Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Lubotsky's article "Avestan xvarəna" - One more clue to Relative Indo-Iranian Chronology

Lubotsky's article "Avestan xvarəna -: the etymology and concept"-
One more clue to Relative Indo-Iranian Chronology

Shrikant G. Talageri

In my earlier articles and Books, I have given a humungous amount of material which clearly shows the fallacy of the AIT view that the Rigveda and the Avesta are two texts composed by the two divisions, Indo-Aryan and Iranian respectively, of a formerly "Indo-Iranian" group of people who developed a joint culture in Central Asia before splitting in two directions and taking this common culture with them, which was then represented in the two texts.

The actual fact, as the evidence shows, is that the proto-Iranians and Vedic Indo-Aryans were two of many Indo-European language speaking groups who lived together in northern and northwestern India (east of Afghanistan) during the composition of the Old Rigveda (Books 6,3,7,4,2 of the Rigveda, in that order). Later, the culture of the New Rigveda (Books 5,1,8,9,10) developed in the same area from the earlier and rather different culture of the Old Rigveda. It was this new culture of the New Rigveda that was the common culture which the proto-Iranian emigrants took westwards with them, and which, in a slightly later form, is represented in the Avesta.

The massive one-way evidence for this is given in all my earlier books and articles.
The impetus for this present article is that examination of an article (not a new one, but published in 1998) by Alexander Lubotsky now provides one more clue in the same direction, confirming (if it required confirmation) our earlier case.

This article is "Avestan xvarəna-: the etymology and concept" by Lubotsky, published originally in Sprache und Kultur. Akten der X. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesselschaft, Innsbruck, 22-26, September 1996, ed. W. Meid, Innsbruck (IBS) 1998, 479-488.
The evidence consists of just one word, phrase or formula which is found, as Lubotsky points out, literally hundreds of times in the Avestan Yashts: the word xvarənah as used in the formula raiia xvarəŋhaca (riches and abundance).

According to Lubotsky, the exact etymology of the word has been a problem for scholars interpreting the word. However, Lubotsky demonstrates, beyond any doubt that the word xvarənah is the exact equivalent of the Vedic word parīṇas., in spite of the unlikely correspondence between initial Avestan xva and Vedic pa.

The original initial pa- (as retained in Vedic) has developed differently in different dialects of proto-Iranian: while the normal Avestan form should also be pa-, certain other dialects of Iranian (like proto-Median and proto-Scythian) would have fa-.
Lubotsky shows  that the Avesta does have the original Avestan equivalent of Vedic parīṇas "preserved in the adjective parənaŋhuṇtəm- (Yt 5.130) meaning something like abundant" (LUBOTSKY:1998:487).
At the same time, the form xvarənah, which is found in this formula as well as a common word throughout the Avesta, "is a borrowing from Scythian with substitution of the original fa- by xva….. The genuine Avestan word related to Scythian farnah- and Sanskrit parīṇas- is Avestan *parənah-" (LUBOTSKY:1998:487), which got replaced in common and popular usage by this word adopted (with phonetic modification) from another neighbouring (proto-Scythian or Median) dialect.

Now this word parīṇas- is found in the Rigveda in fifteen hymns and verses:
a) Four of the verses have this identical formula rāyā parīṇasā (riches and abundance) at the end of the line: I.129.9; IV.31.12; V.10.1 and VIII.97.6.
b) In a fifth verse, III.24.5, there is a different sort of usage of the two words, not as per the formula: agne dā dāsuṣe rayim, vīravantam parīṇasam.
This use of the words clearly stands out oddly from the other references, especially because, as Lubotsky puts it: "the poet of 3.24 mistakenly made parīṇas masculine when he transposed the formula into the accusative, cf. 3.24.5ab" (LUBOTSKY:1998:484).
c) The other ten verses have the word parīṇas- by itself without this formula. However, in many of them, the connection with the Avestan use of the word is evident:
Lubotsky cites the different contexts common to the Rigveda and the Avesta:
He cites (p.485) the connection with "abundance of milk" in Avestan Yasht 18.1, xvarənō gaomauuaitīm, paralleled in the two Rigvedic verses which have the compound form go-parīṇas: VIII.45.24; X.62.10.
He also cites the "direct connection between the parīṇas and the power (root sū-) which is reminiscent of Avestan sauuasca xvarənasca" (LUBOTSKY:1998:484) regularly used in the Avesta (LUBOTSKY:1998:480), and found in the Rigvedic verses I.166.14; VIII.97.6 (the second of which also contains the formula rāyā parīṇasā). Curiously, he does not notice a third occurrence of a phrase in the Rigveda which is closer to the Avestan phrase: śavasah parīṇaśe in I.54.1. The second word in this is grammatically counted as a separate word derived from a different root parī- ṇaś: however such a word is not found anywhere else in the Rigveda or anywhere else, and it is obviously a pun on the phrase śavasah parīṇas-. Also, a fourth verse, I.56.2, which he takes to be "less diagnostic" (LUBOTSKY:1998:485) or less analyzable, has the word śavas in verse 4.
He also tells us that, as in the Avesta Yt.19.10, "Vedic parīṇas- is a quality possessed by the gods […] which can be bestowed on the devotees" (LUBOTSKY:1998:484-85), in two verses VIII.21.7(-8); 77.9.
Finally, "the idea that xvarənah is present in the house of a devoted man follows, for instance, from Y.60.7" (LUBOTSKY:1998:485), and is paralleled in I.133.7, and also (although Lubotsky does not note this, and calls the verse "non-diagnostic") in VIII.84.7.
That leaves only one verse IX.97.9, which, being a verse in the ninth or Soma Maṇḍala, where the references are always more ritualistic, Lubotsky correctly classifies as "non-diagnostic".

