Pali / Sanskrit relationships to Semitic languages

I can relate the Avestan Culture started by Arians with Zoroaster as the lead with the later also Aryan Rigvedic culture of India.

a lot of connections are made between the Avesta and the later-linguistic Vedas, Specially with the oldest one, Rigveda.

the relation between the subsequent Indian Vedic cultures and the Culture of Buddha’s time is already made.

Daēnā in Avestan
Dharma in Sanskrit
Dhamma in Pali
Dāt in modern hebrew
Diin in Arabic

are all related by root in someway or another, because of this relation, I found myself obliged to translate “Dhamma” into “Diin=Religion” in my arabic translations. although been advised by some friends -like Bundokji- to translate it into “Ta’aaliim=Teachings”.

I see some Buddhist concepts are better understood if someone has prior knowledge of Avesta and Vedas. of course it’s optional


A post was merged into an existing topic: First DNA study from the Indus Valley Civilization

I wonder if the Arabic Ta’aallim is the same as the hebrew Teffilin. The karaite jews reject rabbinical judaism. Karaites are equivalent to early buddhists who reject later interpretations.

One of interpretations Karaite jews reject is “Teffilin”, rabbinical Judaism literally wear a box on their head. But the Karaites say this is a misinterpretion of Gods instructions, as it really means “Remember the teachings”, not physically wear them on your head. I.e. “to memorize by heart”, heart is mind.

Those teachings are the 10 commandments which are similar to the Buddhist precepts.

Basically they’re supposed to remember (sati) the teachings (dhamma, dat, teffilin, taalliim) every morning. I.e. reflect on your conduct/virtue.

It’s interesting how religions these days are just a product of broken telephone and misinterpretion of teachings from old civilizations.

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Hi Muhammad,

Avestan daēnā- is not etymologically related to Skt. dharma- (Pali dhamma-). It derives from an Iranian root *daiH ‘to perceive, to see’ (cognate with Vedic dhay) and is best translated as something like ‘Vision’. In the later Middle Persian (Pahlavi) texts it was rendered dēn which word had various meanings, including ‘belief, religion’ (e.g. māzdēsn dēn 'Mazdā-sacrificing religion). The New Persian form is dīn.

By contrast, Skt. dharma- derives from an Indic root *dhar ‘to (up)hold’ (the Iranian cognate is *dar).

Hope that’s clear :slight_smile:


I’m very sorry to tell you this, but Arabic is Afro-Asiatic and not Indo-Aryan or Indo-European. Hebrew and Arabic as languages unto themselves have no deep relation to Sanskrit. You should not be necessarily translating buddhavacana that way, because of perceived roots that sound alike. If the meaning works, that is good, but don’t try to find word-roots in common between Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European. Hebrew and Arabic are related to the Egyptian and Ethiopian languages, if we’re looking to connect them to other prestigious literary cultutes.


I’m very sorry to tell you this…

Generally speaking you are right, but in this case, Muhammad’s point is supported by some academics:

Some scholars such as Nöldeke and Vollers have derived the Arabic sense of religion (Din) from the Middle_Persian den (revelation, religion) connected with the Zoroastrian notion daena.


True, or it is from the Proto-Semitic root *dVn, a judgement or a ruling. Wiktionary also has a theory that the word is related to “dhyāna,” but that seems unlikely IMO.


Well noted. I have seen people like venerable @sujato warning against connecting too many dots via etymology.

The truth is that given the historical contexts and reality of how cultures developed up until recently somehow isolated from each other, shared roots in words very seldom translate into shared meanings, connotations, etc



A good example of this is prognosis and prajñāti. These words are identical as far as their roots are concerned. Pro- is pra-, -gno- is -jñā-, and -sis is -ti.

But these words despite being identical etymologically are not the same semantically.


Ta’aaliim came from ’Ilm (Science)

Karaites are connected with Musa Ibn Maimun (Maimonides) who lived after the 7th century CE. he rejected the Talmud, Midras, Mishnah…etc. only following the Torah (the first 5 books of the old testament).

