Thursday, 30 August 2012


It is said that Sanskrit was introduced to human civilization by the sages of Sanatan Dharma (the ancient most form of Hinduism) along with the divine scriptures, especially the Rig Veda and the Upanishads.

A famous verse in Sage Panini’s Ashtadhyayi says that the Panini grammar that is in use now is graced by Lord Shiva. Hence the first known organized sounds are known as the Maheshvara Sutra - Maheshvara being another name of Lord Shiva. Here is the verse from Panini's Ashta-Dhyayi:

"At the end of His Cosmic Dance,
Shiva, the Lord of Dance,
with a view to bless the sages Sanaka and so on,
played on His Damaru fourteen times,
from which emerged the following fourteen Sutras,

popularly known as Shiva Sutras or Maheshvara Sutras"

The fourteen sounds of the Maheshwara Sutra, also known as the 'akshara-samamnaya', or the 'recitation of phonemes', is also the most ancient known Sanskrit alphabet sequence. It is at the same time a powerful Mantra and the vibrations of its sound are known to have healing powers. Here are the sounds:

1. अ इ उ ण् |
2. ऋ ऌ क् |
3. ए ओ ङ् |
4. ऐ औ च् |
5. ह य व र ट् |
6. ल ण् |
7. ञ म ङ ण न म् |
8. झ भ ञ् |
9. घ ढ ध ष् |
10. ज ब ग ड द श् |
11. ख फ छ ठ थ च ट त व् |
12. क प य् |
13.श ष स र् |
14. ह ल् |

The fourteen sutras contain all the letters of the Sanskrit varnamala- the svaras (vowels) and all the vyanjanas (consonants). The sounds of the alphabet originated from Lord Shiva's 'damru', which might therefore have been some kind of a sound device.

The Sanskrit alphabet sequence is known as the 'Varna-mala'. The word 'varna' (वर्ण) means a 'syllable' and all the energies related to that syllable - colour, presiding force, the mouth part used to pronounce each syllable, the related body part etc. 

In his paper 'Mantra & Initiation' by Pandit Rajmani Tignuit wrote, "....on a more subtle level, the Sanskrit phonemes relate to the energy currents which lie deep within the interior of the human body. Each of the 72,000 currents has a distinct sound, although they are too diffuse and vague to be enunciated distinctly. Moreover, the yogis have identified places in the body where two or more energy currents cross. In mantra shastra, the point where two energy currents intersect is called a sandhi, the point where three energy currents cross is called marma shthana, and the point where more than three energy currents converge is called a chakra. Here at the chakras, the vibratory patterns of energy are strong and vibrant. At the center of each chakra a distinct sound predominates, and other distinct sounds are centered around it. That is why, in kundalini yoga, each chakra is represented as having a particular letter at its center, as well as a letter on each petal........ ".

In kundalini yoga, each chakra is represented
as having a particular letter at its center.

Check out the body part that you invoke (and heal) by reciting each different syllable of the 'varnamala' as we know it today on page 2 of this article by clicking here. The Maheshwara Sutra is a healing mantra too as mentioned above and is/was chanted to revive the sick or dying.


Tallahassee, Florida. Home to one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world - the Wakulla Springs.

Wakulla Spring & River, Florida
'Wakulla' is a Timicuan (Native American) word. Wikipedia says, "'Wakula' may contain the word 'kala' which signified a 'spring of water' in some Native American Indian dialects". This is where the Sanskrit connecton is evident.

Lets look at the word through the Sanskrit lense. In Sanskrit 'va' () means water. 'Kulya' (कूल्या) means 'stream', 'canal' or 'a water body'. 'Kulini' (कूलिनी) means a 'river'. 'Vakulya' would mean 'water-body' or 'water canal' or plain 'river' in Sanskrit.

Tallahassee has a similar meaning. In Sanskrit, 'tala' (ताल) again means a 'water body' and 'talak' (तलक) means 'spring' or 'pond'. 'Ulhas' (उल्लस्) means 'joyful', 'cause movement', 'jump', 'shine forth' or 'come forth'. Another cognate 'hasa' (हास) means 'joyful', 'frolic', 'mirth' or 'dazzling whiteness'. Tallahasee, therefore means 'a place where the 'water springs emerge' or 'white water springs emerge". 

Even though Tallahassee is generally translated as 'Old Town', it is interesting that the water-springs area of Calistoga in California, which was earlier known as 'Tu-la-huasi' is translated from Native American as 'Place of Healthy Springs'.

If we take the translation cue from 'Tu-la-huasi', it just maybe that the Sanskrit translation of 'Tallahasee', as the place from where 'water springs emerge', is closer to the truth.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Taranaki, New Zealand
A satellite photo from top
Mount Taranaki is the ancient name of the peak that is sometimes today known as Mt. Egmont. The Maori have called the peak by the name Taranaki for many centuries. To the Maori, Taranaki was sacred, as are the streams flowing from it. Taranaki was the centre of the Maori culture in this part of New Zealand.

The Sanskrit connection is obvious. Tara (तारा) has many meanings in Sanskrit. The most common ones are - star, asterism, shining, or excellent. The derivatives of this word are in common use in most Indian languages, including Hindi. Naku  (नाकु) is Sanskrit for mountain. Taranaki translates as "Star Mountain" from Sanskrit.

In the Maori language, it is belived that 'Tara' (and not Naki) means Mountain, and 'Nagi' means "Star or Shining". Taranaki still means the same, but a translation from Maori into English would be 'Mount Star'! 

The words 'Naku' and 'Naki' are also a valid words in some ancient South American languages and as in Sanskrit they both mean "Mountain". For example, there is a peak by the name "Tiva-naku" at the ancient megalithic site in Bolivia.

As an aside, the word "Nak" (नाक), means Heaven in Sanskrit. If 'Taranaki' is a distortion of 'Taranak', it would translate as 'Star Heaven'.

Related Link:
1. Vedic Culture in New Zealand
3. Sil Nakya, Arizona
3. TiwaNaku, Bolivia
4. Mt. Nakauvadra, Fiji


River Cuyahoga, Ohio

River Cuyahoga, Ohio. The word Cuyahoga means "Crooked River" in Iroquios. It is difficult to figure out what the Sanskrit link to this word might be in Sanskrit - not because there are no cognates, but because there are so many!

