of inversion and substitution, their order in the participating
words, and their meanings, eventhough I have noted several other related
matters there. In order to keep the length of the document as short as
possible I had to hold back considerable amount of material. (Therefore, it
should be noted that what you see in that document is only a fraction of the
toal amount of evidence). I have also said that the exact nature of the
participating vowels needs to be examined, verified, and further studied, and
that this can be done later on, after we have witnessed the performance of
the involved consonants and understood that thoroughly. This is a phenomenon
which has been brought to light now, and I do not claim to have explored it
completely, and I have said that more than once. It can be explored, and
studied, but not when the whole thing is called a joke at the outset. It is
not a joke. I for one, would not call anybody's efforts to explore anything
harmless, and useful (the latter, perhaps, in your opinion needs to be
proved; but that is all right),  which may or may not seem to be significant
at the moment of its consideration, a joke. But I can not prevent anyone who
chooses to do so..

	3) The joke of connecting words with few common phonems is too easy
to be a proof. Choose any languages at random, statistics will show you
thousand examples of such links. Just two: the Greek 'gunaa' (related to
vedic 'gnaa') is 'woman', the popular French 'gonzesse' is 'woman': much
better concordance with hengasu than Aasanga!

Here, I have to take your admission "I don't know any word of Dravidian.'
 seriously. It is very considerating of you and others like you to have
refrained thus far. I want to thank you all for that forebearance which is
one of the true marks of scholarship. But your opinions and thoughts, whether
you know Dravidian or not, are interesting and valuable to me; how else would
I know what is bothering you? A true phenomenon is supposed to sustain itself
by its own merits. But, then, like all others, it needs to be evaluated and
judged with the same margin of deference and understanding, as for instance,
we afford in the case of verifying the consistency and regularity of the laws
or rules of the Indo-European languages. If, when you note an example of a
word in its relationship with another Indo-European word, and if some one
comes and shows that such a rule has exceptions, would it negate what you are
proposing if it is true? No, you would take the fact that there are
definitely numerous exceptions to every correspondence in the Indo-European
languages, and therefore what you have is one such, and you go from there;
you dont stop and discard the whole thing. This is especially true of the
Proto-Indo-European roots. None of them is attested, and in their projection
numerous exceptions of the concerned rules have not stopped the concerned
scholar from projecting them. I am sure, in study of languages, such an
understanding is necessary to keep on going, and while proceeding, perhaps,
we will be enlightened as to why there is a discrepancy involved there.
I would  like to bring to your notice that it is not just the number of such
words, (I am speaking of the words participating in the phenomenon of
inversion and substitution in Dravidian) whether it is great or small, that
is so important, but the other phenomena of the pertinent language or
languages, which is important. There might be examples which resemble in some
fashion the aspect of inversion in any language. Let me quote J.D.Prince who
was testifying for the cryptographic nature of the ancient Sumerian language:
"Furthermore, in a real cryptography or secret language, of which English has
several, we find only phenomena based on the language from which the
artificial idiom is derived. Thus, in the English "Backslang," which is
nothing more than ordinary English deliberately inverted, in the similar
Arabic jargon used among school children in Syria and in the Spannish
thieves' dialect, the principles of inversion and substitution play the chief
part. Also in the curious tinker's "Thary" spoken still on the English roads
and lanes, we find merely an often inaccurately inverted Irish Gaelic. But in
none of these nor in any other artificial jargons can any grammatical
development be found other than that of the language on which they are
based." (The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences,
Literature and General Information, Eleventh Edition, University Press,
Cambridge, England (New York); 1911; xxvi;p.77). I have shown that a number
of the participating Dravidian words in the phenomenon of inversion and
substitution do exhibit grammatical development, which also shows that the
results of the phenomenon are not due to accident or coincidence. So it is
not just the number (which can not be but much greater in Dravidian than in
any other language which is not cryptographic in nature), but the other
involved phenomena of the language family, which illustrate that it is not a
joke. As soon as we realize that it is not word play, not a joke, not
fortuitous, but the operation of a phenomenon, it will be a major
breakthrough, as far as any scholar or student is concerned. 

