JOHANNES BRONKHORST WATER AND OCEAN In an interesting recent article Walter Slaje (2001) has examined the way salt was conceived of in ancient and classical India. He comes to the conclusion that “[s]alt was conceived of as being . . . substantially the same as water, albeit in a particular crystallized state of water, similar to, e.g., ice or hailstones as frozen states of water” (p. 42). In support of this conclusion Slaje presents some textual passages from classical philosoph- ical literature. One of these passages will here be reconsidered. It may not provide the backing it is believed to provide. The passage concerned occurs in the Pad ¯ arthadharmasa ˙ ngraha of Pra ´ sastap ¯ ada (WI §34–40), the classical presentation of the Vai ´ ses . ika philosophy. Here, as Slaje observes (p. 35), in treating the elemental substance ‘water’ Pra ´ sastap ¯ ada gives a fuller account of all the perceiv- able manifestations ( vis . aya ) of water. This account includes “rivers ( sarit ) and the ocean ( samudra )”. 1 On the following page Slaje concludes from this that samudra must have been regarded as a particular, objective manifestation
Indo-Iranian Journal – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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