Musala as Dream-Deity

Panchanan Mohanty, Ramesh C. Malik, Eswarappa Kasi (edd.) : Ethnographic Discourse of the Other : Conceptual and Methodological Issues. Cambridge Scholars Publ, Newcastle, 2008.

pp. 254-76 capitulum 14 -- Smita Mohanti : "Between Ks.atriya and Bluestone".

p. 270 "Oriya {Od.iya} Mahabharata ... ."

p. 271 "The most significant myth of Mausala Parva embedded in Krishna's appearance in the dream and discourse of a heavenly voice/oracle ... ."

Vis`va-mitra's son's name \Musala\ ('Pestle'; namesake of the "Mausala Parvan") may suggest the woman's pestle which in West African mythology by her beating with its apex against the thitherto-too-low sky, knocked it upwards to its praesent altitude. The "dream"-setting may indicate the dream-influencing nature of the herb "musali" (identified as Asparagus ascendens, which is similar to the well-known as dream-enhancing herb Asparagus cochinchinensis).

Thus, a mausoleion (i.e., mausoleum) must be a site wherein the soul of the dead is retained sleeping until redincarnation : the king of Karia (a country adjacent to Lukia, whence undergoing of the redincarnatory process is recorded -- in the Politeia by Platon -- via the nigh-death experience by Er the son of Armenios) whose name is \Mausolos\ apparently hath as his namesake the herb musali, judging from the fact that his widow (who had the mausoleion built as her husband's tomb) Artemisia is evidently named for the dream-influencing herb-genus \Artemisia\.

The "Bluestone" is the Syamantaka jewel, which was acquired by (PE, s.v. "Prasena II." -- Hari-Vams`a 38) Jambavant (who is an \r.ks.a\ 'arktos/ursus/bear' : PE, s.v. "Jambavan", p. 341, fn. 1 -- Valmiki Rama-ayana, "Bala Kan.d.a" 17), named for the jambu fruit, and is father of the mother of (PE, s.v. "Jambavati" -- Devi-bhagavata Upa-puran.a 4) pestle-hero Samba.

The Skt \jamba\ 'mud' (Un.. iv , 95/96 ) is apparently cognate with the radical of Hellenic \gabalan\, defined as 'enkephalon e kephale' (brain in head) : in the Taoist form of samdhya-bhas.a ('twilight-language'), i.e., technical jargon, the 'brain' is called a "mud pill". However, Hellenic \gabalan\ is seemingly directly identical with Skt \jambala\ 'Blyxa octandra' (S`arngP. xxxii , 9). 'Blyxa octandra' may be employed in (WDM&PP, p. 608b) \avaki\ (cf. Tamil \avaki\ "to invoke a deity by mantras to be present in an object"), and is in the Atharvan Veda stated to, with "sharp horns thrust aside evil." This reference is Atharvan Veda ("PWhWA"), mentioning "The k^îpudru-tree as a panacea."

As eaten by the Gandha-rva-s (Atharvan Veda IV.37.8-9; odor-consuming deities praesiding over, and/or entities undergoing, redincarnation), avaka is addressed (VP&PL, p. 165) : "An eagle discovered thee; a hog dug thee with his snout" (Atharvan Veda V.14.1) -- avaka is the wrapping for "An amulet made of splinters of ten kinds of trees against all diseases" (Atharvan Veda VIII.7.9).

The quotation (involving the avaka grass -- "otherwise called Saivala" : MM-W:S-ED) is from HAV VIII,7,9. This marsh-grass is also known as \s`ivala\ and as (i , 11 , 4) \s`evala\ (\s`evala\ 'slimy'; but \s`eva\ is 'dear, pretious', which is "an exclamation or salutation addressed to the deities").

[N.B. The name \saivala\ is usually applied to a different plant, the aquatic moss Ceratophyllum demersum ("Coontail Ceratophyllum demersum Uses ...".]

