Another bit of black anti-rakshas PR?

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann reimann at BERKELEY.EDU
Sun Nov 20 07:13:17 UTC 2011

Dear Artur,

I mistakenly sent my previous reply only to you, and not to the list. I 
have just resent it to INDOLOGY. I'm surprised that your reply to me was 
returned (it didn't reach me), although the Berkeley server has been 
having problems the last few days, so maybe that is the reason.

In response to your comments below, it is true that /kāla/ can also be 
used for the destruction of the world, and it is so used in the /Gītā/ 
passage you quote, although in that passage there is an explicit mention 
of the destruction of the /lokas/. But the fact is that it is a formula 
in the epics to refer to /yugānta/ when comparisons to the end of the 
world are meant. I have worked on this, and I will send you privately an 
article that discusses it.

This doesn't prove that you are wrong, of course, but I think it is very 
unlikely that these verses refer to the end of the world.

You quote from MW:

abhy-adhāvata prajāḥ kāla ivāntakaḥ - "he attacked the people like
Time the destroyer". (Ra 3.2.9.)

  You seem sure that MW here has the meaning of the end of the world in 
mind, instead of death, but that appears unlikely, as before the example 
you quote he writes:

"...time (as destroying all things) , death, time of death (often 
personified and represented with the attributes of Yama, regent of the 
dead, or even identified with him: hence /kālam-i /or /kālaṃ-kr̥/," to 
die "' MBh. &c. ;/kāla/ in this sense is frequently connected with 
/antaka/, /mr̥tyu/..."

Anyway, please consider this as a difference of opinion.

I'm sorry if you took the last sentence in my previous reply as an 
offense. It wasn't meant that way.



on 11/19/2011 4:50 PM Artur Karp wrote:
> Dear Joanna,
> A couple of clarifications here.
> Since Viradha is vyāditāsya ("open-mouthed"), I feel entitled to see
> here a definitely satirical allusion to the image of the ultimate
> Finisher, the Saturn-like Vishnu, described in the Bhagavadgita
> (XI,24) as vyāttānana ("open-mouthed").
> Yes, Pollock has "like Death attacking peple at their fated hour". But
> Monier-Williams, SED, p. 278, comments, more old-fashionedly, on kāla:
> abhy-adhāvata prajāḥ kāla ivāntakaḥ - "he attacked the people like
> Time the destroyer". And this rendering reminds me of the famous
> phrase: kālo 'smi loka-kṣaya-kṛt "I am Time, the destroyer of the
> world" (Bhg. XI,32).
> The Viradha episode mixes horror-like images with satire. Viradha,
> despite his outward resemblance to Time, the world destroyer, is
> ultimately found out to be a foolish monster, his rage - an expression
> of empty pretences.
> Everything about him is confused - as the sequence 3-4-2 in place of
> the expected (and sacred, mentioned already in the Śatapatha-brahmana)
> 4-3-2?
> Regards,
> Artur Karp
> PS. My letter in answer to Louis Gonzalez-Reimann remarks (mostly
> negative) re has provoked a mechanic reaction: "Delivery to the
> following recipient failed permanently:
>      reimann at". Etc.
> A.

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