pañcajanāḥ पञ्चजनाः

Definition: The ‘five peoples,’ are mentioned under various names in Vedic literature. Who are meant by the five is very uncertain. The Aitareya Brāhmana explains the five to be gods, men, Gandharvas and Apsarases, snakes, and the Fathers. Aupamanyava held that the four castes (Varna) and the Nisādas made up the five, and Sāyana is of the same opinion. Yāska thinks that the five are the Gandharvas, fathers, gods, Asuras, and Raksases. No one of these explanations can be regarded as probable. Roth and Geldner think that all the peoples of the earth are meant: just as there are four quarters (Diś), there are peoples at the four quarters (N. E. S. W.), with the Aryan folk in the middle. Zimmer opposes this view on the ground that the inclusion of all peoples in one expression is not in harmony with the distinction so often made between Aryan and Dāsa; that neither janāsah, ‘ men,’ nor mānusāh, ‘people,’ could be used of non-Aryans; that the Soma is referred to as being among the five tribes; that the five tribes are mentioned as on the Sarasvatī, and that Indra is pāñca- jany a, ‘ belonging to the five peoples.’ Pie concludes that Aryans alone are meant, and in particular the five tribes of the Anus, Druhyus, Yadus, Turvaśas, and Pūrus, who are all mentioned together in one or perhaps two hymns of the Rigveda, and four of whom occur in another hymn. But he admits that the expression might easily be used more generally later. Hopkins has combated Zimmer’s view, but his own opinion rests mainly on his theory that there was no people named Turvaśa, but only a king of the Yadus called Turvaśa, and that theory is not very probable. In the śatapatha Brāhmana and the Aitareya Brāhmana the five peoples are opposed to the Bharatas, and in the former work seven peoples are alluded to.


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