The Yogini from Manila

Sanskrit’s Link to Tagalog


This is a slightly off-topic post but I thought it was interesting to tackle the similarities that I see in the Sanskrit language to one of the major dialects in my country — Tagalog.


(May Śiva bless those who take delight in the language of the gods. ( by Kalidasa)

This curiosity was always there ever since we began hearing the different names of our asanas. When I first started yoga, Pio would call out the poses in English. He would say Lotus, Forward Bend, Downward Dog, Shoulderstand, etc. After a while though, he started calling them out in Sanskrit.

One day a FilAm yogini, Kristina, left a comment on this blog and told me she studies a lot of Sanskrit in New York. Now that sounded interesting for someone living all the way across the globe! So I began searching for common words I knew in Tagalog which take its roots from Sanskrit. After all, when I stayed in Indonesia for several months, I always delighted in little day-to-day discoveries of Filipino words which were the same as Bahasa: gunting (scissors), payong (umbrella), anak (child), halo (mix), lima (5), nasi (rice) and salamat (thanks).

Here are some Tagalog words I found which are taken from the Sanskrit language:

asa (hope) – asha in Sanskrit

salita (speak) – cerita in Sanskrit

balita (news) – berita in Sanskrit

karma (karma)

mukha (face)

guro (teacher) – guru in Sanskrit

dalita (suffering) – dharta in Sanskrit

In the site Tagalog 101, this is what they say:

“Philologically, Tagalog belongs to the Malayan branch of the great Malayo-Polynesian linguistic family, which extends from Hawaii to Madagascar and from Formosa to Easter Island west of Chile, including New Zealand, Tonga, and Samoa, as well as Borneo, Celebes, Java, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, and the Philippines from east to west, a distance of 180º, or half the circumference of the earth.

Tagalog, together with other civilized tongues of the Philippines, such as Visayan, Pampango, Ilocano and Bicol, has preserved the verbal system better than any other. The basis for the comparative study of the family must be taken from the Philippine tongues and not from the more cultivated Malay, Kawi, or modern Javanese, all three of which have been profoundly affected by Sanskrit and to a lesser degree Arabic, something as English has been affected by Latin and French elements. The number of roots or primitive-idea words in Tagalog seems to be about 17, 000 there being 16, 842 words in the Noceda and Sanlucar dictionary of 1832. Of these some 284 are derived from the Sanskrit, and are evidently borrowed through the Malay. Many of these are names for the things unknown to the primitive Malayan peoples, but others are abstracts and various words, some of which would seem to have supplanted a primitive Malayan word. Thus in may cases Americans and Tagalogs use words in their own languages which are from the same remote source in India, and coming around the earth east and west to meet again in the Philippines.”

Next time your teacher calls out asanas in Sanskrit and you feel all strange about it, just remember that we are historically linked to it.

Namasté (नमस्ते [nʌmʌsˈteː]

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  1. Well, Jane, thank you for putting all of this information out… for initiating it, and the comments from so many people. I’m just thinking how words make phrases, and phrases make thoughts which make culture.. As a people, I think we live our lives based on words that are very central to becoming enlightened. Budhi- conscience. and the essence of nasa loob – loob ng damdamin…

    @Magdalena – Awww thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  2. its what i was seeking .. i like multilingual affairs and also searching unity in oddity/diversity

  3. Hi Jane, very interesting site. Thanks for all those terms. I’m a language addict myself and I am doing so much effort to exposed myself in languages- especially Asian- including Sanskrit, Hindu and Bahasa. Thanksa again!


