‘Kari’ for Elephant is Not a Tamil Word?-1 (Post No.11,282)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 11,282

Date uploaded in London – 20 SEPTEMBER 2022         

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

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WE HAVE AT LEAST 45 WORDS FOR ELEPHANT IN TAMIL NIKANDU/thesaurus (See My Earlier Article)

Since ancient Tamils considered Tamil and Sanskrit two eyes of the same man they never differentiated the two words in dictionaries and thesauruses.  There is no Tamil dictionary or nikandu/thesaurus without Sanskrit words. In fact, my research shows that there are more Sanskrit words in these so-called Tamil dictionaries.it shows Tamils considered both of them their own mother tongues. It is true with Tamil literature as well. They used both  the languages as if their own mother tongues. There is another reason which supports my theory that both the languages came from the same root;  devotees of Siva believe that both the languages came from the sound of kettle drum of Lord Siva

Kari in Tamil means charcoal or elephant. But other meanings such as hand, witness, black pepper, accusation are also there.

In Sanskrit Kaarin and Karin are used for elephant. And Hasti, Ibha, Gaja are also used.

Now the question is KARI  a Tamil word or not?

If we take it chronologically it comes first only in Sanskrit.

Wilson in his translation of the Rig Veda finds it in 4-34-3 of Rig Veda. Most famous Sanskrit lexicon/ thesaurus Amarakosa lists many names for elephant including Kari.

I can interpret it in two ways. The animal which is black (kari in Tamil) is Kari; so it is a Tamil world

The animal which has a prominent hand/trunk (Kara= Hand) is Karin; so it is Sanskrit.

One rare and interesting co incidence is both Kari in Tamil and Ibha in Sanskrit mean ‘Number Eight’ as well!

Kari is found in more ancient literature in Sanskrit. Mahabharata, Kiratarjuniya, Amarakosa etc and the authors used Karin for elephant.

In Tamil, Kari means Charcoal or that which is burnt to ash. For elephant, Sangam poets used Vezam, Yaanai, Kaliru and seldom used Kari.

xxx

Etymology of Elephant from Sanskrit

The English word Elephant is derived from Sanskrit ‘Ibah’, which is found in the Vedas. It changed to Erepa in Phoenician. R/L changes are seen through out the world. Panini was the first one to put it in grammar. Erepa became elepha in Greek and Latin. Elephant is a holy animal for Hindus .All the temples and Mutts do Go Puja (cow worship) and Gaja Puja (elephant worship). The oldest picture of elephant is in the Indus seal. That shows Hindus are the one who took it to different parts of the world. It is part of Chatur Anaga of army and Chaturanga/chess game as well.

Asvaghosa , who came after Kalidasa, also refers to elephants with the names , Gaja, Gajendra, Hasti, Kari, Karin , Kunjara, Kalabha, Vaarana, Naag, Rsabha, Dvipa and Dviipendra. Many names are in the Amarakosa.

Egypt, though  an African country, did not use elephant at all . We cant see it Egyptian Pyramid paintings . Only after contacting with Hindus they learnt to control horses and elephants .

Hastin, Gaja, Karin , Rsabha and Ebha are all found in the Vedic literature

The chess game that was invented by Hindus also made elephant as part of the four fold army. The name of Asvattama, the elephant, was used to defeat the Kauravas. All the elephants have special names in Hindu books.

Asvaghosa says

The elephants are found in the forests of Himalayas. They caught them with the help of elephant catchers. Sometimes they became wild and were controlled with help of Ankusa.

To be continued………………………….

tgs- Elephant, etymology, Ibha, Indus seal, Rig Veda

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