arya अर्य

Definition: This word is not common in the older literature, in places where the quantity of the first vowel is fixed as short, except in a mere adjectival sense. Geldner, indeed, contends that no other sense is anywhere needed; but Roth and Zimmer agree in thinking that in several passages of the Vājasaneyi Samhitā the word has the same sense as Arya, and this appears probable. Whether it is necessary to ascribe this sense to the word in the compound arya-patnī applied to the waters set free by Indra, is more doubtful. The commentator, Mahīdhara, suggests that the word means a Vaiśya, not an Arya generally. This view is supported by the explanation in the śatapatha Brāhmana of one of the passages of the Vājasaneyi Samhitā.8 But though the use of Arya to denote a Vaiśya became common later it is not clear that it was original.


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