Sarasvati,boats myths etc...

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Sun May 24 01:54:31 UTC 1998

[large snip] and then Sn. Subrahmanya asks:
>How does a myth become a myth ?
>To come up with a hundred oared ship myth -
>one should first know about boats and oars.
>So there might not have been a 100 oared ship, but a boat with a few
>oars is definitely possible.
>Also, it is important to realize that the Rgveda was not meant
>to be a encyclopaedia and if something is not mentioned in it -
>doesnt necessarily mean that it was unknown either.
>A more realistic judgement is required.

Please examine RV 1.116 more closely. You will see that, besides having 100
oars, these "ships" had Atmans [Atmanva'tIbhiH] [and thus alive], they swam
in the sky [antarikSapru'dbhiH], and were far from water [a'podakAbhiH, if
we accept the explanation of Lueders, in *VaruNa*, p.115].

Elsewhere in this hymn there is referemce to chariots with 100 feet [st.
4], to a horse's hoof from which 100 jugs of wine are poured [st. 7], etc.,

This ocean by the way is without basis, without support, and ungraspable
[st. 5: anArambhaNe' ...anAsthAne' agrabhaNe' samudre'].

I think that Michael Witzel's point was that we can't expect such wildly
mythological material to lead us to any solid conclusions about geography.

Wouldn't you agree?

George Thompson

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