[INDOLOGY] Two terms

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Mon Sep 12 12:29:25 UTC 2016

Hi Artur,

     It probably refers to some contraption surrounded by a host of
serpents.  Serpents as guardians of hidden underground treasures is a
reasonably common idea in Indian literature.


On Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 8:24 AM, Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl> wrote:

> Dear Madhav,
> The PTS,s Pali-English Dict.:
> *Vāḷa* - [cp. late Sk. vyāḍa, see Geiger, *P. Gr*. § 54⁶] I. a snake Vism
> 312 (so read for *vaḷa*).- 2. a beast of prey [...] *vāḷa-miga*, a beast
> of prey, predaceous animal, like tiger, leopard, etc. [...]
> When in search for the Elixir of immortality Garuda enters the underworld,
> he kills *two serpents* hidden under the [eternally] revolving wheel.
> (Mbh. I, 29. 3-9).
> When the relics of the Buddha are hidden by Ajatasattu in the underground
> chamber, Vissakamma places over them, for their defence the [eternally]
> revolving *vāḷa–saṅghāṭa–yanta.*
> If *vāḷa* would mean "snake, serpent", then this could be one of the
> tropes linking both the narrations.
> *Yanta *means "contrivance, artifice, instrument, machine, mechanism" -
> in what way could it be constructed/pegged together - using serpents?
> Ataching it to serpents? Giving it a serpentine look?
> Artur

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