GREEK PYTHIAS AND TAMIL PISIRANTHAIYAR – SYMBOLS OF FRIENDSHIP! (Post No.5777)

Research Article written by London Swaminathan


swami_48@yahoo.com


Date: 13 December 2018


GMT Time uploaded in London – 20-56

Post No. 5777


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GREEK PYTHIAS AND TAMIL PISIRANTHAIYAR – SYMBOLS OF FRIENDSHIP! (Post No.5777)

The story of Pythias and Damon is popular in the West. It has become an idiom in English. The two friends of Athens stand as the symbol of true friendship. It is said that they followed the friendship as propagated  by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. That is what exactly the great Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar, author of Tamil Veda called Tirukkural said,

“Friendship requires neither common residence nor frequent meeting; spiritual kinship creates the right to friendship”-  Kural 785

“Friendship is not that which shines as a smile in the face; Friendship is that which shines as a joy in the soul within” – 786

Another translation of the same couplets runs like this,

“Identity of feelings alone count for close friendship for which,

Constant companionship is not really necessary”-785.

“A surface smile in the face is not friendship, genuine affection,

Springs from the heart and lights up the face”-786.

The story Of Pythias is as follows,

Pythias and Damon were great friends. Once they visited Syracuse where the tyrant Dionysius was ruling. The king suspected the intention of their visit and arrested Pythias for anti- state activities.  He passed a death sentence on him after rejecting all his arguments. His friend Damon felt very sad and tried to help him.

At the same time Pythias’ mother was suffering from serious illness. So Pythias asked permission to go and see her before he  dies. But Dionysius was not ready to believe him. He thought he would never come back. Damon, who was his true friend, told the king that he was ready to be a hostage in the place of Pythias. The tyrant agreed to that proposal. Damon was put in jail.

The days passed; now everyone was waiting anxiously from Pythias return. When the deadline was about to expire, Damon was taken to the execution platform. But Damon was dead sure that he would come back. At that time there was a great commotion when people saw Pythias running towards the place. He came in and asked for pardon for the delay and explained that untimely and unseasonal weather stopped his ship. He begged the king to release Damon and execute him as per the original order.

Whoever heard this started shedding tears and appreciated the great friendship between Pythias and Damon. It moved even the stony-hearted Dionysius and he ordered the release of both Pythias and Damon. From that time their name became proverbial for true friendship.

Similar Story in Tamil literature.

Pythias incident happened in the fifth century BCE. A few centuries later another story happened in Tamil Nadu in South India. There was a king by name Kopperum Chozan. He had problems with his sons about ruling the country. Sangam Tamil poets were honest and bold advisers. One of the poets advised the Choza king to hand over the kingdom to his wards and go to forest life—Vanaprastha—third stage in a Hindu’s life. The king said that he wanted to fast unto death. It is called ‘Prayopavesa’ in Sanskrit and found in the Kishkintha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana. Whoever dies that way goes directly to heaven. They face the holy Northern Direction and starve to death. Several people used to join such a venture because they knew it is a ‘direct flight ticket’ to Heaven. As was the custom lot of scholars and poets joined the Choza king in the fast. One poet by name Pothiar was refused a seat in the hall by the king. He told him that the poet should go back home and can join only after the birth of a male child, which is required to go to heaven according to Hindu Law Books. He went back and came back after the death of the group and lamented. All this information is in Purananuru (verses 213-223), part of 2000 year old Sangam literature.

Here is the interesting bit.

Choza king asked his colleagues to reserve a seat for a poet named Pisir Anthaiar of the neighbouring Pandya kingdom. All other poets in the hall were surprised because the king and the poet never met. They told the king not to get disappointed by expecting him.

Then the king told them in a verse,

“There in the distant Pandya country

A poet from the town of Pisir is a very close friend.

Even if he does not come when I had lot of money, he would definitely come to see me when I am in distress” – Purananuru verse 215

The king’s words did not go waste. Pisir Anthaiyar came there just on time and sat with the king fasting until death.

This is an example for true friendship like the Pythias- Damon story.

Greek story of Pythias and Damon was made into films in several languages. Like Pisir- Choza story we have stories of Kuchela/Sudama – Krishna friendship. The very first chapter of Panchatantra fables is about true friendship.

