"yakSAmah" - "let us gobble" ??

Benjamin Fleming cheapies at CABLEREGINA.COM
Mon Jun 12 17:41:36 UTC 2000

Dear list members,

Coomaraswamy (Coom., YakSas, New Delhi: Munshiram, 1971; prt 1, 5f1) has
translated a passage from the RAmAyana (7.104.12-13) ,

BrahmA created beings to guard the waters and some of these cried
"rakSAmah," "let us guard," and others "yakSAmah," "let us gobble," becoming
thus RAkSasas and YakSas.

I would like to know on what basis Coom. has come up with "let us gobble"
from "yakSamah" ?  My understanding of yakSa is that it possibly derives
from the Sanskrit root "yaj" to worship and that it means, according to
Monier-Williams, "a living supernatural being."

It was suggested to me that perhaps there is some relationship between
bhakSa, to eat and yakSa, in Coom.'s translation, thus, deriving at "let us
gobble".  For example, bhakSaNa is "one who eats", (M.-W., 742).  Is anyone
able to comment on the relationship, if any, between yakSamah and bhakSaNa,
or comment generally on the meaning of yakSAmah which is specific to the
translation of "let us gobble"?

Thank-you in advance.
B. Fleming

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