Sanskrit and Russian: Ancient kinship

Sanskrit and Russian: Ancient kinship

A Sanskrit manuscript. Source:

When was the last time you had a shot of vodka? Well, next time you have one, remember that this Russian word has its origins in the Vedic Sanskrit word for water – udaka.

The classical Sanskrit word for water is jal and is familiar to most Indians. But the fact that the Russian word for water voda is closer to the Vedic Sanskrit word points to the close – and ancient – kinship between the two languages.

While it is commonly known that both languages belong to the Indo-European family of languages, most people believe the relation between Russian and Sanskrit is as distant as that between Persian and Sanskrit or Latin and Sanskrit. Linguist and author W.R. Rishi writes in his book ‘India & Russia: Linguistic & Cultural Affinity’ that Russian and Sanskrit share a deeper connection.

According to Rishi, the relation between these two languages is very close and correspondence between these two languages is so minute that it cannot be attributed to mere chance. “The facts…lead us to conclude that during some period of history the speakers of Sanskrit and Russian lived close together.”

Rishi points to another feature of the Indo-European languages – the power to form compounds of various words. Such compounds have been carried on from Indo-European to Greek, Sanskrit and Old Church Slavonic.
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St Petersburg’s illustrious Sanskrit connections

The origin of the Russian word gorod (Old Slavonic grad) meaning ‘city’ can also be traced. In ancient Russia and in India the cities were built to serve as forts for protection and defence against aggression from an enemy. The corresponding word in Hindi is gadh which means ‘fort’. In modern Russian the suffix grad and in modern Hindi the suffix gadh are used to form names of cities: such as Leningrad (the city of Lenin), Peterograd (the city of Peter) and Bahadurgarh (the city of the brave).

The two languages have two broad similarities. One, Russian is the only European language that shares a strong common grammatical base with Sanskrit.

Secondly, both Russian and Sanskrit are pleasing to the ear. The very name ‘Sanskrit’ means carefully constructed, systematically formed, polished and refined. Colonial era linguist William Jones wrote: “Sanskrit language is of a wonder structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.”

Admirers of Russian are equally liberal with their praise. In a lecture at London University in March 1937, philologist and linguist N.B. Japson said: “It is nevertheless a matter of common experience that a person completely ignorant of Russian, who for the first time hears the language spoken by a native, will voluntarily exclaim: “Why, how melodious Russian sounds.” Novelist Ivan Turgenev wrote: “But it is impossible to believe that a language was not given to a great people.”

Linguist S. Zharnikova writes in Science & Life: “There are many Russian names and words in Russian the origin of which can easily be traced with the help of the Sanskrit language. For example, it is linguistically possible to find traces of the name of the Russian river Volga. Herodotus calls this river by the name of Oaros which can be best explained with the help of the purely Sanskrit word var meaning water.”

What explains the similarities? Vedic Sanskrit was spoken as late as 300 BCE but its antiquity may stretch back thousands of years from that date. Russian may either be the result of ancient Indians taking their language and culture from the banks of the Saraswati river to the banks of the Ob. The discovery of Shiva statues in Central Asia and Russia points to the spread of Hindu culture far beyond the Indian heartland.
Kharma Bhoomi
Read section: Karma Bhoomi

There is the other conjecture that Vedic Sanskrit was introduced to India by blond Aryans who originated from southern Russia. This idea is popular with Europeans, including Russians, despite clear evidence that the current belief in an Aryan invasion of India was the result of a body of lies developed by English and German scholars.

While DNA evidence is gradually chipping away at the notion that Aryans brought civilisation to India, scholars such as Shrikant Talageri have analysed the Vedic texts and showed how the older books talk about places in eastern India whereas the later ones provide descriptions of the geography of northwestern India. This can only mean one thing: the ancient Indians moved into Central Asia and perhaps then on to Europe.

While it may take decades to settle the issue one way or the other, it is a fact that Vedic Hindu civilisation was spread over a great area. According to Bulgarian linguist Vladimir Georgiev, geographical names are the most important source for determining how a group of people acquire their ethnicity. This can originate through a process of self-identification or it could be the result of outside identification.