Amongst ursine divinities may also be (on account of etymological cognacy with German \bern\ 'bear') Sabine (L&S:LD) goddess Feronia [If Feronia be identified with naks.atra-goddess Bharan.i 'beareress', then this name (Scottish \bairn\, Old English \bearn\ 'offspring') may imply that it is she who imparteth her peculiarities (viz., corporal triplicity) to her offspring.], who is mother of Erulos (Erylus : DCM, q.v.) who "had three separate lives and three bodies." Aequivalent to Erulos would be Geruoneus, a "three-headed giant, who also had a triple body down as far as his hips" (DCM, s.v. "Geryon"). On his way to Geruoneus, Hera-klees "let fly an arrow at" (GM @132.c) Helios; much as on the plain Longevity-Flower, where abide the "Tricephalous People" (CHBSC @224, p. 165), Yi "used his bow and arrow" (CHBSC @224, p. 166) against Tso C^>ih 'Chisel Tooth' (CM&S, p. 207), who praesumably is a beaver-god (whose chiseling may have resulted in the "splinters of ten kinds of trees" mentioned at Atharvan Veda VIII.7.9) : this beaver-god may have been of the drakonic variety, to judge from the statement in Vāyu Purāṇa 41:72-3 that the [100-headed (Vāyu Purāṇa 41:73, as quoted in GP, p. 75)] naga ('dragon') Can.d.a ('Fierce') resideth in lake Ananda-jala on mt JARUdhi (a name cognate with \GERUones\ : \ger-\ 'utterance', but cognate with Old Eireish \geir\ 'shout'). German \biber\ ('beaver'), cognate with Skt \babhru\ is indicative that the Babhru who "died when he was hit by an arrow from Vyasa" (PE, s.v. "Babhru II." -- MBh, "Mausala Parvan" 4) is aequivalent to Tso C^>ih; for, much as Yi rescued elephants (when, according to the Huai-nan-tze, Yi at the Grotto Lake slew the elephant-devouring Ba-she : CHBSC @267), even so, likewise, Vyasa employeth, as scribe, elephant-headed god Gan.a-pati (PE, s.v. "Vyasa 6)" -- MBh, "Adi Parvan" 1). Much as (according to "the Han commentator Wang Yi" : CHBSC @290, p. 203) Yi pierced the left eye of a river-god, even so Cyavana [\CI-aVANa\ phonetically similar to the name \praCInVANt\] suffered having his eyen pierced (PE, s.v. "Cyavana 3)", p. 190a -- Devi-bhagavata Upa-puran.a 7) by the daughter of king S`aryati, who is (PE, s.v. "S`aryati II." -- MBh, "As`rama-vasika Parvan" 90:14) son of PRACINvant; a suffering afterwards ascribed to PRACINa-barhis's grandson, to wit, Pracetas's 10th son (V&V, p. 2), Valmiki (\valmika\ 'Emmet-hill').


WDM&PP = Umberto Quattrocchi : CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants. CRC Pr, Boca Rato`n (FL), 2012.

"PWhWA" = "The Plants Whose Womb Is The Avaki Blyxa Octandra".

VP&PL = Prasanta Majumdar : Vanaspati : Plants and Plant-life as in Indian Treatises and Traditions. Univ of Calcutta, 1927.

HAV = Maurice Bloomfield (transl.) : Hymns of the Atharva-Veda. SACRED BKS OF THE EAST, XLII. Oxford : Clarendon Pr, 1897.

ChBSC = Richard E. Strassberg : A Chinese Bestiary : Strange Creatures from the Guideways through Mountains and Seas. Univ of CA Pr, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 2002.

CM&S = Anne Birrell : The Classic of Mountains and Seas. Penguin Classics, London, 1999.

Vāyu Purāṇa 41:72-3

GP = S. M. Ali : The Geography of the People’s Publishing House, New Delhi, 1966.

V&V = Kamala Ratnam & R. Rangachari : Valmiki and Vyasa.CULTURAL LEADERS OF INDIA. Publications Division, Ministry Of Information And Broadcasting, Government Of India, 1980.

[written 23-24 May 2019]