My Work on Unicorns

Hans Henrich Hock hhhock at ILLINOIS.EDU
Sat Dec 11 02:26:40 UTC 2010

Thanks for the additional information, Gautama-Mahodaya,

I read your article in its entirety. You are right about the context  
of the parī-śāsa requiring the assumption of a single item, and you  
may be right that it is a horn (even though that's an interpretation).  
However, cutting out one horn from an antelope does not require the  
assumption that the animal has only one horn — there isn't anything  
in the context which would establish that we are dealing with a one- 
horned animal. That there would be two such items for the ritual (the  
parīśāsau) would, of course, make sense, given your interpretation  
of the instrument as consisting of two horns; but again, neither the  
situation nor the grammar requires that the source for these two horn  
be two different animals, rather than just one.

So, much as I would not want to disagree with you, I cannot say that I  
am convinced.

Best wishes/sapraṇāmam


Hans Henrich Hock
Professor Emeritus
Department of Linguistics
University of Illinois
4080 FLB, 707 S. Mathews
Urbana IL 61801
Fax: 217.244.8430
hhhock at

On 10 Dec 2010, at 19:27, Gautama Vajracharya wrote:

> As I mentioned in my unicorn article, the main point of my argument  
> is based on the proper understanding of the meaning and significance  
> of the Vedic words /par?s'a-asa/ and /s'aphau/. The /Atharvaveda/  
> 5.14.3 clearly states that /pari-s'a-sa/ is a single object  
> protruding above the skin of a /r.s'ya/. This object cannot be other  
> than the single horn of the animal, because, except the horn, other  
> organs that protrude from the body of an animal are not sturdy  
> enough to make a pair of tongs known to Vedic people as /pari-s'a- 
> sau/ or /s'aphau/. My critics, including Vedic specialists, gave no  
> attention to this important point. However, I know very well that  
> there are scholars, who have no problem understanding my arguments.
> Gautama Vajracharya

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