Sex Secrets! Satyabhama boldly asks Draupadi in Mahabharata!!


Lord Krishna with his wives Rukmini and Sthyabhama

Compiled by London swaminathan

Post No.2220

Date: 6   October 2015

Time uploaded in London: 19-48

Thanks for the pictures.

Don’t use pictures. Don’t reblog for at least a week.

Following conversation between Draupadi and Krishna’s wife Sathyabhama is found in Vanaparva (3-38) of Mahabharata:

Amazing details of house keeping, human psychology, and ancient ways of showing respect – all covered by Vyasa in this chapter.


Satyabhama’s Question:

How do you conduct yourself, Draupadi, when you attend on the Pandavas? Why are they ever angry at you? Hey! Beauty! Tell me. Have you done any penance (tapas)? Do you use any special ablution, spells or herbs? A powerful knowledge of roots (drugs)? Some prayer or Fire oblation (Yaga) or Drug? Tell me the glorious secret of your sexual power, Krshnaa!

(Krishna with a short vowel sound is Lord Krishna; Krishnaa with a long vowel is Draupadi)

When Sathyabhama stopped speaking, Draupadi replied:

“You, beloved queen of Krishna! Such questions and uncertainties do not become you. When a husband finds out that his woman uses spells and drugs on him, he gets as frightened of her as of a snake that has got into the house. What peace that a frightened man have, and what happiness without peace? No husband has ever been made uxorious with a (magic) spell! It is murderous men who under the name of herbs use poison or the dreadful diseases that have been sent by his ill wishes. The powders a man takes on the tongue or skin will kill him shortly, no doubt of that.

“ I serve the Pandavas and their wives always religiously without selfishness, likes and dislikes. In return for their affection I place my soul in theirs, obey them without self- seeking and guard the hearts of my husband without fear or wrong word, wrong stand, wrong glance, wrong seat, wrong walk or misinterpretation of a gesture; that is the way I serve the Parthas, men like sun, fire and moon, great warriors who kill with a glace, awesomely sharp and mighty. No other men could please me, be a God or man or a Gandharva, youth rich or handsome.

“I do not eat or lie down until my husband has eaten or lain down or bathed, ever, even when there are servants.

“When my husband comes home from the field, the wood or the village, I get up to meet him and make him feel welcome with a seat and drink of water.

“My store rooms are scrubbed, my food is good. I serve the meal in time, I am at it, the rice is well stored, and the house is spotless.

“I talk directly, and do not seek bad women for company, and I am always agreeable, never lazy.




“I avoid laugh, when there is no joke, only briefly tarry at a door, am not long in privy or the gardens. I avoid laughing too much or carping too much and give no cause for anger.

“I am always truly devoted to serving my husbands, and never in any way do I wish them ill.

“When my husband sleeps out on some family business, I go without flowers and make-up, and follow a vow.

“What my husband does not drink, what my husband does not chew, what my husband does not eat, I avoid it all.

“Well trained according to the prescriptions, well-adorned and most eager, beautiful woman, I am bent on what is good for my husband.

“The laws that forever operate on households, I have heard them all from my mother-in-law: the begging, the thrown-offering, the Sraddha, the milk dish at new and full moon (Amavasya and Purnima), and whatever other matters the mindful mind, I know them.

“My law rests on my husband, as, I think, it eternally does with women. He is the God, he is path, nothing else; what woman could displease him?

“I don’t out sleep my men, nor out eat or out-talk them, and never complain about my mother-in-law, however aggravated I am.

“And by this constant attention, my lovely, by this daily-up-and –about, and by obedience to my elders I got upper hand of my husbands.

“There is no day that I do not wait on the Lady Kunti, mother of heroes, speaker of truth, all by myself, bathing her, dressing her, feeding her. Would I ever contradict her, in matters of cloths, jewelry, or food? No, I never complain about our Prtha (Kunti), who equals earth herself”.

Having heard this account, informed by Law, from Krshnaa (Draupadi), Sathya paid honour to the Pancali woman of the law like habits; “I am with you, Pancali Yajnaseni (Draupadi), forgive me: for it is not the way with woman friends to speak freely in jest?”



Let me talk of the way, unopprobious way,

For a woman to hold the heart of her husband:

You walk that way, friend, the proper way,

And you will cut your man from his mistresses.

There is no such deity, Sathya, here

In all worlds with all their divinities

Like a husband: you are rich in every wish

If you please him right; if he is angry you are dead.

You get children and all kinds of comforts,

A place to sleep and to sit and marvellous sights,

And clothes, and flowers and certainly perfumes

And the world of heaven and steady repute.

No bliss is found easily on earth,

A good woman finds happiness through hardship;

So worship Krishna with happy heart

With love and always the acts of affection.

When from tasty dishes and beautiful garlands,

From domestic adeptness and various perfumes

He reasons that he must be dear to you,

He himself will embrace you with all his love.

When you hear the sound of your man at the door

Rise up and stand in the middle of the house:

When you he has entered make haste with a seat

And receive him with water to wash his feet.

And send your serving women away,

Get up and do all the chores yourself:

Then Krishna will surely know your heart;

She loves me completely, Sathya, he will think.

draupadi krishna


Whatever your lord may say in your presence,

Even though no secret, keep it a secret.

A co-wife of yours will surely report you

To Vasudeva and he will turn away.

Invite for a meal, by hook or by crook,

Your husband’s favourites, faithfuls, and friends,

And cut forever his foes and opponents,

His ill-wishers, blackguards, and the insolent rude.

If you find your man drunk or distracted,

Control your temper and hold your tongue;

Though Pradyumna and Samba are your sons,

Don’t ever attend to them secretly.


Ravivarma’s painting of Disrobing of Draupadi


Strike up a friendship with highborn ladies

And women of virtue and without vice:

The bellicose, bibulous, gluttonous ones.

The bad, thievish, fickle you must avoid.





This advice of Draupadi to Sathyabhama is found in Vanaparva of Mahabharata. Translated from Sanskrit into English is done by A.B.van Buitenen


How to identify Hindu Gods and Goddesses?

Research Article: written by London swaminathan

Post No.2217

Date: 5   October 2015

Time uploaded in London: 19-27

Don’t use pictures. Don’t reblog for at least a week.


One hundred years ago, even the illiterates in India were able to identify scores of herbs, trees, flowers, stars in the sky and all Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Though they were not able to sign their names, they had all the practical knowledge.