Georgiev says the most stable – or longstanding – names are that of rivers. “But in order to preserve the names it is necessary to maintain the continuity of the population, transmitting these names from generation to generation. Otherwise, new people may come and give it their own name,” he says.

Georgiev illustrates that in 1927 a detachment of geologists “discovered” the highest mountain in the Urals. The mountain was called Narada by the local population, and interestingly the ancient Indian epics describe the great sage Narada as living in the north. But since it was the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution, the geologists decided to mark the event and rename the mountain as Narodnoy – or People. And that’s what it is now called in all geographic references and on all maps.
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Time travels: Scripting the wonder called India

Luckily, many other words remain unchanged. Russian scientist and academician AI Sobolewski provides a list of Russian water bodies with Sanskrit names. In his article ‘The Names of the Rivers and Lakes of the Russian North’, he gives the names of the following rivers and lakes: Vaja (from vaja – strength), Valga (from Valgu – simple), Ira (a refreshing drink), Karak (karaka – water jar), Cala (black), Lala (lal – play), Padma (lotus), Punk (silt), Sagara (ocean), Sarah (sara – juice), Sukhona (suhana – easy) and Harina (goose).

The uncanny similarities between Sanskrit and Russian clearly indicate a close kinship between the two nations in the distant past. That could explain why Indians and Russians get along so easily compared with any other nation. For, both nations are sisters under the skin. As the science of language and DNA studies progress, more secrets will tumble out, providing us a better picture of the past.

Russian Sanskrit English
Naš Nas Ours
Svoi Sva One’s own
Ty Tvam Thou
Tebya Tva Thou
Brov Bhuru Brow
Dever Dever Brother in law
Govorit Gavati To speak
Grabit’ Grabhati To seize, loot
Griva Griva Neck
Krov Kravya Blood
Myaso Mansa Flesh
Zhizn’ Jivana Life
Nosorog Nasasringa Rhinoceros
Okhotnik Akhetika Hunter
Nebo Nabhas Sky
Veter Vata Wind
Gora Giri Mountain
Bog Bhaga God
Pochitaniye Pujan Worship
Noch Nakta Night
Ogon Agni Fire
Dver Dvara Door
Soyuz Samyoga Union
The opinion of the writer may not necessarily reflect the position of RIR.
Related articles

The hidden meaning of Russian writers’ surnames
The untranslatable ‘poshlost’
Russian expressions based on geography

published by: Rossiyskaya Gazeta

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This blog is to encorporate discussions on Lost Continents, Catastrophism, The origin of Modern Humans and the Out of Africa theory, Genetics and Human Diversity, The Origin and Spread of Civilization and Cultural Diffusion across the face of the Globe.

Deluge of Atlantis

Friday, December 30, 2011

Guest Blogger Jayasree Saranathan

Jayasree sent a copy of this to me about a week ago and gave me permission to reprint it here. Unfortunately my computer has not been cooperating lately and I tried to cut and paste it three times, but failed to get everything in the article posted. Today was the fourth time, and it worked.  Initially, I was interested in the mention of the Wooly Mammoths in Southern Siberia which he indicated (Airavatha Varsha, below) But also I was interested in several other matters including the fact that Charles Hapgood had mentioned the Veddic peoples had originally come from a polar region in an appendix to Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. And actually there is a theory that the Uralic languages of Russia and Central Asia are related to the Dravidians of Southern India, and the Veda people there. And if that was not enough it is a well-known fact that the Southern Siberian Scythians or Sakas and the “White Huns”settled widely in NW India at about the time of the Roman Empire and subsequently moved back North again with a culture much influenced by India and using an Indian alphabet and artistic styles, and recolonized up into Turkestan, Mongolia and even the Lake Baikhal region. So the peoples in these areas were not unknown to each other in ancient times. And so I shall let Jayasree have his say on the matter now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why ban Gita when Russia has a Vedic past?