  5. Before entering here i come with self-anger. i am Bengali and easily intercept any European language as its a member of Indo_European family. i also seen the grammer of Japaneese is not like English but like ours. where u r going ? ans to where is important that English doesnt give.
    so i tried to check Philipino with all dialects and seeing some words i come to light.
    Sapta(septa) = Hapta(hepta). often ordinary people make S > H, + R > A as Rang > Ang . so seeing Baha (House) i become confirmed it’s Basa (Nest/Town’s small house) and Budhi word charmed me most.
    I know, where Buddha’s message gone that country looks like Indian subcontinent as Japaneese dine sitting in floor which we deserted. Unforunately this country is not Buddhist so, not so much unison.
    I have almost 200 facebook friends claiming Igorots but i criticized mildly citing that though we Bangladeshi/Indians dont say so but see us. Our execeutive/ formal dress is still sari.
    Now when I got the Sanskrit link who defends Bengali this time? I know Arabic persian and German French espana a little. hope i’ll harvest from it and donate too.

  6. mahal, dear costly, high
    mata, eyes
    and conjugation system is very similar, sisayan region, was part of shri vishayn empire, of little forms or informatons, with a capital in Palembang, Sumata. salamat, paalam.

  7. Tamil (English) / Tagalog (English)
    bhumi (earth) / dumi (dirt)
    muthu (pearl) / mutya (pearl)
    tali (string) / tali (string)
    vakai (kind) / bagay (same)

  8. Jane,
    Funny that my mother (from Bicol originally) had said on her father’s side of the family there were people from India, I kept thinking she was mixing them up with Indonesians but apparently there is a link I was totally unaware of. I am truly amazed and I am so happy to run across your website. Of course I have only oral history and with the older generations leaving this earth it’s hard to find someone who knows our family history. I am grateful for all the studies being done to show the world’s history linked to several countries.

  9. Another note…

    Puya is a word in Eastern Indonesia which means paradise. Though Southern India and South East Asia have strong language links and India certainly had trade empires especially 100AD onwards, we must not discount that words such as Puya, or Puja may have originally been common words, or India in fact may have been influenced by a wave of South East Asians after the glacier melt/sea rise post ice age 8000 years ago.

    And Paul Kekai Manansala has done a good job of tracing the Austronesian words for pearls, as Mutya/Mutia, similar to Dravidian Mutta, Sanskrit Murti, and it is likely also the origin for word Mukta, Mukti and Moksha for freedom or liberation.

    In my own research pearl divers when cold water hits their forehead, for some of them their heart and respiration automatically slow, so in fact possibly some ancient pearl divers may have experienced something similar to Nirvikalpa Samadhi, or the “breathless state”, and hence this is the reason for the similar meanings of pearl, and spiritual freedom.

    Cool huh!

    Peace to Magandang Filipinas!

    Jane: Maraming salamat, Bill. Yep, that’s COOL! 🙂

  10. Hi Jane!

    No problem.

    Here is another link, don’t know the ultimate aim of Vedic Empire, but this is most complete linkings I’ve seen especially of the golden Tara…

    Peace and Truth,

  11. Modern scientists hail the ancient language of the gods as the only unambiguous natural language on the planet

    This interesting article refers to a NASA article on Sanskrit in AI(Artificial Intelligence) Magazine
    written by NASA researcher, Rick Briggs.

    In ancient India the intention to discover truth was so consuming, that in
    the process, they discovered perhaps the most perfect tool for fulfilling
    such a search that the world has ever known — the Sanskrit language.

    Of all the discoveries that have occurred and developed in the course
    of human history, language is the most significant and probably
    the most taken for granted. Without language, civilization could
    obviously not exist. On the other hand, to the degree that language
    becomes sophisticated and accurate in describing the subtlety and
    complexity of human life, we gain power and effectiveness in meeting
    its challenges. The access to modern technology which has been designed
    to give ease, efficiency and enjoyment in meeting our daily needs did
    not exist at the beginning of the century. It was made possible by
    accelerated advancement in the field of mathematics, a “language” which
    has helped us to discover the interrelationship of energy and matter
    with a high degree of precision. The resulting technology is evidence
    of the tremendous power that is unleashed simply by being able to make
    the finer and finer distinction that a language like mathematics affords.

    At the same time humankind has fallen far behind the advancements in
    technology. The precarious state of political and ecological imbalance
    that we are now experiencing is an obvious sign of the power of
    technology far exceeding the power of human beings to be in control
    of it. It could easily be argued that we have fallen far behind the
    advancements in technology, simply because the languages we use for daily
    communication do not help us to make the distinctions required to be in
    balance with the technology that has taken over our lives.

