[INDOLOGY] etymology of sākṣin

patrick mccartney psdmccartney at gmail.com
Sun Jul 12 07:54:15 UTC 2015

Dear Friends,

Would some kind soul whose knowledge of Sanskrit is infinitely better than
my own help clarify the etymology of *sākṣin* (witness)?

In a legal sense a witness, or one who testifies, is a sākṣini, however,
I'm interested more in the Advaita Vedāntic/Jñāna Yoga principle that it
can be considered an 'epistemological tool' and also a 'field of awareness'
where 'phenomena are experienced' (cf Chatterjee 1982, 2003, Fort 1984,
Gupta 1998). More as a side note I find this principle similar to Bourdieu
& Wacquant's (1992) epistemic principle of 'participant objectification'
that aims to draw the spectator into what appears to me to be a relatively
similar epistemological state that aims to objectify the subjectivity of
the agent.
I welcome discussion on this point.

I am parsing *sākṣin* as a verbal noun possibly derived from

*ā-kshi,* cl. 2. 6. P.
*-ksheti, -kshiyati, kshetum,* to abide, dwell in, stay at (with acc.);
to inhabit; to exist; to possess, take possession of
(with acc.).

or perhaps

*aksh*  cl. 1. P. *akshati,* cl. 5.
*akshṇoti, ānaksha, akshishyati, akshyati, ākshīt, akshitum* or *ashṭum,*
to reach; to pass through, penetrate, pervade, embrace;

Searching for 'eye', however, I found this interesting '*?'*...

 *aksha, am,* n. *(fr. rt. 1. **aś?**)*, an organ
of sense, an object of sense; (*as*), m. the soul; know-
ledge, religious knowledge; the law; a lawsuit;

this root *aś *has two presents two possibilities

1 . *aś,* cl. 5. P. A. (in classical
Sanskṛt A. only),
*aśnoti, -nute, āśa, ānaṉśa, ānaśe, aśishyate* or *akshyate, āśishṭa*
and *āshṭa, aśitum,* to reach, come to, arrive at; to
get, gain, obtain; to become master of, to master, to
be able; to pervade, penetrate, pierce through, fill;
to heap, accumulate: Caus. *āśayati, āśiśat:* Desid.
*aśiśhate:* Intens.

*aśāśyate*2 . *aś,* cl. 9. P.
*aśnāti, āśa, aśi- shyati, āśīt, aśitum,* to eat, consume; to
taste, enjoy: Caus. *āśayati, -yitum,* to cause to eat,
to give to eat, to feed: Desid. *aśiśishati,* to wish to
eat: Intens. *aśāśyate.*

I am inclined to go with class 5 aś as the root.

Am I correct in assuming that this is a compound with the indeclinable
prefix 'sa' substituting 'saha'  indicating possession or more simply 'with
eye' (ie with an epistemological tool/organ) as a possible translation?
However, I'm still at a loss to understand how this concept can be
considered an an external field to the agent involved in the act of
witnessing...this is really the crux of my query and I appreciate any
insights you might be able to share.

Thanks in advance.

All the best,

Patrick McCartney

PhD Candidate
School of Culture, History & Language
College of the Asia-Pacific
The Australian National University
Canberra, Australia, 0200

Skype - psdmccartney

Australia:  +61 487 398   354
Germany: +49 157 5469 4045
India:        +91 98 73 893 945

   - *https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241756978&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
   <https://anu-au.academia.edu/patrickmccartney> *





-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology/attachments/20150712/06e626cb/attachment.htm>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list