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The Human Character Types in Ancient India

A Study in the Transmission of Knowledge between Genres in Early Sanskrit Literature

Kenneth Zysk


This paper is a study of the transmission and assimilation of ideas and motifs in different types of Sanskrit literature in ancient India. I examine the classification of both male and female character types in three different Sanskrit literary genres: Jyotiḥśāstra, Āyurveda and Nāṭyaśāstra. The results of the study indicate that the list of male character types offered in the early Jyotiḥśāstra treatise of Garga (Gārgīyajyotiṣa) dating from the beginning of the Common Era contributed in part to the formulations in Āyurveda and formed the basis of the version in the Nāṭyaśāstra. Early āyurvedic treatises expanded the list and organised the male character types according to the Sāṃkhyan guṇa-theory, and the Nāṭyaśāstra further increased the animal similes of Garga, changed the gender emphasis from male to female, and used Kāmaśāstra as the genre for introducting the catalogue of female character types into dramaturgy.

Duccio Lelli


This article presents a critical edition, translation and commentary of a tr̥ca found in book 19 of the Paippalādasaṃhitā of the Atharvaveda. The hymn, which consists in a spell against wrinkles, pronounced by a woman who tries to ward off the signs of aging with the help of the goddess Indrāṇī, is remarkable both in term of content and from a linguistic point of view: it is the only hymn directed against wrinkles in the Vedic corpus and the role of the goddess Indrāṇī in the ritual confirms and broadens her sphere of influence related to female charm. Besides providing the earliest attestation of the word for ‘wrinkle’ váli-, the hymn contains two hapaxes, previously unattested forms of the perfect subjunctive and features of women’s speech. The article also includes a stylistic analysis that aims at illuminating the structure and poetics of the hymn.

Mahāyāna Sūtras in Khotan

Quotations in Chapter 6 of the Book of Zambasta (I)

Ruixuan Chen and Diego Loukota Sanclemente


In this article we propose a series of twenty-three new identifications of sources for chapter 6 of the Book of Zambasta, whose tradent claims to have quoted a verse “from each sūtra.” In this installment we offer a detailed analysis of the first five newly identified quotations, highlighting their place within Mahāyāna and Khotanese literature.

Yūto Kawamura


In his Abhidharmakośabhāṣya, Vasubandhu accepts the expression tasmai praṇipatya ‘having prostrated myself to that [teacher]’. However, there is a difficulty in introducing the dative ending Ṅe after tad. According to the traditional interpretation of Aṣṭādhyāyī 2.3.16: namaḥsvastisvāhāsvadhālaṁvaṣaḍyogāc ca, a dative ending follows a nominal which is syntactically connected with the word namas ‘reverence, revering’ and not its synonyms like praṇipatya. Sthiramati argues that this rule includes the synonyms in its domain as well, thereby accounting for the dative form tasmai: both namas and praṇipatya involve the same meaning, reverence, so that the latter as well as the former can fall under the domain of the rule. According to him, this inclusion of the synonyms is to be inferred from Pāṇini’s use of the expression -yogāt in A 2.3.16; otherwise, Pāṇini’s wording would become meaningless.

Michaël Peyrot


The Khotanese and Sogdian genitive plural endings cannot be satisfactorily explained from the traditionally posited ending *-nām. Instead, Khotanese -nu and Sogdian -nw point to *-nam. Instead of assuming a special rule that shortens the expected *-nām to *-nam, it is argued that the evidence from East Iranian is to be taken at face value. A short ending *-om can be reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European as well and the East Iranian reflexes of a short ending are probably an archaism.