SarasvatI etc.

S. Kalyanaraman kalyan97 at YAHOO.COM
Mon May 25 13:10:43 UTC 1998

---"Yaroslav V. Vassilkov" <yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU> wrote:

>         The images of animals on the Indus seals are not just
animalistic > sketches. So often we can see that they are represented
standing before a
> kind of "feeding trough", and the more dangerous a particular animal
is > (tiger, buffalo), the more often it is depicted in this position.
They > are sacred and feared animals (teriomorphic gods) who are to be
>         The scenes depicted on the seals are also mythic or ritual.
In what > other way can we interprete the image of a personage killing
a buffalo with
> a spear, in the same way as much later DurgA or Skanda does the same
thing (the > parallelism is enriched by a detail: both IVC personage
and the Goddess in the > DevImahAtmya first stamps one foot on the
buffalo's head and then pierces its
> withers with the spear). Or a scene where a goddess in a horned
headdress is > standing in the "azvattha arc", while adorants offer
her a (sacrificial?)
> goat? And so on.

The problem I have with such a 'reading' of the seals is this and
limited only to the assumed use of the seals/tablets: The corpus of
seals have not been fully deciphered. We are taking anecdotal evidence
from a few imageries (from out of a very small statistical sample of
about 3000 inscriptions only; note also the over 50 seals with
svastika_) and concluding that the pictorials are vividly
religious(with an underlying assumption that the IVC traditions
continued into later historical periods of the region). How about the
signs which accompany the pictorials? Can they be read in this
'religious' context? What language? Why were the seals used to depict
these religious beliefs? Can we assume that they were used like
'amulets' comparable to the later-day lingayat tradition?

Is it unreasonable to start with a hypothesis that many seals/tablets
were used in trade?

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