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Satya

(4,286 words)

Author(s): Söhnen-Thieme, Renate
Sanskrit satya (Ved. satyá, Avest. haithiia) most probably goes back to the weak form of sám (together) with the adjectival suffix -tyá (see Wright, 1988); the derivation from sát, the present participle of the verb as “to be” (which has influenced medieval and modern usage), with the suffix -ya (e.g. Mayerhofer, 1976, 1996) is not convincing, since this suffix is never added to participle stems. Thus the word satyá is originally an adjective meaning, not “existent, real,” but “in accord, conformable, consistent (with),” denoting a relationship between two items…
Date: 2020-05-18

Yama

(6,702 words)

Author(s): Söhnen-Thieme, Renate
Indo-Iranian Roots The word yama means “twin” (it is used in this sense in the Ṛgveda to refer to Indra and Vāyu, Indra and Agni, the Aśvins, etc.; see vedic gods), but in the Ṛgveda as well as in the Avesta (where he is called Yima), it is also the name of a mythical person, the son of Vivasvant; in the Avesta he is a mythical king, ruling in a kind of “golden age,” whereas in the Ṛgveda he is the ruler in the world of the deceased. In both traditions he seems also to have been, at some point, provided with a twin sister – Yamī in one (relatively late) dialogue hymn in the Ṛgveda (10.10), and Yimak in …
Date: 2020-05-18

Sarasvatī

(5,689 words)

Author(s): Söhnen-Thieme, Renate
The word “ sárasvatī” is the feminine of an adjective meaning “characterized by ponds/lakes ( sarases),” the feminine being understood to agree with “river.” It has a cognate hara(h)uvati in Old Persian, or harahvaitī in Avestan, designating a country in Iran (Arachosia), presumably named after a river of the same name, in the same way that “Hindu” (India), the easternmost Old Persian province, was named after the river Sindhu, which formed the frontier between Iran and India at that time (Thieme, 1970). The river’s name would…
Date: 2020-05-18