Martin Gansten martingansten at gmail.com
Wed May 18 06:47:14 UTC 2022

Many thanks to all who replied to this (mostly off-list). The general 
consensus seems to be that the word refers to bottle gourd, and I see 
that some sources, including Wikipedia, use the word calabash. Rajam's 
comment about the use of these gourds as swimming aids (obliquely 
confirmed by Aleksandar's Mokṣopāya/Yogavāsiṣṭha reference) was 
particularly illuminating. I was beginning to wonder whether I had 
misunderstood the image, as the author doesn't actually say /crossing/ 
the ocean, but simply /diving //into/ it (vigāhe). The swimming aid 
makes perfect sense.

Here is the verse:

tārtīyakasiddhāntād yathāsvamatyoddhṛtaṃ śāstram |
kaṭutumbīphalavad idaṃ grāhyaṃ pṛcchārṇavavigāhe ||

'Let this teaching, extracted from the system of the Tatars according to 
my own understanding, be used like a calabash on diving into the ocean 
of [astrological] queries.'

Best wishes,
Martin Gansten
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