Req: "dirty" words in Sanskrit

Ulrike Niklas u.niklas at Uni-Koeln.DE
Mon Nov 4 14:28:23 UTC 1996

A few remarks:
1.) With ref. to the message of D. Wujastyk: 
A very clear statement is found in daNDin kaavyAAdarza 1, 65:
	zabde pi graamyataastyeva saa sabhyetarakiirtanaat,
	yathaa yakaaraadi padaM ratyutsava niruupaNe.
And daNDIn adds (kaavyaad. I, 66-67) that also constructions which 
actually don t contain indecent expressions are "graamya" if they could 
be misinterpreted, as e.g. "yaa bhavataH priyaa" (which could be taken as 
2.) For a definition of what is "dirty", or rather what is *considered* 
"dirty" (and here also the question is: whether already by the 
speaker/writer? or only by the listener/reader?) it is interesting to 
note daNDIn s terminology: graamya, graamyataa, sabhyetara - which points 
clearly to a deviation from high-style language (courtly language - in 
the literary sense of: language used at the king s court, "hoefisch" in 
german - and maybe also ritual language) and points to the vernacular.
In some parts of vedic prose (UpaniSad-, BraahmaNa-literature) some 
dialogues which seem to be very near to vernacular language can be found 
(I don t have the references here, but I could dig them out in a few days 
3.)Concerning the question of whether a statement/an expression itself is 
dirty or only a possible interpretation of that statement , and with 
reference to the message of G.J.Hausmann:
In modern Tamil, as G.J.Hausmann also stated, many words and expressions 
which in standard language / high-style language carry an entirely 
neutral meaning, may have a "dirty" connotation if used on a more 
vernacular level, e.g. "mayir" lit. "hair" (vernac. "pubic hair"); 
"cinna viiTu" lit. "a small house"  (vernac. denoting a "kept woman"), 
and many more so. 
Indian literature abounds in "zleSa", up to modern times: many modern 
film-songs in tamil (and surely in other Indian languages, too) are full 
of double-meanings which always point into a clear direction ...
4.)To come back to daNDin: why do we discuss only "dirty" words in that 
specific sense?
daNDin (kaavyaadarza I, 95 ff.) defines also words like "spitting" etc. 
as "graamya", if used in a direct sense (e.g.: niHSThIvati vadhuuH "the 
woman spits..."), while they might be considered beautiful if used in an 
indirect, rhetorical, sense (cf. kaavyaadarsha I, 96).

-- it s already much too long, so I stop here. Greetings, Ulrike.  

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