jkirk jkirk at MICRON.NET
Sat Jan 26 00:36:18 UTC 2002

Thanks to all who replied to my query about the gaze in classical
literature. You have all been most helpful.

I have just one more question: does anyone on this list read classical
Bangla? Somewhere (maybe in Asim Roy's book on syncretism, which whenever I
wish to see it I must order up on ILL) I seem to recall seeing a reference
to a classical (early modern? late medieval?) Bengali Ramayana.  Naturally,
I wonder if the description of Rama and Sita's first gaze at one another is
in it.  As Prof Brockington wrote, it definitely is not in Valmiki's
Ramayana.   The Tibetan version sent to me by Prof Kapstein is also
intriguing because altough they encounter each other's gaze--

"Their eyes fell as do those of the offering-eater [=balibhuj, crow]
On meeting the owl's guttural cry.

--according to him, suggesting that their eyes fell as a crow's would on
hearing the warning bark of the owl---  So this version does not offer a
concept of their first sight gaze as "snatching or devouiring" one another
with their eyes.  Ah, modesty vs desire.

Will also contact some of the Bengali scholars at Chicago--i hope you don't
mind my asking here too.

Joanna Kirkpatrick

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