Water Images in Kalidasa and Tamil Sangam Literature (Post No.3793)

Written by London swaminathan

 

Date: 6 APRIL 2017

 

Time uploaded in London:- 18-09

 

Post No. 3793

 

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

 

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

 

 

Great men think alike. Kalidasa, the most famous poet of India and a Sangam Tamil poet Sempulapeyarnirar use the water image in a beautiful way.

 

Kalidasa in Raghuvamsa says,

 

Water from the sky which is originally of one taste gains diversity of flavours in different regions. Similarly, Hari, being immutable assumes different conditions in different qualities (RV 10-17). The image gives the idea of monism.

 

Sempulap peyal nirar, Tamil poet who lived nearly 2000 years ago, says in Kuruntokai (verse 40):

 

“What are my mother and your mother to each other?

What is the relationship between my father and your father?

How did we come to know each other?

Like the (rain) water which falls on a field with red soil,

(mingle with it and becomes red)

the loving hearts have blended with each other.

 

Kalidasa used it illustrate monism; Tamil poet used it to illustrate the union of hearts.

 

(I have been emphasizing through several articles that Kalidasa lived before the Sangam age, probably around 1st century BCE. I am using 250 plus similes of Sangam poets to illustrate my point and those similes are already in Kalidasa’s seven works).

In the Kumara sambhava (2-25), he says that “the speed of the Wind Gods Maruts can be guessed from their faltering motion as is the stoppage of their current from the refulgence of waters.

 

As the sprouting of a seed requires water before it can make its appearance, similarly, the work of gods can be accomplished by the Cupid in diverting the mind of Siva from meditation towards Parvati (K.S.3-18)

 

Siva, on account of suspension of the vital airs is imagined to be a reservoir of water unruffled with ripples, a cloud not blustering up to burst into a shower, or like a lamp steady in a place free from wind (K.S.3-48)

 

Cupid who died leaving Rati whose very life depends upon him, is imagined as the torrent of water abandoning a lotus after breaking down a dam (K.S. 4-6)

 

The mind already firmly resolute and bent on its desired object cannot be diverted and is so imagined to be like downward flowing water which cannot be drawn back (K S 5-5). So Menaka’s advice to Parvati whose mind already leaned to Siva went amiss.

 

 

Seeing the moon-like face of Parvati, Siva had the water of his mind rendered clear (K S 7-74).

Water is always cool; seers are always kind!

 

In the Raghuvamsa (RV 5-54) Matanga cursed Pri yamvada to turn into an elephant. He fell at his feet and the sage relented afterwards. The hotness of water is due to its contact with the fire or the solar heat; what is coolness is but the natural property of water. This indicates that abut is the sage was kind-hearted.

 

स चानुनीतः प्रणतेन पश्चान्मया महर्षिर्मृदुतामगच्छत्|
उष्णत्वमग्न्यातपसंप्रयोगाच्छैत्यं हि यत्सा प्रकृतिर्जलस्य॥ ५-५४

sa cānunītaḥ praṇatena paścānmayā maharṣirmṛdutāmagacchat
uṣṇatvamagnyātapasaṁprayogācchaityaṁ hi yatsā prakṛtirjalasya || 5-54

“But, when I prostrated before his feet and importuned that great sage matanga relented to modify the curse as above… for the heat of water is owing to its contact with either fire or solar heat… what is coolness is but the natural property of water… isn’t it… [5-54]

 

 

The Sanskrit poets describe navel as a mark of beauty and it therefore, compared to the watery eddy (RV 6-52)

नृपम् तमावर्तमनोज्ञनाभिः सा व्यत्यगादन्यवधूर्भवित्री|
महीधरम् मार्गवशादुपेतम् स्रोतोवहा सागरगामिनीव॥ ६-५२

nṛpam tamāvartamanojñanābhiḥ sā vyatyagādanyavadhūrbhavitrī |

mahīdharam mārgavaśādupetam srotovahā sāgaragāminīva || 6-52

She who has a navel as beautiful as an eddy, and who is scheduled to become another man’s wife, that princess indumati moved past that prince susheNa of shUrasena kingdom, just as an ocean bound river moves past a mountain met by chance on its way. [6-52]

 

 

 

The family of Raghu with the child King comparable to the water with a lotus in the condition of a bud in it (RV 18-37). This indicates the tender and lovely heart of King Sudarsana.

