Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Artifacts from ancient Mayan ruins reveal that even far off Latin America was influenced by the Indian Vedic culture.

The Mayan Howler Monkey God
Copan, Hondurus, South America
Remarkably close to the Hindu Monkey God Hanuman.

Hanuman - The Vedic Monkey God.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


The etymological origins of the word 'Alcohol' are traced to the Middle Latin 'alcohol' which meant 'powdered ore of antimony' and referred to anything that was produced by the process of sublimation. Alcohol originated from the Arabic 'al-kuhul', the fine metallic powder used to darken the eyelids also produced through sublimation process. "Kuhul" comes from 'kahala'  meaning "to stain" or "to paint".  Later, the meaning of the term alcohol was extended to the 'intoxicating element in fermented liquids'.

 The Arabic 'kahala'  itself originates from the Sanskrit 'Kalaka' (कालक) or 'Kala' (काल) meaning 'black'.

Monday, 17 September 2012


Wikipedia says Vesta is the goddess of the Hearth, Home and Family in ancient Roman religion. Vesta's presence came to be symbolized by the fire that burned at her hearth and temples. Her closest Greek equivalent is Hestia.

In his book, Contributions to the Science of Mythology, Max Mueller wrote," ..much is gained if we can find in the Vedic poetry words and ideas that throw light on the names of the Greek (and Roman) deities". He adds, "There is no Goddess Vesta or Hestia in Vedic literature, but the Sanskrit root 'vas' (वस्) is recognized by everybody though on phoenetic grounds alone it is impossible to determine whether it was derived from the root 'vas' (वस्) to shine, or root vas' (वस्) to dwell."

Though there is no Goddess of 'Home and Hearth', in the Vedic context, one may want to look at another close phonetic Sanskrit root word, 'bhas' (भास्), which means 'to speak', 'shine', 'lustre', 'splendour' and 'ray of light', that may show how there might be a Vedic link to the name Vesta.

In that context, one may want to look at the Vedic Goddess Sarasvati, the Goddess of Eloquence and Wisdom. Like 'bhas' (भास्), saras (सरस्) also means speech. Since both 'bhas' and 'saras' mean speech, Roman Vesta may have evolved from 'bhas' as did Vedic Sarasvati from 'saras'.

Therefore, though Goddess Vesta is recognized today as the Goddess of Home & Hearth due to its closeness to the Sanskrit 'vas', but it may really have been the Sanskrit 'bhas' meaning speech or brightness (of thought), from where the name Vesta was derived. That would connect the Roman Vesta to the Vedic Sarasvati. But then Vesta would originally have had to be the Goddess of Speech & Wisdom!

Suggested Links:
'Contributions to the Science of Mythology" Max-Muller

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Seneca, is the name of a Native American tribe that lived near the Great Lakes, whose name is said to mean 'Place of Stones'. The Seneca nation's endonym (the name by which the Seneca call themselves), is 'Onondowaga', meaning "People of the Great Hill."

'Onondo-waga' may be a distortion of the Sanskrit Ananda-Vigar meaning Joyous Mountain or more appropriately Beautiful Mountain. 'Ananda' (आनन्द) has many meanings such as Joyful, Happiness, Blissful and Beautiful.

'Waga' may have been derived from any of the many words for 'mountain' in Sanskrit: such as Vigar (विगर), Tunga (तुङ्ग), Shringin (शृङ्गिन्) and Urvanga (उर्वङ्ग). Waga sounds closest to thae Sanskrit 'Vigar' or 'Urvanga' and may be a distortion of either of the two.

Other nations called the Onondo-Waga by the name 'Seneca' after their principal village of Osininka. Since "Osininka" sounds like Asinikaa(n), meaning "Those at the Place Full of Stones", the name Seneca caught on.

George P. Donehoo in his book "Indian (Native American) Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania" writes, that 'achsun' or 'asun' and its corruption 'assini' all mean stone in Native American languages.