I am glad you gave an example involving a Greek word. May be it is one of the
inverted and substituted forms of Aasanga. Who knows? Because, the
Indo-European languages, or any other language (except Sumerian, and may be
one or two others) or language family, has been ever examined from the point
of view of this phenomenon. I have noted just a couple of examples (there are
more which I did not include) of such words (jyoti and tEja for instance) in
Sanskrit. If we rake this and others as a clue, may be we will have some
information about this matter which may take us completely by surprise. Just
the fact that a thing like this has not been noticed by a scholar or scholars
is not proof of its absence, if it is there. This is one of the main problems
with the Dravidian language studies. First of all, not much is done. And
secondly, there is the notion that anything new, if it has not been noticed
before, can not be there. This is why we need scholars like Kittel in the
Dravidian studies. These European scholars lived among the Dravidians like
the Dravidians in their homes and learnt many things about their languages,
cultures, and religions and exposed them to the world. If not for these
so-called Foreign scholars' efforts, I am not sure the Dravidian studies
would have progressed as far as they have, inadequate as it is. There might
be people living right on the spot where gold is, but they may not know it.
You have to know just once where, for instance, a gold mine is; you dont try
to discover a gold mine every time you want dig some gold out of there. This
is what has been done in the case of the publcation of the above document. I
suppose, the European scholars are probably needed to lead the way again. You
might be one of them, who knows? You seem to have the curiosity which is the
first step. You doubt it, which is the second step. If you persist,  and
persist again, by the merits of the pertaining evidence, you may become its
champion and teach me and the other Dravidians a thing or two about it.
Beleive me, I have tried to disprove it. The more I tried, the more evidence
I got. I have been just fortunate to have the the right tools, and the right
upbringingi n the Dravidian phenomenon.    
Coming to another point that the concept of the phenomenon of inversion and
substitution, or some form of it is not a completely strange one from out of
this world: I would like to say that It is interesting to me, though I do not
know its significance, that the order of letters in some of the early Greek
inscriptions were not regular. It is interesting to me that the Greek
scholars were studying the ancient Sumerian as late as the third century
B.C.(here I am not sure of the exact date: I do not have the reference at
hand right now; I remember that it was one of the early Sumerologists or
Assyriologists who dealt with these Greek transcriptions; I don't think it
was Sayce; if you need the reference, I will dig that out for you), and as I
have noted many scholars like J.D.Prince, and T.G. Pinches called Sumerian
cryptographic in nature. I am not saying that the Greek scholars were
studying Sumerian's cryptographic nature; but then, they may have been doing
just that in view of the fact that some early Greek inscriptions showed the
order of the letters to be irregular.
It is also interesting to me (though I don't know its significance, for the
script is not deciphered) that there are several seals of the Indus valley
civilization where the order of the signs is not regular (see Deciphering the
Indus Script by Asko Parpola 1994;p.33). Actually on many seals the order of
the script is exactly in its reverse order. I beleive, (but I am not sure)
that some early Egyptian inscriptions also manifest this phenomenon in some
fashion. The occurence of such seals or signs has not prompted the concerned
scholars to find out why that has occured. At the moment it has been thought
that this must have had happened because it was an early stage in the
evolution of the script (I am speaking of the Indus script here). But, it may
have some other reason, and that reason may or may not have some connection
with the Dravidian linguistic phenomenon of inversion and substitution. It is
our own thoughts and ideas, many times hinder us from proceeding further. It
may be noted that, it is by noticing this irregularity of the order of the
signs closely in the early Sumerian script (the cuneiform) that Sumerian was
noted by the concerned as cryptographic. Not much is stated about this
phenomenon in Sumerian by modern Sumerologists, and I do not why.
If you observe closely, a variation of this phenomenon can be seen even in
the European languages, but to what degree, I do not know. Just an ordinary
example: what is 'public telephone' in English, is telephono publico in
Spannish (my spelling may be wrong here, but you get the point, I am sure).
Examples like this may not be significant, but they are interesting to
observe and keep in mind, especially when we have examples in Sanskrit like
hamsa, which has been divided and the units have been put in reverse order:
sa ham 'this I.'  It is significant to me, not only this example manifests
some form of reverse order, but also it denotes: 'this I' and this bird is
none other than the very vehicle of  Brahma, who is also called Aadi-kavi
(first-poet). We need to contemplate here: 'this I' means what? what is it
trying to say? Is it pointing out that this reverse order is significant? Is
this a clue? We may not get answers, or the answers may not be of any
significance. But it does not hurt to ask these and other such questions.
Just because there are examples of this or that type elsewhere also, just
because a number (or a percentage) of words have been supposed to resemble
one another in different languages denoting the same meaning, I do not think
we should stop wondering and enquiring. I beleive that we should enquire why
a certain percentage of words in different languages resemble one another
denoting the same meaning, (especially in light of the fact that we do not
know much about the movements of the ancient peoples), rather than ascribe it
to statistical chance and let it go at that. But the point is, the phenomenon
of inversion and substitution is there in the Dravidian language family, and
just because it has  been forgotten for so long, or just because it is not
stated and described in some ancient text, just because the scholars,
Dravidian or not, have not seen it, or unable to recognize it when shown, it
does not prove that it is not there, or that it was not in function, and that
the results of its operation have not, or could not have servived. The habit
of measuring or evaluating one language (for instance a Dravidian language)
with the measuring stick that is used for another language (for instance,
English) will not open doors for further research, instead it shuts them.
There is no doubt that English has changed significatly within a short
period. But it can not be true of all languages, especially languages of
Dravidian family where they have been married for ever to their cultural and
religious phenomena. If the cultural and religious phenomena have not
significantly changed over thousands of years, then it must, or may hold true
for the languages also. It must be remembered that except Brahui, all the
other Dravidian languages have not been exposed to direct foreign linguistic
influence, and  I have shown that many words ascribed to Sanskrit are the
inverted and substituted forms of the Dravidian words.  
So, we can not and must not sit idle thinking that, the Dravidian languages
have changed, and the results of a phenomenon such as the one we are
discussig could not have servived. I do not know whether you saw one of my
early postings in which I have shown how relatively easy it is to observe
this phenomenon in Dravidian. Even when you consider such ordinary Dravidian
words as the onomatopoeic words, it becomes clear to any sane person that
this phenomenon has functioned and these participating words are its results.
Not all Dravidian onomatopoeic words have their counterparts in this
phenomenon, but a striking number of them do. I would say about sixtyfive
percent of them, especially in Tamil. I could not list all of them and show
their other significance such as cultural, religious, etc. in my email. Now,
having these and other significant number of  words also in front of our
eyes, it would be admitting to blindness not to recognize these as the result
of the operation of this phenomenon. Now, this is only a fraction of the
evidence. We have many other areas, some of which I could hardly touch. So it
is not a joke. I would have been the last one in the world to spend time,
money, and sacrifice what not, if it was a joke. True, we have not examined
the participating vowels, but that does not negate what we know about the
operation of the participating consonants in this phenomenon. What is
illustrated with the help of consonants must actually prompt us to take up
the study of the participating vowels, not stop the whole thing. It should be
noted that the evidence provided by the Indo-Aryan words for cryptography in
Dravidian is as strong and valuable as what is provided by Dravidian itself.
The matter of Aasanga is not even a fraction compared to the evidence
provided by other Indo-Aryan words, most of which are much more important
than the name Aasanga.           

