rAjahaMsa in the ha?sasa?des ´a

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at UCLOUVAIN.BE
Thu Apr 16 09:21:06 UTC 2009

It is a real "swan"  messenger that Raja Ravi 
Varma painted in his famous "Ha.msa-Damayantii" 
(1899) now displayed in the Sri Chitra Art 
Gallery, Tiruvanantapuram. See at:
Best wishes,
Christophe Vielle

>I expect you are familiar with this book:
>Vogel, J. P., 1962,  The Goose in Indian 
>Literature and Art.  Memoirs of the Kern 
>Institute No. II. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
>According to my notes, Vogel (good name?) 
>identified haMsa and rAjahaMsa with a mainly 
>white form of the Indian goose (Anser indicus), 
>and kalahaMsa with the greylag goose (Anser 
>Valerie J Roebuck
>At 7:12 am -0700 15/4/09, Oliver Fallon wrote:
>>I would like some help on the identity of the 
>>ra¯jaha?sa which is the subject of 
>>Veda¯ntades´ika's Ha?sasa?des´a. He tells us 
>>little of the bird except that he repeatedly 
>>stresses that it is a pure white water bird and 
>>that it has a beautiful call as it flies to 
>>which that of the peacock is unfavourably 
>>compared. I was first provoked into considering 
>>that this is not a goose by a comment in 
>>Shastriar's 1902 Madras edition of the poem, 
>>where he says: "ra¯jaha?sa is a species of swan 
>>with red legs and bills (sic). Compare 
>>'ra¯jaha?sa¯s tu te cañcucaranair lohitais 



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