TREE METAPHORS in Tamil and Sanskrit Literature (Post No.3650)

Research Article Written by London swaminathan


Date: 19 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 18–45


Post No. 3650



Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.






Trees are used as similes and metaphors in Tamil and Sanskrit literature from very ancient times. The upside down Peepal Tree (Ficus  religiosa) is the most famous metaphor in the Bhagavad Gita (15-1)


Uurdhvamuulam adhahsaakham………………… (15-1)


“They speak of the imperishable asvattam (peepal tree) as having its root above and branches below. Its leaves are the Vedas and he who knows this is a knower of the Vedas (Bhagavad Gita 15-1)


The origin of this metaphor is in the Rig Veda (RV 1-24-7 and 1-164-20). Since Rig Veda is the oldest book in the world dated between 6000 BCE and 1500 BCE), Hindus are the first to use trees in literature. This is a highly philosophical verse. Later Katha Upanishad (With roots above and branches below, this world tree is eternal 2-3-1) and Bhagavad Gita repeated it.


It is SAMSAARA VRKSA, the cosmic tree. Mahabharata compares the cosmic process of a tree which can be cut off by the mighty sword of knowledge (Asvamedhaparva 47-12,15). Vedas (leaves) mean knowledge. Incidentally a section of Veda is called Saakhaa (branch).


I am the originator of world tree, says Tattriya Upanishad (1-10)


The Petelia Orphic tablet suggests that our body comes from the earth and our soul from heaven “ I am a child of the Earth and of Starry Heaven; but my race is of Heaven alone”. (Quoted by S Radhakrisnan in his Gita commentary)

Swami Chinmayananda says in his commentary on Gita:

“Ashwattha is botanically known as Ficus religiosa, popularly called the peepal tree, which according to some gathers its name because horses (Asva) used to stand under its shade (Ashwattha). According to Adi Shankara, this tree has been chosen to represent the entire cosmos because of its derivative meaning: ‘Shwa’ means tomorrow; ‘Stha’ means that which remains; therefore, ‘ashwattha’ means that which will NOT remain in the same till tomorrow. In short, the word indicates the ephemeral, the ever changing, world of the phenomena.


According to Anandagiri, samsara is represented as a tree (Vriksha) because of the etymological meaning of the Sanskrit term Vriksha, that which can be cut down. The tree of multiplicity that has seemingly sprung forth from the Infinite Consciousness Divine, can be cut down by shifting our attention from the tree to Divine.

Luckily, we who are educated in modern universities, have a similar use of the term ‘tree’ in our text books. The ‘Family Tree’ of kings and dynasties are, without any exception, shown as branching down from their ancestral source. Similarly, the tree of Samsara, has its roots UP in the Divine Consciousness. A tree holds itself up and gets nourished by its roots; similarly, the experience of change, and the experiencer of them, are all established in the infinite and draw their sustenance from it alone”.


The universe is described as an upside down tree 6-37-1

These metaphors suggest hugeness and extensiveness as the probable general imagery.


As Emeaneau has shown, the picture in the asvattha metaphor is based on an epiphyte stage of the tree. It is rooted above, on another tree, and hence lets root down to the ground. Its branches grow on all directions from its place on the host tree, both up and down.


It is in Kathopanishad 6-1 and Taittriya Aranyaka 1-11-5



Another tree imagery that is popular is the uprooted tree by the floods. This is used in negative contexts. We find it in Tamil and Sanskrit.


Kaliadsa and Tamil poets used the same similes which shows that the culture is one and the same from land’s one end to the other. This explodes the myth of Aryan-Dravidian races.



Kalidasa’s references:

Perish the sinful thought

Why are you out to sully your family’s honour

and to make me fall; you are like a river

that crumbles its banks to muddy its crystal stream

and uproots the tree growing by its edge

Sakuntalam 5-22 (King Dushyanta to Sakuntala)



Understand that the bow of Shiva which you have broken had been divested of its strength by the power of Vishnu; understand further that even a light wind lays low a tree situated on the bank of a river which is already uprooted by the gush of the river. [11-76]


In this way when his subjects are being filled with compassion day after day for him, he though recently enthroned was undisturbed like a firm-rooted tree. [17-44]

Raghuvamsam 11-76, 17-44



Sangam Tamil Literature References:


Our lives, however dear

follow their own course

like the rafts drifting

in the rapids of a great river –Puram 192,Kaniyan Punkundran



Horse did not come, Horse did not come

All other horses came back!

My husband’s horse didn’t come

He was caught like a tree in between

two great rivers meeting point

torn and fell!

