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The supplement to Ludwig Alsdorf's Kleine Schriften: a review article

  • J. C. Wright (a1)


Continuing the work of Jacobi and Lüders, Ludwig Alsdorf made a decisive contribution to Middle Indian studies, above all to the elucidation of its prosody and the evolution of its narrative literature. He died some four years after the appearance in 1974 of his original Kleine Schriften, edited by Albrecht Wezler.1 The supplementary volume, also edited by Wezler,2 includes six articles from the period 1974–78, together with a welcome reprinting of the important monograph of 1962 in which he surveyed the distinctly non-vegetarian appreciation of the cow that helped to give rise to the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain literatures of Ahiṃsā.3



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1 Short notice in BSOAS, 39/3, 1976, 715f.

2 Alsdorf, Ludwig, Kleine Schriften Nachtragsband hrsg. von Albrecht Wezler. (Glasenapp-Stiftung, Bd. 35.) viii, 763935, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998.

3 Beiträge zur Geschichte von Vegetarismus und Rinderverehrung, (Akad. d. Wiss. u. d. Lit., Abh. Geistes-und Sozialwissenschaftliche KI. Jg. 1961, Nr. 6, 557 625), Mainz, Wiesbaden, 1962. (Kl. Schr. Nachtr., 831 ff.)

4 ‘The impious brahman …’, in Cousins, L. et al. (ed.), Buddhist studies in honour of J. B. Horner, Dordrecht and Boston, MA, 1974, 913. (Kl. Schr. Nachtr., 763ff.); ‘Zwei Proben der Volksdichtung aus dem alten Magadha’, in Beiträge zur Indienforschung: Ernst Waldschmidt zum 80. Geburtstag gewidmet, (Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Indische Kunst Berlin, 4), Berlin, 1977, 1724. (Kl. Schr. Nachtr., 777ff.); Das Bhūridatta-Jātaka’, WZKS, 21, 1977, 2555. (Kl. Schr. Nachtr., 785ff.)

5Pali miscellanies’, StII, 1, 1975, 109117. (Kl. Schr. Nachtr., 768ff.) The original publication's mistake in listing this under the title ‘Pali miscellanies: uddhaṃsarā’ has not been corrected in the reprint; the plural ‘miscellanies’ is Alsdorf's own Germanism.

6 Williams, R., Two Prakrit versions of the Manipaticarita, (Forlong Fund, 26), RAS, 1959.

7 For metrical reasons, *māgahīĕ is to be read instead of magahīē: Alsdorf, 778, n. 7.

8 The idea of an eastern charmer underlies the nomenclature of Jayakīrti and Hemacandra (H. D. Velankar, Jayadāman, Bombay, [1949], 28): their ‘Māgadhī’ Vaitālīya refers to Upahāsinī (with resolution of a long syllable in the posterior cadence) and its converse Paścimantikā (resolution in the prior cadence). Synonyms of those terms, Cāruhāsinī and Aparāntikā, distinguish the two samavṛtta possibilities. Then the compass is boxed afresh to provide for syncopated gaṇas: Prācyavṇtti, Udīcyavṇtti, Dakṣiṇāntikā, Āpātalikā.

Velankar observed that Virahānka's Vṛttijatisamuccaya, possibly earlier, specifies poetry in Mg. language: to magahia tti lakkhaṇe nimmāam ti muṇesu sundari (‘tato māgadhikā iti lakṣaṇam nirmitam iti jānīhi sundari’). It also envisages a seductive Cārunetrikā Sundarī as using the variant, exemplified as a deviant fixed-quantity Vaitālīya with opening spondee–anapaest (veāliaaṃ) for the two anapaests (vaiāliaam) of his regular ‘Vaitālīya’; but the definition of its prosodic deviation is corrupt (Velankar read it as veāliaaṃ rasau lasau in JBBRAS, 1929, 58). Such a presentation could easily have led Hemacandra, etc., to imagine that ‘Māgadhikā’ had to do with resolution (Upahāsinī Māgadhī versus Paścimāntikā) and with samavṛtta (Caruhasini versus Aparantikā). It supports Alsdorf's view that the feminine labels designate girls: but Virahānka may have intended a regular neuter *magahiaṛ ti rather than māgahia tti.

