[Advaita-l] Modern science and Vedanta.

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 22 12:31:11 CDT 2011

Sri Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote: I withdraw from further discussion with you at this point and refer you to that old English adage about glass houses and throwing stones. Someone who thought, not too long ago, that the Tamil pronunciation of "sagotharan" for the Sanskrit word sodara/sahodara is instead derived from the term "sa-gotra", should think twice before preening about their grasp over the grammar and usage of the Sanskrit language.

Sri RV wrote: While I believe Sankara is inerrant, probably because of childhood conditioning, I am ignorant and prone to errors in many ways. So, I have nothing to preen about. All I am trying to do is truthfully and in a scholarly way (at my level) elucidate the position of bhakti in sankara sampradaya. I made a casual remark in a different post about sagodharan and sagodhari possibly coming from sagotra. I have not studied the roots of sagotra and sahodara *** but will not be surprised if they are mutually related. *** (emphasis added).

------- now, my post ...

- Quite revealing, the last phrase ! For those who are not Tamilians, here is a quick and simplified explanation of the above issue. One version of Tamil aphabet - the classical or original one at any rate - has only one letter to represent ka, kha, ga, gha, ~Na and ha. In Dravidian words, neither the mahaapraaNa (kha, gha) nor the varga-pancamaakshara (~Na) is used; so effectively it uses one letter to represent three sounds: ka, ga and ha. In many words, the parusha (ka, ca, Ta, ta, pa) is replaced by the sarala (ga, ja, Da, da, ba): like in the English compound cup-board (which is actually pronounced as cubboard), the parusha 'pa' of cup is replaced by the sarala 'ba' of cubboard. This is called saralaadeSa sandhi by some. Educated Tamilians make this sandhi mentally and read ka as ga, ca as ja etc., whenever the situation demands. Many who do not pay attention to this aspect get this wrong especially when using non-Dravidian words. For
 instance, in the famous pancaratna kriti, endaro mahaanubhaavulu (in Telugu, though almost every music-loving Tamilian knows it or is aware of it), the 'ha' of 'mahaa' is written as 'ka' and pronounced as 'ga' and it often is sung as 'endaro magaanubhaavulu'.
Now coming back to sahodaran (that last 'n' is the Tamil prathamA vibhakti marker) issue, since classic Tamil script has not the letter for 'ha', it is written as sakodaran and often pronounced as sagodaran. This is tolerated as the meaning is clear to all. Some, though, get confused. It seems Sri Rajaram Venkataramani thought this sounds very similar to sagotra and thought they share a common root! In reality they do not. saha + udara (womb, stomach) = sahodara, that is a sibling, one who is from the same stomach. sa-gotra is of the same gotra, a family, originally a shelter. Udara and gotra have absolutely no connection or relation. It is somewhat unusual for a Sanskrit knowing scholar to be so confused; but, still this might happen - pramaado dheemataamapi - especially as childhood impressions stay for long. However, even after this is pointed out, that he still won't "be surprised if they are mutually related", is as I said, very revealing! It
 is a bit like you say 128 + 128 = 256, and a Mathematics scholar replies that he would check it out, as he is only a scholar of partial complex differential calculus and not arithmetic!
jayatu ma~nco'yam!
N. Siva Senani

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