A question on Vedic vANa - 1

Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat May 13 13:47:47 UTC 2000

This may be of interest to your research. Bards in the
CT are essentially of two kinds: ciRu-pANan2 holding
cIRiyAz (small yAz) & perumpANan2 with pEriyAz. Small
uDukkai-type drums and yAz-type stringed instruments are
represented in Indus seals. For the seals, E.J.H. Mackay, Further
excavations at Mohenjo-Daro, 1937, two volumes.

W.A.Fairservis, The Harappan civilization and its writing:
A model for the decipherment of the Indus script, 1992.
On page 178, the lute or lyre sign is identified as "pAN".
and the drum as "paRai".

V. Iyer

Dr. S. Palaniappan wrote:
Related to my research into the ancient Indian bards, I would like some
information from Vedic/IE experts. However, before I pose the question, I
need to present some information which I shall split into two posts to stay
within the size limit.

I am interested in the relationship, if any, between DEDR 4068 (Ta. pAN
melody; pANar caste; praise, flattery; pANan2 an ancient class of Tamil
and minstrels; pANi song, melody, music; pANu song, paN music; paNNu
to sing in an instrument (as a tune), tune, tune musical instruments; paNNal
tuning the lute strings according to the required melody;
) and Vedic vANa'
(instrumental) music, voice; vA'NI music, sound, voice; plur. choir of
singers or musicians. Kuiper  in his Rigvedic Loanwords, IJDL, v.21, no.2,
18-19, says "The restriction of these words to music is not favourable to
proposed connection with bhan- "to say" (PMW 32, cf. Tam. paNi - to say,
speak, declare"). Note Tam. paNNu- "to sing in an instrument, as a tune"".
his Aryans in the Rigveda, Kuiper reiterates his view that bANa, vANa, and
vANI do not have a plausible IA etymology (p. 79-80). He also says "A
development v>b within Indo-Aryan can probably be excluded for Vedic in
general. A few cases with a secondary b in zaunaka are due to a less correct
transmission of this text and may stem from a much later (post-Vedic)
Cf.6.16.1 AbayU'-, 10.2.17 bANa'- 'music'
.The general tendency at all times
was to 'sanskritize' words with the foreign phoneme b by changing it to v or

We have an interesting parrallel in the historical period in the south of
India which is given in the second part of this discussion.

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