Turtles in Vedic Sacrifice and the Dravidian concept of sacrifice

Georg von Simson g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO
Mon Jul 13 09:43:26 UTC 1998

S. Palaniappan wrote:

>In a CT poem, the longing of hero's heart for the company of his beloved is
>compared to the desire of the turtle in/near the vedic sacrificial pit with
>rising fire, for the pond with (cool) shade.
>kariyA pUvin2 periyOr Ara
>azal ezu tittiyam aTutta yAmai
>nizal uTai neTu kayam pukal vETTAGku
>uLLutal Ompumati in2i nI muL eyiRRu
>cil mozi arivai tOLE pal malai
>vevvaRai marugkin2 viyan2 curam
>evvam kUra iRantan2am yAmE              (akanAn2URu 361.10-16)
>The word used for the vedic sacrificial pit is "tittiyam". Can anybody tell me
>the corresponding Sanskrit word?

> It looks as if the CT usage "tittiyam", a vedic fire,  might refer to
>"dhiSNya" which also has a variant form "dhiSTya" according to Monier
> Williams. But the loan phonology has a problem. If the Tamil word was
> borrowed
> directly from the Sanskrit form with retroflex "-ST-", in Tamil we should
>> have
> -TT- and not -tt- as we do in "tittiyam". So the source of the Tamil word
> could not have had retroflexion. Is "dhiSNya" ever referred to in Pali or
> Prakrit as "dhittya" or "dhittiya"? If Pali or Prakrit does not have the form
> with dental, could the original form of "dhiSNya" before retroflexion be
> "dhisnya" or "dhistya"?

"tittiyam" looks to me rather like derived from a Prakrit form "titthiya"
from skt. "tIrthika", derived from "tIrtha"; see Apte, Skt.-Engl. Dict.,
s.v. tIrtham, 20: "(in liturgical language) The path to the altar between
the cAtvAla and the utkara." In Pali, you find "tittika" in the expression
"samatittika" ("brimful", of a river); the word is also written "-titthika"
which is clearly derived from "tIrtha". The loss of the aspiration in Pali
might be due to Dravidian influence? The word appears also in Vinaya texts,
both in Pali and Sanskrit, see Edgerton, Buddh. Hybrid Skt Dict., s.v.
samatIrthika. In the PrAtimokSasUtra of the SarvAstivAdins I meet (in just
one ms.) the form "samatittik(am)" which I translate (following Edgerton):
"(the alms bowl filled) with food to the brim".


   Georg v.Simson

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