[INDOLOGY] Best wishes for a Peaceful Christmas and New Year...
andrea.acri at ephe.psl.eu
Tue Dec 27 12:25:59 UTC 2022
while not belonging to Sanskrit literature, it seems worth mentioning an extensive passage in the Old Javanese Rāmāyaṇa, sargas 24 and 25. The former sarga describes the idyll in Laṅkā after Vibhīṣaṇa had succeeded Rāvaṇa, where both nature and human society are dominated by harmony (and yet, various animals allegorically representing ascetics take the opportunity to tease one another about their respective behaviours and religious observances). The latter describes sage Bharadvāja’s hermitage and the banks of the river Sarayū, populated by all kinds of birds and plants.
See e.g. 24.107:
The animals shared harmony together and a mind dominated by purity; not much time after, the people [too] became bright [in their minds].
The lions, all of them, were suddenly lovable; like relatives, like brothers, were the barking deer, feeling secure.
That is why the paramount effort of Him who protects the world was effective:
it is not difficult to achieve for the mind that has love as its rudder in the boat of compassion.
Thus the animals were very faithful, staying together and licking [one another] as if they were taking an oath.
Wild dogs, tigers, bears, every wild animal had a gentle character at last.
That which flows out from the heart of the ruler of the world causes every animal that [formerly] fought each other to be companions.
How much more the people of the palace: with a firm heart they were fervently devoted to him.
The motif of ferocious animals becoming tame and living peacefully together with their habitual preys is widespread in Sanskrit literature. The reason for such gentle behaviour of animals in hermitages is due to the soothing and beneficial influence of the holy sages dwelling there. See e.g. the Candrehe stone inscription of Prabodhaśiva (724 AD) which describes a hermitage inhabited by holy ascetics in the following manner:
‘In this place herds of monkeys kiss the cubs of lions, [and] the young one of a deer sucks at the breast of the lioness. Other hostile animals forget their [natural] antipathy [to one another]; for the minds of all become tranquil in penance-groves’ (v. 15, translation Banerji 1930-31).
See also AVālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa, Ayodhyākāṇḍa 88.7, describing the Citrakūṭa mountain inhabited by holy ascetics:
nānāmṛgagaṇadvīpitarakṣvṛkṣagaṇair vṛtaḥ /
aduṣṭair bhāty ayaṃ śailo bahupakṣisamākulaḥ
‘What a sight the mountain makes, swarming with birds and teeming with herds of beasts, panthers, hyenas, and monkeys, all of them tame’ (transl. Pollock 1986:269).
Other instances of this topos in the Mahābhārata and in Kālidāsa’s works are discussed in Pontillo 2009.
All the above references are mentioned in a 2010 article by myself, freely accessible at https://doi.org/10.1163/22134379-90003611
> Le 25 déc. 2022 à 19:13, Jan E.M. Houben via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> a écrit :
> Dear All,
> According to Yoga-sūtra 2.35, अहिंसाप्रतिष्ठायां, तत्सन्निधौ वैरत्यागः ।
> which apparently means that when someone is thoroughly established in non-violence, (mutual) enmity disappears in his environment.
> Commentaries and references given for aphorism and referred to for instance in James Wood’s translation emphasize that in this situation *even* wild animals, no more attack their prey. An example is Kirāṭārjunīya 2.55 (meter viyoginī): Vyāsa is looked at by Yudhiṣṭhira:
> madhurair avaśāni lambhayann api tiryañci śamaṃ nirīkṣitaiḥ /
> paritaḥ paṭu bibhrad enasāṃ dahanaṃ dhāma vilokanakṣamam //
> “Calming even wild animals by his gentle looks, spreading a blazing radiance around which burns away guilt, (but which yet) can be gazed at (the sage, i.e., Vyāsa son of Parāśara, was seen by the king, Yudhiṣṭhira)” (tr. following Roodbergen 1984, p. 143; cp. also Raghuvaṁśa 13.50, 14.79.)
> Are any more convincing stories or anecdotes known in Sanskrit literature, in which the peace-creating influence suggested in YS 2.35 inspires animals or *even* humans to behave in a more peaceful way ?
> With best wishes for a Peaceful Christmas New Year to all:
> शान्ते ! ऽस्मिन् लोक एधस्व विद्यातः प्रेमतस्तथा ।
> तव भक्तजनानां च कल्याणमस्तु सर्वदा ॥
> Jan E.M. Houben
> Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology
> Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite
> École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres)
> Sciences historiques et philologiques
> Groupe de recherches en études indiennes (EA 2120)
> johannes.houben [at] ephe.psl.eu
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