Dancing "Siva (and Tirumuular)

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at WOLFSON.OXFORD.AC.UK
Thu Apr 23 20:26:47 UTC 1998

Dear Dr. Ganesan,
You address your enquiry to me, so I feel obliged to reply, though other
subscribers to the list may also have references they could supply to early
accounts or mentions of \'Siva's dancing in Sanskrit literature.

The following verse (from Umaa's impassioned defence of "Siva) is 5:78
(in Naaraaya.namuurti's edition with the commentary of Vallabhadeva)
of Kaalidaasa's Kumaarasambhava:---

tada"ngasa.mspar"sam avaapya kalpate dhruva.m citaabhasmarajo vi"suddhaye|
tathaa hi n.rttaabhinayakriyaacyutam vilipyate maulibhir ambaraukasaam|| 78||
Chapter 162 (verses 26ff) of the Ur-Skandapuraa.na---which, according
to the revised opinion of the team of scholars now editing it, may
date from as early as the 6th century---describes "Siva's dancing,
imitated first by the goddess, then Nandin and then his attendants.

The text was first edited by Bha.t.taraaii and published under the
title <Skandapuraa.nasya Ambikaakha.n.da.h> from Kathmandu in 1988.
Adriaensen, Bakker and Isaacson, in an article entitled `Towards a
Critical Edition of the Skandapuraa.na' (Indo-Iranian Journal 37,
1994, pp.325--31), argue convincingly that the text in question is the
original Skandapuraa.na.  The first volume of their edition is due to
appear in the course of the year.

I return once more to the evidence for the date of
the Tirumantiram.  Secondary literature is only as authoritative as
the evidence it cites, and the evidence that you have presented so far
consists in two references to the name (Maa-)Muular/Muulan.  Does this
seem to you to be conclusive?

You may remember the second of the criteria I advanced for accepting
that a Siddhaantatantra really be early:
> 2) The existence of substantial attributed quotations by demonstrably
> early authors that are still traceable in the extant work that bears
> the same name.
Perhaps what I mean by this is clearest from examples.  An unspecified
reference to the Skandapuraa.na might be to one of a wide range of
texts (see the article to which I have referred).  A reference to the
Vi.s.nusa.mhitaa might be to the Paa~ncaraatra sa.mhitaa of that name,
or to the treatise on Dharma"saastra.  A reference to an Ii"saana"siva
might be to any one of hundreds of "Saivaacaaryas who received that
Dominic Goodall.

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list