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Pandanus is a biannual peer-reviewed international journal publishing original research papers in English on nature symbolism in Literature, Art, Myth and Ritual. It has a regional focus on South Asia but welcomes papers from other regions. The journal is the outcome of the Pandanus project, based at the Institute of South and Central Asian Studies, Seminar of Indian Studies, Philosophical Faculty, Charles University in Prague. Pandanus volumes started coming out in 1998 on an annual basis as a result of co-operation between three Universities ... please click here to read the full text of Pandanus Mission Statement.

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Pandanus '08/1: Nature in Literature, Art, Myth and Ritual.
Editor-in-chief: Jaroslav Vacek
Deputy Editor: Martin Hříbek
Members of the Editorial Board:
Giuliano Boccali (University of Milano, Italy)
Alexander Dubianski (University of Moscow, Russia)
Adalbert J. Gail (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany)
Oldřich Král(Charles University, Prague)
Dagmar Marková (Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)
Chettiarhodi Rajendran (University of Calicut, Kerala, India)
Danuta Stasik (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Lidia Sudyka (University of Krakow, Poland)
Eva Wilden (EFEO, Paris, France)
Reviewed by Prof. Gyula Woltilla (University of Szeged)
and Prof. Oldřich Král (Charles University, Prague)
Institute of South and Central Asian Studies, Seminar of Indian Studies
Philosophical Faculty, Charles University in Prague
Celetná 20, 116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic
Published by Triton
First edition, Praha (Prague) 2008
ISSN 1802-7997
(Registration number MK ČR) E 17677


  • Daniela Rossella: A new composition of the Dūtakāvya-genre: the Rathāṅgadūta
  • Tiziana Pontillo: The edible part of the rice in Mahābhāṣya imagery: What are the husks of rules? What is a-tantram?
  • Manjubhash Mitra: The world of vegetation, animals and birds in the poetry of Jībanānanda Dāś
  • Jiří Jákl: Trees and langö in the Old Javanese poems
  • Dagmar Marková: Tiger or were-tiger in a Hindi novella

Review section
  • Eva Wilden, Naṟṟiṇai. A Critical Edition and an Annotated Translation of the Naṟṟiṇai (Volumes I and II). Word Index of the Naṟṟiṇai (Volume III). (Soňa Bendíková)


A new composition of the Dūtakāvya-genre: the Rathāṅgadūta
Daniela Rossella, University of Potenza, Italy

The poetical composition that I present in its first translation into English is a dūta- or sandeśa-kāvya (“messenger” or “message” poem); it touchingly narrates the separation (vipralambha) between lovers. In the “cakravāka messenger” the sender of the message is a young bride troubled by the sudden disappearance of her beloved: in order to endure her suffering, and to understand why her man abandoned her, she entrusts various dūtas with the task of finding him, and reporting her plea to him. According to the rules of the “messenger-poems”, the lovers are separated by a misfortune: in our case, a mysterious and evil creature imprisoned the young man. While using the narrative structure and many of the typical themes of messenger poems, the Rathāṅgadūta also introduces some new motifs. In fact, in sending her message the sorrowful woman does not choose a single member of the natural world, but four (albeit natural) heralds: that is, the moon, a ruddy goose (i.e., a cakravāka or rathāṅga) a banyan tree – mistaking it for a yogin –, and a cloud. Thus, the Rathāṅgadūta shows that animals, plants and natural phenomena offer to the poets the opportunity of suggesting the sometimes impalpable, but in any case very significant, relationship that unites men and women in love with Nature. Along with the multiplicity of natural messengers, in the Rathāṅgadūta we appreciate other innovations: the imprisonment of the man by a monster, the absence of a foreseeable time of separation between the lovers, the woman’s despair – to the point that she resolves to do anumaraṇa –, and the intervention of a divine benefactor, who promotes the happy end of the story. Because of its special features, the Rathāṅgadūta could suggest that the dūtakāvya-genre would have found its origin both in the sacred and the profane spheres. Consequently, Nature, because of its strong relation with the religious and the secular, could strengthen its fundamental importance in Indian poetry and the Indian Weltanschauung.

The edible part of the rice in Mahābhāṣya imagery: What are the husks of rules? What is a-tantram?
Tiziana Pontillo, University of Cagliari, Italy

The grammarian Patañjali employs four times an image taken from the natural world to depict a specific kind of part-whole relationship which he considers relevant as far as the correct recognition of Pāṇini’s metalinguistic code is concerned and consequently the right application of some rules. Thus he manages to make understood how the essential sense of grammar sentences should be isolated from their complex form, singling out what is tantram in the rule.

The world of vegetation, animals and birds in the poetry of Jībanānanda Dāś
Manjubhash Mitra, Presidency College / Rabindra Bharati University / Netaji Open University, India

In Jībanānanda Dāś’s poetry we find extensive use of birds–animals–trees and creepers as symbol and imagery. This denotes the poet’s love of nature. But whereas Bibhūtibhūṣaṇ Bandyopādhyāẏ of Pather pā̃cāli fame loved nature for nature’s sake, Jībanānanda loves nature as a modernist should. He finds the conflict of his tortured self reflected in the language of nature – poems of Dhūsar pāṇḍulipi, Banalatā Sen and Rūpasī bāṅlā will support this view.

In the collection Banalatā Sen, city life and country life, the hideous and beautiful are subtly combined. Grass, paddy, banyan tree, betel nut tree, bamboo leaf, gourd, fig tree, mango tree, tamarind tree etc. in Jībanānanda’s work appear to create a world of vegetation which becomes a rich storehouse of poetry. The poet prefers yellow leaves of autumn to green leaves of spring as the former represents death and decay. Among birds and animals – owl, kite, rat, mice, duck, crow, leopard and deer are the poet’s favourite. Among insects he mentions firefly, grasshopper etc. To save the earth, we must save the birds, animals and trees – Jībanānanda’s poetry reflects this noble idea.

Trees and langö in the Old Javanese poems
Jiří Jákl, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Trees of various kinds played an important role in the kakawins, Old Javanese poems inspired by Sanskrit literature and respecting Sanskrit metrical requirements. Most of the plants were considered beautiful in classical Java and some of the trees were found by the poets particularly valuable in their quest for beauty. They helped the poets in attaining a trance-like state of rapture, called langö in Old Javanese. In the first part, the word langö, the most important term of Old Javanese aesthetics, is discussed. In the next part, several of those trees that are encountered with a rather high frequency in the Old Javanese literature are described and discussed.

Tiger or were-tiger in a Hindi novella
Dagmar Marková, Oriental Institute, Prague, Czech Republic

The novella “A deer-killer” by Gaṅgāprasād Vimal is the story of a researcher who seeks an ancient manuscript on “were-tigerology” in a remote Himalayan valley. The symbol of the were-tiger in the narrative is obvious – nobody is totally good or totally evil. The milieu of the story provides for a mysterious atmosphere. If the reader wishes to believe in were-tigers, he can interpret the strange incidents in any way he likes.

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