lalaj-jihva: the rapacious tongue of Kaalaraatrii

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 23 03:53:36 UTC 2009

About the Kathaasaritsaagara, as often, a more precise reference is  
given in the Petersburger Woerterbuch than is to be found in Monier  
Williams' dictionary, but to an old edition not to hand...

The description to which the PW and MW probably refer, which occurs  
towards the end of the 2nd tara"nga of the 14th lambaka,  is not of  

taavac ca praka.tiibhuuya bhagavaan bhairavaak.rti.h|
uddh.rtaasir lalajjihva.h k.rtvaa hu.mkaaram abhyadhaat||...

Of course Boehtlingk & Roth and Monier Williams don't mean to indicate  
that the Kathaasaritsaagara is a "source" for the term lalajjihva,  
merely that the work attests the use of the term.  As Michael Slouber  
has pointed out, lolling tongues in visualistions and in other tantric  
contexts go back further than this.

And the lolling tongue as an instrument of (or metaphor for) rapacious  
destructiveness is of course pretty old in poetry too:

Thus Bhaaravi's Kiraataarjuniiya 16:6

ujjhatsu sa.mhaara ivaastasa.mkhyam ahnaaya jiivitaani|
lokatrayaasvaadanalolajihva.m na vyaadadaaty aananam atra m.rtyu.h||

Perhaps this fine tenebrous passage from's Har.sacarita 8 (p.84  
in Kane's edition) is more relevant:

sakalalokakavalaavalehalampa.taa bahalaa vaha.mlihaa le.dhi  
lohitaacitaa citaa"ngaarakaalii kaalaraatriijihvaa jiivitaani jiivinaam.

Cowell and Thomas (p.256) render this with:
`The tongue of the goddess of Doom's-night, black like the charcoal of  
the funeral piles and covered with blood, licks up the lives of living  
beings, like a cow that licks her calf's shoulder,---eager to swallow  
all creation as a mouthful.'

Dominic Goodall
Pondicherry Centre
Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient ("French School of Asian Studies"),

On 22 Jan 2009, at 07:18, Herman Tull wrote:

> I am looking for references to Kali's "lolling" tongue.  The Devi  
> Mahatmya and the Mahabhagavata Purana (thanks to Patricia Dold for  
> references) use forms of /lal + jihva (lalana/lalaj-jihva).  MW  
> cites the Kathasaritsagara as a source of lalaj-jihva.  Does anyone  
> has this citation?  Does this descriptive term ("lolling" tongue)  
> occur in reference to other figures/goddesses?
> Thanks for your help.
> Herman Tull
> Princeton, NJ

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