hamsa (2)

L.S.Cousins selwyn at NTLWORLD.COM
Wed Feb 13 10:07:16 UTC 2002


Just a quick comment. My impression was that the translation by
'goose' was unacceptable at one time because of the connotations to
ordinary people in England (and perhaps elsewhere) of the word goose:
'the silly goose', etc. You simply couldn't use the word in
translating a poetic context. I don't think this necessarily meant
that people thought the ha.msa was a swan. They just avoided the
rendering 'goose' because at that time it would make Indian
literature appear ridiculous to the ordinary English reader. (Some
people nowadays would have a rather different impression of geese due
to wild-life programs, etc.)

>         The first view is usually held by Indian scholars who have perhaps
>been influenced by the vernacular uses of the term: according to this
>view, hamsa always denotes a swan. What might be called the old school
>of Western scholars agrees.

Lance Cousins


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