Re: [INDOLOGY] vekurañja, Turner's article

Walter Slaje walter.slaje at
Wed Nov 25 08:45:33 UTC 2020

Thank you for these illuminating remarks.

> Please correct me if I am wrong, but my impression (and some reference
works) treat Mauleselin as applying to she-mule as well as she-hinny, being
a female form of Maulesel (m. male or hinny).

As far as I can see, in the field of zoology, natural sciences, and in any
case among the agricultural classes, a precise distinction has always been
made between mule and hinny.

This applies without exception to the standard encyclopaedias of the 19th
century (examples will follow shortly) as well as to modern scientific
research literature.

In contrast, it can be assumed that the difference was not so sharply seen
or even blurred among the representatives of the humanities, as the many
examples show we have already witnessed among - in our case - mostly
Indologists (however not without notable exceptions).

In modern standard German, too, a “Maulesel” – unless it designates its
species – is a male hinny, a “Mauleselin” a female hinny.

Compared with this, a “Maultier” is a male mule (at the same time the
species as such), a “Maultierweibchen” a female mule.

Here is an excerpt from a classic among scientific encyclopaedias :

Maultier (Equus mulus)

Maulesel (Equus hinnus)

„Gerade bei den durch Esel beschlagenen Pferdestuten oder umgekehrt bei den
durch Pferde belegten Eselinnen kommen Fehlgeburten am häufigsten vor.“

[…] Noch in der neuesten Zeit ist wiederholt behauptet worden, dass
Maultier oder Maulesel unfruchtbar seien. Dies ist jedoch nicht immer der
Fall. Schon seit den ältesten Zeiten sind Beispiele bekannt, dass die
Blendlinge zwischen Esel und Pferd wiederum Junge erzeugten; weil man aber
solch ein ungewöhnliches Geschehnis als ein Hexenwerk oder als ein
unheildrohendes Ereignis betrachtete […] Ein anderes, von Pferd und
Maultierstute erzeugtes Fohlen wurde in Schottland geworfen, aber von den
biederen Landleuten, welche das Tier für ein Ungeheuer erklärten, sofort

[Mule (Equus mulus)

Mule (Equus hinnus)

Miscarriages are most common among mares mated with donkeys or vice versa
among female donkeys mated with horses.

Even in recent times it has been repeatedly claimed that mules or hinnies
are infertile. However, this is not always the case. Examples have been
known since ancient times that the interbreeding of donkey and horse
produced offspring, but [...] such an unusual event was considered to be
witchcraft or a threat of mischief [...] Another foal produced by horse and
mule mare was dropped in Scotland, but immediately killed by the simple
country folk who declared the animal a monster.]

(Brehms Tierleben. Die Säugetiere. Dritter Band. 3. Auflage. (1900):
Maultier und Maulesel.pp. 75 – 79)).

[The following excerpt from another work is of some significance in
answering the question of what can happen when a she-donkey becomes

Für die Zucht von Mauleseln muss bei der Auswahl des Deckhengstes unbedingt
auf die Größe der Eselstute Rücksicht genommen werden. Für eine Eselstute
kann es lebensgefährlich werden, wenn sie von einem zu großen Pferdehengst
gedeckt wird und sie versucht, diese Frucht auszutragen. Wohl sagt man im
Volksmund, die Frucht passe sich dem Körper an, und doch ist es schon
vorgekommen, dass die wachsende Frucht für die Stute zu groß wurde, so dass
Stute und Fohlen ein klägliches Ende nahmen. (Gugelberg, Helene von;
Bähler, Cordula: Alles über Maultiere. Cham 1994: pp. 88f.)

["For the breeding of hinnies, it is essential to consider the size of the
donkey mare when choosing a stallion. For a jenny mare it can be
life-threatening if she is mated to a stallion who is too large and she has
to carry this fruit. It is said that the embryo adapts to the body, but it
has happened that the growing embryo has become too large for the jenny, so
that the jenny and foal came to a miserable end."]

