Research Article Written by London swaminathan

Date: 15 JANUARY 2019

GMT Time uploaded in London –14-19

Post No. 5939
Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

The Mysterious Vedic Homa Bird: Does It Exist? | Swami’s Indology Blog…

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10 Dec 2011 – The Homa bird lives in the air, breeds in the air, lays eggs in the air, but before the eggs reach the surface of the earth they are hatched in the …

Rare Pictures from Siva Purana (Part 1) சிவ புராணத்திலிருந்து அபூர்வ படங்கள்- 1(Post.5919)

Lord Siva in his dancing form- Nataraja

Compiled by London swaminathan

Date:11JANUARY 2019

GMT Time uploaded in London –20-14
Post No. 5919
Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

I am publishing 45 pictures  from a 119 year old book in Parts . The book is Siva Maha Purana, available at the British library in London. I will give brief description in English along with the pictures of Lord Siva.

சைவ புராணம் என்னும் சிவ மஹா புராணம் 1900-ம் ஆண்டு வெளியானது. இதில் சுமார் 45 படங்கள் உள்ளன. அவற்றை பகுதி பகுதியாக வெளியிடுகிறேன் இந்த புஸ்தகம் லண்டனிலுள்ள பிரிட்டிஷ் லைப்ரரியில் உள்ளது.

picture 2

Saints in the Naimisaranya Forest listening to Saint Suthar. He is reciting them the Siva Purana (Mythology about Siva). Look at the posture and beautiful appearance of the saints. They are bare bodied and with bun hairdo. Also notice the different types of tilaks on their foreheads.Saints always use the deer skin or the tiger skin for their seats. Here we seethe tiger skin.

Lord Vishnu is in the Milky ocean on the snake bed. Brahma comes out from him seated on the lotus. Consciousnessis wide awake but eyes look like sleeping (Yoga Nidra)

Siva Linga means the formless form,i.e. there is beginning and there is no end. In a circle there is no beginning or end. God is like that. Foreigners gave wrong explanation to belittle Hinduism. Here Brahma and Vishnu tried to find his beginning and end by going up and down. Both of them admitted that they failed in their attempt. You can easily identify Brahma with Four Heads and Vishnu with Chank (conch) and Chakra (the wheel).

TheVishnu Chakra works like the Australian Boomerang. It hits the target and returns to Lord Vishnu.

Brahm aand Vishnu worshiped  Lord Siva and had his darshan (vision) in the form of 51 Letters. Hinduism is the only religion which has linguistics, grammar and etymology as part of Vedic (religious) studies. The original  alphabets has 51 letters. Sivais always associated with Sanskrit Grammar and alphabet.

40 more pictures are yet to come.

to be continued………………….

Owls in Shakespeare and Hindu Literature (Post No.5693)

Written by London Swaminathan

Date: 23 November 2018

GMT Time uploaded in London –18-28
Post No. 5693

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog

I am adding following points from The Dictionary of Superstitions (year 1989) to my original research article on owls:-
It is interesting to see several cultures have views about owls similar to Hindus. In Hinduism it is mostly associated with death and secret activities. Stories from Panchatantra and Mahabharata adduce proof tp this. At the same time goddess Lakshmi and Chamunda have owl as their Vahanas

I want to add following information to my original article published in 2014
1.Taking owls to Athens is a parallel to the saying Taking coal to New Castle 

2.Theophrastus,319 BCE, says
If an owl is startled by him in his walk, he will exclaim Glory be to Athene!before he proceeds.

3.Ovid, 15 CE, says
The owl of the night sat on an opposite house top and uttered his ill boding funeral voice.
4.Pliny The Elder, 77 CE, in Natural History, says 
Owl seen in day time
The it is looked upon as a direful omen to see it in the city or in the day time.

It is similar to Hindu views. Sanskrit and Tamil literature link owls to crematorium and evil omens.



5.Shakespeare,1595, says in Midsummer Night’s Dream,
Whilst the screitch owle, sctritching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe,
In remembrance of a shrowd 

In 1599, Shakespeare adds in Julius Caesar, adds
Yesterday the Bird of Night did sit,
Even at Noone day, upon the Market place,
Howting and shreeking
I beleeve, they are portentous things Unto the Clymate
That they point upon (an omen of Caesar s death)


6.In 1625, Delaney Thomas of Reading , in 1725 Bourne refer to owls and death.
Bourne says in Antiquates Vulgares,
Omens and Prognostications are still in the mouths of all tho only observed by the vulgar. In country places they are in great repute… If an owl , which they reckon a most abominable and unlucky bird, sends forth it’s hoarse and dismal voice it is an omen of the approach of some terrible thing, that some dire calamity… is near at hand.

7.In 1773 White Selborne says
From this screaming probably arose the common people’s imaginary species of screech owl, which they superstitiously think attend s the window s of dying persons.

8.In 1829, Brocket of North country Words
The barn or the white owl has the reputation of being the herald of horror and disaster
In 1841 Hartsthorne writes
The singular cry or scream of this white owl is considered ominous of death.

