‘SOME ARE BORN GREAT’: CHANAKYA AND SHAKESPEARE! (Post No.4669)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 27 JANUARY 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 13-07

 

Post No. 4669

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

 

 

 

WARNING: PLEASE SHARE MY ARTICLES; BUT DON’T SHARE IT WITHOUT AUTHOR’S NAME AND THE BLOG NAME. BE HONEST; OTHERS WILL BE HONEST WITH YOU

 

Chanakya, the great Indian genius, who lived 2300 years ago composed some verses on fame and good qualities. We see good similarities between him and other poets such as Shakespeare and Tiru Valluvar.

 

Here are Chanakya’s verses in his work Chanakya Niti:

“One goes by one’s qualities and not by occupying a high seat. Does a crow by sitting on the top of a place turn into Garuda?

“It is qualities that elicit praise and not enormous riches. Does the full moon evoke as much worship as the week but spotless one the day after the new moon day?

 

“With others proclaiming his qualities, even a person with no qualities comes to possess them. With his own self proclaiming his qualities even Indra loses his stature.

 

Chnakaya Niti , Chapter 16, slokas 6, 7, 8

Now compare it with Shakespeare’s famous quote in Twelfth Night,

(Malvalio  reads a letter)

 

“If this letter falls into your hands, think carefully about what it says. By my birth I rank above you, but don’t be afraid of my greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Your fate awaits you. Accept it in body and spirit. To get used to the life you’ll most likely be leading soon, get rid of your low-class trappings. Show some eagerness for the new upscale lifestyle that’s waiting.”

 

Tiru Valluvar says,

In the abode of the gods, more honoured than the saints are those who have won lasting fame on earth.

Kural 234

Better to be born covered with glory on earth than never to be born at all.

Kural 236

 

Bemoan your own sloth that stands in your way to glory; why fret about the insults that others hurl at you?

Kural 237

 

Verily do the wise cry shame on those that leave no foot prints on the sands of time when there is glory to be sought and won in the world of men.

Kural 238

Alive is the soul that is free from reproach; but dead is the heart that lives without a name

Kural 240

xxx

Where and When Qualities Shine?

Chanakya adds two more verses on qualities (Guna)

“Qualities appear more charming when associated with a wise person. A jewel when united with (studded) in gold shines all the more.

“Even he who equals the omniscient one through his qualities, if alone, with none to support him, comes to grief. Even a priceless jewel needs the support of gold.

chapter 16, slokas 10 and 11

 

xxxxxxxx SUBHAM xxxxxx

 

FACEBOOK LIKES! NEW YEAR RESOLUTION! (Post No.4474)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 9 DECEMBER 2017 

 

Time uploaded in London-  8-29 am

 

 

Post No. 4474

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

 

 
“BEGGAR THAT I AM, I AM EVEN POOR IN THANKS” ( SHAKESPEARE IN HAMLET).

 

Every year I make a new year resolution; but before the ink is dry it is thrown into dustbin. Why?

I thought big of me. I thought of becoming a Shankaracharya or a Baba or a Swamiji. I took a resolution not to feel angry or hate anyone. Was it possible? No. Some people did great injustice to me in my work spots though I did all the good things to them. So till this day I hate them. I can never win in such resolutions!

So, this year I am going to take a new year resolution which is possible and practicable (?!?!?!).

London swaminathan’s name in Guinness Book of Recordss! How?

I learnt a lesson from my father. He was Mr V Santanam, News Editor of Dinamani (Indian Express Group of Newspapers), Madurai. Everyday people used to come to our house or his office to give news items. He used to read them and smile. He would never say YES or NO to the bringer of those news items. But they would request my dad to publish the item the very next day, in a prominent place in the newspaper with BIG headlines.

 

I used to wonder why he smile like this. Some of the items attracted my attention as well. One day when I read one of those news items I laughed loudly. And made some comments in front of my father.

“Fools! Idiots! Ganges- Vaigai River Link Association (!!!) meeting; resolution number 1 etc. These people did not even know geography. No one could even find a solution to link the rivers Narmada, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri, leave alone Vaigai! there is a big Deccan plateau in between!”

