Post No. 8447

Date uploaded in London – 3 August 2020   

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MANU would mean etymologically, ‘a thinking being, a man’ and because mythology has lent this character to the father of the human race, also called Manu ……

And as to the name of Manu/man itself it does not seem more striking  or even more strange than other proper names in the Vaidika time; than for instance, the proper names

Prana – life,

Eka – one,

Itara or Anyatara – either of two,

Panchan – five,

Saptan – seven,

Ashtan – eight,

Siras – head,

Loman – hair,

Vindu – drop

–from Goldstucker’s book ‘Panini – his place in Sanskrit literature’

My comments –

When I read Panchan/five, I am reminded of Panchan Lama of Tibet, and Ashta/ reminds me of  Ashta Vakra of Hindu scriptures which means Eight Bends in his body.

Here are more from Mahabharata:-

Ekata /one

Dwita /two

Trita / three

Ekata was brother of the great rishi Trita whom he abandoned when the later fell down in a well and cried out for help. Later through a curse of Trita , he and his brother Dwita turned into wolves

–Mahabharata 9-36

-from Who is Who in the Mahabharata by Subash Mazumdar

Gandhari means a woman from Gandhara (Kandahar in Afghanistan)

Kausalya means a woman from Kosala country

Mythili means a woman from Mithilapuri

Actually we don’t know their real names. Even the other name Sit a is not her name. It means she was found while ritual ploughing.

In the Rig Veda and Sangam Tamil literature at least 20 each are given strange names; some Tamil names sounded like woman who sang about Crow (Kakkai Patiniyar), poet who sang about worn out old rope (Theypuripalan kayitranar), poet who sang about Red earth mixing with water (Sempulapeyar nitranar) etc

In Periya Purana also we come across strange names such as Mr Tomorrow Going (Tiru Nalaip Povar), Kungili Kalaya Nayanar (Frankinsense pot man) etc.

All the country names such as Matsya (Fish), Naga (snake) etc stand for the totem symbols they wore.

In Ramayana we come across Vanara (Vana+ nara= Forest man= Apes), Bear Man (Jambavan) Bird Man (Jatayu), Garuda (eagle man) and these names denote the totem symbols they were wearing)

Actually this naming began during Vedic period; one is called Pippalada (Mr Ficus Religiosa tree), Asvatta (Mr Ficus Tree).

Each Rishi or Gotra had their symbols:-

Kaushika = Owl,

Kasyapa = tortoise

Bhardwaja = Crow

Manduka = Frog

Chandilya = un identified bird name

Asvalayana Grihya Sutra mentions 47 names from animals and birds

Gold is favourite name of men women From Hiranya to Swarna!



JAAYAA/wife, PUTRA/son

Manu also gives strange etymology for wife and son.

Because the male child saves (Traayate) his father from the hell called PUT, therefore he was called a son PUTRA by the self existent himself (Manu 9-138)

9-8. The husband, after conception by his wife, becomes an embryo and is born again of her; for that is the wifehood of a wife (jaya), that he is born (jayate) again by her.

9. As the male is to whom a wife cleaves, even so is the son whom she brings forth; let him therefore carefully guard his wife, in order to keep his offspring pure.

10. No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the employment of the following expedients:

tags– strange names, Hindu scriptures, totems


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