Puram 273 (Erumai Veliyanar)



I am shaking like the leaves of a mango tree

that fell down, when its roots were washed by the floods

in a wild stream ( a woman who is separated from her lover)

Natrinai 381 (Avvaiyaar)



we shook like the plantain tree that was washed by the floods

with foam (Kurinjippaattu lines 178/9 by Kapilar)


Poetess Nachellaiyar compared a  creeper that was struggling in the water uprooted by the floods to the lotus stalks in the river.

Pathitrupathu 52-21,

Palai padiya Perum Katungo compares the dried and withered trees to the people of a country where tyrants rule (Kalitokai 10)


In the Mahabharata



The significance of trees in similes, however, is different in different contexts.

Thus a tree broken by a thunderbolt or wind etc is a symbol of death. Bismarck sighing on the ground like a tree broken by the wind.6-14-13


The hunter, coveting Damayanti fell down on the ground like a tree burnt by fire.

Jayadrathas soldier,with his chest broken , vomiitting blood from his mouth, fell down in front of Arjuna like a tree severed from its root:

Sa bhinnahrdayo viiro vaktraac chonitam udvaman

Papaataa bhimukhah paartham chinnamuula Iva drumah 3-255-14, 3-17-20 etc
A tree fallen from the bank into the river current is a figure of dependence and subordination. Thus a man is at his own command, even for a while, like a tree fallen from the bank approaching the middle of the stream.


naa tmaadhiino manusyo yam kaalam bhavati kam cana

srotaso madhyam aapannah kuulaad vrksa iva eyutah

–Mahabharata 3-31-26


Duryodhana is described as a great tree of anger

Duryodhano manyumayo mahadrumah 1-1-65

Source Books

Bhagavad Gita commentary by Swami Chinmayananda

Bhagavad Gita commentary by Dr S Radhakrishnan (President of India)

Sangam Tamil Literature

Kalidasa’s Works

Elements of Poetry in the  Mahabharata





Agni Purana explains Correct Gem for Wealth and Health (Post No.3646)

Written by S NAGARAJAN


Date: 18 February 2017


Time uploaded in London:-  5-16 am



Post No.3646



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.



Agni Purana Explains and Helps You to Select the Correct Gem for Wealth, Health and Prosperity



The Hindu Puranas are of encyclopaedic character. The Puranas prescribe remedies for all types of human problems. There are eighteen major puranas. All are very interesting and informative in nature.

Puranas contain all types of topics. But human nature is to select the best topic for obtaining wealth, health, and an all-round success.

For this we may read Agni Purana which deals with Gems. Chapter 246 of Agni Purana gives you the characteristics of gems.

In ancient days kings are advised by the court priest to wear gems which are auspicious. Thus a king may wear diamond, emerald, ruby, pearls, sapphire, lapis lazuli, moon stone, sun-stone, crystal, topaz etc.

Gems set in gold would confer prosperity and success.

But one has to choose the correct gem suitable for him. For this one has to study his horoscope and choose the gem according to the planetary positions.

Also one has to test the gems before wearing the same.

Inward lustre, free from impurities and good formation are essential for a good gem.

Such gems could be worn.

The gems which are impure, cracked and containing pebbles inside should not at all be selected and worn.

It is commendable to wear diamond. But there is an exception also. Those who are not having child should not wear diamonds. This implies that wearing diamond will delay the pregnancy. So one has to be careful and not hastily wear anything studying the general rules.

Which diamonds are good and how to select them? For this Agni Purana gives perfect answer.

The diamond that could be carried away by water, that is unbreakable, without impurity, of hexagonal shape, has the lustre of rainbow, light and brilliant like the sun is very auspicious to wear.

The emerald possessing the hues of the plume, of a parrot, glossy, radiant, without impurity and containing minute particles resembling powdered gold is auspicious.

The rubies which are got from crystal mines may be used. The best ruby will be extremely red and spotless.

The pearls got from oysters are generally free from impurities. Pearls got from conch-shells are much superior. Rotundity, whiteness, transparency and heaviness are the good characteristics of a good pearl.

A good sapphire can be declared invaluable which shines in the milk, spreads more lustre and tinge of its own color.

The lapes lazuli of red-blue type is excellent and could be used in necklace.

One may verify these characteristics with the help of an expert gemmologist after consulting an astrologer.

It is a customary practice to clean any gem by dipping it in the cow’s milk to remove any impurity before wearing.

The gemmology is a science in itself and one has to take care to study the whole ‘Ratna Sastra’ meaning the science of gems.

Good luck to you all.



Picture of Theseus killing Minotaur

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 13 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 9-44 am


Post No. 3633



Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.






Vedic Hindus’ great discoveries include the decimal system, domestication of cow, bull, horse, the use of wheel, the concept of time, marine trade, divinity of man and arts. The proof lies in the 10,000 hymns of the Four Vedas. They are considered the oldest records of religious experience of human beings. Jacobi and BG Tilak dated them 6000 BCE. Others dated them 2000-1500 BCE.


