Ancient Rivers of khvaniratha and indology
witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Tue Mar 14 06:26:08 UTC 2000
While I must confess that I have some difficulties in parsing the following
>Since indology (which recognizes only the science of Sanskrit) seems to be
>dealing with fan clubs started by Prof. Witzel and ancient rivers,
(who started fan clubs? moi??) ((or moi + the ancient rivers, -- with the
last I would agree, the river names indeed need more study)) ; (((or
dealing with fan clubs and ancient rivers?))),
the following one is correct:
>the following notes on Avestan and Puranic mythologies will be useful for the
>ongoing 101 on-line course on historical linguistics:
Certainly, and it would do some good to learn a few rules about sound
correspondences between Avestan and Vedic,
(and, incidentally, also to get the name of the Avestan correspondent of
Sarasvatii right: not the antiquated spelling Haraqaiti, but: local
Arachosian Avestan Haraxvaitii, with -i- epenthesis (a sort of umlaut),
and xv standing in for a consonant that the stupid ASCII 7-bit encoding
does not allow to reproduce. The Old Persian form is Hara(h)uvatii and
normal Avestan would have been *Harangvhaitii, where ngv is another
>Apart from Arang, Vanhvi_ da_itya_ (veh da_iti_, veh ro_d) [veh = an epithet,
>'good'] is a river mentioned in Avestan texts.
So, here it goes:
Arang is not Avestan but Middle Iranian (Pahlavi) and not mentioned as such
in Avesta , where it is Ranghaa (ng = Ved. G). = Ved. Rasaa = N.Iranian
Rahaa (as in the Greek loan: Rhaa designating the Volga <sorry!!!!>,
while Vanghuuii Daaitiiaa is Avestan again, and Veeh Root is Pahlavi again
(= Avest. Vangvhii = Vedic *vasvii daatyaa or dhaatyaa).
Two different rivers: *rasaa, *vasvii. And not clear at all that one or
both = Oxus (= Iran. VaxSu, modern VaxS, Sanskritized as VakSu, or with
spelling mistake <sorry!!!> in several Puranas as CakSu, or even
reinterpreted as IkSU "sugar cane" <!!!>, and often mythical like the
Rasaa and Sarasvatii....
>Bundahisn, the Uniquely-created
>Bull lived on the bank of this river (GBd. I.a.12--BTA, 25); on the opposite
>bank stood Gayo_ maretan (mortal life), Pahlavi Gayo_mard, the mythical First
>Man. (GBd. I.1.13). It is also a mythical river on the eastern boundary of
The Bundahishn is only in Middle Iranian, a Pahlavi text. Gayoo mar at tan
(@ = schwa) is the counterpart of the Vedic Aaditya god MaartaaNDa,
father of Manu (see K. Hoffmann, Aufsaetze zur Indoiranistik, Wiesbaden
1985-6, Engl. 1991)
More on Xvanira0a (0 = Engl. th), and some of these rivers, in a
forthcoming paper (Festschrift J. Narten). Acc. to this, the "eastern
boundary" does not fit the Oxus.
I do not see what the following sentence has to do with the preceding ones:
>Maha_bha_rata refers to an ancient river, veda_s'va_ (Bhi_s.ma Parva,
>Ch. 9, stanza 28); the people of Bha_rata drank the water of this river.
except for ve- of Veeh Root... (??)
As far as I see, a bull is not a horse, in spite of what we had to read
on INDOLOGY in recent months.
Similar for :
>Daityadi_pa is mentioned as a son of Garud.a, in MBh. Udyoga Parva, Ch. 101,
>Stanza 11. Daityasena_ is a sister of Devasena_, wife of Subrahman.ya;
>Daityasena_ was married to an asura, Kes'i. Daityasena_
>was seen playing in Ma_nasa saras. (Vana Parva, ch. 223,224).
Again, no connection, except for Daitya, from Diti, --
which has nothing to do with Avestan Daaitiiaa, from Indo_Iran. *daata or
*dhaata. The -i- of Daaitiiaa is again epenthetic.
Here some Ling. 101 would indeed come handy.
Otherwise the comparisons remain popular etymology, Kratylos/Nirukta style
Much or even most of the stuff given above can be looked up easily enough in
Christian Bartholomae's Altiranisches Woerterbuch, 1904, repr. Berlin 1961.
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
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