Mythic origin of the Nastikas/BArhaspatyas

Vielle Christophe vielle at ORI.UCL.AC.BE
Wed Apr 24 12:55:35 UTC 2002

Dear Colleagues,
at the moment inputing the vaMzAnucarita portion for the
Brinkhaus-Schreiner-DICSEP3 HarivaMza electronic transliteration Project, I
come across the story of Raji and his sons in ch. 21. As you probably know,
Raji's sons seize the kingdom of Indra, who goes to BRhaspati for asking
help. The latter restores Indra's tejas. As for Raji's sons, "the best of
the munis created delusion in their intellect"
te.s-a.m ca buddhisa.mmoham !akarod .r.sisattama.h !!21.34cd!
Then occurs a star passage: all Mss. (except /S1 ?N1 M1-3) G(ed.) ins.
x n-astiv-ad-artha/s-astra.m hi ! param !
x parama.m tarka/s-astr-a.n-am !asat-a.m tan manonugam !
x na hi dharmapradh-an-an-a.m !rocate vai kath-antare !!
x te tad b.rhaspatik.rta.m !/s-astra.m /srutv-alpacetasa.h !
x p-urvoktadharma/s-astr-a.n-am !abhavan sad-a !!
x pracakrur ny-ayarahita.m !tanmata.m bahu menire !
x te p-ap-a.h !sarva eva k.saya.m gat-a.h !!
x trailokyar-ajya.m /sakras tu !pr-apya du.spr-apam eva ca !
x b.rhaspatipras-ad-ad dhi !par-a.m nirv.rtim abhyag-at !!21.34*327!
Then the main text continues:
te yad-a sma !r-agonmatt-a ! ca hatav-iryapar-akram-a.h !!21.35!

Since this star passage does not occur in the "best" Mss. and has no
equivalent in the BDP-VAP common text (cf. HV 21.34cd-5 = VAP 96.97-8a-b),
one can effectively conclude that it did not belong to the HV in his
earliest stage. Nor can it be very late, however,  since it is shared by
most of the Mss. from different families, and the tradition itself could be
older than the text.

It is well known that the traditional treatise of the CArvAkas was called
the BArhaspatya-sUtras, but as far as I know it seems not to have been
explained by the historians of Indian philosophy why that treatise came to
be mythologically ascribed to BRhaspati (I came across a reference to an
hypothesis by Pizzagalli quoted by Silburn in Renou-Filliozat MEI II, but
without any bibliographical data, that I would be therefore happy to get).
The HV passage is in this way interesting, and fits well with the allusion
in Maitry-UpaniSad 7.9:
b.rhspatir vai /sukro bh-utvendrasy-abhay-ay-asurebhya.h k.say-ayem-am
avidy-am as.rjat
Also interesting is the fact that the nAstivAdins seem to designate here
the logicians (cf. their tarka-zAstra, even if, with a play on words, their
action is declared nyAya-rahita).

I would be happy to get some comments on this by specialists of Indian

Dr. Christophe Vielle
Centre d'Etudes de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud
Institut orientaliste
Place Blaise Pascal 1
B - 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Tel. +32-(0)10-47 49 54 (office)/ -(0)2-640 62 66 (home)
E-mail: vielle at

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