'Achsun' and 'asun' are Native American words, yet very close to the Sanskrit 'ashan' (अशन्) and 'ashna' (अश्न). Both the words mean 'stone' in Sanskrit as they do in the Delaware dialect and other Native American languages.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


According to Wikipedia, the name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word 'shikaakwa', translated as "wild onion" or "wild garlic," from the Miami-Illinois language which belongs to the Algonquian group of languages spoken in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Western Ohio and adjacent areas along the  Mississippi River.

'Shikaakwa' is a corruption of the Sanskrit 'Shikakand' (शिखाकन्द) which means 'onion and garlic'. In Sanskrit 'shika' (शिखा) means root, 'kanda' (कन्द) is any bulbous plant. The Native American 'akwa' maybe a corruption of the Sanskrit word 'kanda". By itself, onion is known as 'Sukanda'(सुकन्द) in Sanskrit.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


The Puranas say that the arrival of Lord Kalki (the tenth avatara of Lord Vishnu) brings the end of the Kalyuga, and all that which is 'kalka' as well. 'Kalka' (कल्क) means that which is 'filthy, wicked, impure, hypocritical, sinful and evil'.

The popular interpretation of the story is that Lord Kalki arrives on a white horse called Devadatta and kills all that is evil. The Puranas say that the death of 'kalka' (कल्क) takes place when consciousness awakens. Consciousness arrives in an 'ashvah' (अश्वः) moment. Here's what it really means:

"Shva" (श्वः) means yesterday. "Shva" (श्वः) also means tomorrow. A-shva (अ- श्वः) means "neither yesterday, nor tomorrow'. Consciousness awakens, neither in the past, nor in the future. Devadutt (देवदत्त) is the vehicle. Dev (देव) means 'God', Datta (दत्त) means 'given'.

Consciousness awakens at a 'godgiven' or a 'godly' moment. A moment that is therefore 'auspicious'.

Kalya (कल्य) means yesterday. Kalye (कल्ये) means tomorrow. Yesterday and tomorrow are both enveloped in the name of Lord Kalki.

Yesterday or tomorrow (Kalya or Kalye) , neither yesterday nor tomorrow (A-shvah) , at a pious or a god-given (devadatta) moment , whenever consciousness awakens, marks the arrival of Lord Kalki and the end of Kalyuga. Kalya (कल्य) also means auspicious!

KalyA (कल्या) means 'praise'. 'KalyA' or praise be to Lord Kalki.

To Hindi speakers this should not be confusing. After all 'kal' (कल) does mean both yesterday and tomorrow in Hindi. And while we are at it, lets look at the word "Purana' (पुराण). The word "Purana" is defined as "Pura api nava iti", that which is "Old and new as well".

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


The Russian word for 'Goodbye' is 'Dasvidanya'. It is really the conjunction of two words: 'Do' which means 'until' and 'Svidanya' which means 'meeting'. 'Dasvidanya' is therefore "Until We Meet Again".

Three Sanskrit cognates fit closely. One is 'Vidath' (विदथ) which means 'meeting'. The second is 'samvadhan' (समवधान) which also means 'meeting'. ['Sama' always means 'together' in Sanskrit. It is from 'Sama' that the English words 'sum', and ' assimilate' are derived.]. A third cognate is 'Samvidan' (संविदान), which means 'joint or associated'.

The 'Do" in 'Dasvidanya' may be derived from the Sanskrit 'Ya-vad' (यावद्) meaning 'until'. 'Do' could also be a corruption of 'tada' (तदा) meaning' then', or 'yada' (यदा) meaning 'whenever'.

But the Sanskrit word that really enriches the meaning of the word 'Svidanya', is 'Vidhi' (विधि) which means 'destiny' or 'fate'. If derived from 'Vidhi' the meaning of Dasvidanya is close to "Until Destiny Brings Us Together"!

In Sanskrit 'vid' (विद्) means knowing, observing, perceiving and hence the 'name Vedas. 'Vedas' are the ancient Sanskrit books of knowledge, there are four of them, namely - RigVeda, SamVeda, Athatveda, Yajurveda. The Russian vid and ved are derived from the Sanskrit 'vid' which means 'Perceiving' . Perceiving includes - knowing, seeing, understanding, observing and seeing.

