Some philological considerations on Indic transmissions to Uighurs and Mongols

The vaiShNava had brought my attention to a fragment of a text on vArAhI sAdhana of the brAhmaNa shrIdhara that was transmitted to both the Uighurs and the Chingizid Mongols. It described the yoginI-s in the AvaraNa of eka-virA vajravArAhI. It presented a number of interesting philological features that lead us to the study in greater detail of the material collected by Shogaito in his analysis of Uighur and Mongolian vocabularies:

Sanskrit Uighur Mongolian
chakravegA cakira-a-vigi cagr-a-bigi
khaNDarohA kanta-roxi khaNDarohi
mahAvIryA maxa-viry-a mahA-biry-a
suvirA suviri subiri

Other words:

Sanskrit Uighur Mongolian
chitra chitri citiri
brAhmaNa biraman biraman
kalpa kalp galb
preta prit/pirit birit
shloka shlok silüg
vajra vcir vcir
virupAkSha virupakshi virubagsi

Then we have the names of various deities:

Sanskrit Uighur Mongolian
mahAdeva maxadivi maqadivi
Aditya aditya naran (Mon)
soma soma saran (Mon)
bR^ihaspati barxasuvadi briqasbadi
vaishravaNa bishaman bisman
buddha burxan purghan
garuDa garudi garudi
asura asuri asuri
gandharva gandarvi gandarwi
mahAsena maxaseni maqasini

E.g. of an Uighur text with recognizable words of Sanskrit origin (from an inscription near Beijing from the reign of Toghun Temür):
abitalI shaki-munili sarva-vitñeli
akshobili vcirapaninïN besh ugush mantalï
akshobi: akShobhya; sarvavitñe: sarvavij~nA; shaki-muni: shAkya-muni; mantal: maNDala; vchirapani: vajrapAni

One systematic rule concerning the endings appears to result in Sanskrit>Uighur: a>i. Shogaito observers that this is not the case with other Altaic languages like Mongolian if they directly acquire a word from Sanskrit or via a Tibetan intermediary. Interestingly, when Tocharian (an Indo-European language that geographically overlapped with Uighur before the destruction and absorption of the Indo-Europeans by the Turkic peoples) absorbs a word from Sanskrit we observe an a>e at the terminal. Likewise when Tocharian absorbs a Sanskrit word as an “inanimate” gender it elides the terminal:
e.g. shAriputra>shAriputre; pAramitA> pAramit;
Thus, it appears that Uighur initially acquired its Sanskrit loans from Tocharian as the Turks over ran the Indo-Europeans (of mummy fame). However, it continued to retain the Tocharian type terminal transformations, which explains the transformation of the Sanskrit words that were subsequently absorbed by Uighur. The endings in Mongolian in turn indicate that it subsequently acquired several already transformed Sanskrit loans from Uighur.

~ by mAnasa-taraMgiNI on July 10, 2009.

 
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