new EJVS issue 17-2: Vajracharya on Unicorns

Alexandra Vandergeer avandergeer at PLANET.NL
Tue Dec 7 11:46:47 UTC 2010

Correct, I reached the same conclusion in a recent publication: a bastard of a two-horned creature and a zero-horned creature is one-horned, mathematically speaking. Likely too much importance is given in the literature to this rather innocent story. The unicorn myth seems to have still an impact on modern people, including scholars.
Alexandra van der Geer
(the twisted horns Vajracharya shows to make the tool resemble blackbuck horns extremely closely; blackbucks were very common at the time)


From: Hans Henrich Hock [mailto:hhhock at]
Sent: Mon 6-12-2010 18:04
To: avandergeer at
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] new EJVS issue 17-2: Vajracharya on Unicorns

The problem is even deeper: None of the passages that Vajracharya 
cites establish that there was a belief in a one-horned gazelle; the 
only thing that can be established is that the sage ?syas??ga 
had just one horn. In fact, if one wanted to speculate, this could be 
attributed to the fact that only one of his parents was a gazelle, the 
other one was human.

Hans Henrich Hock

On 6 Dec 2010, at 09:26, Alexandra Vandergeer wrote:

> Perhaps I am a bad reader, but to me it is as if the author of 
> Unicorns in Ancient India truly believes there existed once in the 
> wild an artiodactyl animal with one horn only in South Asia. Since 
> there is not the slightest hint whatsoever in the whole article as 
> to the taxonomy of this enigmatic creature, it is unclear whether 
> the author presents his personal opinion or that of the Vedic 
> Indians (who might perhaps have believed indeed in such a ruminant).
> The only single-horned artiodactyl ungulates I am aware of roamed 
> northern America during the Mio-Pliocene, such as Synthetoceras and 
> family and the dromomerycids.
> Alexandra van der Geer
> ________________________________
> From: Indology on behalf of Michael Witzel
> Sent: Sun 28-11-2010 5:44
> Subject: [INDOLOGY] new EJVS issue 17-2: Vajracharya on Unicorns
> Dear List Members,
> we are happy to announce a new issue of the Electronic Journal of
> Vedic Studies:
> Vol.17 Issue 2, Nov. 29, 2010:
> Gautama V. Vajracharya
> Unicorns in Ancient India and Vedic Ritual
> It is available at: <>
> as quick download (compresssed pdf 1 MB) and as slower download (11
> MB pdf).
> Issue 3 (Y. Vassilkov on Siberian rattle-mirrors with early Indian
> motifs) to follow shortly.
> Best,
> MW
> ============
> Michael Witzel
> witzel at
> <>
> Dept. of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
> 1 Bow Street,
> Cambridge MA 02138, USA
> phone: 1- 617 - 495 3295, 496 8570, fax 617 - 496 8571;
> my direct line:  617- 496 2990

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