Cows and bulls have more references in the Vedas than any other religious literature in the world. They gave them a holy status. They used them as similes for the affection and heroism. Indra is praised as bull among the humans in the Vedas. Later bull was made the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Every temple of Shiva has a big bull statue (Nandhi) in front of him. Though we have references to the bull in other civilizations, if we accept the date of the Vedas as 6000 BCE, then that is the oldest literary record.


“There were bulls which had massive strength, youthful and intoxicated bull, a bull with a steady gait, a vagabond and a forest bull, a fleeting bull, billowing bull in search of a mate. Indra is compared to a massive bull.” (Animals in Sanskrit Literature by Dr M K Sridhar)

Vrsabha (Bull) is referred to in the Rig Veda 1-116-12; 2-5-6;1-94-10; 1-160-3; 6-46-4;7-101-1;2-16-5;


Valmiki in his Ramayana aslo called Rama, a bull among men.

In Sangam Tamil literature which is 2000 year old, we see at least 70 references. Kings and heroes were addressed as Bulls.

In Kalidasa

Kalidasa used bull as a simile to the heroism or force of a leader in Raghuvamsam.


“He who has a befitting physique for his heroic deeds in kingship, with a sizable chest, bullish shoulders, tallish stature like a sala tree, and with dextrous arms, abided as a personification of the devoir and valour of kshatriya-s. [1-13]


As a calf attains the build of an impetuous bull, or a calf of elephant donning the build of an impulsive young elephant, raghu steadily attained a majestic and pleasing build when his adolescence is bested by his youthfulness. [3-32]

Oh, curvaceous lady, this chitrakUTa mountain with its mouth of a valley sending forth gurgling sounds of rapids, mud-like rainclouds attached to its horn-like apices, thus resembling a proudish bull whose cavern mouth sends forth a continuous bellowing and the tips of whose horns are smeared with mud dug up while indulging in butting against the side of a mountain, rivets my sight. [13-47]


“I have a wife, young girl; you may therefore resort to my younger brother…” Thus bull-shouldered Rama directed that lustful sUrpaNakha.(12-34)”


Bull in Indus Valley

We have excavated more seals with bull figure in Indus valley than other animals. Surprisingly no seal with cow or no figure of cow is discovered in the valley. This shows the reverence they gave to the cow.

Sumerian Bull

Cattle evolved from the now extinct aurochs; water buffaloes are common in the seals of third millennium BCE Mesopotamia and it has been argued that they were imports from India.



Egyptian Bull

In Egypt, the king was hailed a s a Mighty Bull and his people were The Cattle of God.

Apis was the bull god worshiped as symbol of natural forces.


One of the most ancient of all the evidences of funerary cults comes from the very distant past in the extreme south, from Tushka in Lower Nubia, where burials have been excavated from the twelfth millennium BCE which were surmounted by the skulls of the wild bull, the aurochs, Bos primigenius, which roamed the valley until it was exterminated by the kings of the New Kingdom, ten thousand years later.

In Mithraic religion in Rome, a bull was killed.


Cretan ritual had the artistic leaping dances in which the humans imitated the bulls. The bull faced demon Minotaur of ancient Crete was killed by the hero Theseus.


In astrology, the bull is represented in the zodiacal sign of Taurus.


Bull in Tamil Literature

The primeval bull must have been a powerfully impressive symbol of vitality and masculine strength. The bull is of particular importance in the history of religion; bulls were worshiped in various cultures. There were symbolic rites in which a bull is defeated or sacrificed. Lord Krishna defeated seven bulls according to Hindu mythology. Tamils have the heroic game of Bull Fighting known as Jallikkattau or Manju Virattu. Unlike the Spanish bull fighting, here the bull is not killed but only tamed.


Tamil poets describe the bulls goring the wet ant hills with their horns and with mud on the horns accompanying the cows (Akananuru 64)


A fish caught in the fishing rod fights like a bull tied to ropes (Akam.36)


The tall black bull with white legs looked like a mountain with waterfalls.

The white bull with dots over its body resembles the twilight sky with shining stars.

The red with its curved horns appears like the God Siva wearing the crescent moon on his head. (Kali 103)


The bells on the horns of the reddish black bull are like the bees humming over the Naravu flower buds. (Kali 105)



The Treatment of Nature in Sangam Literature, M.Varadarajan, 1969

Dictionary of Symbolism, Hans Biedermann, 1992

Who is Who in Ancient Egypt, Michael Rice, 1999

The Imagery of Kalidasa, Dr(Mrs) Vinod Aggarwal, 1985

Dictionary of the Ancient Near Eas, British Museum, 2000


Picture of Apis of Egypt



Why did Mother Earth Cry? Sangam Tamils and Valmiki explain! (Post No.3627)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 11 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 13-25


Post No. 3627



Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.






