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

Robert Goldman rpg at berkeley.edu
Tue May 30 18:34:35 UTC 2017


Yes, there are many examples. One of the most striking, in my opinion, is the sage Viśravas’ pre-natal, even pre-conception, curse of Rāvaṇa, Kumbhakarṇa and Śūrpaṇakhā to be monstrous  because their mother-to be, Kaikasī, approached him at a bad time. The sage also  prenatally blesses his future son Vibhīṣaṇa to be virtuous. See the Vālmīki Rāmayaṇa (critical ed.) 7.9. 10–20.

Of course there innumerable examples of figures being cursed to suffer nasty future births. 
Dr. R. P.  Goldman
Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor in South and Southeast Asian Studies
Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies MC # 2540
The University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-2540
Tel: 510-642-4089
Fax: 510-642-2409

> On May 30, 2017, at 8:07 AM, James Hegarty via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> 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
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