 

My father was a man of few words. But on that day, he interrupted me to say, ‘An association can live long only when there is some unachievable goal. The man who brought the item is Gulam Bhai, a good soul; he runs seven organisations including ‘Kashmr is ours Association’, ‘Madurai pedestrians Association’  , ‘Cyclists Association’ and this ‘Ganaga- Vaigai Association’. He continued…………

 

I learnt a lesson from him. Never set an unachievable goal if you want to reach the goal. So this year I decided to think small and set an achievable goal! What is it?

I must enter the Guinness Book of Records in 2018 under the category of the man who put most likes in Facebook in 2018.

 

Please don’t compete with me in this category!

 

You may wonder why I chose FACEBOOK LIKES for this year. Very often I see women’s posts or women’s pictures get most likes. Good and original ideas get less likes. Don’t think that I am frustrated because I don’t get many likes. I know the difficulties. When you have 5000 friends and you put likes to someone or a few, those people will ‘haunt’ you whenever you open the Facebook page! Moreover I get 6000 hits every day to my blogs and most of them come from my Facebook friends. But I still wonder why do they have this new disease of clicking LIKES only for WOMEN!

Let me stop there and give you the second reason for choosing Facebook Likes this year.

 

While I was reading Shakespeare, I came across three beautiful quotations: –

 
‘BEGGAR THAT I AM, I AM EVEN POOR IN THANKS ‘(HAMLET).

‘HOW SHARPER THAN A SERPENT’S TOOTH IT IS TO HAVE A THANKLESS CHILD’ (KING LEAR).

‘I THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOICES, THANK YOU, YOUR MOST SWEET VOICES’ (CORIOLANUS)

 

 

I was most attracted by the first quotation.

Why should I be a beggar in thanking people? So let me click as many likes as possible in the new year. But I am restraining myself with a big condition—This may even place hurdles in my goal of entering Guinness Book of Records. The BIG condition is,

“I should not put likes to any Tom, Dick and Harry posts. It must have good messages, original thoughts, not recycled You Tube materials, neither political support nor hatred towards something!”

 

Let me see whether I can win by putting LIKE only to good and original ones.

Hey,

Why don’t you also place likes or tick likes when you see something GOOD, POSITIVE and ORGINAL in the new year?

 

Long live Facebook! Long, Longer, Longest live LIKES!

 

–SUBHAM-

 

 

 

HINDU DHRUVA IN SHAKESPEARE! (Post No.4449)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 1 DECEMBER 2017 

 

Time uploaded in London-  14-46

 

 

Post No. 4449

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

 

SHAKESPEARE, the greatest English playwright and dramatist was influenced by Hindu literature. We know from his plays that he has read lot of materials. We see Kalidasa’s Shakuntala in Miranda in his play the Tempest. We hear about Nagaratna (cobra jewel) in one of the plays. I have already listed the parallelisms in Tirukkural, the Tamil Veda and Shakespeare in several articles. Here is one more Hindu story in Shakespeare.

 

The story of the young boy DHRUVA is known to every Hindu. Dhruva has been elevated to the status of Pole Star in Hindu literature. Not only Pole star but also the seven stars circling the pole star worshiped by millions of Hindus every day three times  when they do Sandhyavandan, the water ceremony.

 

According to the Vishnu Purana, the sons of Swayambhuva Manu were Priyavrata and Uttanapada. Uttandapada had two wives, one was Suruchi who was very proud and haughty and the other was Suniti who was humble and gentle. Suniti gave birth to Dhruva. Suruchi treated him very badly while he was young. Suruchi made sure that her son Uttama succeeds to the throne. Dhruva and his mother Suniti were helpless. Dhruva wanted to pray to God to keep himself happy. He joined a group of seers (Rishis) and he went through rigid course of austerities. Indra wanted to distract him so that there wont be any competition from him for his post. At the end, he got a boon from Vishnu and became a star. A star among boys and a star in the sky. Hindus are shown Dhruva Nakshatra—known as Pole Star during wedding along with the Seven Stars, the Ursa major. He is the pivot of the planets. He became the symbol of steadfastness, determination, tenacity and resolution to the Hindus. Hindus are advised to be as constant as Dhruva.

Shakespeare says in Julius Caesar,

“But I am constant as the Northern Star, of whose true fixed and resting quality, there is no fellow in the firmament”– (Caesar)

 

Several of Hindu beliefs are in Shakespeare for which there is no other source such as Greek, Egyptian and Roman.

