Sunday, March 14, 2021


Compare these Buddhist terms 

šŸ”¬details: PÄ«tišŸ˜ & Pā-mojjašŸ˜ (mudita, modati are conjugated forms of pamojja)

with the Sanskrit equivalents prÄ«ti, modah pramoda, 



(excerpts: a few paragraphs from the article)


In the AV(S) ānanda and its derivatives are used six times. Twice we have the same phrase: anandā modah pramudo 'bhimodamudas ca ye. At AV(S) 11.7.26 these experiences are among the various elements of the universe that are said to originate from the ucchista, the sacrificial remains, while at AV(S) 11.8.24 they are among the various powers that entered the human body. The contexts of these verses do not provide clues as to the precise meaning of ananda. Sāyana here, as in other places where 

the three terms moda, pramud (or pramoda), and ananda are listed together, explains 

the first as pleasure derived from seeing an object, 

the second as pleasure derived from obtaining an excellent object, 

and the third as the pleasure derived from enjoying the object.

 Although Sāyana's interpretation does not tell us much about what the terms may have meant in their original contexts, I think his instinct in taking the three as a progressive intensifying of pleasure is correct. And his connection of ananda with the actual enjoyment of the desired object is borne out by evidence from its usage elsewhere, especially within the context of sexual activity. 


 In the VS, then, ananda, besides its sexual meanings, is used with reference to the pleasure associated with drinking, dancing, and music. Taken together with the AV(S) usage with regard to the Apsaras engaged in the game of dice, we see a pattern emerging in the early vedic literature of ānanda being associated with sex, gambling, drinking and dancing. 


The sexual connota tion is most explicit at TB–5, where the term is used twice:

prajāpatih striyām yasah muskayor adadhar sapam | kāmasya trptim ānandam tasyāgne bhājayeha mă || modah pramoda anandah muskayor nihitah sapah srtveva kāmasya trpyāni daksiņānām pratigrahe II

**Prajapati put the penis in the vagina, the glory in the woman – the satisfaction of desire, the ananda. O Fire, make me here partake of that!

"The penis is put in the vagina - the joy, the thrill, the ananda, flowing somehow (with semen) toward the satisfactions of desire in accepting the sacrificial gifts."30 In this eulogy of the pride of masculinity, ananda, as well as the two associated terms moda and pramoda, 31 are identified with the penis placed within the vagina, the penis that brings the satisfaction (trpti) of desire. Moda, pramoda, and ānanda 2 appear as names of three of the fifteen muhurtas of a night at TB 


In a somewhat unclear passage of the KausÄ«taki Brāhmana (7.2), ānanda is associated with three things, food, drink, and sexual inter course: yaivaike cānanda anne pāne mithune rātryā eva te samtatā avyavacchinnāh kriyante / tesām rātrih karotarah / ya u vaike cānanda annād eva te sarve jāyante / "Whatever joys that are in food, drink, and sexual intercourse, all those are joined together without interruption through the night; for them the night is the sieve. Whatever joys there are, they are born from food." Although here ananda is said to be derived from food, the same passage goes on to state that the essence (rasa) of food gives rise to semen (retas) and the essence of semen gives rise to man. Here too, then, food and semen are closely associated with each other and with ānanda. 


And in lists of synonyms or words with similar meanings, we find ānanda listed with praharsa, prÄ«ti, and sukha (MBh 12.187.33; 212.26; 239.23). The closest we come to a “religious" use of ananda is in the list of the thousand names of Visnu where we find surānanda, ānanda, nandana, nanda, and satānanda (MBh 13.135.33, 69, 79). Only once have I found the term used with regard to the ultimate state to which people aspire, a state that is called paramam ānandam (MBh 13.16.55). 


From the above survey of the use of ananda in the early Indian literature we can draw the following conclusions:

1. In the early vedic literature ānanda is used in a variety of contexts, including the thrill of gambling, the convivial joy of drinking, and especially sexual pleasure.

2. The middle vedic literature of the Yajurveda emphasizes the sexual aspect of ananda, using it almost as a technical term for orgasmic rapture. The absence of the term in non-Yajurvedic Brāhmanas, with the exception of a single passage in the KsB, indicates that this usage was by and large confined to the Yajurvedic schools.

3. In the late vedic literature also the term is most frequent in the two Yajurvedic Upanisads, the Brhadāranyaka and the Taittirīya, although the presence of the term with a sexual connotation in the Rgvedic Kausītaki Upanisad makes the picture somewhat less clear. 64 The association of brahmanlātman with ananda, however, takes place principally in the Yajurvedic Upanisads. This semantic development, I believe, took place specifically as an extension of the meaning of ananda as orgasmic rapture, a meaning already found in the early Yajurvedic texts. The connection between these two meanings of ananda, we saw, is made explicitly in BU 4.1.6. Two elements of orgasmic rapture are central in this extended meaning: 1) the connection of ananda to

procreation and, therefore, to Prajāpati, and 2) the loss of consciousness of individual identity associated with orgasm. TU (2.7) is the locus classicus for ananda as the primary attribute of brahmanlātman.

4. The evidence of the Buddhist, Jain, and epic literature indicates that ānanda did not immediately enter the common religious vocabulary either as the joy of heaven or final release (moksa) or as an attribute of the Ultimate Being or State. I think that after the composition of the BU and the TU ananda as an attribute of brahman and as signifying the final state of bliss remained a technical usage confined to a somewhat narrow circle. There must have been a parallel semantic development of ananda leading to its meaning as simple (not necessarily sexual) joy and happiness. This development took the term away from any specifically religious connotation. Unfortunately, we do not have the literary evidence to trace this development from the early vedic usage to the Buddhist and epic texts. We have, however, seen ananda used with such a generic meanings in BU 4.3.32–33; CU 7.10.1; and TU 2.8. It is however, clear that the religious usage of the term in the BrahmasÅ«tras and later literature is derived not from this generic epic usage but from its specifically religious meaning that developed in the Upanisads.

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