Gold and Touch Stone in Kalidasa and Tamil Literature (Post No.3887)

Written by London Swaminathan


Date: 7 May 2017


Time uploaded in London: 21-21


Post No. 3887


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.





Gold is a precious bright yellow metal. Streaks of gold appears charming on the black touch stone, and it remains firm and distinct on the clean touch stone. So Tamil and Sanskrit poets have used this image in their poems.


In Kalidasa’s Meghaduta, the flashes of lightning in dark-blue cloud are imagined to be as charming as  the streak of gold on the black touchstone which has peculiar brightness (Meghaduta 40)


In the Vikrama Urvasiyam (5-19), Kalidasa used the touch stone simile which is used by several Sangam age Tamil Poets as well.

The Goddess of Wealth, though fickle by nature became steady due to the magnanimous and virtuous qualities of King Atithi as a streak of gold on the clean touch stone remains firm and distinct (Raghuvamsa 17-46)


प्रसादाभिमुखे तस्मिंश्चपलापि स्वभावतः।
निकषे हेमरेखेव श्रीरासीदनपायिनी॥ १७-४६

prasādābhimukhe tasmiṁścapalāpi svabhāvataḥ |
nikaṣe hemarekheva śrīrāsīdanapāyinī|| 17-46


The lady called kingdom-fortune though naturally fickle was constant with him who was inclined to be gracious; and hence she was like an ineffaceable streak of gold upon a touchstone. [17-46]


In Sangam Tamil Literature

Famous Sangam Tamil Poet Paranar compares a rock strewn with yellow flowers to a touch stone with gold streaks (Akananauru 178)

Ilamkeeranaar in Natrinai verse 3 says the illiterate children used to play with gooseberries in a touchstone shaped circle (Narrinai 3)

Berisattanar, in Natrinai verse 25, says that the beetle that sucked nectar from the flowers looked like a touch stone with gold streaks, because the beetle was smeared with the golden coloured pollen grains.

In Kuruntokai 192, Kachipedu Nannaakaiyaar, says that the black winged cuckoo looks like a touchstone with golden streaks after it visited the mango flowers loaded with pollen grains.


Perumpanatruppadai author uruththirankannanar also used the touchstone simile (Line 221)

Tamil Veda Tirukkural (505) says,

“A man’s deeds are the touchstone of his greatness and littleness.”


Kalidasa’s 200 similes were used by the Sangam age Tamil poets 2000 years ago. I have been showing that Kalidasa lived well before Sangam age somewhere between first and second century BCE. Kalidasa could not have copied from scores of Tamil poets. Then the world would not have praised him for the apt similes Moreover Kalidasa had better knowledge about the Ganges, Himalayas, Northern rivers and Hills and mythological characters than the Tamil poets.


Raghuvamsa sloka is taken from the



Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: