On the hindu religion of the first Roma
Mister Selahetin Kruezi, a real Rom, is supposing that the Roma does not originate in India, just because we dont have in our Romani language any words linked with the names of hindu religious books as Vedas and Mahabharata. He said:
Shastra- the Bible
Even if the Roma speakers have forgotten their history, some proofs still are existing . In England the Roma called the Bible with a name applied to hindu religion, E shastra(1), Shasterni Lil. This information appears in old books about our ancestors. Look, mister Selahetin:
“It is a very curious fact that the English Gipsies call the Scripture or Bible the Shaster, and I record this with the more pleasure, since it fully establishes Mr Borrow as the first discoverer of the word in Rommany, and vindicates him from the suspicion with which his assertion was received by Dr Pott. On this subject the latter speaks as follows:—
“Eschastra de Moyses, l. ii. 22; ο νομος, M.; Sanskrit, çâstra; Hind., shāstr, m. Hindu religious books, Hindu law, Scripture, institutes of science (Shakespeare). In proportion to the importance of the real existence of this word among the Gipsies must be the suspicion with which we regard it, when it depends, as in this instance, only on Borrow’s assertion, who, in case of need, to supply a non-existing word, may have easily taken one from the Sanskrit.”—Die Zigeuner, vol. ii. p. 224.
The word shaster was given to me very distinctly by a Gipsy
, who further volunteered the information, that it not only meant the Scriptures, but also any written book whatever, and somewhat marred the dignity of the sublime association of the Bible and Shaster, by adding that “any feller’s bettin’-book on the race-ground was a shasterni lil, ’cos it’s written.” (source: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16358/16358-h/16358-h.htm
Indeed, the hindu word शास्त्र Shastra (a) means any religious or scientific treatise. So, the Gypsy informant of Leland was right in his inherited knowledge about the Romani language.
The Romani word „pushtik” – „book”, is a hindi word which is used today in all India. So, if our ancestors called the Bible with a word which in India is applied to the sacred books of hinduism, this means that our ancestors knew very well the hindu meaning of the word. In India we have Dharma Shastra. All Dharma, after Hindu traditions, has its foundation in the Vedas .Under the name Shastras the following sacred books of hindus are included: Veda, Brahmana, Upanishad, Purana, Smrti,Sutra, Itihasa, Gita.
Devel- the God
In the Sanskrit language, the word देवल, Devala(2) means an „attendant upon an idol”, or “virtuous or pious man”. In other Romani dialects of Sinte/Kale Romani, we have the variant Duval, which is very close to the Sanskrit word Devala. We use the expression Devlikano manush – pious man, which is close to the Sanskrit language ideea.
Mister Selahetin Kruezi believes that the word Devala originates in semitic languages, which is a wrong ideea. He said:
„Many Roma and researchers believed that the word Devla, derived from the word Dela, indicating the state of giving and relate it with God who gives/provides, but we believe this statement not to be true as we have shown above where do these words come from and what do they indicate. We believe that God is the one who gives but also takes, therefore we may not consider only one aspect and omit the other.”
Indeed in India, God is called DENE WALA- the One who gives.
1-Charles G. Leland, The english gipsies and their language, Second Edition, LONDON, TRÜBNER & CO., 57 & 59 LUDGATE HILL 1874