Arlo Griffiths A.Griffiths at LET.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Mon Feb 10 11:06:59 UTC 2003

One might also mention that Stephanie Jamison, in various publications, has
dealt with the precise identification of Sanskrit animal-names: the first
thing that comes to my mind is her book on the Ravenous Hyenas and the
Wounded Sun, esp. pp. 68ff. (on hyenas). Then, I think of Claudius
Nenninger's paper in StII 18 [1993] (on the nakula-). There is also a very
interesting recent paper by Joshua Katz in the Insler Festschrift, JAOS
122.2 [2002] (on badgers, moles [not in India!] etc.).

All these works make clear that identifications commonly used by Indologists
can in many cases already be rejected for the simple reason that the
supposed animal does not exist in India. Regarding Dave's book on birds, we
should indeed, as Karttunen just hinted, not forget R.P. Das' words
("Studies in Indian Medical History", ed. by Meulenbeld and Wujastyk,
Groningen 1987, p. 27 n. 36): "... Dave seems on the whole far too sure of
his identifications and has moreover more or less neglected other studies on
the subject."

Arlo Griffiths

> From: Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK>
> Reply-To: Indology <INDOLOGY at>
> Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 10:43:09 +0000
> Subject: Re: at risk again
> In the Introduction of my Roots of Ayurveda book, p.23, I discuss plant
> names, and I list a whole lot of good reference sources on the history of
> plants in India, including texts that help with Sanskrit and vernacular
> names and Linnean identifications.
> Animal names:  KN Dave, Birds in Sanskrit Literature (Motilal) is *the*
> bible for birds.  SH Prater, The Book of Indian Animals, is a goldmine of
> info., and really helpful in identifying animals, though it doesn't do the
> Sanskrit itself.  It does give vernacular names, though, which can be very
> important and helpful.  It is published by the Bombay Natural History
> Society, all of whose publications are very useful indeed (including
> Daniel's Reptiles).  Similarly, Samuel Israel and Toby Sinclair, Indian
> Wildlife: Sri Lanka, Nepal (ARA Publications, ISBN 0-245-54523-9) is
> excellent; same caveats as for Prater.
> Klaus Karttunen is interested in realia too, and his volumes on India and
> Greece are full of useful identifications and remarks.  You might not
> think to look there at first.
> Best,
> Dominik
> On Sun, 9 Feb 2003, jkirk wrote:
>> Not being an expert, I still try. Can anyone point me to a Sanskrit source
>> that gives translations into English of animal names in Skt to their common
>> or biological or both names in English?
>> Not much of Indian birds or flowers in Monier-Williams it seems, nor on the
>> Capeller online or Cologne online lookup machines.
>> Thanks
>> Joanna Kirkpatrick

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