In Sanskrit, 'Kulya' (कुल्या), 'KUlya' (कूल्या) and 'Kulini' (कूलिनी), all mean 'river'. These may all lead to the genesis of the word 'Cuya'. Or 'Cuya' may be a distortion of the Sanskrit 'kruta' (क्रुक्त) or 'Kutila' (कुटिल) both of which mean 'crooked'.

'Apaga' (आपगा) means river, 'aga' (अग) means 'water-jar' or 'water-pitcher'. You see the word 'aga' in the names of rivers such as 'Ganges' which is known as 'Ganga' in Sanskrit. The word 'aga' also appears in the name 'Volga' which incidentally was also known as 'Jal-aga' in ancient times. By that logic the suffix 'hoga' in Cuyahoga may be a distortion of 'aga' .

One may look at any of the following Sanskrit word-combinations which would all mean 'Crooked River' in Sanskrit:

1. Kutila-Apaga
2. Kulya-Hurna
3. Kulya-Hurna-Apaga

However, the most apt Sanskrit word for 'Cuyahoga' in Sanskrit is  'Kutilaga'. 'Kutilaga'  (कुटिलगा) means 'going crookedly',  it also means 'a river'! 

But is there a link between the Sanskrit language and Native American languages? In 1909, a white lady by the name of Mrs. Helen Troy, was initiated into the Onondaga tribe. Mrs. Troy and her mentor, Mrs. Isaac Thomas, had “delved deeply into the fascinating mythology of the Indians, of which comparatively little is known.” Troy and Thomas were both reportedly working on “a dictionary of the languages of the Six (Iroquious) Nations.” Their compilation of Onondaga and Mohawk words was said to total 30,000. On completion of the manuscript, Mrs. Troy commented “There exists no doubt,” stated Mrs. Troy, “that the mythology of the Iroquois antedates that of the Greeks and Romans, and in fact all other peoples just as their language does that of the Hebrews and all others.” She further claimed “that Onondaga, the mother tongue of all the ages, mothered also Sanskrit.” She had indeed found the two languages to be closely linked. 

The Cuyahoga originates in springs in the highlands of Geauga County, in the adjoining townships of Hambden and Montville. The headwaters of three watercourses in the Lake Erie basin are located in Geauga County. It is said that Geauga County is named after the Onondaga word 'jyo’ä·gak' or Seneca 'jo’ä·ka', both meaning 'racoon'. In Sanskrit a close cognate of 'jyo’ä·gak' and 'jo’ä·ka' is 'jahaka' (जहका) translates as 'hedgehog' - not quite rocoon. But 'Geauga' seems to be closer in meaning to the Sanskrit 'Jalaja' (जलज) which means 'born in water'.

Saturday, 25 August 2012


The history of ancient inhabitants of what is now called Sedona in Arizona is is a bit blurred but is believed to be at least 10,000 years old. Sedona was once inhabited by people known as the 'Anasazi' meaning 'Ancient ones who weren’t us' in the local language. A quick look at the meaning of the word 'Anasazi' in Sanskrit. 'Ana' (अन्) is a negative meaning 'not'. 'Azi' or 'Asi' (असि) means 'we are' or 'to be'. Ana-Azi would mean "Not-Us".

It is believed that the name Arizona derives from the ancient Basque phrase "Aritz Onak" meaning "Good Oaks". Others believe that Arizona is the corruption of the ancient O'odham name - "Ali Sonak" meaning "Small Stream". In Sanskrit "Arita" (आरित) means 'praised or revered'. The Sanskrit word for Oak (Saal, Singur) does not fit. But "Srota" is the Sanskrit for 'Stream' or 'Water Source'. Arita-Sotra would mean "Pure-Stream".

A look at the O'oodham name 'Ali Sonak'. Ali (आलि)  also means 'Pure' or 'Nectar' in Sanskrit. 'Sonak' maybe a corruption of the  Sanskrit 'Srota' (स्रोत). Ali-Srota (आलि-स्रोत) would then again mean 'Pure Stream' in Sanskrit.

Was there any link or contact between the earliest Native American and Asian Civilizations? Arizona is home to many ancient ruins. One of the best known now are the "Palatki Ruins" - home to many ancient pictographs and some petroglpyhs. One of them has been identified as the ancient Vedic "Om" symbol.

The Palatki "Om" Symbol from Sedona, Arizona
Researcher Gene Matlock says says that dthe ictionary entries in Cologne Sanskrit Lexicon, show that name 'Palat-ki' really derives from the Sanskrit 'Palayat-gi'. Palyat (पालयत) means to look after or nurture.As per Gene Matlock, the ruins of Palatki house a Shiva Temple or as it is called in that part of the world a 'Kiva'.
The Om Symbol. It is said that Om, Amen,
Amin and Omkar are all different names
of the same symbol.

There are other curious names that seem to have Sanskrit origins. For example, Sil Nakya. In Sanskrit 'Shila Naku' (शिला - नाकु) means 'Stone Mountain'. Naku also means "Anthill" in Sanskrit. Boba-Quivari is another curious name. 'Quivari' maybe the same as the Sanskrit 'Khiwari'. 

Kha-wari {Kha () Cave, Wari (वारी) Place}, may mean 'Cave-Place' or 'Anthill Cave Place'. As a single word 'Khawari' (खवारि) means Rain-water or Dew in Sanskrit, also 'Rain Water Cave".

The tribes of Arizona are equally of research interest. The Zuni tribes, which is a descendant of the Anasazi mentioned above, speak a language, it is claimed, unconnectd to any other Native American language. The name of the language is 'Ashiwi' (अश्वी). In Sanskrit that would mean 'Possessors of Horses'. The Zuni tribe has a pilgrimage place called Koluwala, also known as 'Kachina'. A close Sanskrit cognate, 'Kanchan' (काञ्चन), means 'Gold'.

Arizona has many place Native American names that sound as if they had a Sanskrit origin. But the truth is hidden under thousands of years of history.

Friday, 24 August 2012


The Cattaraugus River, New York State, USA. This is a foul smelling river - a result of the gases eminating from the river clay and mud.

The river is named "Cattaraugus" derived from the Native American Senecan word 'Gadages Kao' meaning "Foul Smelling Banks".