Ancient Greeks believed in several virtues like Hindus. Pythias story shows,

1.His love for his mother; Hindus say Matha, Pitha , Guru are goods.

2.Pythias also kept his words like Hindus. All ancient foreign visitors said, ‘in India there is no written legal document and all is done by word of mouth’. Hindu myths say they are like the legendary Harischandra.

3. We have umpteen examples about true friendship. When Karna was insulted that he being a commoner, should not participate in Royal Olympic Games, Duryodana made him a king in a second. Karna was loyal to Duryodana till his last minute.

So we see many similarities between the legends of Hindus and Greeks. One is also reminded of the great sacrifice of Sydney Carton in the novel of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Long Live True Friendship!!

–subham–

IF YOU SALUTE ELDERS YOU GET FOUR BENEFITS- MANU’S ASSURANCE (Post No.4872)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 1 April 2018

 

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

 

Post No. 4872

 

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FOLLOWING VERSES ARE FROM THE SECOND CHAPTER OF MANU SMRTI ALIAS MANAVA DHARMA SHASTRA

 

MY COMMENTS:

The interesting points in this section of the Second Chapter of Manu Smrti are:

1.Why should one stand up before elders?

When a person who commands, respect comes suddenly into your room, you get a shock. If you stand up and show respect, you slowly come out of the shock. The reason being the person who is shown respect says something nice to you.

2.How to greet?

Hindu way of greeting a person is very unique. You say Hello by introducing you fully with the details of your Kula, Gotra (clan) who are your forefather seers, what Veda you learn and then say I salute you by touching his feet. This is unique to Hindus. But they never say all these things before of a sanyasi (an ascetic)because he considers everyone equal irrespective of his Kula or Gotra.

  1. Elders always greet the youngsters Long Live (with health and wealth).
  2. Priests, Vedic scholars and educated get respect even if they are young.

5.Friendship rules are interesting. Artists get more value. Verse 2-134

6.Five Criteria for Respect is very interesting: Educated are more respected than aged or relationship, wealth etc. Verse 2-136

  1. Right of way rules, road transport rules are very interesting- verse 2-138

8.Definition of Acharya, Upadhyaya, Guru etc is also interesting

9.Mother is 1000 times more respectful than father (verse 2-145) –shows the highest respect for women.

 

Manu Smrti- Second Chapter

 

WHY SHOULD YOU STAND UP BEFORE ELDERS?

2-119. One must not sit down on a couch or seat which a superior occupies; and he who occupies a couch or seat shall rise to meet a superior, and afterwards)salute him.

2-120. For the vital airs of a young man mount upwards to leave his body when an elder approaches; but by rising to meet him and saluting he recovers them.

  1. He who habitually salutes and constantly pays reverence to the aged obtains an increase of four things, (viz.) length of life, knowledge, fame, and strength.
  2. After the word of salutation, a Brahmana who greets an elder must pronounce his name, saying, ‘I am N. N.’ Also announce that I belong to this clan, learning this Veda, Shaka, his forefather seers etc.
  3. To those persons who, when a name is pronounced, do not understand the meaning of the salutation, a wise man should say, ‘It is I;’ and he should address in the same manner all women.
  4. In saluting he should pronounce after his name the word bhoh; for the sages have declared that the nature of bhoh is the same as that of all proper names.

 

Long Live Greeting!

  1. A Brahmana should thus be saluted in return, ‘May’st thou be long-lived, O gentle one!’ and the vowel ‘a’ must be added at the end of the name (of the person addressed), the syllable preceding it being drawn out to the length of three matras.

e.g swaminathaaa, kartikeyaaa

  1. A Brahmana who does not know the form of returning a salutation, must not be saluted by a learned man; as a Sudra, even so is he.
  2. Let him ask a Brahmana, on meeting him, after (his health, with the word) kusala, a Kshatriya (with the word) are you free from diseases?, a Vaisya (with the word) are you getting enough money?, and a Sudra (with the word) are you healthy?.

Even Young Vedic Scholars must be respected

2-128. He who has been initiated (to perform a Srauta sacrifice) must not be addressed by his name, even though he be a younger man; he who knows the sacred law must use in speaking to such (a man the particle) bhoh and (the pronoun) bhavat (your worship).

