Perfume Simile in Hindu Literature (Post No.3639)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 15 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 19-19


Post No. 3639



Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.






Many of you would have read the famous quote of Shakespeare in Macbeth:


“Here is the smell of blood still. All perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”


But the art of perfume making spread to various parts of the world from India. I have already written about the art of perfume making from Brhat Samhita of Varaha Mihira and Kamasutra of Vatsyayana. It is considered one of the 64 arts prescribed to all the women of ancient India. So there is no wonder we have some quotations and similes in our epics. here is one form Mahabharata:

As the perfume of flowers (in contact with them) scents clothing, water, sesame seed, or the ground, so qualities are born from contact (with the good or evil)

vastram aapas tilaan bhuumim gandho vaasayate yathaa

puspaanaam adhivaasena tathaa samsargajaa gunaah (Mbh 3-1-22)


In the olden days we mixed perfume with water, oil and used them.

In Tamil we have a proverb (Puuvoodu serntha naarum manam perum). Even the string that is used to make garlands gets the fragrance of the flowers. We use this to say that anyone who hasthe company of scholars will shine like the scholars.


There is another proverb saying that even the weaving tools in Kamban’s house will sing Ramayana!

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says that if anyone has done good or bad that lingering smell will still be there. So one must be careful not to join the same group:-


“The cup in which garlic juice is kept retains the odour, though washed several times. Egotism is such an obstinate aspect of  ignorance that it never disappears completely, however hard you may try to get rid of it.”


Once a Marwari gentle man, approached Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and said, “How is it, Sir, that I do not see God although I have renounced everything?”

The Master: “Well, haven’t you seen leather jars for keeping oil? If one of them is emptied of its contents, still it retains something of the oil as well as its smell. In the same way there is still some worldliness left in you, and its odour persists.”






Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 6 December 2016


Time uploaded in London: 10-50 am


Post No.3424



Pictures are taken by Tamil Conference Booklet.





1981 World Tamil Conference Procession in Madurai -Part 2


Yesterday I posted Part 1 with the title A Brief Introduction to Tamil. following is the 2nd part.

Thirugnana Sambanthar


He lived in the 7thc. A.D. This young devotee who attained the divine mercy at the age of seven, was largely responsible for Saivism becoming popular in Tamil Nadu. His poems are melodious and mellifluous and they form the first three books in the twelve canons of Saivite sacred texts, which are popularly known by the term Panniru Thirumuraikal.


Tirunavukkarasar (Appar)


An ardent Saivite saint, Appar lived in the 7th C. AD. He has composed his devotional lyrics in the Thandakan form and hence he was called by the popular attribution Thandaka venthar (King of Thandaka genre). His works are included as the fifth, sixth and seventh books of the twelve Saivite sacred books. As per the Saivite tradition, he was the supreme example of Divine Service.




He lived in the 8th C. A.D. and considered himself to be a close friend of Lord Siva. Consequently, his devotional poems reveal his sense of comradeship with God. His poems form the seventh book of the Tamil Saivite sacred books.




He lived in the Eighth century A.D. and composed the very beautiful Tamil devotional lyrics entitled Thiruvasakam and Thirukkovaiyar. The special charm. of the former work has captivated the mind of the European missionary G.U. Pope, who has rendered it into English.




When the Pandya King Arimarthanan punished Manikkavasakar for spending the Govt money for religious purpose, Lord Siva performed a miracle before the king to make known the greatness of the famous Saivite saint. As per His divine orders, there was heavy flood in Vaikai river. It destroyed the banks of Vaikai. The officials of the Pandya King ordered that each one of the subjects should do his allotted work to repair the damaged river banks. The poor Vanthi who sold Pittu (rice pudding) could not find a man to work on her behalf. As per her prayer, Lord Siva assumed the form of a coolly and came to Vanthi. After eating the Pittu given by her, he joined others who were engaged in the flood relief activities. He carried in his basket the sand for filling the damaged portions of the river bank. But, he had not sincerely done his job. Consequently, the work allotted to Vanthi remained unfinished. When this was reported to the King, the King got angry and started beating the coolly by a cane. Everyone present there felt a blow on their backs. The coolly put one basket of sand in his allotted area and suddenly disappeared.  The outrageous King’s men went to Vanthi to punish her. But, she was taken to Heaven on a divine chariot by the Siva ganas. When the King’s men went to the river bank they found that it was completely repaired.