 

नवेन्दुना तन्नभसोपमेयम्
शाबैकसिंहेन च काननेन।
रघोः कुलम् कुट्मलपुष्करेण
तोयेन चाप्रौढनरेन्द्रमासीत्॥ १८-३७

navendunā tannabhasopameyam
śābaikasiṁhena ca kānanena |
raghoḥ kulam kuṭmalapuṣkareṇa
toyena cāprauḍhanarendramāsīt || 18-37

 

That dynasty of Raghu with this young king sudarshana obtained similitude to the sky with new moon, a forest with a single lion-cub, and a lake with solitary bud of lotus. [18-37]

 

Thus Raghu’s line, whose chief was now a child,/Showed like the night while still the Moon is young,/Or like a forest where one Lion-cub/Alone doth range, or as a silent lake/Before its lilies bloom.

 

 

In the Malavikagnimitram (M.M.1-6), the skill of teacher which when communicated to a worthy student, attains greater excellence, is likened to the water of a cloud, which when dropped into a sea-shell, acquires the nature of a pearl.

 

Just as a stupid person becomes wise by association with the wise, similarly, the turbid water becomes clear by contact with the purifying fruit of the Kataka tree (M M 2—7)

 

(Rain drops falling on the day of Swati star becoming pearl in the oysters and the Kataka seed purifying water are used by Tamil poets as well; I have written about it already).

 

Source books :–Kuruntokai

Raghuvamsa.sansrit documents.com

The Imagery of Kalidasa by Dr Mrs Vinod Aggarwal

xxx

My Old articles on the same subject:

1.Kalidasa’s simile in Tamil ‘Kalitokai’ about Water Purification! (Post No.3775); posted on 31 March 2017

2. Women and Rivers in Kalidasa and Tamil literature; posted on 10 November 2014
3. Kalidasa’s age: Tamil works confirm 1st century BC. Posted on 22 January 2012
4. Nature’s Orchestra in the Forest: Sanskrit Tamil Poets’ Chorus (Post No. 3489); 27 December 2016
5. Pearls in the Vedas and Tamil Literature

Posted on Post No. 1048 ; dated 17th May 2014.

  1. Gem Stones in Kalidasa and Tamil Literature (13 February 2012)

 

–Subham–

 

 

Father in Sanskrit and Tamil Literature (Post No 3690)

Picture of Tiruvalluvar

 

Written by London swaminathan

 

Date: 4 March 2017

 

Time uploaded in London:- 15-20

 

Post No. 3690

 

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

 

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

 

In the Atharva Veda (3-30):-

“The union of hearts and minds

and freedom from hate I will bring you

Love one another as the cow

loves the calf that she has borne.

 

Let son be loyal to father

and of one mind with his mother;

let wife speak to husband words

that are honey-sweet and gentle.

 

Let not a brother hate a brother,

nor a sister hate a sister

unanimous, united in aims

speak you words with friendliness

 

I will make the prayer for that

concord among men at home

by which Devas do not separate,

nor ever hate one another”.

–Atharva Veda 3-30

 

Hindus consider Mother, Father and Teacher as Gods:

Mata, Pita, Guru (Teacher), Deivam

Linguists know that the English words Mother, Father, Teacher and Deity came from these Sanskrit words.

There is another interpretation for the above Sanskrit quote. Respect is given to in the following order; mother, father, teacher and god.

 

All the saints have praised god as Mother and Father. So they knew that no one else can excel their love and affection. I have given below some similes and verses about father in Sanskrit and Tamil literature.

 

Tamil Veda Tirukkural says:

What a father is expected to do his son is to make him fit to hold the foremost pace among the learned (Kural 67)

The duty of the son to the father is to make others exclaim “ what penance has he done to be blessed with such a worthy son.”

 

Tiruvalluvar, author of the Tamil Veda Tirukkural knew about the penance domne by the parents of Adi Shankara and Markandeya.

