rAjahaMsa in the ha?sasa?des ´a

victor van Bijlert victorvanbijlert at KPNPLANET.NL
Thu Apr 16 15:39:49 UTC 2009

That's why I suggested that the elevatedness of the swan for hansa may have
been inspired by readings of Plato's Phaedo.
Thank you anyway for the interesting references.
Victor van Bijlert

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk] Namens John C. Huntington
Verzonden: donderdag 16 april 2009 15:40
Aan: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Onderwerp: Re: rAjahaMsa in the ha?sasa?des´a

The notion of a hamsa as a swan was completely discussed a year or so  
ago on the Indo-european research loist and in that context I put up a  
brief visual history of Hamsa on our website at:


Ravi Varma was simply influenced by the British vision of hasma as  
swan  ("How could a little goose be a devine bird when there are  
swans?" I was once asked by a British "scholar" who shall go nameless)

if you search Google for Anser indicua you will find that the bird is  
question is a very pretty and animated creature that might well  
inspire a sense of divinity. for example see:



On Apr 16, 2009, at 5:21 AM, Christophe Vielle wrote:

> 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:
> http://www.temple-trees.com/ravivarma/urrvprints.asp?printtype=2&pg=2
> 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 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 si¯ta¯?'"
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