There is an interesting anecdote in Tamil literature. Two thousand years ago two villagers, husband and wife, visited a temple near Madurai in South India. There the wife was wonderstruck with a painting on the temple wall where a cat is slipping out of an Ashram (hermit’s cottage). When she asked her husband, what it was her husband says “don’t you know the story of Indra and Ahalya? This is Indra in the form of a cat sneaking out of the Ashram after molesting Ahalya”. This scene is described in Sangam Tamil literature (Paripatal) This anecdote shows that even the villagers were able to identify the figures on a wall painting (mural). And such paintings were so common in the temples in those days.

Trimurti in Ellora

Now even the scholars who are well versed in the scriptures have no practical knowledge. Their knowledge is more bookish than of field study. Moreover countries like Thailand and Cambodia have distorted the figures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. A Hindu from India would find it difficult to recognise Indra or Shiva in South East Asian countries. Only figures like Vishnu or whoever rides on a Vahana (Mount of God) will be easily recognised; so I have compiled a list of Gods and Goddesses with their symbols.

The sculptors or goldsmiths who made the statues and idols of gods and goddesses used the Sanskrit slokas (couplets) with description for the figures.

Most of the confusion arises when Buddhist and Jain gods and goddesses are shown in any book or museum along with the Hindu Gods. They took lot of things from Hindu iconography and changed them according to their whims and fancies. Particularly confusing are the Tibetan Buddhist figures. But recognising Buddha in his meditative posture and Tirthankaras as straight standing figures with a Srivatsa on their chests won’t be difficult.

Easiest way is to recognise a vahana first and then identify its rider. But recognising the statues without vahanas is very difficult. Following list of identification will be very useful:

Brahma stamp by France


Four heads (one head is not shown), Four hands, rosary in one hand and Vedas on another hand; swan or goose nearby (if it is a figure with Vishnu he is shown as if coming out of Vishnu’s belly button, seated on a lotus); sometimes Brahma is shown with beard.


Four hands, Wheel and Conch (Shankgu and Chakra) on both hands and Garuda (Eagle or Kite) as the Vahana; mace or Gatha is also seen in some pictures.

Vishnu’s another pose is Seshasai: Here he is shown lying on his snake bed. The multi-headed snake is called Adisesha.



Trident in hand, matted lock with crescent on the hair; sometimes the third eye on the forehead is shown; riding on a bull (Rishaba); battle axe, Damarukam/drum,  and deer are in other hands. Snake is shown around his neck.


Dancing Shiva can easily be identified with one leg up and a demon under his feet. The Universal dancer holds a drum in one of his hands and Fire/agni in another hand.


Siva’s another form is Veerabhadra; he is also shown with trident.

ganesh lanka


Easiest Hindu god to recognise is Ganesh because of his elephant head. Sometimes the rat or mouse is shown as vahana on a very small scale


Monkey faced god from Ramayana can also be easily recognised like Ganesh.


Rama is always shown with his bow; and mostly with Sita and Lakshmana on either side.

hanuman raman


Hindus know the stories behind Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu known as Dasavatara in Sanskrit; they can be easily identified by close observation of the following points:

Matsya (Fish) Avatara: Half the body is shown as Fish (In western countries sea nymphs are shown this way)

Kurma (Tortoise/turtle) Avatara: Bottom half of body is shown as tortoise

Varaha (Boar) Avatara:This Avatara is shown with a boar like face and holding the earth on the tip of its nose.

Vamana (Short) Avatara:- A short figure with a tuft like a Brahmin with an umbrella.

happy onam, sivaraman post

Narasimha (Man-lion) Avatara: Face is shown as a lion or ferocious looking; if the full figure is shown, one can see even the sharp animal toes with long nails.

Parasu (Axe) Rama: Parsurama is shown as a tall figure with an axe in his hand. He always looks angry.

Rama (Full man) Avatara: Explained above; shown with a bow, usually a very tall figure.

Balarama: Shown with a plough; he was a great agriculturist who spread agriculture and cultivation by travelling to different parts of India. He was always on pilgrimage. Wearing yellow cloth if it is a colour picture.

Krishna: Shown with a crown wearing peacock feather, handsome, tall, holding/playing on a flute, standing nearby a cow or Radha; if it is a colour picture then he is shown with blue cloth to distinguish him from his brother Balarama.

Buddha: Buddha is considered by some as one of Vishnu’s Avataras. Easily recognised because of his meditative posture and shawl on his shoulder. Closed eyes with peaceful countenance.

Kalki: Hindus believe that the last incarnation of Vishnu -Kalki is yet to come. Kalki is shown riding a white horse with a sword in is hand. Sometimes he is shown horse faced.

murugam balan


Shiva’s two sons are Ganesh and Kartikeya (Skanda/Murugan) . He is easily identifiable because of his Spear and his vahana- the peacock. He is shown with his two wives Valli and Deivanai in some places. Also shown with six heads and 12 hands in Tamil books.


Indra: He rides the white elephant ‘Airavata’ with multiple heads or single head. Indra holds thunderbolt (Vajrayudha) and lotus in his hands.

Agni: The hair of Agni is shown as fire; he rides on a goat. He holds rosary, vase in his hands.

Varuna : he is shown riding a Crocodile; noose and lotus are in his hands.

Yama: he rides buffalo and have staff and noose in his hands. Very dark in complexion.

Vayu: Vayu is shown with his vahana stag; hands are in boon giving position.

Kubera: The god of wealth is shown with mace and boon giving hand. He is also shown with a gold pot full of coins. He is short with a big belly. His vahanas varies between man, horse and goat

Nirruti: sword, shield and Katri are in his hands; man (dead body) or ass or camel is vahana


Nine Planets

Surya: Lotus in each hand, one wheeled chariot driven by seven horses

Chandra/Moon : mace, rosary or lotus in hands; chariot driven by ten horses; Rohini on his right side and sometimes shown with his wives Kanti and Shhoba

Angaraka/mangala/Mars: Goat vahana, rosary, staff, javelin are in his hands

Budha(Mercury): Lion vahana; sword, shield mace , bow, rosary, Yoga mudra in hands.

Guru (Jupiter): Rosary, vase or staff or book are in his hands; golden chariot driven by horses is his vahana.

Sukra (Venus): Rosary, vase or staff; chariot driven by horses

Sani /Saturn: Arrow, bow, javelin, staff, rosary are in his hands; Crow is his vehicle; sometimes vulture or buffalo

Rahu: sword, shield, javelin;  face half moon, ugly face

Ketu: mace or shield in hands; serpent tail or serpent body with ugly face.


