The elephant naLagiri/nalagiri

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 9 12:08:03 UTC 1999

Can an Indologist please explain me the connection between
'reed' and 'elephant'?; (also, possibly NaLa in Mahabharata
and 'reed')?

N. Ganesan

>When requested personally, an Indologist gave me a reply.
>My heartfelt thanks. - N. Ganesan
>[Begin quote]
>   Nalagiri as 'black mountain' would indeed be a good name for an
>elephant, because the concepts of mountain, rain-cloud and elephant
>are more or less interchangeable in Indian mythology.
>  As far as Nala is concerned: Though I cannot find the Nala of the
>Mahabharata being described as black, I find the idea tempting.
>Because after having been bitten by the snake demon Karkotaka in the
>forest, Nala changes completely his appearance and might very well
>have assumed a black colour due to the poison. One might compare the
>blackness of Shiva's throat, which is also regarded as the effect of
>poison. Nala becomes a perfect charioteer, like Krishna ('the Black
>one'!), .............[cut]
>   On the other hand, a king naDa naiSidha is already mentioned in
>the zatapathabrAhmaNa, and the Sanskrit word naDa means 'reed' and
>must  be connected with the Rgvedic word nada, 'reed', which has
>Iranian and other Indoeuropean connections. The whole question is
>extremely complicated, [...]
>[End quote]

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