Jonathan Silk silk at HUMNET.UCLA.EDU
Sun Mar 14 19:55:21 UTC 2004

Regarding varjaagni, Arlo Griffiths added to the MBh reference of Arthur Karp:

>Divyaavadaana (ed. Vaidya)
>269.027. na ; pannagaa.h kurvanti pii.daa.m nabhaso

This reading is the same as that in Cowell & Neil 416.20 =
Mukhopadhyaya 121.3, and in fact the same verse is found in
Azokaavadaanamaalaa published by Bongard-Levin vs. 261.
Unfortunately, although much of the text is repeated verbatim, this
verse is omitted by the K.semendra's Bodhisattvaavadaanakalpalataa,
and hence we have no opportunity to see any Tibetan rendering here.
In the Tibetan Ku.naalaavadaana, however, Toh. 4145 'dul ba su 237b2
we have: mtshon dang rdo rje dug dang sbrul rnams kyis // nam mkha'
'gyun zhing gnod byed mi nus so // . Here mtshon = zastra, rdo rje =
varja(agni) and dug = What is peculiar about this is that the
translators appear to have skipped agni, unless they consider the
compound identical in meaning with varja alone.
On the other hand, a Chinese version preserved in T. 2042 (L)
109c23-24 (juan 3) quite clearly understands varja and agni, as two
entirely distinct items (for convenience, trans Przyluski: 292:
...c'est ne'st non plus la foudre ni le feu...). This, for what it is
worth, is also how Hertel (Parizi.s.taparvan 263: Nicht Waffen,
Blitze, Feurer, Gift...) understood the line (from Skt, of course).

While it seems rather clear that the sense of varjaagni in the MBh
context, as in the Ratnagotravibhaaga from which I originally cited
it, means 'lightning," I wonder whether we may conclude that there is
at least a good possibility that in the Divy it is to be taken rather
as a dvandva (and in that sense, not the same word at all).

Jonathan Silk
Department of Asian Languages & Cultures
Center for Buddhist Studies
290 Royce Hall
Box 951540
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
phone: (310)206-8235
fax:  (310)825-8808
silk at

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