S.Kalyanaraman kalyan99 at NETSCAPE.NET
Sun Nov 21 09:01:43 UTC 1999

Witzel (ejvs, 1999) on Substrate languages of RV is a remarkable contribution
to the unravelling of relative vedic chronology.

The key issue which has yet to be resolves is: how far west or
north can Para-Munda be traced in terms of location and in time, say,
from the earliest settlements in Mundigak.

The patterns of migration away from the Sarasvati_ and Dr.s.advati_ rivers,
ca. 1500 BC towards the Chambal river indicates the possibility that the name
vais'ambha_lya of Sarasvati_ river may indeed refer to the shortened popular
form--Chambal River. Chambal could be reckoned as Para-Munda (to use Prof.
Witzel's term).

CDIAl has 12961(root: bhr.): sambharati = brings together, prepares, rolls up
(RV);sambha_lna_ = to support (P.); sam.bha_ria = maintained (Pkt.);
sama_(ha_)lai = takes care of (OMarw.)

Witzel notes that Vai'sambhalyA (with many variants, always a sign of foreign
origin, in the  Brahmana texts: TB, -bhAlyA, -pAlyA, -bAlyA Ap'SS
4.14.4,   -bhAlyA BhAr'sikSA; cf. also RV vi'spAla?),is to be derived from
something like *visambAz/*visambAL, ..."  (Witzel, M., 1999, Substrate
languages in OIA, EJVS, 1999, p. 11) 

An alternative eymology is seen from Sa_yan.a and more descriptive
terms are evolved:

Sa_yan.a explains the verse: vis'va_m praja_na_m
vis'ambhalam tatkartum ks.ama_ vis'ambhalya_ ta_dr.s'i_. Sarasvati_ is thus
vais'ambhalya_ or one who brings up the whole people. This epithet is an
apparent expansion of Sarasvati_ as a river nourishing the settlements 
of people with her waters and promoting agriculture and other livelihood
activities of the people, she was indeed the giver of food,Va_jinni_vati_.
Sarasvati_ is called satyava_k: pra te mahe sarasvati_ subhage va_jinni_vati_
satyava_ce bhare matim idam te havyam ghr.tavat sarasvati satyava_ce
prabharema_ (TB; S'ri_ Ma_dhava explains 
the dative form, sartyava_ce: anr.tava_kyarahita_yai; thus,Sarasvati_ as Va_k
is all truth, free from falsehood; in RV 1.3.11,she is codayitri_
su_nr.ta_na_m, the impeller of pleasing and true 
speeches). The waters are medicinal for the world (vis'vabhes.aji_h: 
TB Sarasvati_ is sumr.d.i_ka_ (Taittiri_ya A_ran.yaka 1.1.3, 
21.3, 31.6, 4.42.1); this is explained as having good soil (sumr.d), 
that is, land having good (fertile) soil. Sarasvati_ is described as 
both the land and the water: sarasvati saroyuktabhu_miru_pa is.t.ake 
(TA 1.1.3). During her flight back from heaven, Ga_yatri_ encountered 
the Gandharva Vis'va_vasu who robbed her of the soma. Gods became 
anxious as Ga_yatri's return from heaven with soma was being delayed 
and realized that the Gandharvas had stolen soma. (S'B 
Then, they planned to send Va_k to the Gandharvas, who were fond of 
women, to retrieve soma for the gods. (S'B In the encounter 
of Va_k with the Gandharvas, the latter demanded that the gods should 
offer Va_k in exchange for soma. The gods agreed to the demand with 
the condition that if Va_k wanted to return the Gandharvas should not 
force her to remain with them against her will (S'B Both the 
gods and gandharvas began to woo Va_k; gandharvas recited the Veda 
(S'B; gods played on a lute to entice Va_k. Gods won and 
the gandharvas lost both the soma and Va_k. (S'B M
antraru_pa_ va_k, deified speech becomes, in the, 
the goddess of speech. She is associated with Vis.n.u and described 
as his tongue or residing in his mouth. (Skanda. P. 7.33.96). 
In Va_yu Pura_n.a (1.23.34), Sarasvati_ is described as one with a 
loud roar, maha_na_da_. 


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