Humility of Indian poets! Varahamihira, Kalidasa, Kamban & Purandaradasa

Bend it like Modi ( More you bow, More you Grow)

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No: 1831

Date: 27 April 2015; Uploaded in London at 17-29

Sanskrit and Tamil poets were great poets and yet they were very humble. We may find several examples in our literature that show their humility. Let us look at a few examples:

VARAHAMIHIRA

Varahamihira who authored two encyclopaedic works’ Brhat Jataka’ and ‘Brhat Samhita’ among others, says in the concluding chapter of Brhat Samhita,

Jyotih sasstrasamudram pramathya matimandaraadrinaatha mayaa

Lokasyaalokakarah saastrasasaangkah samuthksipthah

“Having churned the ocean of astrology with the Mandara mountain of my intelligence, I have taken out the moon of science that affords light to the world.

Then in the next verse he says,

“I have not discarded the works of ancient seers while writing this scientific work. Hence, O ye good men, you may by all means compare mine with theirs, and accept whichever you like

He continues,

“Good men, on finding some excellence, though slender, in an ocean of faults, proclaim it, while the mean minded do the contrary. This is the nature of the good and the wicked

Durjanahutaasataptam kaavyasuvarnam visuddhimaayaati

Sraavayitavyam tasmaaddusta janasya prayatnena

 

“The gold of poetry being heated by the fire of wicked men gets purified. Hence, it should be read to the wicked by all means”.

KALIDASA

Kalidasa, the greatest of the Indian poets, in his Raguvamsa Kavya, says,

“The dynasty originated from Sun; with the meagre intellect of mine,  I am wishing to go across this unnavigable ocean called the solar dynasty by a small boat.

“Will I become the butt of ridicule if I were to covet the celebrity of an eminent poet, like a short fellow overstretching his arms for a fruit obtainable only by the tall, because I am still a dunce in this subject matter?

“But my course in depicting this dynasty might as well be easy through the gateway already crafted by the earlier poets, like a diamond bore holed by a diamond-edged tool for an easy passage of thread”.

In Malavikagnimitra, he says,

“Every old poem is not good simply because it is old; nor is a poem without charm, because it is new; sound critics favour the one or the other, after proper examination; while a blockhead is guided by another’s judgement”.

KAMBAN

Greatest of the middle age Tamil poets Kamban in his Tamil Ramayana says in Balakanda,

“I wanted to write the story of Rama. My desire is like a cat licking the milky ocean (thinking it could drink the full ocean).

“Are you people wondering at my endeavour of writing the great story done by Valmiki– full of penance? He wrote the story of great Rama who pierced the seven strong trees with a single arrow which never miss the target like the curse of great people.

“I know the world will ridicule me; but my intention is to highlight the greatness of Valmiki who wrote flawless divine poetry”.

PURANDARADASA

The famous Kannada saint and composer Purandaradasa says in one of his songs

“There ought to be traducers. Without them the glory of the virtuous would not gain celebrity. For example the paddy grain would be worthless without its slender thorn”.

Varahamihira  concludes by saying

“With my intellectual power blessed by the Divine Sun, the sages and my preceptor, as a result of my having made obeisance to their feet, I have only summarized this science. Hence I offer salutations to the ancient authors”.

Bowing Modi

“Gunaprakarso vinyaadavaapyate”

“All virtues are enhanced with humility” – Subhasita ratna bhandakaram 3-869

Octogenarian Manmohanji Namaskar!

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