|Pandanus ’13: Nature in Literature, Art, Myth and Ritual.
Volume 7, No. 1 (2013)
Special Issue to Commemorate
the 150th Birth Anniversary
of the Birth of
(December 23, 1863 – January 9, 1937)
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)
Daniele Feller (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
Adalbert J. Gail (Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany)
Oldřich Král (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic)
Dagmar Marková (Oriental Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)
Cinzia Pieruccini (University of Milano, Italy)
Tiziana Pontillo (University of Cagliari, Italy)
Chettiarthodi Rajendran (University of Calicut, Kerala, India)
Danuta Stasik (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Lidia Sudyka (Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Poland)
Anna Trynkowska (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Eva Wilden (EFEO, Paris, France)
Gyula Wojtilla (University of Szeged, Hungary)
Reviewed by Prof. Daniela Rossella (University of Potenza, Italy)
and Prof. Gyula Wojtilla (University of Szeged, Hungary)
English correction: Dr. Mark Corner, HUB University, Brussels
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
Publisher: Stanislav Juhaňák - TRITON
First edition, Praha (Prague) 2013
(Registration number of MK ČR) E 17677
Prof. Moriz Winternitz
- Address of His Excellency Mr. V. Ashok, Ambassador of India in Prague
- Address of Prof. MUDr. Jan Škrha, DrSc., MBA, Vice-Rector, Charles University
- Adalbert J. Gail: Moriz Winternitz – Indian literature spreads from Prague to the world
- Edeltraud Harzer: Moriz Winternitz as the father of the critical edition of the Mahābhārata
- Danielle Feller: Ecology in the Mahābhārata?
- Moreno Dore – Tiziana Pontillo: What do Vrātyas have to do with long-stalked plants? Darbha, kuśa, śara and iṣīkā in Vedic and Classical sources
- Chettiarthodi Rajendran: Untimely spring: Forbidden emotions in Kumārasambhava
- Hermina Cielas: The eight-petalled lotus flower pattern in Sanskrit figurative poetry. A study
- Lidia Sudyka: The gift-of-the-body motif in South Indian narrative tradition and art. The Śibi legend in Andhra
- Edeltraud Harzer: Nature images in Umāpatidhara’s poetry. A stone inscription of late medieval Sanskrit poetry
- Ewa Dębicka-Borek: Born in the mountains, living in a forest. Some remarks on Narasiṃha in Andhra with special reference to Ahobilam
- Adalbert J. Gail: Hayagrīva or the making of an avatāra
Reviews and Reports
- Signless Signification in Ancient India and Beyond. Ed. by Tiziana Pontillo & Maria Piera Candotti – Reviewed by Moreno DoreEva Wilden, Kuruntokai – A Critical Edition and an Annotated Translation of the Kuruntokai – Reviewed by Krishnaswamy Nachimuthu
- Frank Köhler, 2011, Kaví im Ṛgveda. Dichtung, Ritual und Schöpfung im frühvedischen Denken – Reviewed by Jaroslav Vacek
- Devadattīyam. Johannes Bronkhorst Felicitation Volume. Ed. by François Voegeli, Vincent Eltschinger, Danielle Feller, Maria Piera Candotti, Bogdan Diaconescu & Malhar Kulkarni – Annotated by Jaroslav Vacek
Ecology in the Mahābhārata?
Danielle Feller, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Website: Danielle Feller
Université de Lausanne
Faculté des lettres
Section de langues et civilisations slaves et de l'Asie du Sud (SLAS)
CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
This paper examines several narratives found in the Mahābhārata, dealing with topics which look remarkably similar to some of our modern ecological concerns: the massacre of the deer in the Dvaitavana, the quasi-total extermination of the nāgas, rākṣasas and kṣatriyas, as well as the problem of the earth’s overpopulation. It seeks to understand whether these passages do indeed betray something akin to our present-day ecological awareness, or if they rather address social and moral issues.
What do Vrātyas have to do with long-stalked plants?
Darbha, kuśa, śara and iṣīkā in Vedic and Classical sources
Moreno Dore, University of Turin / University of Cagliari, Italy
Tiziana Pontillo, University of Cagliari, Italy
Website: Tiziana Pontillo
Università di Cagliari
Facoltà di studi umanistici
Dipartimento di Filologia, Letteratura, Linguistica
Via Is Mirrionis, 1
09123 Cagliari, Italy
On the basis of recent contributions where different figures of Keśins are put in relation with the vrātya warrior/ ascetic, the present paper is an attempt to spot additional pieces of evidence of this connection. For this purpose almost 500 passages involving the plant names darbha, kuśa, śara and iṣīkā have been surveyed and analyzed, starting from the coincidence of the proper name Keśin Dālbhya with the first phytonym here listed. Furthermore, the epithet keśin has been put in relation with some realia on the vrātya, so that in the former part, a fresh interpretation of the ascetic imagery involved in ṚV 10.136 has been advanced while in the latter, through the study of the abhicāra usage of the reeds, the famous episode of Bhīṣma dying on his ‘bed of arrows’ (śaratalpa) is supposed as being the consequence of a specific ascetic and heroic aspiration to heaven.