Durga: Durga is the destructive form of Uma or Parvati. She is shown as killing Mahishasura (Beffalo demon); she is also shown as Narayani with Conch and wheel or with garland of skulls; vahana — lion or tiger.

Lakshmi: seated on lotus; if it is Gajalakshmi form, two elephants on either side doing Abishekam; bowl of leaves; vahana owl

Sarasvati : Veena (musical instrument), rosary, books, vase, flute; swan or peacock is shown as vahana.

durga, mamallapuram

saraswati lakshmi

Gayathri: She is shown seated on a lotus flower, with five faces and ten hands holding rosary, bowl, battle axe, conch, wheel, mace etc. Sometimes a swan is shown by her side.

The above list is not a comprehensive list. Still there are lot of forms like Sapta matas, Lalita, Raja rajeswari, Chamundi, Kali and other forms. For every mythological story we have a special form of god or goddess. The study of Hindu iconography is a very big field. Grama devatas have (Village goddesses) have different forms. Sastha, Ayyanar, Santoshimata, Bhagavati …. list goes on and on. But one will be able to identify most of them with Tri Murtis or their three consorts.

In South Indian Temples, Vishnu is shown in three poses: Sitting, Standing and lying down. They are huge sculptures.

For each god we have different forms when they kill some demons. Particularly with Krishna, his forms like Kaliya nardana or Kaliya mardana  (dancing and tackling the snake Kaliya) are more popular.

If elders in the family learn all these things and the significance of each and every symbol, it will be useful to teach the youngsters in the family.

We must also tell them that these are symbolic representations; When Brahmachari Ganesh is shown with his “Two Wives” Siddhi and Buddhi, that means anyone worshipping god in this form will attain Success (Siddhi) and Intelligence (Buddhi). When Moon is shown with Kanti and Shoba, we must make sure they understand that these are the words for Brightness, Shining etc. When Sun has a “wife” by name Chaya (Shadow) they must know shadow follows light. Since they forgot the symbolism, now all the stories have become “myths”!!

IMG_4537 (2) siva is pillar

Nataraja and Shiva


Beautiful Commentary on Five Day Brahmin Wedding! in 1903!!

Compiled by London swaminathan

Post No.2209

Date: 2nd  October 2015

Time uploaded in London: 14-01

Excerpt from the book “South Indian Hours” by Oswald J.Couldrey, Year  of Publication 1924

The book is available at SOAS library, University of London.

Mr Adivi Bapirazu has written it in a letter to Oswald.

A unique account of a Niyogi wedding, as it was celebrated in an agraharam or Brahmin village of Krishna delta (Andhra Pradesh) in the year 1903

Picture  of a Tamil Bride

“My eldest sister’s wedding took place when I was a boy of six years. My cousin Subbamma, the daughter of my uncle, was married at the same time. My family was then in the legal state, so much praised by the lovers of the past, of the joint family. It was the first time for my father and uncle to perform any such important ceremony. My father was a good earning member, and our prosperity was then in the ascending stage. The brothers, therefore, had very grand ideas of celebrating the occasion.

Both my sister and my cousin assumed very grave demeanours. Only two days previously they had been solemnly “promoted brides”. All the ladies of the village were invited, and the brides to be were seated on a kind of low seat called “peetam”, and were presented with “harati”, or the ‘flame of prosperity’ – an honour which is accorded to the gods, as well as to the principal mortal persons concerned, at the end of every joyful ceremony. They were also given betel, and some gram. The distribution of gram by ladies among ladies is considered an auspicious and honourable formality. After this function my sisters (you have noticed that we often call our first cousins also brothers and sisters) were allowed to wear on their brows the “Kalyanam Bottu”, or scred marriage mark, a figure of Shiva’s trident made in vermilion. The “dot of modesty” was also applied to their left cheeks. My sister smiled whenever anyone addressed her as “bride” (kalyana Ponnu).

Once I went up to her and cried suddenly, “Sister, here is brother in law!” (Mappillai). My sister hastily rose and stood there, as the Hindu woman is taught to do in the presence of her husband. We all had a laugh at her expense.

bengali bride

Picture of a Bengali Bride


I rose early on the great day, hearing that the parties of the bridegrooms would be coming in an hour. I waited and waited but no party came, nor did I hear the sound of the bridegroom’s trumpet. Many relations had arrived with their families, and the front wing or “mansion” of the house was packed full of people. A big pandal or timber portico had been erected between this mansion and the back one.  All round the main building also pandals had been erected. The front was pleasantly decorated with canopies of painted cloth and festoons of ever green and other leaves. Even in the street also a big pandal had been erected.

It was five in the evening when the far off note of the crooked trumpet announced the arrival of the expected parties. “Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” Immediately there was a great commotion. Our big fort of a house was the scene of children’s cries, the laughter of maidens, woman’s explanations and odd women’s admonitions. Everyone flocked into the courtyard at the sound of a pipe, for word had been brought that the two parties had come to the other side of the canal. The country music of the band sounded nearer and nearer, and the trumpet blared forth its summons to the parties of the brides.

‘We started out with a few musicians, carrying sweet drinks for the visitors. We found them at the hospice. The two bridegrooms were sitting like two crowned young prices on two pials, one on each. My brother-in-law had a big turban, and looked imposing enough.

‘We welcomed them heartily, and requested them to come to their prepared lodging. The bands struck up and off we started, the bridegrooms in their respective palanquins. There were two parties of dancing girls. One of these parties was rather a good one.

“When the visitors had been comfortably settled in their allotted quarters, they were invited to dinner. It is a point of courtesy for each member to be separately invited, but if the head of the party is willing they may be invited in a body, and this concession was now granted. Chaffing them for not having yet acquired the tyrannous airs of the true “bridegroom’s party” (it is part of the game that the bridegroom’s party should be very much on its dignity) we brought them to the dinner.

“It was after midnight when we finished, and then almost everyone went to bed to snatch some sleep before the auspicious nuptial hour, which was at half-past four in the morning. My father, uncle, mother and aunt, with some important persons like my father’s sister, did not sleep at all.

rajasthani bride

Picture of a Rajasthani Bride


“At three O’clock the wry necked fife” awakened us from our slumbers. Again there was hubbub. The grooms were conducted in to the inner apartments, presented with the flame of prosperity (harati), and given an oil bath. They put on silken cloths and sat on the “vedikas” or marriage pials, which are only four inches high. Ancient canticles and spells (mantras) were spoken, calling a forgotten world to witness:”Anga, vanga, Kalinga, Kamboja, Kashmira, Sindhu, Barbara Yavana” ran the family catalogue of immemorial realms. The genealogies of the brides and bridegrooms were recited by their respective family chaplains (Purohit). There was a goodly throng of Brahmins present, and the hymns rose high in rich voices like a single voice.

