Dear Colleague,

The story goes back to Atharvaveda (Ś)VIII.10 and AVP 16.133. That deals with the milking of Virāṭ by various beings including Pṛthī Vainya with various vessels and youngs. Enlarged versions of the Pṛthi-Vainya part of the myth appear in the Mahābhārata (Droṇa-P.) and many Purāṇas (Vāyu, Matsya etc), the Bhāgavata being the latest among them. A paper with some treatment of the milking of the earth was published in the Journal of the Bihar Research Society LI, Jan-Dec 1965, 8ff. I do not know of any study on the particular points raised but general studies on the myth or aspects of the myth exist. The said paper refers to a paper by N.K.V.Pantulu, Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society XXIX, 289ff . As far as I remember U.N.Ghoshal said something on the ‘social contract’ theory claimed to have been implied in the part of the Puranic version dealing with Vena’s oppression. But it is the political implications of the colorful story that drew scholars’ attention in the twenties and thirties and even much later. Some of the papers are in Indian languages.

Will this help?




On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM, Artur Karp <karp@uw.edu.pl> wrote:
Dear List, 

Bhagavata Purana has the brahmans churning at first the dead king Vena's thigh and then his arms - in order to create a new king. 

BhP_04.14.043/1 viniścityaivam ṛṣayo vipannasya mahīpateḥ
BhP_04.14.043/2 mamanthur ūruṃ tarasā tatrāsīd bāhuko naraḥ

BhP_04.15.001/1 atha tasya punar viprair aputrasya mahīpateḥ
BhP_04.15.001/2 bāhubhyāṃ mathyamānābhyāṃ mithunaṃ samapadyata

Would someone comment on the procedure involved and the meaning of that - certainly - strange ritual?

Has someone worked on the king Vena's story? Any book? Paper?


Artur Karp

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