R.si Loma'sa

Artur Karp hart at POLBOX.COM
Sat Oct 10 12:34:30 UTC 1998

At 17:10 9.10.98 +0200, you wrote:
>>efeoci wrote:
>>> Dear Members,
>>> I am Meera Pramila searching for information on identity and or legend
>>> of R.si Loma'sa or Roma'sa, for a friend who is in Himachal Pradesh,
>>> India, writing about the Ravalsa Lake area, sacred to Padmasambhava,
>>> where there is an important shrine to R.si Loma'sa and excellent
>>> image.
>>> The local people say he did one lakh times one lakh years of tapas
>>> there. He is mentioned in Puraa.na-s, stories by him appear in
>>> Mahaabhaarat, but we cannot find identifying
>>> references. If any scholars know anything at all that would give
>>> us background on this R.si would they kindly
>>> let us know?
>>> with thanks,
>>> Meera Pramila,
>>> student of Hinduism
>>Maybe you can find something in
>>Hazra, R.C."Studies in the Puranic Records on Hindu Rites and Customs",
>>Delhi, 1.ed. 1940 (pp.58-63,77,92-93,99-100)    ?
>>But there the author is speaking about Lomahar.sa.na, a sage, could this
>>be the same ?
>>K. Hofmann
>No, Lomahar.sa.na (the suuta, father of Ugra'sravas who recites the
>Mahabharata) does not seem to be the same person as Loma'sa, the rishi who
>accompanies the Pandavas on their tiirthayaatraa (Mbh. III) as a kind of
>religious guide who tells them a lot of stories. See also Vettam Mani,
>Puranic Encyclopaedia, Delhi 1975. Apparently, little else is known about
>this Loma'sa.
>Georg v. Simson


Information on where exactly rishi L. is mentioned in the Mbh. may also be
found in S. Sorensen's "An Index to the Names in the Mahabharata. With
Short Explanation and a Concordance to the Bombay and Calcutta Editions and
P.C. Roy's Translation", London 1904, p. 448. Recent Indian reprint - if I
recall rightly - by Motilal Banarsidas.

A fairly detailed reconstruction of the route of the ideal tirthayatra
(bhumandalapradaksina) is to be found in the commentaries to the Russian
translation of the Aranyakaparva (Mahabharata. Kniga lesnaja
(Aranjakaparva), Moskva 1987; see map shown on p. 633). There also an
extensive bibliography. Among others:

1) Bhardwaj S. M., Hindu places of Pilgrimage in India (A Study in Cultural
Geography), Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, 1973

2) Dey N. L., The Geographical dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India, L.

3) Oakley E. S., Holy Himalaya, Edinbourgh-London, 1905

In his "History of Indian Literature" Winternitz mentions L. twice (Indian
reprint of 1972, pp. 348, 401/402). The second mention brings - in a
curious way - together Meera Pramila's quest with some recent postings on
this list (problem of Agastya).

Winternitz writes: "The Rsi Lomasa, who has come in order to console the
brothers of Arjuna [who stays then for five years in Indra's heaven, A.K.],
makes a pilgrimage with them. At every sacred place (Tirtha) which they
visit, the rsi relates a story referring to that place. Thus there are
collected in this section (certainly not belonging to the oldest parts of
the Mahabharata) numerous brahmanical legends. Here we find, for example,
the... legend of Cyavana, similarly the legends of the famous Rsi Agastya."

While commenting on narrative (and compositional) devices used in the Mbh.
to introduce secondary episodes, P. A. Grincer stressed the role of a
particular class of personages who may willingly and knowledgeably answer
all questions asked by their interlocutors. Rishi Lomasa is one of them
("Drevneindijskij epos. Genezis i tipologija", Moskva 1974, p. 117).

So far, such personages have been treated as unimportant. They seem,
however, to deserve a much better place than the backstage of indological
studies. One is tempted to see in them a typified cultural functionary,
whose role it is to put the exploits of "culture heroes", such as Agastya,
into a relevant (be it pan-indic or regional) cultural perspective - to
represent, interprete and multiply.


Artur Karp

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