9.Even in 1967, S Marshal writes in Fenland Chronicle,
If an owl sat on the roof, or flew up against a window at night, that meant a death actually in the house

OWLS : Are they Good or Bad Omens?
Lakshmi and her Vahana Uluka/owl

Written by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1062; Dated 24th May 2014.

Owls are nocturnal birds. They are known as very intelligent and good birds in the Western World. As a symbol of knowledge and of erudition that can see through obscurity, the owl appears in the emblems of educational institutions, book stores and publishing houses. In Greece owls are associated with Goddess Pallas Athena/Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom.

In India and China owls are not liked by the people because of its demonic gaze. They consider them as the harbinger of misfortune. Owls have earned a bird name in Indian mythology and folk lore. People associate their calls with the God of death.

Goddess Lakshmi and Chamunda have owls as their Vahanas. In Judaism, the female night demon Lilith is described in the company of the owl; Mayan death God Hunahau is often depicted with a head like an owl’s.
In the pre –Aztec civilization of ancient Mexico (Teotihuacan), the owl was the sacred animal of the rain god. But Aztecs considered it an evil omen.

Emblem of Birbeck college,London

Owls have negative associations in popular thinking: with their nocturnal habits, solitude, silent flight and plaintive cry they came to symbolize evil and death. Hooting of the owls was regarded an ill omen.

In India the famous fable book Panchatantra has a long story of a fight between the crows and owls. At the end, the owls are burnt with their nests by the clever crows. Indians who practise black magic kill owls during Deepavali to ward off evil or to gain magical powers. Villagers kill owls for their meat thinking that it would cure many diseases.

In the Vedas
“Uluka is the ordinary word for owl from the Rig Veda (10-165-4) onwards. The bird was noted for its cry and was deemed the harbinger of (nairrta) ill fortune (AV 6-19-2;Taittiriya samhita 5-5-18-1;Vajasaneyi samhita 24-38). Owls were offered at the horse sacrifice to the forest trees (Vajasaneyi Samhita 24-23; Maitrayani Samhita 3-14-4)”.
(page 102, Vedic Index of Names and Subjects, A A Macdonell & AB Keith)

Greek Goddess Athena with owl

Narada and owl
Scriptures refer to calls of owls as having the character of songs i.e. one note or or a simple combination of notes repeated at various intervals. Thus the call of the Brown Wood Owl is said to consist of four deep musical syllables, who—hoo—hoo–hoo. There is a story that narrates how sage Narada was advised to learn music from an owl residing near the Manasarovar lake on the Himalayas (Lingapuranam). This shows that the ancient Indians also appreciated the musical calls of the hated bird. (Tamils also had the same belief; see below for more details).

The long eared owl is distinguished by long tufts, usually borne erected and is most probably the ‘sasoluka’ which has served as a model for the face of a particular attendant of Lord Skanda (M.Bh. 9-45-79). One of the Matris of the same deity is said to have a face like that of the sasoluka (ch 30)
(Mayans also had the same description; see above)

University seal with owl.

Crow killing owls
A particular species of owl has the habit of killing crows. ‘Kakolukiya’ section of the Panchatantra describes it in detail. They live in the Himalayan region. They are the species of Dusky Horned Owls. Mahabharata describes them as Pravarakarna and long lived (3-199-4). There is also a reference in the Ramayana. When after a break with Ravana, Vibhishana goes to Rama, the latter’s ally Sugriva warns him against the owl like tactic of the enemy (96-17-19).

Again after seeing this owl work havoc among the crows at night, Aswaththamam decided to kill Pandavas while asleep during the night time ( M.Bh 1-2-296) and the epic gives an interesting description of the bird:
Ulukam ghora darsanam
Mahasvanam mahakayam haryaksham bhabrupidangalam
Sudhirgagonanakaram suparnamiva veginam
Suptanjagana subahun vayasan dayasantaka: (M.Bh.10-1-36)

The Skandapurana also relates the above incident and calls the owl the powerful bearded vulture a (31-44/45)
Page 179 of Birds in Sanskrit Literature by K.N Dave.

Greek Coin with owl

My Comments:

1.It is interesting to note that the Jews and Hindus believed that owls are messengers of death. Sanskrit literature and Sangam Tamil literature associate owls with death (See Tamil Purananuru verses 240, 261,364)

2.It is equally interesting that owl like face of Lord Skanda’s attendant and one of the Matri’s is like Mayan Death God Hunahau, who has owl like face.

3.It is also interesting God Indra is called Uluka and several Rishis have the name Uluka and Kausika ,another name of owl. It is same in Tamil literature, as many of the Sangam age poets have Andhai (owl) attached to their names. Previously it was thought they were from the towns with the name of owl (Andhai). So we can conclude that both the positive and negative notions existed side by side. Otherwise we cannot have many Rishis with the name Uluka, Kausika and many Tamil names like Kukai Koziyaar, Pisiranthaiyaar, Othal andhaiyaar etc.

  1. It is amazing to read that Tamils and their counterparts in the North has the same belief the owls have musical skills.

