A question on Vedic vANa - 1

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun Aug 22 19:21:21 UTC 1999

Dear Indologists,

Related to my research into the ancient Indian bards, I would like some 
information from Vedic/IE experts. However, before I pose the question, I 
need to present some information which I shall split into two posts to stay 
within the size limit. 

I am interested in the relationship, if any, between DEDR 4068 (Ta. pAN song, 
melody; pANar caste; praise, flattery; pANan2 an ancient class of Tamil bards 
and minstrels; pANi song, melody, music; pANu song, paN music; paNNu (paNNi-) 
to sing in an instrument (as a tune), tune, tune musical instruments; paNNal 
tuning the lute strings according to the required melody;
) and Vedic vANa' 
(instrumental) music, voice; vA'NI music, sound, voice; plur. choir of 
singers or musicians. Kuiper  in his Rigvedic Loanwords, IJDL, v.21, no.2, p. 
18-19, says "The restriction of these words to music is not favourable to the 
proposed connection with bhan- "to say" (PMW 32, cf. Tam. paNi - to say, 
speak, declare"). Note Tam. paNNu- "to sing in an instrument, as a tune"". In 
his Aryans in the Rigveda, Kuiper reiterates his view that bANa, vANa, and 
vANI do not have a plausible IA etymology (p. 79-80). He also says "A 
development v>b within Indo-Aryan can probably be excluded for Vedic in 
general. A few cases with a secondary b in zaunaka are due to a less correct 
transmission of this text and may stem from a much later (post-Vedic) period. 
Cf.6.16.1 AbayU'-, 10.2.17 bANa'- 'music'
.The general tendency at all times 
was to 'sanskritize' words with the foreign phoneme b by changing it to v or 

We have an interesting parrallel in the historical period in the south of 
India which is given in the second part of this discussion. 

S. Palaniappan

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