If these dimensions (stallion : jenny) are applied to the mating of the
product of the first one, i.e. the mating of a she-hinny, who is even
smaller than her jenny mother, to a stallion (stallion : she-hinny), it can
be concluded that her risk of dying from the oversize of her foetus is even
greater than that of her mother, the jenny.

Randomly collected:

Against the dictionary entries as quoted by Roland Steiner, Van Buitenen
translates* kharīvātsalya* (MBh) as „a she-ass’s love“ (p. 435).

Wackernagel AiGr II,2 (p. 370) has „Maulesel“, and only „Maulesel“ for
*aśvatara*/*ī*. He points to a probable etymological relationship with
*aśvā-starī* „equa sterilis“ (= „a barren mare“), see p. 604. In this
context of *(*a*)*star*-, cp. also Persian *astar* = a „Maulesel“ („hinny“)
in Salemann’s „Persische Grammatik“ (1889: p. 7), but a „mule“ („Maultier“)
in Steingass’ Persian dictionary.

For a correct translation of *aśvatarī* by she-hinny” (“Mauleselin”), cp.
Harry Falk, Bruderschaft p. 95f (n. 307):

„Weg führen wir deinen Zorn, wie den Embryo aus der Mauleselin“.

The text runs as follows (cited without accentuation):

*vi te krodham nayāmasi garbham aśvataryā iva* (Āpastambīyamantrapāṭha

(Ed. Winternitz, Mantrapāṭha of the Āpastambins. Oxford 1897).

Let me add an important remark made by Jayarāma in his commentary on a
parallel of the above passage in *Pāraskaragṛhyasūtra* 13.3.5:

*yathā aśvatarī garbhapuṣṭim asahamānā amārgeṇa muñcantī, tathā*.

(Ed. M. G. Bakre, Bombay 1927: p. 393).

*garbhapuṣṭi* clearly refers to the oversize of the embryo, which the
she-hinny cannot bear and which she loses accordingly in/on a bad way.

Hinnology and mulology seem to develop into two important branches of
Indology (with two sub-branches of she-hinnology and she-mulology, which
quadruples the matter).

It is likely to become an obsession.



