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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 ’14: Nature in Literature, Art, Myth and Ritual
Volume 8, No. 1 (2014)

 
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)
 
English correction: Dr. Mark Corner (HUB University, Brussels, Belgium)
 
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
http://iu.ff.cuni.cz
Publisher: Stanislav Juhaňák - TRITON
http://www.triton-books.cz
ISSN 1802-7997
(Registration number of MK ČR) E 17677
 

Contents
  • Cinzia Pieruccini: Gardens and parks of ancient India and the poetics of Aśvaghoṣa
  • Adalbert J. Gail: Kr̥ṣṇa on the banyan leaf (vaṭa-patra-śayana)
  • Paola M. Rossi: Poetry, nature and Meditation in the Vessantarajātaka
  • Nora Melnikova: The law of nature and practices leading to its realization in S.N. Goenka’s Vipassanā and in the oldest Buddhist texts
  • Mariola Pigoniowa: Some words denoting light, splendour and brightness in Kālidāsa’s poems
  • Petr Duda: Ritual and Aesthetics – A search for analogies in pūjā and kāvya

Reports and Reviews
  • Karen WEISSENBORN, 2012, Buchkunst aus Nālandā. Die Aṣṭasāharikā Pāramitā-Handschrift in der Royal Asiatic Society / London (Ms. Hodgson 1) und ihre Stellung in der Pāla-Buchmalerei des 11./12. Jahrhunderts. Ed. B. Kellner, H. Krasser, H. Tauscher. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, Heft 77. Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien Universität Wien – Reviewed by Adalbert J. Gail
  • CEENIS Current Research Series. Vol. 1. Edited by Danuta Stasik and Anna Trynkowska. Elipsa, Warsaw 2013 ‒ Reviewed by Cinzia Pieruccini
  • Marciniak, Katarzyna, 2014, Studia nad Mahāvastu: sanskryckim tekstem buddyjskiej szkoły mahasanghików-lokottarawadinów (Studies on the Mahāvastu: the Sanskrit Text of the Buddhist School of Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravāda). Research Centre of Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw – Annotated by Nora Melnikova
 

Summaries

Gardens and parks of ancient India and the poetics of Aśvaghoṣa
Cinzia Pieruccini, University of Milan, Italy

Email: cinzia.pieruccini@unimi.it
Website: Cinzia Pieruccini
Postal address:
Università degli Studi di Milano
Dipartimento Studi Letterari, Filologici e Linguistici
Sezione di Glottologia e Orientalistica
via Festa del Perdono 7
20122 Milano, Italy

After a brief overview on the studies conducted so far on historical Indian gardens, and some remarks on the association of the garden with Paradise in India and elsewhere, the paper focuses on famous passages of Aśvaghoṣa’s poems: the depiction of the park of Kapilavāstu in the Buddhacarita, and the visit to Indra’s heavenly garden of the Saundarananda, taking into account related sources. While in the Buddhacarita an earthly park with its courtesans/apsarases evokes an image of heaven, in the Saundarananda the poet appears, on the one side, to have given literary substance to Indra’s garden and its erotic allure, on the other to have chosen, for this garden, an imagery of ‘nature’ mirroring the paradises of Mahāyāna Buddhism.


Kr̥ṣṇa on the banyan leaf (vaṭa-patra-śayana)
Adalbert J. Gail, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Email: adalbert.gail@googlemail.com
Website: Adalbert J. Gail
Postal address:
Freie Universität Berlin,
Kunsthistorisches Institut
Abteilung Kunstgeschichte Südasiens
Koserstr. 20
14195 Berlin, Germany

The Mahābhārata reports that the r̥ṣi Mārkaṇḍeya, a cirajīvin par excellence, has survived many eons (kalpa). After the deluge of the last doomsday (pralaya) he discovers Kr̥ṣṇa as a boy, floating on a banyan branch in the vast ocean. Then he enjoys a spectacular vision: the whole earth in the lord’s body.
The Bhāgavata-Purāṇa, following the South Indian Āḻvārs, presents Kr̥ṣṇa as a sweet baby that flounders on a banyan leaf. The text doubts Mārkaṇḍeya’s ability to survive many destructions of the universe. The narrator Śaunaka soberly ascertains that Mārkaṇḍeya was born in the contemporaneous eon. This statement, however, turns the whole story into a phantasmagoria in accordance with the illusionistic-monistic philosophy of that text.
Kr̥ṣṇa on the banyan leaf can also be considered as a parody of Viṣṇu’s cosmic appearance on the serpent Śeṣa/Ananta.
The Brahmapurīśvara temple, between Thañjāvūr and Kumbakoṇam, a masterpiece of the early Col̥as (10th century CE), exhibits a beautiful image of Kr̥ṣṇa vaṭa-patra-śayana (Figs. 9–10). Between Brahmā, the god of creation, and dancing Śiva, the god of destruction, Kr̥ṣṇa often coloured blue by the priest lies on the leaf.