The fathers performed the Kanyadanam, the ceremony of giving away the daughters, while the mothers poured water over their husbands’ hands, which were held just above the right hands of the bridegrooms. Then amid the din of trumpets, drums, pipes, the bridegrooms tied the knots around the necks of the brides, and put the sacred vermilion on the knots.

The wedding was performed, but the ceremony was not yet complete. The brides and the bridegrooms poured the sacred rice over each other’s heads. Then the pairs were conducted to the room of Agni, the Sacred Fire. Before Agni, the marriage vows were sealed.

“The whole village for the five days’ feast or morning and evening meals. Just before the dinnertime there must be a second call, and everyone has to wait for everyone who has promised to come, and all these together have to wait for the bridegroom’s party. So did we. After each meal betel was distributed. There was singing of songs and poems on divine subjects, and all chanted in chorus the dinner time cry, ‘Narayana’, or ‘Govindda’ or ‘Harahara’. There were many kinds of prepared foods, and the “big bellied Brahmins” were in their own element. Ghee (clarified butter) was extravagantly expended. The bridegroom’ parties always came with pipe and drum, and went in the same way. When anybody of either party went to the others’ lodging he was given betel and sprinkled with rose water, and his scarf smeared with attars.

kashmiri bride

Picture of a Kashmiri Bride


“The third day was than on which presents were given to the Brahmins according to their merit. Lists were prepared, and the Brahmins went bustling to the visitors’ chaplains (Purohit/priest) with recommendations from our own chaplain. All the first class people, those that had the Veda by heart, or had read Vyakaranam (Grammar) and so on, were presented with cloths and fruits. All the others were given money according to their degree, two rupees or one, or a half or a quarter. Five hundred people or more were honoured in this way. Little boys claimed full wages. Some of the Brahmins began to quarrel and claimed that their merit should have been allowed to weigh more. All these were put into a closed hall with a single door, where stood the donors, with some auxiliaries.

“Here, sirs, is Brahma Sri Venkata Shastri Garu of Viravasaram!” cries our self-important chaplain. “He is a very great Pundit, honoured in Urlam”. The visitors’ chaplains merely nod their heads. “Very well; Give him one”. A bright silver coin is thrust into the Shastri’s hand, and he is whisked away out of the gate, protesting all the while, “No, no, I won’t take one; it is an insult; you may have it back!” – but at the same time thrusting the rupee into his waist with a peculiar movement. All the people here who wear no shirt have a special method of trusting money into their waistcloth, where it is very secure.

“That night the dancing girls performed some dramas in the old-fashioned way. Their ordinary dances were given every day.


Picture of a Bharatanatyam dancer

FOURTH DAY: Grand Procession

On the evening of the fourth day, there was a big assembly (sabha) at which there was presented what is called a Hari-katha, a recital of the story of some sacred personage, illustrated with songs, poems and dancing. There was a great lamp in one corner, and the two dancing parties. It was a very grand assembly in our house. Camphor pills and the incense sticks were distributed among the guests, after the usual sprinkling with rose water and smearing of attar.

Everyday there had been processions, but the procession on the fourth night was the grandest of many torches of castor oil, so many torches of dried coconut and so many torches of kerosene oil; rows on rows, clusters upon clusters. There were strings of paper lamps, twinkling red, blue, yellow, green and orange; there were big toy trees made of pith, and great fans of Palmyra; there was a blaze of fireworks, the roar of the drums, the squeal of the each and every house the procession stopped, so that people might see the bride and the bridegroom seated in the palanquin together whenever the procession stopped in front of a house, there the dancing girls danced and sang their:

“Give me one kiss, O my lord, only one kiss, if you please.

I know the cause of my lord’s anger.

For he has fallen into the clutches of the vile Chitra…..”


Picture of Indian Dances


“At four o’ clock on the morning of the fifth day the last sacrifice was offered to Agni and the couples put off the state of sanctitude, or ‘diksha’. While they are in ‘diksha’ they must remain in the same clothes, they may not bathe, nor eat betel, nor may their heads be touched with razors or scissors; and so on.

The last ceremonies of the wedding were done on this day. Each pair was made to sit on a cot, and they were made to carry on a mock conversation, couched as though they were already well advanced in life and had children.

“Here, dear, take this child, for I have to fetch water from the well.”

“yes, but do you now take this crying boy, for I have to look after my fields, or my business.”

“Now I have to cook the meals, who will take this child?”

“Here am I, sister-in-law”, cried the sisters of the bridegrooms, and they had the sandalwood dolls for themselves.

“Then the two brides were lifted by two stout Brahmins and the bridegrooms were by two others. The dancing girls stood in rows with plates full of coloured flour. The strain of the music was changed to a dancing measure, and the brides took handful of the flour and threw it on the faces of the bridegrooms, who did likewise.  One mischievous bridegroom threw some flour at one of the dancing girls. Meanwhile the Brahmins who carried the brides and bridegrooms were dancing in a fantastic way, and when the young couples were throwing the coloured floor at each other a general melee of flour throwing began among us for sport. Then was there running, hiding, and all sorts of fun, and even the women were not spared. There was a general atmosphere of heart easing laughter.

“Later in the fifth day, however, everything is gloomy. The joy of the festival vanishes. The mother was crying in a corner, because her daughter was to be taken away. After the business of the flour throwing the parting ceremony took place, which was rather pathetic. We exchanged parting gifts, which mostly consisted of cloths, and the visitors took leave of us.  I followed the party as far as the big canal. When I found that they would not take me with them, do you know what I did? I fell to a crying and rolled on the ground there, and continued to do so till I was found by a banyan friend of my father and taken home.”


What is the Price of Gandhi Stamps?


Research article written by London swaminathan

Post No.2206

Date: 1st October 2015

Time uploaded in London: 16-00

October 2 Gandhi Jayanthi

It is needless to say that the Gandhian values have down in India. But the surprising thing is that the value of Gandhi stamps are going up and up! Politicians use Gandhiji’s name as a popular brand name. Like corrupt Tamil politicians use the name of holy poet Tiruvalluvar, corrupt North Indian politicians use Gandhi’s name. Any way the new generation know neither Gandhi nor Tiruvalluvar. They read their names in text books for examination sake. As soon as they come out of the examination halls they forget both the names and their teachings.

