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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What is the source/book to learn origin/etymology of sanskrit and Vedic-Sanskrit words?

As the sanskrit language is created by god and every sanskrit word incorporates a huge amount of Hindu philosophy in it. So, I want to know the book or source where I can know about origin or ...
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What is the meaning of the word 'Gītā (गीता)'?

Well, it's a no-brainer that etymologically, the word 'gītā' literally means 'that which is sung or chanted'. However, by that logic even Rāmacaritamānasa is sung or chanted, or even a daily ārtī (आरती...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the meaning of Hrishikesha?

All I know is that Krishna or Arjuna is called Hrishikesha. What is the meaning of Hrishikesha?
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14 votes
2 answers
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What is the meaning of Uma?

Consort of Lord Shiva is mostly known by her name 'Parvati'. But in Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas we find the name of 'Uma' being used. Right from the 5th Anuvaka of Sri Rudram which starts with 'नमः ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What is the meaning of Lakshmi?

Each word in Sanskrit can be interpreted in myriad ways, and thus a single word can have several different and unrelated meanings. A famous example of such "multiplicity" would be the word, &...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Differences between Siddha, a Sannyasi, a Bhakta and Rishis?

What is briefly the main difference between a Siddha, a Sannyasi, a Bhakta and a Rishi?
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5 votes
2 answers
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Etymology of the word Brahmā (ब्रह्मा)

Brahmā (ब्रह्मा) who is the creator aspect of the Trimurti God, while Vishnu (विष्णु) and Shiva (शिव ) being the Preserver and the Destroyer aspects. The most frequently used etymological meaning for ...
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5 votes
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What is the etymology of the term Veda?

There are revelation (such as hymns, stotras, etc.) even in the scriptures other than Vedas yet they ain't part of Vedas. It makes me wonder What is its etymology or definition of Veda? What is a ...
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2 votes
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Etymology of “priyā”?

What is the etymological meaning of Sanskrit term Priyā ? where can we find its usage examples in the scriptures?
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3 votes
1 answer
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What is the authentic Nishpatthi (Etymology) of Samadhi?

According to Wikipedia, Various interpretations for the term's etymology are possible: sam, "together"; a, "toward"; stem of dadhati, "puts, places": "a putting or joining together;" sam, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What does the term Āstika-Nāstika mean- as such - without any connection with one particular faith?

There are different shades of interpretation of the terms Āstika-Nāstika. Most of the answers on this forum relate to the interpretations that are propounded by some vested groups to denigrate other ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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What are the etymologies for the word Rudra?

What are the etymologies for the word Rudra? There is a story in the Vedas where Rudra was born crying and then Brahma, his father, said "Don't cry", (mA ruda), so then he got the name "Rudra", or ...
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3 votes
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What is the meaning of mahavakya and how was/is it used?

What is the meaning of mahavakya? What was/is it used for, I mean what is its importance? What does mahavakya convey? This is not specifically with respect to Advaita Vedanta, but in general whichever ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What's the significance of the name Panchashikha?

Panchashikha is a character who appears in the Mahabharata. I found the name interesting. A shikha is the tuft of hair that remains after an upanayana ceremony. Why would someone be named Panchashikha ...
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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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3 answers
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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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6 votes
1 answer
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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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8 votes
2 answers
274 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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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1 vote
0 answers
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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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13 votes
4 answers
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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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15 votes
3 answers
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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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14 votes
6 answers
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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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6 votes
2 answers
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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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1 vote
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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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12 votes
3 answers
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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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12 votes
2 answers
468 views

What are the various etymological derivations for the word "Upanishad"?

One I have 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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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7 votes
2 answers
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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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3 votes
0 answers
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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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13 votes
4 answers
940 views

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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10 votes
3 answers
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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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8 votes
3 answers
3k 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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15 votes
5 answers
4k views

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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16 votes
5 answers
4k views

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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12 votes
2 answers
272 views

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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8 votes
1 answer
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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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6 votes
4 answers
560 views

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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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11 votes
3 answers
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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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8 votes
2 answers
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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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9 votes
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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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8 votes
1 answer
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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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8 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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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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8 votes
1 answer
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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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6 votes
2 answers
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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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