Now, when we look at all the fifteen occurences of the word parīṇas- in the Rigveda (counting here also I.54.1, which Lubotsky does not), we find that thirteen of them are in the New hymns of the New Rigveda (books 5,1,8,9,10), and one more is in a Redacted Hymn:

IV.31.12 (Redacted). 
I.54.1; 56.2; 129.9; 133.7; 166.14.
VIII.21.7; 45.24; 77.9; 84.7; 97.6.

Only one verse stands out from the rest: the reference in the Old Book, III.24.5:
agne dā dāsuṣe rayim, vīravantam parīṇasam.
There are two possible explanations:
1. Either this occurrence also (although the verse is not a recognized interpolated one) is in fact interpolated, perhaps by replacing another word in the original. As Lubotsky puts it: "the poet of 3.24 mistakenly made parīṇas masculine when he transposed the formula into the accusative, cf. 3.24.5ab" (LUBOTSKY:1998:484). If so, it is a late and clumsy "transposition".
2. Or else the form in III.24.5 is the older and correct form which changed in the period of the New Books. It perhaps was a masculine word which later became neuter in the New Rigveda, and developed the phrase rāyā parīṇasā (riches and abundance) found four times in the New and Redacted hymns and, as raiia xvarəŋhaca (riches and abundance), literally hundreds of times in the Avesta. The connections of the Avesta are definitely with the New Rigveda.

This, in any case, is another important piece of evidence confirming once again the relationship between the Avesta and the New Rigveda, both standing distinct from (and chronologically distinctly later than) the Old Rigveda. It adds up to the massive evidence already discussed in our books and articles. In the context of this new evidence, we can take the opportunity of casting a bird's eye over the massive earlier evidence showing the irrefutable contemporaneity of the (proto-)Avestan and New Rigvedic data.

A Bird-eye View of the Earlier Evidence

We have already seen this evidence in my earlier books and articles. Here we will just note the main points:

TOTAL HYMNS AND VERSES IN THE RIGVEDA (1028 Hymns, 10552 verses):
1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7:  280 Hymns, 2351 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7:  62 Hymns, 890 verses.  
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10:  686 Hymns, 7311 verses.

The different late Avestan-type common names, words and meters in the Rigveda are found as follows:

1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7:  0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7:  1 Hymn, 3 verses.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10:  309 Hymns, 3389 verses.

1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7:  0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7:  14 Hymns, 20 verses, 21 references.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10:  225 Hymns, 432 verses, 498 references.

1. Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7: 0 Hymns, 0 verses.
2. Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7:  1 hymn, 1 verse.
3. New Hymns in Books 1,5,8,9,10:  51 Hymns, 255 verses.