IMG_6422 (2)

But as a stamp collector and possessor of Gandhi stamps issued by several countries, I am glad that the values of those stamps are going higher and higher. I very often pass by the Stanley Gibbon stamp shop at Strand in London. Their catalogue is the Veda for the stamp collectors and their headquarters is the Benares/Varanasi of stamp collectors. Today I looked at the latest Stanley Gibbon’s catalogue to compare the prices. I have given below the prices:

For mint stamps (Not used)

In 2006 the price of Rs10 Gandhi was 45 pounds (45×100=Rs.4500 in today’s currency rates)

In 2015 the price is 375 pounds (375×100= Rs 37,500)

For used Stamps

In 2006 it was 40 pounds (Rs.4000 in today’s currency rates)

In 2015 it was 130 pounds (Rs13,000)

IMG_6448 (2)

In 2011-12 Indian Stamp catalogue the price of Rs10 Gandhi stamp issued in 1948 was Rs.13,000 (mint) and Rs.6750 (used)

This is the price for the stamp in best condition.

For instance here the stamp dealers sell even Gandhi stamp for 60 pounds. But they have lost the gum in the back or browned due to weather. In India stamps change to brown very quickly because of the climatic conditions. But in temperate countries like Britain they are in good condition. All my old Indian stamps collected in Madurai are brownish. But after coming here, I bought Indian stamps from English dealers and they are in pristine condition.

If you have coins or stamps, please maintain them properly. Stamp dealers or the philatelic societies in all the Indian cities will advise you in this regard.


( I am writing about Gandhi coins separately)

Long live Gandhi! Longer live Gandhi stamps!!!

A Foreigner’s account of Chidambaram Temple Festival!

chidambara gold


Compiled  by London swaminathan

Date: 30 September 2015

Post No: 2202

Time uploaded in London :– 20-01

(Thanks  for the pictures)

From the book SOUTH INDIAN HOURS by Oswald J.Couldrey

Year of Publication 1924, London

I lately visited temple of Nataraja, the Dancer, at Chidambaram. The Dikshitas, a sect or tribe of Brahmins whose hereditary right is conduct the worship, and share the revenues of the temple, keep considerable state. They made me leave my boots under the gopuram; “put off”, they said, ‘thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy’; a requisition with which it was not in my conscience to refuse compliance, particularly as I very much wanted to see the temple. But the pavement of the outer court was rough and weedy, and a European always feels rather small and foolish without his boots; and I suspected all the Dikshitas arrogated unto themselves much of the honour of my homage, for they seem to regard the god as a kind of an elder brother, or first among the equals, and boast that he has but a lot and share in the sacred household, like one of themselves.

The Hindus know more than we do about God, but they sometimes appear to presume upon their familiarity…… These Dikshitas are sleek, well grown fellows, who wear the golden emblem of the god embossed upon the clasp of their rosaries, and knot their hair jauntily on one side of the head, not at the back, as ordinary Brahmins do. Some of the boys in their white clothing and sallow sapliness were especially charming, and the youger ones reminded me of Italian angels, but without the rose.

chidambaram there2

Hindu Rathas/Chariots are Museums on Wheels!

To see the cars (Chariots) was one of the main objects of my visit. I had somehow never got the sight of processional cars of the Madura deity, though doubtless he somewhere stables vehicles worthy of his wealth and fame.

I was lucky enough to arrive at Chidambaram a few days before the festival, and the cars stood in a line before the eastern gopuram, bared of their huge caps of thatch and ready to be decorated. They were, if I mistake not, five in number, enough to accommodate all the Siva’s household and over. The chariot of the paternal deity was new, and the height of the wooden hull alone must have been nearly twenty feet the car was, as usual octagonal in shape, and over hung; and though inferior to some of the older cars in design and ornament, it was by no means unworthy to be placed among them.

The former car of the god, which stood beside it, and perhaps to devolve upon his consort, was not so large, but far superior in boldness and beauty of design and ornamental fancy. It stood like a museum on wheels, a moveable abridgement of Dravidian sacred art, not only learnedly representing all the persons and legends of the Saiva mythology, but displaying in exquisite miniature upon corbel, bracket and panel moulding all those decorative devices and canonical figures, the model shrines, and lotus bells, and mounted atlantes, and ramping beasts, and curious columns, and florid scrolls, that together constitute the very style and language of those epics in stone, the temples of the south. The other three cars were neither so large nor so elaborate as these, but seen anywhere else, would have well deserved admiration and study.

chidambaram ther

Panchamrita = Pentambrosia

As a reward, perhaps, for taking my boots off, I was allowed much further into the sacred apartments than is usual with strangers in other temples. I stood before the ancient silver steps, curiously graven, of the shrine of the Dancer himself in his dancing hall – a raised porch thronged with the yellow, lusty torsos of serviceable Brahmins, who shealed large armfuls of plantains and threw them into pans. They were engaged, I am told, in preparing the Panchamrita or pentambrosia (if I so Hellenise the Sanskrit), the fivefold food of immortality, a mixture of the fruit aforesaid with butter, milk, honey and water, which is dealt out as a sacrament among the worshippers.

I was shown the famous Air Lingam, the secret of Chidambaram, which is no more, I am told, than an empty cell, said to contain the invisible emblem of the god; a queer blend, like so much else of popular Hinduism,  between spiritual teaching and the craft of the showman.

chidambaram old

God’s Procession

Those were the festival days at Chidambaram, and every morning the five gods went in procession through the streets nearest the temple. Wreathed and almost hidden in garlands of yellow flowers, the brazen images were carried in carved and gilded arks or thrones upon the shoulders of the temple servants. The god’s two elephants, one of them a very giant, walked before caparisoned in crimson, and there were curious flags, and a music of old world instruments, and chanting choirs; not all in evidence at first, but added severally from day to day so as to maintain a gradual increase of display, until the climax of the festival should be marked, presumably, by the appearance of the cars.  Brahmins from all parts have come together on this occasion, to minister pilgrims, and share the bounty of the Dikshitas. Increasing numbers of them walked daily in procession hand in hand, singing responses and receiving alms of rice, which one of the Dikshitas distributed, walking up and down the lines.  This functionary with his golden ornaments, and scarf of crimson silk thrown over his naked shoulders, in token, I presume, of his dignity as the vehicle of god’s bounty, looked very spruce and sleek beside his poor and vagrant brethren. The latter, for processional purposes, were divided into two bands- the veterans and the bachelors. They sang their Sanskrit antiphonal with a vigour and sharpness of enunciation, an exactitude of mutual register, an absolute perfection of unison, such as I should not have considered possible among vagrants gathered suddenly together.  They chanted like one stentorian throat and gave me a new notion of the power of words and music, properly welded, to set each other off.