Have ever the Russians searched for their roots? This question came into my mind when I read the reports of the case in a Siberian court seeking a ban on Bhagawad Gita on the grounds that it is an extremist- literature. It is ironical that a country which has had a very long past in Vedic living until the 8th century AD should have completely forgotten its past and its roots and given room for controversies such as the one that is seen now. Compared to them we in India seem to fare better in retaining the memory of our past and retrieving whatever is possible.
I wish the day comes soon when Russians start digging their vast stretches in Siberia and find out that their past goes upto 40,000 years backwards and they were more Vedik  than anyone at that time! I may sound absurd, but that is the inference from numerous narrations in Hindu scriptures – now supported by genetic studies.
Starting from the distant past, the entire Eurasian continent was divided into 3 regions according to Mahabharatha. 
The huge circle in the above diagram shows the extent of “Sudharshana Dweepa” where the rule of Sanatan Dharma was in place.
It had Bharath in the South (rectangle area in the bottom of this picture) with
Hemakuta or Himalayas in its northern limits,
an intermediary Ilavarsha to the north of Himalayas (noted in dark red square in the middle) and
a vast Airavatha varsha in extreme north of the Sudharshana dweepa.
Most of Russia is covered by Airavatha varsha.
Airavatha is the name of the elephant of Indra, the titular king of the Devas.
The Deva territory is close to the North pole where there was sunlight continuously for 6 months and darkness continuously for 6 months.  The elephant, Airavatha  in all probability was the Woolly mammoth which became extinct about 10,000 years ago.
This time period coincides with the last time we hear about Indra form our scriptures. It was when Indra and Devas lost their lands and were dispersed. Indra’s son was caught and imprisoned by Surapadma who belonged to the Southern most part of the world.
From the accounts of Skanda purana, we come to know that Skanda secured the release of Indra’s son, Jayantha and killed Sura padma.  Skanda described in this purana coincides with Ugra kumara born to Meenakshi and Sundareswara who started the first Sangam assemblage in the South-Madurai (Then-Madurai) in Deep South about 11,000 years ago. The details of how this figure was arrived at would require another post and hence I am proceeding with the current topic. Those who read Tamil can read the details in my Tamil blog.
The above classification of Eurasia existed 10,000 years ago. Before the last glaciation, the territory near north pole was very much habitable. The locations called Amaravathy, capital city of Devas and Uttar Kuru existed in Siberia.
Uttar kuru means the land of Kuru (a clan) settled in the North. They were the early settlers much before Mahabharatha times (which was about 5000 years ago.) The men and women of that territory were said to have led a free life and mingled with each other as they wished. The probable reason could have been procreation which was minimal owing to climatic conditions that existed there.
The route to Uttarkuru and Deva territories is explained in Valmiki Ramayana through the narration of Shugreeva who detailed the places to be seen and searched to find out Seetha  in the north of Bharath. (Valmiki Ramayana -4-43) Once having crossed the vast Himalayas, he describes a pure-water  lake called Vaikhanas where sages used to do penance. This coincides with Lake Baikal.
He also describes the presence of a river in the north of this lake called Shailodha which had very cold waters. The sages used to cross this river at a place using the woods of a tree called Keechaka which makes sound like bamboo when wind blows. This coincides with river Angara.
                                                    River Angara.
Today there is a place called Kichera in Baikal – resembling Keechaka –  which is crossed using the woods of a tree.
According to Ramayana description, Uttar Kuru was in the North of Vaikhanas (Lake Baikal). Sages like Yajnavalkya spent their vanaprastha days near Vaikhanas.  This area was habitable before the last glaciation and it has been proved by Milankovitch cycles that  heat and cold were experienced in extreme North and Extreme South of the earth alternatingly,  once in 41,000 years.
Not only Vaikhanas (Baikal) the entire region of Russia had the presence e of Rishis (sages). There is an opinion that the name Russia was derived from Rishi varsha.  There is a mention of Rishi varsha in scriptures which goes well with this region. The presence of Devas  in this part of the globe in a distant past had attracted  sages to this place. We have a number of references in Puranas of sages going to the Deva territory. Perhaps their overwhelming presence gave the name Rishi varsha which later became Russia.

