Re: [INDOLOGY] Purāṇas, "resembling the belly of a mirror"

Nagaraj Paturi nagarajpaturi at
Wed Jan 31 19:37:26 UTC 2018

maNidarpaNa is also mentioned at places. maNi is a stone, even a big
rock-like one, not just the small little pieces of precious stones embedded
in jewellery.

These stone mirrors work just on account of polishing.

DarpaNodara, even in this case , is a polished flat surface.

On Jan 31, 2018 7:36 PM, "Toke Lindegaard Knudsen via INDOLOGY" <
indology at> wrote:

> Dear Madhav,
> Though glass mirrors were produced in India (from 1500 CE in western India
> according to one article I’ve read), the references must be to mirrors made
> from polished metal.
> One Śilpaśāstra text prescribes that a mirror should be very round (suvṛtta)
> and have a raised rim (though surviving mirrors don’t always have a raised
> rim). As such the mirror’s belly (udara) must be the polished part inside
> the rim or the edge of the mirror.
> Your suggestion of “highly polished” makes sense and what I had in mind
> with ‘smooth, polished, clean.’ But I’m honestly not entirely sure how
> exactly the diagram, maṇḍala, would look like. Since mirrors were
> generally perfect circles, is a shape implied here?
> All best wishes,
> Toke
> On Jan 31, 2018, at 14:50, Madhav Deshpande <mmdesh at> wrote:
> Before this question can be answered, we need to figure out what the
> darpaṇas were made of.  Was it a glass mirror as we now have it, or was it
> a highly polished plate of metal?  If it is the latter, your description
> probably refers to "highly polished."  Just a thought.
> Madhav Deshpande
> (currently in Pune)
> On Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 6:45 PM, Toke Lindegaard Knudsen via INDOLOGY <
> indology at> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I’m looking at some purāṇic passages where the expression “resembling the
>> belly of a mirror” occurs.
>> Liṅgapurāṇa 2.28.47-48 (all references in this email are drawn from
>> GRETIL) has:
>> śrūyatāṃ paramaṃ guhyaṃ vedikoparimaṇḍalam /
>> aṣṭamāṅgulasaṃyuktaṃ maṅgalākuraśobhitam //
>> phalapuṣpasamākīrṇaṃ dhūpadīpasamanvitam /
>> vedimadhye prakartavyaṃ darpaṇodarasannibham //
>> The verses speak of a diagram, maṇḍala, to be drawn in the center of the
>> altar, vedi. The expression darpaṇodarasannibham, “resembling the belly of
>> a mirror,” is used with reference to the maṇḍala.
>> Liṅgapurāṇa 1.8.83 has:
>> atyantanirmale samyak supralipte vicitrite /
>> darpaṇodarasaṃkāśe kṛṣṇāgarusudhūpite //
>> The context is the location where a practitioner should engage in yoga.
>> The expression darpaṇodarasaṃkāśe, “resembling the belly of a mirror,” is
>> used to describe a characteristic the place should have.
>> The Śivapurāṇa 7.2,29.11-13 has:
>> na tu prayogo bhidyeta vakṣyamāṇasya karmaṇaḥ /
>> parīkṣya bhūmiṃ vidhivadgaṃdhavarṇarasādibhiḥ //
>> manobhilaṣite tatra vitānavitatāṃbare /
>> supralipte mahīpṛṣṭhe darpaṇodarasaṃnibhe //
>> prācīmutpādayetpūrvaṃ śāstradṛṣṭena vartmanā /
>> ekahastaṃ dvihastaṃ vā maṇḍalaṃ parikalpayet //
>> The context here is the ground on which the diagram, maṇḍala, is placed.
>> The expression darpaṇodarasaṃnibhe, “resembling the belly of a mirror,” is
>> used to describe the ground.
>> I’m interested in the image of a belly of a mirror used in the passages.
>> The most obvious interpretation is that the image conveys something smooth,
>> polished, and clean, as we would want a mirror to be; imperfections and
>> dirt would distort the image we see in the mirror. I doubt that
>> ‘reflective’ is meant, though ‘shining’ is a possibility.
>> My question is if the image could be used to indicate shape in some way?
>> I doubt ‘concave’ or ‘convex’ shape is meant, but perhaps ‘round’ or ‘flat’?
>> With all best wishes,
>> Toke
>> -----
>> Toke Lindegaard Knudsen, Ph.D.
>> Associate Professor and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow
>> Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
>> University of Copenhagen
>> <toke.knudsen at>
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