9 Kleinere Sanskrittexte i: Bruchstücke buddh. Dramen, rept. Wiesbaden, 1979. As punishment she suggests a bite for the lover and an alcoholic brew for the Vidūṣaka (Lüders, p. 27, n. 1). It cannot be proved that the three references to Rajgir and the mention of sreṣṭhiputra (p. 25) belong to the gaṇikā play.

10 The Maithili and Kashmir readings are imperfectly collated in Kanjilal, D. K., A reconstruction, Calcutta, 1980, 302. Kanjilal's Bengali and Nagari readings are substantially those of the editions, and his own ‘reconstruction’ is identical with Pischel's second edition, which introduced, without reasonable MS support, śahaye, ye, vivayyaṇīake, paśumāli . Like the first Calcutta ed., Wilson's Nagari MS (apud Böhtlingk) had dental s throughout. Like Pischel's oldest Bengali, Colebrooke's Nagari seems to have had s apart from some typical Bengali Sanskritization (ese samāsādie, but paśu-, śuṇuta, śottie): but Böhtlingk registered dental s forms only incidentally. Kashmiri s readings also bring the text into full agreement with the Amg. māgahī of Mpc.

The bathos of the inverted Vulgate reading paśumālaṇakammadāluṇe aṇukaṃpāmidu evva sottie troubles translators: ‘… may be (of a disposition) tender with compassion’ (MW), ‘… is quite tender with mercy’ (Kale). Its clumsy compound is based on commentator error: Śaṅkara glosses pasumāli kaledi as paśumāranaṃ karoti. The word is evidently the nominative of *paśumārin and should not, in deference to Saṅkara, be read as an accusative abstract noun, leaving dāluṇaṃ as an improbable adverb. The adj. paśumāraka qualifies sacrifice in BhP 4.13.4, and, with van Buitenen, paśumāreṇa (metaphorically of slaughter in battle) will have the same implication in MBh. 3.11.24.

11 The pointless Bengali reading śoṇike, Kashmiri var. suṇṇae < *soṇie, could have arisen via corruption (cf. the Bengali var. sotthie) from Kashmiri/Vulgate sottie. It must owe something to Hemacandra's use of soṇia (Skt. gloss saunika) as a gloss on polia ‘butcher’ in Deśīn. 6.62. His illustrative verse (polacchakamma … kuṇasi) resembles the kaledi dāluṇaṃ (kamma) of the Śak. verse; his soṇia may be < śoṇita ‘*bloody’, as in śoṇitākṣa, etc.

12 ‘Susthita’ is introduced; but then Śreṇika's necklace gives rise to four stories, haphazardly emboxed: two connected with its origins (vv. 304 444), and two (478 552) connected with a Magadhasenā episode; only then does it produce the four tales from Susthita's disciples, one of which concerns Magadhasenā. This is otherwise quite untypical of Mpc. (and probably Medajjamuni), with its neat alternation of stories for the prosecution and stories for the defence.

13 Mṛcch. largely ignores the first quartet of necklace and Magadhasenā stories, and the other three tales of Susthita's disciples (apart from the Magadhasena-Sreṇika story). Motifs reminiscent of one of the former set and one of the latter are also present (see note 15, below).

14 In Mpc, Nandā is credited with a son, Abhaya, in a long story which explains the provenance of the gifts. The description (304f.) of his viceregal expertise must be prophetic: mature age would spoil the point of the wives' childish quarrel, each coveting the other's gift. Nandā is young enough to be given a child's toy, and her resentment (446 kiṃ ahaṃ bālasarūvā?) is a sign of adolescence (302 -jovvaṇaguṇa-).