Sangam Tamil literature has got many poets with Sanskrit names such as Valmiki, Damodraran, Kesavan, Rudraksha, Kamakshi, Markanedyan etc. Most of the poems in Purananuru, oldest part of Sangam Tamil Literature, is full of Hindu themes, stories, similes, imageries, thoughts and views. In fact, there is no poem without one of these ideas. over 20 poets have Nagan as suffix in their names! This explodes the Aryan-Dravidian Racist theories.


There is a very interesting poem sung by Marakandeyanar (verse 365); when he was explaining the instability of the world, he said that the Mother Earth cried saying that she was like a courtesan; all the kings come and ‘enjoy’ her and go. one wouldn’t understand the meaning of this poem unless one reads Valamiki Ramayana.


The story of Mother Earth is in 36th Chapter of Bala Kanda in Ramayana:


Vishvamitra narrated the Story of Uma to Rama and Lakshmana. In the ancient times, Mahadeva married Uma and spent his time happily. But the Devas were worried that they had no issue for a long time. Devas wanted a powerful youth to get rid of the Asuras/demons. So they went to Shiva’s abode under the leadership of Brahma and told him their concern. Then Lord Shiva shed his semen which fell on earth. It covered the hills and forests. When the earth could bear no more, Devas asked the fire god Agni and Wind god Vayu to take it. They created a mountain called Shveta and a forest called Shara. Kartikeya was born from this Shara Vana (Vana= forest).


Though all the Devas were happy, Uma wan’t. Since she was bypassed in this matter she cursed Devas that they would remain childless. She cursed Mother Earth for accepting Shiva’s seeds, that she would never bear a son, but would have countless masters (Kings). This is the reason for Mother Earth’s crying.


Earth is considered Mother in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. Greeks borrowed this idea from the Hindus. The poet in the verse used other Puranic imageries such as Sun and Moon as eyes, sky as face, Diamond tool etc.







Sirisam and Anicham flowers in Tamil and Sanskrit literature (Post No.3599)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 2 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:-  6-26 am


Post No. 3599



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.






Sirisham is the softest flower in Sanskrit literature. We see girls named after as Sirisha. In Tamil Sangam and post Sangam literature Anicham is the softest flower. My research shows that both the flowers are one and the same.


In the Kumarasambhava, Kalidasa compared the arms of Parvati to the delicate Sirisa flower. The arms of Parvati are imagined to be more delicate than even the Sirisa flower– KS 1-41


The soft delicate Sirisa flower can stand only the footing of a bee on it but not that of a heavy bird. Similarly the Sirisa like delicate frame can tolerate delicate handling and not the rough handling as in penances –KS 5-4


The image imparts grace and charm to the delicacy of Parvati’s body.

In the Raghuvamsa the body of Sudarsana is said to be as tender as the delicate Sirisa flower– RV18-45


What is Sirisam or Anicham?

According to Tamil books, Anicham is the softest flower. Like diamond is used to compare the hardness of any object, Sirisham or Anicham flower is used by all the Indian poets to compare the softness of any part of the body or an object.


Anicham flower is referred to in Sangam Tamil literature at least in two places in Kalitokai and Kurijipattu. In later works Tirukkural has got four references to Anicham flowers. They are as follows:

Anicham picture from Wikipedia


Even as the Anicham flower fades when smelt, so also are guests, so also are guests hurt when the host puts to a vary face. (Kural 90)


Blessed art thou, Anicha, tenderest of flowers; more tender than thee is my beloved (1111) (This is similar to the Kumarasambhava couplet of Kalidasa, where he says the same about Parvati)


Even the flower Anicha and the down of the swan are ripe nettles to the feet of this maiden (1120)


With stems she wears the Anicha flower. The weight may break her waists and sad drums blare (1115)


Reasons for my conclusion:

The flower identified as Anicham previously by some people, is not a common flower in Tamil Nadu. Moreover, that is not the softest flower where as Sirisam shown in the picture fits in all the descriptions. Anicham identified does not fade when smelt. Anicham may not be a Tamil word at all. We have no word with that sound (ani) in Sangam literature except Anicham mentioned In Kurinjipattu and Kalitokai. Sirisham is used in naming girls. But Anicham is not used in naming or Puja or decoration or making garlands. It looks very artificial. So we may conclude that Sirisham was known as Anicham in some parts of ancient Tamil Nadu.

Botanical name of both the flowers as identified in the websites:

Sirisham – Albizia lebbek (East Indian Walnut); Family-Mimosaceae

Anicham- Anagallis arvensis (Scarlet Pimpernel); Family- Primulaceae






Who invented Camouflage Technique? (Post No.3569)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 23 January 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 10-37 am


Post No.3569



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.






