Vedic Etymology: An Indispensable Tool for Interpreting the Vedas (Set of 4 Books)

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Item Code: HAX538
Author: Various Authors
Publisher: Various Publishers
Language: Sanskrit and English
Edition: 2012 to 2020
ISBN: 9788120813816, 9788183154086
Pages: 1050
Other Details 9X6 inch
Weight 1.81 kg
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Book Description
Vedic Etymology: An Indispensable Tool for Interpreting the Vedas (Set of 4 Books)
Vedic Etymology
The Nighantu and the Nirukta
Etymologies from the Traittiriya Brahmana
Vedic Etymology and Semantics
Vedic Etymology (A Critical Evaluation of the Science of Etymology as Found in Vedic Literature)

Back of the Book

Vedic Etymology contains a critical evaluation of all the etymologies found scattered over the vast Vedic Literature. These derivation have often been regarded as nonsense’, having no philological value at all. On critical examination, however, the present work has found them not only to be of utmost philological value but even of great help to the interpretation of Vedic texts. Dr. Fatah Singh (D. Litt, B.H.U. 1944) was born on July 1913 at Bhadeng Kanja, Pilibhit (U.P) India. As a director of Rajasthan Oriental Research Institute Jodhpur, he edited 33 old manuscripts. His 90 original works have so far been published, some of them as series in magazines and others books. Honored by several prestigious National awards, he flashed on the National & International horizon with his in-depth Vedic knowledge. He interpreted 1500 original excavated Indus seals and deciphered the Indus script in 1968 and conclusively proved for the first time that the Indus civilization was a carry over of Vedic Civilization which existed throughout India not Just in the Harrapa & Mohanjodaro of Sindh. Dr. Singh passed away at the age of 95 on Feb 5, 2008 is survived by two sons and two daughter.


The book contains a critical evaluation of all the etymologies found scattered over the vast Vedic Literature. These derivations have often been regarded as ‘nonsense’, having no philological value at all. On critical examination, however, the present work has found them not only to be of utmost philological value but even of great help to the interpretation of Vedic texts.

The Nature of Vedic Etymologles

The derivations of the words given from Samhitas are not many, but they seem to be simple, direct and straight-forward explanations, having no ritualistic colouring. The words derived are either like Nadi and Apah, the names of the objects of the Nature or like ‘Naciketas’ belonging to Mythology or Philosophy.

The germ that is found in the simple beginnings of the Samhitas is seen grown-up to amazing height, all of as udden, in the Brahmanas. There we meet, more or less with a definite method and terminology, sufficiently evolved for the scientific purposes. For example Gopatha Brahmana mentions the words like Dhatu, upasarga Nipat, Pratyaya and the derivations given in Daivata Brahman remind us of Yaska’s Nirukta.

As regards the nature of the words derived, there seems to be a sort of sepecialization among the various Brahmanas. Thus while Rgvedic Brahmanas generally deal with the names of Rsis, goes and the things connected with the Hotr priest, the prose portions of the Taittiriya Samhita and all Yajurveda Brahmanas, with the exception of Satapatha which contains the derivations of secular words as well, give mostly the derivations of the names of the sacrifices, sacrificial implements and other requisites of the sacrificial cult. The names of metres and chants belong almost exclusively to Sama Vade Brahmanas, Jaiminiya and Tandya Mahabrahmana being the foremost of them The derivations occurring in Gopatha Brahmanas of A.V. are nearly all secular words and show a sort of scientific precision that may stand well in comparison with the work of later philologists.

Coming to the derivations of the post-Brahmanic woks the Aranyakas and the Upnisadas concern themselves with the philosophical terms. Even the names o metres, chants and the like do not signify their original sense but occur there in the capacity of some technical word of Philosophy. In this category comes the words like Saman, Rk and Gayatri.

Lastly, the Sutras give the derivations of the words which are mostly ritualistic in character in Fact, Sutras prove more helpful in understanding and explaining the etymologies of the Brahmanas. There is hardly any new etymology given.

The Apparent Absurdity.

At the first sight, many of the etymologies given in the Vedic Literature would appear as absurd but on properly proceeding. They seem to be full of meaning. This absurdity seems to have come in the derivations, because of the introduction of 1 a myth 2. a philosophical idea or 3. a popular belief.