Last Day in Chidambaram

I spent a week in Chidambaram, loitering and making sketches. I became familiar with the life of the place, and learned the ritual of the festival. I had to leave Chidambaram while the festival had some days to run, so that I did not see the cars in motion after all. But on the last night of my stay, as I left my house, fortunately early, for the little railway station, I saw the southern gate head aglow with a great orange light. I hastened to the spot, and found in the street a numerous concourse of people watching the same pageant, which I had seen daily in the forenoon, but now very much enlarged, and quite transfigured. It shone, not with Washington gas lights, such as vulgarise all the night festivals of the north, and even of madras, but in fierce old-fashioned flare of torches.

sunset, chidambaram

There were the elephants, the musicians, the Brahmin choirs, reinforced beyond recognition; but the gods themselves, who came after, no longer rode on Chairs, or arks, or whatever you choose to call the little tabernacles in which they moved before, but upon their appropriate ‘vehicles (Vhanams)’, Siva on his bull, Skanda on his peacock, Ganapati on his bandicoot, like the Seven Deadly Sins in an old morality. All too hurriedly I perused this weird procession. The animals were cast in some silvern metal, and the style of Siva’s bull in particular put me in mind of Jeroboam’s idol, or the calf in Horeb. They were fixed upon huge timbers, and borne shoulder-high by much greater number than were found before necessary to carry the tabernacles. High above the smoke and glare, the din, the moving multitudes, the dance of monstrous shadows, a green moon, three-quarters full, the moon of the festival, hung aslant in a sky of jade.

As the King, so are the People: Yatha Raja Thatha Praja!


Compiled  by London swaminathan
Date: 26 September 2015
Post No: 2191
Time uploaded in London :– 18-38
(Thanks  for the pictures) 

There is a proverb in Sanskrit ‘yatha raja, thatha praja’. Like the king, people are. If the king is corrupt, ministers become more corrupt and people become the most corrupt. There are two anecdotes to illustrate this proverb:

Nausherva of Persia was reputed to be a just king. Once he went on a hunting expedition. He hunted any animals in the forest and the lunch time came. Everyone was hungry. Suddenly the king and his retinue realised that they forgot to bring salt for eating the meat. When the food was cooked the king also came to know about it. He, therefore, asked one of his servants to go into the village nearby and get the salt. But he added, “Don’t forget to pay for it. Otherwise the whole village will be ruined.”

Hearing this the servant was greatly surprised. So he said, “Your Majesty, how could a pinch of salt, obtained without payment, cause the devastation of the whole village?”

Naushervan answered, “If the king, exercising his authority, plucks and eats even only one fruit from the garden of any of his subjects, then his servants, following his example, will destroy the whole garden, root and branch.”


Following  story proved this correct:

A revenue officer was camping near a village for collection of tax. He called his servant and told him, “My wife and children like fresh rice. So go to the fields and pluck some and bring here. Make sure no one sees you.” So the servant went during night time and entered a field illegally and plucked some paddy and brought it to the officer. Other servants came to know about it from the man who went into the field.

Taking the hint from the officer servants started collecting rice from each and every field. When the officer went for tax collection, the harvest shown on records were lower than the usual quantity. Then he started questioning his servants. What happened? Why the harvest is very much lower this season? Who was stealing the crops?

The servant who went into the field for the first time answered, “Sir, it is the secret permission you gave me the other day. I took some rice for my family. My colleagues also took some rice for their families. That is all.”

The officer said nothing. He was like a thief stung by a scorpion. He can’t cry aloud.

“Yatha raja ,thatha praja”. If the officers are themselves corrupt, they have no moral authority to question anyone! Even if he says something, it would not have any effect. All will laugh at him, behind his back.


What makes Madurai Unique in the World: Oswald J.Couldrey

temple big



Research Article: Written by London swaminathan

Date: 21 September 2015

Post No: 2178

Time uploaded in London :– 20-15

(Thanks  for the pictures) 

Please read my post “The Wonder that is Madurai Meenakshi Temple” posted by me here on 14th October 2011.

Following is excerpt from South Indian Hours by Oswald J.Couldrey, Year 1924

“Madura is a city in the far south, and very old. You will find her name recorded in Ptolemy’s Greek, MODOURA, which better represents the Tamil pronunciation than does the English form. Her ancient Pandya kings, who grew early rich upon the local pearl fisheries, and are mentioned in Asoka’s Edicts, were connected by the Greeks with King Pandion, by themselves and neighbours with the five legendary Pandavas, the heroes of the Mahabharata. Of that remote civilization there are now probably few material remains. The monuments of Madura chiefly refer to the seventeenth century Naiks, those powerful viceroys of the great Southern Hindu Empire of Vijayanagar, who rivalled and outlasted the splendour of their suzerain.

But what makes Madura almost unique among the cities of the world, wherein the past can be studied, is the fact that her antiquity generally, though having its roots far back in an almost Babylonish past, is also of the twentieth century. I speaks of no stagnation. Art and religion here were alive and growing with a vigour and direction imparted long ago. The life seen here today is sister to the life of ancient Shinar, a younger sister, and grown up in time.

The glory and potential crown of Madura is the great double temple (but they stand within the same enclosure) of Siva and Minakshi. You hear more of the goddess, the Fish-Eyed, though her husband’s lodging is larger; and I suspect that she represents an older local cult, espoused later by the religion of the Brahmins. There are in India many temples far older, many holier than this, some more cunningly designed and adorned; few larger, grander and more intricate, none more crowded, busy, eloquent of the living past. For size, you could put all the temples of Benares within the Madura precinct, and have room to spare, in extent, variety, and occupation, it resembles a city rather than a temple, and a city where you will not quickly learn your way about.

The good people of Madura, which is large and flourishing town, spend much of their time in temple, like Anglo-Indians at a club, or Greeks in their agora, and so fill the place themselves, without the help of pilgrims and sight seers, f whom, however, there is no lack. I have been to the Madura temple several times, and know well the lie of its courts and edifices; but to explain it is another matter, and I shall attempt only a general description.

The temple is, four square, like the heavenly Jerusalem, and girt with a high the middle of each side is the pylon or gopuram, but far taller than usual, and all crusted with idols; four towers that crown the city like the tiaras upon the fourfold brows of Brahma.


