The two important social, cultural, religious, spiritual and philosophical institutions of Vedism or Hinduism are Ma?ha and Mandira. Ma?ha (monastery) and Mandira (temple) serve any of the above-mentioned purposes and play an important role as a place of worship for the Vaidika or Hindu societies. Mandira stands for religious importance whereas Ma?ha stands for traditional educational institution as well and in many cases for pilgrims’ hospitality (lodging, feeding, etc.) Both of them, monastery and temple, ‘may’ house a fixed (acala) or mobile (cala) idols (pratim?) for the worships and prayers of the community for contemplation purposes.
The common usage of the word ‘Mutt’ for Ma?ha (with diacritical underdot mark below, which annotates phonetical importance of cerebral char ‘?’) or even Matha (without diacritics) is not a ‘standard lemma’ semantically or lexically that refer to these institutions. Instead, the word ‘Mutt’ mutters meanings – “A dog, especially a mongrel.”, or “A stupid or incompetent person.” as lemmatised in standard lexicon, which derogatorily defame such important institutions making us unaware of the orthography and semantics of Indian languages. The word ?? Ma?ha/Matha/Math is lemmatised by couple of standard lexicon as “an order of Hindu monks – from the Sanskrit word ma?ha hut”.
Even the Vedic or Hindu institutions themselves and other Indian English writings including publicly read Indian dailies use the ‘Mutt’ tragically. This refers to a recent report published on a renowned newspaper regarding the Karnataka state Govt’s Muzrai Act amendment, sadly. This could be seriously looked into respecting the social and lingual sensitivities.
Some of the words may not be displayed correctly in the above article, here’s a photo of the same for greater clarity.
This article is contributed by Srinivasa Acharya. He can be contacted on email at [email protected] for further discussions on the topic!