Research Article Written by London swaminathan
Date: 24 December 2016
Time uploaded in London:- 15-22
Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.
Believe it or not, the Sanskrit word ‘Sri’, English honorific title ‘Sir’ and Tamil word ‘Thiru’ all mean the same. Sir and Thiru came from the Sanskrit word Sri.
Sri is written as ‘Siri’ (as in Sirimao Bhandaranayake) in Sri Lanka and ‘Sere’ in South East Asia.
In India, Sri is also written as Shree, Sree, Shri and Sree. Sri means wealth and Goddess Lakshmi. Sri also means light, resplendent etc.
In the name of a country Sri Lanka , the meaning of Sri is ‘replendednt’.
Nowadays Hindus use it before a male’s name to give him respect. It is used as Mr and in Tamil Tiru. If it is a woman, then Srimati (in Tamil Tirumati) is used. It may mean respectful or enlightened.
Sri= Lakshmi, Wealth, Fortune, Prosperity, Light, Resplendent (nowadays Mr)
Tamil word Thiru or Tiru is also derived from Sanskrit Sri. In Tamil also the meaning is similar to Sanskrit.
According to linguistic rules ‘S’ and ‘T’ are interchangeable. That is why all the English words with ‘TION’ ending is pronounced ‘SION’ ((E.g) Education, Fruition, Cognition. Even in Tamil literature Tamil saints changed Vithyai as Viccai (Vidhya=Vithyai- vicchai) in Tevraram and Tirvasagam and Divya prabandham. The oldest portion of these Tamil devotional literature is at least 1500 year old.
English people who are knighted are given the title ‘Sir’. In India scientists like Sir C V Raman, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, Literaturs like Ravindranatha Tagore and judges like Sir C Ramaswami Iyer, sportsmen like Sachin Tendulkar were awarded this ‘SIR’ title by the British Queen.
The etymology of the word according to Oxford dictionary is as follows:-
The word Sir derived from the Middle English ‘Sire’ according to the dictionary. It was first used in 1297. All these are forced etymology, because it doesn’t explain where the Old French or Latin got it. As everyone knows that Germanic languages and Romance languages are derived from Sanskrit , the root of Sir can be easily traced.
Sri is found in the Vedas. There is a Suktam (Poem/verse/hymn) named after Sri. Names such as Srimati, Sri, Sridharan, Srinidhi, Srinivas are common even today. Oldest Shasranama Vishnu sahasranama has several names beginning with Sri. Several town names (Srisailam, Sriperumpudur) and book names (Sri Bhagavata, Srimad Bhagavd Gita) also have the Sri as prefix.
Following the Hindus, the world used sir(i) in other European langauges. We have proofs for such usage even today in Sri Lanka (Siri) and South East Asia (sere). Change in the position of the letter ‘I’ or change in the position of sound cause such spellings. For instance Dharma is written as Dharam in Hindi. The famous city of Tamil Nadu Madurai is pronounced as Marudai and Kuthirai (horse) is pronounced as Kuruthai. No wonder Sri ischanged to Sir or Siri or Sere in other languages!