    Relevant to this there has recently been an astounding discovery made
    at the NASA research center. The following quote is from an article
    which appeared in AI Magazine (Artificial Intelligence) in Spring of
    1985 written NASA researcher, Rick Briggs.

    In the past twenty years, much time, effort, and money has been expended
    on designing an unambiguous representation of natural languages to make
    them accessible to computer processing. These efforts have centered around
    creating schemata designed to parallel logical relations with relations
    expressed by the syntax and semantics of natural languages, which are
    clearly cumbersome and ambiguous in their function as vehicles for the
    transmission of logical data. Understandably, there is a widespread
    belief that natural languages are unsuitable for the transmission of
    many ideas that artificial languages can render with great precision
    and mathematical rigor.

    But this dichotomy, which has served as a premise underlying much work
    in the areas of linguistics and artificial intelligence, is a false
    one. There is at least one language, Sanskrit, which for the duration
    of almost 1000 years was a living spoken language with a considerable
    literature of its own. Besides works of literary value, there was a long
    philosophical and grammatical tradition that has continued to exist with
    undiminished vigor until the present century. Among the accomplishments
    of the grammarians can be reckoned a method for paraphrasing Sanskrit in
    a manner that is identical not only in essence but in form with current
    work in Artificial Intelligence. This article demonstrates that a natural
    language can serve as an artificial language also, and that much work
    in AI has been reinventing a wheel millennia old.

    The discovery is of monumental significance. It is mind-boggling to
    consider that we have available to us a language which has been spoken
    for 4-7000 years that appears to be in every respect a perfect language
    designed for enlightened communication. But the most stunning aspect
    of the discovery is this: NASA the most advanced research center in
    the world for cutting edge technology has discovered that Sanskrit,
    the world’s oldest spiritual language is the only unambiguous spoken
    language on the planet.

    In early AI research it was discovered that in order to clear up the
    inherent ambiguity of natural languages for computer comprehension,
    it was necessary to utilize semantic net systems to encode the actual
    meaning of the sentence. Briggs gives the example of how a simple sentence
    would be represented in a semantic net.

    Example: “John gave the ball to Mary.” give, agent, John give, object,
    ball give, recipient, Mary give, time, past

    He further comments, “The degree to which a semantic net (or any
    unambiguous nonsyntactic representation) is cumbersome and odd-sounding
    in a natural language is the degree to which that language is “natural”
    and deviates from the precise or “artificial”. As we shall see, there
    was a language (Sanskrit) spoken among an ancient scientific community
    that has a deviation of zero.”

    Considering Sanskrit’s status as a spiritual language, a further
    implication of this discovery is that the age old dichotomy between
    religion and science is an entirely unjustified one.

    It is also relevant to note that in the last decade physicists have begun
    to comment on the striking similarities between their own discoveries
    and the discoveries made thousands of years ago in India which went on
    to form the basis of most Eastern religions.

    Because of the high level of collaboration required in uncovering the
    nature of energy and matter, it is inconceivable that it ever could
    have taken place without a common language, namely mathematics. This is
    a perfect example of using a language for discovering and designing
    life. The language of mathematics, being inherently unambiguous,
    minimizes personal interpretation and therefore maximizes opportunity for
    exploration and discovery. The result of this is a worldwide community
    of scientists working together with extraordinary vitality and excitement
    about uncovering the unknown.

    It can also be inferred that the discoveries that occurred in India
    in the first millennia B.C. were also the result of collaboration
    and inquiry by a community of spiritual scientists utilizing a
    common scientific language, Sanskrit. The truth of this is further
    accented by the fact that throughout the history and development of
    Indian thought the science of grammar and linguistics was attributed a
    status equal to that of mathematics in the context of modern scientific
    investigation. In deference to the thoroughness and depth with which
    the ancient grammatical scientists established the science of language,
    modern linguistic researchers in Russia have concluded about Sanskrit,
    “The time has come to continue the tradition of the ancient grammarians
    on the basis of the modern ideas in general linguistics.”

