Tuesday, 31 July 2012


One of the rivers of Babylon is the 'Karun'. 'Karun' (करुन) is Sanskrit for 'compassionate' or 'plaintive'. Some believe that Karun might  have been the Biblical 'Pishon'. It is possible that Pishon is a distortion of 'poshin' (पोषिन्), Sanskrit for 'nurturing' or 'ishan' (इषन्) meaning 'pouring out'.

Another ancient name of the Karun is 'Pasi-tigris'. 'Pas' (पष्) in Sanskrit means to 'touch', and 'pash' (पाश) means to be 'bound to'. This could refer to the fact that the Pasi-Tigris or Karun flows close to the Tigris. 

Poshin, Pasi-Tigris and Karun are the names of the same river. At one point in history it was also known as 'Kuhrang'. Whether this has anything to do with the Sanskrit 'kurangi' (कुरङ्गी) which means 'deer or antelope like' is not known. The present day name 'Karun' is derived from 'Kuhrang'.

Just before the Karun merges with the Euphrates, it splits into two rivers to form a delta called Arvand. From the delta one vein called the Bhamshir flows directly into the sea. The name Bhamhasir may be derived from the Sanskrit 'Bhama' (भामा) which means 'passion' or 'lustre'. 'Sir' (सिरा) means 'nerve' or 'vein'.

The other vein, the Haffar, probably Saffar, from Sanskrit 'sabar' (सबर्) meaning 'nectre' or 'milk', merges directly with the Euphrates.

The other major river of Babylon is the Tigris. The Tigris has always been described as the 'swift river' as compared to the 'slow moving' 
Euphrates. The ancient Sumerians called the river Idigna, and in the Akkadian language that was spoken in Babylonia and Assyria, its name was Idiqlat. The prefix Idi in both these names is a truncated form of the Sanskrit 'nadi' (नदी).  In fact the Sumerian name Idigna appears to be the reverse of the Sanskrit nadi. The later name Tigris, meaning fast flowing or arrow like is also Indo-European and can be easily explained by Sanskrit. Its name may well be an extension of the Sanskrit 'Tivra' (तीव्र) means 'swift, fast or intense'. The more common interpretation of the name Tigris is 'tiger' which itself is derived from the Sanskrit 'vyagr' (व्याग्र).

The Persian name for Tigris was Arvand-Rud. 'Arvan' (अर्वन्) in Sanskrit also means 'fast' or 'swift'. Today, Arvand is the name of the Delta that the Tigris flows into.

The Rivers of Babylon
Map Courtesy:

The Euphrates and Karun flow into the Arvand Delta. In the Vedic context, Arvan (अर्वन्) is another name for Lord Indra. Apart from 'swift' or 'fast' Arva or Arvan also means 'Horse' or 'One who runs like Lord Indra'. In fact, the word 'Arab' is derived from Arva.

Notice the Sanskrit  names
'Sumer' (सुमेर), 'Umma' (उमा) meaning 'dawn' , 

'Ur' (उर) meaning 'nerve' or 'canal' 
and 'Uru' (उरु) meaning 'excellent'. 

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