15 The role of Aryaka as surreptitious rival for the throne of Ujjain can be compared with the episode in the prehistory of the necklace (335ff.) that tells how guerrilla tactics enabled Satānīka of Kosambi to dispose of the usurper Pradyota of Ujjain. The Sakāra motif is reminiscent of the Muni Suvrata's tale (642ff.) of a wife kidnapped by robbers for their seṇāvai, leading to the murder of the latter (or, in other versions, to a false charge of murder, or to the robber's murder of the woman: Mpc, p. 26). The attested mnemonic lists of significant catchwords for each of the 16 stories that make up Mpc. and Medajjamuṇi indicate how such strings of constituent motifs would have been held together.

16 764 jhaḍitti miyapucchagassa egassa, pucchāo ukkattiya maṃsam gahiuṇa nīhario. That the narrator understood ‘musk’ need not be doubted: māṃsa has a fairly general implication, and the analogy of śepa ‘tail’ implies that pucchāo can be intended to refer to the ‘preputial follicle’ that contains the musk. Mpc and Suśruta both distinguish miyapucchaga and medaḥpucchaka, the individual animal, from miyapuccha-maṃsa and medaḥpucchodbhava (the substance) and miyapucchā (732: the plural animals): the later word mṛganābhi is ambiguous in this respect.

17 Alteration of mi(g)apuccha to medahpuccha and mṛdupuccha attests a collision of medas ‘fat’ and mṛdu ‘tender’ which may confirm derivation of Pali sūkaramaddava from Prakrit *sūaramiu ‘pork fat’. Once misunderstood as *sūkaramṛdu, emendation of -miu ‘fat’ to -maddava ‘flesh’ would be in keeping with the implication of ‘tender flesh’ in śarīramārdava, angamārdava.

18 In Vidhurapaṇḍitajdtaka (‘one of the more precious jewels in that treasury of the oldest folk poetry of India’: Alsdorf, Kl Schr., 412), the Triṣṭubh-Pali stratum, like the AryaṇMh. stratum of Maṇipaticarita, actually grows out of VaitālīyaṇMg. folk-poetry. It is, however, misleading to say that the Jātaka ‘liesse sich in einem Satz beschreiben als die Einführung einer bereits populären Hauptfigur der epischen Sage [Vidura] in die Volksdichtung durch ihre Versetzung in die dem Volksglauben so ungemein wichtige Welt der Yakṣas und Nāgas’ (ibid.). The epic-based story of a Kuru king who inadvertently dices away the wise Śūdra ‘Vidhura’ like a chattel is built into a pre-existing Vaitālīya-Mg. fairy-tale. The latter features a nest of Nāgas who are scheming to get the heart of Vidura, a dasiputra in brahmin guise; but these Nāgas are an outcome of Vedic folklore. Varuṇa is their king, and the only available source for his daughter, the seductress Irandatī, is the Ílaṃda Sāman, which in TS 7.5.9f. accompanies the portrayal of (besides fighting, króśa, and mithunau) dancing Dāsīs who offer their honey in Mahāvrata ritual: they will be the eponymous *ilāṃāḥ. Alsdorf implies a sequence ‘Nāga-Volksglauben + epic > Volksdichtung’; but ‘Vedic culture + epic > Naga popular beliefs’ seems nearer the mark.

19 According to Bühler, following Kullūka (‘gurupatnīṣu’), the term gurudareṣu continues the discussion of behaviour towards guruyoṣitah … gurupatni/gurupatnīnaṃ yuvatīnam in vv. 210–6. That topic seems adequately terminated by v. 216, and there is no reason why the theme of pādagrahaṇam, etc., broached in v. 217, should not embrace also or preferably the guruputra and guroḥ svabandhu of vv. 207–9: v. 218 reverts to discussion of the guru proper.

