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    Sanskrit and Russian: Ancient kinship

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    mudra

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    Sanskrit and Russian: Ancient kinship

    Post  mudra on Sat May 21, 2016 7:23 am

    Sanskrit and Russian: Ancient kinship

    The striking similarities in Sanskrit and Russian indicate that during some period of history, the speakers of the two languages lived close together.

    When was the last time you had a shot of vodka? Well, next time you have one, remember that this Russian word has its origins in the Vedic Sanskrit word for water – udaka.

    The classical Sanskrit word for water is jal and is familiar to most Indians. But the fact that the Russian word for water voda is closer to the Vedic Sanskrit word points to the close – and ancient – kinship between the two languages.

    While it is commonly known that both languages belong to the Indo-European family of languages, most people believe the relation between Russian and Sanskrit is as distant as that between Persian and Sanskrit or Latin and Sanskrit. Linguist and author W.R. Rishi writes in his book ‘India & Russia: Linguistic & Cultural Affinity’ that Russian and Sanskrit share a deeper connection.

    According to Rishi, the relation between these two languages is very close and correspondence between these two languages is so minute that it cannot be attributed to mere chance. “The facts…lead us to conclude that during some period of history the speakers of Sanskrit and Russian lived close together.”

    Rishi points to another feature of the Indo-European languages – the power to form compounds of various words. Such compounds have been carried on from Indo-European to Greek, Sanskrit and Old Church Slavonic.
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    St Petersburg’s illustrious Sanskrit connections

    The origin of the Russian word gorod (Old Slavonic grad) meaning ‘city’ can also be traced. In ancient Russia and in India the cities were built to serve as forts for protection and defence against aggression from an enemy. The corresponding word in Hindi is gadh which means ‘fort’. In modern Russian the suffix grad and in modern Hindi the suffix gadh are used to form names of cities: such as Leningrad (the city of Lenin), Peterograd (the city of Peter) and Bahadurgarh (the city of the brave).

    The two languages have two broad similarities. One, Russian is the only European language that shares a strong common grammatical base with Sanskrit.

    Secondly, both Russian and Sanskrit are pleasing to the ear. The very name ‘Sanskrit’ means carefully constructed, systematically formed, polished and refined. Colonial era linguist William Jones wrote: “Sanskrit language is of a wonder structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.”

    Admirers of Russian are equally liberal with their praise. In a lecture at London University in March 1937, philologist and linguist N.B. Japson said: “It is nevertheless a matter of common experience that a person completely ignorant of Russian, who for the first time hears the language spoken by a native, will voluntarily exclaim: “Why, how melodious Russian sounds.” Novelist Ivan Turgenev wrote: “But it is impossible to believe that a language was not given to a great people.”

    Linguist S. Zharnikova writes in Science & Life: “There are many Russian names and words in Russian the origin of which can easily be traced with the help of the Sanskrit language. For example, it is linguistically possible to find traces of the name of the Russian river Volga. Herodotus calls this river by the name of Oaros which can be best explained with the help of the purely Sanskrit word var meaning water.”

    What explains the similarities? Vedic Sanskrit was spoken as late as 300 BCE but its antiquity may stretch back thousands of years from that date. Russian may either be the result of ancient Indians taking their language and culture from the banks of the Saraswati river to the banks of the Ob. The discovery of Shiva statues in Central Asia and Russia points to the spread of Hindu culture far beyond the Indian heartland.
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    There is the other conjecture that Vedic Sanskrit was introduced to India by blond Aryans who originated from southern Russia. This idea is popular with Europeans, including Russians, despite clear evidence that the current belief in an Aryan invasion of India was the result of a body of lies developed by English and German scholars.

    While DNA evidence is gradually chipping away at the notion that Aryans brought civilisation to India, scholars such as Shrikant Talageri have analysed the Vedic texts and showed how the older books talk about places in eastern India whereas the later ones provide descriptions of the geography of northwestern India. This can only mean one thing: the ancient Indians moved into Central Asia and perhaps then on to Europe.

    While it may take decades to settle the issue one way or the other, it is a fact that Vedic Hindu civilisation was spread over a great area. According to Bulgarian linguist Vladimir Georgiev, geographical names are the most important source for determining how a group of people acquire their ethnicity. This can originate through a process of self-identification or it could be the result of outside identification.

    Georgiev says the most stable – or longstanding – names are that of rivers. “But in order to preserve the names it is necessary to maintain the continuity of the population, transmitting these names from generation to generation. Otherwise, new people may come and give it their own name,” he says.

