[INDOLOGY] Searching for a little-known Nyāya

Elliot Stern emstern at verizon.net
Fri Jun 26 02:20:40 EDT 2015


The National Geographic Society identifies the rabbit as a female cottontail rabbit and the snake as a black rat snake {http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/150624-rabbits-snakes-animals-science-nation-video/ <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/150624-rabbits-snakes-animals-science-nation-video/>). It places the video source somewhere in the eastern United States. While I have not set foot in India since 1982, I believe the architectural features of the house and the lush green grass  in the video are more likely to be American than Indian. 

The South Indian language is possibly Telugu. ammā is mother and nannā is father. To my ear, the child’s English language  sounds more  American than Indian.


Elliot M. Stern
552 South 48th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143-2029
United States of America
telephone: 215-747-6204
mobile: 267-240-8418
emstern at verizon.net

> On 26 Jun  2015, at 01:40, Valerie Roebuck <vjroebuck at btinternet.com> wrote:
> 
> One odd thing: the animal in the video does indeed appear to be a rabbit, as distinct from a hare. I thought that rabbits were not native to India, and that the word śaśa referred to a hare (the words ‘hare’ and ‘śaśa' probably being cognates). Of course, they may well behave in the same way when their young are threatened, but they are different species.
> 
> Valerie J Roebuck
> Manchester, UK
> 
>> On 25 Jun 2015, at 23:49, Walter Slaje <slaje at kabelmail.de <mailto:slaje at kabelmail.de>> wrote:
>> 
>> This video is so convincing that the idea of a śaśīsarpanyāya develops all by itself, even without ever having heard of it before. Great!
>> 
>> Jan's likely assumption that this textually unattested nyāya might "have been based on actual observation" reminds one all the more painfully of our insufficient knowledge of realia and the material culture of pre-modern India.
>> 
>> Speaking of nyāyas - and we may as well include the kavi-samayas, the ideological and material roots of which still remain unexplored by and large -, I should like to draw your attention to a promising rumour according to which the Indological Section of the DMG (German Oriental Society) consider a prize competition for cracking the history of development of some of the toughest nyāya- and kavisamaya-nuts. This might possibly materialize in the broader context of the 33rd Deutscher Orientalistentag to be held from the 18th to the 22nd of September 2017 in Jena, Germany (the domain of, among others, Otto von Böhtlingk and the Schlegel brothers).
>> I am not well informed enough, but would advise an occasional glance at the homepage of the Section (http://www.dmg-web.de/indologie/index.html <http://www.dmg-web.de/indologie/index.html>) in the run-up to the Orientalistentag in 2017. So, plenty of time for warming-up.
>> 
>> Many thanks, and kind regards,
>> WS
>> 
>> 
>> 2015-06-25 13:40 GMT+02:00 Patrick Olivelle <jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu <mailto:jpo at uts.cc.utexas.edu>>:
>> Walter and all:
>> 
>> I do not know abut this maxim, but this real life video of a mother rabbit doing just what the maxim say could be instructive. It was probably filmed somewhere in south India, I am not sure of the language of the people taping it.
>> 
>> Patrick
>> 
>> http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/watch-the-epic-fight-here-rabbit-battling-a-snake-to-protect-her-bunnies_1619126.html <http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/watch-the-epic-fight-here-rabbit-battling-a-snake-to-protect-her-bunnies_1619126.html>
>> 
>> The South Indian language is possibly Telugu. 
>> 
>> On Jun 25, 2015, at 3:24 AM, Walter Slaje <slaje at kabelmail.de <mailto:slaje at kabelmail.de>> wrote:
>> 
>>> Dear Colleagues,
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> I am searching for textual evidence of a little-known Nyāya.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> In an article by Soutik Biswas “Why India's sanitation crisis kills women” (BBC News India, 30 May 2014), it was claimed that “Several studies have shown that women without toilets at home are vulnerable to sexual violence when travelling to and from public facilities or open fields. [...]“. One mother told researchers, “We have had one-on-one fights with thugs in order to save our daughters from getting raped. It then becomes a fight that either you [the thug] kill me to get to my daughter, or you back off.”
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> This courageous behaviour of mothers fighting for her girls at the risk of their own lives reminds one of the śaśī-sarpa-nyāya (“the bunny and the snake”), known to some by hearsay only, but not (yet) traceable. The generalization here lies certainly in the fact that a (physically weaker) female (śaśī) effectively fights a (physically stronger) male (sarpa). The latter would be the aggressor(s), the victim(s) the (female) bunny and/or her young.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> The rare feminine formation śaśī causes no real trouble, as occurrences of the word are anyway testified in the Mokṣopāya (VI.34.103) and in Ratnākaraśānti’s Vidagdhavismāpana (175) [written communication by Roland Steiner].
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> In connection of the very idea behind this nyāya, I should also like to add that Gandhi could indeed have been aware of a similar popular maxim, as he refers explicitly to “the violence of the mouse against the cat“, writing that
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> “A girl who attacks her assailant with her nails, if she has grown them, or with her teeth, if she has them [? W.S.], is almost non-violent (...). Her violence is the violence of the mouse against the cat.“ (Harijan, 08-09-1940).
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On the other hand, Gandhi had
>>> 
>>> „(...) always held that it is physically impossible to violate a woman against her will. (…) If she cannot meet the assailant’s physical might, her purity will give her the strength to die before he succeeds in violating her. (…) I know that women are capable of throwing away their lives for a much lesser purpose.” (Harijan, 25-08-1940).
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> The statement in the last paragraph, only cited for its somewhat conflicting character with the first one, would, if further pursued, however lead into an entirely different matter, better not to be touched.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> I would be fully satisfied if someone among this learned community could contribute to the mysterious śaśīsarpanyāya, on- or off-list.
>>> 
>>>  
>>> Thanking you,
>>> 
>>> WS
>>> 
>>>  
>>> -----------------------------
>>> Prof. Dr. Walter Slaje
>>> Hermann-Löns-Str. 1
>>> D-99425 Weimar
>>> Deutschland
>>> 
>>> Ego ex animi mei sententia spondeo ac polliceor
>>> studia humanitatis impigro labore culturum et provecturum
>>> non sordidi lucri causa nec ad vanam captandam gloriam,
>>> sed quo magis veritas propagetur et lux eius, qua salus
>>> humani generis continetur, clarius effulgeat.
>>> Vindobonae, die XXI. mensis Novembris MCMLXXXIII. 
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info <mailto:INDOLOGY at list.indology.info>
>>> indology-owner at list.indology.info <mailto:indology-owner at list.indology.info> (messages to the list's managing committee)
>>> http://listinfo.indology.info <http://listinfo.indology.info/> (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)
>> 
>> 
>> _______________________________________________
>> INDOLOGY mailing list
>> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info <mailto:INDOLOGY at list.indology.info>
>> indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
>> http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)
> 
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list
> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
> indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)
> http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology_list.indology.info/attachments/20150626/674f1a0c/attachment.html>


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list