Sarasvati (texts & arch.)

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Sat May 23 12:02:12 UTC 1998


> At 05:49 PM 5/20/98 -0400, Michael W1tzel wrote:
> >NOTE that Sarasvati/Haraxvaiti mean "(river) having ponds", certainly not
> >a good name for a mighty stream; that this must at least refer to a slow
> >flowing river with many bends and u-shaped cut-off ponds, or it may be a
> >river disappearing in the Iranian/Indian desert with many ponds in its
> >lower course.

> As far as I am concerned whether aryans are indigenous or
> immigrants does not make any difference to me. I

Nor to me. Nice to hear though. -- Our job is just to make sense of the
SUM of available data: linguistic, textual, archaeological, geological,
floral, faunal, genetic, etc. And of course without multiple

> If the river had the name Haraxvaiti even in Iran where it is supposed
> to be mighty river (vasiSTa remembers it as such!) how can you justify
> the interpretation of the name as a river made up of ponds, not mighty and
> disappearing? A mighty river could not have been given the name Haraxvaiti
> which represents only a small river made up of ponds.

I think I answered that already in my original posting: See the first few
lines above. As usual, SIMPLE answers are not available. The ponds
can refer to the cut-off ponds (u-shape lakes) or to the series of ponds
where the river ends in the desert.

> The word Vourukasha is very close to Bharukaccha (modern Broach). Does
> this have any significance?

The Avestan word is from vouru "wide" (Skt. uru) and ka.s'a "incision,
bay" (Skt. *karta, from kRt 'to cut"): 'having wide bays'.
It is a mythical lake or ocean, similar to the heavenly samudra/sindhu of
the Vedas. (Note the eastern and western hendu-s= sindhu-s of the Avesta)

Michael Witzel                       witzel at
my direct line (also for messages) :  617- 496 2990

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