Untimely spring: Forbidden emotions in Kumārasambhava
Chettiarthodi Rajendran, Calicut, Kerala, India
Kālidāsa’s descriptions of seasons are remarkable for the minute power of observation and the deep psychological insight they yield concerning human behaviour. The present paper will focus on the nature and implication of the description of the advent of Vasanta at an untimely hour as described by him in Kumārasambhava, in comparison with other descriptions of the same season by the poet himself. A close scrutiny of the description of spring in Kumārasambhava would lead us to the conclusion that the poet views any attempt to tamper with the natural order of the cosmos with apprehension. There is a surrealistic touch in the whole description which is not found in other places. Love poet as he is, Kālidāsa shows his subtle apprehension in the transgression of the sanctity of the sacred domain of penance. Probably, the rather unwarranted reference to the lack of fragrance in the karṇikāra flower, unusual in Kālidāsa symbolizes the whole advent of spring here, which was like a magical effect, a māyā created to beguile the god of destruction.
The eight-petalled lotus flower pattern in Sanskrit figurative poetry. A study
Hermina Cielas, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
ul. Podwale 7
31-118 Kraków, Poland
Nowadays the lotus flower has the status of the ‘national plant’ of India. Through the ages it became a very well known symbol characteristic of literature and visual arts of the area. The significance of the lotus in the culture of South Asia and related territories is indisputable. In order to gather some insight into the role of this symbol in literature, it is necessary to refer to mythology, religious traditions and iconography. In the case of figurative poetry, which will be the main focus of interest in the current article, it is impossible not to take into consideration the multiple denotation of the symbol used to create a pictorial stanza. Therefore, the present study is divided into two main parts: the first one provides a brief introduction to the significance of the lotus flower in Indian culture, and the second one discusses the lotus pattern in Sanskrit figurative poetry according to Agnipurāṇa and Bhoja’s Sarasvatīkaṇṭhābharaṇa.
The gift-of-the-body motif in South Indian narrative tradition and art.
The Śibi legend in Andhra
Lidia Sudyka, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
Website: Lidia Sudyka
ul. Podwale 7
31-118 Kraków, Poland
Indian narrative tradition is very rich in all kinds of stories showing the acts of gift-giving, a fact that reflects the importance of the idea of dāna in Indian culture. The gift-of-the-body tales constitute a very special issue, often connected with the concept of kingship. One of the best known among them is the legend of King Śibi. There are different variants of the tale to be found in jātakas, avadānas, in the Mahābhārata, etc. and it is quite frequently depicted in paintings or reliefs. An interesting example is provided by the Kapoteśvara Temple myth. The temple is located in Andhra Pradesh and can be dated back to the first centuries of CE.
Nature images in Umāpatidhara’s poetry. A stone inscription of late medieval Sanskrit poetry
Edeltraud Harzer, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Website: Edeltraud Harzer
University of Texas at Austin
Department of Asian Studies
120 Inner Campus Dr Stop G9300
WCH 4.134 Austin
Texas 78712-1251, USA
Umāpatidhara, a court poet at the Sena court of East Bengal in the 11/12 century CE, is known to some from having been mentioned in Jayadeva’s Gītagovinda I,4 (cf. Stoler Miller 1977, I.3). Individual poems of his have been collected into several well-established anthologies. Umāpatidhara’s poems in inscriptions, on stone and on copper plates are more scattered. There is no independent work in his name extant. On a single stone inscription (the Deopāḍā Stone Inscription of Vijayasena, ca. 1096–1159), once belonging to a temple no longer in existence, there are thirty-six poems intended as a panegyric for a Sena king. This paper focuses on several poems from that inscription notable for their use of expressions relating to nature. The translations of select poems employed as examples are intended to be accessible to the contemporary reader of literature and not only for scholarly scrutiny. This small study is part of a larger endeavour of encompassing the study and translation of all the poems of the stone slab inscription.
Born in the mountains, living in a forest. Some remarks on Narasiṃha in Andhra with special reference to Ahobilam
Ewa Dębicka-Borek, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland / University of Cagliari, Italy
Website: Ewa Dębicka-Borek
ul. Podwale 7
31-118 Kraków, Poland
The aim of this paper is to analyze the strategies of joining the vana (a wild, forested space with its inhabitants) and the kṣetra (an inhabited space with settled agriculture) in the area of Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh. The “divine integrator” (Sontheimer 1987, p. 147) of this particular place is Narasiṃha, the Man-Lion deity, who thanks to his animal features undoubtedly spoke to the imagination of the local hunter-gatherer Chenchu tribe. Further, the strategy aiming at integration of local communities with an advanced society seems to involve projecting the elements of the recognized Narasiṃha’s myth onto the components of the natural surrounding of Ahobilam: its inhabitants, forests, hills, mountains etc.
Hayagrīva or the making of an avatāra
Adalbert J. Gail, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Website: Adalbert J. Gail
Freie Universität Berlin,
Abteilung Kunstgeschichte Südasiens
14195 Berlin, Germany
The origin of the Hayagrīvāvatāra can be found in the idea of the submarine fire. The Mahābhārata, Śāntiparvan 335, seems to be the oldest text that turns Viṣṇu into that horse-headed figure destined to save the Vedas from the demons Madhu and Kaiṭabha. The Viṣṇudharmottara I,32 adds important hydrological observations. The Bhāgavata II,7,11 goes a step further and declares the avatāra Viṣṇu-Hayagrīva (replacing Brahmā) as the creator of the Vedas.
Although Viṣṇu-Hayagrīva was already depicted in the Kuṣāṇa period (2nd/3rd century AD), he was not accepted as one of the ten basic avatāras. Images of Hayagrīva are comparatively rare. In many regions of India they seem to be missing completely. The main area of Hayagrīva worship appears to be Karṇāṭaka.
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