Hindus invented the Camouflage technique and taught the world. As keen observers of animals, they watched them  and used their camouflage wherever necessary. Colour changing chameleon and crocodile are part of their literature and proverbs.

Camouflage means colours or structures that allow an animal or structures to blend with its surroundings to avoid detection by others. Camouflage can take the form of matching the background colours. It is widely used in military as a technique disguising either an equipment, troops or a position in order to conceal them from an enemy- Hutchinson Encyclopaedia


Aristotle (Born in 384 BCE) referred to it. But We have older references in our literature. The greatest poet of India Kalidasa (First or Second Century BCE) has referred to it in at least two places in his Raghuvamsa. Let us look at it :


ग्रथितमौलिरसौ वनमालया तरुपलाशसवर्णतनुच्छदः।
तुरगवल्गनचञ्चलकुण्डलो विरुरुचे रुरुचेष्टितभुमिषु॥ ९-५१

grathitamaulirasau vanamālayā tarupalāśasavarṇatanucchadaḥ |
turagavalganacañcalakuṇḍalo viruruce ruruceṣṭitabhumiṣu || 9-51

grathitamaulirasau vanamAlayA tarupalAshasavarNatanucChadaH |


9-51. vana-mAlayA grathita mauliH = with garden, creepers, intertwined, headgear; taru palAsha sa-varNa tanu cChadaH= trees, leaves, equalling, body, covered – hisbodycovered  with agarment  having the colour of theleavesof trees;  turaga valgana ca~ncala kuNDalaH= by horses, galloping, moving, eardrops – one who has such ear-ornaments;  asau= he that Dasharatha;  ruru-ceShTita-bhumiShu= black-striped antelopes, moving, in such places;  vi-ruruce = shone forth.

This King Dasharatha camouflaged with his headgear tied up with a string of wild flowers and leaves,his body covered with a garment having the colour of the leaves of trees, and while his earrings moving about by the galloping of his horse, shone forth on the hunting grounds frequented by the ruru antelopes. [9-51]


Though Kalidasa came after Aristotle, he said that Dasaratha adopted this technique and we knew for sure that Dasaratha lived thousands of years before Aristotle.


Kalidasa also spoke about Animal Camouflage in another place:


Like the crocodile merges with its surroundings and waits to attack its prey, Aja’s enemies gave him prizes merging with the happy atmosphere, but was waiting to attack him.

लिङ्गैर्मुदः संवृतविक्रियास्ते ह्रदाः प्रसन्ना इव गूढनक्राः।
वैदर्भमामन्त्र्य ययुस्तदीयाम् प्रत्यर्प्य पूजामुपदाछलेन॥ ७-३०

liṅgairmudaḥ saṁvṛtavikriyāste hradāḥ
prasannā iva gūḍhanakrāḥ |
vaidarbhamāmantrya yayustadīyām
pratyarpya pūjāmupadāchalena || 7-30

li~NgairmudaH sa.nvR^itavikriyaaste hradaaH
prasannaa iva guuDhanakraaH |
vaidarbhamaamantrya yayustadiiyaam
pratyarpya puujaamupadaaChalena || 7-30

7-30. mudaH li~NgaiH= smiles, [as an outward] mark – hence with pseudo smiles; sa.nvR^ita vikriyaaH= concealed, change of feeling – wrath; prasannaa= [outwardly] unruffled – lake; guuDha nakraaH= with hidden, alligators; hradaaH iva = lake, as with; [sthitA= those kings who are there]; te= those kings; vaidarbham aamantrya= from king of Vidarbha, taking leave; tadiiyaam puujaam= his – Bhoja’s, hospitality by presents and gifts etc; upadaaChalena= by return gifts; pratyarpya= by requiting; yayuH= went away.

As with a lake hiding alligators under its serene sheet of waters, those suitor-princes concealing their irritation with feigned expressions of joy, bade farewell to the Lord of Vidarbha and went away, but only after having requited the worth of honour done to them, in the pretext of wedding presents. [7-30]



Gaits of Horses

In the first verse (quoted above) Kalidasa (Rv 9-51) used beautiful words to describe the gait of Dasaratha’s horse: Turaga Valgana Sanchala Kundala. Valgana is one of the five gaits of horse. Horse and cow are biggest contribution of Hindus to the civilization. Both figured in the Rig Veda, the oldest scripture in the world (dated between 6000 BCE and 1500 BCE). Latest discoveries show that horse and rhino originated in India illions of years ago. Hindus domesticated themand trained the entire world.Hindu Yakshas (Hyskos) took it to Egypt and from where It spread to other civilised parts of the world. Kikkuli’s training Horse training manual in Sanskrit was discovered in Turkey. It is dated 1300 BCE.


Following couplets show that Hindus were well advanced in the Horse training. The very word Horse came from Sanskrit Hrasva=Asva. Since Indian horse has different number of ribs, which is clearly mentioned in the Rig Veda, the Aryan migration was also thrown into dustbin by the latest research.