 

Picture of Agastya

In the Rig Veda

Several passages in the Rig Veda show father as a standard of affection. The Vedic seers implore the fire god to be of easy access as a father is to his son

sa nah pite’va suunave agne suupaayano bhava RV 1-1-9

 

Vyusitaasva protects all the castes as a father protects his own sons:apaalayat sarvavarnaan pitaa putraan ivau rasaan –Mahabharata 1-112-13;1-110-11; 3-3-5

 

Yudhisthira going into exile into the forest is described as abandoning his subjects like a father abandoning his sons:

pite’vaputraan apahaaya caa smaan. Mbh 3-24-9

 

Sometimes, paternal affection takes the shape of advice, e.g. like a father instructing his sons, Matali instructs the Pandavas and goes away:

pite’va putraan anusisya cai’naan.Mbh 3-161-25

 

Arjuna implores Lord Krishna to pardon his faults as a father pardons those of a son, a friend those of a friend, a lover those of his beloved:

pite’va putrasya sakhe’va sakhyh priyah priyaayaa rhasi deva sodhum.Mbh 6-33-44

 

as a father lifts his fallen son, so does the minister lift the fallen king Samvarana who is unable to bear his beloved Tapati’s sudden disappearance:

tam samutthaapayaam aasa .. pite’va patitam sutam.Mbh 1-162-5

 

Bhisma embraces Karna by one arm as a father embraces his son:

pite’va putram gaangeyah parisvajyai ‘kabaahunaa.6-117-7

 

Damayanti, lamenting, accuses the Himalaya of not consoling her with its voice as a father consoles his distressed daughter:

giraa naasvaasayasy adya svaam sutaam iva duhkhitaam. 3-61-52

from very childhood, Parasara, the grandson treats vasistha as his father:

janmaprabhri tasmims ca pitarii’va

vyavartata. Mbh 1-169-4; 3-24-7

Picture of Tamil Poet Tiruvalluvar

 

In Kalidasa:-

In the Raghu Vamsa by reason of his protecting and maintaining the subjects, he was virtually their father. Their real fathers were merely the source of their birth.

Raghuvamsa 1-24

Vasistha blesses Dilipa, “May you stand like your father, at the head of those who are blessed with worthy sons”. RV 1-91

 

Again, the great sage Kautsa blesses Raghu, “May you obtain a son wothy of your excellence as your father obtained yourpraiseworthy self”

Raghuvamsa 5-34

 

Just as King Pundarika was the father with an excellent son Devanika, who was ready to please his father, similarly, the son had an excellent father by reason of loving his son. The image suggests the perennial affection between the father and son. Raghuvamsa 18-11; 17-2

 

Also read my previous article:

 

Ruler is Father and Mother: Hindu Concept in Tamil … – Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/…/ruler-is-father-and-mother-hindu-con…

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11 Feb 2017 – Hindus considered the Rulers as their father and mother. Generally, Guru and God are praised as father and mother by the Hindus in their …

 

–Subham–

 

Flying Snake in Kalidasa (Post No.3544)

Written by London swaminathan

 

Date: 14 January 2017

 

Time uploaded in London:- 18-39

 

Post No.3544

 

 

Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.

 

 

contact: swami_48@yahoo.com

 

Kalidasa, the greatest poet of India, who lived in the first century BCE, had amazing knowledge about flora and fauna of India. His knowledge about a vast land mass of Asia from Iran to Indonesia is equally amazing. Whenever I try to compare his writings I go through at least 500 Tamil and Sanskrit poets of ancient India. Most of my poets are from Sangam Tamil literature. There are over 450 Tamil poets of Sangam age. They lived 2000 years ago. Is it not amazing that I need 500 poets to compare his 1250 similes and images?

 

It is not only the images. He speaks about 1500 mile long Himalayas, flying experience of a pilot, longest tour from Iran to Indonesia. He knew the ins and outs of even he Southern most Pandya Kings and their Guru Agastya!

