[INDOLOGY] The pre-natal/pre-incarnatory curse in Indian literature

Nagaraj Paturi nagarajpaturi at gmail.com
Tue May 30 18:17:00 UTC 2017

Curse preceding/leading to birth is such an abundant motif in Indian
narratives that the list may easily run into a few hundreds.

Particularly because your range is so big, no bar on tradition or period.
That makes it various forms of folk narratives such as fairy tales ,
legends etc. get included.

Just in myth-lore or mythology itself the list is very big.

The abundance of this is so big that I would imagine that it could have
been the main or part focus of several researches and/or publications.

I have been using a word meta-myth to refer to myths 'explaining' or
linking or connecting myths. Narratives of curse leading to birth or
incarnation are one variety of such  myth-explaining or myth-linking myths.

One very popular and significant instance of this is the curse to Jaya and
Vijaya , the dvaarapaalaka-s of VaikunTha , to be born as Asuras in three
different births. In the first, they are born as Hiranyakasipu and
Hiranyaaksha. In the second, as RaavaNa and KumbhakarNa. In the third as
S'is'upaala and Dantavaktra. The significance of this is that this
narrative is key to the concept of Vaira Bhakti = devotion in the form of

This I group under myth-explaining myths. Explanation in this case is vaira
bhakti. Ramayana versions without the narrative of Jaya and Vijaya included
or without the descrition of RaavaNa and KumbhakarNa as born due to curse,
do exist. So we can say versions of Raama-RaavaNa story with the curse of
Jaya Vijaya included can be seen as narratives explaining the version of
the narrative without the curse aspect. Bhaagavata is the Purana which
gives significance to this curse narrative.

The post is already long.

This can go on and on.

I am sure almost every member remembers one or the other stories from
Puranas and Itihasas.

What I can add is from folk narratives.

To see how medieval Indian poets exploited this for creating new narratives
of great poetic skill, read the 16th  century Telugu narrative epic poem
Kalapurnodayam. I called the story of this as utpaadyapuraaNakatha in my
PhD dissertation. English translation of this poetic work by Prof's David
Shulman and Velcheru Narayana Rao is called "The Sound of Kiss". Available
to buy.

A huge and interesting area to explore if not explored previously.

Best wishes,


On Tue, May 30, 2017 at 9:20 PM, Martin Gansten via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Regarding curses preceding incarnation, the following passage from
> Balabhadra's *Hāyanaratna* (1649, *pace* Pingree, who says 1629) seems to
> fit the bill:
> * * * * *
> hillājena tu brahmaviṣṇurudramukhanirgataśāpena yavanatāṃ prāptena
> śrīsūryeṇaiva yavanaśāstrapraṇayanād dvijānām api sūryasiddhāntavad
> etadadhyayanaṃ yuktam ity uktam |
> keśaviṣṇumukhanirgataśāpān mlecchatādhigatatigmamarīceḥ |
> romakeṇa puri labdham aśeṣaṃ tad dvijādibhir ato ’dhyayanīyam || iti |
> puri romakapattane |
> But Hillāja says [in *Hillājadīpikā *1.6] that because the Yavana science
> was founded by the illustrious  sun [god] himself, who had become a Yavana
> due to a curse issued from the mouths of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra, the study
> of this is proper even for the twice-born, like [the study of] the
> *Sūryasiddhānta*:
> Romaka received this whole [science] in the city from the sun [god], who,
> by a curse issued from the mouths of Brahmā, Śiva and Viṣṇu, had attained
> the state of a foreigner (*mleccha*); therefore, it is fit to be studied
> by the twice-born and others.
> ‘In the city’ [means] in the city of Rome.
> * * * * *
> For teachings at night, what about the Pāñcarātra?
> Martin Gansten
> Den 2017-05-30 kl. 17:07, skrev James Hegarty via INDOLOGY:
> Dear List,
> I would like to pick the list’s formidable collective Indological brain.
> I am interested in examples of curses that precede birth or incarnation in Indian literature.
> Examples that spring to mind are Dharma being cursed to a human birth as Vidura or one of the Vasus, as Bhīṣma in the Mahābhārata.
> Can anyone think of others?  I am not fussy about tradition or period, I just want to compare a few examples.
> I have one other topic to raise. It is teachings given at night.
> I am interested in whether there are any family resemblances between teachings offered at night (in the most general of terms). Can anyone think of sources in which teachings are offered at night (as Vidura teaches Dhṛtarāṣṭra in the Udyogaparvan of the Mahābhārata, for example)?
> Thanks in anticipation to the wise and learned list!
> Best,
> James Hegarty
> Cardiff University
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing listINDOLOGY at list.indology.infoindology-owner@list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing committee)http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)
> _______________________________________________
> INDOLOGY mailing list
> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
> indology-owner at list.indology.info (messages to the list's managing
> committee)
> http://listinfo.indology.info (where you can change your list options or
> unsubscribe)

Nagaraj Paturi

Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.

BoS, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune, Maharashtra

BoS, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Veliyanad, Kerala

Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies

FLAME School of Communication and FLAME School of  Liberal Education,

(Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA )

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology/attachments/20170530/687b4756/attachment.htm>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list