There is yet another root to the name Russia as being derived from the olden name of Volga river. Volga was called as  ‘rasa’ or ‘rosa’. People think that it is derived from the Persian word ‘rana’ or ‘ra’. But this word ‘rasa’ is a straight Sanskrit word meaning essence, juice, nectar, elixir, soup, love, the finest part of anything and so on. This name perfectly fits with the river of fine water quality From the river’s name Rasa, the name Russia was derived.  
Volga’s tributary is called  as ‘Oka’. People connect it with the Latin Aqua which means water, whereas the root word Apa ins again a straight Sanskrit word meaning the same. From Apa comes ‘aapa-saras’ the  waterway and from that ‘apsaras’ the beautiful girls who enjoy playing in the aapa-saras. This region of Russia was identified with Apsaras women. Menaka, Urvasi, Thiloththama etc were all apsara women who were known to have seduced men.
Another tributary of Volga is known by a name which is very familiar to any Hindu. It is river ‘Moksha’ which means salvation in Sanskrit.  There is another tributary nearer to this Moksha called as “Mokswa”. Moscow got its name from Mokswa because of its location on the banks of this river!
Moksha is also the name of an old language spoken in this area. Today not many speak this language. But the customs of the people who spoke Moksha language are Vedic – in that they had worshiped Indra  and Vayu!!
A strong connection to Vedism was recently unearthed in Siberia near Kazaksthan.  Nearly  20 sites have been found out to have housed circular habitations resembling Vedic life.
An important site is the one in Arkaim which is located in the confluence of two rivers called Karakanga and Utya-kanga. These names sound like Ganga!
It was a practice in ancient times to name the major river of a region as Ganga and the major mountain peak as Meru. We find Meru and Ganga in many land forms (varshas) in the narration of Sanjaya in Bheeshma parva. The interesting g information is that the local people think these rivers are sacred and have healing properties. This perhaps led to the naming of these rivers as Ganga.  One must know that people of Bharath and the sages were globetrotting from times immemorial. The location of Uttar kuru as well as the location of important cities in the four directions of earth were mentioned in Surya Siddhantha and later repeated by Bhaskaracharya in Siddhantha Shiromani.
Arkaim has all the trappings of a Vedic system. The name itself sounds like Arka, the name of the Sun. Arka, the sun has healing properties. There is a tree called Arka which is used in Ayurvedic medicine .
The Arkaim site contains swastika signs and other symbols of Vedic rites. Swastika is derived from the word swasth which means getting healed. This site is dated at 4500 BP
Details of this site can be read here.
This site falls in the route described in Mahabharatha.
In the following picture, Lahore was the kingdom of Lava, son of Rama.
Peshawar was the kingdom of Pushkalavathy ruled by Pushkala, son of Bharatha.
These two cities were established during the reign of Rama, the son of Dasaratha. These cities are in the route to Kekaya, today’s Kazaksthan which was the maternal land of Kaikeyi, mother of Bhratha. One has to cross river Chakshus to reach Kekaya.  This river is now known as Oxus . It is shown in blue colour in this picture.
After crossing Oxus, there are 2 routes. The right side route takes to Arkaim (Chelyabinsk Oblast).
Further east from Arkaim takes one to Uttar Kuru.
Arjuna took the route to Uttar Kuru from Samara in this picture.
The left side route after crossing Oxus takes one to Samara which was known as Sthree Rajya in Hindu texts and as Straya Maina today!
From Sthree Rajya (samara) Moscow can be reached.
Sthree Rajya is a frequent name seen in our scriptures.
It was dominated by women – due to which it got the name Sthree Rajya – the land of women or dominated by women.  They were supposed to seduce men and lead a free life.
Varaha mihira has mentioned this place as one of the countries surrounding Bharatha varsha.
Vatsyanana also has mentioned about Sthree Rajya in the context of “Grama naari vishayam” where he has said that the women of Sthree Rajya  were free to have sex with a any man they liked.
Bhattasmin , the commentator for Artha sastra also has talked about SthreRajya as a country abounding in luxurious artilces and happiness.
In Mahabharatha also, the name of this place is mentioned. The king of this country called ‘Srungi’ attended a Swayamvar (self choice of groom) in Kalinga.
Much later in history, the Kashmiri king, Lalithaadhitya Muthapeeda of Karkoda lineage  (AD 724 to AD 760) conquered Sthree Rajya and established there a temple for Narahari (Vishnu). This information can be found in Raja Tarangini of Kalhana.  After winning Sthree Rajya he went to Uttar Kuru. This king did not yield to the  lure of the beauty of the women of SthreeRajya and hence earned a name “Indriyakraaman”.
His grand son, Jayapeeda also had gone to Sthree Rajya and established his rule.
What is of interest to us is the discovery of a statue of Vishnu in Staraya Maina (in Samara)
Pic courtesy from the following link uploaded by a Russian woman.
This statue was dated at 8th century AD, the same period when Lalithadhitya Mukthapeeda established a Vishnu temple in Sthree Rajya.  From this it can be known that today’s Straya Maina was the Sthree Rajya of olden days.
The following picture shows the different places through which the  people of ancient Bharat traveled to Russia and Uttar Kuru.
With all these Vedic connections, it is sad to note that Russians have not yet woken up to their past.
The names of Russians also  bear resemblance to Vedik names mentioned so far.
 Kurushev is a common name in that country, reminding Uttra Kuru connection.
The name of the Russian  President Medvedev has two names resembling Vedic connection Dev and Ved!
Paramacharya of Kanchi brought to our notice that Russians indeed followed Vedic ways. In Vedic way of expressing one’s place, the method is to express the biggest unit and the go in steps to the smaller units. That is, if one were to express one’s location, one has to mention the country, then state, then the city and so on. This method is still followed in Russia. This is the method followed in Sankalpa mantras in all Vedik rituals – but forgotten in material life by us.
Before ending this post let me tell about Lopamudra, the wife of sage Agasthya was said to have belonged to Uttra Kuru. She had penned a few verses in Rig Veda which are of the nature of pangs of separation of a love-struck lady. The name Lopamudra sounds like a familiar name of Russia of today – Ludmila which means ‘lover of people’. It is no wonder that Agasthya was suspicious of Lopamudra’s fidelity which is narrated in the commentary to Tholkappiyam in Tamil by Nacchinaarkiniyar.
With so much of Vedik connection to Russia, it is laughable that they are scared of Bhagawad Gita!



