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Thread: What are the names for God in Dravidian?

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    Question What are the names for God in Dravidian?

    Namaste, Readers!

    Dravidian is an ancient language and a frequent theory among scholars is that it even was the most common language in the ancient Indus civilization. I would like to quote from some books to seek out what the Dravidian words meaning "God" or "god" are. What I remember reading is that they are Pen/Pennu/Penu, Dharma, and Kaduval.

    Wikipedia says that the modern word for God is Koil in Tamil, which it links to the ancient word for a god's dwelling:
    The king was 'the representative of God on earth’ and lived in a “koyil”, which means the “residence of a god”. The Modern Tamil word for temple is koil (Tamil: கோயில்). Titual worship was also given to kings.[21][22] Modern words for god like “kō” (Tamil: கோ “king”), “iṟai” (இறை “emperor”) and “āṇḍavar” (ஆண்டவன் “conqueror”) now primarily refer to gods. These elements were incorporated later into Hinduism like the legendary marriage of Shiva to Queen Mīnātchi who ruled Madurai or Wanji-ko, a god who later merged into Indra.

    Swami Nathan proposes:
    Boora Pennu (God of light in Khond) A local deity in the Orissa who created the earth goddess Tari Pennu as his consort is called Boora Pennu.
    Tari pennu in Tamil will mean the same. Tarai=earth or floor, pennu=woman.

    So he is proposing that "pennu" means woman, even though Boora Pennu is considered the God of Light.

    Robert Vane Russell writes in "The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India," Volume 3, that...
    a word for god, pen, is common to the Gonds and Khonds; and the Khonds have a god called Bura pen, who might be the same as Bura Deo, the great god of the Gonds. Mr. Hislop found Kodo Pen and Pharsi Pen as Gond gods, while Pen or Pennu is the regular word for hod among the Khonds.
    James Francis Katherinus Hewitt writes in "The Ruling Races of Pre-historic Times in India" Volume 1:
    Pen.... is the Tamil or old Dravidian name for woman, and for the mother goddess Magha who is worshiped by the Khonds in India as Tara Pennu, the mother snake or star goddess
    Shiv Kumar Tiwari writes in his book "Tribal Roots of Hinduism":
    amongst the Khonds such a godling is called a Pennu and amongst all Gonds, the small god is called a Pen. The word has the same connotation as deo used in later times by non-tribals. .... Some of these early small gods are Nature Spirits.

    A Dravidian database lists these words:

    Proto-South Dravidian : *pēj-
    Meaning : devil; god; mad, fervent
    Tamil : pēy
    Tamil meaning : devil, goblin, fiend; madness (as of a dog), frenzy; wildness (as of vegetation)

    Proto-Dravidian : *pēj-[Vn]
    Meaning : 1 god 2 fervency

    Proto-Gondi-Kui : *pēṇ-
    Meaning : god

    Proto-Gondi : *pēṇ

    • Gondwan etymology: Gondwan etymology
    • Meaning : god, idol
    • Betul Gondi : pēn (pl. -k) "god"
    • Mandla Gondi (Phailbus) : pen, ven "god"
    • Gommu Gondi : pēnvor "priest"
    • Muria Gondi : pēn "god"
    • Maria Gondi : pēnu "god"
    • Seoni Gondi : pēn "god"
    • Yeotmal Gondi : pēn "god"
    • Maria Gondi (Lind) : peṇ (pl. peṇḍku) "idol, god"
    • Durg Gondi : pēn "god"

    Proto-Pengo-Manda : *pen
    Meaning : god

    Proto-Kui-Kuwi : *pēn-u

    • Gondwan etymology: Gondwan etymology
    • Meaning : god; spirit
    • Kui : pēnu (pl. pēnga), vēnu (pl. vēnga) "a god, a spirit"
    • Kuwi (Fitzgerald) : pēnū "god"
    • Kuwi (Schulze) : pēnu (pl. pēnka) "devil"
    • Sunkarametta Kuwi : pēnu (pl. pṇēka) "god"
    • Kuwi (Israel) : pēnu (pl. pēṇka/pṇēka) "god"

    I can quote from some more sources, but it looks like the Database is sound enough to propose that "Pen" is an old Dravidian root word meaning "god", and not only "god" but also some other potential terms as alternate meanings: frenzied, demon, spirit, idol, wildness, fervency
    Last edited by rakovsky; 25 September 2016 at 10:38 PM.

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