Re: [INDOL OGY] an ām alakī in t he palm of the hand

DiSimone Charles spootland at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 29 07:11:36 UTC 2011

Hi Ryan,

A cursory google search reveals a similar phrase in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa at 2.5.3: karāmalakavadviśvam, or something like 'everything is just like an āmalaka fruit in hand.'  So, at least the this fruit appears to be a known object of comparison.  I can't speak for the translucent qualities of this particular fruit however.  Skyu ru ra seems to mean 'something that is perfectly clear in front of the eyes,' whether perfectly clear refers to vegetal translucence or visibility is a matter of some opaqueness it would seem...

Charlie DiSimone
Stanford University

Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 20:47:23 -0700
From: rdamron at BERKELEY.EDU
Subject: [INDOLOGY] an āmalakī in the palm of the hand


    Dear all,


    I recently came across a reference to the āmalaki fruit in the
    Buddhist Mahāmāyātantra and in its commentary, the Guṇavatī
    by Ratnākaraśānti.  The citations are as follows:


    First from the root tantra, in Tibetan (there is no extant Sanskrit
    manuscript):  lag tu skyu ru ra bzhag bzhin.


    Which Ratnākaraśānti glosses with: svahaste sthitamekamāmalakam


    I initially took this to mean simply that the referent was as clear
    to the subject as a fruit placed in one's own hand.  However, two
    Tibetan colleagues both asserted that the āmalakī fruit, as
    understood in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition at least, is a
    translucent fruit which reveals its inner structure to the subject
    (not my personal experience with the contemporary version of Amalaki
    fruit).  Thus for a situation to be "like an āmalakī fruit
    in one's own hand" means one is able to see the referent inside and
    out, that is, in totality.  My question then is this:  is this
    analogy common in Indic traditions and, more importantly, are there
    any known references to these properties of the āmalakī in
    Sanskrit works?


    Much thanks,



Ryan Damron
Graduate Student 
Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies
University of California, Berkeley 		 	   		  

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list