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Hamsatti (Gamzatti)

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I love that Gamzatti was originally called Hamsatti... I wonder if it was because:

1. Hamsa means swan in Sanskrit

2. Pali-English dictionary

Hamsati in Pali glossary... « previous · [H] · next »

haṃsati : (haṃs + a) bristles; stands on the end (said of hari; to be glad.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionar

3. Both :)


Edited by FireDancer
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There is no equivalent to the English letter H in the Russian language, the closest you get is X, roughly pronounced kh.   H in Russian script is pronounced N, e.g.  Nureyev in Russian script is written as Hypeeb.  To give you an example, Hamlet (play and ballet) in Russia is known as Gamlet.   In his 'Complete Book of Ballets' Beaumont refers to Gamsatti, the only difference I can find

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Gamzatti is written "Гамзатти", with the Г, not with the X.  So is the tenor character in Pique Dame ("Герман"), which is most often transliterated in the US as "Gherman."  It would not be surprising if  Гамзатти was transliterated as Ghamsatti or Hamsatti, depending on the country that used the Roman character set and the range and pronunciation of consonants in the language of that country (or the intended audience in an attempt for an international standard), and also possibly depending on the era in which it was transliterated.

That in itself doesn't speak to the root of the name one way or another.

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(Deep breath)

G is among the least stable of all consonants. It mutates in one way or another in Greek, the Romance languages (and words of Latin origin in English), Scandinavian languages and Dutch, among others. Among Slavic languages, there is a wide west-to-east strip, encompassing Upper Sorbian, Czech, Slovakian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian as it is spoken in the country's south, in which proto-Slavic (hard) G mutated to H. This is not as strange as it may seem. To some extent something similar happens in Greek, Dutch and Spanish. This phenomenon is not seen in Lower Sorbian, Polish, Russian or the South Slavic languages.

What this means is that the Cyrillic letter Г, derived from the Greek Γ (gamma), is pronounced like a hard G in Russian and like H in Ukrainian and Belarusian. (Incidentally, in Greek Γ isn't pronounced as G anymore either.)

Historically, foreign words entered Russian via Ukrainian, which was, obviously, closer to the West. Latin H would be transliterated as Г (H) in Ukrainian, and the Г (G) would remain in the Russian spelling of the word. This is how Russian ended up with Gans, Gamlet, Garvard, Gollivud, geroi, alkogol', garmoniya, goroskop and, yes, Gamzatti.

(In the course of the 20th century, this pathway reversed. Foreign words began entering Ukrainian via Russian. Mashinka is correct; strictly speaking Russian, like many languages, does not have an H sound. Latin H would be transliterated as Х (Kh) in Russian, and the Х would remain in the Ukrainian version of the word, which is how Ukrainian ended up with khokei, khobi and khedkhanter.)

Edited by volcanohunter
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I'm just fascinated by this stuff... I really do think they had done their homework and if not, it was certainly a divine accident! 💜

In reading the original 1877 libretto, the Lead Fakir's name was Madhavaya, which has to do with Krishna (mādhava). Krishna's qualities include devotion and love... Apt for a character who tries to help Solor and Nikiya with their love story and is devoted to them. 

In looking up Nikiya, I found out that the Sanskrit word nikāya translates to Supreme Being (among others- Sanskrit is VERY complex).

And Hamsati: in Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe's pseudonym)'s The Serpent Power, it says "Hamsati is the union of prakṛti and purusha ".

As per my teacher Christopher Hareesh Walli's book Tantra Illuminated: 

"prakṛti, sometimes translated as "nature", sometimes as "materiality", really refers to the entire physical universe of matter/energy." (There's a whole lot more on it...)

"purusha, the knowing subject, the Self, the witness, pure consciousness, the embodied knower of the field, (...) contracted form of the Universal Consciousness. It is individuated consciousness

I'm a geek, I know 😛

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