    Sanskrit is the most ancient member of the European family of
    languages. It is an elder sister of Latin and Greek from which most of
    the modern European languages have been derived. The oldest preserved
    form of Sanskrit is referred to as Vedic . The oldest extant example
    of the literature of the Vedic period is the Rig-Veda . Being strictly
    in verse, the Rig-Veda does not give us a record of the contemporary
    spoken language.

    The very name “Sanskrit” meant “language brought to formal perfection”
    in contrast to the common languages, Prakrits or “natural” languages. The
    form of Sanskrit which has been used for the last 2500 years is known
    today as Classical Sanskrit. The norms of classical Sanskrit were
    established by the ancient grammarians. Although no records are available
    of their work, their efforts reached a climax in the 5th century B.C. in
    the great grammatical treatise of Panini, which became the standard for
    correct speech with such comprehensive authority that it has remained so,
    with little alteration until present times.

    Based on what the grammarians themselves have stated, we may conclude
    that the Sanskrit grammar was an attempt to discipline and explain a
    spoken language.

    The NASA article corroborates this in saying that Indian grammatical
    analysis “probably has to do with an age old Indo-Aryan preoccupation
    to discover the nature of reality behind the impressions we human beings
    receive through the operation of our senses.”

    Until 1100 A.D., Sanskrit was without interruption the official language
    of the whole of India. The dominance of Sanskrit is indicated by a
    wealth of literature of widely diverse genres including religious
    and philosophical; fiction (short story, fable, novels, and plays);
    scientific literature including linguistics, mathematics, astronomy,
    and medicine; as well as law and politics.

    With the Muslim invasions from 1100 A.D. onwards, Sanskrit gradually
    became displaced by common languages patronized by the Muslim kings as a
    tactic to suppress Indian cultural and religious tradition and supplant
    it with their own beliefs. But they could not eliminate the literary
    and spiritual- ritual use of Sanskrit.

    Even today in India, there is a strong movement to return Sanskrit to
    the status of “national language of India.” Sanskrit being a language
    derived from simple monosyllabic verbal roots through the addition of
    appropriate prefixes and suffixes according to precise grammatical laws
    has an infinite capacity to grow, adapt and expand according to the
    requirements of change in a rapidly evolving world.

    Even in the last two centuries, due to the rapid advances in technology
    and science, a literature abundant with new and improvised vocabulary
    has come into existence. Although such additions are based on the
    grammatical principles of Sanskrit, and mostly composed of Sanskrit roots,
    still contributions from Hindi and other national and international
    languages have been assimilated. For example: The word for television,
    duuradarshanam, meaning “that which provides a vision of what is far away
    ” is derived purely from Sanskrit.

    Furthermore, there are at least a dozen periodicals published in
    Sanskrit, all-India radio news broadcast in Sanskrit, television shows
    and feature movies produced in Sanskrit, one village of 3000 inhabitants
    who communicate through Sanskrit alone, not to mention countless smaller
    intellectual communities throughout India, schools, as well as families
    where Sanskrit is fostered. Contemporary Sanskrit is alive and well.

    The discussion until now has been about Sanskrit, the language of
    mathematical precision, the world’s only unambiguous spoken language. But
    the linguistic perfection of Sanskrit offers only a partial explanation
    for its sustained presence in the world for at least 3000 years. High
    precision in and of itself is of limited scope. Generally it excites
    the brain but not the heart. Sanskrit is indeed a perfect language in
    the same sense as mathematics, but Sanskrit is also a perfect language
    in the sense that, like music, it has the power to uplift the heart.

    It’s conceivable that for a few rare and inspired geniuses, mathematics
    can reach the point of becoming music or music becoming mathematics. The
    extraordinary thing about Sanskrit is that it offers direct accessibility
    by anyone to that elevated plane where the two, mathematics and music,
    brain and heart, analytical and intuitive, scientific and spiritual
    become one. This is fertile ground for revelation. Great discoveries
    occur, whether through mathematics or music or Sanskrit, not by the
    calculations or manipulations of the human mind, but where the living
    language is expressed and heard in a state of joy and communion with
    the natural laws of existence.

