[INDOLOGY] 'catching the ocean in a cow's hoofprint'

Christoph Emmrich christoph.emmrich at utoronto.ca
Mon Dec 23 19:26:09 UTC 2019

Dear Antonia,

Not Pāṇini-specific, but maybe still of interest to you is the appearance of the combination of the ocean and the cow's hoof print in the version of global warming found in Aṅguttara Nikāya IV 100–106. There, during pralaya, after the plants have died and the rivers have run dry, the ocean sinks to ever lower levels, from the depth of a yojana down to that of the amount of water found in a cow's hoof print: seyyathā pi bhikkhave saradasamaye thullaphusitake deve vassante tattha tattha gopadesu udakāni ṭhitāni honti, evam eva kho bhikkhave tattha tattha gopadamattāni mahāsamudde udakāni ṭhitāni honti (AN IV 102,6-9).



Christoph Emmrich

Associate Professor, Buddhist Studies
General Secretary, IABS

Director, Centre for South Asian Studies

at the Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

Chair, Numata Program UofT/McMaster

University of Toronto

From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Madhav Deshpande via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: December 23, 2019 11:43:06 AM
To: Antonia Ruppel <rhododaktylos at gmail.com>
Cc: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] 'catching the ocean in a cow's hoofprint'

Dear Antonia,

     There is a traditional verse that says that the words used by Vyāsa were from the Ocean of Grammar composed by Mahendra.  Those jewels of words cannot be found in Pāṇini's grammar which is like a Cow's Hoofprint.  This is to say that the so-called ārṣa usages in the Purāṇas are not ungrammatical, though they may not fit the [limited] grammar of Pāṇini.

यान्युज्जहार माहेन्द्राद् व्यासो व्याकरणार्णवात् । पदरत्नानि किं तानि सन्ति पाणिनिगोष्पदे ।।

    This verse [according to secondary references] is found in Devabodha's commentary on the Mahabharata.

Madhav M. Deshpande
Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies

[Residence: Campbell, California, USA]

On Mon, Dec 23, 2019 at 8:12 AM Antonia Ruppel via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
Dear all,

In the BBC radio series 'Incarnations', the episode on Pāṇini is entitled 'Catching the Ocean in a Cow's Hoofprint', which it says is a description of what Pāṇini's work achieved.

Can anyone tell me what the source of this expression specifically in reference to Pāṇini is? Textual/online searches for goṣpada- have not led me very far - but maybe I've been looking for the wrong word?

(In case anyone doesn't know 'Incarnations' and wants to listen to any of the episodes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05rptbv/episodes/downloads)

Many thanks and all the best,

Dr Antonia Ruppel
University of Oxford

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