Sun Jul 11 16:59:57 UTC 2004

Dominik Wujastyk wrote:

> KukkuTabha is not a common word in Sanskrit (and one would prefer
> "-aabha"); just a stab in the dark, but I would have thought kukkuTabhak,
> chicken-eater, might be an idea.  But it's completely unsubstantiated.
Thanks for these observations.  I feel some embarrassed that I had been
focussing to closely on the "kukku.ta" element, trying to account for it as
a misinterpretation / scribal error without considering other aspects of the
sentence in which the word occurs.  But I now think I have the answer. The
text (in Tibetan) speaks of the four venomous snakes I as I have mentioned
and tacks "la sogs pa" (= Skt -aadi) on the end.  The significance of this
escaped my notice -- the Tibetans seem to have read in their exemplar
"...kukku.taadi" in an understandable error for "kukku.taahi" which is, I
think an alternative for "kukku.taabha".  I suppose the best way forward now
is for me to call London Zoo and ask them which Indian snake either looks
like a chicken or specializes in eating them.  If I have any success in
indentification, I'll give an update later.

Best wishes,
Stephen Hodge

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