The VirAdha Episode

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at UCLOUVAIN.BE
Tue Nov 22 16:11:46 UTC 2011

There are also interesting 'folkloric' (or 
mythologic) Indo-European comparative elements in 
that episode: the name Antaka reminds the name of 
the gigantic being Antaios, with whom Herakles 
had to fight with the hands; and the Greek hero 
was forced to maintain his opponent 'in the air' 
for killing him. Here the magic 'unkillability' 
of the monster is very close (3.6: 
zastreNAvadhyatA loke'cchedyAbhedyatvam eva ca): 
VirAdha has thus  to be fought with the hands 
(3.15) in order to be vanquished (cf. 46* 1-2: 
with the feet also), and, for being killed, even 
buried 'under-ground'  ('cast into a pit' transl. 
Pollock 3.26, reverse of the Antaios-way of being 
killed), 'like an elephant' according to the text 
of 46* 7-12 and 54* 2-3: these two star-passages 
are to be found in all the S mss (moral reasons 
behind their suppression from the critical text?) 
and the elements here underlined are  confirmed 
by 6,114, 12: 'Seizing him, they hurled him, face 
down with his arms raised, into a pit, as he 
roared a mighty roar like an elephant' transl. 
Goldman e.a. (cf. the critical note ad loc.)
Best wishes,
Christophe Vielle

I have dealt with this anecdotical aspect of the 
VirAdha episode  in my book Le mytho-cycle 
héroïque dans l'aire indo-européenne 1996, pp. 

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