  1. But to a female who is the wife of another man, and not a blood-relation, he must say, ‘Lady’ (bhavati) or ‘Beloved sister!’
  2. To his maternal and paternal uncles, fathers-in-law, officiating priests, (and other) venerable persons, he must say, ‘I am N. N.,’ and rise (to meet them), even though they be younger (than himself).
  3. A maternal aunt, the wife of a maternal uncle, a mother-in-law, and a paternal aunt must be honoured like the wife of one’s teacher; they are equal to the wife of one’s teacher.
  4. (The feet of the) wife of one’s brother, if she be of the same caste (varna), must be worshipped every day; but (the feet of) wives of (other) paternal and maternal relatives need only be worshipped on one’s return from a journey.
  5. Towards a sister of one’s father and of one’s mother, and towards one’s own elder sister, one must behave as towards one’s mother; (but) the mother is more venerable than they.

Who can be Your Friends? Friendship Rules

2-134. Fellow-citizens are called friends and equals though one be ten years older than the other, men practising the same fine art though one be five years older than the other, Vedic scholars though three years but blood-relations only if the difference of age be very small.

  1. Know that a Brahmana of ten years and Kshatriya of a hundred years stand to each other in the relation of father and son; but between those two the Brahmana is the father.

 

Five Criteria for Respect

2-136. Wealth, kindred, age, the due performance of rites, and, fifthly, sacred learning are titles to respect; but each later-named cause is more weighty than the preceding ones. That is the educated are the most respectful

  1. Whatever man of the three (highest) castes possesses most of those five, both in number and degree, that man is worthy of honour among them; and (so is) also a Sudra who is ninety years old.

Right of Way, Road Rules

2-138. Way must be made for a man in a carriage, for one who is above ninety years old, for one diseased, for the carrier of a burden, for a woman, for a Brahmana, for the king, and for a bridegroom.

  1. Among all those, if they meet at one time, a Brahmana and the king must be most honoured; and if the king and a Brahmana meet, the latter receives respect from the king.

 

Teacher

  1. They call that Brahmana who initiates a pupil and teaches him the Veda together with the Kalpa and the Rahasyas, the teacher.

Upadhyaya

  1. But he who for his livelihood teaches a portion only of the Veda, or also the Angas of the Veda, is called the sub-teacher (upadhyaya).

Guru

  1. That Brahmana, who performs in accordance with the rules (of the Veda) the rites, the Garbhadhana (conception-rite), and so forth, and gives food (to the child), is called the Guru (the venerable one).

Officiating Priest

  1. He who, being (duly) chosen (for the purpose), performs the Agnyadheya, the Pakayagnas, (and) the (Srauta) sacrifices, such as the Agnishtoma (for another man), is called (his) officiating priest.

Equal to Parents

  1. That (man) who truthfully fills both his ears with the Veda, (the pupil) shall consider as his father and mother; he must never offend him.

MOTHER 1000 TIMES MORE VENERABLE THAN FATHER

2-145. The teacher  is ten times more venerable than a sub-teacher (upadhyaya), the father a hundred times more than the teacher, but the mother a thousand times more than the father.

  1. Of him who gives natural birth and him who gives the knowledge of the Veda, the giver of the Veda is the more venerable father; for the birth for the sake of the Veda ensures eternal rewards both in this life and after death.
  2. Let him consider that he received) a (mere animal) existence, when his parents begat him through mutual affection, and when he was born from the womb (of his mother).

TO BE CONTINUED…………………….

A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED-MANU AND VALLUVAR ON FRIENDSHIP (Post No.4852)

A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED-MANU AND VALLUVAR ON FRIENDSHIP (Post No.4852)


Written by London Swaminathan 

 

 

Date: 26 MARCH 2018

 

 

British Summer Time uploaded in London – 17-07

 

Post No. 4852

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He is a true friend who stands by one in disease, in adversity, in famine, in danger from enemies, at the royal gate and at the cremation ground.

Chanakya Niti 1-12

aature vyasane praapte durbikshe satrusankate

raajadwaare smasaane ca yasthishtati  sa bhaandhavah

 

xxx

They are the real sons who are devoted to their father, father is one who brings the offspring, a friend is one who can be trusted, a wife is one who gives happiness.

2-4

 

One should keep away from a friend who harms the mission in one’s absence, but talks sweetly when face to face. He is a jar of poison with milk in its upper portion.