All these debunk the racist Aryan – Dravidian divisive theories created by foreigners with a motive to stabilise their rule and spread their religion.
We also have various types of demons named after large birds like Uluka (owl), Suparna (Eagle) and Grudhya (RV: 7-104-17)

We can also conclude that Hindus are very good observers of nature. There are lot of references to owls in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Tamil References:
The shriek of the owl in the Nemai tree in the desert tract is like the sound of the smithy (Natrinai 394)
A stanza in Natrinai (verse 83) is an apostrophe to the owl that has its abode in the deep recess of a tree on the bank of the village tank. Its shriek at night is said to be alarming and the lady-companion promises it a fine pleasant dish of meat boiled in ghee and fried flesh of rats if only it kept silent at nights when the hero comes on visit.

One description is of a night bright with the moon light and full of disturbances with the barking of dogs and the hooting of owls (Aka.122)

Owl’s Music

The owl’s harsh hooting is heard like the tune of the instrument called Makuli and seems to have some signification (Aka.351)
(Compare it with Narada learning music from owl :Linga Purana)
Jeevaka Chintamani, one of the Five Tamil Epics, says that the owl emitted sweet music like a lyre. It is in Nachinarkiniyar commentary on the epic.

In a rare reference in the epic, owl is praised as giving a positive message about the hero. But in other places the negative image is projected like other epic Manimegalai where the owl is described as the messenger of death. The oldest section of Sangam Tamil literature associated the bird with death and crematorium (See Purananuru verses 240, 261,364).

Kukai koziyar says that the shrill cry of the owl breaks the eerie silence of the graveyard (Pura.364)
The owl with nocturnal habits living in the burning grounds and other wastelands is said to make the sound ‘’cuttukkuvi ‘’and is imagined to call the dead (Pura. 240)

Owls hoot and keep time to peacock’s dance, says a poet (Aink.291)
Bilo Irudayanath, who has done research with the tribal peoples, says that if an owl sits on top of the hut, they will dismantle the old thatched roof and do a new roof.

Owl has several names in Tamil such as Aandhai,Aandalai, Kuukai, Kuraal, Kutinjai. But some names in Tamil Nigandu/Dictionary have the Sanskrit names Kinnara, Kinnari, Kausika, irudi (Rishi),Uluka and Pingalai. The words Kinnara, Kinnari are linked with musical skills.

Owl who saved Genghis Khan
The arms of the Tartar rulers contain a black night owl in a golden shield, because the first of them, Genghis Khan was saved his life with the help of such a bird. They believed that the barn owl saved his life. When his horse was shot in one of the battles he ran for his life and hid under a bush. His enemies were looking for him. At that time a white owl came and sat on the tree under which he was hiding. They did not even come near that tree thinking that he would definitely not be there. His enemies thought the owl would not have sat there if any man had been hiding under the tree. So owl earned a permanent place in their emblems!

Goddess Lakshmi with Uluka

From Mahabharata

Owl and Crow fight

(8).Uluka (owl) was the name of emissary sent by Duryodhana to tell the Pandavas that their peace proposal is rejected. Seer Kausika (Visvamitra) also means owl. In Tamil also we have many poets with owl name (Pisir Anthai, Othal Anthai). People thought that they are the names of their towns. My view is that they actually mean the bird of wisdom owl, which is the vehicle of Lakshmi and Greek Goddess Athena. In western countries it is a very common logo in the educational institutions.

This confirms my view that most of the tribal names are totem symbols I have already given the names of Tamil poets with frog names like their counterparts in Sanskrit. Tortoise is also the name of several rishis/seers.

Tags– Owl, owls in Shakespeare, Hindu literature, Tamil literature


Hindu Forest/ Wood Dwellers (Post No.5552)


WRITTEN by London Swaminathan
Date: 17 October 2018


Time uploaded in London – 15-49

(British Summer Time)


Post No. 5552



Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

Vanaprastha is a unique stage in a Hindu’s life.

Hindus have four stages in their lives,
Brahmachari– Student life
Grhastha (asrama)—Householder stage (Family life)
Vanaprastha– Forest living
Sanyasa– Complete Renunciation

These four stages are not found anywhere in the world, but seen in Vedic literature written before the Hebrews, Greeks and other ancient literatures. This explodes the half- baked Aryan immigration theory. Hundreds of ancient Hindu customs and rituals, thousands of Sanskrit words are not found in European cultures or any other cultures except India. From northern Himalayas to the southern most Kanyakumari we see the same culture and thoughts from very ancient times. Sangam Tamil literature, which is 2000 year old, praised all the Vedic customs . Some Tamil poets have names such as Valmiki, Kamakshi (Kamak Kanni) , Maha chitran, Vishnudasan, Mahadevan, Damodaran, Kesavan, Kapilan, and Brahma .

It is very interesting to see the sculptures showing Vanaprastha stage in Bharhut and other Buddhist Centers. Great kings like Pandu of Mahabharata along with his wife Madri, emperor Chandragupta Maurya  (in Jain way) spent their later lives in the forests.

People who have seen their grandchildren, go to forest and live a detached life. They pass their time thinking of god and praying for the welfare of the world. Contrary to the modern old age homes, full of gossips and T V shows they watched nature and thought only about god and people’s welfare. In contrast to three course meals at old age homes they had natural organic food, only vegetarian food. Milk, honey, forest grains and fruits gave them good health and good and positive thoughts. They never knew dementia or depression. Those who read Aranyakas and Upanishads (Vedic literature in Sanskrit dated 800 BCE of before) would long for such a peaceful and happy atmosphere. Their only hobby was walking in the woods and enjoying nature. Parrots and deer came to such peaceful places and resided happily which we come to know from the ancient Hindu literature.

During this period the theological ideas of the Hindus were fully developed and put to writing. We see a deep tendency in portraying one supreme God -The Brahman. All other rituals and worship of other old gods were shown as steps towards a higher goal. The Trinity- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva -are the manifestations of this Supreme being. Some saw the Supreme being in the Sun as Gayathri and others saw the most powerful goddess. At no stage, they demolished the steps leading to the highest stage. They knew very well that those steps are necessary for people at lower levels. The lower levels were like nursery schools with lot of nursery rhymes,  (Slokas or hymns), lots of pictures on the walls. Next stage was like high schools with labs for experiments and wall charts (like modern temples with rituals). Next was the university stage with lots of debates and researches on gods and scriptures. When they passed all these nursery school, high school and university stages they came to forest for the real and ultimate peace.


We have beautiful forest scenes in Valmiki Ramayana and Kalidasa’s Sakuntalam drama.

Hindus are great nature lovers. The lofty Himalayas are the source of their numerous Aranyakas (Forest Teachings) and Upanishads (Philosophical Teachings).


The awesome nature with gigantic mountains and high water falls made them look tiny. They also compared their impermanence with the millions of years old valleys and hills. The beautiful flowers reminded them the three great virtues Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram.



Elephants are Lucky (Post No.5544)

Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 15 October 2018


Time uploaded in London – 19-54

(British Summer Time)


Post No. 5544



Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

In India people believe seeing elephants in person or in dream is a lucky sign. In Kerala,hair from elephant tail is used as a talisman. Mothers of Buddha and Mahavira dreamt of elephant before the great people were born. Elephant is an auspicious symbol.

It is very interesting to see the beliefs of European’s though it is a tropical animal native of Asia and Africa.


Here are some excerpts from magazines and books:-

1953 Folklore (Westmorland) says,
Elephants are lucky.
1957 Folklore says,
I was once at a marriage in Morecambe, Lancashire, when the bride groom met such a beast as he drove to church and afterwards received numerous congratulations on his singular good fortune.

1974 D Scannel, Mother knew Best, says,
Everyone knew that an elephant’s hair bracelet was lucky.

1957, Woman’s Own 4 April,
I have two small ebony elephants which I kept on the mantelpiece, but they did not bring any luck. Then a friend told me that elephants should always face the door. I moved them the next day and our happiness, health and luck really seem to have changed for better.

1969 Folklore,
If you own a drawing or a carving of an elephant, it must always be so placed in the room that its head is facing the door.

1970 Folklore,
It is a superstition in my family (East London/Essex ) that any ornament that has a face should be so placed that it is facing the door by which one would normally enters the room… was suggested that the death of my father in 1967 was affected or portended by an ornament being accidentally turned round some weeks earlier.

1984 Woman (Hawk Hurst, Kent),
I know people who have elephants in the room always face them to the door as they get wild if they do not know what is going on.

Elephants came to Europe only 2000 years ago but they knew about the elephants even before that due to Persian and Greek invasions.

It is strange to read how the belief or superstition about elephant toys spread there .

Elephant has positive symbolic associations.

A white elephant announced the birth of Gautama Buddha. Hindus worship elephant headed Ganesh before venturing into new business.
Elephant seals are discovered in Indus- Saraswati River civilisation .

In the Christian imagery of Physiologus of late antiquity, the elephants chastity is celebrated . It will procreate only after eating Mandrake root. The same sources say that female elephants give birth in marsh lands and the male elephants protect them from snakes.


The ancient Chinese also lauded the chastity of the elephants.

White elephants are considered lucky because they were the vehicles of Vedic god Indra. In the old Thailand/ Siam white elephant was used in the royal emblem. Indra’s elephant is called Airavata.
South Indian Hindu temples have eight elephants sculpted around the sanctum sanctorum. Those eight elephants guard the earth in eight directions.
The Chinese phrase ‘to ride on an elephant’ means Happiness.

Indian Folklore and anecdotes about the amazing memory of elephants are well known. ( I have already umpteen anecdotes about the Memory of Elephants)

Xxx Subham xxx


Compiled by London Swaminathan
Date: 6 October 2018


Time uploaded in London –14-53 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5512


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.


Walt Whitman
American poet and journalist
Born May 31,1819
Died March 26,1892
Age at death 72



1855 Leaves of Grass
1865 Drum Taps
1865-86 Sequel to Drum Taps
1871 Democratic Vistas
1875 Memoranda during the War
1882 Specimen Days and Collect

Walt Whitman was America’s greatest 19th century poet. He wrote one of the finest works of American literature, the poetry collection Leaves of Grass

Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island and grew up in Brooklyn. His father was a Quaker carpenter. As a youth Whitman attended rural schools, trained to be a printer, and spent his summers on Long Island, where he developed a love of nature that was to dominate his writing.

