India and Tibet

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Tue May 14 14:54:34 UTC 2002

"land of dance" is an amusing misinterpretation, and possibly
folk etymology, of the Tibetan word for India, rgya-gar, the
"white realm," contrasted with China, "rgya-nag" the "black realm."
Traditionally this is explained as referring to clothing.
"Rgya-ser," the "yellow/golden realm" is used to refer to Mongolia
and Iranian central Asia, however, and it is entirely possible
that the coloring coding of the nations surrounding Tibet
had to do more with a symbolic system of territorial organization
than with literally intended
 color references. The Tibetans also refer to India as the "noble land"
'phags-pa'i yul = Aryavarta/Aryadesa or the "central land" yul-dbus =
Madhyadesa, though these designations refer more strictly to
Magadha and the surrounding country.

Matthew Kapstein

On Tue, 14 May 2002, marina orelskaya wrote:

> Dear list-members,
> I have a vague reference that India "had been called
> India by many nations but the Tibetans called it the
> 'land of dance'". Could anyone elaborate on the
> Tibetan names for India?
>                Regards,
>              Marina Orelskaya
> Dr Marina Orelskaya
> associated fellow
> __________________________________________________
> Do You Yahoo!?
> LAUNCH - Your Yahoo! Music Experience

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list