The data does not consist of irrelevant words (the very scale and number excludes this possibility): the data is vital data.
The extremely vital importance of these above name-types and words in both the Rigveda and the Avesta, and Vedic and Avestan history, simply cannot be ignored or downplayed. The fact that they are completely missing in the Old Rigveda (but very important in the Avesta, and in the New Rigveda and all post-Rigvedic texts) underlines their post-Old-Rigvedic provenance.
A look at a few of the most important name-types and just one word will make this clear:

A. Name-Types:
That the common names and name-elements are late elements in the Rigveda is obvious: not only are they found exclusively in the Late Books and hymns, but the names continue to be very common in post-Rigvedic texts and mythology; and the name-elements are found in more and more new names (in the post-Rigvedic Vedic literature, and in the Epics and Purāṇas). A few significant examples

1. Names with the suffix –ayana.
These indicate a patronymic. In the Old Rigveda, these names are completely missing. But these names are rampant from the New Rigveda on:
a) In the New Books, we find Gaupāyana, Yāmāyana, Dākṣāyaṇī, Nārāyaṇa, Kāmāyanī, Vātāyana, Kāṇvāyana and Ukṣaṇyāyana, all restricted to the New Books of the Rigveda.
b) The Atharvaveda has composers like Bādarāyaṇī, Jāṭikāyana and Kāṅkāyana.
c) Then we have the Samaveda Samhita of Rāṇāyana, the Yajurveda Samhita of Maitrāyaṇa, the Brahmana texts of Śānkhāyana and Śātyāyana, the Mahānārāyaṇa Upanishad, and the Āśvalāyana, Śānkhāyana, Drāhyāyaṇa, Lāṭhyāyana, Kātyāyana and Baudhāyana Sutra texts.
d) One of the most prominent Upanishadic sages is Vaiśampāyana. Later we have Krishna Dvaipāyana (i.e. Vyāsa, redactor of the Mahabharata and mythically of the Vedas themselves), Vātsyāyana (author of the Kamasutra), and Bādarāyaṇa (author of the Vedanta Sutras), among many others.
e) Such names are common in the Avesta as well: Friiana, Gaoraiiana, Jīşţaiiana, Frāšāoštraiiana, etc.

2. Names with the prefixes and suffixes aśva and ratha:
The names with the prefixes and suffixes aśva and ratha for example, are also completely missing in the Old Hymns and verses of the Old Rigveda.
But they are very important ones, found in profusion in the New Rigveda, and in all post-Rigvedic texts, including all the other Vedic and Puranic texts and the Epics. They are also extremely prominent in the Avesta as well as in the Mitanni records.
In the New Rigveda, we have: Aśva, Aghāśva, Iṣṭāśva, Ṛjrāśva, Ninditāśva, Marutāśva, Vyaśva, Vidadaśva, Śyāvāśva, Bhṛmyaśva, Yuvanaśva, Citraratha, Priyaratha, Bṛhadratha, Śrutaratha, Svanadratha, Śucadratha, Pratiratha, Apratiratha, etc.
In the Avesta, names with the suffixes aśva are found in abundance among the closest associates of Zaraθuštra (the composer of the Gathas, the very oldest part of the Avesta): Pourušāspa (his father), Haēčātāspa (his ancestor), Dəjāmāspa (a close relative), Vištāspa (his patron king), Arəjatāspa (his enemy, reported in some traditions to have been the person who killed him), and many others: Aspāiiaoδa, Aspōpaδōmaxšti, Auruuaţ.aspa, Čaθvarəspa, Dāzgrāspi, Ərəzrāspa, Frīnāspa, Habāspa, Harəδāspa, Hitāspa, Huuaspa, Jāmāspa, Kərəsāspa, Siiāuuāspi, Tumāspana, Važāspa, Vīrāspa, Yuxtāspa, Xšōiβrāspa, etc. Likewise, Aγraēraθa, Dāraiiat.raθa, Frāraiiat.raθa, etc.
There are many Mitanni names as well: Biriassuva, Bartassuva, Biridasva, Tusratta.
This category includes the only common "Aryan" name recorded among the Kassites: Abirattaš.

3. Names with the prefix priya- and the suffix -atithi:
These names are also completely missing in the Old Rigveda.
They are common in the New Rigveda: Priyamedha, Priyaratha, Medhātithi, Nīpātithi, Mitrātithi, Medhyātithi, Devātithi, Brahmātithi.
They are found in the Avesta: Friia, Friiāna, Frīnāspa, Aiiō.asti, Gaiiaδāsti, Pouruδāxšti, Vohuuasti.
The largest number of common names among the Mitanni are with the prefix priya- and the suffix -atithi: Biria, Biriasauma, Biriasura, Biriawaza, Biriassuva, Biriamasda, Biriasena, Biriatti, Mittaratti, Asuratti, Mariatti, Suriatti, Dewatti, Intaratti, Paratti, Suatti.
[In respect of the prefix priya-, Hopkins had pointed out long ago (referring not just to names but to non-nominal words as well) that “priya compounds [fn. That is, with priya as the first member of the compound] are a formation common in Smŗti [....] Epic [....] In AV, VS, and Brāhmaņa [....] but known in RV only to books viii, i, ix, x” (HOPKINS 1896a:66)].

