Etymology of a few words

Shrinivas Gadkari sgadkari2001 at YAHOO.COM
Thu May 23 15:10:50 CDT 2002

On Thu, 23 May 2002 14:32:04 -0400, Vidyasankar <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM>
>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

Namsate Shri Vidyashankar,

Thanks for your interest in this thread.

Yes I agree that this is a slippery path, but hopefully our
sadhana will teach us how not to fall on such paths :).

Shama = to be good, calmness etc.
Shava = corpse

Agreed, they appear quite opposed in meaning. But let us not give up
so soon.

Forget every language and let us look at the sound Sh. What does
this sound remind us of ?
To me it reminds of : Shhhhhh (calm down, be quiet, ....)

So (to my understanding) Sh is a root sound for quietening. Now
ask yourself, will taking this meaning for Sh make sense for both
Sham, and Shava ?
In my opinion, yes it would.

Shri Ken Knight, had mentioned the following :

"Sha corresponds to the mahAmAyA according to
Abhinavagupta in (PTV) ParAtri.mshikAvivaraNa KSTS 18.
Cf. TantrAloka (TA) of Abhinavagupta 9.150-152 and
commentary by Jayaratha, ‘The great illusion is the
first appearance of duality, the supreme vision (of
the forthcoming universe) which appears when arises
the first impulse towards external manifestation but
prior to the actual state of differentiation."

So Sh (according to Abhinavagupta) represents the state
of impulse for duality but before emergence of
duality. So when we quieten ourselves with Shhhhhh
we are actually directing ourselves to the state where
duality will just subside but not impulses.

Best regards

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list