[INDOLOGY] Techniques of Blinding

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Mon May 4 13:20:18 EDT 2020

"yogāñjana" could mean "magic ointment" (magic<-yogic), or "an ointment
consisting of a medicinal compound."

The *samāsa* may refer deictically to poisons or corrosive substances
(denotation), but that's not what the *samāsa* means lexically (i.e.,

*Arka*, Purple Calotropis <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calotropis>, is a
milkweed with a corrosive, poisonous sap. *Snuhī*, a spurge
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbia#Irritants>, similarly has white,
corrosive sap.  Etc.


> blinding with acid is the technique recommended in AŚ 4,10.13
> Is “acid” the meaning of yogāñjana?
> Meyer translates „Giftsalbe“ (p. 352).
> Kangle translates „poisonous collyrium“ (p. 282)
> Olivelle translates „toxic collyrium“ (p. 422)
> For the meaning of yogāñjana in AŚ 4,10.13, Kangle and Olivelle both refer
> to AŚ 14,1.15, where “andhīkaraṇam añjanam” occurs. The preparation of this
> substance with the power of blinding is defined there as:
> “Dung of Myrna bird, pigeon, Baka-heron, Balākā-flamingo, made into a
> paste with the milk of the plants Arka, Akṣi, Pīluka, and Snuhi, produces a
> collyrium that causes blindness and poisons water” (Olivelle 2013: 422).
> It is well known that bird droppings consist of uric acid. Their mixture
> with plant sap could indeed have resulted in a substance, which might be
> seen as a premodern precursor of acid used in today’s attacks going by that
> name. Our colleagues focussing on Indian alchemy and medicine will be able
> to judge it better.

Professor Dominik Wujastyk

Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity

Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
University of Alberta, Canada

South Asia at the U of A:

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