B.rhaspati and the Caarvaakas.

aklujkar at unixg.ubc.ca aklujkar at unixg.ubc.ca
Wed Jul 2 07:22:01 UTC 1997

See Joshi, Rasik Vihari. 1987. "Lokaayata in ancient India and China."
Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute  68:393-405. Joshi
reconstructs B.rhaspati-suutra from citations. He also remarks: "In 1824 [Ú
1924?], Prof. F. W. Thomas edited a manuscript of the B.rhaspati-Suutra but
it was proved to be a fabricated one."

I cannot check at the moment if Joshi includes the maxim 'a pigeon today
than  a peacock tomorrow' in his B.rhaspati-suutra collection. As I recall,
the Sanskrit original is varam adya kapota.h ;svo mayuuraat. It occurs in
Niiti-vaakyam.rta [by Soma-deva?] or ;Sukra-niiti. There are doubts about
the authenticity of the latter text (again, as I recall), but the maxim is
unlikely to be so late as to be a "Sanskritized version of  the modern
day"Yesterday is a cancelled check, Tommorrow is but a  promissory note, so
earn all that you can today!" as S. Krishna speculated. Actually, the
maxim's closer parallel in English would be 'a bird in hand is worth two in
the bush.'

Ashok Aklujkar, Professor, Department of Asian Studies, University of
British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z2.

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