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Dániel Balogh

Abstract

Located in Vidisha District, Madhya Pradesh, the area of Badoh-Pathari is home to a rock shelter with a sculpted panel depicting seven mother goddesses. A weathered inscription next to the sculptures was reported as early as 1926. The inscription is dateable to the fifth century on the basis of its palaeography and the art-historical dating of the site. Though partly effaced beyond hope of decipherment, roughly half of the text can be read with confidence, while some of the rest may be restored conjecturally, and some speculatively. The epigraph pays homage to Rudra and Skanda in addition to the Mothers themselves, and is thus a key resource concerning mātṛ worship in the Gupta period. It mentions the otherwise unknown local ruler Jayatsena of Avamukta (a region also named in the Allahabad pillar inscription), and may refer to the reign of Kumāragupta (I).

John Nemec

Abstract

The present article examines Somānanda’s understanding of the denotative capacity of speech (śabda) as presented in his Śivadṛṣṭi, āhnika four. Somānanda argues that this denotative capacity is innate in words because based in a real sāmānya or universal; that a permanent connection links śabda and its object (artha), not convention (saṃketa); and that the referent of speech is an object innately imbued with linguistic capacity in the form of an ever-present, innate sāmānya. Each of these positions is also supported by the Mīmāṃsā, and Somānanda, citing both Śabara and Kumārila, assents to their positions on these points on the understanding that they may only be accepted as philosophically sound if one presumes the existence of a Śaiva non-duality of all as Śiva-as-consciousness. These positions, in turn, are all deployed as arguments against those of the Buddhist Pramāṇa Theorists, whose views in each of these three areas Somānanda contests.

Editors’ Note

A Call for Reviews and Reviewers

Fire, the Greatest God (ātarš … mazišta yazata)

The Cult of the “Eternal” Fire in the Rituals in Avestan

Alberto Cantera

Abstract

The lack of evidence for the existence of fire temples in ancient Iran has been used as an argument for the absence of the concept of the “eternal fire” in the Avestan texts. However, a new analysis of the final section of the Long Liturgy shows that the fire was usually removed from the sacrificial area before the recitation of Yasna 62.7 and transported back to the “house of men” from which it had been taken. As such, the Long Liturgy partly appears as a functional equivalent of the bōy dādan ceremonies performed for the feeding of the fire at the fire temples in later times. This new reading of the final section of the liturgy is the result of a re-evaluation of the manuscripts, highlighting the shortcomings of previous editions of the Long Liturgy. Furthermore, the new interpretation approaches the Long Liturgy from a non Yasna-centric perspective, taking into account the Yasna as well as the Visperad (and other variants).

Rosa Ronzitti

Abstract

The following paper is concerned with a comparison between the Vedic hymn RV VII 55 and the Vīdēvdād chapter XVIII 16. It is argued that little lullaby-themes, aimed at quieting men as well as animals, have come to be included into sacral and religious texts from popular sources (e.g. magical charms to be performed on sleepless babies), revealing Proto-Indo-European formulae and stylistic patterns that can be reconstructed. A Hittite text and some fragments of Greek poems by Simonides and Alcman are also included in the list of the passages to be compared.

Ch. Chojnacki

Abstract

Apart from exegetical texts and short edifying stories, Jain monks wrote several literary narratives in Sanskrit, Prakrit, or Apabhraṃśa, between the 8th and 12th centuries. While they aimed at creating works as sophisticated as Hindu kāvyas in their style and plot, they also included technical passages borrowed from various knowledge systems. One of them is the science of physiognomy, which deals with human marks and their interpretation. In the past decade, K. Zysk has studied this knowledge in various Hindu and Buddhist sources and proposed several hypotheses as regards the development of the science of physiognomy in India. Since passages included in the long Jain medieval narratives have not been taken into account so far, this paper aims at exploring to what extent these sources can throw further light on the gradual establishment of this knowledge system and on its channels of transmission in India.

Vincent Eltschinger

Abstract

The present paper focuses on Aśvaghoṣa’s treatment of King Śuddhodana and Kapilavāstu, the latter’s kingdom, in the Buddhacarita (BC) and the Saundarananda (SNa). As I shall try to demonstrate, the poet’s depiction of Śuddhodana is strongly reminiscent of, and, I think, very likely based on, Brahmanical accounts of the rājadharma (BC 9.48) and the dharmarāja (BC 1.75) as they can be found, first and foremost, in the Mahābhārata (MBh). As for his description of the Śākya kingdom, it is obviously meant to be evocative of the “golden age” or, conversely, of its lack of any characteristic of the kaliyuga, which again points to Aśvaghoṣa’s likely acquaintance with epic descriptions of the kaliyuga and/or the yugānta as they can be found, e.g., in the so-called Mārkaṇḍeya section of the MBh (esp. 3.186 and 188).