Poetry, nature and meditation in the Vessantarajātaka
Paola M. Rossi, University of Milan, Italy

Email: Paola.Rossi@unimi.it
Website: Paola M. Rossi
Postal address:
Università degli Studi di Milano
Dipartimento Studi Letterari, Filologici e Linguistici
Sezione di Glottologia e Orientalistica
via Festa del Perdono 7
20122 Milano, Italy

The article proposes an interpretation of the verse portions included in the Vessantarajātaka. The majority of the gāthās refer to nature, through both denotative and connotative modes. In particular, four long sequences seem to be eminently descriptive and catalogical, but concomitantly they picture nature as an idyllic and fabulous reality. The question is whether such poetry complies with symbolical intents, conferring the meaning “other” on the text, or whether it must be considered a mere aesthetic exercise, besides the Vessantara story. Taking into account the fact that this story is narrated in the form of a Buddhist jātaka, it is possible to hypothesize a Buddhist “point of view”. Idyllic and catalogical poetry can be a sample of paradoxical poetry based on devices such as phonetic play, pun, antiphrasis, double-meaning. They turn the text into a net of manifold meaning. It is precisely reality as it actually is, with no “other” value: according to Buddhist doctrine reality is a fluid core of intrinsically impermanent beings. Therefore such poetry can be related to meditative practices leading to the attainment of awareness of reality as it is, that is to say to “liberating insight”.


The law of nature and practices leading to its realization in S.N. Goenka’s Vipassanā and in the oldest Buddhist texts
Nora Melnikova, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

Email: melnnor@gmail.com
Postal address:
Masaryk University
Faculty of Arts
Department for the Study of Religions
Arna Nováka 1/1
602 00 Brno, Czech Republic

The aim of this paper is to examine the meditation practices of modernized Theravāda traditions, ones that put extraordinary emphasis on the practice of meditation in relationship to the old texts the meditation teachers often refer to. To achieve this purpose, the paper describes the meditation practices of an example of a modernized Theravāda tradition, the Vipassanā meditation school of S.N. Goenka, which is according to Goenka the only way to attain insight into the real nature of things, “the law of nature”, resulting in nibbāna. It also briefly mentions the meditation practices of other meditation teachers, especially those of Goenka’s lineage. It discusses the modern concept of meditation and the new role the meditation practices started playing in modern society. It draws attention to the character of the ancient sources of practices leading to nibbāna and to the information they contain, and designs a brief sketch of practices leading to nibbāna in the oldest Buddhist texts (Suttapitaka and Vinayapitaka). Finally, it draws a conclusion about the relationship between the ancient practices leading to nibbāna, as far as we are able to make assumptions about them, and the methods that are used in the modernized Theravāda traditions.


Some words denoting light, splendour and brightness in Kālidāsa’s poems
Mariola Pigoniowa, University of Wrocław, Poland

Email: mpigoniowa@uni.wroc.pl
Website: Mariola Pigoniowa
Postal address:
Uniwersytet Wrocławski
Instytut Studiów Klasycznych, Śródziemnomorskich i Orientalnych
Zakład Filologii Indyjskiej
ul. Komuny Paryskiej 21
50-139 Wrocław, Poland

The present paper discusses selected Sanskrit words in Kālidāsa’s poetry denoting light, splendour and brightness. A contextual analysis of these words leads to the following conclusions:

  1. The root śubh- and its derivatives (śobha, śobhā, śobhana, śobhin) cover both the notion of embellishment and that of brightness. More importantly, they are connected not only with the human body and material things but also with abstract ideas such as love, bravery and prowess. Thus, pace Ingalls, moral acts or decisions are sometimes represented in Sanskrit as beautiful.
  2. From among the second group of the words in question (kānti, ikāntimat, kāntimattā) kānti, unlike śobhā, is not used in descriptions of dress and ornaments and does not refer to courage and prowess. On the other hand, kānti appears in descriptions of various parts of the human body, of the moon, heaven, and especially of heavenly beings’ good deeds.
  3. The term jyotis is used of stars but, above all, of the gods Viṣṇu and Śiva. In Kum. Śiva is twice spoken of as paraṃ jyotis, which may point to Kālidāsa’s particular predilection for this divinity.

Ritual and Aesthetics – A search for analogies in pūjā and kāvya
Petr Duda, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Email: petrduda@seznam.cz
Postal address:
Univerzita Karlova v Praze
Filosofická fakulta
Ústav jižní a centrální Asie
Celetná 20,
116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic

A closer look at the Sanskrit ritual manuals setting the rules for home and temple worship of Hindu deities shows some aspects reminding us of the use of symbolism and literary images in the mostly secular Sanskrit kāvya literature. The first significant author to compare the aesthetic experience resulting from consuming a good literary work to a religious or mystic experience was the early medieval Kashmiri philosopher and aesthetician Abhinavagupta. The article attempts to examine the applicability of some of the principles of the rasadhvani theory completed by Abhinavagupta to the Hindu pūjā ritual.



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