Klaus Karttunen Klaus.Karttunen at HELSINKI.FI
Mon Mar 20 13:25:44 UTC 2000

Dear colleagues,
as I have just spent an extremely frustrating couple of hours going through
the messages of the last few days, I really hesitate to send anything. I
must say that I very much appreciate the patience of Dominik with this list
and wholly agree with the plea of Chris Wallis. However, on last wednesday
I promised to comment the yAvanIbhASA and here it comes. In addition to the
language, I have taken also references to yavana writing. Remember that in
early sources yavana means Greek, but later Arab or Muslim in general.

The verse na vadet yAvanIM bhASAM prANaiH kaNThagatair api is quoted in
Apte's Dictionary "from SubhASita". Perhaps it is from the BhaviSyapurANa
(anybody knows the exact reference?).

One of the earliest references is the well known passage KAtyAyana and Pat
on P 4, 1, 49 yavanAnI lipi, Greek script.

In the PAdatAdiTaka 111f. Ghosh (115f. Schokker) the talk of the yavanI
courtesan "sounds like the screeching of a female ape, consisting for the
greater part of the sIt sound". On yavana (javaNa) courtesans see also the
NammayAsundarIkathA of MahendrasUri.

KumArila, TantravArttika on MS 1, 3, 6, 10 gives an interesting account of
foreign languages (including Dravidian). In the list
pArasIka-barbara-yavana-raumakAdi the languages must be Persian, Turkish
(?), Arabic (as Yavana is Muslim) and Greek (as spoken by Byzantines as

According to Keith, Sanskrit Drama p. 336 the RasArNavasudhAkara of
SiMhabhUpAla (unavailable to me) assigns ApabhraMza to CaNDAlas and Yavanas.

According to Weber, Indische Studien 2, 247f. the late HAyanaratna by
Balabhadra says that the TAjika (Islamic astronomy) was available in a
version in PArasIbhASA, though the original was in YavanabhASA. Reading
these languages is generally forbidden in the SmRti, but can be allowed for
useful purposes like this.

Among Buddhist sources the DIghanikAya-Commentary on 1, p. 176 lists
barbarian languages: damiLa-kirAta-yavanAdi-millakkhAnaM bhAsA (see also
the TIkA ad l.). The same also in ANguttaran. Commentary 2, p. 289. Another
list in the VibhaNga-Comm. p. 387f.:
oTTa-kirAta-andhaka-yonaka-damiLa-bhAsAdikA aTThArasa bhAsA. The MahAvastu
1, p. 135 mentions YAvanI or rather yonAnI among various scripts. The same
also in the Tibetan Lalitavistara (see Edgerton, Dictionary s.v. yonAnI).

In Jaina sources: javaNalivi as one of the 18 kinds of writing in
SamavAyANga 18, 43 and ZIlaNka's CauppaNNamahApurisacariaM 124. There are
probably other passages, too.

The PurANas have many Yavana passages in the connection of geographical
divisions and legends (especially those of Sagara and KAlayavana), but I
have found no references to their language.

BTW, it has been claimed somewhere that there is a passage about Yavanas in
the ZizupAlavadha, but I have not found it. Does anybody know it?



P.S. Yavana made vimanas are mentioned in BKZS 5, 194ff. and VasudevahiNDi
p. 62.

PP.S. Tamil has been taught, beside Sanskrit and Hindi, at our Department
(University of Helsinki) since 1971.

Klaus Karttunen
Institute for Asian and African Studies
Box 59, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
tel. +358-9-191-22224, fax. +358-9-191-22094

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