[INDOLOGY] Techniques of Blinding

huet gerard.huet at inria.fr
Sun May 3 12:44:31 EDT 2020


Subandhu uses «  netrotpāṭanaṃ munīnām » in Vāsavadattā, in a long list of evils that do not occur in King Cintāmaṇi’s realm:

yatra ca śāsati dharaṇimaṇḍalaṃ chalanigrahaprayogā vādeṣu, nāstikatā cārvākeṣu, kaṇṭakayogo niyogeṣu, parīvādo vīṇāsu, khalasaṃyogaḥ śāliṣu, dvijihvasaṅgṛhītir āhituṇḍikeṣu, kara[cchedaḥ kḷptakara]grahaṇeṣu, netrotpāṭanaṃ munīnāṃ, rājaviruddhatā paṅkajānāṃ, sarvabhaumayogo diggajānāṃ, śūlasaṃyogo yuvatiprasave, agnitulāśuddhiḥ suvarṇānāṃ, duḥśāsanadarśanaṃ bhārate, karapatradāraṇaṃ jalajānāṃ, param evaṃ vyavasthitam | 

There is no tearing out of eyes there, except by munis, who rip off the bark of trees to make their ascetic garments.
So, by contraposition, at the time of Subandhu, gauging out eyes was already standard practice. 
[Y. Bronner. Extreme Poetry, p 42. 

Gérard


> Le 3 mai 2020 à 16:22, Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> a écrit :
> 
> Dear Madhav and Matthew,
> 
> first, thank you for alerting me to my "touching" connotation blunder, and second, yes, blinding - especially of pretenders to the throne - was certainly not uncommon. To the references already given by you to Ottoman and Mughal practices we can furthermore add Humayun’s blinding of his brother Mirza Kamran and Jahangir’s blinding of his first son Khusrau by using the needle (in 1607). In this context it is perhaps interesting to note that what Śrīvara has reported dates only from Sultanate Kashmir of the 15th century. To my knowledge no earlier occurrences are documented in the Rājataṅgiṇīs. Should we regard the practice of blinding with the needle an Islamic import? How does this technique conform to the Sanskrit notion of utpāṭana ("tearing out"). This is why I was asking for evidence of techniques from other and ideally pre-Islamic sources.
> 
> Thanks again,
> Walter
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