While they are totally absent in the Old Rigveda, these elements are early elements in the Avesta, present from the very earliest point of composition of the text. All these names and name types are vital and central to all these texts: to the New Rigveda (Books 1,5,8,9,10), the post-Rigvedic Vedic texts, the Puranas and Epics, the Avesta and the Mitanni―to all except to the Old Books of the Rigveda, which stand apart.

B. Words:

One example of such a word will suffice: the word gāthā is a pre-Avestan word in the Avesta: the oldest part of the Avesta consists of the five hymn-groups called gāthā composed by Zarathushtra himself, and they are not only called by that name but the word already occurs within those hymns as well. As we have already seen, in the Rigveda, gātha/gāthā is a late word found only in the New Rigveda (Books 5,1,8,9,10):

I.7.1; 43.4; 167.6; 190.1
VIII.2.38; 32.1; 71.14; 92.2; 98.9
IX.11.4; 99.4

But we can go further in this case. Here, the very important root √gai, from which the word gāthā is derived (and the extremely important Rigvedic words pragātha, gāyatra and gāyatrī, not to mention vital Sanskrit words of later times like gītā, gīt, gāyan, gān, gāyak-gāyikā, etc) is itself a late development, found overwhelmingly in the New Books and the Redacted Hymns, though the verbal root is found also in two other hymns in the Old Books: VI.40.1; 69.2:

Old Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7 (2 hymns 2 verses and references):
VI. 40.1; 69.2 (2 hymns, 2 verses and references).

Redacted Hymns in Books 2,3,4,6,7 (6 hymns 8 verses, 9 references):
II.43.1,1,2 (1 hymn, 2 verses, 3 references).
VI. 16.22; 45.4,22 (2 hymns, 3 verses and references).
VII.31.1; 96.1; 102.1 (3 hymns, 3 verses and references).

New Hymns in Books 5,1,8,9,10 (59 hymns, 75 verses, 84 references):
V.44.5; 68.1 (2 hymns, verses and references).
I.4.10; 5.1,4; 7.1; 10.1,1; 12.11; 21.2,2; 27.4; 37.1,4; 38.14,14; 43.4; 79.7; 97.2; 120.6; 142.12; 164.23,24,25; 167.6,6; 173.1; 188.11; 190.1 (19 hymns, 23 verses, 27 references).
VIII.1.7,7,8,10; 2.14,14,38,38; 5.34; 15.1; 16.9; 19.22; 20.19; 27.2; 32.1,13,17,27; 33.4; 38.6,10; 45.21; 46.14,17; 61.8; 66.1; 71.14; 81.5; 89.1; 92.1,2,25; 98.1,9; 101.5; 103.8 (22 hymns, 33 verses, 36 references).
IX.11.1,4; 13.2; 60.1,1; 65.7; 86.44; 96.23; 97.4; 99.4; 104.1; 105.1 (10 hymns, 11 verses, 12 references). 
X.14.16; 67.3; 71.11,11; 85.6; 107.6; 130.4 (6 hymns and verses, 7 references).

The way this vital verb and its derivatives are distributed in the New Books as well as in the Redacted Hymns, except for these two references both in a single Old Book (and totally missing, even in the Redacted Hymns, in two of the five Old Books 3 and 4), makes it clear that the verb and its derivatives are late developments in the Rigveda. These two verses, VI.40.1; 69.2 (which are in hymns not classified as Redacted Hymns) are the odd men out, and it is clear that they must be redacted verses, though not suspected as such, or at least they represent the earliest sprouting seeds of the verbal root, which was a minor and unimportant one at the time, and became an important source of words only much later. At any rate, it is totally unlikely that this verbal root, if existing in the  oldest times, could have been so completely unutilized except in two verses.
But in the New Books and the Avesta, the verbal root √gai and the word gāθā are important, and, in the language of the Avesta, it is already found in the name of its oldest hymns.

In conclusion, Lubotsky's analysis of the Avestan word xvarəna only confirms the case for the Indian Homeland, by showing once more that the roots of the Avesta lie in a period and area coeval to the New Rigveda (Books 1,5,8,9,10) and much later to the Old Rigveda (Books 6,3,7,4,2).