    Georgiev illustrates that in 1927 a detachment of geologists "discovered" the highest mountain in the Urals. The mountain was called Narada by the local population, and interestingly the ancient Indian epics describe the great sage Narada as living in the north. But since it was the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution, the geologists decided to mark the event and rename the mountain as Narodnoy – or People. And that’s what it is now called in all geographic references and on all maps.

    read on: Arrow https://in.rbth.com/blogs/2014/11/01/sanskrit_and_russian_ancient_kinship_39451

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    mudra

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    Re: Sanskrit and Russian: Ancient kinship

    Post  mudra on Sat May 21, 2016 7:28 am


    Weer Rajendra Rishi on the affinity of Russian and Sanskrit


    February 19, 2013 in Linguistics - Sanskrit - Russian

    (Russian readers can find the Russian translation of this post  here courtesy of  vedic.su)

    Dr. Weer Rajendra Rishi (1917 – 2002) was a well known Indian linguist. He was fluent in Russian and worked in the Indian Embassy in Moscow between 1950—1952. Dr. Rishi was the author of (1) Russian-Hindi Dictionary (foreword by the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru), (2) Russian Grammar in Hindi, (3) Russian Folklore in Hindi (4) Hindi translation of Pushkin’s poem ‘Gypsy‘, (5) Marriages of the Orient, (6) Roma—The Punjabi Emigrants in Europe, the USSR, the Americas etc. (7) Romani-Punjabi-English Conversation Book, (Cool Romani-Punjabi-English Dictionary and (9) Multi-Lingual Romani Dictionary (Romani Hindi English French Russian).

    One of his last works was a book India & Russia – Linguistic & Cultural Affinity. This book is now very rare and it is undeservingly forgotten so I would like to bring it back as a tribute to Dr. Weer Rajendra Rishi.

    The book has XIII chapters but it is Chapter II Affinity in Language which is, in my view, the most interesting part of the book. These are some excerpts from this chapter:

    “As mentioned in the preceding chapter both Russian and Sanskrit belong to the satem group of the Indo-European family of languages. This, however, creates one mis-understanding in one’s mind that the relation between Sanskrit and Russian is as distant one as that between Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages. As will be explained in this chapter, the relation between these two languages is very close and correspondence between these two languages is so minute that, to use Dr. Sidheshwar Varma’s words, it cannot be a mere chance*. The facts unfolded in this chapter are compulsory enough to lead us to conclude that during some period of history, the speakers of Sanskrit and Russian have lived close together. This will be elucidated in Chapters V onwards.

    (* Dr. Rishi refers here to the Foreword (Appreciation) to the book by Dr. Siddheshwar Verma, Honory Academic Adviser of the Vishveshwaranand Vedic Research Institute: “The data placed by this work definitely establish the fact that with the resemblance even in some minutest details, such analogies would never be a chance, and that, therefore, the speakers of these languages must have lived together in some periods of antiquity“)

    Compare this assertion with the results with the conclusion draw by other linguists: “before the primitive Aryans left their European homeland, Indo-Iranian and the prototypes of Baltic and Slavonic must have existed as close neighbours for a considerable period of time.  (Burrow, T. The Sanskrit Language. Faber & Faber, 1955, p.23.)

    “In the sphere of vocabulary, there is such a large number of words which are common to these two languages that it has not been possible to mention all of them in this chapter. Only a list of basic words common to both these two languages has been given. Moreover, as explained in the succeeding paragraphs of this chapter many of the grammatical rules are common to both these languages and the number of words common to these two languages formed after the application of such common grammar rules could be further multiplied. This is not so when we compare Sanskrit with any other language belonging to the Indo-European group, leaving aside Iranian and Persian.“(p.14)

    “In the previous chapter, we have already referred to the statement made by Sir Jones saying that “the Sanskrit language is of a wonder structure; more perfect than the Greek, mere copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either”. The very name ‘Sanskrit’ means ‘carefully constructed’, ‘systematically formed’, ‘polished and refined’. Same can be said of the Russian language. In addition to the strong common grammatical base which we will discuss later in this chapter, it is the pleasingness of the mere sound of the language which is common to both Russian and Sanskrit.“ (p.15)

    “That the melodiousness of the rhythm of the Russian folklore and the Sanskrit verse synchronises with each other is confirmed by a news item published in the Soviet Land (No. 2 of January 1968) published by the Information Services of the Embassy of the USSR in India, New Delhi. It is stated that the style of the verse of Russian folk legends and Puskin’s tales is closer to the rhythm of Sanskrit verse. Professor Smirnov (1892— 1967), the reputed Sanskritologist of the Soviet Union has translated Mahābhārata into Russian in this type of verse. Professor Smirnov had with him a recording of an extract from the Mahābhārata read in Sanskrit original by Professor Nirmal Chandra Maitra of India to the accompaniment of Indian instruments. When after playing the recording of the Sanskrit version, Professor Smirnov read his Russian translation, the enchanting melody of the rhythm was found to be very much like that of the Sanskrit original as read by Professor Nirmal Chandra Maitra and sounded in unison.“(p.16)

    On the following pages Dr. Rishi gave some interesting comparisons of Russian and Sanskrit noun declension, verbs, prefixes and suffixes, prepositions concluding the chapter by an impressive list of Russian- Sanskrit common words. The full text of this chapter can be found here.    Most of the words in this list are indeed cognates although I would  not agree with Dr. Rishi in a few cases. For example  the Rus.  pa ‘step, dance figure’  is a  French loan so it would not be justified to include it here as a cognate of Skr. pada  ‘foot’, although ultimately they do share the same ancient root. There  are other Rus. cognate words e.g. pod ‘ under, the bottom part’  which would be more appropriate in this case.  These small mistakes, however, do not diminish the importance of Dr. Rishi’s work. Most of the cognate pairs listed in his book are included into my Dictionary. See, for example the list of cognate verbs  and  nouns.

    read on: Arrow https://borissoff.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/weer-rajendra-rishi-on-the-affinity-of-russian-and-sanskrit/

    Love Always
    mudra

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