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

Swaminathan Madhuresan smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 21 14:44:40 UTC 2000

>I think we have to abandon the idea of "clouds of obnoxious insects" and
>instead interpret the word uSTra-dhUmaka in a different way. I would now
>suggest that it refers to the animal's colour: dhUma could be a
>Sanskrit-misunderstanding of Prakrit dhUma < dhumma < Skt. dhUmra,
>"smoke-coloured". Thus uSTra-dhUmaka = "smoke-coloured like a camel".
>According to some Lexicographers (see Peterburger Woerterbuch or
>Monier-Williams Dictionary), dhUmraka (and acc. to Monier-Williams also
>dhUmra, in the TaittirIya-SamhitA) indeed means "camel" (= "the
>smoke-coloured animal)!
>If we take this together with the passage from Vagbhata quoted by Dominik,
>uSTradhUma(ka), also called uccitinga, should be a night-active,
>camel-coloured, poisonous spider (it is mentioned together with scorpions,
>but, as it "bites with its mouth", it is probably not a scorpion).

Indeed, spiders are camel-colored. Tamil has "o.t.tai/o.t.takam" = camel;
OTL entry: "o.t.ta.tai/o.t.ta.rai"=spider's web or dust, cob-web.
Also, N. KatiraivE.rpi.l.lai's dictionary (AES, Delhi reprint)
"o.t.ta.tai" = "pukaiyu.rai" (=flake of smoke (OTL))

When was KP written? Kanchi has Kacchapeshvara temple with
buddha and buddhist sculptures. Japan and India, a book released
on the occasion of Festival of India in Japan, has an article mentioning
the K. temple as originally buddhist Kaashyapa. I believe K. temple
buddhist pictures are in Archaeological atlas of Buddhist remains in
Tamil Nadu (1998).


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