The word Scandinavia is said to originate from the Sanskrit Skanda-Nabh, the name of a Vedic rishi or sage. James Tod writes in his ‘Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan’ that the greatest community of Scandinavia was Shiva Vanshi Yadhus. There are many words and names that have appeared in Icelandic which have their source in Sanskrit and a lot has been written about them.

Here is a look at just one name – ‘Reykjavik’, the capital and the largest city of Iceland. The name ‘Reykjavik’ translates as ‘Bay of Smoke’ from Icelandic, where ‘reykja’ means ‘smoke’ and ‘vik’ means ‘bay’. ‘Reykjavik’ is pronounced as ‘rekyavik’.

In Sanskrit, the word for ‘smoke’ is ‘RijIka’ (ऋजीक). That explains the first part of the word. The ‘vik’ in the name ‘Reykjavik’ may be a corruption of the Sanskrit ‘velika’ (वेलिका) which means ‘maritime country’ or a ‘country or land located on the sea-shore’ and ‘velA’ (वेला) means ‘seashore’. The Icelandic ‘vik’ meaning ‘bay’ seems to be a corruption of ‘velika’ with a dropped syllable. 

From the Sanskrit point of view, the entire country is a ‘velika’, i.e ‘a maritime country’ with many habitations on the sea coast.

One of the major rivers in Iceland is the Hvita, which means ‘white’ in Icelandic. It probably has the same source as the English ‘white’ which is the Sanskrit ‘shveta’ (श्वेत), though most etymological dictionaries trace its source to the Proto Indo European ‘kweit’. But then PIE is a language constructed by reverse engineering, and its existence therefore is not even conjecture.

There are many words in Icelandic which are derived from Sanskrit, such as ‘mjuoor’ (honey) from Sanskrit ‘madhu’ (मधु), ‘vermour’ (warm) from Sanskrit ‘gharma’ (घर्म) etc. In his book, ‘India in Greece’, Edward Pococke reiterates the view of Col. Tod that the Skanda-Nabhi of India, a seafaring warrior group settled in what is today known as Scandinavia. ‘Skanda’, also known as ‘Kartikeya’ is the Vedic god of war and Scandinavia gets its name from ‘Skanda’ himself.

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