underwater hell or otherworld

Dipak Bhattacharya dbhattacharya2004 at YAHOO.CO.IN
Thu Dec 10 11:23:09 UTC 2009

I do not remember if someone has already mentioned that Asoka's visit to the underwater kingdom of the Naagas in search of the relics of Buddha in the Divyaavadaana is an early instance (2nd Cent? so De Jong) of the occurrence of the concept of the underwater world of the Naagas

--- On Thu, 10/12/09, james mallinson <jim at KHECARI.COM> wrote:

From: james mallinson <jim at KHECARI.COM>
Subject: Re: underwater hell or otherworld
To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Date: Thursday, 10 December, 2009, 3:19 PM

Dear Jonathan,

To add to Adheesh's note: Bṛhatkathāślokasaṃgraha 5.115-137 tells the story of Udayana's visit to the underwater city of Bhogavatī, which is populated by Nāgas from whom he obtains Ghoṣavatī, a magical vīṇā. Bhogavatī is a paradise, not a hell.

Yours, with best wishes,


On 9 Dec 2009, at 22:50, Adheesh Sathaye wrote:

> Dear Jonathan,
> Not 'hells', but there is a recurring motif of an undersea world (or at least a fabulous land accessible through the ocean) within Skt. kathā literature. In Śivadāsa's version of the Vetāla-pañcaviṃśati, it is found in story 8 (which is cognate with ATU tale type 1889H, "Submarine Underworld" if you're a folklorist), and in story 11. In the Kathāsaritsāgara's version of the VP, these are the stories #7 and 12, respectively, and I'd suggest your colleague take a look at Penzer's still quite useful comparative notes to Tawney's translation of the KSS (_Ocean of Story_), as found in vol. 6, pp. 278-285, and vol. 7, pp. 211-212.
> If you don't mind indulging in some folkloristic jargon, in addition to the numerous international versions noted under ATU 1889H in the Aarne-Thompson-Uther tale type index, she may also consult references to motifs F133, "Submarine otherworld" and F725.2, "Submarine cities," in both Stith Thompson's Motif-Index as well as the Motif Index of Indic Oral Tales (Thompson-Balys). I don't, however, recall seeing many references to Indic versions of these motifs.
> hope this is somewhat useful!
> best,
> Adheesh
> ----
> Adheesh Sathaye
> Department of Asian Studies
> University of British Columbia
> On Dec 9, 2009, at 2:11 PM, Jonathan Silk wrote:
>> a friend who is a student of Indo-european and currently working on Welsh
>> asked me whether there are things like underwater hells in Indic folklore
>> (she referred for instance to an Irish underwater otherworld)--I don't
>> recall any such thing, but that may be nothing more than a statement about
>> my ignorance or bad memory. Any ideas?
>> thanks, jonathan
>> --J. Silk
>> Instituut Kern / Universiteit Leiden
>> Postbus 9515
>> 2300 RA Leiden
>> Netherlands

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