The great pile of the gate head is plastered thick with images, which stand se before its innumerable storied, lessening cells, like an enormous and splendid swarms of bees; all the mystic and many weaponed persons of the Siva pantheon, infinitely multiplied and repeated and reduced, and carried in rising ranks, and receding tiers, up to the horns and scrolls of the topmost roof.

There, and yonder, he appears as Nataraja, the dancer, his polyp arms spread round him like an aureole, as he weaves the mystic dance of the worlds, the universal and eternal dance of life, which is the pastime of god. Near him, with arms as many, and a whole brigade of heads, Skanda, the War God, Siva’s first born, rides upon his peacock, a fine image of the pomp and circumstance of Asian war. Nor is the figure of his brother Ganapati, round bellied, elephant faced, the people’s darling fetish, less conspicuous and frequent along the ranks of his pyramid of idols, and plastic pandemonium.

Immediately within, and all about the eastern gates of the god and goddess, there is a gloomy labyrinth of arcades and corridors, solemn indeed and lofty, but choked with shops and stalls of food and fruit and sweets, garlands, toys and various glittering knacks whose nature and use I have forgotten, save that they seemed to have little to do with the temple worship. But sculptured saints stood with joined hands among the confectionery, hoar dragons guarded the trash of the toy shops, and cheap cutlery from Birmingham.

From this imposing den of thieves we pass into the outer court, which is here confined and crowded with various porches of similar architecture, but elsewhere spreads, uneventful and empty, between the sanctuaries and outer wall. We are now directly before the temple of god; we find ourselves within the cloister of the Golden Lily Pool, which lies opposite her ancient shrine.

The pool and its colonnade, and especially the chain of porticos before Minakshi’s shrine, are always the most crowded and lively portions of the temple. The steps and water are constantly thronged with bathers and visited of housewives bearing brazen pitchers; the cloisters full of naked, sleek and shaven Brahmins, lounging, chatting, meditating, waiting to minister, for a fee, to the spiritual needs of the pilgrims. One chants a spell for a pair of rustics, which seems chiefly concerned with the business of informing God, not only of the name, parentage and present address (in a geography no longer recognisable) of the persons on whose behalf it is recited, but also of the particular point and minute of eternity, the hour and year, and aeon (he species the Kaliyuga, as we perhaps might say, the iron age) in which the service is performed and reward expected; a formula crude perhaps in some respects, but calculated to a degree not often found, I cannot help thinking, in our own liturgies, to make a simple fellow realise his own littleness, and the metaphysical mystery of the universe.

-images-city-134-Meenakshi temple

(His description continues for a few more pages; he describes Thousand Pillar Hall, Tirumalai Nayak Palace etc. and concludes with the following paragraph)

I am constrained to close upon a note of apprehension. You may buy little gods in the Madura bazaars, akin apparently to the temple sculpture, and steeped in odour of old sanctity. Too often nowadays they prove to be forgeries, new ware made rough, buried a while, dug up and kept for sale as old brass to the Americans. For these have discovered Madura before ourselves, who have lived there for a hundred years. Consequently, though there is still no city in South India, where you can to more advantage study the real religion of antiquity, there is none where you can more easily buy false god, or as some would say, gods doubly false (unless two wrongs should make a right) than in Madura, the city of Minakshi may it be long ere the dissolvent curiosity, or blasting disapproval of the West goes deeper”.

Year of Publication in London — 1924.

Freezy, Sneezy, Breezy, Wheezy, Showery: New Names of Months!


Compiled  by London swaminathan

Date: 17th September 2015

Post No: 2167

Time uploaded in London :– 21-31

(Thanks  for the pictures) 

During the time of French Revolution, when the months in France were named Thermidor, Floreal, Nivose etc.,  — Sheridan proposed to extend the innovation to the English language, beginning with Januray, as – Freezy, Sneezy, Breezy, Wheezy, Showery, Lowery, Flowery, Bowery, Snowy, Flowy, Blowy, Glowy.”


Revolution or Revolt?

Following are some of the anecdotes on revolution:

On the afternoon of July 14, 1789, the Duc de La Rochefoucauls – Liancourt brought to King Louis XVI at Versailles the news of the capture of Bastille. The king exclaimed, “Why, this is a revolt!

“No, sire,” replied the Duke, “it is a revolution.”


Revolutionary Irishman

The character of the natural revolutionary is typified by the Irishman who was cast ashore upon a beach after a shipwreck. Weak and exhausted from his struggle with the waves, the castaway staggered along the sands until he encountered a man. “Is there a government here?” he asked next.

“Of course,” was the reply.

“Then – I am against it?”


Heads Roll! Man who made hats hates!

A man living in a village outside Paris during the Revolution met a friend frsh from the city and asked what was happening.

“It’s awful”, was the reply, “they are cutting off heads by the thousand.”

“Good Heavens! Surely not heads,” he cried.

“Why, I am a hatter!”

(Hatter= one who makes hats and sells)

Did Lord send you a message?

F Douglass



Compiled  by London swaminathan

Date: 16th September 2015

Post No: 2164

Time uploaded in London :– 20-35

(Thanks  for the pictures) 


Prejudice against Race, Religion and Colour

Frederick Douglass, noted Negro author and champion of the rights of his people, was once invited to have tea with President Lincoln at the White House.

Whenever Douglass spoke of this occasion he always said, “Lincoln is the first white man I ever spent an hour with who did not remind me that I am a Negro.”


Did Lord send you a message?

Innocently unaware of the prejudices held against him, an old coloured man, staunchly religious, applied for membership in an exclusive church. The pastor attempted to put him off with all sorts of evasive remarks. The old Negro, instinctively becoming aware that he was not wanted, said finally that he would sleep on it and perhaps the Lord would tell him just what to do.

Several days later he returned.

“Well”, asked the minster, “did the Lord send you a message?”

“Yes, he did,” was the answer. “He told me it wasn’t no use. He said, I have been trying to in that same church myself for ten years and I still can’t make it.”


Jewish Ladies

A man who was talking with Sir Moses Montefiore at a reception, found the conversation so entertaining that he completely forgot the race of his companion and made some uncomplimentary remark about the Jewish features of a lady who was passing by. The mistake was no sooner made than it was perceived. The unhappy man began to apologise profusely. “I ask thousand pardons. It was so stupid of me to forget. You look angry enough to eat me. I beg you not to devour me.”

“Sir”, replied Sir Moses, “it is impossible. My religion forbids.”