Monday, 10 September 2012


Assunepachla, Assinnisink and Assunepachala are three Native American Villages in the New York-Pennsylvania region. Are the names derived from Sanskrit?

In Sanskrit, Pasya (पाष्य), Shila (शिला), Ashan (अशन्), Ashna (अश्न), Pashi (पाशी), Shan (शाण) and Pashan (पाषाण), all mean 'stone'. These words in their exact form as mentioned above, or in a corrupted or distorted form, are found in many Native American place-names.

One name is Assunepachla. This is the name of a former Delaware-tribe village. George P. Donehoo, in his book 'Indian (Native American) Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania' writes, "Assunepachla is a probable corruption of 'achsun' or 'asun' meaning stone, and 'pachsajeek' meaning 'valley'." He translates Assunepachla as 'Stone Valley'. 

What is remarkable is that though 'Achsun' and 'asun' are Delaware words, they are phonetically very close to the Sanskrit 'ashan' (अशन्) and 'ashna' (अश्न) - both of which also mean 'stone'. So, the 'Assune' in Assunepachla has the same meaning in both the languages. The second syllable 'pachala' (पाचल) means 'fire' or 'wood' in Sanskrit. If the second word is derived from 'pachala', the meaning of Assunepachla becomes 'Stone-Fire' or 'Stone-Wood'.

However, it is the word 'Panchala' (पाञ्चाल) that is more meaningful in the Vedic context. 'Panchala' is the name of a kingdom in the great Vedic epic - the Mahabharata. 'Panchali' is the daughter of the king of Panchala. She is also the wife of Arjuna,one of the protagonists of the epic Mahabharata. 'Panchala' is also the name of one of the most ancient tribes of India that predate the Mahabharata and are considered as one of the five original tribes of the world. Whether or not the tribes of America had origins in India will be debated forever, but words of Sanskrit origin do seem to have traveled into Native American language(s).

'Assinni', in the name Assinnisink, too maybe a distortion of Sanskrit 'Ashan' or 'Ashna' which are the cognates of Delaware 'achsun' or 'asun'. Stephen A. Runkle, Consulting Engineer, Susquehanna River Basin Commission who has researched Native American place names translates 'Assinnisink' as 'Place of Stones' or 'Where the stones are Gathered'. In Sanskrit the word 'Sam' (सम्) means to 'put together' or 'add together'. It is also the root word of the English words 'sum', 'summation' and 'assimilate'. The same could be true of the second syllable 'sink' in the word 'Assinisink'. It would then have the exact same meaning 'Stone-Gather' in Sanskrit, as it does in Delaware.

Geographically, Assinnisink Village in New York lies at the confluence of the River Tioga, [probably a corruption of the Sanskrit Tri-yoga, (त्रि-योग)] and River Canisteo, [also a corruption of Sanskrit, Kanistha (कनिष्ठ)]. For more details about the Sanskrit connection to the names 'Tioga' and 'Canisteo', click here .

Wappasening Creek is a 20 mile long tributary of the Susquehanna River in New York and Pennsylvania. Wappasening has been translated as 'Place of White Stones' from Delaware dialect. The closest Sanskrit cognates of 'Wappa' meaning white are 'Vasa' (वसा) and 'Shweta' (श्वेत). (For the Sanskrit connection to the name Susquehanna click here). 'Asening' again is probably a corruption of the Sanskrit 'ashan' or the Delaware 'aschun'.

It is interesting that the Delaware names of villages and rivers are not only cognates of Sanskrit names, it is even more interesting that the meaning of the words are also uncannily similar.

Saturday, 8 September 2012


The state of Wyoming is named after the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. The Seneca name for Wyoming (Pennsylvania) is 'Tsanandowa' - meaning "the place of the great flats" or "great meadows". A Sanskrit cognate of 'Tsanandowa' is 'Sama-dhara' (सम-धरा), meaning 'level earth' or 'great meadows'. 'Sama' (सम) has many meanings in Sanskrit including 'equal, same, and parallel'. It is also the etymological source of the English word 'similar'. 'Dhara' (धरा)  is earth.

