Etymology of the words 'vedi' in ritual context

George Thompson GthomGt at CS.COM
Tue Jun 27 00:29:17 UTC 2000

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

Best wishes,

George Thompson

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