Monday, 26 May 2008

desiring cows

We're told in one of those emails full of useless facts that the Sanskrit word for war literally translates as "desire for more cows".

Most sources that repeat this info don't say what the word is, but I found one that does: gavishti.

गविष्टि gáviṣṭi is "desiring cows; f. heat, ardour, fervour; eagerness for or heat of battle; combat" according to Macdonell. It's also in Āpte, but it's spelled गविष्ठि gaviṣṭhi.

For what it's worth, Monier-Williams simply translates gáviṣṭi as "desire for fighting, ardour of battle, battle".

There's also गव्यत् gavyát: "desiring cattle; ardently desirous; eager for battle".

Etymologically, gáviṣṭi is composed of गो go "cow" and इष्टि iṣṭi "any desired object". Please note that Monier-Williams tells us that iṣṭi can also mean "a desired rule , a desideratum , a N[ame] applied to the statement of grammarians who are considered as authoritative."

1 comment :

Vinod said...

Nice articles! Keep it up!