Etymology of a few words

Vidyasankar vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 23 13:32:04 CDT 2002

>Now what does Sh-kAra represent and why ?
>What does r-kAra represent and why ?
>What does I-kAara represent and why ?
>I mean there must be something very basic about sounds

It is an extremely slippery path, to split sounds in this fashion.

Take for example the sh-kAra. In the word "sham" as in "sham no mitrash
sham varuNaH" etc., the sh sound occurs in an auspicious sense. In the
word "shava" meaning corpse, the same sound occurs in an inauspicious sense.

So, one cannot generalize about the meanings of words by breaking them up
into individual consonants and vowels. True, there are bIjAkShara-s and
each is meant for a particular purpose, which is to be learned from those
who are well-versed in them. However, we must remember that Sanskrit is as
much a secular language as it is a sacred language. When used in normal
contexts, there is no need to look for deeply hidden meanings.

For that matter, the sounds themselves are universal and not restricted to
the Sanskrit language. So, following your logic, we must start looking for
hidden meanings of words in every language, spoken in every country in the
world, from Afghanistan to Zaire! There is no reason to restrict only
Sanskrit as an expansion of mantra-shAstra; every language can potentially
be an expansion of mantra-shAstra, in one way or the other. It just takes a
creative mind to come up with appropriate interpretations of words to fit
this notion.

Best regards,

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