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I know that, Thanks for re-informing me sir. i tried to connect the Oldest Avestan root for this word as the root for both the sanskrit=>Pali, and for Arabic/Hebrew. not directly connecting Sanskrit, Pali with Arabic/Hebrew. I spoke of the word i mentioned only, never trying to generalize the connection for the whole languages as a whole.

there are example words that are already connected, both by meaning and root.
in Sanskrit: sarve bhavantu (Sukinah), apparently from (skn) root.
Sakiinah in Arabic.
Shekhinah in Hebrew.

this connection between these 2 family seperated group of languages is specified only for some words (Like previously exampled, Dharma, Sukinah), not all the vocabulary -I hadn’t claimed that-.

Dhamma had already been translated into “religion” before, by Translators who didn’t know arabic. so let’s say i will go by their variation of translation instead.

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Hi Muhammad,

Sorry to correct you again, but in the interest of accuracy it’s worth pointing out that Sanskrit sukhinaḥ is not cognate with the Semitic forms you quote and is not related to the Hebrew root שכנ š-k-n ‘to dwell’.

Formally, sukhinaḥ is a declined form of a stem sukhin- ‘possessing happiness’, formed on the basis of the noun sukha- ‘happiness’-. Although the etymology of this word is debated, it’s clear that the initial syllable su represents the laudatory prefix meaning ‘good’ (cf. the word’s well-known antonym in Pali dukkha- ‘suffering’), not a Semitic shin.

Philology involves much more than searching for words in different languages that sounds broadly similar. If you’re interested learning more, I’m happy to recommend some reputable sources of information; just send me a message :slight_smile:


Hello, Sir.

this stem, when removing the vocal letters (u,i) is the same with (s-k-n). the three letter stem is the same, and the meaning is the same. in Arabic, Sakiinah doesn’t mean dwellness, it mean a mental state of happiness and calmness although there is danger.

a well-known antonym of a word doesn’t necessarily reflect the original antonym meant for it by the first speakers.

I hadn’t claimed that. Plus, I hadn’t claimed that the whole dictionary is the same. I claimed that there is some words with the same root, same meaning, between these distant 2 families of languages. another example i will give is Brahma, as a man, ancestor of Aryans. Ibrahim, and Abraham as a man, ancestor of Jews, Muslims. removing vocal letters (a,i) will give (b-r-h-m) as a root. which is the same. both 2 traditions regard him as an ancestor (among some variations in hinduism). Manu and Noah, Nuuh. as a man who lived before.
Sarah, Saraswati.

Of course, I’m interested sir. I want to learn more, please recommend me.

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s-k-n is “to dwell” in Semitic languages. Arabic may have a special meaning derived from a “dwelling.”

It refers to the incense smoke in the Old Testament, where YHWH was said to “dwell” in the mishkan, also derived from s-k-n. It is also the feminine part at the base of the tree of life in Kabballah, once again related to it’s primary meaning of “home, dwelling, dwell.” Interestingly enough, a lady named Sophia once dwelt at the end of a great chain of emanations from a High Lord.

From a first century Palestinian baptizing sect:

I worship, laud and praise that great, secret, First Mind who abode for nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand myriads of years alone in his own škina - for no Companion came to him; (none existed) save that great, secret, First Mind. For he came into existence therein and developed therein.

(Mandaic literature)

So we can establish from many sides the original meaning of the Semitic root.


@Muhammad, please don’t take the above as criticism of your person as a translator. These are friendly sharings of information, even if they don’t seem so.

It’s difficult to present someone with contrary information without seeming like a dick. I certainly don’t know how to do it. Keep up the good work though, by all means. We’re all rooting for you.


For instance, if s-k-n has a sense of “bliss” in Arabic, then it might be the perfect translation for sukha even if its root has to do with dwelling in a place.


It is pretty interesting that the indus valley civilization, mesopatamia, and ancient egypt are not that far from eachother both in time and location, and they did have trade routes with eachother.

All 3 had a pantheon of Gods. Abraham (abrahm, brahma?), was born in Mesopatamia. El is also the name of one of the gods in Mesopatamia who I believe later becomes the Jewish god and instructs Abraham to destroy the idols of all Gods thus destroying Polytheism creating the Monotheism and elevating God to creator, whereas beforehand Gods were not creators but just other beings in the universe like Devas.

