Rigveda: shroffing, assaying, nes.t.r.

S.Kalyanaraman kalyan99 at NETSCAPE.NET
Sun May 23 19:01:28 UTC 1999

The r.ca from Rigveda (RV 10.091.10):

Sa_yan.a's translation: Yours, Agni, is the function
of the Hota_,yours the duly-performed function of the
Pota_, yoursthe function of the Nes.t.a_, you are the
Agni of the sacrificer, yours is the office of the
Pras'a_sta_, you act as Adhvaryu, and you are the
Brahma_ and the lord of the mansion in our abode. [You
are the Agni: you are the fire-kindler, or agni_dhra].

Together with Pota_ (which is a dravidian semant.
por-r-i), Nes.t.r. is also a dravidian substratum
lexeme, explained in the context of the central theme
of the entire Rigveda, the process of acquisition of
wealth, through agni_dhra...

It will be interesting to investigate if there are
cognate Sumerian lexemes, or references in Avestan, or
IE re-constructions which define the functions of or
the office of the Nes.t.r. in the context of assaying
of precious metals or even, examiner of the quality of
calcined metal, r.ji_s.in (which is explained as stale

m. (prob. fr. %{nI} aor. stem %{neS} ; but cf. Pa1n2.
3-2 , 135 Va1rtt. 2 &c.) one of the chiefofficiating
priests at a Soma sacrifice , he who leads forward the
wife of the sacrificer and prepares the Sura1
(Tvasht2r2i so called RV. i , 15 , 3) RV. Br. S3rS.
&c. (Cologne Skt. lex.)

Dravidian semant. which are consistent with the
'assaying' or 'examiner' functions of the
metallurgist, shroff: Nes.t.r.:

DEDR 3766:ne_t.t.am = acquired property (Tamil);
acquisition, gain (Malaya_l.am); ne.d.- = to earn
(Kod.agu); de_r.u_ borrowing of milch-animals for
their milk, animal borrowed for its milk (Bra_hui)
DEDR 3794: no_t.aka = eyewitness (Kannada); no_t.t.am
= shroffage, examination (Malaya_l.am); assaying
DEDR 3637: na_t.u = to examine, be measured (Tamil);
na_r.- = to see (Gondi)
DEDR 3642: na~_d.- (eyes) to open (of young animals),
which when born are unable to see (Parji);
an.d.ra'a_na_ = to open one's eyes (Kurux)

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

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