Yaroslav Vassilkov yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU
Sat Nov 13 07:12:45 UTC 1999

Dear Dr. Hodge,

        in reference to "links between drumming and witches" these
        verses from the MahAbhArata will probably be of interest to you.
        In the Book VIII KarNa, while describing the "immoral" practices
        of the land of Aratta, his enemy Shalya's homeland, mentions a rAkSasI
        (which stands here, perhaps, for a "witch" or non-Aryan priestess) who
        gives a start to an orgiastic Arattan feast in the city of Shakala on every
        14th night of the "dark" fortnight - by way of singing and
        BEATING A DRUM (here - dundubhi):

        tatra sma rAkSasI gAti sadA kRSNa caturdazIm/
        nagare zakale sphIte Ahatya nizi dundubhim//
        kadA vA ghoSikA gathAH punar gAsyanti zAkale/
        gavyasya tRptA mAMsasya pItvA gauDaM mahAsavam//
                                                        Mbh VIII.30.29-30

        Please note that in the second verse, which is, most probably,
        a "quotation" from "the rAkSasI's song" ("When will they start again their noicy
        songs in Shakala..."), the root *ghoS-* is present (which you have mentioned in
        connection with *ghoSiNI*).

        I am inclined to see in the archaic ritual practices of the Arattans,
        described and condemned in the Mbh VIII.30, the heritage of a "late-Harappan"

Yaroslav Vassilkov (yavass at YV1041.spb.edu)
Sat, 13 Nov 99 09:27 +0300 MSK

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