Comets: Shakespeare also believed Hindu Views (Post No.4218)

Written by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 16 September 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 18-48

 

Post No. 4218

 

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

 

 

In Sangam Tamil literature and Hindu epic literature lot of references to comets (dhumaketu) are vailable.; all those references fear the evil effect of the comets. Ancient tamils used both Sanskrit word Dhumam (smoke) and the lieral translation of Dhema Ketu + Pukaik kodi in Purananuru.

Shakespeare also had the same belief about comets in his drama Julius Caesar, Calpurnia says

“When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” Julius Caesar 2-2-30/31

 

Meaning:

Calpurnia, wife of Julius Caesar, begs her husband not to venture out on this morning, the ides of March. Caesar has spent a restless night and there is a wild storm raging. Calpurnia has had disturbing dreams, as well; crying out three times in her sleep, “They murder Caesar!” She begs him to stay home. Caesar sends word to the priests and they, too, return a warning that Caesar must stay home. Calpurnia is very upset , especially because of the strange events of the preceding evening: reports that a lioness was seen giving birth in the streets of Rome, the dead rising from their graves, warriors fighting in the clouds, reports of horses neighing and dying men groaning, ghosts shrieking. Comets were seen during the night, which Calpurnia interprets as a prophecy of the death of a prince.

 

Shakespeare had similar views about eclipse which is also in Tamil and Sanskrit books.

Tamil Belief

Meteor
Meteors: Kudalur Kizar (Puram 229) described the effect of a meteor he and his colleagues saw in the sky. They predicted that the Chera King Mantharan Ceral Irumporai would die in seven days time and it came true.

Comets: Like any ancient community Tamils were also afraid of the comets. They used the Sanskrit word ( Dhuma ketu) and Tamil word (Pukai Kodi) for it. Reference: Puram 117and 395 Also in post- Sangam Tamil epic Manimekalai 6-64, 7-74, Silappadikaram 10-102

 

Tamil Poet Bharati On Halley’s Comet
1.Like a palm tree set on a millet plant,
With a growing tail on a little star,
You blaze forth in kinship with eastern moon
Oh, lustrous comet! I bid you welcome

2.You range over countless crores of Yojanas
They say your endless tail wrought of gas
The softness of which is indeed peerless

  1. They say that yourtail touches the earth too
    An you fare forth with no harm to the poor;
    The wise talk of your myriad marvels.
    ( I have given only 3 stanzas from 7 stanzas of translation by Dr T N Ramachandran)

Varahamihira on Comets:

 

  1. Dhumaketu | Tamil and Vedas

tamilandvedas.com/tag/dhumaketu

Posts about Dhumaketu written by Tamil and Vedas. … is considered as Dhumaketu – a portentous comet … //tamilandvedas.com/2015/05/13/comets-in-brhat-samhita/

 

 

  1. ISON comet | Tamil and Vedas

tamilandvedas.com/tag/ison-comet

Posts about ISON comet written by Tamil and Vedas. … Dhumaketu in Sanskrit means Lord Ganesh and the … //tamilandvedas.com/2013/01/05/spectacular-comet-show-in …

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. All ancient civilizations seem to have associated planetary/heavenly phenomena with important events on earth, like wars, birth or death of great people. This belief is still seen in many societies.
    Shakespeare associates even noted births with the appearance of stars. He says in Much Ado About Nothing:

    BEATRICE
    No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a
    star danced, and under that was I born.
    Act 2, Scene1

    In recent Tamil literature, Kalki used the phenomenon of Dhumaketu in his grand novel “Ponniyin Selvan” to great dramatic effort.
    In April 1950, [ exactly at 8.47 pm on 14th April, as verified by a famous French photographer] we witnessed a unique phenomenon : a star-like feature with a trailing blaze rose from somewhere into the sky and disappeared behind the summit of Arunachala Hill in Tiruvannamalai. This was seen by many people in a wide area,and reported the next day in the newspapers. People everywhere instinctively associated it with the Niryana of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi!
    Who can understand the mysteries of Nature!

  2. It should be “great dramatic effect” and not effort in the reference to Ponniyin Selvan. Soory for the slip.

  3. Shakespeare shared the belief of the Elizabethans in the meaning or message of heavenly bodies as seen here:
    “It is the stars,
    The Stars above us, govern our conditions.”
    King Lear, Act 4, scene iii
    But in other places, he seems to be critical of such an attitude.

    EDMUND
    “This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behavior—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence, and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting-on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the dragon’s tail and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous. Fut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.”
    King Lear, Act 1, Scene ii

    CASSIUS

    Men at some time are masters of their fates.
    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

    Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene ii

    There are many more such references. It would be interesting to collect all such passages and speculate whether Shakespeare was writing as a dramatist or philosopher!

  4. Very interesting addition. Thanks

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