Prasad Velusamy prasad_velusamy at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 2 16:15:21 UTC 2000

" However, there was another kind of realist who forced the
Brahmans to more than merely shrugging their shoulders. These
called themselves Lokayatikes, or the worldly-wise. [polemics snipped]

'There is no heaven, no final liberation, nor any soul in
  another world,
'Nor do the actions of the four castes, orders, etc.,produce
any real effort. [snipped]
'All the well-known formulae of the pundits, japhari, taphari,
'And all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in the
  [... ...]"

This, along with more extensive other polemical statments agaist
the brahmins by lokayatas is given in p. 148-150,
Iqbal Singh, Gautama Buddha, Oxford, 1997.

Are these statements found in ancient lokayata sources,
or just a modern construct about lokayatas?



From: "Steven E. Lindquist" <s-lindquist at THE-FOUNDRY.NET>

Off-the-cuff, Walker's description seems "okay" (given its brevity).
There is more than one text regarding the azvamedha and he may be
blending various aspects from different texts/recensions (if he has
looked at the primary sources...I don't know).  For example
descriptions of the horse, its color, etc. varies across texts.  Also,
if I recall correctly, Madhyandina SB does not send the king out with
the horse to roam for a year (does any text? I don't know).  While I
do not currently have the SB handy, I recall also that in Madh. SB
that the king is to be in seclusion, not to do his kingly duties, not
to engage in intercourse, etc. while the horse is roaming. Whether all
these things happened literally or were ritually represented is
unanswerable in the early sources.  I tend to lean towards the former.

That said, however, I see no reason to necessarily assume that a king
performing the azvamedha was actually trying to conquer new territory
(especially if my memory of his seclusion is correct).  Ritual error
(i.e., dead or captured horse being the most extreme) would be quite
possible, not to mention very embarrassing for the king (there are
expiations for this, but they are also for accidental or natural
death).  The king in an azvamedha may simply have been ritually
asserting or inaugurating his authority over his territory (perhaps
newly acquired, perhaps not).  Bear in mind that the army "letting
the horse wander" needs only to feed to horse to keep it from running
off and starting a war.
Steven E. Lindquist
email: s-lindquist at the-foundry.net

In the US:                    In India:
Doctoral Candidate            AIIS Junior Fellow/Affiliated Research Scholar
Dept. of Asian Studies        Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
University of TX at Austin    Pune, Maharashtra

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