In their Water-Investigation Report, 'Distribution and Source of Barium in Ground Water, Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, Southwestern New York" published in 1984, R.B. Moore and W.W. Staubitz say, "The high barium concentrations (in the ground water) are attributed to dissolution of the mineral Barite (Barium Sulphate - BaSO4), which is present in the bedrock and possibly in overlying silt, clay, or till. The dissolution of Barite seems to be controlled by action of sulfate-reducing bacteria, which alter the BaSO4 equilibrium by removing sulfate ions and permitting additional barite to dissolve."

The sulphur ions are released into the air and cause the foul smell.

Now lets look at the etymology of the Seneca word "Gadeges Kao". In sanskrit, a close cognate is 'Gandhak Kula' (गन्धक कूल) which means 'Sulphur Banks', Gandhak (गन्धक) meaning 'Sulphur or Brimstone' and  Kula (कूल) meaning 'Banks'.  Also the word "Gandha" (गन्ध) in Sanskrit means 'Odour'.

'Gandhak' is a very common river name in South East Asia. There is a river by the name of Gandhak in Nepal too.

It is also curious that "GadegesKao" goes by the name of Cattaraugus. If one distorts the word a bit, to Khatta-rodhas (खट्ट-रोधस्), it still translates as 'Sour-Banks' in Sanskrit, Khatta (खट्ट) meaning 'Sour' and 'Rodhus (रोधस्) is another Sanskrit word meaning 'Bank'.

Cattaraugus Creek
Curious indeed. Is there some link between the Native American Seneca language and Sanskrit ? 

You decide.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Ischua Town, New York State. Ischua Town 200 years ago was simpy called 'Rice'. In the year 1855, the authorities decided to change its name and revert to an old Native American name. They changed the name from 'Rice' to 'Ischua'. A stream close-by was named 'Ischua Creek'. Reference: Ischua Etymology (The Portville Star, Sept. 17, 1959).

'Ischua' means "Floating Nettle" in the local Native American Seneca language. Which brings us to Sanskrit. In Sanskrit, the Nettle Plant is known as "Vrischak-Kali' (वृश्चिक- कलि) which translates as "Scorpion Bud". In Hindi, the name changes from 'Vrischak-Kali' to 'Bichoo-Buti' meaning 'Scorpion Herb'.

Scorpions, (the Sanskrit names for Nettle plant, derives from Scorpion) are known as 'Vrishchika' (वृश्चिक) in Sanskrit. In Hindi "Vrischika" distorts to 'Bichua' from where "Bichu Buti', the Hindi name for 'nettle' is derived. 

In Native American Seneca, 'Nettle' is known as ......well not Bichua, but 'Ischua'.

Is this a coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Mt. Shasta, Cascade Range, Siskiyou County, California. 
Mount Shasta, California. It is the scene of a number of spiritual legends and is regarded as a mystical power source. The peak is visible from more than 150 kilometres away.

The most ancient tales of Mt. Shasta mysticism come from the Native American folklore. They believed that the 'Guardian Spirit' lived on the slopes of Mt. Shasta. Mt. Shasta is today the centre of New Age Spiritualism Research. 

Occulaist Kenneth Grant regards the mystical power of Mt. Shasta equivalent to the mysticism of Mt. Arunachala at Tiruvannamalai in India. Mt. Arunachala is regarded as the manifestation of Lord Shiva himself.

Says Kenneth Grant, "Arunachala is the most sacred holy place of all........ The Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi said that Arunachala was the top of the spiritual axis of the earth and that there must be another mountain corresponding to it at the opposite side of the globe. I am suggesting that the other mountain is Mt. Shasta. But whether that is true or not, there is no doubt in my mind that Mt. Shasta and Mt. Arunachala are two of the major spiritual power spots of planet Earth".

Shasta and its other cognates, namely Shastri, Shasti, Srishti and Shastika are all valid words in Sanskrit. Lets look at the Sanskrit connection to the word Shasta. Shasta (शस्त) means beautiful, fortunate, auspicious, excellent, praiseworthy and commendable. Shasta also means 'eulogy'. What one word could describe the beauty and mysticism of Mt. Shasta better.

However, Dr. R. B. Dixon, who is the authority above all others on Shasta tribe research, says that the name Shasta may not be all that ancient: "The earlier forms - such as Saste, Shaste, Sasty, Shasty, Chasty, Shasti, Shastika - have given place to the form Shasta.... The origin and meaning of this term are obscure."

Referring to the the mid 1850s, Dr. R.B. Dixon says, "After persistent inquiry, the only information secured which throws any light on the matter is to the effect that about forty or fifty years ago there was an old man living in Shasta Valley whose personal name was Shastika (Stisti'ka). He is reported to have been a man of importance; and it is not impossible that the name Shasta came from this Indian (Native American), an old and well-known man..... " Could it then be that the mountain is named after this old, quite possibly learned and wise man. Maybe then he was referred to as Shastri (शास्त्री). In Sanskrit, Shastri means "the wise one or the learned one".

Alfred Louis Kroeber (June 11, 1876 – October 5, 1960) an American anthropologist who received his Ph.D. from Columbia university researched the Shasta tribe extensively in the early 1900s. Lets look at the some details of the Shasta tribe that he records and use Sanskrit to analyze the names.

At the time of Kroeber's research the head of the native American Shasta tribe was Sambho. This name is a cognate of the Sanskrit Shambo (शंभू) - a common male name in India. Shambo or Shambhu is also another name for Lord Shiva. 

The Shasta tribe inhabited the area close to the Klamath River. The Klamath River was known to them by the name 'Ish-Keesh' (ईश-कीश). In Sanskrit 'Ish-Keesh' (ईश-कीश) translates as 'Lord Sun'.

Native Americans also called Mt. Shasta 'Uytah-Ku' or 'White Mountain', possibly a corruption of 'Shweta-Naku' (श्वेता- नाकु) also meaning 'White Mountain' in Sanskrit. Another name for Mt. Shasta was 'waika', which is also probably a corruption of the Sanskrit 'shweta' (श्वेत) meaning 'white'. In fact, the English word 'white' itself derives from the Sanskrit 'shweta'. Another Sanskrit word also meaning white is 'shuchi' (शुचि) and could have been distorted into 'shasta' over time.

