Skt vocabulary for: Hail

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK
Thu Jan 20 10:39:34 UTC 2000

On Wed, 19 Jan 2000, Stephen Hodge wrote:

> Since you are possibly also doing some work on the KP, do you have any
> ideas about the identity of the "u.s.tra-dhuumaka" insect/worm ?

U.s.tradhuuma is mentioned in Vaagbha.ta's A.s.taa"ngah.rdayasa.mhitaa
(ca. 600) in Uttaratantra 37.14, the chapter on insect and spider bites.
The verse goes like this

ucci.ti"ngas tu da"saty abhyadhikavyatha.h
saadhyato v.r"scikaat stambha.m "sophaso h.r.s.taromataam 13
karoti sekama"ngaanaa.m da.m"sa.h "siitaambuneva ca
u.s.tradhuuma.h sa evokto raatricaaraa ca raatrika.h 14

The Ucci.ti"nga bites with its mouth, causing very extreme pain, more than
(?) a scorpion which is treatable.  The penis is erect, the body hair
stands on end.  And one pours cold water on the limbs of the bite.  It is
in fact called the U.s.tradhuuma, or again the Raatrika because it comes
out at night.

The passage is in the context of scorpions, so it seems that the
ucci.ti"nga, u.s.tradhuuma, and raatrika are all names of something like a
scorpion.  But in verse 15, it is distinguished from a scorpion: "the
poison of the u.s.tradhuumaka, like the scorpion, mainly has an excess of
wind".  This wind connection is taken from Su"sruta (kalpasthaana, 8.5).

Su"sruta also says of the ucci.ti"nga that it is like the scorpion and
other creatures in that it's poison is in its sting (kalpa 3.5:
samudrav.r"scikaa"s caalavi.saa.h | There are some variants on the word
for "sting", aala or aara, which the commentators discuss).

Dominik Wujastyk
Founder, INDOLOGY list.

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