Not to mention Emporer Ashoka also wrote in Greek and Aramaic (ancient hebrew).

My personal theory is that the people in the Indus Valley Civilization became aware of the Malthusian trap of food and population growth, and turned to meditation instead of technological advancement and expansion like other civilizations did.


Hello, Sir.
For Sakiinah in Arabic. I will take Quran as a reference for Arabic Language words meaning since Old testament can be used for Old Hebrew and Kanza rabba (has been used for Mandaean language).

It’s mentioned 6 times, all relate to a mind-state of calmness although there is danger around that is descended upon by God into the hearts of the Believers, and that by this calmness, they will believe more. It’s translated into Tranquility and serenity in English translations. in one of the 6 mentions, it says that the Ark of Bani Israil contains a certain Sakiinah from their God. But not the Ark it self is a condition for Sakiinah, because at other mentions, it is descended Directly.
2:248 - And their prophet said to them, “The proof of his kingship is that the Ark will be restored to you, bringing tranquility from your Lord, and relics left by the family of Moses and the family of Aaron. It will be carried by the angels. In that is a sign for you, if you are believers.”
9:26 - Then God sent down His serenity upon His Messenger, and upon the believers; and He sent down troops you did not see; and He punished those who disbelieved. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
9:40 - If you do not help him, God has already helped him, when those who disbelieved expelled him, and he was the second of two in the cave. He said to his friend, “Do not worry, God is with us.” And God made His tranquility descend upon him, and supported him with forces you did not see, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the Word of God is the Highest. God is Mighty and Wise.
48:4 - It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers, to add faith to their faith. To God belong the forces of the heavens and the earth. God is Knowing and Wise
48:18 - God was pleased with the believers, when they pledged allegiance to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts, and sent down serenity upon them, and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.
48:26 - Those who disbelieved filled their hearts with rage—the rage of the days of ignorance. But God sent His serenity down upon His Messenger, and upon the believers, and imposed on them the words of righteousness—of which they were most worthy and deserving. God is aware of everything.

I hope that the Meaning related to Arabic Language of Sakiinah is accepted.

No, Sir. I’m very pleasured from your insights regarding Linguistics and word meanings, I’m very happy that we have a variety of Mother tongues here in Suttacentral. When a word is referenced, we can see the meaning from a lot of view-sides.

If this someone is seeking Truth, he must thank you, Praise you for correcting his view and opinion.

Thanks, Sir. I’ll keep working using insights from your side.


“a state of mind that descends upon Believers-only hearts [and enters inside it] in Dangerous and Great moments (like fear in battles or when being chased. or When pledging allegiance with the Enlightened ones) and make them calm, and add more Faith -Belief- [to their-already existing Faith -Belief-]”

I believe this is a more accurate definition of Sakiinah in arabic.

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Sirs, seeing that our conversation contains a lot of insights from your side. I Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a lot from your precious time. I’m happy with our conversation.

If you allow me to give more examples of (some words that in my view, have a same or similar meaning, 3 letters root in Both Arabic and Sanskrit, Pali)

one word is “Suurah”, came as a feminine variation of “Suur”: a fence of any shape that circulates something entirely, protecting it, preventing movement from outside into inside or vice-versa, preventing movement from inside into outside.

Suurah -in regard that it is the Feminine variant of Suur- has the same meaning of Suur, but this meaning is specifed in Suurah to sometext instead of something.

Suurah: a Specified-Text that makes a complete unit in itself [Inside of a Bigger complete Unit -for example, Quran contains 114 Suurahs-], preventing any add from outside into inside or vice-versa, preventing deletion of the inside content.

I find it the same with “Suutra” in Sanskrit, Pali. [as unit texts inside of the Bigger text-unity -Canon-]
Note that [h] in Arabic “Suura[h]” is spelled only if we stopped speaking at the end of the world, Otherwise, it is spelled “Suura”.

What is the meaning of Sutra in Sanskrit, Pali? from what root does it come from?