Thursday, July 30, 2009

What’s in a name?

Shakespeare’s famous words:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."?

We have been discussing in the previous posts about how historians and enthusiasts are leaving no stone un-turned to find the background of this place called ‘Nalanda’ and its name hides a lot of clues. Although Shakespeare might disagree but when it comes to Nalanda if we change the name we might loose an important link to the past.

Here’s an etymology:

1- Na+Alam+Da
Na- No
Alam- Sufficient
Da- Giving or Giver
This is interpreted as a place where any offering is not sufficient
Limitless charity/ Charity without intermission / Insatiable in offering

2- Naram+Da
In Sanskrit La and Ra are not distinct, Nara means the special property that makes human being a different from other living things i.e. Wisdom.
And a “Place that offers wisdom is called Nara (La) mda”

3- Na+Alam+ Da
Alam also means useless, another interpretation is “The place that offers nothing useless”

4- Nalan-Da
Nalan- Lotus stalk
It is also believed that the place derived it name Nalanda because of lotuses which grew in the ponds spread in this area. Nalan means lotus and the “Place which provides lotus is Nalanda”. Also Lotus is seat of Goddess Saraswati, goddess of Wisdom and education and the “Place which offers wisdom and education is Nalanda”

The fourth interpretation of Lotus stalk is generally not accepted because the place Nalanda is very old (pre- Buddha) and the ponds where lotuses grew in great number are assumed to be made in the process of making bricks from the earth removed for building the monastic units.

5- Xuanzang says about south of the sangharama in the middle of amra van there is tank. The naga of this tank was called Nalanda. By the side of the tank is the sangharama therefore takes the name of the naga. But another account which he feels is true says Buddha in previous birth was king of this place. Moved by the pity of the living things, he delighted in continually relieving them, and the “charity without intermission” is in perpetuation of his benevolence.

6- Itsing and Hwui Lun also attribute the name of the sangharama to The Naga from the tank at the south of monastery.

7- Dharmasvamin, who was here in 1235AD, said Nalanda in Tibetan meant “lord of men” and he further adds it was built by a king and therefore the name originates from it.

1 comment:

नारायण प्रसाद said...

Please write any Sanskrit or Indic words also in देवनागरी. Just think over the possibility of reading "Na+Alam+Da" in a ludicrous way "ना + आलम + डा" or any other nonsensical way. Roman is completely useless for Indic words, if written in the way you generally write on the net.