In the days of the great Abolition furore, Wendell Philips was accosted on a lecture tour by a minister who hailed from the state of Kentucky, a place with very different views concerning the ideas of the Abolitionists. The clergyman, who was more militant on behalf of his prejudices than on behalf of his creed, said, “Yoy are Wendell Philips, I believe.”

“Yes, I am.”

“You want to free the niggers, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, why do you preach your doctrines up North? Why don’t you try coming down to Kentucky?”

Philips began to counter question the man. “You are a preacher. Aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am, Sir”

“Are you trying to save souls from Hell?”

“Why yes, Sir. That is my business.”

“Why don’t you go there then?” suggested Mr Philips.



Theodore Roosevelt once said, “While I was a police commissioner of New York City, an anti – Semitic preacher from Berlin Rector Ahlwardt, came to New York to preach a crusade against the Jews. Many Jews were much excited and asked me prevent him from speaking and not to give him police protection.

This, I told them was impossible; and if possible would have been undesirable because it would make him a martyr. The proper thing to do was to make him ridiculous. Accordingly I sent a police under a Jewish sergeant, and Jew-baiter made his harangue under the active protection of 40 police, every one of them a Jew.”

Red Roosvelt


I am an Irishman!

He was a red faced, middle aged Irishman, who had taken just enough to make him officious. He kept a wary eye on the conductor, and a sympathetic one on the unsteady entering passenger. Opposite the Irishman sat a young man of the most pronounced Hebrew type. He watched pat with a humorous twinkle in his black eyes.

A good natured Negro got in, and took the seat next to the Irishman. Pat threw one haughty look at the black man; then, rising with great dignity, he said in terms of unutterable scorn: “a nagger!” and sat down next to the young Hebrew. Quick as a flash his new neighbour, with an exact imitation of Pat’s tone and manner, said, “an Irishman!” and too the vacant seat next to the Negro a titter went round the car, and one Irishman looked foolish.


A Foreigner’s comment on Tamil Brahmins


Compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 15th September 2015

Post No: 2161

Time uploaded in London :– 19-50

(Thanks  for the pictures) 



I am reading an interesting book titled “South Indian Hours” written by Oswald J. Couldrey I.E.S., sometime Principal of Rajamundry College, published by Hurst and Blackett Ltd., London in 1924. The book has 3 colour and 19 other illustrations by the author.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“The oxen of Telengana, including the famous Nellore breed, have shortish horns, but those of the further South are one and all crowned as it were with a great stringless lyre of ivory, which lends a silent note of majesty to the traffic of the streets and wharves of metropolitan Madras. Likewise upon the bows of men caste marks, the seals of the national gods, are commoner and larger, and commoner and more conspicuous also are the many forms of that contrarious Hindu tonsure, which leaves a long horse-tail of hair just where the European monk wears nothing.

IMG_5607 (2)

These human fashions mean a greater steadfastness in the old and purely Indian order than the Telingas, in the towns at east, have been able to preserve. Not that the Tamil people are backward; rather they know better than their northern neighbours how to lay hold on the new without relinquishing the old. There is no need for an Andhra man to go to the Tamil country to study the Tamils. The latter visit him at home, and get employment in his offices and schools, faster than he can find room for them in his heart.

For the Tamil Brahmins are a remarkable race, clever and full of enterprise. For all their strict orthodoxy they adopted Western education earlier, and still ensue it more industriously, than the more easy-going men of Andhra-desha. Therefore are they sometimes called by lovers of analogy the Scots of Southern India; but the comparison, though illustrating well enough the point in question, should not be further pressed. It is perhaps chiefly the fear of Tamil penetration which has led the Andhras to agitate for a separate administration.

The Tamil Brahmins shave clean, unlike their Andhra brothers, who largely affect a Maratha-military moustache which hardly fits one’s notion of a Brahmin. True, it is the mark only of the Niyogi, the Brahmin who has renounced the service of religion for professional work in the world; but in the Tamil country even such retain the mask of ancestral holiness. Nothing impressed me more, on first arriving at South India, than the faces of these Tamil Brahmins. They reminded me of a Roman portrait-gallery, where the features of unknown sages, poets and statesmen are assembled, and sometimes the face occurs a Greek God grown thoughtful; all are chiselled in the same clear medium, but here it is darker than old marble, and liker walnut-wood or a very ancient ivory.


The difference is greater in the South between the higher and lower castes than in Telingana. The common people of the South are far inferior to those of Telengana in refinement of feature, but the Brahmins of the South, Aiyars and Ayangars, are at no such disadvantage beside their northern brother. Feminine beauty in these latitudes is generally held to shine brightest among the Tamil Aiyangars, the Vaishnava Brahmins of Coromandel.

The Southern ladies deserve also this praise, that tjhey still remain staunch to the noble silken flow of their ancestral costume, and robes darkly rich with India dyes, having among them nothing sewn but the sort close bodice; a costume which has not its equal in the world today for dignity and beauty. But the daughters of the Andhras, those at least who pretend to wealth and station, are beginning to coquette with the barbaric fashions of the West, and interpolate half sleeves, puffed and frilled, into such weeds as might have beseemed the mother of the Gracchi.

Altogether the Tamils have a far weightier and more  comfortable body of ancestral culture behind them than the people of the Cirkars. I shall never forget how disgusted I was when, having lately left Tanjore, where they still entertain one with a dance of damsels (unless vulgarity and puritanism have swept them away since 1909), I was asked, by a prominent citizen of an Andhra city of old renown, to an entertainment of card-conjuror and a gramophone were to be respectively the life and soul. Fortunately this was an extreme instance, but the suggested contrast was typical enough. Some are even said to consider the substitution of the gramophone for the dancing girl as a sign of advancing civilisation, because the dancing girls too often sing sweet love-songs over-boldly, or are otherwise no better than they should be.

But the Tamil people excels in every art, in the weaving of soft raiment as well as of alluring gestures, in the graving of brass, the carving of wood, the working of stone, in fact in the devising of all those embellishments which make the life of a  people happier for themselves, and more interesting to others. Such embellishments in a simpler form are still a part of popular life even in Telangana, but for centuries the country has not been rich enough to develop them, and its later prosperity turns away from them away to foreign gewgaws. The new spirit of nationalism, I fear, has come too late to help them.”


In a footnote, the writer adds,

“I think the Aiyangars must have come largely from Gujerat, a little more than 1000 years ago, for Gujerat was a centre for Bhagavatas, the original Vaishnavas. Gujerati women are likewise famous for their