And then there are many more Sanskrit words which mean 'white' that are close in pronunciation. These include 'shwetaka' (श्वेतक) which means 'white', and, 'Shukla' (शुक्ल), which means 'white' and also 'moon'.

Are derivatives of Sanskrit words alive in Native American languages? Native American names sound so familiar to the Hindi and Sanskrit speaking world, that the results of more research in this area may just surprise everyone.

Archaeologists are now beginning to study the many megalithic sites around Mt. Shasta and the higher valleys of the mountains in the region. At one point, a stone marking on one of the stones coincides exactly with the only spot on Winter solstice day, from where one can see the sun appear directly from behind the Mt. Shasta peak.

There is much left to uncover and explore at this unique site. For more on the megaliths of Mt. Shasta click here and here.

Suggested Links:
'Shasta' in the Hindu tradition: Shasta Deity
More about 'Shasta' etymology: Mt. Shasta and Globalization

Friday, 17 August 2012


The Susquehanna River that flows through New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, was called the 'Ga-wa-no-wa-neh Gehunda' by the Onondaga Tribe of Native Americans. It has been translated as the 'Great Island River'. The Lenape called it the Siskewahane which in the Lenape language means 'Oyster River'.

In his book, 'The Composition of Indian Geographical Names' by Hammond Trumbull states, "... many Indian (Native American) geographical names, after their adoption by Anglo-American colonists, became unmeaning sounds. Their original character was lost by their transfer to a foreign tongue. Nearly all have suffered some mutilation or change of form. In many instances, hardly a trace of true original can be detected in the modern name. Some have been separated from the localities to which they belonged, and assigned to others to which they are etymologically inappropriate. A mountain receives the name of a river; a bay, that of a cape or a peninsula; a tract of land, that of a rock or a waterfall".

Of the Native American names he says, "Every name described the locality to which it was affixed. The description was sometimes topographical; sometimes historical, preserving the memory of a battle, a feast, the dwelling-place of a great sachem, or the like; sometimes it indicated one of the natural products of the place, or the animals which resorted to it; occasionally, its position or direction from a place previously known, or from the territory of the nation by which the name was given,—as for example, 'the land on the other side of the river,' 'behind the mountain,' 'the east land,' 'the half-way place,' etc.".

Native Americans river names have very often - one of the following three suffixes: -hanne, tuk or sepy. Example: Susquehanne, Connecticut and the Mississippi Rivers. Their original names were Siskewahana, Quinni-tuk-ut and Missi Sipi. For more on Connecticut river click here. A post on Mississippi is coming up next. This post is about the Susquehanna and the suffix -hanne.

The name Susquehanna or the Siskewahana as it was called in ancient times translates as Oyester river - an example of the hanne suffix as mentioned above. But what is the source of the Lenape word 'hanne'.

The Lenape talking Dictionary at a site run by the 'Delaware Tribe of Indians', Susquehanna is written as Siskewahane and split as Siskew-a-hane with the meaning 'muddy river'. Click here for the Lenape Dictionary.

However if one were to split Siskewahane as Siske + Wahane, we have the suffix 'wahana' or the Sanskrit 'vahana' (वहन) which means 'to flow'. Hanne may be the Sanskrit 'vahana' with the first syllable dropped. The root word 'vah' has two meanings 'to flow' and 'to go'.

Says Trumbull," 
It would be surprising if some of the translations which have been hazarded in this paper do not prove to be wide of their mark. Even English etymology is not reckoned among the exact sciences yet,—and in Algonkin, there is the additional disadvantage of having no Sanskrit verbs 'to go', to fall back on as a last resort." That may not be entirely true!

Suggested Links:

The Old new York Frontier by Francis Whiting Halsey
2. Indian Geographical Names by Hammond Trumbull
3. Native American Place Names of the United States

4. American Indian Languages

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


The Chemung River and its three tributaries (the Tioga, Canisteo and Conhocton Rivers) flow through New York and Pennsylvania. The Chemung then merges into the Susquehanna River.

The name 'Chemung' is derived from the Iroquois Native American language in which "Chemung" is the word for “a horn” or an “antler.” In Sanskrit a close cognate of "Chemung" is 'Shrunga' (शृङ्ग) which means horn.

The Lenape Native Americans of Delaware called the Chemung River by a different name - they called it the 'Cononogue' River, which had a meaning similar to 'horn'. And in Sanskrit, a cognate of 'Conouge' is 'Kunakha' (कुनख) and means "sharp-clawed" or "sharp-horned".

Lets look at the tributaries of the Chemung. One tributary is the Conhocton River. Its Native American name was 'Ga-ha-to' which means "Wood in the Water". A close cognate of 'Ga-ha-to' in Sanskrit that means wood is 'Gahana' (गहन) pronounced Ga-ha-na. In fact 'Gahana' also means deep or depth in Sanskrit which could be in reference to the water. Woody-Water!

The other tributory is Caniesto, The name of the river comes from a Native American word which is believed to mean "head of water". It could be related to the Sanskrit 'Kanistha' (कनिष्ठ) which means 'smallest, youngest or lowest'. The Caniesto is the lower (southern most) of the tributaries that flow into the Chemung River.

A third tributory is the Tioga. To the Native Americans it meant "the water gateway" or "at the forks". In Sanskrit though, its cognate Tri-yoga (त्रि-योग) means 'the meeting of the three', which most aptly describes the confluence of the three rivers.

The Seneca (language) name for 'Tioga' is 'Diondaga' - 'dio' probably a corruption of Sanskrit 'triy' (त्रिया) meaning three, and ndaga, corruption of Sanskrit 'nadi' (नदी) meaning river.

Not convinced?

Here's what John H. Brubaker, in his book - 'Down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake' writes about Tioga. He says, "Tioga may mean the meeting of the waters or forks of a river". This geographical region called the Tioga Point is shaped like the letter "A" with the pointed end of the letter "A" facing southward.

In the same book, Brubaker refers to a quote by Louise Murray, a historian of the Athens region in Pennsylvania, where he explains the geography of the Tioga region this way, "Now the streams flow almost together, then suddenly spread out again, forming the peculiar peninsula, just about the confluence, long ago called Tioga."

Confluence? Tioga?? Tioga just has to be derived from the Sanskrit 'Tri-Yoga' (त्रि- योग), the joining of the three river bodies.