For most of his life Whitman worked as a journalist. He began working on newspapers in New York, but as a young man he traveled to New Orleans to work on a paper there and saw the huge size and diversity of America for the first time. Back in New York he witnessed the rapid growth of the city as hundreds of thousands of people arrived from all over the world to make a better life. Whitman wanted to write a new kind of poetry that Could express his excitement at this amazing mix of people and their hopes for freedom.

The first edition of Leaves of Grass was published at Whitman s own expense when he was 36– no publisher would accept his poems because they were so unusual. They are celebrations of nature, of the individual, of freedom and of the kinship of all humanity. He was widely criticised for his use of blank verse and his openness about sexuality.

During the American civil war Whitman worked as a nurse. After the war he published Drum Taps— Poems about his experience of war— and one of his most famous poems O Captain! My Captain! About the death of President Abraham Lincoln.

Walt Whitman’s preface to his most famous poem ‘Leaves of Grass’ is an echo of Indian thoughts. Each of his advice is found in Tamil or Sanskrit literature.

Love the earth and sun in the Atharva Veda.

Give alms to everyone is in Manu smrti, Tamil poetess Avvaiyar’s aphorisms.

Devote your income and labour to others is in the Isavasyopanishad and Bhagavad Gita

Have patience is in Mahabharata and Tirukkural (Tamil)

Take off your hat to anyone is in Sanskrit Subhasitas.

Reexamine what you have been told in school is in Tirukkural

Dismiss what insults your soul is in philosophical teachings in Hindu books.



Following two anecdotes are from my previous posts


Great man Walt Whitman
When a baby in a crowded Washington horse car was screaming, Walt Whitman took it from its mother, into his own arms; the infant stared at him a long time, then snuggled against him and fell asleep. Presently the conductor got off the car to get his supper, and Whitman acted as conductor the rest of the trip, still holding the sleeping baby.



On Ingersoll’s last visit to Walt Whitman, — to whom he was bountiful – he said, “Walt, the mistake of your life was that you did not marry. There ought to be a woman here,” he added, looking around at the poor chaotic room. (Ingersoll’s address at the funeral of Walt Whitman was the grandest and most impressive utterance of that kind which I have ever heard.)

xxx subham xxx

THE CHAMELEON பச்சோந்தி (Tamil and English) (Post NO.5340)

Compiled by london swaminathan

Date: 19 August 2018


Time uploaded in London – 18-08 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5340


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.



THE CHAMELEON was written by English poet and scholar James Merrick (1720-1769). He translated the chameleon from Greek. His poems are featured in Oxford Religious Poetry anthologies.

The verse is translated into Tamil by Pundit M Gopalakrishnan of Madurai, Tamil Nadu and was published in his anthology in 1915.

Following is the original poem in English and the translation in Tamil.

It is similar to the story of a five blind men and an elephant found in Hindu and Buddhist literature.


ஜேம்ஸ் மெர்ரிக் (1720-1769) என்பவர் ஒரு சிறந்த ஆங்கிலக் கவிஞர்; ஆக்ஸ்போர்டு பல்கலைக் கழகத்தில் கற்று ட்ரினிட்டி கல்லூரியில் பணியாற்றினார். கிறிஸ்தவ மத போதகராக மாறியும் கடும் தலைவலி காரணமாக அந்தப் பணியை ஆற்ற முடியவில்லை. ஆனால் இவர் எழுதிய பச்சோந்தி என்னும் கவிதை மிகவும் கருத்தாழம் மிக்கது. அந்தக் கவிதையை அவர் கிரேக்க மொழியில் இருந்து மொழி பெயர்த்தார். இவரது கவிதைகள் ஆக்ஸ்போர்டின் சமயக் கவிதைகள் தொகுப்பில் வெளியாகியுள்ளன.


இந்து மத, புத்த மதப் புஸ்தகங்களில் உள்ள அந்தகர்கள் யானையைக் கண்ட கதையுடன் இதை ஒப்பிடலாம். ஆங்கிலக் கவிதையை மதுரை பண்டிதர் கோபால கிருஷ்ணன் தமிழில் மொழிபெயர்த்து 1915ம் ஆண்டில் புஸ்தகமாக வெளியிட்டார்.




Research Article Written by London swaminathan

Date: 6 August 2018


Time uploaded in London – 14-10  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5294


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“The organisation of the army included a camel corps. Camels are referred to in the Vedas as being native to the soil but there is no specific mention of fighting camels. Camels are of two varieties, the single humped one, now seen in upper India and in Arabia, (where it was probably introduced from India) and the double humped Bactrian camel which was later introduced in the Middle East and North Africa.

