GLEANINGS FROM VEDIC TO PURANIC AGE (Collected Papers of Dr. Sadashiv A.Dange)


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About the Book

The book in its first part contains twenty-three papers of (late) Dr. Sadashiv Ambadas Dange. Excepting three, the papers have already been published in reputed research journals.

The book deals with varied topics such as several Vedic beliefs; Sanskrit poetician's imagery gliding into the realm of semiotics; the 'riddle' - like incidents in the two great epics; Purana to be regarded as a 'shastra'; interesting motifs in mythology and folklore; Mimamsa-rules applied in life and some significant problems in the 'spoken' aspect of the Sanskrit language.

The book in its second part gives a short biographical sketch of (late) Dr. S.A. Dange and a bibliography of his writing, the latter, on the earnest insistence of researchers and scholars. About the Author

(Late) Dr. Sadashiv Ambadas Dange, who had been R.G. Bhandarkar Professor and Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai, is well known in India and outside India for his contribution to the study of Sanskrit and Indology. He has numerous books and more than 260 research papers to his credit. Considered to be an authority on Vedic-Hindu myths, rituals and practices, several honours were conferred on him. To mention a few - Silver medal from the Asiatic Society of Bombay (1983), 'Special Honour' by the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Academy (1989), Felicitation by the State Government of Maharashtra (1990) and the Certificate of Honour from the President of India (1993).

About the Editor

Dr. (Mrs.) Sindhu Sadashiv Dange,had been R.G. Bhandarkar Professor and Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai. She has to her credit 12 books - 7 authored by her, 1 co-authored with Dr. Sadashiv A. Dange and 4 credits by her. Well-known in India for her contribution to the field of Sanskrit, she was felicitated by the State Government of Maharashtra (1997) and by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, Through the Rashtriya Sanskrit Samsthan, in the Sanskrit year (2000).


I am presenting to the scholarly world in book form twenty three papers of Dr. Sadshiv A. Dange Ex R.G. Bhandarkar Prof. and head Dept. of Sanskrit University of Mumbai dealing with mythical concepts poetic interpretations rituals and spoken aspect of the Sanskrit language with a focus on grammar.

These papers excepting three were already published in reputed research journals. The details of these are noted in the book at the end of these papers. I thank the editors and concerned authorities of these Journals for allowing me to include these papers in this book. At some places I have made certain omissions and at some others additions taking into account the later researches of Dr. S.A. Dange.

As Part II of the book I have given a bibliography of the writings of Dr. Dange on the insistence of our students and scholars. Together with the bibliography is given a short biographical sketch of Dr. Dange who giving a tough fight to his serious illness could complete his projects little before he left for the heavenly abode.

This book is a gift to our daughters Dr. Dange always wished and was fortunate to see them in the field of research in the respective branches of their study.

In entrusted the publication of this book to Shri Vikas Arya (Aryan Books International), New Delhi). He has been publishing our books since 1994 with a sense of belonging he has brought out this book also with the same feeling.

My thanks are to Mrs. Vidya Joshi, Lecturer in Art J.J. School of Art, Mumbai for the Jacket design with the picture.


The Rgveda enjoys a place of prime importance for tracing any later concept whatsoever in the fields of mythology rituals and spoken Sanskrit. The composition of the alter Puranas practically coincides with the earlier phase of the classical Sanskrit literature when the earlier concepts with additions in some cases did assume a final form. A detailed study of some such concepts in the field of mythology as well as in the field of rituals was undertaken by Dr. Dange in his earlier books.

The sphere of Sanskrit grammar with its rules followed in the spoken aspect of the Sanskrit language invited his attention on certain problems.

This volume presents some concepts explained and certain problems touched and solved by Dr. Dance through his papers written from 1969 onwards which were published in reputed research journals.

An attempt has been made here to take a bird’s eye view of these Gleanings from Vedic to Puranic age.

The chapter Axis Mundi and the Vedic Yupa deals with the Vedic belief in axis mundi which is a column or a pole that stands at the centre of the cosmos and connects the heaven and earth. The celestial tree connecting the two worlds and the sacrificial post had the same concept associated with them. In the Visions of the Rgvedic Rsi kavi-s the basic concept of ‘kavya’ is discussed as seen in the RV where a wonderful activity and not merely the composition called ‘poetry’ have the later times. Here reminded of the mantra from the AV, which eulogizes the ‘kavya’ of the (Great) God by saying that it never died (and would not die!) nor would it become worn out, old (AV X.8.32b). These rsi-kavi of the RV are different from the kavi-karu-s (no doubt, the gifted composers), the latter signifying a conscious effort on their part for poetic compositions. These rsi-kavi-s are not only ‘auto-vert’,1 but they have ‘auto-vision’. This ‘autho-vision somewhat different from simple . Though basically steeped in the sacrificial set-up on the terrestrial region, the visions of these rsi-kavi-s, crossing the mid-region embrace the farthest heaven in their supra-sensorial flights. One such rsi-kavi is Dirghatamas, whose visions display some of the finest images.

