Tuesday, 5 February 2008

guru and gravity

Proto-Indo-European *gʷerh₂- "heavy" in the suffixed zero-grade form *gʷrh₂-u- became Sanskrit गुरुः guruḥ "heavy, venerable; any venerable or respectable person; a spiritual parent or preceptor" and Hindi गुरू gurū "teacher".

The suffixed zero-grade form *gʷrh₂-wi- became Latin gravis "heavy", giving us grave (the adjective) and gravity. grave as in "place of burial" is from a different root (*grebh- "to dig, bury, scratch").

In Greek it's βαρύς barus "heavy" as in barium.

The suffixed extended form *gʷrih₂-g- became Proto-Germanic *krīǥ, Old High German krēg "stubbornness", then German Krieg "war".

The Advayatāraka Upaniṣad (अद्वयतारकोपनिषत् and here) verse 16 provides a folk etymology of guruḥ.

गुशब्दस्त्वन्धकारः स्यात् रुशब्दस्तन्निरोधकः । अन्धकारनिरोधित्वात् गुरुरित्यभिधीयते ।। १६ ।।
guśabdastvandhakāraḥ syāt ruśabdastannirīdhakaḥ
andhakāranirīdhitvāt gururityabhidhīyate ।। 96 ।।
The syllable gu [signifies] darkness. The syllable ru [signifies] the destroyer of that [darkness]. By reason of the [ability] to destroy darkness, he is called a guru.
(translation from here)


mahendra singh said...

technical query: what font(s) should I load to read your blog best? I use Firefox on a mac and it's dropping a lot of glyphs.

Keep up the good work, and if you ever feel like doing a follow-up and/or précis of Mr Soto's etymological Snarkiana, etc., we here at THOTS would be keenly interested.

cheers, Mahendra

goofy said...

yeah, I have that problem with U+0325 COMBINING RING BELOW. I use it to indicate PIE syllabic resonants, but I'm going to remove it entirely since it doesn't show up and it's not essential. If there's any other glyphs not showing, let me know.

goofy said...

Oh, and Devanagari (for Sanskrit) doesn't work with Firefox on the Mac. :(

Glen Gordon said...

I've been manually altering the HTML to use Code2000 font on my blog. Of course, one still has to download Code2000, but it's nifty and I like it :)