Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

by A. Yamuna Devi | 2012 | 77,297 words | ISBN-13: 9788193658048

This page relates ‘Fauna (2-3): Division of Animals based on their origin’ of the study on the Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (in English) which represents a commentary on the Amarakosha of Amarasimha. These ancient texts belong the Kosha or “lexicography” category of Sanskrit literature which deals with the analysis and meaning of technical words from a variety of subjects, such as cosmology, anatomy, medicine, hygiene. The Amarakosa itself is one of the earliest of such text, dating from the 6th century A.D., while the Amarakoshodghatana is the earliest known commentary on that work.

Fauna (2-3): Division of Animals based on their origin

The Amarakośa (III.1.50-1[1] p. 246-47) enumerates the five divisions of living beings according to their origin as divya,[2] jarāyuja, svedaja, aṇḍaja and udbhida[3] (udbhijjam). It is to be noted here that except the first and fifth types, the others cover the fauna in a broad sense. Kṣīrasvāmin's comments on these are quite interesting.

(a) Jarāyuja (pp. 246-47)–

[Viviparous (born from the uterus or rather placentalia):]

These are animals that are born of wombs (garbhaśayyā). They are humans, cows, bullocks and so on–

naro gomahiṣyādyāśca jarāyujāḥ jarāyurgarbhaśayyā |

(b) Svedajas (p. 247)

Svedajas are born of moisture and heat, spontaneously.

Kṣīrasvāmin goes on to explain the word ādyāḥ in the definition “svedajāḥ kṛmidaṃśādyāḥ” as inclusive of insects like maśaka (mosquito) and yūka (louse)–

ādyaśabdānmaśakayūkādyāḥ |

(c) Ādaya

Kṣīrasvāmin again explains the word ādaya (p. 247) in the definition of the aṇḍajas (Oviparous: born of an egg or ovum)–“pakṣi sarpādayo'ṇḍajāḥ as inclusive of ants and the like–

ādi śabdaḥ prakāre vyavasthayāṃ vā pipīlikādyarthaḥ |

Broad Classification of animals

[Domesticated and Wild:]

Animals are broadly classified into wild beasts and domestic animals.[4]

Kṣīrasvāmin says that tamed animals like cows etc., are called paśus which also include the trained or caged birds; the wild or preying beasts are denoted as śvāpadāḥ or hiṃsrapaśavaḥ

pāśyante pāśaiḥ paśavaḥ tiryañco'pi | śvāpadā hiṃsrapaśavaḥ ||

Footnotes and references:


divyopapādukā devā nṛgavādyā jarāyujāḥ |
svedajāḥ kṛmi
pakṣisarpādayo'ṇḍajāḥ ||
udbhidastarugulmādyā udbhidudbhijjamudbhidam |


The divya group deals with divine origin.


Udbhida relates to the flora that break the earth and come to life. The term udbhida/udbhijja is generally taken to mean plants that come to life breaking the earth. In this connection it is worthwhile to note that Suśruta defines the animal world as–
jaṅgamāḥ caturvidhāḥ indragopamaṇḍūkaprabhṛtayaḥ udbhijjāḥ ||
That is, according to him, udbhijjas are animals that emerge out of the earth by breaking it. (Sūtrasthāna, I. 30).
jaṅgamāḥ khalvapi caturvidhāḥ—
jarāyujāṇḍajasvedajodbhijjāḥ |
tatra paśumanuṣyavyālādayo jarāyujāḥ khagasarpasarīsṛpaprabhṛtayo'ṇḍajāḥ
kṛmikīṭapipīlikāprabhṛtayaḥ svedajāḥ indragopamaṇḍūkaprabhṛtaya udbhijjāḥ ||


Amarakośa, II. 5. 11cd; p. 126: ityadayo mṛgendrādyā gavā''dyāḥ paśujātayaḥ |

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