How a buck/stag could have become a lion!

Palaniappa at Palaniappa at
Sat Jul 12 12:55:19 UTC 1997

In a message dated 97-07-12 07:58:28 EDT, you write:

<< >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
 > This means unlike the lines (12.8.2) and (12.9.2), which describe only one
 > animal vehicle each, this describes two vehicles.
I too thought long and hard about this apparent discrepancy. In fact in one
of my earlier postings in which I had translated this section on my own, I
chose only the bull. This is because 'viTai' is not applicable to male lion
at all. (In fact, in the Aycciyar Kuravai section, you can see 'viTai' being
used to refer to the bull.) I interpreted 'mAn2' as an animal in general
which gave me 'the angry bull which is the animal with red eyes with lines'
or 'the angry bull which is the animal with red eyes and enemy (to evil?
demon?)'. However, after your posting of Danielou's translation, I went back
and examined the usage of 'mAn2'. It became clear that 'mAn2' cannot be used
to refer to domesticated cattle. (Before that I had even prepared a posting
with two possible interpretations- one with one animal and one with two.) In
fact, there are instances they are contrasted from one another as 'An2in2am'
and 'mAn2inam'. That leaves the only possibility of having to deal with two
animals. One cannot avoid that. That means grammatically one has to consider
it as 'ummait tokai' in Tamil where the listing suffix 'um' is left out. 

This is perfectly acceptable when we consider that the bull is the vehicle of
Ziva. When in the next line ILanko says, "you stood in the portion/half of
the body of the one with the eye-in the forehead, who has worn the Ganges in
his hair', it is very possible that both the vehicles of Ziva are attributed
to KoRRavai. While it is widely known that Ziva rides a bull, the references
I have cited earlier show that Ziva is also associated with the lion. So the
poet is not necessarily using one animal as a vehicle and another as victim.
Both are vehicles transferred from Ziva.

As for my apparent inconsistency, I am sorry I did not make myself clear.
What I was trying to convey was this. I did not see a direct line from Ishtar
through Indus all the way to the KushANa sculptures as implied by some
others, at least with the evidence we have now. What I saw was a roundabout
way in which lion enters India as a vehicle late only during the KushANa
times. The blackbuck was probably a vehicle in north India also given the
importance of black antelope in Sanskrit texts ritually (even defining
Aryavarta as the place where the black antelope roams) and mythologically as
discussed by Stella Kramrisch in one of her books dealing with Ziva. I do not
have the reference here.  

As for Parthasarathy, he also sees only lion inthe line under discussion. But
then, he did not have the benefit of participating in this list.


S. Palaniappan

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