Monday, 17 March 2014


A passage from Genesis- Old Testament:

"A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates".

And here is a look at the names of the rivers through the Sanskrit lens:

The first is the river Pishon.  The word 'Pishon' is said to mean "the great effusion", the river is described as "reminder of God's abounding grace". In Sanskrit, a cognate of Pishon is 'poshin' (पोषिन्) which means 'nurturing' which is the equivalent of 'God's abounding grace'. Another cognate is 'Ishan' (     )  which means 'streaming out' or 'pouring out'.

The Pishon flows through the land of Havilah, also spelled Evilas and Evilath, which it is said was full of suffering. In Sanskrit, a cognate of 'avilah' is 'aavila' (आविल) and means 'muddy', 'polluted' or 'foul'. It seems then the River Pishon nourished or cleansed the land of 'Havilah'.

The second river is the Gihon, from Sanskrit 'gahan' (गहन) meaning 'deep'. Biblical dictionaries translate 'Gihon' as 'valley'.

The other two rivers are the Euphrates and Tigris. The Tigris has always been described as the 'swift river' as compared to the 'slow moving' Euphrates. Its name may well have been derived from the Sanskrit 'Tivra-Agra' (तीव्र- अग्र). In Sanskrit 'tivra' (तीव्र) means 'swift, fast or intense'. The second syllable is 'agr' (अग्र) and means' first, foremost, or ahead'. The more common interpretation of the name Tigris is 'tiger' which itself is derived from the Sanskrit 'vyagr' 

However, the Sumerian name of Tigris was 'idigna'.

Idigna or Idigina was probably from *id (i)gina "running water", which can be interpreted as "the swift river", contrasted to its neighbor, the slow moving Euphrates. The Sumerian Idigna too has Sanskrit links for 'ida' (इडा) is 'flow'. Sometimes the name 'Tigris' is associated with Old Persian or Avestan 'Tigr' meaning 'the fast one' but that again is derived from Sanskrit 'tivra' (तीव्र) meaning 'fast'. 

Fausset's Bible dictionary states that in the word Euphrates, the first syllable Eu, is derived from the Sanskrit Su (सु), which denotes 'good'; the second syllable denotes 'abundant'. The Sanskrit word for abundant is 'Purna' (पूर्ण). Hence Euphrates may be derived from the Sanskrit 'Su-Purna' (सुपूर्ण) meaning 'Good-Abundance'. 

The Babylonians and Assyrians called Euphrates 'Su-Purattu'. It was known as 'Purattu' in Akkadian and 'Puranti' in Hurrian, 'Puranti' may be linked to Sanskrit 'Purandhi' (पुरन्धि) which means 'bountiful' or 'abundant'.

Notice names such as 'Nagar' (नगर) meaning 'town;
and 'Haran' probably from Sanskrit (हरणि) meaning
'water channel' in the vicinity of the Euphrates.
 may also have got its name from the Vedic 'Haran'
which is another name of Lord Shiva.

Edward Pococke, who had a different view, states in his book 'India in Greece' that the name Euphrates is a distortion of 'Su-Bharata' which changed into 'Su-Purattu', hence the Babylonian and Assyrian name. The word 'su' (सु) as mentioned above means 'good' in Sanskrit, 'Bharat' (भरत्) is the name of ancient Indian king after who
m India was named 'Bharata' (भारत). Bharat is known to have extended his empire into Central Asia right up to the Mediterranean.

The Gihon was also known as the Karun, 'karun'
means 'compassionate' in Sanskrit.

The Sumerian cities of Sippar and Nippur are also located on the path of the ancient Eu-pharates. The 'par 'and 'pur' are probable corruptions of the Sanskrit 'pura' meaning 'town' or 'city'. The first syllable in both names are short and may have meanings in many languages, however as a combination Nippur would mean the 'low lying city', nIpa (नीप) in Sanskrit meaning that which is situated on the 'lower side', and 'nipa' (निप) 'that which absorbs' or 'soaks'.  A corruption of any number of words, 'sipa' could be a distortion of 'ksipa' (क्षिप्) which means 'to pour'. That would make 'Sippar', the 'city that poured' (the waters of Euphrates) and 'Nippur' at the lower end of the flow making it 'the city that receives' (the waters of the Euphrates). Some historians trace the roots of the name Nippur to the word 'Nabha'. 'Nabhapur' - hence the city of the 'Nabhas'. Others have linked the name Sippar to Shiva-pura.

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