When doing word-by-word study of गीता, including study of etymology of the word, I came across the words अश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् 2’1, अश्वानाम् 10’27, अश्वत्थः 10’26 अश्वत्थामा 1’8. Some interesting commonalities started revealing. It came to mind that these words – अश्रु, अश्व, अश्वत्थः, अश्वत्थामन् – make an interesting group of words and hence merit their study as a study of an interesting group of words. Here it is.

What is obviously common in all these words is the beginning sound अश्

What is common between अश्रुः and अश्वः is that both are derived from धातुः अश्.

  1. अश्रु n. = अश्नुते व्याप्नोति नेत्रमदर्शनाय, अश्-क्रुन् Uṇ.5. 29,2.13,4.12, meaning a tear, what pervades the eye such that the eye sees nothing.
  2. अश्वः = अश्नुते अध्वानं व्याप्नोति, महाशनो वा भवति Nir.; अश्-क्वन् Uṇ.1.149, meaning a horse, which pervades the road or which has great appetitie.

Common factor in अश्वः अश्वत्थः अश्वत्थामन् is beginning sound अश्व

Common factor in अश्वत्थः and अश्वत्थामन् is beginning वर्ण-s अश्वत्थ. But their etymologies are

  1. अश्वत्थः = न श्वश्चिरं शाल्मलीवृक्षादिवत् तिष्ठति स्था-क पृषो. नित्यस. Tv., meaning the tree, which stays, not (just) tomorrow, i.e. much longer
  2. अश्वत्थामन् = अश्वस्येव स्थाम बलमस्य, पृषो˚ समासः; cf. Mb. अश्वस्येवास्य यत्स्थाम नदतः प्रदिशो गतम् । अश्वत्थामैव बालो$यं तस्मान्नाम्ना भविष्यति ॥ स्थामन् = स्था-मनिन् = 1 Strength, power, stamina,

Another common factor in अश्वत्थः and अश्वत्थामन् is त्थ, which stands for स्था (तिष्ठति)

Etymology of अश्व is common to अश्वः and अश्वत्थामन्, but अश्वत्थः has nothing to do with it.

Since अश्व is common to अश्वः and अश्वत्थामन्, and धातुः अश् is common between अश्रुः and अश्वः, धातुः अश् is common in अश्रुः अश्वः अश्वत्थामन्. In all these three, meaning of धातुः अश् is अश्नुते i.e. व्याप्नोति

My wife suggested that I may also include in the study the word अश्मन् m. [अश्नुते व्याप्नोति संहन्त्यनेन बा˚ मनिन् Uṇ.4.146, अश्मन् = A stone]

If there is a group, there would be one or more sets therein. Study of sets is often represented by a Venn diagram. Here is  Venn Diagram for the above study of this group of words.


This is certainly an interesting group of words !

शुभमस्तु !