Am Mi., 25. Nov. 2020 um 01:00 Uhr schrieb Dan Lusthaus <yogacara at

> Vielen dank, profs. Steiner and Slaje, for these materials. Please correct
> me if I am wrong, but my impression (and some reference works) treat
> Mauleselin as applying to she-mule as well as she-hinny, being a female
> form of Maulesel (m. male or hinny). While hinnies have more difficulty
> than mules producing offspring, that expression applied to a mule/hinny who
> has no offspring would lean toward implying a hinny, but she-mules can also
> have difficulty conceiving, so the term itself fails to distinguish between
> them. Is that right? That would seem to mirror some of what we have been
> finding in the older Sanskrit literature (and the dictionaries).
> That still makes the 4th c Chinese translation puzzling, since it clearly
> expresses a difference in nomenclature. I might add that the term it uses
> for hinny, 駏驉 juxu, was not a neologism invented by the translator, but a
> term used at least as early as the Han (and thus pre-Buddhist entry to
> China) for an unusual beast, mentioned in the Huainanzi (completed before
> 139 BCE), in an anecdote in bk. 12, section 9 or 10 (depending on edition)
> (in the complete Eng. tr. by John Major, et al., the passage appears on p.
> 447). The full name of the juxu is 蛩蛩駏驉 Qiongqiong juxu, which the Major,
> et al. tr. renders as “fabulous-big-and-small” (I am mystified by that
> translation, but assume they had their reasons). Qiong usually means a
> grasshopper or cricket, or it can mean “anxious” in usual usage, but see
> below for a more illuminating definition.
> *Le Grand Ricci Online* has the following under 駏 ju:
> “1. Hybride d’un cheval et d’une mule ou (peut-être) bardot.
> 2. (Myth.) Spécial. ds 駏驉 jù xū Sorte de cheval sauvage, qui vit toujours
> en compagnie de la gerboise.”
> Since “bardot” means an animal born from the coupling of a horse and an
> ass, does this specify a hinny as opposed to a mule, as suggested by the
> distinction in the definition? A gerboise is a N. African rodent with short
> front legs and long hind legs, which fits the description of the 蹶 jue, the
> animal in the Huainanzi story about the Qiongqiong juxu (Major, et al.
> aptly translate jue as the “stumbler”: HNZ says it is like a mouse in front
> and a rabbit behind, and has trouble walking quickly. The Huainanzi story
> say that the jue feeds the Qiongqiong xuju sweet grass, so when in trouble,
> the latter carries it away on its back. (The moral of the story is that
> rulers need to rely on their ministers in difficult times so they should
> treat them well during good times).
> *A Student’s Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese Online (Chinese
> – English)* has:
>  駏 (jù)
> “MC gjoX [that is, the reconstructed Middle Chinese pronunciation-DL]
>     offspring of a molly (female mule) and a stallion (male horse).
>     (bn.) ~驉 jùxū (MC gjoX-xjo), usu. 蛩蛩~驉 qióngqióngjùxū, → 蛩 qióng.”
> Under qiong it has this interesting tidbit:
> "qióng
> MC gjowng
>     locust.
>     rdup., Xiongnu name of the wild ass, chigetai; also, fabulous
> quadruped (usu. ~~駏驉 qióngqióngjùxū) said to be swift-running but unable to
> procure its own food, often paired with 蟨 jué whose characteristics are
> just the opposite, hence they need each other; another explanation says the
> qióngqióng and jùxū are 2 animals, one having long forelegs and short
> hind-legs, the other just the opposite, so one cannot go anywhere without
> the other; also, sad and sorrowing, hapless and heavy-hearted.”
> So, it would seem the translation of the sutra by Zhu Tanwulan
> (*Dharmarakṣa, *Dharmaratna), a Central Asian monk, drew on an
> understanding of ju adopted from the “barbarian” Xiongnu tribes of the
> eastern Steppes for a wild donkey. The story being referenced is the one in
> the Huainanzi, and the alternate interpretation would indicate that
> competing understandings of how to interpret the HNZ passage arose. Both
> terms in the compound juxu contain the horse radical 馬, indicating they
> denote something related to equines.
> Still unclear if this brings us closer to an underlying Sanskrit (or
> prakrit) term exclusively used for hinnies, but it does indicate that some
> ancient groups did use nomenclature that distinguished mules from hinnies.
> I will finally add that the compound juxu appears some other Chinese
> translations of Buddhist texts. Juxu is used in the Saṃyukta-āgama 提婆 SA
> 1064 (T.2.276b20), for which the two corresponding Pali texts, Devadatta
> Sutta (AN 4.68 / AN ii 73) and Acirapakkanta Sutta (SN 17.35 / SN ii 241)
> have assatarī (female mule) in the parallel position (seyyathāpi,
> bhikkhave, assatarī attavadhāya gabbhaṃ gaṇhāti, parābhavāya gabbhaṃ
> gaṇhāti). The Pañcarathasata Sutta (SN 17.36 / SN ii 242) which somewhat
> parallels them, replaces reference to a mule with a wild dog (caṇḍassa
> kukkurassa)(seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, caṇḍassa kukkurassa nāsāya pittaṃ
> bhindeyyuṃ… “Just as a wild dog becomes even wilder when they sprinkle bile
> over its nose…” Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation).
> With appreciation,
> Dan
> .
> On Nov 24, 2020, at 3:19 PM, Roland Steiner via INDOLOGY <
> indology at> wrote:
> die Mutterliebe einer Mauleselin (die nie Junge hat), so v.a. eine
> übelangebrachte M[utterliebe], eine M[utterliebe] für Nichts und wieder
> Nichts

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