[INDOLOGY] Churning king Vena

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be
Thu Mar 20 08:34:33 UTC 2014

Compare in Rm 7, App. I no. 8, the birth of the Videha king Mithi/Janaka (the First) from the mummified body of king Nimi which was used as an araṇi (nimer deham… araṇiṃ tatra nikṣipya), from which, through  "churning" (mathana) by the priests, Mithi was born (araṇyāṃ mathyamānāyāṃ prādurbhūto mahātapā | mathanān mithir ity āhur, ll. 208-9 = VāP 89.5, BḍP 2,3,64.5). Cf. ViP 4, 5.9 (itself followed by BhgP 9,13) with the expression śarīram… [a]raṇyā (instr. crit. ed., better than loc. araṇyām var. mss.) mamanthuḥ : the araṇi referred to here should be the uttarā whereas the mummified body on the ground is used as the adhara-araṇi (like in the Rm - VāP-BḍP common passage), the one in the yoni of which the point of the upper-one is fitted into and turned.

The episode of the churning of king Vena was dealt with by Georges Dumézil in his interesting mythological study of king Pṛthu (Vena's Son), which forms a long part of his work "Servius et la Fortune" (Paris, 1943, pp. 33-111; more recently on Pṛthu, see Marcelle Saindon, 'Le bon roi Pṛthu et la traite de la vache Terre: un plaidoyer en faveur de la Terre nourricière à protéger des violences',  Studies in Religion 36/3-4, 2007, pp. 553-569).

Best wishes,
Christophe Vielle

Le 20 mars 2014 à 06:27, Artur Karp a écrit :

> Dear List, 
> Bhagavata Purana has the brahmans churning at first the dead king Vena's thigh and then his arms - in order to create a new king. 
> BhP_04.14.043/1 viniścityaivam ṛṣayo vipannasya mahīpateḥ
> BhP_04.14.043/2 mamanthur ūruṃ tarasā tatrāsīd bāhuko naraḥ
> BhP_04.15.001/1 atha tasya punar viprair aputrasya mahīpateḥ
> BhP_04.15.001/2 bāhubhyāṃ mathyamānābhyāṃ mithunaṃ samapadyata
> Would someone comment on the procedure involved and the meaning of that - certainly - strange ritual?
> Has someone worked on the king Vena's story? Any book? Paper?
> Regards, 
> Artur Karp
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