 

–Subham–

 

 

 

 

SHAKESPEARE IN TAMIL VEDA TIRUKKURAL- Part 1 (Post No.4423)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 22 NOVEMBER 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 20-58

 

 

Post No. 4423

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

 

WHAT IS TIRUKKURAL?

Tirukkural is a book of ethics in Tamil. Tirukkural means a ‘book of sacred couplets’. It has 1330 couplets divided into 133 chapters. It is divided into three sections dealing with Dharma (Virtue), Artha (wealth) and Kama (Love between man and woman). It was written by Tiruvalluvar, who lived approximately 1500 years before our time. The book is praised as Tamil Veda by his contemporaries. All the Hindu ideals are incorporated into the book. Some of the couplets can be compared with the sayings of Shakespeare.

 

Who is Shakespeare?

Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English dramatist and poet. He wrote 37 plays and over 150 poems. His quotations are used very often in English essays and other literary articles. Tiruvalluvar and Shakespeare agree on many issues. When one reads them one thinks that the famous saying ‘Great men think alike’ is proved once again.

Here are some comparisons culled out from various books:

Compassion and Mercy

Tiruvalluvar says

Those who are merciful are really the men of virtue

because they have compassion for all living creature (Kural 30)

In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare say that people with mercy are the real sages of the world.

 

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God Himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That in the course of justice, none of us

Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy;

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much

To mitigate the justice of thy plea;

Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

 

(Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1)

Chastity

Tiruvalluvar says

Of what avail is watch and ward? A woman’s will

is the best safeguard of her honour (Kural 57)

Prison walls, pad-locks and chastity belts are absolutely of no use to ensure a woman’s chastity. Her own conscience and inner strength will alone keep her really pure.

Sakespeare says,

“My chastity is the jewel of our house bequeathed down from many ancestors”

DIANA.
I see that men make hopes in such a case,
That we’ll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.

BERTRAM.
I’ll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
To give it from me.

DIANA.
Will you not, my lord?

BERTRAM.
It is an honour ‘longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose.

DIANA.
Mine honour’s such a ring:
My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honour on my part
Against your vain assault.

All is well that ends well, Act 4, Scene 2

 

Wife,The Helpmate

Tiruvalluvar says,

If a man’s wife does not bring him credit and honour, he cannot walk

with proud leonine gait in the face of his distractors- (Kural 59)

 

Shakespeare says,

‘A light wife doth make a heavy husband’

-The Merchant of Venice, Act 5, Scene 1

 

It is a sarcastic remark.

It’s a pun (a play on words to make a joke) because “light” and “heavy” have many meanings.

“A light wife” is an adulteress.
We also say someone is “heavy” if they carry an emotional burden, e.g. an unfaithful wife.

Light and heavy most commonly refer to the weight of something and are opposites, as are husband and wife, as are an unfaithful and faith spouse.

Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their Followers.
  Bass.  We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
  Por.  Let me give light, but let me not be light;         145
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me:
But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.
  Bass.  I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend:
This is the man, this is Antonio,         150
To whom I am so infinitely bound.

 

–to be continued

 

–Subham–

Comets: Shakespeare also believed Hindu Views (Post No.4218)

Written by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 16 September 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 18-48

 

Post No. 4218

 

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

 

 

In Sangam Tamil literature and Hindu epic literature lot of references to comets (dhumaketu) are vailable.; all those references fear the evil effect of the comets. Ancient tamils used both Sanskrit word Dhumam (smoke) and the lieral translation of Dhema Ketu + Pukaik kodi in Purananuru.

Shakespeare also had the same belief about comets in his drama Julius Caesar, Calpurnia says

“When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” Julius Caesar 2-2-30/31

 

Meaning:

Calpurnia, wife of Julius Caesar, begs her husband not to venture out on this morning, the ides of March. Caesar has spent a restless night and there is a wild storm raging. Calpurnia has had disturbing dreams, as well; crying out three times in her sleep, “They murder Caesar!” She begs him to stay home. Caesar sends word to the priests and they, too, return a warning that Caesar must stay home. Calpurnia is very upset , especially because of the strange events of the preceding evening: reports that a lioness was seen giving birth in the streets of Rome, the dead rising from their graves, warriors fighting in the clouds, reports of horses neighing and dying men groaning, ghosts shrieking. Comets were seen during the night, which Calpurnia interprets as a prophecy of the death of a prince.

 

Shakespeare had similar views about eclipse which is also in Tamil and Sanskrit books.

