Q: mAyA

Periannan Chandrasekaran perichandra at YAHOO.COM
Wed Nov 10 04:34:27 UTC 1999

--- "N. Ganesan" <naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Dear Dr. Thompson,
> Two queries on the word, mAyA:
> 2) Given the fact that "mAiiA" is attested only once in the entire
> Avestan gathas, and that the association between Old Persian and
> RV is pervasive and deep, could the Iranians have borrowed the term
> "mAiiA" from Indo-Aryans? Does the numerical strength of evidence for
> mAyA, mayakku, mAyai, etc., being more than 99% in both Indo-Aryan
> and Dravidian show India to be the birthplace of the culturally
> loaded
> concept, mAyA? (Or else, mAyA should be IIr heritage???)

It is worth noting a large set of cognates in the sense of blackness,
confusion/delusion, and barrenness in Dravidian:
DEDR 4706: maya, mayakku, mayarvu, macakkam = bewilderment, confusion;
       Te.maitu = deception, deceit, delusion; an enchanting powder
       Kur. mAyA = arrack (intoxicating liquor) made of rice
DEDR 5101: mA, mai, masi, maji, majji = dark pigment, blackness.
DEDR 5102:  Ta. mai, Ma. mai, Ko.may, To. moy, Tu.  = barrenness

Is the sense of "barrennes"  to do with "black magic" or  "making
things disappear"?

Ta. mai pOttup pArttal = to discover hidden treasure, et.c, by using
magic pigment.

An interesting pattern is that derivation from PDr.*mA or PDr.*mai
in  the Dravidian family seems to frequently involve the consonants -y-
or -s- or -j- after the word initial "ma(i)" or "mA".

DEDR# 5101:
Ta. mai = collyrium for the eye, ink, ink-paste, black pigment,
 black, blackness, darkness, spot as of moon, blemish, dark cloud;
fault, sin, dirt.
Ma. mai = blackness, antimony
To. moy- = to become dark,...
Ka. masi = dirt, ...the black of culinary vessels, soot, ..ink...
Kod. masi = charcoal
Tu. maji = coal, black powder, ink.
Kor. majji = soot
Te. masi
Nk. mas
Go. masi
Kur. mais

DEDR 4781: mA = blackness:
Ta. mA = black;
Ta. mAmai = blackness;
Ta. mAyavan, mAyan = Vishnu;
Ta.mAyOL = dark-cloured woman, woman of dark brown color;
Ta. mAl = blackness,..Vishnu;
Ta. mAlai = evening;

Ko.mangmangn = (of the eyes) blurred from looking at an object for a
long time, (of a colour) not a pure primary colour
Ka. mAsu = to gorw dim;
Tu. mAnka =darkness;
Te. mAgupaDu, Te.mAguDu,  Te.mAgilu;
Pe. MAcka, mAjga;
Kui. mAsu;
Kur. mAxA;

It is also interesting to note the CT epithets "mAyavan" or "mAyOn"
for Krishna and associations with him of episodes involving
magic and trickery. His stealing of nappin2n2ai's (lakSmi's) garments
and jewels on the banks of tozun2ai (yamunA?) may be significant here.

> Regards,
> N. Ganesan



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