Problem with my e-mail

mrabe at mrabe at
Sat Jul 12 10:35:10 UTC 1997

>Dear list members,
>Yesterday I posted two items to the list. They were "Re: How a buck/stag
>could have become a lion!" and "Etymology of 'tanU'". After I posted the
>items, I had some e-mail problems which prevented me from getting any e-mail.
>So, if any of you responded to those postings, I would appreciate if you
>could re-send them directly to me. Thanks.
>S. Palaniappan

Dear Mr. Palaniappan,

Here is a copy of my response to your welcome posting on the first item:

BTW, you name always brings back fond memories of my childhood in the
Palani hills!

Best regards,


In response to two points made yesterday by Mr. Palaniappan:

Given the previous disclosures about Danielou's mistranslations of the
Kamasutra, I'd not be surprised to learn of equally egregious errors in his
CilappatikAram.  However, I must say, (admittedly before tracking down a
copy of Parthasarathy's translation--thank you for the suggestion) that
your construal of CilappatikAram12:10.1-4) is counter intuitive.

 You propose the following:

>cankamuJ cakkaramum tAmaraik kaiyEnti
>ceGkaN arimAn2 cin2aviTaimEl nin2RAyAl  (12.10.1-4)
>kaGkai muTikkaNinta kaNNutalOn2 pAkattu
>maGkai uruvAy maRaiyEtta vEniRpAy
>This is translated as "You stood on the lion with red eyes and the angry bull".
> This means unlike the lines (12.8.2) and (12.9.2), which describe only one
> animal vehicle each, this describes two vehicles.

However, isn't it the case that the two animals appear beneath
Durga/Korravai for different reasons, one as vehicle and the other as
victim? As such this reasoning is in line with Dominique Thillaud's
observation, as expressed on Sat, 21 Jun 1997 13:47:37 BST:

_From my point of view, that's not a problem. mRga and vyAghra (or simha) are
> strongly linked as the couple prey/predator (MBh III,11,24; III,200,14 and
> tens of others) and the hunter can be identified with both (see the greek myth
> of Akteon): obviously mRgahan = vyAghra, but, all over the world, the hunting
> ideology contains an identification with the prey (magical ?)._

Specifically, therefore, I question your attribution of the adjective
"angry" to the "bull", which should already be dead by the time Durga
stands upon its severed head.  The latter motif was the subject of my
article on the iconography of this goddess as it is found primarily in

Secondly, there seems to be an implicit contradiction between your apparent
rejection of my allusion to lion-riding Ishtar as a precedent, but
acceptance of J.N. Banerjea's reference to the lion-riding goddess Nanaia
(or simply_Nana_) on Kushana coins.  Basically, these are variant names of
the same West Asian goddess, or goddess-type (with warlike nature, riding a
lion) and in proof of this, I quote John Rosenfield, _The Dynastic Arts of
the Kushanas_ (Berkeley:      University of California Press, l967), p 85:

__The cult of Innana-Ishtar-Astarte persisted into the Parthian
period,...At Dura-Europus there was a vast temple complex, its early phases
datable roughly to the third and second centuries B.C.  In inscriptions
there, the deity was called both Nanaia and Artemis, as she was in
classical literary sources__

Which brings me back to Mr. Thillaud, the modest _etc._ participant in this
thread, who continued in that posting quoted above:

__The two animals of the greek Huntress Artemis are the deer and the
bear...This (doesn't) presume DurgA to be an eurindian Goddess because the
Wild Beast's Lady (correct ? Greek: PotniA ThErOn, French: Dame des Fauves)
is well known in many civilizations. But that can explain why, linked with
DurgA, stags and lions are structurally the same.__

Again, to conclude, and _viva le difference_, I see the Tamil Korravai as
mounted on a deer (not hunting it per se, as does Artemis?), while the
CilappatikAram's poet and roughly contemporary Pallava sculptors are
acutely aware that elsewhere the same goddess rides a lion.

Thank you, Mr. Palaniappan, for reviving this thread, and for the wonderful
Tamil glosses.

Michael Rabe

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