Tamil Belief

Meteor
Meteors: Kudalur Kizar (Puram 229) described the effect of a meteor he and his colleagues saw in the sky. They predicted that the Chera King Mantharan Ceral Irumporai would die in seven days time and it came true.

Comets: Like any ancient community Tamils were also afraid of the comets. They used the Sanskrit word ( Dhuma ketu) and Tamil word (Pukai Kodi) for it. Reference: Puram 117and 395 Also in post- Sangam Tamil epic Manimekalai 6-64, 7-74, Silappadikaram 10-102

 

Tamil Poet Bharati On Halley’s Comet
1.Like a palm tree set on a millet plant,
With a growing tail on a little star,
You blaze forth in kinship with eastern moon
Oh, lustrous comet! I bid you welcome

2.You range over countless crores of Yojanas
They say your endless tail wrought of gas
The softness of which is indeed peerless

  1. They say that yourtail touches the earth too
    An you fare forth with no harm to the poor;
    The wise talk of your myriad marvels.
    ( I have given only 3 stanzas from 7 stanzas of translation by Dr T N Ramachandran)

Varahamihira on Comets:

 

  1. Dhumaketu | Tamil and Vedas

tamilandvedas.com/tag/dhumaketu

Posts about Dhumaketu written by Tamil and Vedas. … is considered as Dhumaketu – a portentous comet … //tamilandvedas.com/2015/05/13/comets-in-brhat-samhita/

 

 

  1. ISON comet | Tamil and Vedas

tamilandvedas.com/tag/ison-comet

Posts about ISON comet written by Tamil and Vedas. … Dhumaketu in Sanskrit means Lord Ganesh and the … //tamilandvedas.com/2013/01/05/spectacular-comet-show-in …

 

 

 

Hindu Beliefs in Shakespeare: Moon, Eclipse, Ghosts (Post No.4096)

Written by London Swaminathan


Date: 19 July 2017


Time uploaded in London- 17-11


Post No. 4096


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

 

It is needless to say that Shakespeare was a great scholar, playwright and a poet. he must have read and heard about India a lot. He lived just 500 years ago and no wonder he knew about India and Hinduism; by that time lot of Europeans were travelling in different directions in search of wealth. We see several references to Hindu beliefs in his plays. Had he been an essayist he would have mentioned the sources; but he was only a playwright and his main aim was to satisfy the English audience.

I have been collecting such references from different sources; I have written about his reference to Nagaratna (Cobra gem) a few years ago. Now look at some more references about Moon, Eclipses and Ghosts.

Mr Crooke, in his book Popular Religion and Folk-Lore of Northern India, has an interesting note on the moon:

“The moon has several special functions in relation to disease. Roots and simples collected by moonlight are more efficacious”. This is quite Shakespearian for Jessica says,

 

“n such a night Medea gathered the enchanted herbs

That did renew old Aeson “(The Merchant of Venice)

And Laertes speaks of the poison ‘collected from all simples that have virtue under the moon’ (Hamlet) .

Also very common is the belief that any disease contracted by  a man under the waning moon tends to diminish. Patients are often told to look at the moon reflected in butter or milk or water, and the cure will be effected. This is mostly done in the case of leprosy and similar diseases.

“In spite of all these advantages there is very little special worship of the Moon. When an image is erected to him it is usually associated with that of the Sun God. Moon worship is most popular in Bengal and Behar.”

 

My comments

I have already written about Moon’s effect on mind, why Hindus worship moon, Nagaratna and Vedic hymns linking Plants and Moon. Western biologists have not yet found out what Hindus already knew. Soma is used to denote Moon, Soma herb and moon in astrology.

Eclipses in Shakespeare

Until today Hindus are the only race in the world who take eclipses seriously.  They knew the bad and good effects of the eclipses. Any prayer done during eclipse is 100 times more effective. Any food eaten during or just before the eclipse will have bad effects. Such beliefs and special rituals like propitiating the departed souls do not exist in any other religion. They put Dharba grass in all the cooked foods to save it from the radiation. The reason is that not all the eclipses are bad. But they want the same rules for all eclipses so that people will remember to follow them.

Eclipses are believed to be of evil omen. Gloucester summarises admirably the Hindu belief in passage in King Lear (1-2)

“These late eclipses in the sun and pointed no good to us… love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide; in cities mutinies; in countries discord; in palaces treason; and the bond cracked ‘twixt son and father”.

