Gift giving in the Kali age
fleming_b4 at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 10 22:03:04 UTC 2009
My appologies for the garbled message sent through my hotmail account in rich text format. I am resending in plain text with, hopefully, the appropriate spacing to avoid confusion.
I am trying to identify a Sanskrit passage cited by L. Rocher in his translation of Jiimuutavaahana's Daayabhaaga: The Hindu Law of Inheritance in Bengal (Oxford, 2002). The passage in question appears in a footnote (no. 46) to chapter six, section one, verse 42 (page 145 of Rocher's translation). The footnote reads:
>>ZriikRSNa quotes the following verse: kRte tu diiyate gatvaa tretaayaam aahutaaya vai/ dvaapare yaacamaanaaya kalau tv anugamaanvite, "in the KRta age folks go out of their way to make gifts, in the Tretaa age they ask people to come and get them, in the Dvaapara age they make gifts if people ask for them, in the Kali age gifts are made as a quid pro quo." This verse alludes to the four Hindu world ages (yugas), from the perfect KRta age down to the wretched Kali age in which we now live.<<
Verse 42 of Jiimuutavaahana's text appears as part of a larger discourse on a brahman's entitlement. The translation of which reads:
>>That is absurd. One sees it happen all the time in real life that property is being drawn on in order to gratify the person from whom one expects to receive a donation, by giving him complimentary presents and the like. Besides, in the Kali age property received as a brahman's entitlement is tantamount to paying for service. That is why a Text says:"In the Kali age gifts are made as a quid pro quo."<<
It is to the last sentence that the footnote cited above is attached, the Sanskrit for which reads:
>>ata eva kalau tv anugamaanvita iti smaranti<<
Does anyone know what is being cited in either passage (i.e., the authorities cited by both Jiimuutavaahana and ZriikRSNa)? Jiimuutavaahana is dated by Rocher to about the 12th c., while ZriikRSNa to the mid 18th century. Presumably ZriikRSNa knows the source and is filling it out in full, but I am unclear what the text he cites is.
The passage, in any case, is interesting to me because it diverges significantly from Manu 1.86, which places gift-giving only in the Kali age (tapas are appropriate in the KRta, jJAna in the Tretaa, and yajJa in the Dvaapara ages respectfully); the full passage cited by ZriikRSNa, by contrast, creates four separate categories of gift-giving, one for each age. Gift-giving it would seem, has grown in status in the (presumably) later passage cited in both scholars' (J. and Z.) works.
Any help in identifying the source is greatly appreciated!
> Benjamin Fleming
> Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Religious Studies
> University of Pennsylvania
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