Re: [INDOLOGY] clearer Q re: vidūṣaka? (on behalf of Rich Salomon)

Adheesh Sathaye adheesh1 at
Thu Oct 6 15:58:38 UTC 2016

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With best wishes,

Dr. Adheesh Sathaye
Dept. of Asian Studies
University of British Columbia
408-1871 West Mall
Vancouver BC CANADA V6T1Z2
adheesh at 

From: Richard Salomon <rsalomon at>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] clearer Q re: vidūṣaka?
Date: October 5, 2016 at 16.37.08 PDT
To: <indology at>

It doesn't have to be one or the other. I would propose that the word vidūṣaka  embodies a pun, and "means" simultaneously both "wise[-guy]" and "spoiler." Something like the sense of "sophomore" = wise fool.

Rich Salomon

On 10/6/2016 12:38 AM, Stefan Baums wrote:
> Dear Jo,
>> Is there any other way to derive vidūṣaka from
>> vidvāṁs -- perhaps involving some speculative
>> etymologizing?
> J.C. Wright suggested just such a derivation via
> Middle Indo‐Aryan on p. 21 of his 1965 (published
> 1966) SOAS inaugural lecture (“Non‐Classical Sanskrit
> Literature”):
>    Other features, notably the highly stereotyped
>    figure of the pedant (Sanskritized vidūṣaka, i.e.
>    vidús, Prakrit vidū), and the basic structure of
>    the dramatic genre, reflected to some extent in
>    the theory and practice of classical Kāvya, will
>    have a more distant origin [i.e., more distant
>    than Buddhist literature].
> (This is the passage referred to from Mayrhofers KEWA
> s.v. vidūṣakaḥ with the unresolved abbreviation
> „Wright, NCSL 21“.)
> All best,
> Stefan

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