elves: Indic counterpart?
huntington.2 at OSU.EDU
Mon May 23 22:16:46 UTC 2005
Joanna and others,
I did not enter the elf discussion previously because I did not think
it had any place to go. I simply do not have much interest in
European faeries, elves, gnomes and the like. But I ran across a book
on elves, faeries and company, and, out of momentary idleness, looked
at it fairly carefully. Tolkinian elves seem a bit different than the
joyful wee folk of the book, but that is only an aside. I know of
nothing in the Indic sphere that even comes close to either version.
The usual lot in Buddhism is the eight classes of gods, animistic
beings, and demons: devas,
nagas, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, and
mahoragas. To which one must add: apsaras, ganas, kumbhandas,
rakshasas, and the nakshatras. Then, of course, there are all the
classifications of beings in the Mount Meru system. None of these
beings, where I know of a description of their respective behaviors,
behave in a manner anything like the elves. Now it may be that the
Hindu systems harbor an elf-like being (perhaps the ganas of 7th 8th
century south India with their joy and musical inclinations) but even
these have a very specific iconological position (separating the
mundane from the transcendent) that has nothing to do with elves.
I am inclined to think the issue of an elf in Sanskrit is a miss and
maybe the Thai have their own animistic being, the Nat, that might
come into play but then I do not know much about the nats either.
>Thanks for clarifying this thread's history.....
>Yes Tolkien seems to have been most particular about his different
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Valerie J Roebuck" <vjroebuck at MACUNLIMITED.NET>
>To: <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
>Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 12:00 PM
>Subject: Re: elves: Indic counterpart?
>> The thread began with this enquiry, but took off in various
>> directions afterwards:
>> At 7:43 pm -0500 7/2/05, Allen W Thrasher wrote:
>> >A Thai friend is trying to translate the poem on the Ring in the Lord of
>> >the Rings into Thai, for a multilingual page of such translations. She
>> >asked me for help on what would be a good translation for "elves," since
>> >Thai lore of supernatural beings is largely based on Indian. ...
>> Allen found out afterwards that there was already a Thai translation
>> of the whole of The Lord of the Rings in existence, but I don't think
>> he has actually seen a copy yet. (I for one am very interested to
>> know how these sorts of problems are handled.)
>> Whatever may be the situation elsewhere, in Tolkien's works Elves and
>> Dwarves are quite distinct beings.
>> Valerie J Roebuck
>> Manchester, UK
>> At 5:21 pm -0600 22/5/05, jkirk wrote:
>> >I'm revisiting this question--wasn't it prompted by a query on the
>> >translation of elf into Hindi for exhibiting the Lord of the Rings movie
>> >India? Seems the translators could have used the word vaaman -- dwarf. A
>> >dwarf in folklore is close to an elf, after all.
>> >Joanna K.
>> >> aspects of yak.sa-lore seem relevant, too, particularly
>> >> associations with vegetation and wealth,
>> >> though they have a malevolent side which would
>> >> not do for Tolkein's elves (though perhaps accords
>> >> with the mythology more generally).
>> >> On this, of course, see Coomaraswamy.
>> >> And what of the vidyaadharas and siddhas, as known
>> >> in the epics? Elvish longevity and command of wonders
>> >> might incline one to favor the vidyaadharas here.
>> >> MK
More information about the INDOLOGY