N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 27 14:46:44 UTC 1999

Dr. A. Karp wrote:
>Four times in a narrative context (Story of Nala - III, 63.4,9,13; III,
>70,27). Interestingly - in connection with Kali. Conscious word-play

Perhaps. The drav. explanation of karkoTaka as "gem-giver" jives well
with nala (< dr. naLa('black')) myth. niSAda - a "robber" tribe who
are away from grAmas ('sitting at the door'). This nala('black') can
be compared with nALa/naLa/naDa-giri ('black mountain') elephant in
the Buddha legends. In tamil and telugu, nal-/naL- mean 'black'.
Nallamalai ('black mountain') range is where river KrishnaveNi
(< dr. kaNNapeNNA) flows. Many Sanskrit words with nal-/nAl- formed
from the dr.  naL-/nal-(black) like nAlika('buffalo') and
nArayana('black god'). narAyaNI(durgaa) is zyAmalaa. Perhaps,
nala('black') and karkoTaka ('gem-giver') are connected in the MBh.
from a dr. source, for 40% of karkoTaka occurence is in the
nala episode.

H. Luders has a 2nd century inscription from Nagarjunakonda
about a temple dedicated to nODagiriizvarasvAmin. Does this ins.
have a variant reading "nADagiri" (< dr. nALamalai, nallamalai range).
The 1-2 cent. brahmi letters do not differentiate nO and nA well
enough. Was nADagiri read as nODagiri by epigraphists who have
not thought of nADagiri=nALagiri? Can someone help me with what
Luders says?

Appreciatios for any comment from Indologists.

N. Ganesan

A while ago, I got a reply thru' privete mail.
>[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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