In the case of the derivations of the first and second kind, the comparison of Naigama and Agama thought in the clarified most of the so-called absurdities. The said comparison gave a philosophical background, of these derivations; and analyzed with reference to this philosophy, moist of the mysterious accounts in the derivations became quite significant and logical. For example, the derivation of the word Chandas, from Chad ‘to cover’ involving the myth of Chandas sheltering or covering Indra, becomes quite clear, Indra to be the Spirit clothed in Matter. Similarly the derivations of philosophical terms become quite evident as soon as the system on which they are based becomes intelligible. The word of the third kind are not unknown even in our modern languages. The association of the English word ‘lunantic’ with ‘lune’ may serve as the example to show how popular beliefs are responsible for the formation of several words.

Words, having more than one Derivations.

One great absurdity which may, in a way be taken to be the offshoot of the above three, may be found in the fact that Brahmanas given more than one derivation of the one and the same word. In such cases, the fact is that it is not the one word derived in many ways, but several words of different origin having one and the same form. This may happen in many ways, but the usual way, which makes the derivation appear absurd, seems to be one. An ordinary word meaning some secular object is some-times, chosen to denote some philosophical truth; in doing so, if the original derivation is found unsuited for the purpose, an artificial etymology satisfying the new meaning is invented. For example, the word Saman, originally meaning a chant when used to signify the dichotomy of the Prana and the Vak; the Purusa and the Prakrti, is derived as plus for the original derivation is not sufficient to express this new meaning. But, even this invention is as real as the invention of the word in its original sense, the only difference being that the former might not have been as conscious and deliberate as the latter.

Besides the above feature, the following phenomena have also been found to cause the variety of derivations. 1. Phonetically similar words. Spoken with different senses are, sometimes, grouped under one phonetic unit, and become one word, having various meanings. 2. Epithets denoting different qualities of the same person, god or thing may be, in the beginning, different, though phonetically some what similar. In course of time, they are combined into one word becoming the name of that person, god or thing, and the different meanings of the different constituents are forgotten. A typical example of these two cases may be found in ‘Indra’.

Certain laws of Semantics.

In course of the observations on the Vedic Etymologies several laws of Semantics have been noticed. For fear of making the work voluminous, they may be given here only in brief:-

1. Words associated with concrete physical phenomena tend to abstract themselves from them e.g. Atri, Brahman.

2. Words connected with sacrifice undergo threefold changes Adhidaivika, Adhibhautika, and Adhyatmika.

3. Names of the most of Nature-gods in course of time become absolutely abstract.

4. There also seems to be a reverse order i.e. the change from the abstract to the comparatively concrete e.g. the names of deities like Manauta and Sraddha’.

5. The role of myths, superstitions and religious beliefs in the process of word-formation is also very important, for they are also the outcome of the human reason which is, indeed, responsible for the evolution of languages.

6. Sometimes the moral sense of the word is utterly perverted e.g. ‘Asura’ in India and “Indra’ in Iran, Many a word is what is called a ‘Fossil Poetry’ e.g. Pipilika-Madhya.

7. Laws of association plays a great part in the formation of words and in changing their meanings.

8. Name given to things seem, directly or indirectly, to refer to some characteristic of the things named.

9. There are certain factors that are responsible for the attribution of more than one senses, very often contradictory to each other, to one word.

10. There are some words which may be said to be fossil History e.g. Asura.

11. There seems to be a relation between the mental disposition and the phonetic nature of the word expressing the object with which that disposition is associated.

I am very grateful to the university of Rajputana for the publication grant without which the book could not have been published even now. I am, however, sorry to say that the latter fortion of the book has to be considerably abridged for lack of funds.


Sample Pages

The Nighantu And The Nirukta: The Oldest Indian Treatise on Etymology, Philology and Semantics

From the Jacket:

The Nighantus are the glossaries or lists of rare and obscure words occurring in the Vedic hymns. According to Yaska they were collected and classified by the descendants of ancient sages for the easier understanding of the Vedic texts.

The Nirukta is a famous work of Yaska. It is the oldest Indian Treatise on Etymology, Philology and Semantics. This being a commentary on the Nighantus, collection of obscure words which tradition ascribes also to Yaska, follows the three-fold division of the contents of the Nighantus. There are three sections in the Nirukta, viz. Naighantuka Kanda (consisting of lists in which Vedic words are collected under certain main ideas), Naigama Kanda or Aikapadika (containing a list of ambiguous and particularly difficult word of the Vedas) and Daivanta-Kanda (classification of deities according to the three regions: earth, sky and heaven).

