Re: [INDOLOGY] vekurañja

Dan Lusthaus yogacara at
Sun Nov 22 09:47:55 UTC 2020

I also found Dhadpale’s idea convincing.

As to whether there were āgama versions, the answer is yes, but not currently available in an Indic language, only in Chinese translation. In addition to the Madhyama-āgama passage I posted, there is a version of the Assalāyana sutta that was translated as an independent text: Fanzhi eboluoyan wen zhong zun jing, 梵志頞波羅延問種尊經 (Sutra on questions to Buddha about caste from the brahmin Ebulouyan=Assalāyana), translated by 竺曇無蘭 Zhu Tanwulan (*Dharmarakṣa, *Dharmaratna), a Central Asian monk in the late 4th c. Since it expands the discussion a bit, I translate it here. Like the Madhyama-āgama version, it omits the problematic word, unless the word was glossed instead of translated. But it adds an additional equine reproductive set:

「我先祖呼為駏驉,因隨言駏驉。」」(CBETA, T01, no. 71, p. 877, b29-c7)

Ebulouyan said, “Those of my type (= caste) say that we are better than the other types.”
Buddha replied to Eboluoyan: “There is an ass father and a horse mother. The horse gives birth to a child. What is it called?”
Ebulouyan said: “It’s called a mule. The father is not designated as a mule, nor is the mother designated as a mule.”
[Buddha asks]: Why then do you designate it as a mule?
[Ebulouyan]: “The patriarchs who preceded me called it a mule, and I follow them in saying it is a mule.”
[Buddha]: “There is a horse father and an ass mother. The ass gives birth to a child. Would that be called a 駏驉 juxu (English: hinny)? [1] Neither is the father designated as a juxu, nor is the mother designated as a juxu. So how do you know it as a juxu?
[Ebulouyan]: “The patriarchs who preceded me called it a juxu, so for that reason I follow them in saying it is a juxu.”

1. 駏驉 juxu “By some accounts a mythical horselike beast; other accounts give it as the offspring of a stallion and female donkey.” (CJKVE-D). In English this is called a hinny. “A hinny is a domestic equine hybrid that is the offspring of a male horse (a stallion) and a female donkey (a jenny). It is the reciprocal cross to the more common mule, which is the product of a male donkey (a jack) and a female horse (a mare). The hinny is distinctive from the mule both in physiology and temperament as a consequence of genomic imprinting.” <> 

Is there a Skt term for a hinny?


> On Nov 21, 2020, at 10:17 PM, Madhav Deshpande via INDOLOGY <indology at> wrote:
> Along the lines of Professor Dhadphale's suggestion for vekurañja as coming from Skt. dvaikulajanya, there are expressions like dvaimātura, ṣāṇmātura etc. The term dvyāmuṣyāyaṇa refers to a son with two fathers, one legal and the other biological. The sons born out of the so-called niyoga "levirate" are described with this term.  The term kuṇḍa used in the passage has a meaning of "out of wedlock," but having a dual connection, suggesting something unnatural, illegal.   So dvaikulajanya sounds like a very possible source.  I wonder if there is a northern Sanskrit āgama version.  I read from earlier messages that the non-Pali versions translated into Chinese show that this term was eliminated from the text, possibly being considered some sort of an error.
> Madhav M. Deshpande
> Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
> University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
> Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies
> Adjunct Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India
> [Residence: Campbell, California, USA]
> On Sat, Nov 21, 2020 at 2:58 PM Martin Straube via INDOLOGY <indology at <mailto:indology at>> wrote:
> Dear Artur, Rolf & Dan,
> following a note in my files I see that M.G. Dhadphale has suggested  
> an etymology of the word in question in 1974. Please find the article  
> attached. This may or may not be helpful too.
> With best wishes
> Martin
> -- 
> Martin Straube
> Research Fellow in Pali Lexicography
> Pali Text Society
> Philipps-Universität Marburg
> Indologie und Tibetologie
> Deutschhausstrasse 12
> 35032 Marburg
> Germany
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