Quote for the day!


(According to legend, the very first couplet in
മഞ്ജരി inspired by which കൃഷ്ണഗാഥ was written.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The origin of God

In an earlier post, we looked at some of words meaning God. Let's dig in a bit deeper.

Most of the current words seem to be derived from Sanskrit.

For example, ദൈവം, ഈശ്വരന്‍ , ഭഗവാന്‍ etc. comes from the Sankrit roots.

There is an "older" word for God - ആണ്ടവന്‍ This word does not appear in Gundert's, but a related word does. അണ്ടര്‍ - meaning god. Gundert gives two origins:
  • അണ്ഡം (universe) -> അണ്ടം -> അണ്ടര്‍
  • അണ്ണ (above) -> അണ്ട -> അണ്ടര്‍
Given that this is such an old word, I subscribe more to the second etymology. (അണ്ണ is the same root from which we have അണ്ണന്‍ - elder brother)

I also noticed an interesting connection with another word അണ്ട (young bamboo shoot). Gundert says it comes from ആണ്‍ + തൈ = അണ്ടൈ -> അണ്ട by means of some neat ആദേശസന്ധി. I think this will be a deep, male-centric, etymology for the god-word as well: God is the "Male Shoot" or the male form - the പുരുഷന്‍ - of the godhead.

But somehow this interpretation seems very forced. If there is a word for the the male form, there should be a word for the female form as well - and I don't know of any. Also, the etymology given by Gundert indicates a non-sexist God - especially with the -അര്‍ suffix, as opposed to the -അന്‍ suffix.

Interestingly, one of the tamil words for God is ഇറൈ which also means "above".


സിദ്ധാര്‍ത്ഥന്‍ said...

I don't think the word anTavan is related to any AnDha or under. it is derived from the tamil word AL (ആള്‍)- to rule. ആളുന്നവന്‍ ആണ്ടവന്‍.

check this link too

Vinod said...

Dear സിദ്ധാര്‍ത്ഥന്‍ ,
That is very interesting! Thanks for the link too.

In the link, it also mentions aNmai means controlling power. Of course, in mallu aNma is manhood. Don't know if this is indicative of a male dominated society?