Etymology of the words 'vedi' in ritual context

Periannan Chandrasekaran perichandra at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jun 27 01:59:14 UTC 2000

--- George Thompson <GthomGt at CS.COM> wrote:
> In a message dated 6/26/00 10:43:50 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU writes:
> > See M.  Mayrhofer's new Etymologisches  Woerterbuch des Altindoarischen,
> >  Heidelberg 1996- vol II, p. 581 :  ~~ veda'  bunch of grass... ; veda'  =
> >  unclear < IE *wei(H)d- ? Pashto  wula 'root fibre, twifg'?   etc etc.
> >
> >
> Hello Michael,
> I have always found tempting, though not utterly persuasive, the following
> etymology first proposed by Johansson and re-affirmed by Thieme:
> ve'di  <  *(a)va-zd-i  [from ava-sad-].
> As Thieme suggests [Kl Schr. 1984, p.691] there is clear association between
> vedi and the root sad- [cf. vediSa'd, used to refer to Agni].  ava-sad-
> occurs only once in RV, but refers there [9.96.13] to Soma, which would be
> appropriately placed on the vedi.
> I would think that this etymology strengthens the link between ve'di and
> veda', 'grass bundle.'
> I would be curious to know: what do you and others on the list think of this
> proposal?

In this regard I would like to draw your attention to the old Tamil words
for plants belonging to the grass family viz.,  bamboo, kaus grass and cane and
vetir, vetiri, vetiram, vEzam, vENu, vayir, vEy, vEral, vElai etc.

DEDR #5485: vetir, vetiri, vetiram, vayir
DEDR #5541: vEzam, vEy, vEyal

These are all widely attested in CT rich in portrayal of nature.

Some of these like vetir, vEzam are used interchangeably for one or more or
even all of the above plants showing that they were all classified as grasses
of some sort obvious from their jointed appearance.

[otl = Cologne OnLine Tamil Lexicon]

otl vEzam vEzam 1. sugarcane; 2. Europeaan bamboo; 3. spiny bamboo; 4. sponge
gourd; 5. kaus; 6. music; 7. Elephant; 8. aries of the zodiac; 9. the 2nd
naks2atra ; 10. a disease affecting the fruit of the wood-apple; 11. an insect

vetir, vetiram: otl vetiram vetiram bamboo

QkuRi035 \BT nel koL neTu vetirkku aNanta yAn2ai \et
->"..the elephant that tried to reach bamboo containing rice.."

Qaig091x04 \BT pazan2a vetirin2 koTi piNaiyalaL E \et
->"..[wearing] a garland of the flowers of sugarcane from the fields..."
Here an old commentary published by the UVS Library (1980)
says vetir = sugarcane supported by the fact that this is from an akam poem
belonging to the marutam (or agricultural) landscape.
otl pazan2am pazan2am 1. paddy field; 2. agricultural land; 3. tank

> Best wishes,
> George Thompson


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