Nira-Narsingpur Narasimha, Lakmii-n.rsi.mha-sahasra-naaman
glhart at BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Nov 13 17:23:21 UTC 2007
I think Ashok would be well-advised to take a look at the Dravidian
Etymological Dictionary before he suggests that niira is not a
Dravidian word. It is rather strange that after the two language
families (Indo-Aryan and Dravidian) have been intermingled for
millennia scholars are still reluctant to admit mutual influence. In
fact, the influence is considerable both ways. I am working through
the Akananuru, one of the Sangam anthologies, and find several IA
words that repeat -- the total number of such words is about 2-3%.
Many are borrowed through Prakrit and, interestingly, there is a
limited number of such words which repeat over and over (e.g. kaamam,
kaalam, tiru < srii). The fact that this vocabulary is far more
limited than it is even in the Cilappatikaaram is a strong argument
for its date, which is almost certainly 1-3rd century AD. It might
also be pointed out that the technique of suggestion (called uLLuRai
in Tamil) is far more developed and prevalent than in any major
Sanskrit or Prakrit works. There are many aspects to Dravidian-Aryan
influence (or, perhaps more accurately, synthesis) than have been
realized and discovered to date. George Hart
On Nov 13, 2007, at 8:49 AM, Ashok Aklujkar wrote:
> As I suggested on 04 November, Prof. R.V. Joshi sent me as an e-mail
> attachment the passage in which the two problematic words niira and
> appear. He did this by sending a scan of the first two pages of
> ;Srii-Lakmii-n.rsi.mha-sahasra-naaman. In the exchange that
> took place on 13 November there are some points which may be of
> interest to
> the members of this list where the discussion began. Hence I am
> the exchange in a slightly edited form. --- ashok aklujkar
> That it is always better to make inquiries like yours by providing
> context (and exact grammatical forms found in a text) is borne out
> by the
> attachment you sent. It is evident that niira and nira will not be
> explained by the information Prof. Deshpande kindly provided. The
> name of a
> river, even if it is understood as a short form of names like Sadaa-
> is not intended.
> For niira, taking its usual meaning 'water' would be one
> justifiable way,
> for the author has alternated (a) epithets of Vi.s.nu with (b)
> names of
> entities associated/associable with Vi.s.nu in several other lines
> of the
> Lak.smii-n.rsi.mha-sahasra-naaman. Perhaps he expected us to take the
> latter as Vi.s.nu's representations or as metaphors for Vi.s.nu. Cf.
> vajra-dehaaya : vajraaya
> pu.spa-haasaaya haasaaya
> si.mhaaya si.mha-raajaaya
> a.t.ta-haasaaya ro.saaya (not as clear an example as the preceding
> and the
> following but possible)
> bhuutaavaasaaya bhaasaaya
> kha.dga-jihvaaya si.mhaaya
> ;subha;njayaaya suutraaya
> nirgu.naaya gu.naaya ca
> ni.sprapa;ncaaya nirvaa.na-padaaya
> nime.saaya nibandhaaya nime.sa-gamanaaya ca
> satya-dvajaaya mu;njaaya mu;nja-ke;saaya
> harii;saaya ca ;se.saaya
> ku;se;sayaaya kuulaaya
> suukti-kar.naaya suuktaaya
> (There may, of course, be many more examples in the pages not
> included in
> your attachment.)
> The other way to account for niira may essentially be the same as
> the one
> for nira. Only the prexifes involved will be different: nir/nis in
> first case and ni in the second.
> nira can be derived from ni + rai 'wealth, endowed object' (well-
> in the Veda). This rai becomes raa in some contexts as Monier-
> Williams has
> noted. The derivate ni + raa as a bahu-vriihi, changed to nira, so
> that it
> can qualify a masculine noun understood in the context (nitaraam /
> ati;sayavatii raa.h yasya/asya) would mean 'one with much property /
> impressive possessions.'
> If niira is analysed the same way, the meaning would be 'one
> without any
> possessions' and essentially become a synonym of nirgu.na.
> Thirdly, it is possible that niira is not a Dravidian word at all.
> from ni + iir, it could have originally meant 'one moving
> downward' (cp.
> the formations of similarly structured niipa and nii.da, which are
> Dravidian and at least one of which, nii.da, has Indo-European
> cognates in
> "nest" etc.). If the obviously and impressively learned author of the
> sahasra-naaman, who frequently engages in word play, had the
> meaning in mind, he could have intended to refer to Vi.s.nu's
> into the world, his avataara feature, through niira.
> (An analysis of the other nouns he has employed as adjectives
> should be
> attempted along similar lines. The nouns vajra, haasa ... suukta etc.
> listed above may be derivable also as adjectives. A pandit once
> showed me
> how English "cat" is a perfectly good Skt word: ka from muu.saka on
> pattern of bhaamaa for satya-bhaamaa etc. kam a.tatiiti kaa.t 'That
> it goes
> after a mouse makes it a cat.' In the hands of gifted pandits, the
> teaching vasudhaiva ku.tumbakam is applicable even in the sphere of
> The dhyaana verse of the Sahasra-naaman you are working on is found
> also as
> the first verse of ;Srii-lak.smii-n.rsi.mha-karu.naa-rasa-stotra
> to ;S:nkara/ Aadya ;Sa:nkaraacaarya in the anthologies of his
> How old do you think is the ;Srii-lak.smii-n.rsi.mha-sahasra-naaman?
> there any traditional Skt commentary on it? If not, you should
> write one.
> It is quite a remarkable sahasra-naaman.
> I deeply appreciate your interpretation. There is no sanskrit
> commentary on
> this Sahasra-Naama as far as I know. It is stated in the colophon
> that it is
> taken from the N .rsi .mha Puraana but in the N .rsi.mha Puraana
> editions I
> have before me , it is not there.
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