In line with this paper dealing with images of the rsi-kavi-s, can be taken the following one into account, discussing the viewpoint of the àcarya-poetician of very late date. “Sanskrit Poetics and Semiotics” takes a note of ankuka’s interpretation of the rasa-sutra of Bharata. Dr. Dange points out that while advancing the imagery of the horse and its picture (citra-turaga), Sankuka subtly introduces the principle of imagery, which glides into the realm of Semiotics. Any creative writer, while describing his experiences from the real, mixes his own imagination with them. The ‘a-laukika’ (not ‘other worldly’ but ‘of a different world’) bliss experienced reader (spectator) from poetry is of this ‘a-rear of poetic images, created by the poet.

“Dream (Svapna) in the Vedic Concept” deals with ‘subconscious’ aspect of man— topic elaborately discussed further on a wider and comparative basis by Dr. Dange under the title “Dream, Myth and the Hindu Context.” Dream being product of mind’s unsettled condition, is called the sin of the mind (manaspapa) and anrtasya prayotã. The Greek concept of dream-making Somnus (the god of sleep) a resident of the underworld together with his brother Death, gives him the authority of sending dreams, the ‘underworld’ obviously meaning the ‘subconscious’ in the individual. Modern age observation of Jung makes dream close to the ‘dark side’ of the psyche, which is the unconscious. This is verily the ‘womb of asura’, in which lies the mine of dreams, pointed out long back by the Vedic texts.

It is worthy of taking a note that the concept of dream is made to enter the realm of philosophy, while trying to know the ‘ultimate’. The Maodukya Up takes a note of dream as one of the four states, while explaining the concept of atman (1.4). These four states are — that of being awake; of dream; of deep sleep, i.e. slumber; and of knowing the atman principle (Manci. Up. 1.2-7). In the philosophy of the Vijnanavadin Buddhists, the concept of dream can be explained by that of parikalpita vijñana (which is a purely imagined knowledge), as against the parinispanna—vijnana pure knowledge ultimate).

“Act Retribution in the Rgveda and the Atharvaveda” conclusively states that the theory of retribution is reflected in the RV and AV in the formation stage, though it developed later with its varieties.

The study of the deity Vastopati in “Vastospati, Rudra and Cyavana” results in pointing out that the deity is a mixture of concepts and beliefs. A definite presiding deity of the dwelling has already set in by the Rgvedic times. Though Tvastr and Rudra are said to be Vastospati, in the post-Rgvedic times, Rudra came to be closely associated with the yajfla-udstu (the sacrificial place) — was Vastavya — and thus the Vastospati. Initially terrible by nature, he becomes benevolent when propitiated. The Vastupurusa of the Agni. P. in later times, seen as a demon in appearance could be traced to this concept of the Vastospati Rudra. The sage Cyavana figuring in the account of the Sat. Br. and the Jaim. Br. is seen to know the ritual of vastupa and has the behavior and appearance of vastospati and Rudra. Cyavana can stand as a representative of wayward sages he himself being seen as an alter ego of the Vastospati.

The opinion of Asko Parpola that the myth of Mahisasuramardini and the later tradition of the buffalo sacrifice offered to her is seen in the Vedic tradition itself under the influence of the Vratyas is taken into account in Rgveda and the Buffalo sacrifice. It could be conclusively proved that the buffalo sacrifice is never indicated in the Vedic texts. In fact every trace of it has been wiped out by the Brahmana texts as the buffalo was associated with the enemies of the Vedic People.


Preface vii
Part – I
1 Axis Mundi and the Vedic Yupa 13
2 Visions of the Rgvedic Rsi-Kavis 25
3 Sanskrit poetics and Semiotics 40
4 Dream (Svapna) in the Vedic Concept 56
5 Act and Retribution in the Rgveda and the Atharvaveda 65
6 Vastospati Rudra and Cyavana 73
7 Rgveda and the Buffalo Sacrifice 82
8 Therianthropomophism and the Multiple head Motifs in Ancient India and the Middle east 88
9 The Abduction of Sita 111
10 Birth and Marriage of the Pandavas A Riddle? 119
11 The Bodies of Pandu and Madri and the funeral rites 141
12 Stupa Vedic and Buddhistic 156
13 Purana and Sastra 165
14 The King with two faces 178
15 Woman’s share and the Mimamsa Rule at Dvayoh Pranayanti (An Examination) 192
16 Moral value and the Purva Mimamsa 201
17 Root Germinants in the Sanskrit language 214
18 Prakritization and the germinant of the roots of vision 220
19 Root Germination and reduplicated Roots In Sanskrit 234
20 Dampati and Kanina 243
21 Kanya and Kanina 255
22 Vowel Shortening and the Sanskrit Sandhi 261
23 Some Peculiarites of the eastern Dialect according to Panini 267
Bibliography 283
Abbreviation of Modern Titles 295
Part II
1 A Short Biographical Sketch of Dr. Sadashiv Ambadas Dange 299
2 Bibliography of Dr. Dange’s writings 303
Index 327