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.
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.
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).
In a much-discussed passage of the Kāraṇḍavyūhasūtra it is taught that Avalokiteśvara produced Maheśvara from his forehead. Maheśvara is introduced as a representative of the degenerative Kali age. In this connection, the Kāraṇḍavyūha quotes a doctrinal verse about the worship of the liṅga, which for a long time has been mistakenly attributed to ‘the Skandapurāṇa’, but whose source can now be identified in the Śivadharmaśāstra. After a comparative discussion of this verse in both texts, the article considers the possible broader implications of this quotation, in particular in relation to the question of the origin of the six-syllabled mantra oṃ maṇipadme hūṃ and its Śaiva counterpart oṃ namaḥ śivāya. The article concludes with some observations on distinctive features that characterise Śaiva versus Vaiṣṇava interactions with Buddhism.
Various interpretations of Kāśyapaparivarta § 68 have been attempted in the Yogācāra-Vijñānavāda tradition. This passage, which consists in a simile likening a magician devoured by his own creation to a monk involved in meditation practice, appears prima facie absurd, insofar as the similarity between the tenor and the vehicle is not readily apparent. This article mainly consists of two parts: The first part examines the received interpretations of the simile and reconstructs their interrelationship from a historical perspective. The second part explores the literary dimension of the simile and argues that its ostensible absurdity is rooted in a pun which is visible only in Middle Indo-Aryan and seems to serve no purpose. Coming to terms with the opaque and pointless pun, this essay is aimed at a new interpretation of Kāśyapaparivarta § 68 and, it is hoped, a deeper understanding of the literary playfulness inherent in the making of the Kāśyapaparivarta as a so-called early Mahāyāna sūtra against the backdrop of the Sanskritization of Buddhist sūtra literature.
From the very beginning the Buddhist order was dependent on donations, which were attractive for laypeople because of the merit thus accumulated. Therefore, names of donors were carefully documented in both, inscriptions, and, as soon as manuscripts are extant, also in colophons. Sometimes joint donations were made by families, whose members are named, under lucky circumstances even with an indication of their mutual relation such as parents, brothers, sisters etc. as participating in the merit made. This allows occasionally glimpses of the composition of average families and estimating their approximate seize in the ancient Indian cultural area. Hardly anything is known otherwise about this facet of Indian social history.
A number of prominent scholars of Zoroastrianism have recently taken up Marijan Molé’s thesis that Ahura Mazdā created the world by way of a sacrifice. This article examines the sources that have been adduced for the thesis. It concludes that neither in Avestan nor Pahlavi texts do we find any evidence for the supposed cosmogonic sacrifice.