 

Shakespeare said more than what Hindu scriptures said about the eclipses. Hindus will eat no food which has remained in the house during an eclipse, and all the earthen vessels which are in the house must be broken. During an eclipse, all the household business is suspended and eating and drinking prohibited. Even sleeping is forbidden. They bathe before and after the eclipse; use the time for prayers. Orthodox Hindus stand in the water and recite Gayatri mantra. Bathing during eclipse also cleanses from sin.

 

People born under particular stars wear special talisman, i.e., a palm leaf written with mantra is worn on forehead.

Though Hindus knew what causes eclipses and they calculated precisely and forecast the date and time, they told the laymen some stories. Ignorant people cant understand  astronomical calculations. They told the laymen that two planets (shadows) Rahu and Ketu are demons or snakes and they devour sun and moon.

Ghosts in Shakespeare

Foreigners have a big confusion about Hindu beliefs in ghosts. All the foreigners described Hindus as devil worshippers. Ignorant people like Dr Caldwell called all the Nadar community members as devil worshippers. Other foreigners described 90 percent Hindus are devil worshippers. This is because of their ignorance; they could not differentiate between the Asuras, Rakshasas, departed souls, Brahmarakshas (Brahmin ghosts), demon planets Rahu and Ketu and the actual ghosts (of people who died unnaturally in murders, suicides, accidents); apart from these some tribal beliefs about forests caves and hills (they are like Bermuda Triangles) and anything that cant be explained were classified as mysterious ghosts. Foreign writers classified all these as devil worships. Such beliefs exists in all parts of the world and in all cultures. Atharva Veda described even bacteria and Viruses as demons because the laymen won’t understand. Eclipsing planets such as Rahu and Ketu were described as demons but not ghosts

 

In King Lear, Shakespeare says,

:Unsepulchred they roamed and shrieked, each wandering ghost”.

The earliest Shakespeare in which Ghosts appear is Richard III. Richard is visited by the spirits of his victims in sleep.

In Hamlet, Horatio doubts the existence of ghosts that Barnardo and Marcellus claimed to have seen on two previous nights.

Horatio says that before Julius Caesar’s assassination,

“he sheeted dead

Did squeak and gibber in Roman streets”

In Julius Caesar, Shakespeare says, Brutus saw the apparition of murdered Caesar. He wondered whether it was some god or angel or devil.

 

This is definitely Hindu way of questioning.

In Macbeth Banquo’s ghost plays an important role.

In short all the important plays of Shakespeare have ghosts.

Monier William’s Ignorance:—

Rev, E Osborn Martin adds the epithet “bloody” for all the Hindu gods and goddesses: Shiva, Kali, Avatars of Vishnu and Ganesh! They are described in the chapter ‘Demon and Devil worship in India’ in his book ‘The Gods of India’.

Ignorant Sir Monier Williams writes, “the people worshipping a milkman who was killed by a tiger and he became devil”.

Sangam Tamil literature said that the heroes were worshipped after their death. If a person dies in an attack by a tiger or any animal when he tried to save the general public, Tamils erect Hero Stone for him and worship. Even today all the countries in the world erect memorials for their leaders and the visiting foreign dignitary must lay a wreath there. When some accidents happen people go to the spots and lay wreaths or flower bunches and light candles etc. Poor Monier Williams and his colleagues such as Caldwells would have described them as devil worship!

 

All the ladies who sacrificed their lives to save their honour or in Satee are worshipped! Ignorant foreigners called those devil worship. But they themselves erect war memorials in every nook and corner and ask Kings and Queens to lay flower wreaths every year. we can call them Devil worshippers!!

 

Sir Alfred Ryall declared that “every mysterious, gruesome looking dell, cavern, steep pass and wild and desolate hill top or ridge in Central India has its Deo (god), never seen of man, but felt by those who visit the spot – by shepherds and herdsmen camping out far amid the melancholy worlds or by travellers along the lonely tracks…. The whereabouts of the spirits is sometimes marked by a heap of stones, sometimes by rags tied to bush, occasionally by chains suspended mystically from a cliff or a tree; or the spirit wanders around a huge banyan tree or a ruined temple.

 

Mr Bowtring, in his Eastern Experiences (1871), described the Spirit Houses found in the Mysore Forests – little sheds built over the white ant hills and dedicated to the wood demons.