Later the name 'Wyoming' was transported westward, and that is how Wyoming state got its name. Sometimes, it is said that the Native American source word for Wyoming' is 'xwe wamenk' with the same meaning - 'the great plains'. In Sanskrit, 'variman' (वरिमन्) means 'expanse'. 'Vyoman' (व्योमन् ) means 'atmosphere', 'space', 'sky' or 'open expanse'. 'Xwe' could be a distortion of 'eksay (एक्ष्य) meaning 'looking out at'.

Whether these words are in any ways linked to the etymology of the Native American words is difficult to say. But they definitely are close cognates.

Friday, 7 September 2012


In antiquity, the River Danube had many names. In Latin, the Danube was known as Danubius and Danuvius. In ancient Greek it was known as the 'Istros'.

The name 'Danube' is said to derive from Proto-Indo-European, a language reconstructed from European & Indic languages. In PIE, the word 'dānu' is apparently a term for "river", but PIE of course does not have any scriptures or literature that detail the context in which the Danube was called "danu". The word "Danu" simply translates as "a river". It is said that the PIE root word is 'da' which means 'rapid, swift and violent'.*

In Sanskrit, the word 'Danu" (दानु) has many meanings. It means 'dew, dew drops, fluid, valiant and courageous'. The root word is 'da' (दा) which means 'that which is cleansing and purifying, giving and protecting'. This is probably more appropriate as a name source for a revered river.

The Rig Veda and Puranas identify the details of Goddess Danu and her sons, the Danavas. In the Vedic context, 'Danu' was a primeval cosmic river. Goddess Danu, the daughter of Daksha, who was the son of Brahma, embodied the primeval waters. For more details about the story of Goddess Danu and Danavas click here.

*Just a quick look at other related Sanskrit words. 'Drav' (द्राव) means 'going quickly' and (द्रुत) means to run. The root word here 'dru' (द्रु); which means to 'run', 'go swiftly', 'melt', 'dissove' and 'become fluid'. The 'dru' root word may describe the river's swiftness, but it lacks the 'cleansing and purifying, giving and protecting' aspect that the 'da' (दा) root word adds to the description of the river. 

The Sanskrit word for 'rapid' is "Ishiram" (इषिरम्) which is the etymological source for "Istros", the Greek name for the River Danube.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


The name "Wisconsin" originally applied to the Wisconsin River; is a Native American name of unknown origin though there are many theories about it. Early spellings include 'Mescousing', 'Mishkonsing' and Miskasinsin.

The Columbia County website says that "Wisconsin means dark waters in a Native American language. The dark water of the Wisconsin River and Lake Wisconsin comes from the very dark roots of the Tamarack (Larix Larcina*) trees which line its banks in the northern part of the state and bleed a natural dye into the river".

A cognate of 'Meshcousing' in Sanskrit is 'Mechakpag' (मेचकापगा) meaning 'Dark-Blue River'. The word Mechak (मेचक) means 'dark blue', 'smoke', or 'darkness' . Mechakita (मेचकित) means 'having a dark blue colour'.

"Meskonsing" has also commonly been translated as "it lies red". But that does not appropriately describe the waters of Wisconsin.

There is another river in Wisconsin state that is lined by a large number of Tamarack and Oak trees. Its waters are even darker than the waters of the Wisconsin. The river is called the "Black River". Its ancient Native American name is lost.

*Larcina - from Latin 'larix', probably a loan-word from an Alpine Gaulish language, corresponding phonetically to Old Celtic. *Darik meaning"oak". Refer: 'Darik', is originally derived from Sanskrit 'devadar' meaning "God's Tree". For more details click here

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Native American culture is composed of many tribes, each with distinct traditions and customs. It is difficult to characterize any aspect of a wedding as being 'Native American'. Some traditions are common to many tribes, while others are unique.

It is fascinating that just as the Vedic Sapta-Padhi (सप्तपदी) or the 'Seven-Steps' is the core of the wedding ceremony for the Hindus in India, in distant America, another ancient people, the Native Americans, too have the 'Rite of Seven Steps' at the core of their wedding ritual.

