u.s.tra-dhuumaka (was: Skt vocabulary for: Hail)

Thu Jan 20 16:09:00 UTC 2000

George v. Simonson wrote:

> But if it 'bites with its mouth', one would either think of a
mosquito or -
> rather - of a spider. Are there tarantulas in India? A tarantula
would be
> somewhat similar to a scorpion and its bite is extremely painful.

Probably not a lot of help but the KP says that this insect has a
black head and sleeps on its back.   The Tibetan version understands
the word as a kind of insect but the passage in question seems to be a
later interpolation since four out of the five Chinese versions do not
mention it at all while the latest version seems to think that it is
some kind of asterism or planet.

To me, the word image "camel smoke" suggests clouds of noxious insects
billowing around animals like camels.   Could some kind of biting fly
be intended -- in my younger days I was bitten many times by
horse-flies and clegs and these are extremely painful and usually
result in a badly infected wound.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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