Re: [INDOLOGY] A Purāṇic myth on Nārada and Urvaśī

David and Nancy Reigle dnreigle at
Wed Feb 1 19:07:50 UTC 2017

Dear Omar,

Besides Vettam Mani’s  *Purāṇic Encyclopaedia*, there is another purāṇa
reference work: *The Purana Index*, by V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar, 3
volumes, University of Madras, 1951-1955 (reprinted by Motilal Banarsidass
in 1995). It covers only five purāṇas, which it regarded as the most
ancient: Vāyu, Brahmāṇḍa, Matsya, Viṣṇu, and Bhāgavata. For the particular
Urvaśī episode that you inquired about, under Urvaśī, it gives as source
Matsya-purāṇa 24.12-33. It utilized the 1907 Ānandāśrama edition of the

The 1916 English translation of *The Matsya Puranam*, made by "A Taluqdar
of Oudh," published in 2 parts as volume 17 of The Sacred Books of the
Hindus series, does not state what Sanskrit edition it was made from.
However, the above-given reference to 24.12-33 is right for this episode in
it. My impression is that this is a rather loose translation of the Matsya-
purāṇa. A new English translation of the *Matsya Mah**ā**purā**ṇa* by "A
Board of Scholars" was published by Parimal Publications in 2007.

We unfortunately do not yet have a critical edition of the Matsya-purāṇa.
One was undertaken by V. Raghavan shortly after the inception of the
All-India Kashiraj Trust, and he published articles on it in their *P**urā*
*ṇa* journal starting with vol. 1 in 1959. Although he published "A Sample
Edition of the Matsya Purāṇa" in vol. 4, 1962, neither he nor others ever
completed this edition. Thus, we do not know if some Matsya-purāṇa
manuscripts have variant readings for the characters in this Urvaśī episode.
While Vettam Mani’s account has Agastya giving the curse, the Ānandāśrama
edition of the Matsya-purāṇa has Bharata giving the curse.

Best regards,

David Reigle
Colorado, U.S.A.

On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 1:21 AM, Omar Abu Dbei via INDOLOGY <
indology at> wrote:

> Dear Professors and Collegues,
> my name is Omar Abu Dbei and I am currently a PhD student under the
> supervision of Raffaele Torella in Rome.
> While consulting Vettam Mani’s  *Purāṇic Encyclopaedia*, I have found a
> reference, under the entry *Urvaśī *(pp. 812-813), to a mythical episode
> that might be, under many respects, of the greatest interest for my
> research:
> *Once Agastya went to the durbar of Indra. On the occasion Indra asked
> Urvaśī to dance. In the midst of the dance she saw Jayanta, the son of
> Indra, and became amorous and her steps went wrong. Nārada who was playing
> his famous lute called Mahatī could not play well. Agastya went angry and
> cursed Jayanta to become a bud. He cursed Nārada also. So his lute became
> the lute of the world. Urvaśī was born on the earth under the name Mādhavī
> due to the curse*.
> Unfortunately, no Sanskrit source is recorded and, not being a specialist
> myself in the field of *Purāṇa*s, I have been unable so far to find any
> possible one. Is there anybody who knows the exact source of this myth?
> Many thanks for your attention.
> Kind regards,
> Omar Abu Dbei
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