    The swastika is one of the oldest sacred symbols distributed worldwide. You’ll find it as ornament in Sumer as a sign written in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, and even in Egypt, Troy, Scythia, Tibet, China, Pliska, Bulyar (Volga Bulgaria), Finland and even Dokolumbova America. Because of the Sumerian civilization is seen as the first, it is assumed that appropriate for the first time in the world swastika appeared there.
    This scientific opinion, however, have fundamentally revised after the latest discovery in the area of ​​Starazagorskite Neolithic dwellings where historical strata dating VI – IV century BC. These are unequivocally and categorically clear image of a swastika! Obviously Chalcolithic people here in Thrace are known swastika nearly 2 000 years earlier than the Sumerians! A long the way to the museum in the Neolithic dwellings are kept on the typeface and ceramics depicting schematically maze, in this case also we can determine the most ancient in the world at the moment.


  2. Thank you for the remark about the swastikas. I was apprehensive that publishing the article might draw criticism from small-minded people that diod not know the Nazis used an old and universal symbol as a tie to the powerful and widespread traditions of the ancient past.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


  3. The swastika is still used in Vietnam to indicate pharmacies. It is the symbol for health also. What a lovely article. Thank you. The next question of course is where did the original Vedik traditions come from?


  4. More developments on that score are following this piece. Incidentally, Jayasree and I have a slight difference of opinion on that matter which we have both agreed to disagree upon. My opinion is that since the Veddic texts describe arctic conditions, the descriptions of arctic conditions were conveyed by Uralic peoples, who left their linguistic fingerprints on the Tamil-relatted languages of the Indus valley. The Uralics get as close to the North Pole as anybody can get and still be on land, at the Tamyr peninsula.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


