Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Mon Jun 14 22:14:47 UTC 1999

> -tra means "to release" as in the word "mantra" being something
> that "sets free the mind (mana)."  Also this is found in the word
> ksatriya.  Does the word "astra" (weapon) coming from "throw,
> release" refer to the releasing of a mantra?

Nope. -tra is a fairly normal Indo-European suffix also found in Greek and Latin
(-tro-). It is the zero stage of the suffix -ter/-tor + the thematic vowel if I
remember correctly. You can consult Burrow's The Sanskrit Language for such details.
If in doubt, never believe what you read in popular literature, and be wary of folk
etymologies. In this case, the folk etymology is quite ancient. Thus the word skt.
putra = son was analysed as put + tra where tra was given the meaning you give above
("put-releaser"). This lead Skt. grammarians to assume that there was a Hell called
"put", because a son saves his father from hell through the performance of the
necessary rites.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

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