Sandalwood Mythology?

pclaus at pclaus at
Tue Sep 28 13:46:04 UTC 1993

I have long been interested in the mythology of Indian plants in
an amateurish way, too.  There are now some good books on the
subject published in India.  As far as I know, there is not a lot
of mythology -- or at least a lot of popular myhtology -- about
sandalwood.  Perhaps this is because it only grows in a very few
locations.  Perhaps it is because aside from the Bo and Pipal, most
of the plants in the mythology are flowering ones.  Well, there are
others, too.....

May I suggest a tree with a very large mythology?  The parijata, a
flowering tree.  Its reference in mythology goes back to the early
first century and in folk reference it is so popular there are many
street plays devoted to it in many of the languages of India.  In
Kannada there is a genre of plays called 'parijata-ata'. 

But regarding sandal and the others you mention, I will get back to
you in a day or so with some biblliographic references. 

#Subject: Sandalwood Mythology?
#I am working on a book about the worldwide role of plants in myth and 
#ritual.  For India, I'm using the pipal/bo, lotus, and sandalwood.
#There is no problem in finding rich data for the pipal and lotus,
#but I'm having some trouble with sandalwood mythology.  So far, the 
#only clue I have to a possible mythic layer is linguistic: the Sanskrit 
#root, -cand-, is found in moon (-canda-) as well as in sandalwood 
#(-candana-), and -candra- includes among its many meanings both moon 
#and sandalwood.  If anyone on the list could provide me with anything 
#further, no matter how minimal, I would be grateful.  (My apologies to 
#those who are also on the Buddha-L list, to which I posted a similar 
#request last week.)
Peter J. Claus
Dept. of Anthropology, California State University, Hayward, CA   94542

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