>	I don't intend to begin a debate (I'm not a specialist of
>Dravidian), that was just my opinion.
>	Regards,

Nothing wrong with debating, or having, or expressing opinions no matter
where they come from. I greately admire the curiosity, the penchant for discovering truth which is what that underlies your desire to express them. I am sure you will agree it is how we deliver our opinions; surely without making light of things which
may be of significance to others, especially when the subject is not
familiar. Actually, I thank you for responding on the List; it is much more
than what our Dravidian and other Indian scholars have done. The idea of
following the lead but not lead even when the subject conerns them directly
appears to be still there. That is why you, and others like you, whether you
know Dravidian or not, is important in the studies of Dravidian phenomena.
The pleasure has been all mine. I thank you and everybody for the patience. I
really enjoy the company which I have missed so badly in my endevor. I hope
to write something tomorrow which you might find interesting. Tomorrow's will
be my last posting, or one of the very last, for I have been advised to give
some attention to my health which I have so far ignored completely.   

>PS 1: Renfrew's theories are perhaps true, perhaps not. Mallory has other
>PS 2: Not buried, a skelet can't be conserved for a long time. No skelets
>were found in destroyed Minoan and Mycenian palaces.

We can consider, examine, verify, and study the cryptographic nature of
Dravidian or the lingusitic phenomenon of inversion and substitution, without
invoking or raising the skeletons and their ghosts of this issue. As I have
said, through and throughI it is a Dravidian phenomenon; it can be dealt with
solely in the Dravidian theater adequately. We have our hands full there as
it is.

I have written all the above (I wanted to bring to your notice more, but our
High Priest, Dominik (Wujasty) at the Indology Head Quarters may not like it;
It is already too long; I don't know what is the maximum length for a
posting), because you gave me a chance to do so. Please ignore typos which you might fine.If I do not communicate with you all again: may you all live long with
health, happiness, prosperity, and most of all enlightenment. The phenomenon
of language is beautiful of all.    

>Dominique THILLAUD
>Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

Best regards.


V.Keerthi Kumar
<  http://www.mninter.net/~kumar/  >
<  email: dkumar6248 at aol.com  >

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list