Ref. check verse 6.41 Bhagavad Gita

John Smith jds10 at CUS.CAM.AC.UK
Thu Mar 4 09:44:27 UTC 1999

On Wed, 3 Mar 1999, Harry Spier wrote:

> Belvalkar (1962) in this verse reads "...puNyakRtAM lokAn"
> and notes "puNyakRtAMllokAn" as a variant (M in this case represents
> chandrabindu).
> Van Buitenen reads "...puNyakRtaMl lokAn".
> Could someone tell me what the B.O.R.I. critical edition reads?

The BORI ed. has puNyakRtAMl lokAn. But this is a fascinating little
textual mystery, as it happens. Of the 10 occurrences of the phrase in the
text of the MBh, five are spelt with candrabindu + l, five with anusvara.
There are also 8 occurrences of sukRtAMl lokAn (and none of the equivalent
form using anusvara). What is going on here?

An optional sandhi for final -n before initial l- is simply to write the
-n as an anusvara. In this single case, the sandhis of final -n and final
-m are thus identical. It seems fairly clear that the phrases in question
are, in pre-sandhi form, sukRtAm lokAn and puNyakRtAm lokAn "the worlds of
the doers of what is good" (i.e. "the heavenly realms"). The alternative
interpretation (su/puNya-kRtAn lokAn) simply makes no sense: "the
well/virtuously made worlds".

Whether the confusion is scribal, editorial, or a mixture of both I am
unsure, but at some stage the final anusvara has come to be taken as
representing -n not -m, and the spelling adjusted accordingly. If the
phrases were used in any other case than the accusative plural this would
presumably not have happened (or would the scribes/editors have emended
*puNyakRtAM lokAH to *puNyakRtA lokAH?).

John Smith

Dr J. D. Smith                *  jds10 at
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