“Argaḍa” and “Nirargaḍa”

Feb 9, 2017 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Liu Zhen (National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Fudan University; HYI Visiting Scholar)
Chair/Discussant: Michael Witzel (Wales Professor of Sanskrit, Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University)

Co-sponsored with the South Asia Institute

This talk will offer a short introduction to the Sanskrit word “argaḍa” and its antonym “nirargaḍa”. The word “argaḍa” first appears in Brāhmaṇa literature to refer to a bolt that locks a cowshed. The word continued to be used in post-Vedic literature, including Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist texts in which it refers to a bolt used on the door of a house or city gate. A more detailed description of an argaḍa is, however, found in the technical texts and its image is found in works of art. “Argaḍa” and its antonym “nirargaḍa” later became a paired metaphor used in a religious context. In addition to this pair of words, this presentation will discuss the related compound “nirargaḍamedha,” which means a kind of sacrifice. 

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