BEAUTIFUL POEM ON FOREST IN R.V -Part 2 (Post No.10,267)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,267

Date uploaded in London – 28 OCTOBER  2021         

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge.

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tamilandvedas.com, swamiindology.blogspot.com

The beauty of Hinduism lies in its four stages of life-

brahmaacharya/student life,

grahasthasrama/married life,

VAANAPRASTHA/FOREST LIFE and

sanyasa/ascetic life.

Nowhere in the world you find forest life! Other three stages are there in many cultures. True to its strictures we see Kunti, Pandu, Madri, Gandhari and Dhritarashtra went to forest and died there in forest fire. All the five Pandava brothers walked through the Himalayan forests and died. We see beautiful descriptions of forests in Panchatantra Fables, Nalopaakhyaana and Yakshaprasna  and Vana Parva in Mahabaharata. Valmiki, who himself was a forest dweller, describes forests in simple and beautiful Sanskrit. Rama and Sita lived in the forests for 14 years. Sita devi spent her later life also in the forests.

The high Himalayas and the tall trees with beautiful waterfalls and rivers inspired the seers/Rishis to write Upanishads. Kalidasa in his Kumarasambhava describes the Himalayas in the first ten slokas. All these happened several thousand years before others sang about the forests. We see William Wordsworth and Oscar Wilde singing the beauty of forests in English.

xxx

Now let us compare the Rig Vedic poem with them:-

Rig Vedic (10-146) Rishi Deva Muni is singing about the beauty of the forests. Hindus give feminine names to all that is beautiful. Hindus give feminine names to all that is good. If you translate the names of Hindu girls into your language you would know that.

Here the poet describes her as Goddess, Lady and Queen of the Forest. ‘Women Zindabad’ has always been the policy of the Hindus. The poet wonders how come she is not afraid of the darkness during night. Every other person who goes to forest during daytime rushes home before sunset. He asks her (Miss Aranyaani) why you don’t come back home like other villagers.

The word ‘Aaranya’ is very important for Hindus. Unlike any other cultures in the world, Hindus have SEVEN holy forests, holy rivers, holy mountains, holy cities etc. that is the reason we see Number Seven more in Harappan Civilization. Tamils have several towns named after Aarayam/ forest such as Vedaaranyam. Another word for forest is Vana which we saw in ‘VAANA’PRASTHA. Many towns in Tamil Nadu have this name as well (My hometown Madurai is called Kadamba vanam).

In the second Mantra, the poet describes the forest sounds. Those who went to the forests only can understand it. As a student of botany, I went for plant collection with my college students and professors to thick tropical forests in Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Kutraalam and Aagumbe (in Karnataka). We have Alagar koil forest near Madurai with semi tropical condition.

As soon as you enter the forests you will hear the buzzing noise of the little insects. It is the Sruti (drone or bourdon) of the forest for its singers. In every Hindu concert we see a woman with Tambura/Tanpura creating drone or bourdon. Amidst this continuous Sruti, we hear birds singing in their own tunes.  Other animal sounds are heard more during night time. When we travel through the Ghat Road (Hill Roads) in Kodaikanal also, we hear this forest drone. Hindu literature describes the ‘animal orchestra’ inside forest in minute details.

And in the third and fourth Mantras, poet describes the sounds and what you imagine when you hear them. You imagine someone is screaming, someone whistling to bring back his cattle, someone cutting the trees. Actually, all these happen in the fringes of the forest. But deep inside the shady forest, you think that is what happening. But, they are the sounds from the streams, cataracts, animals, monkeys and squirrels.

Except R T H Griffith, I don’t think, others have lived in the forests. Griffith was in Nilgris while he translated or commented on the Vedas. So foreign translators could not do full justification in their translations.

In the next Mantra, poet describes the grace and kindness of the forest queen. She never harms anyone wantonly. She is mother who gives food to everyone free. But there are murderous enemies like robbers and tigers. Even today we read about animal attacks in the villages surrounded by forests.

Hindu religious scriptures are full of attacks of crocodiles, snakes and pythons on human beings. Tamil poems, which are 2000-year-old, describe the attacks by tiger, elephant, crocodile, pythons and robbers. They described the elephant fights inside the forest and pythons devouring elephants. Unless the Tamil poets have seen such things, they would not have used them as similes in Sangam Poems.

The last mantra (sixth) is the most beautiful one. It says the Forest Queen with motherly attitude gives food to everyone. She grows food without tilling. She has sweet scent without artificial perfumes. She is ruling the forest like a Queen without anyone anointing her. Self made, born Queen! She has herbs to heal all your mental and physical sickness.

I made these comments with my background knowledge in forests and the knowledge in other hymns on Earth, Herbs and Forest Fires in the four Vedas.

Now I want to draw your attention on only four stanzas of Wordsworth:-

“She has a world of ready wealth,

Our minds and hearts to bless—

Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,

Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

Than all the sages can.—Tables Turned Poem

Xxx

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.—Daffodils Poem

xxx

Please continue if you want to read the full poems…….

The Tables Turned

 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;

Or surely you’ll grow double:

Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;

Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun above the mountain’s head,

A freshening lustre mellow

Through all the long green fields has spread,

His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:

Come, hear the woodland linnet,

How sweet his music! on my life,

There’s more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!

He, too, is no mean preacher:

Come forth into the light of things,

Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,

Our minds and hearts to bless—

Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,

Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;

Our meddling intellect

Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—

We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;

Close up those barren leaves;

Come forth, and bring with you a heart

That watches and receives.

XXXX

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud 

 WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Xxx

RIG VEDA

If you have missed the First Part of my article here is what Rig Veda says on Forests:-

Rig Veda Forest Poem (RV 10-146 Aranyani)

Ode to Forest Goddess

1. GODDESS of wild and forest who seemest to vanish from the sight.

     How is it that thou seekest not the village? Art thou not afraid?

2. What time the grasshopper replies and swells the shrill cicala’s voice,

     Seeming to sound with tinkling bells, the Lady of the Wood exults.

3. And, yonder, cattle seem to graze, what seems a dwelling-place appears:

     Or else at eve the Lady of the Forest seems to free the wains.

4. Here one is calling to his cow, another there hath felled a tree:

     At eve the dweller in the wood fancies that somebody hath screamed.

5. The Goddess never slays, unless some murderous enemy approach.

     Man eats of savoury fruit and then takes, even as he wills, his rest.

6. Now have I praised the Forest Queen, sweet-scented, redolent of balm,

     The Mother of all sylvan things, who tills not but hath stores of food.

xxx subham xxxx

tags — forest, vanaprastha, aranya, vana, wordsworth, rigveda, RV 10-146

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