tArA, tArakA, tAraka

Yaroslav V. Vassilkov yavass at YAVASS.USR.PU.RU
Wed Dec 17 18:44:27 UTC 1997

On Dec. 13 Dominique Thillaud wrote:

>PS: from a time, there is no more criticism about the original form
>tAra-kAmayoH (in tArA's context). Are Prs.Yaroslav Vassilkov and Georg vo=
>Simson convinced ?

        No, I am not. I shall not repeat all the arguments against it so
convincingly and logically formulated by Georg von Simson. I am inclined to
think that the epithet arose out of combination *tAraka+Amaya* and belonged
originally to asura tAraka's myth. As you have demonstrated, it was widely
used as a part of the formula *samgrAmas tArakAmayaH*. Due to its formulaic
convenience and to its consonance with the name tArA, it was eventually used
in the context of the "battle for tArA" myth. A Puranic example referred to
in the last contribution by D.V.N.Sarma - I mean the verse where nakSatras
and stars take part in the battle - may represent an intermediate stage of
reinterpretation when *tArakAmaya* was understood as "disastrous/fatal/
destructive FOR THE STARS". At the next stage the formulaic epithet was
reinterpreted as "caused by tArakA=tArA". I don't think that this
identification was done by the compilers of dictionaries. Most probably,
it goes back to traditional Indian commentaries. And they, in their turn,
more or less faithfully reproduce the opinions popular in the latest period
of the Epics' and PurANas' transmission. By the way, it opens, as it seems,
a new perspective in our discussion. Why should not we look and see what the
traditional commentators have to say on the "tArA/tArakA" problem? As far as
the MahAbhArata is concerned, I am going to consult nIlakaNTha at first
        Best wishes to all participants and list members,
                                Yaroslav Vassilkov.

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