Raffaele Torella raffaele.torella at uniroma1.it
Wed May 18 09:10:30 UTC 2022

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to point out a less usual use of tumba (or tumbaka; the gender oscillates between masculine and neuter) as a laukikanyāya. It is found in Mālinīviyajavārttika II.108ab: nāntarārdratvam abhyeti niścchidraṃ tumbakaṃ yathā “just as the gurd does not become soft inside unless it is pierced with holes”. The context is Abhinavagupta’s criticism of the too “monolithic” and stiff aspects of Pātañjala yoga.



> Il giorno 18 mag 2022, alle ore 08:47, Martin Gansten via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> ha scritto:
> 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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Prof. Raffaele Torella
Emeritus Sapienza University of Rome

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