The Natural World

The natural world was very important in Vedic society .


अश्व or ashva means horse. Another word used specifically for a riding horse is अक्र or akr. The horse is very important in vedic literature, making frequent appearences. Another related word which, as we will see, is very relevant to our knowledge of animals in vedic times is अश्वमेध, or Ashvamedha the horse sacrifice. The horse not only appears as a motif in indic, particularly Shaiva, thought but we know through texts such as the Svacchanda-tantra and the vedas that there is a great spiritual significance to the horse. Sri Rudram tells us “It is an image of the great dynamic force of life, of the vital and nervous energy. It is a force, a figure of prāṇa, the universal life energy (prāṇāyāma is based on this principle)”


अश्वतर or ashvatar is a mule Confusingly it can also refer to a mythical serpent. Ashva and Taara both refer to horses and Tara can also denote crossing, perhaps within these facts lies the clues to the words origin.


अवि or avi means both wool or sheep. मेष or mesh refers to the ram.


A chaturped is an animal with four legs, or a quadraped. This is a very clear indo-european root.


Dhenu is a cow used for milking. The opposite of this is धेनुष्टरी or dhenushtari which is a cow that has stopped giving milk.


godha is a crocodile. Another word for a crocodile is मकर or mahar.


कपि or kapi is an ape another interesting word for an ape is किम्पुरुष or kimpurush. Perhaps you can tell this means 'what sort of a man'


कश्यप or kashyap is a tortoise


कुर्कुर or kukur is a dog. माचल or machal is a special type of dog who can kill tigers!


mahish is a buffalo.


मण्डूक or manduk is a frog.


मूषिक or mushik is a mouse.


पिश or pish is a deer.

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