IS DOVE A BAD OMEN? RIG VEDA ANSWERS & TAMIL DISCOVERY OF DOVES! (Post.10,286)

Natya shastra Dove Mudra 

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,286

Date uploaded in London – –   1 NOVEMBER  2021         

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge.

this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.

tamilandvedas.com, swamiindology.blogspot.com

The word for dove or pigeon is Kapotah in Sanskrit; Puravu or Puraa in Tamil. In the 2000 year old Tamil literature we come across this bird in at east 75 places. It is associated with arid land in Tamil literature. Though the description of arid land is horrible we don’t see any bad omen linked  to dove. But in the Rig Veda , the oldest book in the world, we see a strange reference to this bird linking it with death.  In another image in the same Veda, we see its loving nature. Modern symbolism shows it as a bird of peace. Wherever peace is spoken they show White Pigeon. They release pigeons to show that they love peace. Britain issued a coin with pigeon bringing olive leaves to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of Second World War.

Wisdom Dictionary, the best source for researchers gives thirty meanings of Dove or Pigeon in different areas such as Natya shastra, Ayur Veda, Architecture and Zoology. But we rarely see its association with death. Kapotah was the name of a clan and name of a seer as well. Even the Rig Vedic verse in the tenth Mandala 10-163 is named after a seer known as Mr Dove or Mr Pigeon.

I will give the two mantras in the Rig Veda where pigeon is referred to and my comments on it:

देवा॑: क॒पोत॑ इषि॒तो यदि॒च्छन्दू॒तो निॠ॑त्या इ॒दमा॑ज॒गाम॑ । तस्मा॑ अर्चाम कृ॒णवा॑म॒ निष्कृ॑तिं॒ शं नो॑ अस्तु द्वि॒पदे॒ शं चतु॑ष्पदे ॥

devāḥ kapota iṣito yad icchan dūto nirṛtyā idam ājagāma | tasmā arcāma kṛṇavāma niṣkṛtiṃ śaṃ no astu dvipade śaṃ catuṣpade ||

“O gods, let us worship for that, desiring which the pigeon sent as Nirṛti‘s messenger, has come to this(ceremony); let us make atonement, may prosperity be given to our bipeds and quadrupeds.” 10-165-1

Commentary by Sāyaṇa: Ṛgveda-bhāṣya

The pigeon: an allusion to misfortune

xxx

ऋ॒चा क॒पोतं॑ नुदत प्र॒णोद॒मिषं॒ मद॑न्त॒: परि॒ गां न॑यध्वम् । सं॒यो॒पय॑न्तो दुरि॒तानि॒ विश्वा॑ हि॒त्वा न॒ ऊर्जं॒ प्र प॑ता॒त्पति॑ष्ठः ॥

ṛcā kapotaṃ nudata praṇodam iṣam madantaḥ pari gāṃ nayadhvam | saṃyopayanto duritāni viśvā hitvā na ūrjam pra patāt patiṣṭhaḥ ||

“(Praised) by our hymn, O gods, drive out the pigeon, who deserves to be driven out, exhilarated (by our oblation), bring us food and cattle, dissipating all our misfortunes; abandoning our food, may the swift(pigeon) fly away.” 10-165-5

In between 10-165-1 and 10-16-5 we have three more mantras referring to pigeon in the same tone.

“May the bird sent to our dwellings, the pigeon, be auspicious, O gods, and void of offence, so that the wise Agni may approve of our oblation, and the winged weapon (of mischief) depart from us.” 10-165-2

“May the winged weapon (of mischief) do us no harm; he takes his plural ce upon the touchwood, the seat of Agni; may prosperity attend our cattle and our people, let not the pigeon, gods, do us harm in this (dwelling).” 10-165-3

All these mantras dub pigeon or dove as a bird of bad omen.

