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Questions tagged [etymology]

Questions regarding the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

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Are some of the words from Vedas still untranslatable?

This question quotes the Sanskrit grammarian Yāska as saying he didn't know the meaning of some 400 words of the Vedas. Is this still the case with modern translations of Vedas?
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Which are those 400 words of Veda not known or understood to even Yaska?

Nirukta is one of six Vedangas which are very essential to completely understand Vedas. Nirukta is the the study of origin of Sanskrit words i.e etymology which is very useful for understanding and ...
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3answers
243 views

Why does chandogya upanishad use kannada-telugu words?

In the Chandogya Upanishad, the word “मटची” “maTacI” is used to describe famine in the Kuru kingdom. “मटचीहतेषु कुरुष्वाटिक्या सह जायया उषस्तिर्ह चाक्रायण इभ्यग्रामे प्रद्राणक उवास” (1.10.1). ...
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1answer
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What is the source of “Vriyate iti Varnaha?”

The author of the blog post What's your Varna quotient? uses a certain definition of varṇa: The generic definition of the term 'Varna' comes from 'Vriyate Iti Varnaha' implying that one can choose ...
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2answers
122 views

What is the etymology reason for the swarupa order in the construction of the word “Sat-chit-ananda”?

Why are the swarupas of the word Satcitananda constructed in this way in relationship wit Brahman and not Ananda-chit-sat? Are the order of these swarupas like stepping stones of realization?
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1answer
104 views

What is Ahalyā's birth name?

Is 'Ahalyā' the real name of Gautama's wife or is it an acquired name? At least, the Monier-Williams dictionary seems to think it's an acquired one. The word is listed as a + halyā: अ-हल्या (A-...
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0answers
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What is the meaning of “Aum”? [duplicate]

I have heard that many saints saying aum when they are in meditation. Not only saints, but many mantras like: aum namah shivaya; aum sreekrishnaya namah have "aum" present in it. Questions: ...
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1answer
146 views

Are Shiva & Vishnu etymologically connected?

It has always struck me as interesting, or perhaps odd, that the root phonemes of Shiva, [sh]+[v], are the reverse of the root phonemes of Vishnu, [v]+[sh]. Is there any accounting for this?
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4answers
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What is the meaning of Narayana?

So far I have been breaking the word into nara (नर) + Ayana (आयन) = home of nara (jiva). But lately I have realized I couldn't break it this way because to make it nArAyaNa (नारायण), nAra (नार) is ...
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3answers
685 views

What is the meaning of Ramayana?

Ramayana is a sacred epic about the life of Lord Rama. Can anyone explain the meaning/etymology of the word "Ramayana?"
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5answers
456 views

Who is considered Hindu?

Keeping geographical location aside, who is considered to be a Hindu? (i.e. not belonging to other religions) Should that person accept authority of someone (Vedas, some God, philosophy etc.)?
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2answers
162 views

Do scriptures define what a “sect” (सम्प्रदाय ) is?

I guess a sect (सम्प्रदाय ) is one that only subscribes to a subset of Hindu beliefs and/or worships only a subset of Hindu gods. Is there anything in scriptures about this? What is the etymology of ...
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0answers
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Etymology of Sringa

Sringa is an Ancient Indian musical instrument. In an answer to my previous question, it was pointed out that Mahabharat contains a reference to a ruler of the kingdom of Stri Rajya, also known as ...
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2answers
227 views

What is meaning of the word Mimamsa etymologically?

I am aware that Mimamsa is about philosophy and means critical reflection.But I am interested in the actual etymology of the word so please stick to that point.
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1answer
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What are the various etymological derivations for the word “Upanishad”?

One i found myself from a commentary on one Upanishad. It says the word is derived like this: Upa (meaning near)+ Nishanna (specially present). So, "near which, sons, animals-like fruits of ...
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1answer
111 views

Are Gandharvs related to Gandhar?

Gandharvas are a class of male nature spirits, having superb musical skills and are guardians of Soma. Gandhar was an ancient kingdom located in modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is mentioned, ...
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1answer
111 views

Is Sage Panini related to Panis?

Sage Panini was a great grammarian of Ancient India. There is a word mentioned in Rig-Veda, Pani, which means different things according to the context. One of the meanings (albeit in later sources) ...
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2answers
454 views

Was Laxman Kumara named after Lakshmana?

Laxman Kumara was the only son1 of Duryodhana and Bhanumati. He battled in the Mahabharata war and did perform many acts of bravery, like saving King Bahlika, killing Shikandi's son, etc. He was later ...
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0answers
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Why is the Sanctum Sanctorum called Garbha Griha?

The place where the deity in a temple is placed (prathishtana) is in english called Sanctum Sanctorum. We refer to it as Garbha Griha. The simple sanskrit meaning of this term is 'Home of the Womb' (...
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3answers
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What is the meaning of Saraswati?

Devi Saraswati is the Goddess of knowledge, learning and creativity. But what is the etymological meaning of the name Saraswati? How does Nirukta explain the name Saraswati? I guess it's related to '...
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3answers
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What is Fullness and Emptyness (void) according to the Vedas?

I was reading a post containing the following lines taken from Veda, where I could not understand. That is Fullness, this is Fullness; from Fullness comes Fullness. When Fullness is taken from ...
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3answers
791 views

What is the meaning/definition of the word Shudra?

