Story-‘Aasaa Dukhasya Kaaranam’ (Post No.4748)

Date: 15 FEBRUARY 2018

 

Time uploaded in London- 20-47

 

Written by London swaminathan

 

Post No. 4748

 

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There is no misery, if there is no desire- says Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar (Kural 368)

 

‘’Aasaa Dukhasya Kaaranam’’ , (Desire invites Misery) says a Sanskrit proverb.

 

‘’Striving for wealth with different designs, we follow our desires like cattle’’- says Rig Veda 9-19(3)

 

‘’Desire, which is never extinguished by the enjoyment of desired objects only becomes more intense like a fire fed with butter ‘’– Manu Smrti 2-94

 

There is a Telugu folklore in a hundred year old book. The story is as follows:

Four friends lived in Chitrapur and they were extremely poor. They decided to practise austerities. After some time, Goddess Kali appeared before them and gave them a talisman each. Since they asked for richness and happiness she told them to place the talisman on their heads and walk northwards. She told each one of them to dig the earth when a person’s talisman fell on the earth and take whatever one gets.

 

The four friends set out on their travel. At a distance, the talisman of the first man fell on the ground. Immediately he dug out the earth, an enormous quantity of copper was found. he told the other three friends that he was very happy and wanted to go back. Everyone agreed.

When they walked further north the second person’s talisman fell on the ground. The spot was dug into and he found enormous quantity of silver. He told them that he also wanted to go back like the first man. The other two proceeded further. one of the person’s talisman fell on the ground and the ground was dug into. There was enormous quantity of gold. By this time both of them were very tired. So the person who found gold said to the other man to come back with him and he would share the gold. But the fourth man who was very greedy still had the talisman on his head. He told the gold- man to go back and then proceeded further north.

 

After some time he was very happy because his talisman fell on the ground. He thought that he was  going to see mine of diamonds. But there was only iron when he dug into the ground. He was very tired and could not even take back the iron. He came such a long distance and already friends had gone back. So he could not take any of the iron. More over it would be uneconomical to transport from such a  long distance. He was dis appointed.

Now he learnt “ The man with unlimited desire is indeed poor but, if one is satisfied with what one has, can be rich” (Bhartruhari)

–Subham —

 

Gold and Touch Stone in Kalidasa and Tamil Literature (Post No.3887)

Written by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 7 May 2017

 

Time uploaded in London: 21-21

 

Post No. 3887

 

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

 

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

 

 

Gold is a precious bright yellow metal. Streaks of gold appears charming on the black touch stone, and it remains firm and distinct on the clean touch stone. So Tamil and Sanskrit poets have used this image in their poems.

 

In Kalidasa’s Meghaduta, the flashes of lightning in dark-blue cloud are imagined to be as charming as  the streak of gold on the black touchstone which has peculiar brightness (Meghaduta 40)

 

In the Vikrama Urvasiyam (5-19), Kalidasa used the touch stone simile which is used by several Sangam age Tamil Poets as well.

The Goddess of Wealth, though fickle by nature became steady due to the magnanimous and virtuous qualities of King Atithi as a streak of gold on the clean touch stone remains firm and distinct (Raghuvamsa 17-46)

 

प्रसादाभिमुखे तस्मिंश्चपलापि स्वभावतः।
निकषे हेमरेखेव श्रीरासीदनपायिनी॥ १७-४६

prasādābhimukhe tasmiṁścapalāpi svabhāvataḥ |
nikaṣe hemarekheva śrīrāsīdanapāyinī|| 17-46

 

The lady called kingdom-fortune though naturally fickle was constant with him who was inclined to be gracious; and hence she was like an ineffaceable streak of gold upon a touchstone. [17-46]

 

In Sangam Tamil Literature

Famous Sangam Tamil Poet Paranar compares a rock strewn with yellow flowers to a touch stone with gold streaks (Akananauru 178)

Ilamkeeranaar in Natrinai verse 3 says the illiterate children used to play with gooseberries in a touchstone shaped circle (Narrinai 3)

Berisattanar, in Natrinai verse 25, says that the beetle that sucked nectar from the flowers looked like a touch stone with gold streaks, because the beetle was smeared with the golden coloured pollen grains.

In Kuruntokai 192, Kachipedu Nannaakaiyaar, says that the black winged cuckoo looks like a touchstone with golden streaks after it visited the mango flowers loaded with pollen grains.

