[INDOLOGY] 84 lakhs of living beings

Ruth Satinsky Sieber Ruth.Satinsky at unil.ch
Wed Sep 28 13:47:06 UTC 2016

Dear Manu,

You might find something helpful in my article, "What can the lifespans of Ṛṣabha, Bharata, Śreyāṃsa, and Ara tell us about the History of the concept of Mount Meru?," in the International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online), Vol.11, No. 1 (2015) 1-24:


Best wishes,

Ruth Satinsky

On 28 Sep 2016, at 14:05, jacob at fabularasa.dk<mailto:jacob at fabularasa.dk> wrote:

Dear Manu,

Garuḍapurāṇa 2.49.13 reads:

caturaśītilakṣeṣu śarīreṣu śarīriṇām /
na mānuṣaṃ vinānyatra tattvajñānantu labhyate // GarP_2,49.13 //

Reference: http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/gretil/1_sanskr/3_purana/garup2_u.htm


Jacob Schmidt-Madsen
PhD Fellow
Section of Indology (R.I.P.)
Faculty of Humanities
University of Copenhagen

Manu Francis skrev den 2016-09-28 10:37:
Dear Colleagues,
I am reading for the moment Tamil commentaries to the
One of them reads about the first word of the poem (_ulakam_, "the
world" in bold below):
_ULAKAM ulakiṉkaṇṇuḷḷa eṇ pattu nāṉku ilaṭcam
cīvapētaṅkaḷākiya uyirttokutikaḷ._
_"__ULAKAM _(means) the group of living beings which are the 84 lakhs
of classes of living beings which are in the world."
Another comments as follows upon the first two words of the poem
(_ulakam uvappa_, "while/so that the world rejoices" in bold below):
_ULAKA MUVAPPA__ eṉpatu lōkalōkaṅkaḷum eṇpattu nālu
leṭcam āṟṟumākkaḷuñ canto[vi]ttaiy aṭaintu piḻaikkum
paṭi. _Which I tentatively translate as:
__"The phrase _ULAKA MUVAPPA__ _(means) the manner in which (in) the
worlds (_lōkalōkaṅkaḷum_) the eighty four lakhs of kinds
(_āṟṟu_ < _āṟu_, litteraly “way”) of people obtain
salvation after obtaining knowledge (_vittai_ = _vidyā_) of the poem
(_cantō_ < _chandas_, “sacred hymn; metre”)."
The mention of the 84 lakhs of living beings appears to be just a way
to state, as the other commentaries do, that all living beings
I have found references to this number of 84 lakhs in the
Maitrāyaṇīya Upaniṣad (see van Buitenen, 1962, p. 102 and 129)
as well as in the Rāmāyaṇa of Tulsidas, the Caitanyacaritāmṛta
and in a 1499 CE inscription from Gujarat.
Could any one point out to me other sources (Pūrāṇas for instance)
and, especially, sources where the this total of 84 lakhs is detailed?
With a great many thanks in advance.
Emmanuel Francis
Chargé de recherche CNRS, Centre d'étude de l'Inde et de l'Asie du
Sud (UMR 8564, EHESS-CNRS, Paris)
http://ceias.ehess.fr/index.php?1725 [1]
Associate member, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Culture (SFB 950,
Universität Hamburg)
http://www.manuscript-cultures.uni-hamburg.de/index_e.html [2]
https://cnrs.academia.edu/emmanuelfrancis [3]
[1] http://ceias.ehess.fr/index.php?1725
[2] http://www.manuscript-cultures.uni-hamburg.de/index_e.html
[3] https://cnrs.academia.edu/emmanuelfrancis
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