I would like to know the meaning/definition of the word Shudra? Some 3-4 years back, in a commentary of an Upanishad I found someone explaining the word Shudra to mean the one who is always in grief (...
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4answers
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What is the meaning of Brahman & Vasudeva?

As there is definite meaning of the names such as Lord Shiva, Indra, Vishnu etc. I want the meaning of Brahman Vasudeva By the word Brahman, I mean with ultimate reality. (Though personally, I ...
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4answers
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What does the word 'Asura' mean in the Vedas?

The Danavas and Daityas are referred to as Asuras in the Puranas but in The Vedas many Devas are also referred as Asuras. May the golden-handed, life-bestowing, well-guiding, exhilarating and ...
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2answers
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What is the scriptural definition of scripture (shAshtra)?

Since childhood I am a big fan of SwAmi VivekAnanda and I used to read (and still do) a lot of books written by him. Now, when I have grown up, I have the understanding that although they are ...
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1answer
172 views

What are the etymologies and literal meanings of the words (kṣatriya, śūdra, etc.) used to indicate one's varṇa?

For brāhmaṇa, there is already a question here: What is the etymology of brahman/brahmin? For śūdra, Monier Williams says "of doubtful derivation". Apte says: शूद्रः [शुच्-रक् पृषो˚ चस्य दः दी...
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3answers
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Is the etymology of the name Yudhishthira correct?

As we know, the eldest of the Pandavas is Yudhishthira (IAST : Yudhiṣṭhira and Devanagari: युधिष्ठिर). It is said that he got his name due to his steadiness in war. This is also a famous one. From ...
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0answers
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What is the etymology of the word Satagopuram

I would like to know the etymology of the word 'sata-gopuram' (the 'chadari' placed on the head) with respect to the prefix 'sata' (or 'chada')
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What is the meaning of Indra?

Like there is a meaning of the word Shiva which is explained here, what is the meaning of Indra?
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Sanskrit and Sounds of Lord Shiva

I recently heard in "Veda parichaya" in a local channel that the sounds of the alphabet(Sanskrit) originated from Lord Shiva’s ‘damru’. Can anyone elaborate on these sounds and their relation to ...
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2answers
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Why Yudhishtira is called Ajāta śatru (अजात शत्रु)?

One of the exclusive names of Yudhishtira is Ajāta śatru (अजात शत्रु). Ajāta śatru = Who has no enemies. Why is he called as Ajāta śatru. Kauravas are his enemies. Aren't they? Why is the name ...
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1answer
519 views

Which Hindu scriptures use the word Ārya and in what sense?

What does the word "Ārya" really mean in the context of Hinduism? And which Hindu scriptures use this word and in what sense? If you think the question is too broad, limit your answer to The Vedas, ...
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3answers
556 views

Why is Sanātana Dharma also sometimes called Ārṣa Dharma?

Most Hindus are familiar with the term "Sanātana Dharma" which is used in several scriptures. E.g., Manusmṛti 4.138 uses the term as follows: satyaṃ brūyāt priyaṃ brūyānna brūyāt satyamapriyam | ...
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Sanatana dharma or Hindu [duplicate]

From somewhere I came to know 'Hindu' is a geographical word, it is not a religious one. Original word is 'Sanatana'. Is it true?
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1answer
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What are the Shabar mantras?

There are many mantras dedicated to Hanuman. Some popular choki mantras are "Ekamukhi", "Panchmukhi", "Ekadhashamukhi" etc. Recently I've heard/remembered about Shabar mantras (शाबर मंत्र) which in ...
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2answers
174 views

Which Purāṇas define the word “purāṇa” within their text?

From the sample page of this book: Questions: Which all Purāṇas define the word 'purāṇa' within their text? Can you cite the exact verses (and their translation) from each of the Purāṇas that ...
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2answers
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Why is Brahma referred as Viranchi in Scriptures?

In some scriptures Brahma is referred as Viranchi (विरञ्चि): Whenever I see sun raising in early morning, following mantra automatically pops out from my mind/month: नमः सवित्रे जगदेकचक्षुषे । ...
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1answer
651 views

Definition of Bhagavan as per Vishnu Purana

Bhagavan is a term which is commonly used,by several traditions. What is the definition of Bhagavan as per Vishnu Purana?
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1answer
801 views

Why Lord Rama was called Raghunath and when?

Why lord Rama was called Raghunath? What is the meaning of this word and why he named so?
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0answers
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What is the significance of the name Kumbhakarna?

Kumbhakarna was the brother of Ravana. What is the meaning of this name? Is there any significance behind this name? Wiki says it means pot-eared. By this logic, Karna was named after an ear. I find ...
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3answers
4k views

What are the etymologies of the words brahman (ब्रह्मन्) and brāhmaṇa/brahmin (ब्राह्मण)?

In Sanskrit there's brāhmaṇa (ब्राह्मण), which is a term used for people, and para-brahman (परब्रह्मन्), which is a term used for gods. What are the etymologies of the words brahman (ब्रह्मन्) and ...
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What is the meaning of the word “Shiva”?

Is "Shiva" just a name of a God or does the word actually denote something? In other words, what is the real meaning of the word "Shiva" (also spelled as Śiva or शिव)?
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1answer
430 views

Where does Manu currently live?

Manu is supposedly the progenitor of mankind. Even the English word "man" is derived from his name. There are 14 Manus in each day of Brahma. The current Manu is Vaivasvata, and he is currently ...