In the footnote for the Rig Vedic mantra Ralph T H Griffith adds an interesting note:

A dove, regarded as an ill-omened bird and the messenger of death, has flown into the house. Similarly in North Lincolnshire,

If a pigeon is seen sitting on a tree, or comes into the house, r from being wild suddenly becomes tame, it is Sign of Death, Notes and Querries, 8-382

Xxx

Kindness of Dove

Contrary to this hymn, Seer/Rishi Sunashepa Angirasa paints a different picture in RV 1-30-4

अ॒यमु॑ ते॒ सम॑तसि क॒पोत॑ इव गर्भ॒धिम् । वच॒स्तच्चि॑न्न ओहसे ॥
अयमु ते समतसि कपोत इव गर्भधिम् । वचस्तच्चिन्न ओहसे ॥
ayam u te sam atasi kapota iva garbhadhim | vacas tac cin na ohase ||

“This libation is (prepared) for you; you approach it as a pigeon his pregnant (mate), for on that account do you accept our prayer.” A Tamil poet also refers to it. Male dove fans a female dove because the weather is hot !

xxx

My Comments

Only when a pigeon appears suddenly in an unusual place, then it is considered a bad omen. Hindus considered anything impure that comes to a sacred place a bad omen. Even if a dog entered the place of Fire Sacrifice then they hated it. 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature described Brahmin Street as a place where no dog or cock enters. Such a purity was maintained in places where they did fire sacrifice in every house thrice a day!

In short ,they did not consider dove as a bird omen in normal circumstances.

Story of Sibi Chakravarthi

The story of Emperor Sibi is in Mahabharata. When a dove took refuge in him, the eagle that chased it for food demanded back its natural prey. But Sibi said that he had to give shelter to anyone who came as a refugee and came to offer his whole body to the eagle . First, he cut a part of his body and put it n the balance to give the weight of flesh equal to the weight of the dove. But it was never balanced despite repeated attempts. Then he himself climbed the balance to give flesh ‘weight for weight’. Then the whole scene changed. The dove appeared as Agni, Lord of Fire , and the Eagle appeared as Indra , Chief of Heaven. This story is referred to in Sangam literature and later Silappadikaram as well Choza kings boasted that they were the descendants of that great emperor Sibi.

There is another story in the epic where two doves sacrificed their lives in the fire for the sake of a hungry hunter. All such stories in the Hindu epics and Hindu fables of Panchatantra show that doves are lovable birds.

In Sangam Tamil Literature

I give some examples from 2000 year old Tamil Sangam Books:

In Akananuru poem 17, a fine contrast is drawn between three pictures, one of an arid tract, another of a  quiet home in which the heroine lights up the lamps when the doves call to their mates,  and another of a small fertile hill with Kutalam flowers of fragrant smell and a canopy of clouds

In Akananuru poem 2, we see couple of doves fly far away with terror in gusty wind.

In Kuruntokai poem 79, the female doves perching on the Omai tree call their mates with a sorrowful voice

In Kuruntokai poem 174, the ripe seeds of the Kalli trees burst open and scares away the happy pair of pigeons perching on the branches.

In Narrinai poem 305, again we see a dove perching on the Nocci tree calls to its mate in a very clear voice and expresses some grief in it.

In Akananuru poem 287, the waving aerial root of a banyan tree frightens away the doves .

In Palaikkali of Kalittokai (verse 10) we see a male dove is fanning and comforting a female dove in hot weather condition.

One more interesting reference is in Pattinappalai of Sangam Period where the poet Kadiyaloor Uruththiran Kannanar (Mr Rudraksha) says doves eat stones. I saw a recent video in You Tube where a gentleman powders the red stones and feeds the doves. Hundreds of pigeons competing with one another, eat it happily. This helps them in digestion they say. Though this might have been noticed by many others a Tamil poet has documented it in his poem 2000 years ago!

Apart from these , we have passing reference to doves along with other birds. So the picture we get is doves are in pairs or one calling the other which shows mutual love.

Doves and pigeons in other cultures are already described in many websites.  But the Hindu view of doves and pigeons is not dealt with in detail. Wisdom library gives 30 references and Sangam and later Tamil literature give at least 75 references. We have enough materials to write an encyclopaedia on Doves in Hindu Literature.

Kapota- Dove- Asana

–subham—

 Tags- Pigeon, Bad omen, Rig Veda, Eating stones, Tamil literature, Love, Peace

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: