rAjahaMsa in the ha?sasa?des ́a

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Fri Apr 17 14:58:12 UTC 2009

I suspect a factor in the soul being compared to it, and the sannyasis being called paramahaMsa, is that it flies very high and also fast and without stop, seeming to make it almost completely detached from the earth.

The Wikipedia article Bar-Headed Goose says:

"The Bar-headed Goose is one of the world's highest flying birds, having been seen at up to 10175 m (33,382 feet). It has a slightly larger wing area for its weight than other geese and it is believed this helps the goose to fly high.[2] Studies have found that they breathe more efficiently under low oxygen conditions and are able to reduce heat loss.[3] The haemoglobin of their blood has a higher oxygen affinity than that of other geese.[4]
The Bar-headed Goose migrates over the Himalayas to spend the winter in India, Assam, Northern Burma and the wetlands of Pakistan. It migrates up to Magadi wetlands of Gadag district of Karnataka in the southern part of India. The winter habitat of the Bar-headed Goose is on cultivation where it feeds on barley, rice and wheat, and may damage crops. The bird is can fly the 1000-mile migration route in just one day as it is able to fly in jet stream. [1]"

Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
Senior Reference Librarian
Team Coordinator
South Asia Team, Asian Division
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at loc.gov
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

>>> victor van Bijlert <victorvanbijlert at KPNPLANET.NL> 4/17/2009 5:31:55 AM >>>

I am aware of the fact that the hamsa is the Anser Indicus, a kind of goose.
Could anyone explain why the hamsa has been used as a metaphor of a special
type of world-renouncer, the socalled paramahamsa? Is there anything in the
behaviour of the bird that could have led to calling certain renouncers
paramahamsa's? I know this is sidetracking, but it seems relevant in
connection with the discussion of the bird hamsa.


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