ANCIENT HINDU TRAVEL STORIES (Post No.5063)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 31 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 16-58

 

Post No. 5063

 

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The ‘Kuvalayamaalaa’ written by Udyotana Suri, dated 779 Ce gives several interesting real life stories. In one story, it is said that a Brahmin by name Chandrasoma accompanied a party of acrobats and bards to a village because of utter poverty.

The people has assembled to see the show. Chandrasoma’s wife also came to see it. He suspected his wife’s fidelity and killed her in a rage. After realising that he had done a heinous crime, he started lamenting over his deed and decided to immolate himself in the funeral pyre. But people pulled him out and took him out to the assembly of learned scholars. The majority of the Pandits advised him to quit his home and go on a pilgrimage to various holy places. They asked him to donate all his belongings to Brahmins. After offering oblations to manes he will be freed from punishment.

 

Jain literature also give lot of information about business travel.

 

16 types of Winds

Jain monks and Jain merchants did lot of sea voyages. Jain literature gives very realistic accounts of sea voyages. The Avasyaka churni informs us there were regular sailings from Madurai to Saurashtra (During Sangam Tamil times, South Madurai was on the sea shore; later it was destroyed in a Tsunami). It is mentioned in a story that the ruler of Madurai, Pandusena had two daughters. When they were sailing to Saurashtra, they met a shipwreck during a storm and they offered prayers to Skanda and Rudra.

 

(From Skanda and Siva, we come to know they were Tamil princesses of Pandya Kingdom). The successful termination of a sea voyage depended on favourable wind. The sea wind is divided into sixteen categories, namely:

1.Praaciina vaata (Easterly wind)

  1. Udiiciina vAaata (Northerly wind)
  2. Daakshinaatya vaata (Southerly wind)
  3. Uttarapaurastya (Northerly wind moving against forward movement)
  4. Sattvasuka ( wind blowing in all directions)
  5. Dakshina-Puurva tungaara ( astrmy wind in S E direction)
  6. Apara- Dakshina Bijaapa ( the wind blowing from S.W.)
  7. Apara Biijaapa ( West wind)
  8. Aparottara garjabha (N W Storm)
  9. Uttara sattvaasuka
  10. Dakshina sattvaasuka
  11. Puurvatungaara
  12. Dakshina Bijaapa

14.Paschima Biijaapa

  1. Paschima garjaabha
  2. Uttariyaa Garjaabha

 

All these technical terms show that the merchants had their own jargon of sea travel. A sailor would understand such terms better than  laymen.

 

 

Kalidasa in his famous drama Sakuntala talks about seven types of winds and he was the poet who composed a long poem on Six Seasons (Rtu Samharam). Since India is affected by monsoons the society is weather conscious. Kalidasa composed his famous Meghaduta on the basis of South West monsoon’s progress from the middle of India to the Himalayas. Since he was a resident of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh he begins the monsoon story from MP instead of Kerala or Andaman Islands where from it enters India.

From my earlier post:

 

Seven types of Atmospheric Layers

Sakuntala drama of Kalidasa has a reference to the different pathways in the heaven (Act 7-5); commentators explain all the seven paths as follows:

“According to Hindu mythology, the heavenly region is divided into Seven Paths, with a particular Vayu/wind is assigned for each.

 

The first of these Vayupathas or vayu margas is identical with the bhuvar loha., or atmospheric region, extending from earth to sun. The wind assigned to this area is AVAHA.

 

The other six make up the Swar loka or heavenly region with which Swarga (paradise) is often identified in the following order:-

The second marga/path is that of the sun; and its wind called PRAVAHA, causes the sun to revolve.

Third path is that of moon and its wind is SAMVAHA impels the moon

Fourth is that of the stars or lunar constellations and its wind is known as UDVAGA; this causes the stars to revolve.

Fifth path is that of the planets and its wind is VIVAHA

Sixth is that of the Saptarishi or Greta Bear Constellation and the Milky Way; its wind PARIVAHA bears along these luminaries.

And the last- seventh- is that of the Dhruva or Pole Star; the pivot or axis of the whole planetary system; its wind is PARAVAHA, causing the revolution of the Pole Star (Dhruva Star).

 

–Subham–

 

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