The book is divided into three parts. These contain Introduction, Translation and Sanskrit Text, accompanied by exegetical and critical notes, indices and Appendices.





  Preface 1
  a. Detailed description of Manuscripts 5
  b. Two recensions 9
  c. Devaraja and his commentary 10
  d. Roth's edition of the Nighantu 11
  e. Bibliotheca Indica edition of the Nighantu 12
  f. Title of the work 13
  g. Division of the Nighautu 13
  h. Author of the Nighautu 14
  a. Earlier editions of the Nirukta 15
  b. Detailed description of the Manuscripts 19
  c. Relationship of the Manuscripts - two recensions 39
  d. Omissio ex homoeleleuto in Sanskrit Manuscripts 40
  e. Dittography in Sanskrit Manuscripts 41
  f. 1. Three Stages of interpolations 45
    2. Parallel instance of Servius, commentator of Virgil 48
  g. Commentators of Yaska 49
  h. Yaska's contributions to Etymology, Philology and Semanties 53
    1. Date of Yaska 53
    2. Phonetic equipment of Yaska 54
    3. Importance of Etymology 56
    4. Principles of Etymology 57
    5. Plato on Etymology 63
    6. Philological speculations of Yaska 64
    7. Origin of Language 65
    8. Parts of Speech 66
    9. Aristotle's definition of Noun and Verb 66
    10. Semantics. How names are given: Criticism and Rejoinder 68
  i. Early anti-Vedic Scepticism 71


Preface 3
List of Abbreviations 4
Four classes of words 5
Prepositions 7
Particles 8
Expletives 13
Are all nouns derived from verbs? 14
The Kautsa controversy 16
Importance of etymology 18
Compilation of the Nighantu 20


Principles of Etymology 21
Sakapuni and a deity 27
Devapi and Santanu 28
Vrtra 31
Visvamitra and the Rivers 35


Inheritance 39
Brotherless maiden 41
Fingers 43
Synonyms of beauty 47
Niyoga 48
Similes 49
Onomatopoeia 51
Synonyms of Heaven and Earth 55


Homonyms 56
Jathara 59
Kayamana 61
Dayamana 63
Vyantah 65
Erire 67
Anta 69
Varya 71


Vanusyati 71
Varaha 75
Visnu 77
Adhrigu 79
Vajapas 81
Nicumpu 83
Krtti 85
Prthak 87
Srni 89


Virudhah 91
Indra and the Seers 93
Asih 95
Kimidin 97
Jarayayi 99
Amina 101
Ghramsa 102
Pratadvasu 105
Bekunata 107
Sirimbitha 109
Bunda 111


Nature of Stanzas 113
Deity 115
Are Gods anthropomorphic 116
Metres 119
Agni 121
Jatavedah 123
Vaisvanara 123


Dravinoda 129
Barhih 133
Tvastr 135
Apri 138
Sakuni 139
Dice 141
Quiver 143
Whip 145
Rivers 147
Wilderness 149
Ends of the Bow 151


Vayu 153
Rudra 155
Brhaspati 157
Yama 159
Ka 161
Tarkeya 163
Vata 165
Indu 167


Soma 169
Death 171
Maruts 173
Aptyah 175
Sarasvati 177
Sinivali 179
Gauri 181
Ha 183


Asvins 184
Bhaga 189
Varuna 191
Seven Seers 196
Divine womeu 199
Exegetical and Critical Notes 200
Alphabetical list of Stories related in the Nirukta
Index of Authorities cited in the Nirukta 247
List of Quotations occurring in the Nirukta, arranged in the order of the Samhitas 248




Book's Contents and Sample Pages

Etymologies From The Traittiriya Brahmana

It is indeed a matter of great pleasure and pride for Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Ramtek to have this rarest opportunity of hosting the 50th session of All India Oriental Conference at Nagpur. This AIOC-50th session at Nagpur will be forever remembered by all as the year 2019 also happens to be the year of Centenary Celebration of AIOC. The premier objective with which the great scholars of yester years had contemplated and established this national academic event called All India Oriental Conference has been achieved through these years with scores of young scholars contributing significantly to the treasure house of knowledge through their valuable research work.

The research of yore and of the present should be properly recorded so as to make it easily available to all lovers of knowledge and wisdom in the years to come. With this objective, we have contemplated to commemorate the 100th year of this grand event of 50th session of AIOC by way of publishing 100 monographs on different subjects in four languages viz., Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi and English. It is no doubt a herculean task but still worth of it, for the reason that these 100 monographs will inspire many young scholars to take upon a fresh study and research of the oriental subjects with more vigor and zeal.