The Native American 'Seven-Step Rite' vows are very similar to the Vedic SaptaPadi, where the Bride and the Groom take Seven Steps together, at a slow pace, in the north-easterly direction, making a promise at every step.

For details of Vedic Hindu 'Saptapadi', Click here. For details of Native American 'Rite of Seven Steps' click here and here
No one can argue that the two are not almost identical.

The Native Americans also have other ceremonies similar to the Vedic Hindu Wedding. The 'Sacred Fire Ceremony' is equally important to the Vedic Indians and Native Americans. The Native Americans build their fire with seven different types of wood. The Hindus too believe that there are seven types of energies and circumambulate
 the sacred fire seven times. 

Generally brides belonging to most tribes wore red for the ceremony, their attire passed down many generations. Today quite a few, especially for example brides belonging to the Cherokee tribe wear white. In India, brides always wear red for the wedding ceremony.

The Sapta-Padi in the Vedic tradition
Another Native American ritual which they call the 'Blanket Ceremony', is similar to the Vedic 'Aashirwad' (आशीर्वाद) ceremony. The Bride and groom are covered with a Blanket or Sheet and are showered with flowers. In the Vedic tradition the couple is taken to be the manifestation of Shiva & Parvati and flowers showered over the covering blanket are an offering to Shiva & Parvati.

A Native American Wedding.
The Sacred Fire in the foreground.
Exchanging rings is a (comparatively) new addition to the wedding rites and was not a part of the wedding custom in either Vedic or among the cultures of various Native American tribes .

Most Native Americans believe that in the universe there exists the Great Spirit – a spiritual force that is the source of all life believed to be formless and to exist throughout the universe. Similarly, in the Vedic tradition the spiritual force is called the 'Supreme Consciousness' or 'Brahman' and is regarded as omnipresent.

Monday, 3 September 2012


Nebraska State is named after the Platte River, which is called 'NiNbdhaska' in Omaha-Ponco. In Ioway-Otoe, the Platte River is known as 'NiNbraske'. Omaha-Ponco and Ioway-Otoe are Native American languages.

Ninbdhaska and NinBraske, the two Native American names for the Platte River have the same meaning, i.e., 'Flat Water'.

In Sanskrit, the root word 'nini' (निनी) means to 'pour in', 'pour out' or 'pour down'. 'Abhadak' (अबाधक) means 'without obstacles'. Saka (सक) is added as a suffix for 'he' or 'she', in this case 'she' as river names in Sanskrit normally have a female gender. 'Ninabhadaska' woulld mean "that which pours or flows without impediment'. (Like a Flat-River!).

John E. Koontz, Department of Linguistics at the University of Colarado, says that the name Nebraska probably came from the the Ioway-Otoe 'NiNBraske". 

In Sanskrit, 'NinBraske' can be traced to the word 'Prastirna' (प्रस्तीर्ण) which means 'flat'. (The 'p' and 'b' sounds are easily convertible). If we add 'NiN' to 'Prastirna' we have 'NinPrastirna' which would mean 'pouring flat'. We could even add the 'saka' or 'aka' and the name would then change to 'Nin-Prastirn-aka' meaning 'that which pours out flat'. 

Yet another Sanskrit word, 'Nirbhugna' (निर्भुग्न) fits in well. Nirbhugna means 'flat'. It also means 'bent' or 'not straight'. If we add an 'A' as a suffix, we have NirbhugnA, which means a river that flows 'flat but not straight'. 

And here is the interesting part. The Nebraska State is little more than 200 miles from north to south and about 430 miles from east to west, but the serpentine windings of the River Platte give it a length of 600 miles within the state of Nebraska. Flat the river may may be, but it certainly is not straight.

Infact, the River Platte is serpentine.'Vatasha' (वाताश) as they say in Sanskrit! 'Nin-VatashA' - 'that which pours or flows like a serpent'.

If any of these Sanskrit words existed in the Native American languages, then a link between the Native Americans and  India definitely existed.