Aaskanditam – Leaping

Dhoritakam – Trot

Recitam -Canter

Valgitam – Space

Plutam – Caper

asskanditam dhoritakam recitam valgitam plutam gatayo amuuh pancha dhaara  – Amarakosham 2-8-48


Asvakrama (Training of Horse)

Mandala – circular

Caturasra – square

Gomutra – cow urine shaped

Ardhacandra- Crescent shaped

Naagapaasa – Snake shaped


mandalam caturasranca gomutrancardhacandrakam

nagapasakramenaiva bramayet katapanchakam

-Vasishta Dhanurveda Samhita page 72


Asva Types in Mahabharata

Saibya; Sugriiva, Meghapuspa, Balaahaka


vajibhih saibyasugrivameghapuspabalahakaih

snatah sampadayamasuh sampannaih sarvasampada- M.Bh.(Udyogaparva 4-21)


–Encyclopaedia of Numerals, Vol.1, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institue, Chennai, 600004, Year 2011



Pearl is available from Twenty Sources! (Post No.3538)


Written by London swaminathan


Date: 12 January 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 20-20


Post No.3538



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.




Tamil literature lists 20 places as the sources of pearls . Biologists know only one place where pearl is born. Sanskrit literature lists only eight places but these are not scientifically proved.

Twenty places according to Tamil verse from Uvamana Sangraham and Rathina Surukkam:
Horn of elephant/tusk
Horn of boar


Areca nut Tree

Special Type of Banana Tree

Chalanchalam (Rare Type of right whorld Chank

Hear of Fish

Head of Crane


Neck of women

Sugar cane


Snake (cobra)





Head of a crocodile
Teeth of cows

Varahamihira lists the following eight places in his Brhat Samhita:-


Following is from 2015 post: “Eight Types of Pearls: Varahamihira’s 1500 year old Price list”


Pearls are produced by:

Elephants, Oysters, Snakes, Clouds, Chanks, Bamboos, Whales, Boar (Brhat Samhita, Chapter 81)

Pearls come from eight areas


Simhalaka (Sri Lanka), Paraloka (Travancore coast), Surashtra (Gujarat), Tampraparani River (in South Tamil Nadu), Parasava (Iran), a Nothern country, Pandya vataka and the Himalayas.

Kautilya’s Artha Shastra (Third Century BCE) mentioned Pandya Kavata pearl. Fahien (399-414 CE) mentioned Simhala/Sri Lankan pearls.

Paraloka is a confusing term. There is one river called Parali in Kerala and there is an island Parali in the Lakshadweep. But the interesting thing is that itself sounds pearl in Tamil (Paral in Tamil is pearl in English and this town name is Paral+i).

Elephant Pearls:


Pearls are also obtained from the head and tusks of Bhadra class of elephants, says Varahamihira. But Varahamihira makes it clear that he repeats what the ancients believed about the elephant pearls. (This means they are not found even in Varahamihira days who lived around 510 CE)

He speaks about the pearls found in Boar tusk, Whales etc. Then he gives details about the pearls that are found in the seventh layer of winds. But the heaven dwellers will catch them before it falls on to earth!

Then he categorises Nagaratna as pearls. If the kings wear Nagaratna pearls enemies will be destroyed and his reputation will increase.
Kalidasa speaks of pearls from the head of elephants


From my 2012 post “Gem Stones in Kalidasa and Sangam Literature”

Pearl in the Oyster


If the rain falls on Swati star day the oysters open their mouth to drink the rain drops and the rain drops become pearls-This was the belief of ancient Indians including Tamils.
Bhartruhari and Sangam Tamil literature say that the pearls are created by the oysters on a particular day,I.e. The oysters open their mouths when there is rain falling down on a day under the star Swati(one of the 27 stars ). Biologists say that the sand particles that enter the living oysters secrete a liquid which covers the irritant to become a pearl.
Malavi.1-6: Kalidasa says , ‘the skill of a teacher imparted to a worthy pupil attains greater excellence, as the water of a cloud is turned in to a pearl in a sea shell.In Puram 380 ,Karuvur Kathapillay says the same about the origin of pearls. Bhartruhari makes it more specific by saying the rain on Swati Nakshatra days become pearls. Biologits also confirm on full moon days lot of sea animals like corals release their eggs or spores. So far as India is concerned it might have happened in that particular (Swati star with Moon) season.

Kalidasa gives more similes about pearls. He describes the river that is running circling a mountain as a garland of pearls ( Ragu.13-48 and Mega.-49)

Other references from Kalidasa: sweat drops as pearl:Rtu.6-7; tears as pearls: Mega 46, Ragu VI 28,,Vikra V 15; smile-KumarI-44, water drops on lotus leaf:Kumara VII 89


Pearls obtained from the head of elephants:Kumarasambhava 1-6, Raghu.9-65; In Tamil literature: Murugu 304, Malaipadu 517, Puram 170Natri.202, Kurinchi.36, Akam.282 etc.