Panini is familiar with the camel corps known in his time as Austraka or Ushtra-sadi (ushtra =camel). A mixed corps of camels and mules (asvatari) , was known as ushtra-vani. It would appear that the camels were mostly used as army transports over the difficult sandy terrain, frequently come across in the Indus basin and in Rajaputana

Source, Arya Tarangini ,page 342; Volume one, A Kalyanaraman , Asia Publishing House, 1969



Camel in Mahabharata

We find an interesting story about camel in the Shanti parva of Mahabharata. A lazy camel did not want to go out to get food. So it stayed in a place and prayed to Brahma. He gave him a long neck so that it can eat all the plants up above the trees without much effort. The lazy camel tried that way and in greediness it protruded its neck into a cave. A fox inside he cave bit the head of the camel and killed it.


This is to teach a lesson to the lazy people, probably included in the Mahabharata at a later date.


Camel Vahana

Camel Fair in Pushkar is famous in Rajastha. It attracts a large number of local people and foreign tourists.


Though camel is found only in desert areas. strangely it became the vahana (mount) of Hindu god Anjaneys (Maruti). There are some local stories to justify it. We can see such camel figures in Chennai Hyderabad and other Hanumar temples.


One of the Ashta Dik Devatas ( Eight Gods in charge of Eight Directions) is Naitruti in charge of South West. Camel is the Vahana of Naitruti.


Camel in Manu Smrti



These slokas must be read with interpretation or in the right context. What I can say is that Manu has used camels in nearly 20 places. He even spoke about the fence up to a  height of a camel. That means camels were well known and very widely used and they were like common domestic cattle. Even Brahmins were riding on the camels which we know from Manu’s ban on reciting Vedas sitting on a camel. If we look at each sloka or its commentary, we can make a picture of the society during Manu’ days.


Following are couplets From Manu smrti (2-204 means second chapter 204th sloka)


2-204. He may sit with his teacher in a carriage drawn by oxen, horses, or camels, on a terrace, on a bed of grass or leaves, on a mat, on a rock, on a wooden bench, or in a boat.


3-162. A trainer of elephants, oxen, horses, or camels, he who subsists by astrology, a bird-fancier, and he who teaches the use of arms, (DON’T ENTERTAIN THEM IN SRARDHA)


4-115. A Brahmana shall not recite (the Veda) during a dust-storm, nor while the sky is preternaturally red, nor while jackals howl, nor while the barking of dogs, the braying of donkeys, or the grunting of camels (is heard), nor while (he is seated) in a company.


4-120. Let him not recite the Veda on horseback, nor on a tree, nor on an elephant, nor in a boat (or ship), nor on a donkey, nor on camel, nor standing on barren ground, nor riding in a carriage.


5-8. The milk of a cow (or other female animal) within ten days after her calving, that of camels, of one-hoofed animals, of sheep, of a cow in heat, or of one that has no calf with her,(AVOID THEM; DON’T OFFER IT TO GOD)


5-18. The porcupine, the hedgehog, the iguana, the rhinoceros, the tortoise, and the hare they declare to be eatable; likewise those (domestic animals) that have teeth in one jaw only, excepting camels.


8-146. Things used with friendly assent, a cow, a camel, a riding-horse, and (a beast) made over for breaking in, are never lost (to the owner).


8-239. (The owner of the field) shall make there a hedge over which a camel cannot look, and stop every gap through which a dog or a boar can thrust his head.


8-296. If a man is killed, his guilt will be at once the same as (that of) a thief; for large animals such as cows, elephants, camels or horses, half of that.


9-48. As with cows, mares, female camels, slave-girls, buffalo-cows, she-goats, and ewes, it is not the begetter (or his owner) who obtains the offspring, even thus (it is) with the wives of others.

11-69. Killing a donkey, a horse, a camel, a deer, an elephant, a goat, a sheep, a fish, a snake, or a buffalo, must be known to degrade (the offender) to a mixed caste (Samkarikarana).

11-138. But for killing carnivorous wild beasts, he shall give a milch-cow, for (killing) wild beasts that are not carnivorous, a heifer, for killing a camel, one krishnala.


11-155. A twice-born man, who has swallowed the urine or ordure of a village pig, of a donkey, of a camel, of a jackal, of a monkey, or of a crow, shall perform a lunar penance.

11-157. The atonement for partaking of (the meat of) carnivorous animals, of pigs, of camels, of cocks, of crows, of donkeys, and of human flesh, is a Tapta Krikkhra (penance).

11-200. He who has been bitten by a dog, a jackal, or a donkey, by a tame carnivorous animal, by a man, a horse, a camel, or a (village-) pig, becomes pure by suppressing his breath (Pranayama).

11-202. A Brahmana who voluntarily rode in a carriage drawn by camels or by asses, and he who bathed naked, become pure by suppressing his breath (Pranayama).


12-55. The slayer of a Brahmana enters the womb of a dog, a pig, an ass, a camel, a cow, a goat, a sheep, a deer, a bird, a Kandala, and a Pukkasa.

12-67. For stealing a deer or an elephant a wolf, for stealing a horse a tiger, for stealing fruit and roots a monkey, for stealing a woman a bear, for stealing water a black-white cuckoo, for stealing vehicles a camel, for stealing cattle a he-goat.

