Identification of verse

Ulrich T. Kragh utkragh at HUM.KU.DK
Wed Nov 14 15:38:30 UTC 2001

Dear list-members,
I am trying to identify the following Sanskrit-verse. If it is familiar to
you, please help me to identify its possible source.

(transliteration according to the Harvard-Kyoto convention (cf.

UrNanAbha ivAMzUnAM candrakAnta ivAMbhasAm,
prarohANAm iva plakSaH sa hetuH sarvajanminAm.

V.V. Gokhale's translation of this verse reads:
"He is the source of whatever is incarnate, just as a spider is that of
threads, or the moon-stone that of the liquid (oozing from it), of the
fig-tree that of its descending shoots."

The verse is found in a number of Tibetan translations of Madhyamaka-texts,
which are not preserved in Sanskrit. Bhavaviveka (c. 6th century)quotes the
verse both in Prajnapradipa as well as in Tarkajvala. Candrakirti (c. 7th
century) (whom I am currently working on) quotes it in
Madhyamakavatarabhasya. In all these places, the verse is presented as being
related to the view that purusa is the cause of all. Later, Kamalashila
quotes the verse in Tattvasamgrahapanjika and it is from here that the above
Sanskrit-version comes.

There are some variants in the version of the verse quoted in Prajnapradipa
and Madhyamakavatara, where particularly the first pada seems to be
different. In Sastri's reconstruction of the Sanskrit, the verse reads: 

gozabdAnAM hi gaur hetuz candrakAnto 'mbhasAm iva,
prarohAnAm iva plakSaH sa hetuH sarvadehinâm.

(In Tibetan: ba ni ba sgra rnams kyi rgyu| |chu shel chu rnams kyi bzhin
dang| |blag sha yal ga rnams kyi ltar| |de ni lus can kun gyi rgyu||)

The first pada could perhaps also be reconstructed as "pa hi pazabdAnAm

I imagine that the verse ultimately draws on Upanisadic material, e.g. BU
3.9.28, where the purusa is compared to a tree, etc.

Any hints are most welcome!

Ulrich T. Kragh
University of Copenhagen
(currently in Hamburg).
e-mail: utkragh at

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