Proto-Indian in harosheth hagoyim (S.Kalyanaraman 2012)

From: S. Kalyanaraman
Message: 69979
Date: 2012-08-16 


Proto-Indian in harosheth hagoyim (S.Kalyanaraman 2012)

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Proto-Indian in harosheth hagoyim
- Identification of soma: ancu (Tocharian), amśu (Indian sprachbund), asem, asemon (Egyptian); ta’anach (Biblical), ṭaṅka ‘mint’ (Indian sprachbund)


Proto-Indian in harosheth hagoyim, ‘smithy of nations’ is a provisional review of the contact areas of speakers of Prākṛt and other ancient Indian languages. The challenge is to outline the structural features of Proto-Indian from ca. 4th millennium BCE. A sememe [Greek: σημαίνω (sēmaino), "mean, signify"] is a language unit of meaning, correlative to a morpheme. A sememe for key component of soma yields the clue to identify soma as a metallic mineral. The sememe is ancu (Tocharian); cognate amśu (Indian sprachbund). Another pair of sememes: Harosheth hagoyim (Biblical); cognate kharoṣṭī goyā, ‘writing/engraving community of smiths’(Prākṛt). Bronze-age evolution of languages with technical, metallurgical terms matches the cultural evolution of the bronze age with focus on glosses for and smithy processes involving minerals, metals and alloys. These identifications reinforce the over 1200 semantic clusters of an Indian lexicon. Tocharian-Indo-European lexical isoglosses (with some loan words from one of the lost sources), point to Proto-Indian (with some loan words from one of the lost sources, such as Language ‘X’) as a language with two dialectical forms: Vedic, the literary form and Mleccha, the vernacular form. Louis Renou noted: “Toute le RV est present in nuce autour des themes du soma.” (Trans. All the Ṛgveda is present in a nutshell around the topics of the soma.) About 120 hymns out of a total of 1028 hymns or a thousand verses and almost the entire ninth book (with 114 hymns) deal with soma. The number of hymns used to Soma are next only to those to Agni and Indra as devata-s. Indra and Varuna gain anthropomorphic status as divinities, but Soma is generally represented in reference to physical nature of Soma, though metaphorically. Chāndogya Upaniṣad calls soma as rājā. The gloss asem, asemon (Egyptian) is cognate with soma (Indian sprachbund).. Early Vedic is attested in what is perhaps one of the oldest documents of mankind, the Ṛgveda. Mleccha as a language is attested in Manusmṛti (and as Meluhha in Mesopotamian cuneiform texts). Ta’anach ‘cult’ stand dated to 10th century BCE has hieroglyphs comparable to Mesopotamian and Indus artifacts which yield a link with ṭaṅka ‘mint’ (Indian sprachbund) and in the context of damgar ‘mint-merchant’ (Akkadian). Warka vase with Mleccha hieroglyphs is dated to ca. 3200 BCE. Glosses of Indian sprachbund hold the key to unravel the semantics of hieroglyphs/ homonyms in Indus script inscriptions and of hieroglyphs of Ta’anach stand from Tell Taannek/Tiinnik and Warka vase from Sumer. Both Tiinnik and Sumer could have been mleccha (Proto-Indian) contact areas. The apparent semantic links between Tocharian and Indian sprachbund call for a rethink on roots and evolution of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and of PIE Urheimat.

ātmā yajñasya (raison d’etre of sacred Vedic offering)

Hermeneutics is the science of discovering new meanings and interpretations in ‘all those situations in which we encounter meanings that are not immediately understandable but require interpretive effort.’ Such an effort can explain the semantics of amśu (Rigveda) as ‘metllic mineral’, by relating it to the meaning assigned to ancu (Tocharian), a cognate which means ‘iron’.

yajña (root: yaj); yajati ‘The act of offering something with reference to some deity; द्रव्यदवताक्रियार्थस्य यजतिशब्देन प्रत्यायनं क्रियते । ŚB. on MS.4.2.27.’ (Apte.lexicon, p. 1297). Amśu is the very raison d’etre of the offering, for example, in agniṣṭoma (fire-offering). There are seven soma samsthā: अग्निष्टोम, अत्यग्निष्टोम, उक्थ, षोढशी, अतिरात्र, आप्तोर्याम and वाजपेय
Soma yajña is the soul of the Ṛgveda (ātmā yajñasya: RV. IX. 2,10; 6,8). Within soma, amśu which is a component, is ātmā yajñasya

Within soma ore-block complex, amśu is the key metallic-mineral ingredient which is offered in soma samsthā. With the identification of amśu, soma gets identified.
The process is reduction or purification (pavitram).

In an extraordinary process described eloquently in Vedic chants (chandas), soma was purchased, and went through a process kept secret from the seller. Soma was washed in water (yad-adbhih pariṣicyase mṛjyamāno gabhastyoh- : RV. Ix.65.6), then pounded either with stone or in a mortar (RV. 1.83.6; RV. 1.28.4); it had amśu (RV. Ix.67.28); it yielded andhas, rasa, pitu, pīyūṣa or amṛta; it was filtered through a strainer (antah- pavitra āhitah- : RV. Ix.12.5). It was not ‘drunk’ by mortals. Soma was the product of an activity using intense fire, and involving the participation of the entire household for days and nights. Soma was wealth.

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Proto-Indian in harosheth hagoyim (S. Kalyanaraman, 2012)

-- S. Kalyanaraman