Camel in The Bible

St Augustine, 354-430 CE, made the camel a symbol of humble Christian shouldering life’s burden without complaint.

In images of Magi the camel appears as a beast of burden.
A camel began to speak in support of the wish of St. Cosmos and St Damian that they may be buried in the same grave; the Devil however, assumed the form of a giant camel to plague Macarius the Egyptian.
It has been that a mistranslation may have produced Christ’s statement that “ it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of god” . Mathew 19-24
In Aramaic gamla means camel and rope.
It seems camel is more correct, when we look at another image.
In the Babylonian Talmud a similar image is used in reference to those who achieve the impossible: they make “an elephant pass through the eye of a needle “.


In Asian mythology, camel joined the water buffalo, the elephant and the tiger in mourning the death of Gautama Buddha.

Symbolism of camel

“The animal by its largely undemanding nature, made it possible for humans to cross the steppes and the deserts of North Africa. The camel became a symbol of moderation and sobriety.

Because of its physiognomy, which appears to the human eye appears haughty, it also came to symbolise arrogance and selfishness. Because it would accept only those burdens that it could actually carry, the camel came to stand for discernment. It stood for laziness too. Its ability to kneel obediently was taken as a positive characteristic”.

Dictionary of Symbolism. Hans Biedermann, 1989



1.From the days of Rig Veda Hindus know about camels

2.Camels were also part of gift/Daana like cows.

3.Camels have been used for transport

4.Oldest Tamil book also mentioned camels in addition to Sangam Literature

5.English words and Tamil words might have been derived from Ustra and Kramela (Sanskrit words for camels)

6.Camels are also shown as Vahana of Hindu Gods giving it some sanctity.

7.Camels were part of Pancha tantra fables and Katha Sarit Sagara stories and so even children knew about it.

7.Panini who lived 2700 years ago mentioned Camel Corps and so it was part of Hindu Army.

8.Mahabharata story about camels show that it was part of epic literature.









RESEARCH ARTICLE Written by London swaminathan

Date: 5 August 2018


Time uploaded in London – 15-47  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5291


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.


Camels are referred to in the Vedas, Mahabharata, Panini’s Ashtadyayee, Pancha tantra fables, Katha sarit sagara, Buddhist literature, Amarakosa Thesarus, oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam, two books of Tamil Sangam period, Tamil epic Silappadikaram (???), about 20 slokas of Manu Smrti, in the Bible, folk tales and festivals such as Pushkar camel festival


Camels are of two types. Camels with one hump is found in India and its neighbourhoods. The oldest reference to the camel in literature is found in the Rig Veda, if we believe the dates given to it by Herman Jacobi and Balagangadhara Tilak i.e. 6000 BCE. Even otherwise the camels are referred to in Indian literature continuously for thousands of years. Let me start with Tamil literature:

The oldest book in Tamil language is Tolkappiam, a grammatical treatise dated between first century BCE and first century CE. The third part of the book refers to camels in two Sutras (rules). It describes the naming of a calf of camel and a female camel.


Next comes Akananuru and Sirupanaatrup padai- two books from the 18 major works of Sangam Tamil literature.


Akananuru verse 245 created a debate among Tamil scholars because of the two interpretations.

One interpretation is that the camels ate the dried flowers of silk cotton trees on the rocks which looked like the bones of animals and another interpretation is camels ate bones in the dry and arid areas of Tamil Nadu. Since camels are herbivorous the second interpretation is wrong.


In Sirupannatruppadai (line 154) the Agarwood washed by the sea in the City of Eyirpattinam looked like a camel lying down.

Both are interesting because the camels were found even in the southern most part of India 2000 years ago. Since they mentioned horses in hundreds of places it is no wonder that they were driven from north to south by the merchants.


In the most famous Tamil epic Silappadikaram the hero of the story Kovalan is said to have travelled to the sea side on a mule; but the word used by the poet Ilango is ‘Attiri’ which may mean a camel or a mule according to Tamil dictionary!


The very word ‘Ottakam’ in Tamil is derived from the Sanskrit word Ustra and Usti, both are found in the Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world.


Another interesting thing is the word CAMEL is cognate to Kramela in Sanskrit for camel. It may be derived from gamal of Arabic or Kramela from Sanskrit , subject for research!


Camels in Madurai Temple procession

In my home town Madurai in Tamil Nadu, the temple festivals used to have Elephant, Camel and Bull with a drum on it. God’s procession is always led by these three. I don’t know when this custom came to Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple.



Both of these words, of which the former is quite rare (RV 18-106) must have the same sense

Roth and Aufrecht hold tha in the Rig Veda and the brahmanas the sense is humped bull or buffalo, but the former thinks in the vs the sense is doubtful, and camel may be meant.

Hopkins is decidedly of opinion that the sense in every case is camel.

