domenica 11 marzo 2012

Etymologies: putra, guru and mantra

The word “son” in Sanskrit is “putra” (in alfabeto devanagari पुत्रand it is very significant. “Putra” is composed by “put” and “tra.” “Put” in Sanskrit is a particular hell in Hinduism and “tra” means “to defend”, “to deliver.” The son is he who saves from this hill and in fact he is called “putra.” For this reason in India it is very important to have a son, a male child who will set fire of the funeral  pyre of his father (see here).
The word "sanskrit" in devanagari
An other word whose etymology is very interesting is “guru” (in devanagari गुरु), the spiritual teacher without whom it is impossible reach the true knowledge. The guru is who gives to pupil his own mantra and teaches him the holy texts. “Gu” means  “darkness” or “shadow” and “ra” means “to disperse” and the guru is who disperses darkness and consents to his pupil to see the light of true knowledge. According another theory “ru” in Sanskrit means "light" and the guru is the one who brings his pupil from darkness to light.
Also the word “mantra” (in devanagari मान्त्र) has a very significant etymology. Mantras are mystical verses or magical formulas, composed of only one syllable or one word or a complete phrase. Mantras are repeated during the meditation. The word "mantra" in Sanskrit derives from the root "man" which means "mind" and "tra" which in this case is the suffix that designates the instrument. So the mantra is "instrument of thought", the means by which to think or, more correctly, to make work "manas", the instrument of knowledge.

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