In India and the Vedic Culture, the confluence of three rivers is considered to be auspicious. In that sense 'Tri-Yoga' would be considered as auspicious as 'Sangam' (सङ्गम्) - the confluence point of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the now invisible Saraswati - the waters of 
which gave birth to the Indus Valley Civilization in India!

Concidentally (or not), near the Tioga Point, about 4 miles away, there is a lake called Sagamore Lake. A distortion of 'Sangam', which if translated from Sanskrit, would mean "Confluence Lake"? Quite possible. Also "Sagar" means Ocean or Sea or Marine in Sanskrit.

Is this all a coincidence? You decide!

Links: Down the Sesquehana to the Chespeake by John H Brubaker

Monday, 13 August 2012


The city of Saratoga in New York is known for its mineral springs. Its name 'Saratoga' is believed to be a corruption of a Native American word in Mowahk language meaning 'water springs'. However, to people who are familiar with a bit of Sanskrit, the native names in this region seem uncannily familiar.

Here is the reason. First 'sara' (सर) means 'spring' or 'brook' in Sanskrit and is used in the names of towns or villages which are located on or around a spring. The most known of such city is 'Amritsara' - amrit nectar, sara 'spring'.

A cognate of 'Saratoga' is 'Saratoja'. Sara (सर) as mentioned above is 'spring' or 'brook', toja (तोज) means 'water. Saratoja (सर-तोज) therefore means Springwater in Sanskrit - the same as it does in Mowahk. Another cognate of Saratoga is Saratosha which translates as 'spring of joy', where tosha (तोष) means 'joy'.

Wood Creek in Central New York State flows westward from the city of Rome, New York to Oneida Lake. Its waters flow ultimately to Lake Ontario, which is the easternmost of the five Great Lakes. Wood Creek is less than 32 km long, but has great historical importance. Wood Creek was a crucial, fragile link in the main 18th and early 19th century waterway connecting the Atlantic seaboard of North America and its interior beyond the Appalachian Mountains. It is also known as Ka-ne-go-dic but its most ancient known name is Os-sa-ra-gas or Osaragas. The Sanskrit sara once again appears in this name.

It is sometimes said that Saratoga is a distortion of 'Se-rach-ta-gue' which means 'the hillside country of the quiet river.' In Sanskrit 'Saruch' (सरुच्) means magnificent, 'tad' (ताड) is mountain, 'go' (गो) is water. 'Shakura' (शकुर) is quiet.  'Serach-ta-gue' may itself have been derived from a combination of these Sanskrit words.

Update: Calistoga, California has an accidental connection to Saratoga. Calistoga got its name when the publisher of the first English language newspaper in California, millionaire Samuel Brannan fascinated by Calistoga’s natural hot springs, purchased more than 2,000 acres of land with the intent to develop a spa reminiscent of Saratoga Springs in New York. Intending to state "I'll make this place the Saratoga of California," he accidentally transposed the words and said, "I will make this place the Calistoga of Sarifornia". Thus the place names Saratoga and Calistoga indirectly have the same origins.

Calistoga has an accidental
connection to Saratoga. 'Sara' (सर) Sanskrit for
'spring', and 'toja' (तोज) meaning 'water'
Click here for a bit on 'Sanskrit Names of Floria Town'
Suggested Readings:
1. Aboriginal Place Names of New York

Saturday, 11 August 2012


India recognizes Sanskrit as the mother of all Indian languages. In Europe, Proto-Indo-European (PIE) was constructed with the assumption that there must have been a common language which was spoken in antiquity in the European region. Given the closeness that they found between Sanskrit, Greek and Latin, and enamored by the richness of Sanskrit and its extremely refined grammar,  they also threw in Sanskrit into the same group.

Cognates with similar meanings from European languages and Sanskrit were clubbed into PIE, grammatically re-arranged in a pattern similar to Sanskrit ('root word' and 'derivatives'), and named Proto-Indo-European (PIE).

Then a theory was put forth that PIE was the mother of all Indo-European languages. Including Sanskrit!

Like Proto-Indo-European (PIE), Proto-Amerind, a reconstructed mother language of a group of Native American languages (of North America) has also been constructed.

Now take a look at this. In their paper "Linguistic Origins of Native American Languages"* in the Scientific American Journal dated November 1992, Joseph H. Greenberg and Meritt Ruhlen write about Proto-Amerind and say , "...... the root word "tana" (son) and "tuna" (daughter) ...not only ties Amerind together but also distinguishes Amerind from other language families. It (the root word 'tana' & 'tuna'), as linguists say, is an exclusive innovation of the Amerind language".

Not so. A glance at basic Sanskrit tells us that 'tana' and 'tuna' are not at all exclusive to Proto-Amerind. In fact they are identical with Sanskrit. In Sanskrit 'tana' is body. Everything that is related to the 'body' starts with the prefix 'tana'. For example:

tana        (तन)       body
tanay      (तनय)    son, child, propogated from the body,                                      offspring, race, posterity
tanuja    (तनूजा)  daughter, born of the body, {'Ja' as in                                       'Janma'}.

This in-fact proves the reverse. That Sanskrit is not only closely related if not the mother of all European Languages, it might also be related to at least a group of Native American Languages. After all historians do say that Asians & Siberians migrated into America 30,000 years back via the Bering Strait.

Did the ancient Asian immigrants take Sanskrit along with them to the Americas? Where does that leave PIE?

Thursday, 9 August 2012


Spanish invaders were attracted to the yet un-named Argentina, for its gold and silver reserves. They give it the name 'Argentina', derived from 'Argentum', Latin for Silver.

However, it is with the help of Sanskrit that names of some ancient cities in what is now Argentina, can be decoded. Historians accept that Asians had reached Argentina at least 8000 years before the birth of Christ. It is also known that Silver gets its Latin name 'Argentum; from Sanskrit 'Arjuna' (अर्जुन).

In Sanskrit Arjuna (अर्जुन) means Silver and Gold. Arjuna is also the name of Lord Indra, who was worshiped as Lord Viracocha (वीर-कोच) in ancient South America. For more details about the Vedic and Sanskrit link to Viracocha click here and here.

Lets look at some ancient sites in what is present day Argentina. One ancient city is named 'Tilcara'. 'Tilcara' may be a distortion of Sanskrit 'Tilak-akara'(तिलक-आकार) which in Sanskrit means 'Tilak shaped'. 'Tilak (तिलक)' is the mark that the ancient Vedic sages and present day Hindus wear on their forehead.