    Why has Sanskrit endured? Fundamentally it generates clarity and
    inspiration. And that clarity and inspiration is directly responsible
    for a brilliance of creative expression such as the world has rarely seen.

    The Ancient and classical creations of the Sanskrit tongue both in quality
    and in body and abundance of excellence, in their potent originality
    and force and beauty, in their substance and art and structure, in
    grandeur and justice and charm of speech and in the height and width
    of the reach of their spirit stand very evidently in the front rank
    among the world’s great literatures. The language itself, as has been
    universally recognized by those competent to form a judgment, is one of
    the most magnificent, the most perfect and wonderfully sufficient literary
    instruments developed by the human mind, at once majestic and sweet and
    flexible, strong and clearly-formed and full and vibrant and subtle,
    and its quality and character would be of itself a sufficient evidence
    of the character and quality of the race whose mind it expressed and
    the culture of which it was the reflecting medium.

    Sanskrit after all is the language of mantra — words of power that
    are subtly attuned to the unseen harmonies of the matrix of creation,
    the world as yet unformed. The possibility of such a finely attuned
    language is only conceivable by drawing upon sounds so inherently pure
    in combinations so harmoniously blended that the result is as refreshing
    and pure as the energy of creation forming into mountain streams and
    lakes and the flawless crystal structures of natural gems, while at the
    same time wielding the power of nebulae and galaxies expanding into the
    infinitude of space.

    But from the perception of Rishis, the source of language transcends
    such conceptions. In Sanskrit, Vaak,speech, the “word” of Genesis,
    incorporates both the sense of “voice” and “word”. It has four forms
    of _expression. The first, Paraa , represents cosmic ideation arising
    from the original and absolute divine presence. The second, Pashyantii
    (literally “seeing”) is Vaak as subject “seeing,” which creates the object
    of madhyamaavaak , the third and subtle form of speech before it manifests
    as vaikhariivaak, the gross production of letters in spoken speech.

    Sanskrit is a language whose harmonic subtlety, mysteriously sources the
    successive phases of creation all the way to origination. This implies
    the p ossibility of having speech oriented to a direct living truth which
    transcends individual preoccupation with the limited information available
    through the senses. Spoken words as such are creative living things of
    power. They penetrate to the essence of what they describe. They give
    birth to meaning which reflects the profound interrelatedness of life.

    It is a tantalizing proposition to consider speaking a language whose
    sounds are so pure and euphonically combined. The mere listening or
    speaking inspires and produces joy and clarity. And yet it has been
    precisely the tendency of humanity as a whole to merely be tantalized
    by happiness, but not actually to choose it. It’s as though we had
    been offered the most precious gem and we answered, “No, I’d rather be
    poor.” The only possible background for such a choice is the unconscious
    belief that, “I can’t have it. I can’t be that.”

    Interestingly enough, this is exactly what is triggered in people who are
    faced with the opportunity to learn Sanskrit. The basic attitude towards
    learning Sanskrit in India today is, “It’s too difficult.” Actually
    Sanskrit is not difficult. On the contrary, there are few greater
    enjoyments. The first stage, experiencing the individual power of each of
    the 49 basic sounds of the Sanskrit alphabet is pure discovery, especially
    for Westerners who have never paid attention to the unique distinctions of
    individual letters such as location of resonance and tongue position. The
    complete alphabet must have been worked out by learned grammarians on
    phonetic principles by long before it was codified by Panini around 500
    B.C. It is arranged on a thoroughly scientific method, the simple vowels
    (short and long) coming first, then the complex vowels (dipthongs),
    followed by the consonants in uniform groups according to the organs of
    speech with which they are pronounced.

