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Abstract

The present paper, an homage to B. Laufer’s “Asbestos and Salamander” (1915), adds South Asia to the story of a remarkable Eurasian cultural meme meant to explain the presence of fire-proof cloth after its manufacturing technology was forgotten, namely that asbestos was the fur of a mythical animal. I argue that none of our Sanskrit dictionaries contain the correct meaning of the term agniśauca, which does indeed mean asbestos. The widely shared motif explains why in Sanskrit literature too we have animals (a nondescript mṛga) by the same name. I examine textual passages from kāvya, purāṇas, as well as Buddhist sūtras and śāstras, to elucidate this topic. I also cite some evidence that in the period between the 9th and the 11th c. some areas of India still possessed knowledge of asbestos manufacturing. However, as for where and when the correlation was first made, I must leave the question open.

In: Indo-Iranian Journal
In: The Kurux Language
Author: Brett Shults

Abstract

The Tevijja Sutta is an early Buddhist text notable for the way it addresses a problem in Brahmanical theology. Many have studied or cited the Tevijja Sutta, but for various reasons scholars have had trouble describing the problem that the sutta addresses. This article reviews some key developments in the modern academic study of the Tevijja Sutta and proposes a solution to interpretive difficulties associated with the text. The proposed solution leads to a more contextualized reading of the Tevijja Sutta and sheds light on Brahmins and Brahmanical theology in the early Buddhist period.

In: Indo-Iranian Journal
In: The Kurux Language
In: The Kurux Language
In: The Kurux Language
The Indo-Iranian Journal (IIJ), founded in 1957, is a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the ancient and medieval languages and cultures of South Asia and of pre-Islamic Iran. It publishes articles on Indo-Iranian languages (linguistics and literatures), such as Sanskrit, Avestan, Middle Iranian and Middle & New Indo-Aryan. It publishes specialized research on ancient Iranian religion and the Indian religions, such as the Veda, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism (including Tibetan). The Journal welcomes epigraphical studies as well as general contributions to the understanding of the (pre-modern) history and culture of South Asia. Illustrations are accepted. A substantial part of the Indo-Iranian Journal is reserved for reviews of new research. The Journal predominantly publishes articles in English and occasionally in French and German.

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In: The Kurux Language
The Kurux Language: Grammar, Texts and Lexicon by Masato Kobayashi and Bablu Tirkey is a comprehensive description of Kurux, a northern Dravidian tribal language with two million speakers. Isolated in the Chota Nagpur Plateau of Eastern India, Kurux shows a unique mixture of archaic Dravidian traits and innovations induced by contact with neighboring Indo-Aryan and Munda languages, and has posed questions regarding language change and Dravidian subgrouping.

Making use of first-hand materials from their fieldwork, Kobayashi and Tirkey analyze the complexities of the language in the grammar section. This book also contains transcribed and glossed texts, and a lexicon with more than 9,000 entries, and serves both as reference for linguists and learning resource for students.