Another ancient town goes by the name 'Purma Marca' which in the native Aymara language means the 'Desert City'. In Sanskrit a close translation of 'Desert City' would be 'Maru-Puram'. Maru, (मरु) meaning 'Desert' and Puram (पुरम) meaning 'city or town'.

Close by is the town of 'Irya' (ईर्या) which means 'Powerful', or 'Iry' (ईर्य) which means 'Religious mendicant' in Sanskrit. 

Check out this link for related information. Mystery of the Megaliths by David Hatcher Childress

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


The state of Minnesota is named after the Minnesota River. In 'Dakota' (the language of the Native American Sioux tribe) the root word 'mni ' means, 'water'. 

In the 'Dakota' language, Minnesota translates as 'Clouded Water'. It is said that the Native Americans demostrated the meaning of Minnesota to the European Immigrants by adding milk to water.

In Sanskrit the root word 'mi' (मी) means flowing or moving. The Sanskrit 'mIm' (मीम्) is also the root word for 'mimati' (मीमति) which means Move. 

Another Sanskrit cognate is 'mih' (मिह्) which means 'downpour of water, fog or mist'.

The second syllable 'Sota' could be a distortion of Srota (स्रोत) which means 'ocean' or 'stream'. 'Srota' also refers to the 'source of a water body'. Another cognate of ' Sota' in the context of water is Sarit (सरित्). Sarit or Sarita is a versatile word which means, stream, ocean or river.

The Sanskrit 'Miha-Srota' (मिह्- स्रोत) or 'Miha-Sarit' (मिह्- सरित्) would therefore translate as 'Cloudy-River' or 'Misty River'. Could it be that the ancient Asian immigrants (who are believed to have crossed into the Americas roughly 30,000 back) named the river Moha-Sarita or Miha-Srota.

Or maybe its ancient name was just Maha-Sarita (महा-सरित), but then that would change its meaning to the 'Great River' (like the River Maha-Nadi of India).

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


Three commonly accepted etymological explanations for the name 'Niagara' are the following:

1. It derives from the Iroquois word Onyahrah, or 'neck', which the Iroquois applied to the neck shaped land (peninsula) between the two lakes - Erie and Ontario.

2. Some scholars think Niagara is named after the 'Onghiahrah'  tribe.

3. Most scholars contend Niagara comes from the Huron word Oniahgahrah, or 'Thunderer of Waters'.

Here is an excerpt from 'Niagara Township, Centennial History' that refers to these meanings:

"Some scholars think the word Niagara comes from the name of that Indian tribe, the Onghiahrahs. Others think it derives from the Iroquois word Onyahrah, or neck, which the Iroquois applied to the peninsula (or neck) between the two lakes. 

Most scholars think Niagara comes to us from the Huron word 'Oniahgahrah', or 'thunderer of waters', which was applied by that nation to Niagara Falls.

In any case, the word Niagara was applied first to the world-famous falls, then to the equally famous river, and still later to Township Number One, now better-known as Niagara Township."

'Oniahgarah', sounds like a cognate of the Sanskrit 'Nira-Gagarah' (नीर-गागरा). But it is the meaning that is fascinating. 'Nira' (नीर) means 'water and 'gagara' (गागर) means 'pitcher' or 'vessel', ' Nir-Gagarah, therefore would mean 'Gushing Water'. 

One of the major tributaries of the ancient Saraswati River (on the banks of which ancient India developed) was the 'Ghagara'. The Ghagara today flows as an intermittent river and is known as the Ghaggar or Ghaggar-Hakkar.

There is yet another Himalayan River by the name of Ghagara that flows into the River Ganges.It originates in Tibet near Mansarovar, and crosses into India, via Nepal.

Could it be that the Asians who are believed to have crossed into America about 30000 years ago originally named the Niagara River as 'Nira-Ghagara'. Or maybe the Native American equivalent of New-Ghagara! Even New-Ghagara would translate as 'Nav-Ghagara' in Sanskrit!

And if there is a Sanskrit connection, Niagara may simply be derived from 'nirjhar' (निर्झर) which means 'Waterfall' !!

And here is an observation about the legacy of the Native American names of the rivers of America that Edward Moor made in his book 'Oriental Fragments' in 1834, "In America what fine names might probably have been left of the vast lakes and streams and hills, which ennoble, beautify, and enrich those extended regions. How poor and uninstructive are the Hudson, the St. Lawrence, in comparison with Niagara - pure Sanskrit I suspect....".

Monday, 6 August 2012


In Gambia life centres around the river Gambia after which the country is named. Many theories have been postulated regarding the origin and the meaning of the name Gambia but none are satisfactory.

One theory says Gambia is a Portuguese corruption of the local word Ba-Dimma, meaning river. 
Some other sources say that the river´s name comes from the Portuguese word cambio, meaning exchange, or trade, but the name Gambara predates the arrival of the Portuguese or any known significant trade between the two countries. However, the ancient name of the river is not Ba - Dimma. 

As recorded in their book, "An Universal History: From the Earliest Accounts to the Present Times ...', Part 2, Volume 14 compiled by George Sale, George Psalmanazar, Archibald Bower, George Shelvocke, John Campbell, John Swinton in 1781 from local sources, it is stated about the name of river Gambia, " .. it is commonly known as Gambia to the Englishman, which in fact is a corruption of Gambra, this we shall retain....". Gambra has no meaning in the local languages.

However far-fetched it might appear, the fact remains that no other language decodes the meaning of the name Gambara better than Sanskrit. 'Gamb' (गम्ब्) is 'go or move', 'Gambara' means that which is 'going, moving or flowing'.

Gambara is not the only Sanskritic name in Gambia. There are many other place names in Gambia that seem to have Sanskritic origins, a very common suffix for place names is 'kunda'. The largest city in Gambia is Sere Kunda. Two places around the Gambia river are named Tambakunda and Dembakunda (also spelled as 'Counda'). 
In the local Mandinka language 'kunda' is said to mean 'place', but this may be the watered down meaning of the original word which probably had links to Sanskrit. 

