bracman (2)

potetjp POTETJP at
Sun Mar 26 18:10:01 UTC 2000

Tag. _dáto?_ means "chieftain", not priest. Incidentally, this way of
translating it might express some prejudice. My hunch is that he was the
equivalent of an earl. I read somewhere that its feminine is _dátin_, but
the word is not entered in Tag. dictionaries.
The Tagalogs had priestesses and transvestite priests - like the Makassarese
Waruno mentions.
These were called _katalúnan_, hispanized into _catalona_.
Theorically the stem is _talón_ "jump", but I fail to see the relationship
between jumping and being the minister of a religion, so the stem might be
_tálo(n)_ "contention; ... victory" with a quiescent final /n/ revealed by
the derivatives _pakipagtalunán_ "to launch into a contention", and
_talunán_ "(the) vanquished". The latter stem seems to be a little more in
agreement with exorcisms and possession ceremonies.
There were other terms to refer to the Tagalog clergy (_alágad_ "warden",
siák "prophet" etc.), but they do not seem to be related to Sanskrit, and as
Waruno rightly points out, many of them (e.g. _asbáng_, _silágan_) were
interpreted as referring to so many witches by Christians.
Needless to say they were harrassed by the Spanish clergy and their minions,
although I am pretty sure quite a few of these invaders were more tolerant
and open-minded than we are led to believe.
All the same, the gold artifacts the _katalúnan_ used  - her crown, for
instance, called _suwági_ - , the small gold reliqueries called
_básumbásong_, etc. were all seized/stolen and melted into sacred vessels
for mass. The rest was simply destroyed. So, as far as I know, we have
nothing left to determine whether the local religion has been influenced by
Hinduism or if some part of the population was Hinduist or even Buddhist.
Also, conversely to what happened in Spanish America, we only have one side
of the story: the Spaniards'. Indeed, in the Philippines, there is no Felipe
Guaman Poma de Ayala, no equivalent of the Aztec chroniclers of the
Returning to the main point, and reading Waruno's letter again, I realize
there is one archaic term I overlooked last time that might result from the
mispronunciation of _biksu_ "Hindu/Buddhist monk": _pithó_ or _pithí?_ "the
name of a prophet in the antiquity". But, a minimum of one intermediary
language is necessary, to account for b > p and s > h.
As regards the Spanish term _bracmán_ , I think Alex François has provided
the right answer. The term must have been borrowed from Greek through Latin
in the Middle-Ages, then replaced by _brahmán_ in the 20th Century.
P.S. I was wrong last time when I claimed no Hindu religious artifact had
been found in the Tagalog area. The clay medallion representing
Avalokitesvara-Padmapani is from Karitunan, Calatagan, Batangas - south of
Manila - Luzon. (Francisco plate III)

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