[INDOLOGY] Aditya-varna

James Hegarty hegartyjm at googlemail.com
Thu Jan 23 04:30:36 EST 2014


Mea culpa! My enquiry was not grammatical, but rather hermeneutical and comparative (and a little lazy, but what is the list for, if not to capitalise on erudition that outstrips one's own!). I am grateful for all responses. I hasten to add!
Best,
James

> On 22 Jan 2014, at 19:24, Howard Resnick <hr at ivs.edu> wrote:
> 
> Actually, James raised the “irrelevant” question regarding Aditya. I replied that at least in MW, where Aditya is the first member of a compound, it is rarely used adjectivally, though Aditya may act as an adjective.
> 
> I’m not sure that either the question or the answer were intended to be relevant to a greater issue. Technically, it seems that Aditya in Bg 8.9 can be part of a bahu-vrihi, as you point out, or it may be an adjective.
> 
> Best,
> hr
> 
> 
> 
>> On Jan 22, 2014, at 11:03 AM, dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk wrote:
>> 
>> Dear James,
>> 
>> I was interested in your query about the Buddha and the responses to it, though I 
>> don't think I've any answers.
>> 
>> On Aditya-varNa in BhG 8.9: it's a bahuvrIhi compound phrase, and as such it's 
>> adjectival, meaning most obviously "sun-coloured, having the colour of the sun". 
>> Howard Resnick's question as to whether Aditya is an adjective is irrelevant: it's quite 
>> usual to have a noun as first member of a bahuvrIhi.
>> 
>> The pAda Aditya-varNaM tamasaH parastAt is a Vedic quotation. The whole verse 
>> (vedAham etaM puruSaM mahAntam AdityavarNaM tamasaH parastAt | tam eva 
>> viditvAti mRtyum eti nAnyaH panthA vidyate 'yanAya "I know that great Man, sun-
>> coloured, beyond darkness | by knowing him alone one passes beyond death; there 
>> is no other path to go") occurs as vAjasaneyi saMhitA 31.18, taittirIya AraNyaka 
>> 3.12.7a, and zvetAzvatara upaniSad 3.8.
>> 
>> It's evidently a well-known Vedic verse; the second half occurs again in zvetAzvatara 
>> upaniSad 6.15. Both this text and BhG are fond of such quotations and partial 
>> quotations. It even occurs in the video of Peter Brook's dramatization of the Mbh, 
>> chanted as a lament for the slain after the battle.
>> 
>> With best wishes,
>> 
>> Dermot
>> 
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