Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Going to Fiveness

I've come across an interesting phrase in Sanskrit for dying several times this semester. It involves the word pañcatva, which means fiveness, and the verbal element gam, meaning to go: so, going to fiveness. The sense is dying, or going to death, more fundamentally, the dissolution of the body into the five elements, earth, water, fire, air, ether (according to Lanman).


Blogger Eumaeus said...

Wow, that is a fascinating tidbit of Sanskrit trivia if I ever heard one!! Could you give any details about the sources in which you have come across this phrase for death?

12:32 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

I first saw it in Lanman's Sanskrit reader, in the Manava-Dharma-Shastra, which I think dates from between 100BC-100AD. For the translation, I believe that I depended on Lanman, and I can't remember if I looked it up further in Monier-Williams.

5:30 PM  

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