Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Origins of Vedic Sanskrit and The Metrical Hymns of the Rigveda Samhita


Journal Éveillé is an Informal Exploration of the Natural Mind in the Arts of Language and Poetics....

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"The Kalachakra is one of the last Sanskrit works to have been written in a Central Asian land." (Geoffrey Hopkins: 60)...

"The Relationship of Vedic Sanskrit and Avestan (Old Persian).....The religious tracts of Ancient Iran are known as the Avesta. Some of these are believed to have been composed by Zoroaster. The religious tracts of North India are the Vedas.... Grammatically there is little difference between the languages of the Avesta and the Vedas. Both languages underwent systematic phonetic change. .....Thomas-Burrow, in his book, The Sanskrit Language....'It is quite possible to find verses in the oldest portion of the Avesta, which simply by phonetic substitutions according to established laws can be turned into intelligible Sanskrit.'.....

"As argued by Michael Witzel and Alexander Lubotsky, there is a proposed substratum in Proto-Indo-Iranian which can be plausibly identified with the original language of the BMAC ( 2300–1700 BCE, centered on the Oxus River).. Moreover, Lubotsky points out a larger number of words apparently borrowed from the same language, which are only attested in Indo-Aryan and therefore evidence of a substratum in Vedic Sanskrit. Some BMAC words have now also been found in Tocharian. Michael Witzel points out that the borrowed vocabulary includes words from agriculture, village and town life, flora and fauna, ritual and religion, so providing evidence for the acculturation of Indo-Iranian speakers into the world of urban civilization.....–Margiana_Archaeological_Complex

"Sanskrit - The Mother of All Languages.....Considered to be the oldest language in human history, Sanskrit is the progenitor and inspiration for virtually every language spoken in India.....In its pre-classical form, called Vedic Sanskrit, Sanskrit is one of the earliest attested members of the Indo-European language family. The oldest example of Sanskrit literature available is the Rigveda. However, while the age of 3,000 years is a very conservative estimate based on the dating on the earliest found manuscript written in Sanskrit, it has been postulated that an oral tradition was extensively used for several centuries before the penning of religious works like the Rigveda was undertaken......The word "samskrata", in the strictest sense, means "purified, consecrated, sanctified". Sanskrit, usually referred to as "Samskrata Vāk", would mean a "refined language". Sanskrit has, by definition, always been considered to have been a language chiefly employed for religious and scientific discourse and is assumed to have contrasted with the languages spoken by the people. The oldest surviving example of the tabulations of the rules of Sanskrit grammar is Panini's "Astadhyavi" (literally translating to "Eight-Chapter Grammar") dated to have been written around the 5th century BC. The "Astadhyavi" is essentially a prescriptive set of grammarian principles, which defines (rather than describes) the correct usage of Sanskrit. However, it is replete with descriptive sections, chiefly to account for those Vedic forms of Sanskrit which had already phased out by the time Panini wrote the book......Vedic Sanskrit is titled so due to its usage in the Vedas, the earliest sacred texts of India and the foundations of Hinduism. The earliest of the Vedas, the Rigveda, is estimated to have been composed in the 2nd millennium BC......Sanskrit literature is informally divided into several zones, as per the literary forms Sanskrit had undertaken both in structure as well as literature. The first period, called the Vedic Period, spans approximately between 2000 BC and 500 BC.....The period between approximately the 12th and the 2nd centuries BC saw the composition of two great Hindu epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana." .....

"Sanskrit, as defined by Pāṇini, had evolved out of the earlier "Vedic" form. The beginning of Vedic Sanskrit can be traced as early as 1500–1200 BCE (for Rig-vedic and Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni).....Modern linguists consider the metrical hymns of the Rigveda Samhita to be the earliest, composed by many authors over several centuries of oral tradition. .....āṇini

"Pāṇini (4th century BCE) (Sanskrit: पाणिनि)..... was a Sanskrit grammarian from Pushkalavati, Gandhara, (modern-day Charsadda of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)....Charsadda can be traced back to the 6th century BCE. It was the capital of Gandhara from the 6th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The ancient name of Charsadda was Pushkalavati, which means "Lotus City". It was the administrative centre of the Gandhara kingdom....The father of Sanskrit grammar, Panini was from this area and lived around 500−700 BCE.".....

The languages of the Avesta and the Vedas shared some vocabulary that is not shared with the other Indo-European languages. Some examples....
Sanskrit Avestan
gold.... hiranya zaranya
army.... séna haena
spear.... rsti arsti
sovereignty.... ksatra xsaθra
lord.... ásura ahura
drink.... sóma haoma
god..... devá daeva

In the field of religion there are some interesting contrasts. Words such as devá have the meaning of god in the Vedas have the meaning of devil in the Avesta. Likewise some names for Vedic gods show up in the Avesta as evil spirits. This is likely due to the ancestors of the migrants to North India being a competing tribe of the tribe responsible for the creation of the Avesta......


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