Q: mArjArahatyA

Mariana Caixeiro naniji at MAIL.TELEPAC.PT
Fri Sep 12 23:02:38 UTC 1997

I am sorry if some of you are seeing this posting twice...there seems to
be something wrong with my server and it seems to take its own time to
send messgaes and I don't think I'd seen this posting earlier, hence
would like to apologize again for "repeating" myself and rereading the
same post.

 As the first one to reply to Bob Hueckstadts question regarding
"marjArahatya" I got the impression that he was looking for evidence
from one of the religious texts and I therefore wrote out my post saying
that 1. This kind of a belief isn't found in any of the religious texts
2. Bhagavati Charan Verma was trying to take a dig at the Brahmin
practice of trying to make a buck off everything....comment 2 was based
on what my own Hindi teacher( a M.A. from Benares Hindu University) told
me more than ten years ago...I remember reading "mArjAr hatyA" at that
time though the finer points of the story escape me now and I would like
to reread the story..
3. Cats are normally supposed to be inauspicious in India, people for
example take it is an ill omen if a cat were to cross ones path.
  With subsequent mail,I got the impression from some people that this
belief was true; I decided to research the topic and have read a few
texts, books that I thought were likely to answer the question. I've
come up with the following:
1. Some say that cats were largely domesticated and used to kill rodents
and rats( farmers nightmare) and were therefore regarded as
of some importance..this was also the argument given by J.Kirkpatrick in
this thread
2. There is one book about "Symbolic Animals" by one Dr Manjupuria of
the Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu,Nepal. He says that there is a
belief in SOME areas that the following story is prevalent: There was a
Brahmin lady who happened to eat food that wasn't intended for her and
on subsequent enquiries, accused a cat that happened to be a pet of the
local Goddess( I get the impression that he means "Folk Goddess"/Village
Diety here). The Goddess took revenge by killing the Brahmin womens
children. On propriating the Goddess's cat, the woman managed to get
back her children. So, he says "SOME Hindus regard it
sinful to kill a cat". This book also has a lot of folklore in it and I
therefore think I'm correct in concluding that there is no Puranic
evidence to back up this story.
 The same book also hastens to add point 3 in one of the earlier
paragraphs i.e. the cat is inauspicious in that if it crossed ones path,
then the person concerned will not be succesfull in achieving his goal
which fits in with the Hindi expression "Billi Rasta Kaat
  In conclusion, I think that Bhagavati Charan Verma borrowed this idea
from folk-belief as opposed to Puranic lore( unless the folk-belief is
itself a watered down version of some story of the Puranas:-).......


Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list