    The unique organization of the Sanskrit alphabet serves to focus one’s
    attention on qualities and patterns of articulated sound in a way that
    occurs in no other language. By paying continuous attention to the point
    of location, degree of resonance and effort of breath, one’s awareness
    becomes more and more consumed by the direct experience of articulated
    sound. This in itself produces and unprecedented clarity of mind and
    revelry in the joy of language. Every combination of sound in Sanskrit
    follows strict laws which essentially make possible an uninterrupted flow
    of the most perfect euphonic blending of letters into words and verse.

    The script used to depict written Sanskrit is known as Devanaagari or that
    “spoken by the Gods.” Suitably for Sanskrit, it is a perfect system of
    phonetic representation. According to linguists, the phonetic accuracy
    of the Devanaagari compares well with that of the modern phonetic

    Because of its inherent logic, systematic presentation and adherence to
    only the most clear and most pure sounds, the Sanskrit alphabet in its
    spoken form, is perhaps the easiest in the world to learn and recall. Once
    the alphabet is learned, there is just one major step to take in gaining
    access to the Sanskrit language: learning the case and tense endings. The
    endings are what make Sanskrit a language of math-like precision. By the
    endings added onto nouns or verbs, there is an obvious determination of
    the precise interrelationship of words describing activity of persons
    and things in time and space, regardless of word order. Essentially, the
    endings constitute the software or basic program of the Sanskrit language.

    The rigor of learning the case endings is precisely the reason why many
    stop in their pursuit of Sanskrit. Yet by an effective immersion method,
    fluent reading of the Devanagari script, accurate pronunciation, and the
    inputting of the case and tense endings can easily be accomplished. Such a
    method must take advantage of the fact that Sanskrit grammar is structured
    by precise patterns, and once a pattern has been noted it is a simple
    exercise to recognize all the individual instances that fit the pattern;
    rather than see the pattern after all the individual instances have been
    learned. Color coding provides a tremendous support in this regard.

    Learning the case endings through the chanting of basic pure sound
    combinations in musical and rhythmic sequences is a way to overcome
    learning inhibitions, attune to the root power of the Sanskrit language
    and access the natural computer efficiency, speed and clarity of the mind.

    Although learning Sanskrit in some ways presents challenges similar to
    those of learning calculus or music, it also induces a lubrication and
    acceleration of mental function that actually makes such a process
    exciting and enjoyable. Perhaps the greatest immediate benefit of
    learning Sanskrit by this method is that it requires participants to
    relinquish control, abandon prior learning structures and come into a
    direct experience of the language.

    The actual simplicity and enjoyment of the sounds of Sanskrit provides
    everyone with an opportunity to learn a subject which is technically
    precise with fluidity and ease. This tends to produce a complete reversal
    of the inhibiting competitive environment in which most life education
    traditionally took place, by creating an atmosphere in which mutual
    support generates personal breakthrough and vice-versa.

    One thing is certain, Sanskrit will only become the planetary language
    when it is taught in a way which is exciting and enjoyable. Furthermore
    it must address individual learning inhibitions with clarity and
    compassion in a setting which encourages everyone to step forth, take
    risks, make mistakes and learn. Already we have outstanding examples
    of this approach in the work of teachers such as Jaime Escalante, whose
    remarkable achievements in teaching advanced calculus to underprivileged
    high school students in East Los Angeles were featured in the Academy
    Award nominated movie, “Stand and Deliver.”

    Another hope for the return of Sanskrit lies in computers. Sanskrit and
    computers are a perfect fit. The precision play of Sanskrit with computer
    tools will awaken the capacity in human beings to utilize their innate
    higher mental faculty with a momentum that would inevitably transform the
    world. In fact the mere learning of Sanskrit by large numbers of people
    in itself represents a quantum leap in consciousness, not to mention
    the rich endowment it will provide in the arena of future communication.

    Sanskrit has always inspired the hearts, mind and souls of wise
    people. The great German scholar Max Muller, who did more than anyone to
    introduce Sanskrit to the West in the latter part of the 19th century,
    contended that without a knowledge of the language (Sanskrit), literature,
    art, religion and philosophy of India, a liberal education could hardly
    be complete — India being the intellectual and spiritual ancestor of
    the race, historically and through Sanskrit.