Andal, the daughter of Periyalvar, is one of the most fascinating of the Alvars. Periyalvar, her foster father found her as a baby in his garden and he brought her up as his daughter. Later, she imagined herself to be the bride of Krishna, refusing to marry mortals, boldly wearing even the garlands intended for the image of Krishna. One day, when her foster father saw it, he was shocked. He proclaimed that the garland which was worn by mortal being was not befitting to Krishna. Consequently, he would not use it to garland the image of Krishna. The same night Krishna appeared in Periyalvar’s dream and said that he would like only the garland which was worn by Andal. Finally, she was given in marriage to the lord of Srirangam. Andal has left but two works Tiruppavai of 30 stanzas and Nachiar Thirumoli of l43 stanzas. Krishna is the hero and she, the heroine in both. Thiruppavai owes its origin to a religious observance among maidens of the cowherds’ class. This tableau depicts Periyalvar looking in wonder at his daughter offering the garland to the statue of Krishna.




Arunakiri Nathar


He is the author of Tiruppukal, which consists of three thousand devotional poems endowed with high rhythmic qualities. He was proficient in Tamil music too. He composed the metrical compositions such as Kanthar Alankaram, Kanthar Anuputhi, Kanthar Antathi, Vel virutham, Mayil Virutham and Tiruvakuppu.




He was a saivite saint and a mystic poet par excellence. He has composed the famous philosophical work Tirumanthiram. His poems are the revelations of his deep reflection in Yoga, Jnanam and Siddha medicines. To him, serving humanity is the chief way to serve God


Thayumanavar (1705 1742)


Born at Vedaranyam, Thayumanavar a great saint was full of love for mankind. His notable poetic works are Anandak kalippu and Paraparak kanni


Ramalinga Swamikal

He lived in Tamil Nadu in the 19th century A.D., and composed Tiruvarutpa which consists of six thousand devotional hymns. He was born on 5-10-1823 at Marutur, near Chidambaram. He lived in Madras for more than thirty years and composed a number of poems. He has established Sathiya Taruma Salai Sathiya Gnanasabai and Samarasa Sanmarka Sankam in Vadalur. His philosophical reflections which are full of egalitarian sentiment and profound humanitarian spirit are considered to be unique contributions to the world of religion and philosophy.



The Tamil poets are endowed with genial spirit and modest character. But they become crusaders of their cause if anything happens to stain their spotless virtue and prestige. In such cases, they are even prepared to fight with their royal patrons. Consequently, the rulers of the Tamil land patronized the poets with much care love and respect without offending their tender feelings. An event which stands as a typical example of the poet-patron relationship of the ancient Tamil Nadu is depicted here. The Chola King failed to recognize and give due respect to Kamban, the greatest epic poet of Tamil. The offended poet decided to teach him a lesson. He took a vow that he would sit before the court of the Chola King duly served and attended by great king equal in status to the Chola monarch as his errand man. The Chera King who was captivated by the poetic talent of Kamban followed him as an errand man and prepared betel leaf to Kampan while he was seated in the Chola palace. The Chola king promptly recognised the greatness of Kamban.




  1. Subramania Bharathi (1882-1921)


Bharathi started his poetic career as a court poet of the Zamindar of Ettayapuram. He completely freed himself from the court life when he was attracted by the currents of the renaissance spirit as well as the upsurge of the waves of the Indian Freedom Struggle. When he found that he was not able to give vent to his patriotic feelings freely in Sudesamithiran, a Tamil journal in which Bharati worked as a sub-editor, he relinquished his job and started a new journal entitled India. He lived the life of a political exile in Pondicherry. He successfully experimented in modern Tamil literature and showed a new way to his successors. He used poetry as an invincible weapon to fight against oppressions of all kinds. His poems played a predominant role in the Freedom Struggle kindling the patriotic feelings of the Tamils. Most of his poems are highly prophetic.

Among his poetical compositions his national poems, Kannan Pattu, Kuyil Pattu and Panchali Sabatam are famous.






