Parasol in India

Robert P. Goldman sseas at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Nov 17 17:14:42 UTC 1999

I believe that this is a commonplace in the epics. An apparently early
example would be RAmAyaNa 2. 5. 2 ( crit. ed) where the aged King DaZaratha
describes his body has having been worn out in the shade of the white
umbrella, clearly a metonymy for royal sovereignty.

idaM ZarIraM kRtsnyasya lokasya caratA hitam
pANDurasyAtapatrasya chAyAyAM jaritaM mayA

>Dear N.Ganesan,
>please acept my respectful greetings.
>> Please help me with this question:
>> In temples, a (white) parasol is held over the deity in procession
>> (utsavam/ta. uurvalam) routinely. Kings are regularly described
>> having a parasol while in court. Does this imagery of a king under
>> parasol occur in late vedic texts? What about the epics?
>        As far as srutis are concerned, no idea, but Monier-Williams Sanskrit
>dictionary may provide some notes on the occurance of the word chatra
>(parasol) in srutis (and smrtis).
>        As far as smrtis are concerned, there are some verses in Bhagavata
>where the word chatra is used in this context:
>        Bhagavata Purana        8.10.18: bala-vyajana-chatragryaih (said
>of Bali Maharaja)
>                                8.18.14: dyaus chatram jagatah pateh (said
>of Vamana)
>                                8.18.23: chatram sa-dandam sa-jalam
>kamandalum (same)
>                                9.10.42: sveta-cchatram marut-sutah (Rama
>& Hanuman) [exactly a WHITE
>        Also in the great Vaisnava work Caitanya-caritamrta (by Krsnadasa
>Gosvami) Hera-pancami (Laksmi-vijaya) festival is mentioned. Chatra
>(parasol) is among the articles used for worship of Laksmi:
>        Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila        14.107-109: ara
>chatra-camare (verse 109)
>                                                        14.128-129:
>chatra-camara-dhvaja (verse 129)
>With best wishes,
>Sergei Schmalz.

Dr. R. P.  Goldman
Sarah Kailath Professor in India Studies
Professor of Sanskrit and
Center for  South Asia Studies
7303 Dwinelle Hall MC #2540
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-2540
email: sseas at
Phone: (510) 642-4089
Fax:     (510) 643-2959

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