Alf Hiltebeitel beitel at GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU
Thu Dec 3 16:57:25 UTC 1998

The discussion on daiva should not omit to mention the provocative
and insightful treatment by Madeleine Biardeau in her "Nala et Damayanti:
Heros epiques," Parts 1 and 2, Indo-Iranian Journal vol. 27 (1984), 247-74
and vol. 28 (1985), 1-34. As I recall, the chief discussion would be in
Part 2.

Alf Hiltebeitel
Director, Human Sciences Program
Columbian School Professor of Religion and Human Sciences
The George Washington University
Phillips Hall 412
202/ 994-4297
Fax: 202/ 994-7034

Department of Religion
202/ 994-6325 or 202/ 994-1674
Fax: 202/ 994-9379

On Thu, 3 Dec 1998, James L. Fitzgerald wrote:

> Let me preface this note by asking that anyone who sent me
> personal email between last Wednesday 11/25 and Monday 11/30 to
> retransmit that mail as it was rejected or discarded by the
> system here.  Also would everyone who corresponds with me
> personally note the new email address jfitzge1 at utk.edu and use it to
> replace the old one.  Thanks, Jim Fitzgerald
> ================================
> Kevin McGrath asked "Does anyone have a good translation for epic
> 'daivam'?"
> Even when we limit "daiva" to the 'fate-topos' (it is sometimes
> used in other ways; e.g., at  12.121.13, in a presentation of the
> nature of daNDa [the king's 'rod of force,' i.e., here,
> "punishment," sometimes "military force" or "violence" in
> general] "parama daNDa" is said to be a daivam that looks like a
> blazing fire and the passage goes on with the description of ugra
> and adbhuta bhuuta/daiva), it is not used to refer to a precisely
> defined, univocal concept in the MBh.  The characters do talk
> about action a great deal in the course of the MBh, and one of
> the recurring themes of those discussions juxtaposes human
> initiative (karman, puraSakaara, utthaana ["energetic effort,
> exertion;" mistranslated by van Buitenen as "resurrection" at
> 3.33.6 & 7]) to various "agencies" beyond human ken and
> control--daiva, diSTa, vidhaatr, yadrcchaa, haTha, krtakarman (at
> MBh 12.56.14-15 Arjunamisra glosses daiva with "pre-existing
> karma," ["daivam praagbhaviiyam karma"; and I might add, he here
> glosses "utthaanena puruSakaareNa"]).
> Daiva seems to be the most general way of referring to these
> agencies, and of course one of the fundamental issues it poses is
> whether humans should bother to pursue their own artha-s with
> their own efforts or not.  Shulman's insightful essay in the
> Heesterman Festschrift shows the MBh coming at these issues from
> a different angle, and his juxtaposition of the words daiva and
> devana certainly is provocative.  I don't have the
> indo-germanisch background to evaluate Mayrhofer's idg
> etymologies behind "diiv -- spielen, mit 'Wuerfeln'" (for devana)
> and (for deva/daiva) "dyav -- Himmel, Himmelsgottheit, Vater
> Himmel, Tag," but the indo-germanisch reconstructions look like
> they might be sufficiently close to justify wondering if the root
> diiv might not be historically connected to dyav.  But even if
> that is not viable in terms of historical linguistics, one must
> suspect that many of the poets heard and postulated a connection
> there.
> Mr. McGrath postulates that KarNa is "somewhat
> 'archaic' as a hero" and KarNa's "many references to daivam are
> thus, for me, somewhat pre-classical in a sense."  While I
> certainly don't think that the MBh we have is the product of a
> single compositional effort, we need more than hunches to discuss
> meaningfully any postulated history of the text.  While Mary
> Carroll Smith tried to articulate an evidentiary framework for
> the discussion of the MBh's history through the diffential
> analysis of triSTubhs (advancing the work of earlier scholars,
> such as Edgerton), she has so far not delivered a convincing
> argument about the "archaic kSatriya warrior code" at the heart
> of "India's Sacred Song."  I think differential triSTubh analysis
> is one good kind of evidence for pursuing a discussion of the
> MBh's history; but it hasn't yet been sufficiently pursued and
> developed as an analytic tool.  So, at least for now, I have to
> agree with the sceptical question Alf Hiltebeitel posed in
> response to McGrath's initial post.
> Jim Fitzgerald
> =========================================================================
> James L. Fitzgerald                    jfitzge1 at utk.edu
> Religious Studies                       Phone: office:  423-974-6982;
> 423-974-2466; 423-690-9525
> University of Tennessee                        home   423-539-2881
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