Req: "dirty" words in Sanskrit

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Sat Nov 2 08:57:27 EST 1996


Dear Indologists,
	In spite of the feeling on the part of some folks that a
"spiritual" language like Sanskrit could not have had any dirty words, it
indeed had a lot and continues to have a lot.  It it just that this
register does not appear commonly in literary works.  Students who were
studying Sanskrit at traditional institutions in India, including myself,
often used Sanskrit for the entire range of registers.  Since I assume we
are all adults on this network, I can report something which is widely
known among Indian and many western Sanskritists.  For example, Panini's
rules hrasvam laghu, samyoge guru, diirgham ca have been often converted
into a dialogue about the size of sexual organs.  Vedic passages like
puu.s.no hastaabhyaam, a"vinor baahubhyaam, atiraatre .so.da"sinam
g.rh.naati etc. were routinely used by Sanskrit students in Pune in
euphemistic ways.  Cursing expressions like daasyaa.h putra and raa.n.deya
are well known.  Conversation between Bhiima and Gha.totkaca in Bhaasa's
Madhyamavyaayoga has similar abusive allusions.  Most explicit "dirty" 
language is found in many Bhaa.nas and Prahasanas.  I have a whole bunch
of them sitting on my shelves.  Even the titles of works in grammar like
Manoramaakucamardinii have allusions to the same register.  
	Madhav Deshpande





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