  5. vruz celebrations in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Navruz, an ancient holiday marking the spring equinox, is widely celebrated across Central Asia MAP,0.jpg&imgrefurl= Kazakh Archeologists Discover Ancient Scythian “Sun Lord” Juy 19, 2010 – 1:30am, by Joanna Lillis Archeologists in Kazakhstan have discovered the grave of a gold-clad ancient Scythian warrior who has already earned himself a nickname: “The Sun Lord.” Researchers uncovered the find in a Scythian grave consisting of seven burial mounds in Karaganda Region east of the capital, Astana. The opulence of the warrior’s burial indicates that he was a leader as well as a fighter, expedition leader Arman Beysenov explained. “He was probably a ruler and a warrior simultaneously,” Beysenov said in remarks quoted by the Kazinform news agency on July 16. “The person’s torso was entirely covered with gold. The figure of a leader like this was associated with the sun. He was a sort of ‘sun lord.’” The warrior was likely buried in the 4th or 5th century BC in a grave that was actually discovered half a century ago, though excavation work only started last year. Robbers had looted the grave in ancient times, Beysenov said, but it still contained quite a horde of ancient treasure. One of the burial mounds alone yielded 130 gold objects that included the figure of a feline predator, pendants and parts of sword belts. Archeologists also found hundreds of gold beads and 14 bronze arrowheads in the grave. Inevitably, the archeological discovery is being trumpeted as comparable to that of the Golden Man, found in the Issyk burial mound just outside Kazakhstan’s commercial capital, Almaty, in 1969. The Golden Man, who’s believed to have been a young Scythian prince who lived in the 4th or 5th century BC, was interred wearing some 4,000 gold ornaments. He has become a national symbol — the image of the Golden Man, with his trademark conical gold headdress, decorates the monument to independence on Almaty’s Republic Square, and in 2006 President Nursultan Nazarbayev unveiled a statue of him outside the Kazakh Embassy in Washington. The original is on display at Almaty’s Museum of Gold. Archeologists are now hoping that their digs in eastern Kazakhstan will reveal more information about the glorious “Sun Lord,” the latest find from the Scythian past.Sayram

    Sayram (Kazakh: Сайрам, Persian: اسپیجاب, UniPers: “Espījāb”) is a city located in southeastern South Kazakhstan Province on the Sayram Su river, which rises at the nearby 4000 meter mountain Sayram Su.
    Archaeology in Central Asia is still emerging. There have been some finds made in Sayram while it was in the Soviet Union. Notable among them are evidence of an early plumbing system like the kinds found in Samarqand and other cities of the early Persian empires.


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A few years ago a Russian orientalist by name Prof. Ribakov from Moscow went to Kanchi to have the darshan and receive the blessings of the late Kanchi Paramacharya. The Paramacharya asked the Russian professor: “Does not the northernmost part of Russia have more Sanskrit content in the language?” The professor was stunned. This scholar, who came to ask questions, shed tears of joy at the very sight of the Paramacharya and was dumbfounded at the depth of his scholarship.

The Paramacharya further explained to the Russian that Russia was called `Rishi Varsha’ in ancient Indian geography, because it was the land where our Rishis like sage Yagnavalkya had their conference on the Vedas. This could further be corroborated by the fact that some women in the northernmost point of Russia have names like Lopamudrova, which is stunningly close to Lopamudra, wife of sage Agastya.

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This blog has been started on 24th May 2010.


Ancient Vishnu idol found in Russian town

PTI, 4 January 2007, 11:09am IST|

MOSCOW: An ancient Vishnu idol has been found during excavation in an old village in Russia’s Volga region, raising questions about the prevalent view on the origin of ancient Russia.

The idol found in Staraya (old) Maina village dates back to VII-X century AD. Staraya Maina village in Ulyanovsk region was a highly populated city 1700 years ago, much older than Kiev, so far believed to be the mother of all Russian cities.

“We may consider it incredible, but we have ground to assert that Middle-Volga region was the original land of Ancient Rus. This is a hypothesis, but a hypothesis, which requires thorough research,” Reader of Ulyanovsk State University’s archaeology department Dr Alexander Kozhevin told state-run television Vesti .

Dr Kozhevin, who has been conducting excavation in Staraya Maina for last seven years, said that every single square metre of the surroundings of the ancient town situated on the banks of Samara, a tributary of Volga, is studded with antiques.

Prior to unearthing of the Vishnu idol, Dr Kozhevin has already found ancient coins, pendants, rings and fragments of weapons.

He believes that today’s Staraya Maina, a town of eight thousand, was ten times more populated in the ancient times. It is from here that people started moving to the Don and Dneiper rivers around the time ancient Russy built the city of Kiev, now the capital of Ukraine.

An international conference is being organised later this year to study the legacy of the ancient village, which can radically change the history of ancient Russia.

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