In Tamil the teeth are compared to the pearls: Ainkur. 185, Akam 27

Since Gulf of Mannar is the main source of pearls in India ,thre are innumerable references to pearls in Tamil literature. Even Kautilya refers to the pearls from Pandya country. Korkai was the harbour city where the pearl fishing was flourishing. Aink 185,188, Akam 27,130 and Natri 23mention pearls from Korkai.

(for more information, go to  the two articles mentioned  by me




Wikipedia Picture of Parijata at Kittoor in Uttar Pradesh

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 29 December 2016


Time uploaded in London:-  17-37


Post No.3495



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.






This mythical (Parijata) tree rose of the milk ocean and Indra planted it in his garden. “Its bark was gold, and it was embellished with young sprouting leaves of a copper colour, and fruit stalks bearing numerous clusters of fragrant fruits.”


It is related that once Narada brought a flower of this tree to Dwaraka and presented it to his friend Krishna. He waited to see to to which of his wives Krishna gave the flower. The flower was given to Rukmini, and Narada went straight to Satyabhama and made a show of sorrow. On her enquiring why he was not in good cheer, the sage told Satyabhama, that he had presented Krishna with a flower of the Parijata tree thinking that she was her favourite wife and he would present it to her, but was grieved to find that Krishna had given it to Rukmini.


Satyabhama’s jealousy was roused and she asked Narada what could be done to spite Rukmini. The sage advised her to ask Krishna to bring the Parijata tree itself from heaven and plant it near her house. After giving this advice, he went back to the celestial region and told Indra to guard the Parijata tree carefully as thieves were about.


Satyabhama repaired to the anger-chamber, (ancient Hindu kings who had more than one wife had room or house, called anger-chamber, set apart for a dissatisfied queen to occupy and demand redress of her grievances) and when Krishna came to her shereviled him for cheating her.

“You pretend that I am your favourite wife, but treat me as Rukmini’s handmaid she said, and asked him what made him present the Parijata flower to Rukmini. Krishna admitted his guilt and asked her what he could do in expiation. She wanted possession of the tree. Krishna immediately proceeded to Amaravati, Capital City of Indra’s Empire. Krishna stole into Indra’s grove and started uprooting the tree. The king of the gods came upon the scene and caught the thief red-handed but seeing who his despoiler was, he allowed him, after some show of resentment, to take the tree to Dwaraka, Capital city of Krishna’s empire.


It is fabled that, after Krishna’s death, Dwaraka was submerged in the ocean and the Parijata tree was taken back to heaven.



Coral Jasmine is also called Parijata


Botanical Information: Two different plants are known as Parijata one is Coral Jasmine (Pavala Mallikai in Tamil) and another is Baobob Tree in Uttar Pradesh; See the picture taken from Wikipedia)






Tulsi Leaf is heavier than Lord Krishna! (Post No. 3492)

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 28 December 2016


Time uploaded in London:-  15-42


Post No.3492



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.








This plant is sacred to Vishnu. Its leaves are supposed to possess medicinal properties. Orthodox Hindus plant it in their gardens and and compounds and worship it.


A story is told how even Rukmini, the chief wife of Krishna, and an incarnation of Lakshmi, gave pride of place to Tulsi.

Narada, one day, visited Satyabhama, one of the wives of Krishna, and this lady confided to the sage that she wished to obtain Krishna as her husband in all her future births, and asked him how this could be done.

Narada said that the best way of ensuring this was to give her husband to Narada himself, as anyting given to a Brahmin could be depended upon to return to the giver in future births in manifold forms. Carried away by Narada’s eloquence Satyabhama gave her husband to Narada and the latter asked Krishna to work as his page, gave him his Vina to carry and proceeded towards the celestial regions.


The other wives of Krishna, on coming to know of this rushed to the sage and implored him to return their husband. They reviled Satyalhara for her presumption, and this lady repented on her rash act and requested Narada to return Krishna to her.


Narada now disclosed to them that it was a sin to receive anything in charity from a Brahmin and told them they could buy their husband from him if they cared to. He was asked to name his price and he demanded Krishna’s weight in gold. The ladies piled up their ornaments in one pan of the scales, but when Krishna sat in the other this one came in a thud. Now they sent for Rukmini who was not in the crowd. She came with a leaf of the Tulsi plant, asked the ladies to remove the ornaments from the pan and, when this was done, placed the leaf in the pan when Krishna was lifted upwards in the other. Rukmini now told all the ladies that Tulsi was more beloved to Krishna than any of them.


