When did the gods become literate? Was: Are the gods literate?

Srini Pichumani srini_pichumani at MENTORG.COM
Wed Nov 10 02:24:01 UTC 1999

George,  thanks for the synopsis of the Prof.Thieme's article...  don't have
quite the same access to these things now...

Hopefully,  this question doesn't start off an unproductive debate...  but I
would like to ask the learned among this list as to what correlation can be
postulated or already has been researched,  between this reconstructed minimal
set of sounds and the real set of 30 sounds in Tamil specified by TolkAppiyar.  I
think V.S.Rajam's thesis comparing the Tamil and Sanskrit traditions predated
this article and don't remember her commenting on this issue.


George Thompson wrote:

> Hello Srini,
> Thieme reconstructs the 'thrice-seven' as follows:
> a  i  u  R  e  o  ai  au
> y  r  l  v
> k  c  T  t  p
> z  S  s  h
> The problem that Thieme tackles in this article is not so much to justify the
> assumption that this number refers to a series of sounds [not an ''alphabet"
> in the sense of a script], since the context [hymn addressed to vAcaspati,
> etc.] strongly suggests that the verse is concerned with the powers of speech
> .  No, the problem is to come up with a rational explanation for the number
> 21 as the number of sounds in the sacred language.  This number, of course,
> does not match the number found in Panini, nor in the prAtizAkhyas, nor in
> the Devanagari script.  But by using AkRtis one can eliminate the ayogavAhas
> [anusvAra, etc., which are considered by Panini as secondary], all of the
> long vowels, as well as the savarNa forms of the stops: thus k represents kh,
> g, gh and nasal G, etc. By this process one arrives at the number 22.  The
> number 21 is achieved by eliminating L, as is done in the kAtyAyanIya
> prAtizAkhya.[cited by Thieme].
> >From this brief summary of Thieme's article it may appear that Thieme is
> forcing the data into the framework of the magical number 21. But I think
> that he had good reasons to do so, as a detailed examination of his article
> would, I think, show. The number is certainly a magical one in the RV [cf.
> ref. to 21 secret names of the cow, etc.]
> Hope this helps,
> George
> In a message dated 11/6/99 7:04:48 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> srini_pichumani at MENTORG.COM writes:
> >  George,  I remember Prof.Deshpande referring to this article in a lecture
> at
> > the U
> >  of Michigan...  what are the 21 items of this old alphabet,  as
> > reconstructed by
> >  Thieme ?
> >
> >  Thanks,
> >  -Srini.
> >

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list