object:5.3.04 - Roots in M
book class:Vedic and Philological Studies
author class:Sri Aurobindo
subject class:Integral Yoga
The sound starts from the fundamental idea of finality. Limitation, close, confinement, depth, cavity, close embrace, are its original significance.
From the idea of limitation comes, first, to measure by limiting or marking off; to mark out, assign; to assort, compare by measurement; to define, outline,so to form, construct or build, make, arrange; and from the sense of arrangement, to prepare, show or make a display.
All these are senses of the root which from the expansive sense of the naturally takes to itself the idea of spacious measurement or distribution, wide limits, broad or massive outlines. We get from , measuring, or a measure, dimension, standard, rule, proof or authority and in building, formation; also comparative measurement or likeness, , with its nominal verb ; , a measure of time, month. The words month and moon obviously derive from the same origin. itself is used as a noun in the sense of measure. We have too from the short root , which means Time, or the moon, and the negative particle , in which limitation takes the sense of denial, from an original idea of marking off from other things, exception.
The close sound takes readily the sense of narrow measurement, close limitation. We find in the sense to measure, to build or to establish, column or post, originally a boundary mark; , measured, bounded, defined, investigated, and, characteristically, moderate, scanty or sparing; also built or established; , measuring, measure or weight; proof, determination or accurate knowledge; , limit or boundary comes from this root. Another development of the idea of measurement or standard gives us in the sense of to exchange or barter.
Neither nor lend themselves as readily to the sense of measurement; they prefer the kindred ideas of ending or confinement; nevertheless even within the limits of classical Sanscrit we find in the sense of landmark, as well as rule of propriety, decorum; but the latter may as well proceed from the sense of limitation or confining rule of self-restraint as from the sense of measure or standard.
From the idea of limitation or finality, we get, secondly, the sense of end, terminus, boundary, limit; of close or finale; so the close of all, death or even mukti; and all kindred significations. We have , slaying, destroying, deadly, in the sense of poison, also of Yama, the lord of death; , to conclude, infer; , to kill, destroy; to impair; to hurt, violate, transgress, and, intransitively, to die; to be lost or go astray, all evidently derived from the passive idea of end, death, loss or the active idea of destruction and injury, bringing to an end or limiting and lessening; in the sense of funeral pile, final emancipation or Shiva, the Lord of destruction, mukti, finality. But the true root for the sense of finality or death is , to die with the transitive , to kill with its numerous derivatives , , , death; , , plague or pestilence; , , , death; , slaying; , slaughter, death, the Destroyer; , a vital part; , a desert, wilderness, rocky or mountainous country; , , , mortal; , , limit, boundary, border, end, bank, contract; and numerous others.
From the same idea of limitation we get another shade of significance, the sense of confinement, control, containing or contents,or embrace.We find as a name of Shiva, Brahma & Vishnu who embrace & control all things, , contents, substance, wealth, welfare. The cases of
, , etc spring from the same idea of I as the containing self. The mother who bears or contains the child in her womb is , . means too the Goddess of Wealth. This root also gives us , continent, contents, substance, wealth, limit. itself means to be in, contained. From we have , that which we embrace, a friend, lover and who in the Veda, is the God of the emotions, containing, comprising, made of, to comprehend, know. From , meaning bondage, confinement, to bind or fasten, anything bound, collected, woven together. From , , a pot, vessel, cavity, hollow. From this sense of depth, hollowness we get the idea of a deep sound, murmur, roar, bellow; to roar, sound, Latin mugire, to bellow; from , rustle, murmur, the wind-haunted, rustling pine-tree.
But these do not exhaust the uses of the sound which we find in the primary roots of this family. From a study of Vedic Sanskrit and of Tamil it appears that the idea of limitation must have been modified to cover the idea of the extreme limit, the highest finality and hence the significance of extreme, supreme, a general supremacy or excellence. This general idea came to be specified in application to particular forms of extreme being and to cover the idea of flourishing vigour, vigorous life or action, strength, swiftness, brilliance, swift motion etc. Thus it comes about that the same root which means to die or wither (, etc) means also to flourish, grow, bloom; the same peculiarity of opposite meanings which we shall afterwards find in many roots of this and other classes. The idea of a goal, strong in the sound, seems also to have suggested movement towards a goal. So also we find etc. The word , a mortal, seems to have meant in the Veda, strong, like which also came to mean man; even later means a lover, a horse, stallion etc. We have the Hindi in the sense of man, masculine; the Tamil mara, strong, maravar, Kshatriyas, the strong men or fighters. & in the sense of god, and the respectful address appear to have the same origin. We have too for Indra orHanuman, where must mean strong. From the idea of swift or darting motion or merely motion we get , fish, , to go, move; , , the dancing peacock; , urine (flowing discharge); , the moving earth (cf , , & many other synonyms, all with the sense of motion); , , , , the material of earth, clay, dust; , earth; , wind, air, breeze, breath; in the sense of horse; , horse or camel. , , , where there is the sense of water, ocean, have this origin.We know the root to have had the sense of motion from the Latin movere, motus etc. The sense of flourishing, blooming, soft, growing, we get from the Tamil maram, a tree, S. , a granary, , juice of flowers, , soft, unctuous, bland, , a kind of plant, , , , , a pomegranate grove, collection of pomegranate trees. From the sense of shining, glittering, white, bright, we have , tawny or brilliantly coloured gleaming red-brown, , the sun, , flamingo, swan, duck, horse, , a ray of light, light, Krishna (cf meaning also a horse, lion, etc), , mirage. Cf the Latin marmor, Greek . , pepper, is obviously from the kindred sense of applied to the taste & smell. We may also note the words , a high-browed woman and , repeatedly rubbing, where & seem to have the sense of high or persistent from this general sense of excellence or extreme quality.
We have gathered therefore from the meanings of the simple M roots and their direct derivatives, even in the limits of classical Sanscrit, a number of fundamental meanings persistent & recurrent in all such roots & derivatives without regard to the variations of the assistant vowel. We need not suppose that all the original basic significances of the M sound are to be found in this limited area; a number may, indeed must have perished in the long course of Sanscritic development from the original Aryan tongue to the Vedic vocabulary & forms & from that again to the classical. We have now to examine the secondary roots of this family and their derivatives & inquire, first, whether the results already gained are confirmed, secondly, whether they supply us with fresh significances of which the primary roots had lost hold.
I take first the guttural roots of the M class, , , , , pure or nasalised ( etc), , , , , , , , & , , , and the nasal forms of those three groups. We must not expect to find all these roots still extant or recoverable by their traces in the comparatively modern language of the epic & later writers, but we may fairly assume that they all at one time existed. Here the first significance which strikes us by its frequency is the sense of motion and the kindred idea of swiftness.We find & , to go, move, creep, to go, move, & in the same sense, go, move, speed, start or set out. We find signifying immediately, quickly, a boat, a fly or bee, a goat, from the sense of leaping in , in the same sense, a way, path, from an original to move, go, to go after an end, go to a goal, walk, travel, seek, leading to the modern sense of to hunt, pursue etc; , an animal, from to move, especially the swiftest of all animals or perhaps the most hunted, the deer; and all the numerous derivatives of this root; , the vital breath or an ape, from to move, flow or to leap, be active; a spider, ape or crane; in the same sense, but also applied to some kind of fish, possibly from its darting or leaping motion. Finally we have to wish or long for, which, from the analogy of & other verbs of wishing must have started from the sense of motion towards, going after, pursuing which we find in .
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