Various questions

Vidhyanath K. Rao vidynath at
Wed Nov 30 13:12:43 UTC 1994

I have a few simple questions that I hope can be someone in this
mailing list.

(1) What is the difference in meaning between the subjunctive of the
aorist and the ordinary subjunctive? The translations and grammar
handbooks seem to imply that there is none.

(2) What is the general view on the theories of Norman Brown and
F. B. J. Kuiper on the Indra-V.rtra myth?

(3) Has there been any work on similar themes found in .rgveda and
the ``Kafiri'' mythology? I know of two, one analyzed to some extent
by Buddruss (in ``Cultures of the Hindu Kush'', ed. Jettmar and Edelberg,
pp.~31--36) similar to the Indra-V.rtra fight. One of the Kafiri
versions refers to a knife found in a horse's ear. The faint resemblence
to Dadhya~nc is not mentioned by Buddruss.

The other parallel is the story of Munjem Malik that has several
similarities to RV 4.18. (For the Kafiri version, see Jettmar,
``Religions of the Hindu Kush'', pp.~54--57.)

Jettmar, in his book quoted above, seems to put emphasis only on
etymology of names and denies that there are many similarities between
Vedic and Kafiri mythology. However, he notes thematic similarities
with Kesar Saga from Tibet in both cases. I am not sure if he was
familiar enough with Vedic mythology to have noticed any other
similarities. For example, for the myth of freeing of the sun and the
moon studied by Buddruss, Jettmar only refers to the Tripura myth
(the Kafiri god who destroys the fort in which sun and moon are
imprisoned is named Monde < Mahandeva). He does not seem to have been
familiar with the writings of Kuiper. On the other hand, Kafiri texts
collected are not accessible to me, except for what is given in
Jettmar's book.

(4) How widespread is the myth of freeing of sun and moon? Jaan Puhvel's
book on comparative mythology says that the Slavs had a temple to
a hammer which was used to free the sun and the moon. But I am unable
to refer to the text that Puhvel refers to for this. Of course the
variant of a stanza from Volupsa that Snorri quotes while discussing
the building of Asgard says ``... who lost the sun and the moon ...''.
But these are slender leads.

(5) Can anybody point me to reviews, by Vedists, of Brian K. Smith's
recent book ``Classifying the universe''. It struck me that there are
few references there to Aitreya, especially to
those which run counter to Smith's statements (for example Smith ignores
the line in AB that Agni is churned at the arrival of Soma just like
they carve a bull/barren cow at the arrival of a human king).

Thanks in advance for your help.


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list