mana in heart or head

Dipak Bhattacharya dbhattacharya2004 at YAHOO.CO.IN
Wed Apr 8 14:15:31 UTC 2009

My previous mail reached blank! The Reply button did not work too. Perhaps the present one sent not as a reply may reach.
<"Dissection" refers specifically to the medico-surgical exploration of the body for the goals of medicine or forensic science.  It doesn't mean just cutting up a body, or cutting up a body for ritual or other purposes.>
I need not tell that there is a usage -- 'Dissect: 1.methodically cut up a body or plant in order to study its internal parts 2. analyse in minute detail' COED 11th ed. 2006.
This usage will not die in spite of attempts to limit the scope of employing the word. See for example, Walt Disney's, True Life Adventures where he occasionally speaks of one insect (particularly a spider) dissecting the body of another or injecting some anaesthetic into it for eating it. (The word 'injection' too has a medical sense and a general one.) 
The purpose may be different and the discovery incidental or by chance. The result might be the same. Many discoveries came as part of search made for a different purpose. The importance of the result is not diminished. As to what made the tantrikas make enquiry, the tantric idea of sahasraara (ushniishkamala in Mantranaya) as located in the ceiling of the skull, an old idea, may be relevant.
<I am not aware of any tantrik descriptions of dissection at all, and would be very interested to see chapter and verse.  My guess is that DC (whose work I value) was either wrong, or thinking of Bhela, or exaggerating.> and <Finally, discourse on the brain in ancient Indian texts, including medical texts, is extremely limited.>
The first guess may be or may not be correct. Better consult DPC. Unfortunately I am not in a position to do so at present. 'Ancient Indian texts' is a big and vague term denoting anything composed during three thousand years. Sweeping subjective remarks on their character do not help.
<it is my belief that such remarks as exist about the brain (mastiṣka, mastuluṅga), including the tantric (but non-āyurvedic) concept of semen storage in the brain, are likely to have originated in China>
Mahaaciina has indeed been referred to in some of the Tantras, particularly in the encyclopaedic ones. As far as I know architectural influence has been guessed too. 
Influence on anatomical ideas is unlikely.


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