In India 'kunda' is a common suffix for places - especially ones that are located on a hill or close to water-bodies, 'kunda' (कुन्डा) is Sanskrit for 'hill' and 'kund' (कुन्ड्) means 'pool'.  Gambia is a country of flat-topped hills that alternate with valleys or depressions, and the Sanskrit meaning of 'kund' and 'kunda' appears more apt. Besides the suffix 'kunda' appears in many place names in Africa and has no common meaning in languages spoken in these regions.

Here we may look at some of the pre-fixes attached to the word 'kunda' in Gambian place names. The prefixes too should have a meaning. One of them is 'manas' - as in  Mansa-kunda located in the region of Kumb close to Gambara river. This names appear in the well known map by Captain John Leach dated to 1732. Commonly, 'Manasa' (मानस) means 'with your heart or willingly' in Sanskrit, but the same word also means 'dwelling on a lake'. For example there is the Manasbal lake in Kashmir. 'Kumbh' (कुम्भ) means 'water carrier'. 'Manas' and 'Kumb' have no meaning in the local languages of Gambia and other languages spoken in the region. The prefix Sere in Sere Kunda  maybe derived from 'shir'(शिर) meaning 'head' or 'top most'. 'Kunda' may be a distortion of sanskrit 'khanda' (खंड), Sanskrit for 'piece'. 

A Map of the River Gambara by Captain John Leach dated 1732

It may seem implausible that Gambia, which is so far away from India should have so many place names which have a link to Sanskrit. But many scholars have made this observation and found it to be true in their research. In his book, "Oriental Fragments" which was published in the 1850's, author and researcher Edward Moor wrote, "It may be doubted if all of France, Germany, Russia, England, Italy, could furnish so many places with Indian names ....... as may be gathered from Africa".

He states, "Jonaka-kunda, Tendi-Kunda, Koota-kunda, Tatti-konda, Barra-konda,Seesekund, Maria-counda, Tandacunda, Fatte-kunda, Mauraconda. On these class of names what I have said before touching kunda, a hill, and kund, a pool or lake applies here and may suffice. Such terminations are common in India, and are almost always I believe, found attached to hills or pools, or to their immediate vicinity. Some instance I will note: Golconda; or as I conjecture Kalkunda, Gurumkonda, Ganeshkunda, Kailkunda, Inaconda... Penekunda, Curacunda. Many others might be added..... I am deposed to refer them all to the Sanskrit Kund or Kunda...". Click here for more about his views on 'kund' and 'kunda'.

There are other examples of Indic names in Gambia which includes Janjunbureh. In the old maps of Gambia the name was written as Jajenbureh - a close cognate of the Sanskrit 'Jayan-Puri'. 'Jayan' is 'victory' (जयन), 'puri (पुरी) is a very common Sanskrit word, the equivalent of 'place, town, city'.

The antique maps of Gambia list some other very interesting names which have now vanished from the geography of Gambia. One example a river by the name Kabata - probably a distortion of Sanskrit 'kavan' (कवन) meaning 'water'.

A section of Captain John Leach's map of the Gambara River dated 1732. 
The River Gambara flows through the region of Kumb close to Manaskunda in Gambia.  Gambara, Kumb and Manaskunda are all Sanskrit words.

Another section of Captain John Leach's map of the Gambara River dated 1732. 
Here the River Gambara flows through the region of Yami.  The Tributaries that flow here are called the Sanjalli and Indea . Sanjalli is a Sanskrit word.

Click on the map below to get a clearer view:

Suggested Readings:

1. Oriental Fragments - by Edward Moor
2. Mandinka.pdf
3. An Universal History: From the Ancient to the Present

Sunday, 5 August 2012


Scholars say that no convincing explanation to the etymological origin of the name 'Nigeria', or the name of its neighboring country 'Niger', has been found among the 30 native languages spoken in the area. But it is known that both the countries are named after the River Niger.

The origin of the name Niger stares us in the face but remains un-coded due to a deep rooted bias against this powerful tool- the Sanskrit language. Lets therefore turn west then and look at Ptolemy's analysis of the name Niger. In his writings Ptolemy mentioned two rivers in the desert of NIger, one by the name 'Gir' and farther south, the 'Ni-Gir''. Roman historian, Suetonius (69-122 AD) wrote that the name 'gher' originates from the Bereber language, spoken in Morocco and Algeria and means 'watercourse'.

But it is obvious that the word 'gir' is a distortion of the same Sanskrit word that appears in the names of rivers around the word. The word is 'jhara', and appear in the names of many rivers and water bodies around the world such as the 'Jari' which is the northern tributary of the River Amazon, River Jara in Melbourne, the Jara River (a tributary of the Susita River) in Romania, or Lake Jara in New Mexico - not to mention many more in India and Nepal. In Sanskrit the word 'jhara' (झर) means a waterfall or a water body, and 'jhari' (झरी) means a river.

Popular explanations include explanations such as that the name Niger is a distortion of the local Tuareg phrase 'gher n gheren' which means 'river of rivers', and the belief is that 'gher n gheren' has been shortened to 'ngher'. However, the analysis gets a little more interesting if one were to decode 'gheren' and 'gher' and 'gheren', or the cognates of these two words, with the help of Sanskrit.

The Great Crescent of the River Niger. The River Niger has
towns by the names of  Ganga, Kamala, Yamina and Gaya on its banks.
Close to the bend lies an island with a large stone called
Mt. Kesa which is revered by the local population.

Kesa is another name of Lord Vishnu and Krishna both.
Lord Shiva is known as Vyoma-Kesa

First of all 'gheren' may again be a distortion 'jhara' itself. Or then there is 'gehevra' (गह्वर) or 'gehena' (गहन), both meaning 'deep'. Uncannily, it is the Hindi 'ghehra' (गहरा), also derived from Sanskrit 'gehevra' (गह्वर), which phonetically comes closest to the Tuareg word 'gheren'. 

Now, a look at the word 'Nigeria'. In Sanskrit 'Nir-ghurini' (निर्घूरिणी) and 'Nir-jhari (निर्झरी) both mean 'river'. Nira (नीर) by itself means 'water' and 'jhara' (र्झर) means 'flowing or falling (water) or water-fall'. The connection of these words to 'Nigeria' is obvious if one considers the fact that of the 36 states in Nigeria 15 have waterfalls! Besides, in Sanskrit, 'nairjhara' (नैर्झर) means 'belonging to a water-fall'.