Win Anger by serenity, wickedness by Virtue (Post No. 2568)


Compiled  by London swaminathan


Date: 23 February 2016


Post No. 2568


Time uploaded in London :–17-28


( Thanks for the Pictures  ) 




Please go to




Anger in Tamil and Sanskrit Literature

Yesterday the first part of this was posted under the title Count a Hundred When you are Angry’



1.Win Anger by serenity, wickedness by Virtue – Mahabharata 5-15-18; Vidura Niti 7-72

(Akrodhena jayet krodham asaadhum saadhunaa jayet)


2.Unexpressed anger will never subside- Ramayana manjari


3.Duties not performed, invite even the wrath of the good – Valmiki Ramayana 5-1-97



4.What else can scorch better than fire? (Sakuntalam about anger)



5.Anger is the root cause of all calamities –Hitopadesa




6.Anger indeed is the arch rival of man- Subhasita ratna bandagara 3-880



7.He who conquers anger, conquers the whole word – Katha sarit sagar


8.Men of wisdom rule anger, whereas anger rules the common man – Sisupala vada 16-26

(jitarosarayaa mahaadhiyah sapadi rosajito laghurjanah)


9.One who is enraged for a particular cause will surely be pacified once the cause ceases –Panchatantra 1-286



10.The anger of the righteous cannot be endured even for a moment

–Tirukkural couplet 29

The same couplet was interpreted in a different way by two old commentators

The anger of a person who has reached the pinnacle of goodness will not last even for a moment.

(This second interpretation is supported by the lives of holy saints).

The anger of the great is not long-lasting and ends on a gentle note – Bharatamanjari 1-26-1141

(Father who was angry with his son or daughter makes it up later by showering them with big gifts or presents)



11.Only the man who controls his temper, where it can hurt, is in fact controlling it,

Where his anger cannot have sway, such an exercise, is futile either way —-Tirukkural 301


12.Even where it cannot hurt others, anger is bad;

But where does it hurt, there is nothing worse –Tirukkural 302


13.As only evil consequences come out of it,

Anger is best avoided in respect of all –Tirukkural 303


14.Anger and wrath, these also abominations and the sinful man will possess them – Sirach 27-30, Bible


15.Can there be any greater enemy to mankind

Than anger, which kills laughter and joy? –Tirukkural 304


16.Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming –Proverbs 27-4, Bible


17.If you would protect yourself, guard against your own anger;

For, anger not controlled would lead to self destruction –Tirukkural  305


18.A fool gives full vent to his anger;

But a wise man quietly holds it back -Proverbs 29-11, Bible


19.A true saint is one who has eschewed affection, fear and wrath – Bhagavad Gita 2-56


20.Anger not only destroys those whom it affects, like fire, it will also burn

Those kindred souls, who step in to help as a raft towards salvation –Tirukkural 306


(Here Tirukkural uses the Sanskrit expression ‘Asrayasah’ ( in Tamil Sernthaaraik kolli; the one which destroys by hugging/joining; and it destroys itself as well)



Shakespeare also echoed it:

21.Men in rage strike those that wish them best – Shakespeare


22.He who sees substance in anger and gives way to it, will suffer evil consequences,

Even as he fools who slaps the ground —Tirukkural 307


23.Even if the memory of a great wrong burns one up like a holocaust

It is best to strain oneself to hold back the anger–Tirukkural couplet 308

24.A soft answer turns away wrath

But a harsh word stirs up anger – Proverbs 15-1, Bible


25.To an ascetic, who does not even think angry thoughts,

Every constructive thought will result in instant success–Tirukkural couplet 309

(This is how the saints get powers to get miracles; if one gives up lust or anger or desire, one develops miraculous powers; even animals wont harm one, in fact obeys one’s orders)

26.Heaven is won by composure – Katha sarit sagar



27.Those who have yielded to anger and to consequent evils, are like the dead,

While those who have reined in anger, are like the good ascetics–Tirukkural 310


28.Triple is the gate of hell, destructive of the self: Lust, Anger and Greed, therefore one should forsake these three – Bhagavad Gita 16-21


29.Anger is the enemy within (antah sapatnah kopoyam)- Jatakamala