query: jodi.mga

Sara McClintock mcclint at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Aug 1 19:21:33 UTC 2001

Dear Colleagues,

I have a query concerning a Sanskrit term from the Tattvasa.mgrahapa~njikaa of
Kamala'siila (8th century Buddhist 'saastric work). The term is jodi.mga, a
word which does not appear in the Sanskrit-English dictionaries available to me
here. The Tibetan translation has ro sreg mkhan, which would seem to indicate a
person whose job is burning corpses. The term occurs twice, both in the same
context but differing slightly with regard to syntactical relations to other
words in the sentence.

The context in which the phrase appears is one in which the author is trying to
establish that mental qualities such as compassion and so on are capable of an
extraordinary degree of perfection (praka.r.saparyanta). An example is then

First instance (TSP ad TS 3409-3412): yathaa 'srotriyajodi.mganairgh.r.nyam
Second instance (TSP ad TS 3437-3412): 'srotriyasya jodi.mganairgh.r.nyavat

In both instances, the Tibetan indicates a dvandva relation between the terms
'srotriya and jodi.mga. I am especially confused by the genitive 'srotriyasya
in the second instance, and I am at a loss as to how to account for it.

My tentative translation of the first instance is: "like the cruelty of
brahmins and jodi.mgas." The idea is that just as compassion can be cultivated
to an extraordinary degree, so too can cruelty. Remember, this is a Buddhist
text which at points is quite critical of Brahmanic religion (especially animal
sacrifice), so the idea that brahmins are cruel fits the overall tenor of the

One possibility that comes to mind is that the 'srotriyajodi.mga is a
particular kind of brahmin. Or perhaps jodi.mga is an alterative for jo.ti.mga,
which Monier-Williams identities as an ascetic who subjects himself to severe
penances. Or perhaps I am overlooking something relatively obvious. In any
case, I would appreciate any insight or ideas that Indology list subscribers
might have.

Thank you very much in advance.
Sara McClintock

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