River Niger, which is the third longest in Africa, flows through both Nigeria and Niger. Though Nigeria is full of water bodies and waterfalls, a vast majority of the Niger land is essentially dry and arid. Lets look at its name.

Nira (नीर) means water. However, 'Na' or 'ni' () means 'not or 'no'. 'Jhar' (र्झर) by itself means 'flowing water'. So a civilization somewhere on the ancient time line of Africa might have named this neighbouring area of NIgeria as Niger (निझर), which means 'Without Water' - it after all aptly describes the arid topography of Niger.

With time and change in pronunciation, and the impact of rising and falling civilizations, we today are left with the slightly distorted 'Nigeria' and 'Niger' from their original form in Sanskrit, but the essence of their meanings is still there!

For more information check out the following links:
1. Nigeria & Niger
2. Earth Mysteries Awaiting Discoveries

3. Eden in Sumer: On the River Niger

Saturday, 4 August 2012


Jordan gets its name from River Jordan. The origin of the name 'Jordan' is generally traced to the ancient Semitic word 'Arda'. 'Arda' in turn comes from the Hebrew 'Yorad' which is derived from the Aramaic 'Yarden' or 'Jarden' meaning 'down-flowing' or 'that which descends'. 

Lets go a step further and check out the Sanskrit connection. In Sanskrit, the verb in the context for 'flowing down' is 'jharat' (झरत्) and the root word is 'jhara' (झर) which means 'sprinkling' or 'waterfall' and is used to describe water bodies or rivers etc. There are rivers all over the world which have names close to the 'jhara' sound such as the 'Jari' which is the northern tributary of the River Amazon, River Jara in Melbourne, the Jara River - a tributary of the Susita River in Romania, or Lake Jara in New Mexico - not to mention many more in India and Nepal.

Now lets look at the Temple of Petra in Jordan. Petra in Ma’an, is the home of Jordans most ancient race - the Nabateans. Petra is a complete city carved in a mountain - its rocks are mostly red or pink in hue. Many have put forth the view that the Temple of Petra is a Temple of Shiva owing to the carved Shiva Linga in the mountain. 

The Shiva-Linga of Petra Temple, Jordan.

Lord Shiva is a Vedic God
It is said that the name Petra derives from the Greek word 'pietra' which means 'stone' a reference to the rocky landscape of the area. But it is highly likely that the Greek 'pietra' is a distorted form of the Sanskrit 'prastar' (प्रस्तर) which means 'rock' . In her blog Jayshree Saranathan states that there is a Tamil link too - 'paarai' is the Tamil word for stone and that might itself be linked in some way to the Sanskrit 'prastar'.

The Bible, the Egyptian campaign accounts and the Amarna Tablets refer to Petra with names such as 'Sela', 'Seir' and 'Pel'.

'Shila' (शिला), a close cognate of 'Sela' too means 'rock', 'mountain' or 'rocky-mountain' in Sanskrit. Even the word 'pal' (पल) is linked to 'stone' an occurs in Sanskrit as 'upala' (उपल) or as 'shonapal' (शोणोपल) which means 'red-stone' - thus explaining the name 'Pel' from the ancient texts.

The Biblical Manuscript or the 'Dead Sea Scrolls' say that the original name of Petra was 'Rekim' or 'Rekem'. The name 'Rekem' was inscribed on the Petra temple passage wall - the passage wall was called the Siq or Sic. This inscription 'Rekem' was visible until a couple of decades back when a bridge was built over the passage-wall such that sadly, the inscription is no longer visible.

In any case, it is interesting to note that a close Sanskrit cognate of 'Rekim', the Sanskrit 'Recin', pronounced Rechin (रेचिन्), means red-powder.

It is known that the original Aramaic texts say that the oldest known name of Petra is Rekem-Geya which is very interesting. It translates as 'Red-Gaya' from Sanskrit. Gaya is an ancient Vedic-Hindu pilgrimage site in Bihar in India. Ancient Indian tribes that migrated West from Bihar (then called Magadh) right up to Greece are known to have built temples en-route and given them Vedic names. To read more about the link of Gaya to Greece click here.

Temple of  Petra
Also called Rekem-Geya
or Rekem-Gaya

The Petra Temple area was full of water springs. There are several springs in the Petra area even today. The Siq or Sic* is a complex geological feature that has many places where water could enter the Petra Temple. In Sanskrit 'Sic' (सिच्) means to soak or irrigate.

It is Moses who is credited with extracting water from below the red rocky arid area that is called Petra today. Until then, say the Aramaic texts, the site of Rekem-Geya was known as 'kadesh'. 'Kadesh' or 'Ku-desh' (कुदेश) in Sanskrit means 'Bad-Land' or 'Inhospitable Land'.

In some texts the region is also known as Barnia-Kudesh. 'Bhurni' (भूर्णि) in Sanskrit means 'desert' or 'distant'. 'Kudesh' as mentioned above means 'inhospitable'.

Now lets look at the most ancient known settlers of Petra. The name of the tribe was 'Nabha' and are referred to as the Nabateans. In Sanskrit the word 'Nabha' (नभ) means the 'Sky'. A cognate of 'Petra' is 'patra' (पतर) - [the 't' here is pronounced as in 'path'] and means 'flying'. Finally, there is another cognate of 'Petra' which is the Sanskrit 'PaTra' (पटर) - [the 't' pronounced as in the English 'pet'], which means 'ray of light'. The 'sky', 'ray' and 'flying' connection to the word 'Nabha' and 'Petra' may be of interest to those who have explained ancient world history by linking it to the 'gods who visited the world from the sky'.

It is also interesting that the Hindu scripture Ramayana mentions a multi-storied temple, built by celestial architect Vishwakarma, far away from India, in the western direction. It is difficult to pin point where this multi-storied building might be located, but the fact that one of the highest mountain peaks in Jordon, which is a few kilometres away from Petra, is known as 'Jabal Ram' does make one wonder.

Jabal Ram Peak at the centre,
the second highest point in Jordan
The area around is called Wadi-Rum. Rum is also
pronounced as Ram

Suggested Links:
1. "Is Petra an Ancient Shiva Temple"?: Click Here
2. 'Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalams' of India: Click Here

3. From Bharata to India: Chrysee the Golden by M.K. Aggarwal