A peculiarity about foundlings

Jonathan Silk silk at HUMNET.UCLA.EDU
Tue Dec 16 12:39:12 EST 2003

Dear Patrick and others who helped (or will help) out about foundlings.

I am wondering about a treatment in MBh 49.19-21, which treats of the
k.rtima as follows (my translation may well need correction!!):

Of what sort is the created son who is called a son due to having
been received (into a family), or where he would be recognized,
Bhårata, were the standard the father's seed or the mother's womb
[that is, who is recognized as equivalent to a natural child]?
He should be designated a contrived son who has been abandoned on a
road by his mother and father, and whose mother and father are not
known. The mastership (that is, parenthood) of one without master
(that is, a foundling) should be recognized as residing in one who
would nourish him, and his caste becomes the caste of his adoptive

kiid.rza.h k¤taka.h putra.h samgrahaad eva lakshyate |
zukram kshetram pramaa.nam vaa yatra lakshyeta bhaarata ||
maataapit.rbhyaam samtyaktam pathi yam tu pralakshayet |
na ca asya maataapitarau jñaayete sa hi k.rtrima.h ||
asvaamikasya svaamitvam yasmin sampratilakshayet |
savar.nas tam ca posheta savar.nas tasya jaayate ||

According to the Dharma texts, this description should rather fit the
apaviddha, I would think, and I would appreciate any thoughts about
whether or not one should sense any distance between the treatments
in the Dharma literature and the MBh here.


PS:  I make an artificial distinction in my trans. of the MBh verses
between k.rtaka and  k.rtima, but understand them as equivalent.
Jonathan Silk
Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Center for Buddhist Studies
290 Royce Hall
Box 951540
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
phone: (310)206-8235
fax:  (310)825-8808
silk at humnet.ucla.edu

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list