20 Narten has construed (p. 129) Aldorf's admission of the need for further study of the attestations as an admission of defeat (‘von Alsdorf selbst abgelehnt’). He stated (898) that the lack of overt association of the rare masculine form with sacrifice is explicable, and criticized, not his own view, but that which Narten has espoused, as ‘bedenklich, weil sie voraussetzt, dass man den Göttern die wertvollsten Tiere systematisch vorenthalten hätte’. He conceded only that even that view is preferable to [Sāyaṇa's and] Schlerath's reading of ahiṃsā into the ancient texts.

Despite Alsdorf, even the masculine occurrences connote not merely ‘cattle in general’, but the potent Bull as ‘the male principle’ (1.30.19, aghnyá in correlation with feminine ághnyā, as shown by Narten, p. 125f.; cf. also 1.37.5 góṣv ághnyaṃ krīḷám); or, failing potency, strength and virtue in the charm appended to 3.33 (v. 13 áduṣkṛtau vyènasā, referring to draught oxen).

21 RV 1.162.17 bráhmanā sūdayāmi and 21 ná v u etán mriyasedev id esi; AV 10.9.3 … aghnye, śuddh tváṃ yajñíyā bhūtv divaṃ préhi ‘thou who art unkillable, be purified and fit for sacrifice, and pass away to heaven’.

22 Sāyaṇa even reinforces the nuance with ‘cannot be taught by a man’. This tailpiece 8.33.16–19 is indeed ‘seltsam’ only if, with Sāyaṇa (āha), Oldenberg, and Geldner (‘hat das gesagt’), one misconstrues the narrative imperfect índraḥ…abravīt as a present perfect. Presumably it is a conversation between the Soma cows and Indra: their criticism of his neglect of śāstrá (16 nahi ṣás … śāstré … ráṇyati … vīráḥ) evokes a rude reply from Indra, followed by their coarse retort to the effect ‘this vṛṣan is incapable, this lazy brahmán (viz. Indra, as in 8.16.7) must be a woman’.

Grassmann's attempt to explain avadyá as ‘nicht zu loben’ is unfounded. Perhaps the females' obscene vituperation in 8.33.19 indicates for avadyá an original sense ‘what should not be uttered, reviling’: cf. in 4.18.7 the lady waters will either invite Indra (nivído manante) or repel him with contumely (indrasyavadyám didhiṣanta paḥ).

23 Pollock's rendering ‘If any creature is not to be slain it is a woman’ implies that brahmins are fair game: it is ruled out notably by R 1.14.13 devadānavarakṣasām avadhyah. Verse *1848, for its retort hataiveyam svakarmaṇa ‘she is already slain by her own deed’, presupposes the sense ‘cannot be killed’: it is more likely to represent the original text than Crit. Ed. 72.21f. which ensue from an implausible tām (Kaikeyīm) for tam (Śatrughnam) in v. 20a.

24 Despite Narten, 131, the version in MS 1.2.8 is likely to be basic. Its prosody (8, 12; 8, 8: dhāmno … itóváruna no muñca yád āpo ághnyāḥ ≠) and only slightly odd import were palpably misunderstood by VS and AV. The application to waters appears also in Sāyaṇa's mistake in gender: aghnyau ‘aghnye’ ad 3.33.13.

25 Comparison of ahyáś ca daṃsayaḥ with 4.19.7 ádhog índraḥ staryò dámsupatntḥ favours the association of daṃsu- with the root daṃs- (the question is left open in EWA, i, 689 and 697). In Avestan V 9.37f., where a progression from heifer azī to mother vazi is alone logical, the accompanying repeated jingle nmānahē nmānō paitim might imply a reminiscence of dáṃsupatniḥ, via the interpretation dám supátnīḥ that appears in RV 6.3.7. The fact that neither RV 6 nor Avestan could tolerate *dáṃsu pátnīḥ would tell against derivation from dám.


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