The AIOC Centenary Publication Series includes wide variety of subjects like Literature, Language, Veda, Indian Philosophy, Sanskrit Grammar, Law, Children Literature, Yoga, Astronomy and Astrology, Ayurveda, Pali, Prakrit, Jain, Buddhism, Education, Library Science, Poetics, Aesthetics, and Indology. It also includes reprint of some rare texts of academic importance which have gone out of print are not easily available. We wish to mark these centenary celebrations with this series that connects the glory of the past and aspirations of future. I place on record my sincere gratitude to all the authors of these monographs who have kindly contributed to the richness of this series.

I am confident that the books published in these series will definitely inspire the lovers of Oriental Learning in general and of Sanskrit Language and Literature in particular.

On this occasion, we have published a memorable book of all the speeches of Section-Presidents of all previous sessions of AIOC. It is indeed a very capacious addition to any collection. I with all respect thank two eminent scholars of our times - Prof. Gautam Patel, President and Prof. Saroj a Bhate, General Secretary, the torch bearers of AIOC who have not only encouraged us in this venture but also made all efforts to provide these valuable historical speeches for us. I thank all executive members of AIOC and my colleagues of the varsity for making this event a grand success.

My words fall short in describing the painstaking efforts and scholarly commitment of my esteemed colleague Prof. Madhusudan Penna, local secretary of this session in bringing out this series.

I also take this opportunity to profusely thank Shri. Subhash Jain and Shri Deepak Jain, the proprietors of New Bharatiya Book Corporation, New Delhi for their enthusiastic approach and timely work with all precision and grace.

Let us all sanctify ourselves in the eternal flow of wisdom by reading these books and recommending these to others also!

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Vedic Etymology and Semantics A Linguistic Approach (Chinmaya Research Series 4)

Vyakarana (Grammar) and Nirukta (Etymology) deal with linguistic aspects and are auxiliaries to Vedas. These two branches are considered reciprocal or complementary to each other. The Nirukta of Yaska is a unique treatise on Sanskrit etymology and it deals with the semantic problems. The main object of the work is to explain all the possible meanings of Vedic words for posterity who are generally unaware of the meaning of the Vedic passages. Yaska's Nirukta etymologically derives the words of the Nighantu of Kasyapa which perhaps is the only one of the six limbs of the Vedic body that is traced out barely to one author where as all other constituents such as Siksa (Phonetics) and Vyakarana (Grammar) have several celebrated schools.

Yaska elucidates the fourfold purposes of Nirukta thus a. understanding the precise meaning of Vedic stanzas, b. knowledge of word-division, c. arriving at a conclusion on the injunctions with regard to the characteristics of deities in the sacrificial act, and d. ignorance. to be able to eulogize knowledge and denounce Ignorance.

Among the four goals, adulation of knowledge is of paramount importance. The study of Niruktassstra is important to gain actual knowledge of Vedic texts. The other three objects of Niruktasastra, stated by Yaska are but only complimentary to the fourth one.

The Nirvacanavyavastha or the mode of etymological analysis illustrates two categories of words. Words that are regular in their grammatical form and accent system and that accompanied by an explanatory radical modification come under the first category the other being irregular in grammatical forms, irrelevant in meaning and the explanatory radical modification being non existent. Thus etymologists do not stress on grammatical explanations. They are rather concerned with establishing the root origin of words.

The studies on Vedic etymology and semantics are closely related to the Nirukta of Yaska and this book concentrates on the linguistic aspects of Vedic etymology. The term Vedic is used in this book entitled, Vedic Etymology and Semantics. A Linguistic Approach, to denote the earliest treatises on Vedic literature from the period of Samhita texts to Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanisads which are considered supplementary developments of the Samhita. The upavedas are not treated here. Yaska makes contextual analysis of the words and passages of the Vedic literature.

Although one of the six Vedangas, due to the exegetical nature of the work itself, the Nirukta was left without sufficient commentaries. Further, the tradition of Yaska which stresses on etymology was accepted by various Sanskrit scientific disciplines and even by literary works in their expositions of hermeneutical and structural analysis. Three commentators Ugra, Skandasvami and Durga are known to have elucidated Yaska's work. The most important of these commentators is that of Durga. He is the only available commentator who approached the Nirukta in the traditional way of Sanskrit. The present work would throw much light on this aspect.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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