[Advaita-l] Re: Sources for some statements

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed May 31 08:02:17 CDT 2006

In shooting off my post on 'nArAyaNa', I committed the mistake of referring to the dental 'na' repeatedly as palatal 'na'. What excuse, except lack of well established knowledge and rigour in application, could be offered for such a basic mistake? The learned members are requested to kindly bear with such clumsiness.

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy at gmail.com> wrote:
  Shree Siva Senani Garu,
Namaskaramu. Thanks a bunch for the explanation on the word
"Narayana" and the valuable information on Sanskrit. That was really
nice. Please see my comments below.

> Meanwhile, what is the difference between a 'Proper noun' and 'Title'. My first
> instinct was that where a Title would admit of a derivation, a Proper noun would not.
> My understanding of the English usage of 'Proper noun' is that it is a given, which
> need not follow any grammar or other rule in spelling or pronounciation - and by
> extension, in meaning. Thus John, Jhon, Jhno and so on can all theoretically be
> 'Proper nouns' and once so labelled are beyond any rules. Now this is quite
> different from the case in Sanskrit.

As you rightly pointed out, even the so-called proper nouns have
derivations in Sanskrit. The difference between a "proper name" (Mea
culpa. Bad usage) and a "title" that I intended is this -- Siva
meaning auspiciousness, it could be used either for MahaDeva or
Narayana. And there is no restriction on such usage. But the word
Narayana on the other hand, although it has meanings that could be
derived, is supposed (according to my friend) to refer to only one
particular being.

> My Sanskrit teacher told me that a Sanskrit scholar is expected to give vyutpatti or
> etymology of whatever word he is asked of. In other words, every word in Sanskrit
> except 2,220 odd roots, 22 upasargas or prepositions, 84 or so kridantas, the
> less-than-hundred secondary affixes, and a few others - say all put together less than
> 2,500 elements - every other word admits of at least one derivation. And, Narayana
> definitely admits of derivations (the one who moves in waters - nAra).

One more derivation from a Dvaita perspective was this. Na ara --
without any doshas, i.e., Laxmi Devi. Ayana meaning shelter. Narayana
is he who is the refuge of Laxmi Mata, one without any doshas.

> The second 'na' is equally baffling. What is the second 'na' meant here? Is it the last
> syllable of the word 'ayana' or does it refer to the fact that instead of the palatal 'na' (that
> is the na of ta-varga - ta tha da dha na), the cerebral 'Na', as in prANa, is used?

You hit right on target. This was what I meant. Thanks.

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