2-5

 

One should not trust a bad friend, nor should repose too much of trust even in good friend lest the friend in a fit of rage were to lay bare all the secrets.

2-6

xxx

Compare these with the following couplets from Tamil Veda ‘Tirukkural’

 

Like the hand , that goes to the rescue when a garment slips, stepping into help

when a friend faces adversity, is true friendship – Kural 788

 

Friendship is not for pleasant laughter alone, but for harsh and ethical advice too

promptly given, when one swerves from the right path- Kural 784

 

A surface smile on the face is not friendship, genuine affection,

springs from the heart and lights up the face- Kural 786

 

The true friend keeps one away from the wrong path, and helps him follow the right path,

and also stands by him, if misfortune falls nevertheless – Kural 787

 

The throne of genuine friendship is found, without doubt, where two allied hearts beat,

under all circumstances, in unison and mutual support- Kural 789

 

It is wise to acquire and hold on to faultless friendships, and equally good,

to dispense with undependable friendships, even at a price- Kural 800

 

–subham–

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Sacrifice practised by the Kondhs! (Post No3225)

pic-gaund

Compiled by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 7 October 2016

 

Time uploaded in London: 6-01 AM

 

Post No.3225

 

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

 

(Following is a piece from Arthur Mile’s book about the customs of the Kondh Tribes whom he described the DRAVIDIANS!)

The Kondhs live in dread of witchcraft, and are for ever watching for signs of it. In this connection the Madras Police Report records a case in the Vizagapatnam hill districts. The younger of the the three brothers died of fever, and when the body was cremated the upper portion did not burn. The surviving brothers therefore concluded that death had been caused by the witchcraft of a certain Kondh, and they attacked the man and killed him. After cutting their victim’s body into halves, they took the upper part to their village and threw it on the spot where the deceased brothers body had refused to burn. For their crime they were arrested and sentenced to death.

 

When cholera breaks out in a village, they smear their bodies with pig’s fat which has been liquefied and they continue to do this until the disappearance of the epidemic. It is believed that the cholera Goddess is driven away by the smell of the fat. They also attempt to prevent the approach of the goddess by barricading the paths to the village with ditches, which they fill with thorns and pots stinking oil.

 

pic-gond

Friendship Oath!

The Kondhs have a friendship oath, which in some way resembles the blood covenant of the Hebrews. Friendship is sworn on sacred rice, which has been consecrated to the god of Jagannath of Puri. Pilgrims visiting Puri get a quantity of this rice, and distribute it to those who ask for it. It is supposed that one cannot utter a lie, or have an evil thought, while holding the rice in the hand. Instances are known of friendship, sworn on the rice, being contracted between towns-men and the poor village peasants; even between a Brahman woman and a Sudra servant. Bound by such friendship, two people allow no festival to pass without an exchange of presents the house of one presents, and no ceremony goes on at the house of one unless the other is invited. If one party dies, the survivor does not consider the bond disconnected but continues to make gifts to the family of the deceased. This friendship is called songatho, and it increases with the barbarity of the division. Among the wilder tribes there are splendid examples of Songatho which have lasted for generations. One hill tribe takes an oath on a leopard’s skin, or while holding a peacock feather in the hand.

 

Origin of the Kondhs
The legend of the origin of the Kondhs is a story of human sacrifice.

In the beginning, when the ground was all wet, there were only two women living on the earth, and in due course each one was blessed with a son. The two women and their children came from the interior of the earth, bringing with them two plants which were their food. One day, when one of the women was cutting one of the plants, she accidentally cut her finger and the blood dropped on the ground, and instantly the wet earth became dry. The woman cooked the plant and gave it to her son to eat, who asked her why it tasted so much sweeter than usual. She told him that she did not know, but that that night she expected to have a dream and would let him know. The next morning the woman made her son promise to do as she told him if he would prosper in the world. He must forget that she was his mother, and cut flesh from her back and bury it in the ground. This her son did, whereupon the wet soil dried up and became hard, and the animals, trees, and birds came into existence. A partridge then scratched the ground, and millet and rice grew.