    Max Muller also pointed out that Sanskrit provides perfect examples of
    the unity and foundation it offers to the Celtic, Teutonic, Slavonic,
    Germanic and Anglo-Saxon languages, not to mention its influence on Asian
    languages.The transmission of Buddhism to Asia can be attributed largely
    to the appeal to Sanskrit. Even in translation the works of Sanskrit
    evoked the supreme admiration of Western poets and philosophers like
    Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Melville, Goethe, Schlegel and Schopenhauer.

    The fact is that Sanskrit is more deeply interwoven into the fabric of
    the collective world consciousness than anyone perhaps knows. After many
    thousands of years, Sanskrit still lives with a vitality that can breathe
    life, restore unity and inspire peace on our tired and troubled planet. It
    is a sacred gift, an opportunity. The future could be very bright.

  12. Hi Jane,
    I think me and Bill have posted the same subject simultaneously.what a coincidence !

    Tagalog used to be written in the Baybayin Script which probably developed from the Kawi script of Java, Bali and Sumatra, which in turn descended from the Pallava script, one of the southern Indian scripts derived from Brahmi.You can also see many Sanskrit alphabets in Baybayin Script.If you compare these scripts you can see the resemblance.Moreover the earlier name of Philippines was MAHARLIKA which is also a sanskrit word.


    Deva Kumar


    The Baybayin alphabet

    Jane: Deva, I am amazed at the depth of your knowledge of our dialect’s history. Again, many thanks.

  13. Dear Jane,


    I am an Indian working in the Middle East.In am the only Indian living in the company of 20 filippinos in our accomodation.In the course of time I found many of the tagalog words are similar to that of sanskrit and other indian languages.I speak the Indian language Malayalam which is spoken in the province of Kerala.I found the following similar words

    CAT – PUSA – PUCHA(Malayalam) -PUSA (Tamil)
    TABLE – MESA – MESA(Malayalam)
    TEACHER – GURO – GURU(Malayalam)

    Also see the following write-up about this connection.

    About 25% of the words in many Philippine languages are Sanskrit terms:

    From Tagalog:

    budhi “conscience” from Sanskrit bodhi
    dukha “one who suffers” from Sanskrit dukkha
    guro “teacher” from Sanskrit guru
    sampalataya “faith” from Sanskrit sampratyaya
    mukha “face” from Sanskrit mukha
    laho “eclipse” from Sanskrit rahu
    From Kapampangan:

    kalma “fate” from Sanskrit karma
    damla “divine law” from Sanskrit dharma
    mantala “magic formulas” from Sanskrit mantra
    upaya “power” from Sanskrit upaya
    lupa “face” from Sanskrit rupa
    sabla “every” from Sanskrit sarva
    lawu “eclipse” from Sanskrit rahu
    galura “giant eagle (a surname)” from Sanskrit garuda
    laksina “south (a surname)” from Sanskrit dakshin
    laksamana “admiral (a surname)” from Sanskrit lakshmana
    From Tausug:

    suarga “heaven”
    neraka “hell”
    agama “religion”
    Sanskrit and Sanskrit-derived words common to most Philippine languages:

    sutla “silk” from Sanskrit sutra
    kapas “cotton” from Sanskrit kerpas
    naga “dragon or serpent” from Sanskrit naga


    Deva Kumar

    Jane: Hello, Deva. I am delighted to hear from you and learn that you work among my countrymen. Thank you so so much for your contribution. It looks like our two countries really have a lot of history that connects us. Namaste.