And if all these Sanskrit words exist in the Native American languages in some form or the other, then the origins of Native Americans just might have been in the Indian Subcontinent. 

Unless ofcourse the Vedic culture and the Sanskrit language was all-pervasive in the ancient world!

Saturday, 1 September 2012


It is largely believed, for want of a better explanation perhaps, that the state of Arkansas which gets its name from that of the river Arkansas, is named after the 'Akansa' - a Siouan tribe. The initial 'a' in 'akansa', is an Algonquian (a language spoken by another neighboring tribe) prefix, found in the names of many ethnic groups.

Kansa tribesmen also go by the name Kaw, Kaza, Kosa, and Kasa meaning 'People of the Wind' or 'People of Water'. In Sanskrit 'Kush' (कुश), 'Kashas' (कशस्), 'Kulinas' (कुलीनस), 'Kritas' (कृत्स) and 'Kavan' (कवन) all mean 'water'. 'Ka' () and 'Khaga' (खग) mean 'wind' or 'air'. 'Ashuga' (आशुग) also means 'wind'. 

Whether there is any link to the Sanskrit words and the tribe name Kansa described as 'People of the Wind' or 'People of Water' is difficult to say. It is also said that the term Arkansas means 'south wind' and is derived from a name used by some Native Americans to describe the Quapaws, an early tribe in the area. Wikipedia says that 'The French Jesuits pronounced the tribe name Oo-gaq-pa, which the Algonquins pronounced Oo-ka-na-sa, and Marquette wrote Arkansoa; LaSalle wrote Arkensa; DeTonti, Arkancas; and LaHarpe, Arkansas'. No matter what the original word, to the Sanskrit or Hindi speaking world, the names of many Native American Tribes, and the names of their rivers and mountains, just sound so familiar, that it is worth it to take a look at them, through the Sanskrit lens.

The word Kansa (कंस) pronounced Kamsa means copper, brass, bell-metal, or just metal, and any vessel made of these metals. Kansa is also the name of a prominent character in the Indian epic, Mahabharata- specifically the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna.

'Washunga', the Chief of the Kaw
or Kansa Tribe, circa 1885. 
In Sanskrit 'Vasha' (वश)
means 'authority'.
'Vashi' means 'one who controls'.

A look at the word 'Arkansas' out side of what is generally accepted as its source therefore is warranted. In Sanskrit, 'Ark' (अर्क) means the 'Sun' and 'Ansha' (अंश) means a 'part' or 'day'. Arkansas would mean 'Part of the Sun' or 'Sunday'!

Sanskrit words such as 'arun' (अरुण) mean 'red', 'ruddy' or 'tawny'. 'Arusha' (अरुष) means 'reddish'. That perhaps has something to do with the name of the 'Arkansas River.

Not surprisingly, there is a major river in Arkansas which today goes by the name 'Red River'. The river was named for the red-bed country of its water shed. Red beds are sedimentary rocks which typically consist of sandstone, siltstone and shale that are predominantly red in color due to the presence of ferric oxides. Did its ancient name have anything to do with the Sanskrit 'arun', or 'arusha' is not known. Who is to know!

Edward Moor in his book Oriental Fragments had stated that in Europe and elsewhere around the world, river names abound in words which mean black or white. Of Arkansas he said,"Arkanza - a river and a territory....and America has a red river, perhaps this...".

The Red River, or sometimes the Red River of the South, is a major tributary of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya. 'Atchafalaya' is an interesting name - and sounds Sanskrit to the core. In his research 'Native American place names of the United States' published in the year 2004, Bright William stated that the name 'Atchafalaya' comes from Choctaw for 'long river', from 'hachcha', 'river', and 'falaya', 'long'. As for Sanskrit, 'Atchfalaya' could be a distortion of many Sanskrit words.
'Falam' (फलं) means 'fruit' or 'end result' or 'reward'. 'Atcha' may be a distortion of 'atichar' (अतिचार) 'fast moving' or 'accelerating', 'atigha' (अतिघ) or 'aticha' (अतीच्छ) meaning 'desirous'.