Rig Veda 1-138-2


6,48; , 22, 31

Atharva Veda 20-127-2, 132, 13

Vajasaneyi Samhita 13-50

Satapata Brahmana- 1-2-3-9

Aitareya Brahmana- 2-8

The animal was used as a beast of burden yoked in fours—AV 2-127-2; RV 8-6-48


Source- Vedic Index of Names and Subjects Volume-1, AA Macdonell and AB Keith


It is interesting to note that more camel references come from the Eighth Mandala of Rig Veda. It is concerned more with the kings of Iran. This Mandala is full of mysteries and much research is needed. Here are a few references:

RV 8-46-32 says,

Balbhutha and Taruksha have made a gift of 100 camels to the sage. The names Balbutha and Taruksha, both of typical Sanskrit sounds are rare names.

RV 8-5-37 says,

Kashu gives 100 camels and 10000 cows to the priest

Kasu is found in Avestan literature confirming his Iranian descent.

Another reference to Iraninans is 8-6-46 ; here Parshu (Persian Parsa) and Tirinda (Persian Tiridates) gave one lakh gifts. It may be gold or cattle or camels or all mixed.


What is mentioned here can be compared with Mulavarman Sanskrit Inscription of Indonesia, where the Seven Yupa Stambha inscriptions say that the king donated 20,000 cows to the Brahmins with lot of gold. So 10,000 cows in RV need not raise any one’s eye brows!

In Kalidasa

This can be again compared with a reference in Kalidasa’s Raghu vamsa (whom I date first Century BCE on the basis of Sangam Literature similes):-

“Then the seer Kautsa after loading the gold bags on 100 horses and camels , affectionately touched the King Raghu and said the following”- ( Raghu Vamsa 5-32)


Here also we see 100 camels like we see in the Rig Veda. So all these were very common in those days.


When we see Panini’s reference to Camel Corps around Seventh Century BCE, we would be surprised.

–to be continued………………….

Woman does yoga on the edge of English Mountain cliff (Post No.4151)



Date: 26 JUNE 2018


Time uploaded in London –  15-51 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5151


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi approached the United Nations in 2014 to declare June 21 (longest day in Northern hemisphere) as the International Yoga day . They approved it and for the past four years the Yoga has spread far and wide. In England one woman made everyone to gasp for breath by doing Yoga on a dangerous cliff. Though people appreciated her spirit, they thought that it is dangerous to do such daredevil acts. All the British newspapers published these pictures due to Wayne Spring, who usually takes pictures at the cliff .


June 21 is the longest day for people who live in Northern hemisphere. We in London saw sun at 9-10 pm (in the evening) on that day.

The thrill seeker was criticised over the ‘dangerous’ moves, 200ft above jagged rocks in East Sussex (ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM)

  • An unidentified woman was spotted recklessly posing at the edge of a cliff as she performed yoga 
  • She spent 20 minutes performing a series of yoga poses at Seaford Head cliff, in Seaford, East Sussex
  • Wayne Spring, 51, captured the reckless woman’s activity on Friday afternoon


  • Despite giant cracks, and signs warning that the cliffs could give way at any moment, tourists are often spotted dangling over the edge of the Seaford Head cliff, in Seaford, East Sussex.
  • Wayne Spring, 51, has seen scores of people go too close to the edge of the cliff.
  • A woman put herself in danger doing a handstand on the edge of a crumbling cliff.


  • Despite giant cracks and signs warning that the chalk cliffs could give way at any moment, tourists are often spotted dangling over the edge of the Seaford Head cliff, in Seaford, East Sussex, to take selfies.
  • Photographer Wayne Spring, 51, has seen scores of people gamble with death at the edge of the cliff and branded the woman’s behaviour “ridiculous”.
  • He said: “I find myself questioning people’s common sense quite a lot these days, but this was just another level.
  • “But this was something else – I couldn’t believe my eyes when she did the headstand.”
  • The thrillseeker, who appears to be in her 30s, performed a series of poses at the edge of the cliff, including standing on one leg and the ‘downward-facing dog’ pose.
  • Snapper Wayne added: “Yoga’s meant to be relaxing, but I can tell you that it wasn’t relaxing watching her.
  • “There was a crowd gathered around me at the time and people couldn’t stop gasping.

  • “The woman was so firm with her poses, it just goes to show that she was totally oblivious to the danger she was in.
  • “The cliffs are so unstable, they could collapse at any time.
  • “Nobody’s would ever be able to walk away from that drop, no matter how bendy they were.”
  • The edge of the cliff is fractured with cracks, and every year along the iconic white cliffs, hundreds of tonnes of rocks fall onto the beach below.
  • For years there have been calls to install security fences at the top of the cliff to prevent people falling off the sheer drop.
  • Wayne added: “If you fence it off you might spoil the area but you can’t rely on people to use their common sense any more.
  • “I don’t want the natural environment to be spoilt by a few idiots but if a fence stops them then so be it.
  • “I think they’re uninformed. If you are not from the area you will not know about the dangers but people just need to use their common sense.”
  • The South Downs National Park Authority, who maintain the Seven Sisters cliffs in Newhaven, East Sussex, have said fences are impractical because of erosion.

Seaford Head is along the same stretch of coastline as Beachy Head, one of the world’s most notorious cliffs