Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 2 MARCH 2018


Time uploaded in London – 16-56


Post No. 4802

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.






India is one country; Indian culture is one culture from Himalayas to Kanyakumari. India has been united for several thousand years. Even before the foreign invaders came, it was one country with one culture. It is amazing to see the people in the north and the south shared the same beliefs about fish, tortoise and crocodile for over 2000 years. What Chanakya said in a sloka/verse 2300 years in Bihar (Magada Samrajya) is in  2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. And this belief is unique to India!

Chanakya said in Chanakya Niti

“Just as a female fish rears its offspring by sight, a female tortoise by thinking about it and a female bird by touching it, so does contact with good people (the human beings)”

The message is that good people’s thought, contact and sight influence a person. It helps a person.

darsana dyaanasam sparsair matsii kuurmii ca pakshnii

sisum paalayate wityam tathaa sajjanasangatih



In south India goddess Meenakshi of Madurai is called Fish eyed goddess. She protects her devotees like the fish. Sangam Tamil literature say that the tortoises and turtles always think about the eggs they have laid and this only hatches them.

Sangam Poets say,

The hero’s love is as essential to the life of the heroine as is the tender care of the mother turtle to the growth of its young ones.

-Kuruntokai 152


Like the young ones of turtles  looking towards their mother’s faces.

–Ainkurunuru 44, Akam.160

In several places around the world, the turtles lay eggs in thousands in the coastal areas and when the turtle eggs are hatched they swim towards their mother turtles by instinct. Probably this led to the belief that the turtle and its young one always think about each other.

Fish Eyed Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai Temple.




(I have already given part of the following passage)


“One should accept nectar even from poison, gold even from filth, knowledge even from a lowly person and a jewel of a woman even from a lowly family”

Chankaya niti, chapter 1, sloka/verse17

Vishaadapyamrutam graahyamedhyaadapi kaancanam

Niicaadapyuttamaam vidhyaam striiratnam dushkulaadapi

Tamil Poet Tiruvalluvar says,

Men with learning, even of lower birth, are of greater worth,

Than ignorant men though high born (Kural 409)

Parimel Azakar, the most famous commentator of Tirukkural says,

“This means that the superiority of the understanding born of learning, which gets attached to the soul for ever, is greater than the superiority of one’s caste which dies along with one’s body” (K M Balasubramaniam’s translation of Parimel Azakar’s comment)


Tamil king Nedunchezian in Purananuru  verse 183 says that the king would call for service one from the lowest of the four Varnas if he is more educated.

Manu says that a person can learn from the lowest caste and treat him like Guru. He also says women can be married from any caste if they are good. Vasistha’s wife Arundhati is shown as an example.


Manu Smrti says in second chapter

2-238. He who possesses faith may receive pure learning even from a man of lower caste, the highest law even from the lowest, and an excellent wife even from a base family.

2-239. Even from poison nectar may be taken, even from a child good advice, even from a foe (a lesson in) good conduct, and even from an impure (substance) gold.

(This verse is in Chanakya  Niti as well)

2-240. Excellent wives, learning, the knowledge of the law, the rules of purity, good advice, and various arts may be acquired from anybody.

2-241. It is prescribed that in times of distress a student may learn the Veda from one who is not a Brahmana; and that he shall walk behind and serve (such a) teacher, as long as the instruction lasts. (This shows Vedas were memorised by other castes as well; Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas wen to Guru Kula to learn the Vedas)

Great Men Think Alike!








Fish, Tortoise and Crocodile Stories in Mahabharata


Matyavatar= Fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article no. 1709; dated 11 March 2015

Up loaded at 20-35 London time

2.Strange Animal Stories in Mahabharata! – Part 2

Part 1 :Snakes and Snake bites in Mahabharata appeared yesterday.


Adrika, an Apsaras, was cursed by Brahma to become a fish. She ate the ‘seed’ of human being and became pregnant. When it was caught by the fishermen, they saw two human beings in the womb of the fish 1-63

Fishermen gave the babies to the King of fishermen Dashraja. A boy fish Matsya was given to king. Girl fish Matsyaa was raised by Dashraja as Satyavati. Later Satyavati was married to King Shantanu 1-100

Shambara and Fish

Demon Shambara kidnapped Krishna’s son Pradyumna when he was only ten days old. He threw him into ocean and was swallowed by a fish. Later Pradyumna was recovered from the fish. When Pradyumna grew as an adult killed Shambara and married his widow Mayavati.

My comments: Fish devouring people and coming out alive from the stomach of the fish is a common theme in Indian literature. Fish becoming pregnant with human beings is also common.

Pradyumna marrying a demon’s widow shows that they are also as human as everyone else. We have several stories of inter marriages between the demons and angels. Dubbing one as Drvida and the other as Arya is absurd.

Shambara’s name is also common among demons. We have Shambara in the Rig Veda, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata. In future we have to name them Shambara I, Shambara II, Shambara III, Shambara VI etc. Foreigners without knowing the number of people with the same name, wrote a confusing history.


Indus seal of crocodile and fish


Arjuna came across a region where there was a beautiful lake with crocodiles. Brahmanas migrated to different regions fearing those crocodiles. Arjuna purposefully bathed in the tank and caught a crocodile which turned into an Apsara called Varga. She asked Arjun to catch other 4 crocodiles. Arjuna caught those man eating crocodiles and they became Apsara women too.1-216

Crocodiles eating man or animals is a common theme in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. Adi Shankara of Kaladi in Kerala became an ascetic only after caught by a crocodile. Tamil saints revived boys eaten by crocodiles. Tamil poet Tiru Valluvar used the Crocodile’s strength in water as a simile. Gajendra Moksha sculpture is famous from the days of the Gupta dynasty in which the elephant caught by a crocodile was saved by Vishnu. India being a tropical country was infested with crocodiles and all the rivers from Tamil Nadu to Himalayas had crocodiles. Indus valley civilisation seals show a fish in the mouth of a crocodile.

tortoise mandapa, kanchi

Tortoise Mandapa in Kanchi


Tortoise figures in Indradyumna story in the Mahabharata (3-199).

Indradyumna went to heaven, but had to come down to earth when he spent all the merits he earned through good deeds. He was going from place to place to see old faces who he could remember. At last he found an old tortoise in a Himalayan lake who recalled all the good deeds done by Indradyumna. He again ascended to heaven. Even a tortoise can help a king to ascend to heaven.

Tortoise and Fish form the earliest of the Ten Avatars (Incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. So both of them attained divine status.

In Kerala temples the Dwajasthambas are on top of mysterious tortoise!

In Tamil Nadu,  Temple Mandapas are on tortoise in Kancheepuram, Tirukkazukundram, Tiruchengodu and many other places.

Tortoise was the foundation when Devas and Asuras churned the ocean in Hindu mythology.

Panchatantra fables have several stories of intelligent and stupid tortoises.

panchatantra story, kopeshwar temple

Tortoise story in Panchatantra

Tomorrow we will see the birds in the Mahabharata