Re: an āmalakī in the palm of the hand

Martin Straube straube at STAFF.UNI-MARBURG.DE
Fri Apr 29 07:51:39 UTC 2011

Dear Ryan,

This nyāya is quite common and it is used also with other fruits. In  
the Mokṣopāya (an older and more genuine Version of the Yogavāsiṣṭha)  
both the āmalaka and the bilva fruit are frequently mentioned in this  
nyāya -- just one example for both:

yathā karatale bilvaṃ yathā vā parvataḫ puraḥ /
pratyakṣam evam asyālam ajatvaṃ paramātmanaḥ // (III.66.24)

(forthcoming: J. Hanneder, P. Stephan, S. Jager [ed.], Mokṣopāya. Das  
dritte Buch. Utpattiprakaraṇa. Kritische Edition. [Anonymus  
Casmiriensis: Mokṣopāya. Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe unter der  
Leitung von Walter Slaje. Textedition. Band 2]. Wiesbaden 2011)

karāmalakavaddṛṣṭasaṃsārāsārasāra he /
jñānāmṛtamahāmbhodhe mune svāgatam astu te // (VI.226.18)

(B. Lo Turco [ed.], Mokṣopāya-Ṭīka of Bhāskarakaṇṭha. The fragments of  
the Nirvāṇaprakaraṇa. Critical edition. Halle 2011)

Cf. also Aptes Collection of Popular Sanskrit Maxims (karavinyastabilvanyāya).

Possibly this nyāya is based on the rather big size of the fruits,  
perhaps also on their eye-catching colour. In this connection the  
following stanza from O. Boehtlingk's „Indische Sprueche“ (No. 2045)  
could be interesting:

khalaḥ sarṣapamātrāṇi paracchidrāṇi paśyati /
ātmano bilvamātrāṇi paśyann api na paśyati //

In the first stanza of Subandhus Vāsavadatta even the badara fruit is used
in the same nyāya:

karabadarasadṛśam akhilaṃ bhuvanatalaṃ yatprasādataḥ kavayaḥ /
paśyanti sūkṣmamatayaḥ sā jayati sarasvatī devī //

Best wishes,

Zitat von Ryan Damron <rdamron at BERKELEY.EDU>:

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

Dr. Martin Straube

Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Seminar für Indologie
Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 9
D-06099 Halle (Saale)

Philipps-Universität Marburg
Fachgebiet Indologie und Tibetologie
Deutschhausstr. 12
D-35032 Marburg

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