On the eleventh day of Kartik (october-November) a ceremony is performed in honour of Tulsi and her marriage with Vishnu. “This ceremony opens the marriage season among high caste Hindus. It is said that he who performs this marriage ceremony assuming that Tulsi is his daughter, gets all the benefits of Kayadandan, (giving away a daughter in marriage),a very meritorious act.


Source:Epics, Myths and Legends of India by P Thomas, Year 1961



Nature’s Orchestra in the Forest: Sanskrit Tamil Poets’ Chorus (Post No. 3489)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 27 December 2016


Time uploaded in London:-  13-05


Post No.3489



Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.






The amazing thing about India is it was the largest country in the world 2000 years ago. Invaders like Alxander, Genghis khan wetn from one end to the other part of the world and plundered the wealth of the countries they invaded. Before they returned to their starting points, whatever they “conqurered” broke into pieces. But Bharat was united for long time, though there were so called “56 Desas” (countries or Kingdoms). The second amazing thing about the olden days is that all the Tamil and Sanskrit poets followed the same customs in such a vast space. There was no internet or mobile phone or fast transport and yet they did it!


Kalidasa sings about nature’s orchestra in Meghaduta, Raghuvamsa and Kumara sambhava. Tamil poets Kapilar and Kamban echoed it in their verses.


Kapilar lived in age nearer to Kalidasa. He was the Sangam period poet who contributed the highest number of poems. He and Kalidasa sang about the flute music that originated in the bamboo forest. The holes made by the beetles in the bamboos produced music when the wind passed through its holes. Whenever the clouds made thunderous noise it served as the drum beats. Moreover, it echoed through the caves in the mountains.


When there are rainy clouds with rolling thunderous sound naturally the peacocks begin to dance. The forest is full of noises from deer, frogs and song birds. This kindled the imagination of the poets to sing beautiful verses. Sudraka, author of the Sanskrit Drama Mrcha katika (The Clay Cart) also used such imagery.


Let us look at the verses from Kalidasa:


“Who by filling the holes of the bamboos with wind breathed from the mouths of the caves, appears as if he wishes to play an accompaniment to the Kinnaras, singing in high pitch”–Kumarasambhava 1-8


And in the Meghaduta, Kalidasa addresses the Cloud Messenger (megha duta):

“The wind breathing through the hollow bamboos makes sweet music

woodland nymphs sing with passion-filled voices

of the victory over the Triple City (Tri pura);

If your thunder rumbles in the glens like a drum

would not the ensemble then be complete

for the Dance-Drama of the Lord of Beings?


the same thing is repeated in the Raghu vamsa (2-12 and 4-73)


While Dilipa is on his way he heard the hum and thrum of nature that seemed to be the full score singing of georgic deities to the accompaniment of high-pitched fluty bamboos while the air is filling their holes like a flutist, and he is all ears for that symphony as if it is having the sonata form of his glory. [2-12]

The soft breeze causing murmuring rustle in the leavers of birch trees and melodious sounds in bamboo trees, and surcharged with the coolness of the sprays of River ganga has adored Raghu on his way. [4-73]

Tamil Poets Love of Nature


Kapila, the Brahmin poet of Sangam age, sang the highest number of verses in the Sangam literature. He was a great Sanskrit scholar and must have mastered Kalidasa who lived just a few hundred years before Kapila. When a Northern King by name Brhat Dutta ridiculed Tamil he called him, and taught Tamil and made him to compose verses in Tamil. His poems were also included in the Tamil Sangam literature. To impress upon Brhat Dutta, Kapilar composed a poem Kurinji Pattu. It is nearly an imitation of Kalidasa. Kapila must have used Sanskrit to teach him Tamil


In the Akananuru verse 82, Kapilar used the bamboo flute music imagery of Kalidasa. But it has more than what Kalidasa said; here is a rough translation of the Tamil verse:-

“Beetles made holes in the bamboo trees; the wind blowing through the holes produced sweet music; on the other side the water falls made big noise by rolling the big stones; deer made noise; the humming of the bees came from another direction. Hearing this the peacocks danced and the monkeys were the audience! For the poet Kapilar it was like an orchestra with wind sound as flute, water falls as drums, deer cry as a musical instrument, humming of the beetles as lute and the peacock as bard’s wife and monkeys as the fans.

Kamban who composed Ramayana in Tamil, also has a similar scene in the Kishkinda Kanda. He describes the rainy season beautifully:

Humming of the beetles sounded like lute; the thundering clouds were like the playing of drums; peacocks looked like the girls with bangles in their arms. Red colour Kanthal flowers looked like the lamps on the stage. Karuvilam flowers looked like the eyes of the onlookers.

It is very interesting to compare both Tamil and Sanskrit literature and see the same similes, same messages and same approach in both of them