  14. From Wiki…

    From Tagalog:

    * budhi “conscience” from Sanskrit bodhi
    * dukha “one who suffers” from Sanskrit dukkha
    * guro “teacher” from Sanskrit guru
    * sampalataya “faith” from Sanskrit sampratyaya
    * mukha “face” from Sanskrit mukha
    * laho “eclipse” from Sanskrit rahu

    From Kapampangan:

    * kalma “fate” from Sanskrit karma
    * damla “divine law” from Sanskrit dharma
    * mantala “magic formulas” from Sanskrit mantra
    * upaya “power” from Sanskrit upaya
    * lupa “face” from Sanskrit rupa
    * sabla “every” from Sanskrit sarva
    * lawu “eclipse” from Sanskrit rahu
    * galura “giant eagle (a surname)” from Sanskrit garuda
    * laksina “south (a surname)” from Sanskrit dakshin
    * laksamana “admiral (a surname)” from Sanskrit lakshmana

    From Tausug:

    * suarga “heaven”
    * neraka “hell”
    * agama “religion”

    Sanskrit and Sanskrit-derived words common to most Philippine languages:

    * sutla “silk” from Sanskrit sutra
    * kapas “cotton” from Sanskrit kerpas
    * naga “dragon or serpent” from Sanskrit naga

    Also recently I discovered that…

    * kilikili (arm pit) is also a word from Vajrayana/Shaiva Vajrayogini practice…kililiki or kilikila is the wild laughter of dakinis…

    (15) The eight charnel grounds – The eastern charnel ground is called Ferocious One, the northern ground, Very Dense Forest, the western ground, Blazing Vajra, and the southern ground, Possessing Bone and marrow. In the south-east the charnel ground is called Auspicious Guardian, in the south-west, Fearful Darkness, in the north-west Making the Sound Kili Kili, and in the north-east, Wrathful Laughter. Each charnel ground has eight features: a tree, a directional guardian, a regional guardian, a lake, a naga, a cloud, a fire, and a stupa.

    Resonant with “Kilikili” (North-West)

    (Wyl. rlung du ki li ki li’i sgra sgrog pa; Skt. kilikilarava) In the north-western charnel ground is an arjuna tree called Parthipa. At its foot is the guardian of the north-west called Wind Deity, or Vayuni in Sanskrit. He is smoke-coloured, holds a yellow banner and skullcup, and rides on a deer. At the top of the tree is a green regional guardian called Deer Face. In the lake below there is a red naga called Boundless, and in the sky above there is a cloud called Wrathful. The blue mountain called Mountain of Glory has a fire of wisdom blazing at its base, and a white stupa on its peak.

    Jane: Hi, Bill. What can I saw but WOW!!! Thanks for the research work. Am glad to find more of our words coming from Sanskrit!

  15. Yeah, I remember that time…it’s the same class that I’m referring to in my first comment. He did use “lust” instead of “passion.” I didn’t want to accept lust as the translation because that does not seem descriptive of love- making.

    Although checking on the thesaurus, lust also means desire and yearning. So lust may generally be perceived as negative but it really is just calling it as it is: desire, yearning.

    Hence, putting that with “sutra” (a rule or aphorism in Sanskrit literature or a group of aphoristic doctrinal summaries prepared for memorization)kama sutra is a book containing aphorisms of desire.


  16. Hi Jane and Crissy!

    Searched the net for the link between the Indian and Philippine cultures as I was agitated one time by…he he, and so I found this list in Asia Finest Discussion Forum:

    In Langauage, the Pilipino (Tagalog) language has 375 Sanskrit words some examples are Ama (Father), dala (fishnet), Asawa (Spouse), Halaga (Price), Maharlika (Noble), Nanay (Mother), Mutya (Pearl), Paa (Foot), Raha (King), Sandata (weapon), diwa (thought), puri (honor), lakambini (princess), and wika (language).

    Another time, Teacher Pio said that “kama” means lust, as opposed to “prima” which means love, because someone interpreted “kama sutra” the wrong way.

    Jane: Way to go, Chon! Thanks for the additions. It would be interesting to find all 375 Sanskrit words…

  17. Hi Jane!

    We had one class where Teacher Pio pulled a few Sanskrit-Tagalog words. To add to your list:

    Dukha – Poverty
    Kama – Passion

    Jane: Thanks for this, Crissy. Now I know why bed is called “kama” in our dialect. 😮

Thanks for reading! I'd love to know what you think.

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