Stem of munja grass

Yaroslav Vassilkov yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU
Sat Apr 13 08:43:13 UTC 2002

        Many belated thanks to Ashok Aklujkar, Vidyasankar Sundaresan and
Frits Staal for their illuminating discussion of the munja plant and
its structure. Each one of their contributions is a "print-out must"
for me.
        Dr. Vidyasankar Sundaresan's suggestion that iSIkA is rather a "pith"
than a "stem" is corroborated, as it seems, by RAmakRSNa's gloss in
his commentary on VidyAraNya's PancadazI: iSIkA - garbhastham komalam tRNam
(as quoted by Ashok Aklujkar). It must be this tender pith hidden inside the munja
plant that used to be compared with Atman. But I doubt that tertium comparationis
in this case was the invisibility. A true yogin *sees* the Atman, first in itself
and then in all living beings in the same way as a man who once *saw* iSIkA inside
a munja (in situ, if I may say so), is able from now on to *see* it in another sample
of the same species.
       And then there is one more question which still remains open for me:
was iSIkA identical, or not, with those long twigs (I can not find at the
moment a better word) which were being
extracted from munja plants and (probably, after some processing)
used for weaving baskets, mats, making girdles etc.?
        Many thanks once again to all participants of this discussion.

                                                        Yaroslav Vassilkov

Yaroslav Vassilkov (yavass at
Institute of Oriental Studies
Sat, 13 Apr 102 11:04 +0300 MSK

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