As Witzel himself pontificated―when writing in his derisive article "INDOCENTRISM- Autochtonous Visions of Ancient India" (WITZEL:2005) in which he held up the OIT case and, in general, Indian opposition to the AIT model, to ridicule as the deluded vision (or hallucination?) of "autochtonists"―that linguistics is a science, and "the occurrence of common innovations always indicates that the innovative group has split off from the core group, and obviously is to be dated later than the core" (WITZEL:2005:352). As he further points out, the correctness of the set of rules established by a theory, when it is based on hard scientific criteria, is established and proved by the ability to make “predictions” based on that set of rules. Witzel writes: “just as the existence of the planet Pluto was predicted by astronomy, so were the laryngeals, in both cases decades before the actual discovery” (WITZEL:2005:352).

Well, the correctness of the classification (in TALAGERI:2000) of the Books of the Rigveda into Early (6,3,7), Middle (4,2) and Late (5,1,8,9,10), is being consistently and conclusively established and proved by the way in which it “predicted” the pattern of distribution of the Avestan names and name-elements (and other important words like ara, “spokes”) years before that distribution was demonstrated in my next book in 2008. And every comparative study of the "Indo-Iranian" linguistic data, on every new piece of data studied, ever since, has only continued to―and will henceforward also only continue to―again and again confirm and reaffirm the correctness of the OIT case. The occurrence of common innovations (in the New Rigveda and the Avesta) inevitably indicates that the innovative groups have split off from the core group (the culture of the Old Rigveda), and obviously are to be dated later than the core.


HOPKINS 1896a: Prāgāthikāni. Hopkins, Edward W. pp. 23-92 in JAOS (Journal of the American Oriental Society), Vol. 17.

LUBOTSKY 1998: Avestan xvarəna-: the etymology and concept. Lubotsky, Alexander. Published originally in Sprache und Kultur. Akten der X. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesselschaft, Innsbruck, 22-26, September 1996, ed. W. Meid, Innsbruck (IBS) 1998, p. 479-488.

TALAGERI 2000: The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis, Aditya Prakashan (New Delhi), 2000.

TALAGERI 2008: “The Rigveda and the Avesta – The Final Evidence”, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 2008.

WITZEL 2005: Indocentrism: autochthonous visions of ancient India. Witzel, Michael. pp.341-404, in “The Indo-Aryan Controversy — Evidence and Inference in Indian history”, ed.Edwin F. Bryant and Laurie L. Patton, Routledge, London & New York, 2005.


  1. Is the word "paryapta" which also means abundance a derivation from "parīṇas"?

  2. Well there are a quite a few Russians on our side so thats a big plus (+).

    1. what that's suppose to mean?

    2. It means what it means. There are also of the opinion that the OIT model is more valid for the IE homeland.

  3. Hi Shrikant Talageri, please take a look at this blog post:

    This post tries to discuss the original meaning of Arya. Please take a look at it. Its my a Russian scholar.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Namaster Srikantha Ji

    I came to know that the word for the fruit apple in PIE is "*ab(e)l-", now we all well aware of the Kashmiri Apples grown in Kashmir, incidentally the word for apple may have been borrowed from Burushaski, From Wikipedia "Following Berger (1956), the American Heritage dictionaries suggested that the word *abel 'apple', the only name for a fruit (tree) reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European, may have been borrowed from a language ancestral to Burushaski. "

    Malus sieversii has been identified as the main contributor to the genome of the cultivated apple (Malus domestica), on the basis of morphological, molecular, and historical evidence. (Cornille A, Gladieux P, Smulders MJ, Roldán-Ruiz I, Laurens F, et al. (2012). "New Insight into the History of Domesticated Apple: Secondary Contribution of the European Wild Apple to the Genome of Cultivated Varieties" LINK- "".

    Now "Malus sieversii" is native Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, we know that Dryuhu, Anus was spread beyond the Afganistan already. Moreover, the suffix "Stan" in Kazakhstan clearly is IE, "STAN" means place.

    The word for apple in Kazakh is "Alma", which nowhere is similar to PIE "*ab(e)l-", what it means is the modern-day people who are inhabiting Kazakhstan have recently come there before they arrived it was inhabited by Aryans, hence we find the word "*ab(e)l-", which itself is derived from Burushaski who is to inhabiting in the same region.

    This one more case which proves that PIE was South Asia, or else how can we explain away the appearance of "abel " in Burushaski and " *ap(a)laz" in Germanic, it cannot be explained in any other scenario expect OIA.

    Moreover Hermann Berger in his earliest work (1956) has proposed that this word was borrowed by PIE from Burushaski.