 

Perumpanatruppadai author uruththirankannanar also used the touchstone simile (Line 221)

Tamil Veda Tirukkural (505) says,

“A man’s deeds are the touchstone of his greatness and littleness.”

 

Kalidasa’s 200 similes were used by the Sangam age Tamil poets 2000 years ago. I have been showing that Kalidasa lived well before Sangam age somewhere between first and second century BCE. Kalidasa could not have copied from scores of Tamil poets. Then the world would not have praised him for the apt similes Moreover Kalidasa had better knowledge about the Ganges, Himalayas, Northern rivers and Hills and mythological characters than the Tamil poets.

 

Raghuvamsa sloka is taken from the sanskritdocumets.org

–subham–

 

How Did a Pandya King Get a Golden Hand?

By S Swaminathan

It is a well known fact that the Ancient Indians made tremendous advancements in the field of medical sciences. The Ayurveda and Siddha medical systems were widely practised for the benefit of the general public. Charaka and Susrutha wrote great treatises. A lot of surgical instruments, surgeries like rhinoplasty (plastic surgery for nose), hundreds of medicinal plants and thousands of medicines were listed by them. They were not only appreciated in India but reached western world through Arabic translations nearly one thousand years ago. The old medical books in Sanskrit and Tamil run in to several thousand pages.

Though Charaka, Susrutha,Vagbhata and Agastya are known to many even in the western world, one important surgery went unnoticed by many scholars. There is a very interesting story about a Pandya king in ancient Tamil literature. The king lived two thousand years ago is known from the Tamil epic Silappathikaram (Ref.Mathurai Kandam-Katturai Kaathai) dated around second century AD. A Pandya king was fitted with an artificial hand made of gold; he was known only as the Golden Handed Pandya. Nobody knows his real name even today. One more old Tamil book refer to this story (Ref. Pazamozi Naanuru).

The Story:

The story according to the epic runs like this: a Pandya king was going through the streets of Madurai (the second largest city of Tamil Nadu in South India) in disguise during the night. In the olden days kings used to visit their subjects and observe the general public in disguise to feel the pulse of the populace. Though the ancient Arthashastra of Kautilya speaks of kings employing spies for this purpose, the monarchy always wanted to know what the people feel about them or the country directly.(Every Hindu knew what Rama did to Sita just because a washer man raised some doubts about the purest woman Sitadevi). So much importance was given to the opinion of general public – absolute democracy!

When the Pandya king was passing by a house the lights were on at the dead of night and he heard a conversation. A brahimn by name Keeranthai was consoling his crying wife with these words, ”Darling, don’t worry too much about your safety and security. I am only going to be away for a very short period. Our great king is there to protect all the citizens. Nothing will go wrong in this just place”. As soon as the king heard this conversation he felt some big responsibility fell on his shoulders. So he increased his ward rounds and kept an eye on that house. Months passed. To his surprise he saw light again in the same house at the dead of night. He heard someone talking. In a hurry he mistook that person for a stranger and knocked at the door to scare away the stranger. Alas, it was not a stranger. It was her own husband Keeranthai himself who had just returned from his tour. When Keeranthai shouted back, the king realised his mistake.

One stupid mistake will make you to do more stupid things to hide the first one. It is human nature. So the king knocked at all the houses in the brahmin street and ran away to his palace. Next day a battalion of brahmins went to the palace and complained about what happened the previous night. The king, after patiently listening to their complaints, said to them that the ‘thief’ was already caught. All his ministers were surprised to hear his statement. The king did not stop there. He asked the opinion of the complainants what should be the punishment for that ‘thief’. Everyone shouted in chorus to follow the Hammurabi law: a hand for hand, an eye for an eye. The hand that knocked on the doors must be cut off. Before a second lapsed the king drew his sword and cut off the hand with which he had knocked on the doors the previous night. When he narrated the incident, the whole world praised his justice. The royal physicians rushed for his help and attached a gold hand to his arm. He came to be known as a Gold Hand Pandya in Tamil “Por Kai Pandyan”.

This is a story to elucidate the justice that was followed in ancient Tamil Nadu. No medical information was given about fixing the artificial limb but it didn’t surprised any Indian (please read my article Why do British Judges follow a TamilKing?) because they practised either the Ayurveda or the Siddha medical system.

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