Re: [INDOLOGY] The word kārikā in the title of works

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at
Sun Feb 8 10:28:55 UTC 2015

Dear list-members,

The use of the singular of -kārikā in text-names is actually not uncommon in Śaiva works. In the published and unpublished works of Aghoraśiva (fl. 1157 A.D.), for example, we often find quotations introduced with formulae such as

yad uktaṃ niśvāsa-kārikāṃ, tathoktaṃ nāda-kārikāyāṃ, tad uktaṃ bhoga-kārikāyāṃ, and so forth.

Sometimes only a single verse is quoted, and so one might toy with the hypothesis that the singular was used precisely because a single kārikā was being introduced.
But sometimes the quotations that are introduced consist of more than one verse. Of course even here one could try to argue that a kārikā might be considered to be made up of several pādas. But there are other uses of the singular where the context makes clear that it really is the text — and not a kārikā-length unit of the text — that is meant.

To give just one example, this time from tenth-century Kashmir, here is the gīti verse that concludes Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha's commentary on Sadyojyotiḥ's Mokṣakārikā:

iti mokṣakārikāyāṃ nārāyaṇakaṇṭhasūnunā racitā |
saṃkṣepād vṛttir iyaṃ śiṣyahitā bhaṭṭarāmakaṇṭhena ||

Dominic Goodall
École française d'Extrême-Orient

On 06-Feb-2015, at 5:40 PM, Philipp Maas wrote:

> Dear Members of Indology,
> Roland Steiner was so kind as to refer me to Wezlers article “Zu der Frage des Strebens nach äußerster Kürze– in den Śrautasūtras. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 151 (2001), p. 351-366, p. 360, note 45, which actually is the article I had in mind.
> Wezler observes (on the basis of limited evidence) that colophons and other Sanskrit sources usually use the plural kārikā-s when referring to versified works, and he suspects that the usage of the singular became common only due to modern Indological catalogueing and the preparation of title lists.
> With regard to the Sāṃkhyakārikā-s Wezler notes that the title provided in the work itself is Sāṃkhyasaptati, and that the commentaries, as far as Wezler could see (which coincides with my own observations) never refer to the work with the title Sāṃkhyakārikā.
> With many thanks to all who responded on- and off-list.
> Philipp
> -- 
> Dr. Philipp A. Maas
> Universitätsassistent
> Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
> Universität Wien
> Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 2, Eingang 2.1
> A-1090 Wien
> Österreich
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list

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

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list