zaGkara digvijaya and cilappatikAram

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun May 14 05:29:21 UTC 2000

I have a question related to the story of Hastamalaka in the zaGkara
digvijaya of mAdhava. The story of Hastamalaka, according to Tapasyananda's
translation,  is given in the following words (pp.156-157).

"Once there lived on the banks of the Yamuna a highly evolved saint who had
overcome the bondage of Samsara. One day a Brahmana woman who had come for
bath in the Yamuna left her two-year-old child on the bank and got into the
stream with her companions. The child, slowly crawling from the place where
he had been left, fell into the river. Picking up the dead body of the child,
the women came near the hermitage of the ascetic and began to cry aloud in
great distress. Taking pity on the mother, the Yogi, by his psychic powers,
entered into the body of the inert child, who rose up as Hastamalaka."

The motif of a higher being entering the body of a dead child in response to
motherly pleas is found earlier in Tamil cilappatikAram. Does anybody know if
such a motif is found in any Sanskrit, Pali, or Prakrit texts prior to 5th
century AD? Thanks in advance for any references.

S. Palaniappan

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