How a buck/stag could have become a lion!

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at
Mon Jun 30 21:33:28 UTC 1997

At 6:44 +0200 28/06/97, Palaniappa at wrote:

>I have a theory as to how lion could have replaced stag/buck as the vehicle
>of DurgA. I got this idea when I came across the name of a Tantric text,
>'mRgendratantra'. 'mRga' can mean both a deer as well as an animal in
>general. If there were an early text mentioning the vehicle of DurgA as
>'mRgendra', is it possible that it was interpreted as the 'king of animals'
>instead of 'king of deers'? While the original could have referred to a
>buck/stag as the 'king of deers', the mistaken interpretation could have led
>to 'lion' as the 'king of animals'.

	Your idea seems interesting but perhaps the change of meaning is on
mRga. In RV and old parts of MBh, mRga is a deer, antelope, stag, &c. But,
later (MBh VI,32,30 = BhG X,30: mRgANAM ca mRgendro 'ham), it's clear mRga
includes all wild animals and mRgendra is the lion or the tiger (in all
this Bhagavatas declaration, nominatives are the 'best of', not the 'king
of' of the genitives).

	A passage is curious (MBh XII,149,93-95):

bhAnur yAvan na yAty astam yAvac ca vimalA dizaH /
tAvad enam parityajya preta kAryANy upAsata //
nadanti paruSam zyenAH zivAH krozanti dAruNAH /
mRgendrAH pratinandanti ravir astam ca gacchati //
citAdhUmena nIlena samrajyante ca pAdapAH /
zmazAne ca nirAhArAH pratinandanti dehinaH //

	In this context, with the choice of the jackal's name, that's not
sure mRgendra to be a lion. Despite the plurals, zyena could be a metaphora
(hi, George) of Agni as the fire-vehicle of the soul and mRgendra
understanded metaphorically as mR(tim)ga(cchatAm)indra ????

	Helping to hope,

PS: Using just Tokugawa sensei Index, I don't know who is dead. But I
suppose you know it.

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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