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Vedic Index of Names and Subjects[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।

Paruṣṇī is the name of a river which is mentioned in the Nadī-stuti (‘Praise of Rivers’),[१] and in the song of Sudās’ victory over the ten kings,[२] which seems to have been made decisive by the rise of the river drowning the fugitives.[३] In these passages and one of the eighth book of the Rigveda,[४] where it is called a ‘great stream’ (mahenadi), the name is certainly that of the river later called Ravi (Irāvatī), as recognized by Yāska.[५] Pischel[६] sees a reference to it in two other passages of the Rigveda,[७] where ‘wool’ (ūṛṇā) is connected with the word paruṣṇī, and the allusion to the river is accepted by Max Müller[८] and Oldenberg,[९] though they are not fully agreed as to the exact sense of the passages in question. Pischel suggests that the name is derived from the ‘flocks’ (parus) of wool, not from the bends of the river, as understood by the Nirukta,[५] or from its reeds, as Roth[१०] suggests.

The mention of the Paruṣṇī and the Yamunā in the hymn celebrating the victory of Sudās has given rise to the conjectures of Hopkins,[११] that the Yamunā in that hymn is merely another name for the Paruṣṇī, and of Geldner,[१२] that the Paruṣṇī there is merely a tributary of the Yamunā (Jumna). But neither interpretation is either essential or even probable. The hymn is a condensed one, and may well be taken as celebrating two great victories of Sudās. There is a doubtful reference to the Paruṣṇī in the Atharvaveda.[१३]

  1. x. 75, 5.
  2. vii. 18, 8. 9.
  3. It is impossible to decide precisely what part the river played in the battle. It is usually held that the enemies of Sudās tried to divert the stream, but failed, and were drowned in its current. So Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, 11;
    Macdonell, Sanskrit Literature, 154;
    Geldner, Rigveda, Kommentar, 103, holds that Sudās was caught between two opposing armies, and had to escape over the Paruṣṇī, that his enemies tried to divert it to render him more accessible to their attack, but failed, and were overwhelmed in the river. Hopkins, India, Old and New, 52 et seq., may be right in rejecting in toto the theory of the attempted diversion of the waters, though in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, 15, 261 et seq., he accepted the traditional view.
  4. viii. 74, 15.
  5. ५.० ५.१ Nirukta, ix. 26.
  6. Vedische Studien, 2, 208-210.
  7. iv. 22, 2;
    v. 52, 9.
  8. Sacred Books of the East, 32, 315, 323.
  9. Ṛgveda-Noten, 1, 348.
  10. St. Petersburg Dictionary, s.v. 4a.
  11. Op. cit., 52.
  12. Ṛgveda, Glossar, 106.
  13. vi. 12, 3. Cf. Bloomfield, Hymns of the Atharvaveda, 462;
    Whitney, Translation of the Atharvaveda, 289.
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