 

When I read about flying snakes in the Raghuvamsa in 1997, I made a marginal note in my book. Recently I watched a nature series on the BBC television and I came to know what he wrote about the flying snake is true. Later I googled and found out there are several videos showing the flying snakes that glide from the tree and reaches another tree or the ground! Kalidasa knew all these things even before we knew! His description of the coastal caves that echo the thundering clouds, the beautiful Himalayas and Vindhyas – all these show he was the greatest poet. In Shakespeare who lived 1600 years after Kalidasa we do not see much science. But Kalidasa talks about Magnets and Magnifying glasses, phosphorescent plants etc. I will write about his knowledge in science and geography in a series of articles. If the snake reference is a single one I will simply reject it. But he refers to whales and other animals.

 

 

Following is the place where he refers to the flying snake; though he talks about winged snakes we don’t see any wings, but they fly as if they have wings. You can watch them on several You Tube videos.

 

Read the following Raghuvamsa sloka taken from Sanskrit documents.com

 

तयोरुपान्तस्थितसिद्धसैनिकं गरुत्मदाशीविषभीमदर्शनैः|
बभूव युद्धं तुमुलं जयैषिणोरधोमुखैरूर्ध्वमुखैश्च पत्रिभिः॥ ३-५७

tayorupāntasthitasiddhasainikaṁ
garutmadāśīviṣabhīmadarśanaiḥ|
babhūva yuddhaṁ tumulaṁ jayaiṣiṇor
adhomukhairūrdhvamukhaiśca patribhiḥ || 3-57

tayorupAntasthitasiddhasainika.n garutmadAshIviShabhImadarshanaiH |
babhUva yuddha.n tumula.n jayaiShiNoradhomukhairUdhvamukhaishca patribhiH || 3-57

tayoH upAnta sthita siddha sainikam garutmat ashI viSa bhIma darshanaiH | babhUva yuddham tumulam jaya eSiNoH atho mukhaiH Urthva mukhaH ca patribhiH || 3-57

 

3-57. jaya eSiNoH= victory, desiring; tayoH= between those two – Indra, raghu; garutmat= like divine eagle Garuda; ashI viSa= in fangs, venom [those that have] snakes; bhIma darshanaiH= frightening [arrows,] to look at; athaH mukhaiH= down, faced – downwards; Urthva mukhaH ca= up, faced – upwards, also; patribhiH= with arrows; upAnta sthita siddha= nearby – there about, staying – stood motionless, with siddha-s; sainikam= [also with] soldiers; tumulam yuddham babhUva= tumultuous, war, occurred.

 

Meaning:-

 

Between those two who desired victory over the other, namely Indra and Raghu, there occurred a tumultuous fight with frightful arrows that flew up and down between sky and earth like winged serpents, or like the mutually chasing eagles and snakes, and with this the onlookers, namely the celestials like siddha-s, chAraNa-s et al on indra’s side on sky, and the soldiers, and other princes following the ritual horse, on Raghu’s side on earth, stood motionless there about. [3-57]

 

Flying snakes are in India, Srilanka, Indonesia, Laos Vietnam and Cambodia. Indian species is known as Chrysopelea taprobanica. All the flying or gliding snakes belong to genus Chrysopelea.

 

Following information is taken from Wikipedia:_

The Sri Lankan flying snake (Chrysopelea taprobanica) is a species of gliding snake distributed in India and Sri Lanka. It can glide, as with all species of its genus Chrysopelea, by stretching the body into a flattened strip using its ribs. The snake is known as “dangara dandaa – දඟරදන්ඩා” in Sinhala, due to its folding postures.

 

The Sri Lankan flying snake population in Sri Lanka can be found in dry zone lowlands and parts of the intermediate climatic zones, including PolonnaruwaWilpattu, National ParkSigiriyaKurunegalaJaffnaTrincomalee, and Monaragala. This species was known to be an endemic species to Sri Lanka until researchers have recorded few specimens from Andhra Pradesh India.

Chrysopelea, more commonly known as the flying snake or gliding snake, is a genus that belongs to the family Colubridae. Flying snakes are mildly venomous,[1] though the venom is only dangerous to their small prey.[2] Their range is in Southeast Asia (the mainland (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), Greater and Lesser SundasMaluku, and the Philippines), southernmost ChinaIndia, and Sri Lanka.

–Subham–