Friday, 27 December 2013

CUYAHOGA - A RIVER IN OHIO: THE SANSKRIT CONNECT

River Cuyahoga, Ohio

River Cuyahoga, Ohio. The word Cuyahoga means "Crooked River" in Iroquios. It is difficult to figure out what the Sanskrit link to this word might be in Sanskrit - not because there are no cognates, but because there are so many!

In Sanskrit, 'Kulya' (कुल्या), 'KUlya' (कूल्या) and 'Kulini' (कूलिनी), all mean 'river'. These may all lead to the genesis of the word 'Cuya'. Or 'Cuya' may be a distortion of the Sanskrit 'kruta' (क्रुक्त) or 'Kutila' (कुटिल) both of which mean 'crooked'.

'Apaga' (आपगा) means river, 'aga' (अग) means 'water-jar' or 'water-pitcher'. You see the word 'aga' in the names of rivers such as 'Ganges' which is known as 'Ganga' in Sanskrit. The word 'aga' also appears in the name 'Volga' which incidentally was also known as 'Jal-aga' in ancient times. By that logic the suffix 'hoga' in Cuyahoga may be a distortion of 'aga' .

One may look at any of the following Sanskrit word-combinations which would all mean 'Crooked River' in Sanskrit:

1. Kutila-Apaga
2. Kulya-Hurna
3. Kulya-Hurna-Apaga


However, the most apt Sanskrit word for 'Cuyahoga' in Sanskrit is  'Kutilaga'. 'Kutilaga'  (कुटिलगा) means 'going crookedly',  it also means 'a river'! 


But is there a link between the Sanskrit language and Native American languages? In 1909, a white lady by the name of Mrs. Helen Troy, was initiated into the Onondaga Native American tribe. Mrs. Troy and her mentor, Mrs. Isaac Thomas - the daughter of a Mohawk chief, had “delved deeply into the fascinating mythology of the Indians, of which comparatively little is known.” Troy and Thomas were both reportedly working on “a dictionary of the languages of the Six (Iroquious) Nations.” Their compilation of Onondaga and Mohawk words was said to total 30,000. On completion of the manuscript, Mrs. Troy commented “There exists no doubt,” stated Mrs. Troy, “that the mythology of the Iroquois antedates that of the Greeks and Romans, and in fact all other peoples just as their language does that of the Hebrews and all others.” She further claimed “that Onondaga, the mother tongue of all the languages, mothered also Sanskrit.” She had indeed found the two languages to be closely linked. 

The Cuyahoga originates in springs in the highlands of Geauga County, in the adjoining townships of Hambden and Montville. The headwaters of three watercourses in the Lake Erie basin are located in Geauga County. It is said that Geauga County is named after the Onondaga word 'jyo’ä·gak' or Seneca 'jo’ä·ka', both meaning 'racoon'. In Sanskrit a close cognate of 'jyo’ä·gak' and 'jo’ä·ka' is 'jahaka' (जहका) translates as 'hedgehog' - not quite rocoon. But 'Geauga' seems to be closer in meaning to the Sanskrit 'Jalaja' (जलज) which means 'born in water'.
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