yugas and colours

Dipak Bhattacharya dbhattacharya2004 at YAHOO.CO.IN
Sat Oct 31 17:11:27 UTC 2009

It is all right that the century belongs to the CE. Still a southern claim to the origin of the idea is not, perhaps, reduced by that. I checked the Yugapurāṇa (edMitchiner, AS,Calcutta1986 BI 312).but did not find any reference to the colour of the yugas. That means the absence of the idea in the North till the 5th Cent.CE (YP so dated/Mitchiner). The extant Bhāgavata could not have been redacted in the North. Its flowery classical kāvya style was a dead thing in the North during the time when it is supposed to have been redacted from a lost older Bhāgavata. The South can make a strong claim.

From: George Hart <glhart at BERKELEY.EDU>
To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 9:23:40 PM
Subject: Re: yugas and colours

Of course it's CE, not BCE.  None of the Tamil works can be dated to BCE -- though we do have inscriptions from the first couple centuries BCE.

The Tamil is

paaz ena kaal ena paaku ena onRu ena pari.3-77
iraNTu ena muunRu ena naanku ena aintu ena pari.3-78
aaRu ena eezu ena eTTu ena toNTu ena pari.3-79
naalvakai uuzi eN naviRRum ciRappinai pari.3-80
ce kaN kaari karu kaN veLLai pari.3-81
pon kaN paccai pai kaN maaal pari.3-82

(Malten's transcription)

"Black" is from kaari, ultimately from karu, the standard word for "black."  "Dark" is maal, which can mean "blackness" or "greatness," "great man," "Visnu."  "Dark one with green eyes" could also mean "Green-eyed Visnu!" -- which might make more sense, as "black" has already been used.  The word for "green" can also mean "yellow."

George Hart

On Oct 31, 2009, at 8:00 AM, JKirkpatrick wrote:

> I'm curious as to what are the words for "black" and "dark" in
> this typology?
> The usual colors cropping up in such typologies are white, red,
> yellow, and blue/green/black.
> JK
> =============
> On Behalf Of George Hart
> Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:04 AM
> From ParipaTal 3, about the 3rd or 4th century BCE:
> Your wonder is such that you are counted through four kinds of
> eons: zero, quarter, half, one, two three, four, five, six,
> seven, eight, nine!  Black one with red eyes!  White one with
> black eyes!  Green one with golden eyes!  Dark one with green
> eyes!
> George Hart
> On Oct 30, 2009, at 11:10 PM, Dominic Goodall wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> Can anybody tell me whether the notion that Vi.s.nu changes
> colour in
>> each yuga predates the Bhaagavatapuraa.na?
>> BhP_10.08.013/1 aasan var.naas trayo hy asya g.rh.nato
> 'nuyuga.m
>> tanuu.h
>> BhP_10.08.013/3 "suklo raktas tathaa piita idaanii.m
> k.r.s.nataa.m
>> gata.h
>> I find it in a few passages excluded from the critical text of
> the
>> Mahaabhaarata, e.g.
>> 13*0002_01 ya.h "svetatvam upaagata.h k.rtayuge tretaayuge
> raktataa.m
>> 13*0002_02 yugme ya.h kapila.h kalau sa bhagavaan k.r.s.natvam
>> abhyaagata.h
>> Does anybody know of any demonstrably early references?
>> Dominic Goodall

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