[INDOLOGY] Techniques of Blinding

Walter Slaje walter.slaje at gmail.com
Mon May 4 04:55:10 EDT 2020

Dear Dan,

I consider it particularly revealing that, as you say, the „verb “naqar”
[…] allows both the meaning “gouge out” and “poke/pierce.””

The semantic scope of Hebrew *naqar* and Sanskrit *utpāṭay*-, both of which
can apparently express both the meanings under discussion, seems to be
identical in the given context of blinding. It shows that one cannot draw
any compelling conclusions about the actual method from the verb alone.
*utpāṭana* might probably have taken on the meaning of “blinding” in a most
general way and therefore translates perhaps best as “blinding”,
irrespective of the actual technique exercised on the victim.

On this occasion, let me bring an addendum to your notice, which parallels
a passage quoted already from Bhāvadevasūri’s *Pārśvanāthacaritra* („*netre
śastrīkayotpāṭya*“, 1.198c), and which I owe to Harunaga Isaacson:
locanam* (Kṣemendra’s *Avadānakalpalatā* 45.27). In both cases a cutting
tool (*śastra*) is used.

Haru also drew my attention to a hook-like instrument, perhaps a fishhook (
*baḍiśa*), which is mentioned in the *Padmapurāṇa* (23.144) as a tool used
for blinding. Since the passage however depicts tortures fancied to be
experienced in hell, the degree of reality is perhaps rather questionable.

I should like to express my gratitude to all, who have contributed valuable
references in such a helpful manner.

Kind regards,

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