 

The two brothers agreed that, as the sacrifice of the woman brought forth abundance from the ground, they must sacrifice a human being once a year. A god by the name of Boora Panoo, together with his daughters, came to live with the brothers, and, marrying the daughters, the brothers begat children. When the children grew up, there was a dispute as to which one should be sacrificed, and, not being able decide the point, the brothers sacrificed a monkey instead. The goddess of the earth in consequence was very angry, and ordered the proper offering of a human being. The two men sought for ten years for a victim, and finally they found a man with a son five years old. They bought the son from the father, with permission to sacrifice him.

 

The boy was fettered to prevent his running away, toddy was made from grain, and a post was erected at which a pig was sacrificed. Two days before being offered the boy was tied to the post. On the night before the sacrifice the priest took a stick and poked it into the earth until the earth god answered, and round the hole from whence the goddess had spoken, pieces of wood were arranged lengthways and cross ways and an egg was placed the on the sacrificial day the boy was conducted to the wood, made to lie on it face downward. Pieces of flesh were then removed from his back, and buries at the caste’s place of worship. While other portions were put into the ground near  a drinking well to increase the water. The remainder of the corpse was burnt on the pile of wood. On the next day a buffalo was sacrificed, and a feast given.

gond-women-grinding-corn

The following verse (which was intended to be uttered over human sacrifice) is now recited by the Janni (priest) at the buffalo sacrifice. Come, male slave, come, female slave, what do you say? What do you call out for? You have been brought, ensnared by the Haddi. You have been called, ensnared by the Domba. What can I do, even if you are my child? You are sold for a pot of food

 

–Subham–

 

 

FRIENDSHIP: Anecdotes and Quotations!

Abraham_Lincoln_1923_Issue-3c

Article No.2008

Written by London swaminathan

Swami_48@yahoo.com

Date : 21  July 2015

Time uploaded in London : 20-36

Anacharsis, coming to Athens, knocked at Solon’s door, and told him that he, being a stranger, was come to be his guest, and contract a friendship with him and Solon replying, “It is better to make friends at home,” Anacharsis replied, “Then you that are at home make a friendship with me.”

((Anacharsis : Scythian philosopher who lived in sixth century BCE

Solon: Greek statesman who lived in sixth century BCE))

aanacharsis

XXXXX

Abraham Lincoln’s Friend

Thousands of appeals for pardon came to Lincoln from soldiers involved in military discipline. Each appeal was as a rule supported by letters from influential people. One day a single sheet came before him, an appeal from a soldier without any supporting documents.

“What!” exclaimed the President, “has this man no friends?”

“No, sir, not one,” said the adjutant.

“Then,” said Lincoln, “I will be his friend.”

((adjutant: a military officer who acts like an administrative assistant to a Senior Officer))

lincoln india

Quotations on Friends and Friendship

Valluvar’s Advice

Tiruvalluvar, Tamil poet who lived at least 1500 years ago says in his Tirukkural:
“Weigh the worth and chose for friendship men of ripe wisdom who know the law (Kural 441)

“Friendship is not that which shines as a smile in the face; friendship is which shines as a joy in the soul within” ( Kural 786)

“What matters whether we win or lose the friendship of the unsympathetic who show love when it profits them and withhold it when it does not” – Kural 812

Friendship with a bad person is like a clay pot – easy to break but difficult to put back together.

Friendship with a good person is like a golden vase – difficult to break but easy to put back together

– Hitopadesa 1-223

singapore_nationalday1961

What is to be cultivated with affection?
Compassion towards the helpless and friendship with the good.

What bestows happiness?
Friendship with good people. —Adi Shankara, Prasnottara Ratnamalika

Secret whispering kills friendship;

Counsel is ruined by garrulity (Talkativeness);

Waters break a bridge;

Cowards only are routed by a mere noise

–Katha Sari Sagara Story of the Monkey

The good are easily melted with compassion, and show causeless friendship to all.

–Introduction to Katha Sarit Sagara

Love for one’s equal is called friendship – Swami Chinmayananda

Why do friends go away?

When they get nothing from you, they go away.

—Katha Sarit Sagara

“Wealth obtained by oppression of subjects,

Friendship obtained by deceit

And lady love gained by violence

Will not remain long” (—Katha Sarit Sagara :

Story of the Three Fish)

german handshake  suomi handshake malagasy handshake

Bible on Friends: “Wealth makes many friends;

But a man without means loses the friend he has “– Proverbs 20,4

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