s. kalyanaraman's note

georgecardona cardona at unagi.cis.upenn.edu
Mon Feb 13 08:56:04 EST 1995

S. Kalyanaraman's argument depends on two related points: (1) assuming that
Skt. kuula means 'pond, pool' and (2) etymological connections.  Concerning
(1):  kuula in the earliest attestations does not refer to a standing body
of water like a pond or pool.  Thus, in BRhadaaraNyaka Up. 4.3.18 the image
is invoked of a big fish that goes along both banks of a river, the closer
one and the one on the other side (tadyathaa mahaamatsya ubhe kuule
anusancarati puurvaM caaparam ca ...).  Clearly, there is no question of a
pond or pool.  The earliest attestation also concerns an image, in Rgveda
8.47.11: aadityaa ava hi khyataadhi kuulaad iva spazaH.  Here the Aadityas
are asked to look down (ava ... khyata) as spies look down from a kuula. 
Here again there is no question of a pool or pond.  In both cases, kuula
refers to the bank of a river, a meaning the term has also later, as seen,
e.g., from AmarakoSa 1.10.7 (kuulaM rodhaz ca tiiraM ca pratiiraM ca taTaM
triSu), where it is one of five words for the bank of a river, along with
such well-known terms as tiira and taTa.  When Kalyanaraman says, ' I
suggest that kulya in its early meaning is likely to connote a ditch or
pond,' he does not support this with any evidence except for etymological
connections.  He then brings in khalla, which does not exclusively refer to
a ditch or canal and is not found in the earliest known texts.  In my own
note, I purposely refrained from bringing in any questions of etymology and
restricted myself to the question of usage that is definitely known.  That
there were more terms in early Indo-Aryan which could refer to a canal and
that these could indeed be etymologically connected with terms in Dravidian
and so on (which Burrow dealt with, see Turner sv. kulyaa) are
possibilities no one would want to deny.  On the other hand, I hope we can
agree that good and prudent procedure dictates that one begin with the
definitely known and that earliest attestations be given pride of place.
Etymology can then be brought in.  To depend on less than firmly fixed
assignments of meanings and chronology together with etymological
connections alone is, at least to me, not very satisfying.  George Cardona 


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