Section-13: Niruktam ( )
of Sanathana Dharma, whether Nyaya or Vaiseshika, whether Sankhya or Yoga
or whether Poorva or Uthara Meemamsa, are higly dependent on the Sanskrit
Language. The philosophies assume an eternal connection between the
Sanskrit word and its meaning. This was mentioned in an earlier lesson
in this series where we quoted from the Mahabhashya, the words
"siddhe shabdartha sambhandhe"
The philosophies assert that
just as creation is a cycle, the Sanskrit words are also created in cycles
so that their meanings are essentially eternal. This is the reason why
no origin or root for sanskrit can ever be found.
How does the language of
Sanskrit utilize this concept in its day to day use? The language is wholly
derived from some fundamental root syllables which denote basic concepts
like the five elements, movement, energy, space etc.. The five elements
are collectively termed as >pancha maha boothaha and
prithivi, aapaha, analaha,
standing for the earth, water,
fire, air and the ether respectively. The vedanga which deals with the
subject matter of root words occurring in the vedas is termed as Niruktam
and is credited (or traced) to the rendition of sage Yaska. Niruktam is
divided into three portions in the first of which root words each signifying
a simple concept are grouped or classified together. For instance,
aapaha, udakam, jalam,
neeram, vaari etc.,
all of which denote water,
are put under a group along with other words not mentioned above, and the
group termed udakanaamaani.
In the second branch of Niruktam,
Yaska gives a derivation of these names from their roots. In the third
branch of Niruktam, Yaska proceeds to give the meanings of some specific
mantras from the Vedas.
It will be obvious
to our readers that this feature of the Sanskrit language is wholly unique
and is not seen in other languages of the world, whether ancient or modern.
This lends credence
to the belief that Sanskrit is the oldest of all the languages of the world.
At the end of this
article, we have appended a figure to highlight this aspect of the language
in which, we trace the names for water in different languages of the world
to their corresponding words in the Sanskrit language.