[INDOLOGY] Metrical inconsistencies and tradition

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be
Mon Mar 30 05:30:45 EDT 2020

kukavitā is as risky as the covid according to Bhāmaha:

nākavitvam adharmāye  mṛtaye daṇḍanāya vā |

kukavitvaṃ punaḥ sākṣān  mṛtim āhur manīṣiṇaḥ ||

I just found the verse in one Anthology (SRH p. 138) but see now than Victor Davella has dealt with in his philological dissertation (UChicago, 2018, p. 70) - here his translation:

Not being a poet does not lead to demerit, sickness or punishment, but being a bad poet, the wise say, truly spells death. 

> Le 30 mars 2020 à 00:26, Harry Spier via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> a écrit :
> Dear list members,
> Victor Davella wrote: 
> . . .according to the standards as reported in sources spanning some 1600 years and very much still current today, it is absolutely necessary to adhere to grammatically correct Sanskrit and the rules of meter  . . .
> It also seems that earlier there wasn't so much a concern.
> Of the 12 Gayatri mantras at  Maitrāyaṇī-Saṃhitā  2-9-1, three of those gayatri mantras have extra syllables. 
> And see this post of Madhav's http://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology_list.indology.info/2015-January/040590.html <https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Flist.indology.info%2Fpipermail%2Findology_list.indology.info%2F2015-January%2F040590.html&data=02%7C01%7Cchristophe.vielle%40uclouvain.be%7Cccb6c45580c14bfc721208d7d4305bf6%7C7ab090d4fa2e4ecfbc7c4127b4d582ec%7C0%7C0%7C637211176469910078&sdata=TH1lCbBIrITRZruJCoH%2B5SSD3wVYMi%2FQC%2FFsl5H4pmc%3D&reserved=0>  which concludes:  the Brāhmaṇa texts were not bothered by deviations of meters up to two syllables".
> Why the change in attitude towards meter?
> Harry Spier
> tat puruṣāya vidmahe mahādevāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no rudraḥ pracodayāt //
>      tad gāṅgaucyāya vidmahe girisutāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no gaurī pracodayāt //
>      tat kumārāya vidmahe kārttikeyāya dhīmahi /
>      tan naḥ skandaḥ pracodayāt //
>      tat karāṭāya vidmahe hastimukhāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no dantī pracodayāt //
>      tac caturmukhāya vidmahe padmāsanāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no brahmā pracodayāt //
>      tat keśavāya vidmahe nārāyaṇāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no viṣṇuḥ pracodayat //
>      tad bhāskarāya vidmahe prabhākarāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no bhānuḥ pracodayāt //
>      tat somarājāya vidmahe mahārājāya dhīmahi /
>      tan naś candraḥ pracodayāt //
>      taj jvalanāya vidmahe vaiśvānarāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no vahniḥ pracodayāt //
>      tat tyajapāya vidmahe mahājapāya dhīmahi /
>      tan no dhyānaḥ pracodayāt //
>      tat paramātmāya vidmahe vainateyāya dhīmahi /
>      tan naḥ sṛṣṭiḥ pracodayāt //MS_2,9.1//
> and see this
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> On 29 Mar 2020, at 14.27, victor davella via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info <mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
> Dear All,
> Has any research been done on the name of the seven trees Rāma shoot in R 4.12? It seems as though this is one of those text-critical issues that is almost impossible to decide: śāla-sāla-tāla. I'm more or less aware of all that the lexicographers have to say on the matter (śāla is prescribed by Maheśvara but commentators on the Amarakośa 2.4.know both sāla and śāla, etc.). I am working on a passage where more or the less the same variants are available as in R 4.12 and was intrigued by the fact that Ñ1, our oldest dated witness (Samvat 1076/1020 CE) has tāla throughout. Other Devanāgarī MSS and the Śārada MS share it as well, so it seems that it was intentional and not just a confusion of सा/ता.
> A brief note on Sanskrit composition and poetic criticism since this is a topic I have been occupied with for years now: if we wish to compose according to the standards as reported in sources spanning some 1600 years and very much still current today, it is absolutely necessary to adhere to grammatically correct Sanskrit and the rules of meter (the classical śḷoka is not quite as easy as it seems). Although most great poets have used forms that have been subject to criticism and endless debate (this is especially true of Kālidāsa but even Māgha's famed verse on the bells [4.20] drives grammarians mad), it is best for beginners to stick with well-attested grammatical forms and avoid those found in the Epics. Epic forms are of course not wrong, but my impression is that we, as non-ṛṣis, have not business using them and poems containing them would be readily dismissed especially at the beginning stages of composition.  One of the benefits of presenting poetry or other work to the sabhā is to receive feedback for improvement. This has always been the case. Yet criticism and erudition can come in many forms. I always think of Pt. Añjaneya Śarma's response to my question about the meaning of "fragrant gold" (to paraphrase): any paṇḍit is of course gold, but a kind paṇḍit is fragrant gold.
> All the Best,
> Victor
Christophe Vielle <https://uclouvain.be/en/directories/christophe.vielle>

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