Captain Forsyth, writing about Berar, mentions that when the Gonds fell the wood on a hill side, they leave a little clump of trees to serve as a refuge for the spirit whom they have dislodged.

Westerners also believed in haunted buildings; every year newspaper articles about haunted places appear during Halloween times.

Sangam  age Tamils also believed that spirits occupy all the hills, water sources and trees. It is in Sangam literature. Those who don’t study both Tamil and Sanskrit literature blabber more than others. Hindus believed in ghosts but they are different from good spirits.

Tags: Shakespeare, Hindu Beliefs, Ghosts, Moon ,Eclipse, devil worship

 

–Subham–

 

 

 

Shakespeare and Kalidasa-Hindu Thoughts in Shakespearean Plays (Post No.3866)

Compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 30 APRIL 2017

Time uploaded in London:-11-29  am

Post No. 3866

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

 

We know that great men think alike; but some similarities in the plays of Kalidasa and Shakespeare make us believe that Shakespeare has read Kalidasa or heard about his plays. Innocent forest girl Shakuntala is incarnated as Miranda in The Tempest. Kalidasa’s Vidusakas (Jesters/comedians) are seen in several of Shakespeare’s plays. There are similarities in Othello, Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale as well.

 

Plays of Shakespeare were largely founded on Hellenic, Roman and and other foreign models, where as Kalidasa’s plays were based on Ramayana and Mahabharata.

 

Shakespeare puts in the mouth of one of his characters: –

“The self-same sun that shines upon his court

Hides not his visage from our cottage, but

Looks on’s alike”.

 

In describing the moral greatness of the Himalaya, Kalidasa gives expression to the idea as follows:

 

“He protects from the sun in his caves the darkness which through fear of light adheres to them for shelter; the care of the great is impartially bestowed on inferior and important personages alike”.

“Divaakaraad rakshati yo guhaasu

Leenam divaabheetam vaandhakaaram;

Kshudrepi noonam saranam prapanne

Mamatvam uchchais sirasaam sateeva”

Polonius Advice

Shakespeare students are familiar with the advice of Polonius to his son Laertes.

 

“Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportion’d thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch’s, unfledged comrade. Beware…: (Hamlet Act I)

 

According to Kalidasa, the following is the advice that Shakuntala received from her foster father Kanva when she was leaving him to go to her royal husband’s home:

“Show due reverence to him and to your superiors; should others share your husband’s love, be an affectionate handmaid to them; should your husband displease you, let not your resentment lead you to disobedience. Be just and impartial to domestics, and seek not your own gratifications. By such behaviours young women become exemplary mistresses, but perverse wives are the bane of a family.”

There may be a difference of opinion, according to present ideas, as to this description of the duty of a wife; but there can scarcely be any difference of opinion as to the sentiments expressed by Kalidasa in the following verses:-

 

“The wicked are controlled, not by favour, but by punishment”.

 

“Of righteous acts good wives are certainly the fundamental cause”.

“Devoted wives never oppose the wishes of their husbands”.

“When there is seniority in virtue, youth is not taken into account”.

Hamlet and Manu Smrti

The king in Hamlet speaks of his inviolability thus:-

“There is such divinity doth hedge a king

That treason can but peep to what it would”

 

Manu explains royal divinity thus

“With eight elements of the gods is a king made; hence, by his lustre he subdues all creatures.”

Kalidasa describes a king of the Raghuvamsa, who went about without attendants thus:

“The race of Manu needed no bodyguard, but relied for safety on its own prestige and prowess.”

 

On Royal attributes, such as King Henry V defined and Cranmer prophesied of the infant Elizabeth, Kalidasa speaks in referring to a king of the Solar Race thus:

 

“Broad-chested, strong shouldered like a bull, long armed like a pine-tree, his physical frae was suited to the task of his royal birth; he was the embodiment of the virtues of the warrior caste”.

All the world is a stage

“I hold the world but as the world, Horatio

A stage where everyman must play a part”.

 

and again in As You like It

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,”

–As You Like It

I have given similar thoughts found in Tamil and Sanskrit in my post:–

Drama, Puppet Show, Folk Theatre in Tamil and Sanskrit Literature (Post No.3608); Date: 5 FEBRUARY 2017

 

The Winter’s Tale

The scene where the king (Shakuntalam), after dismounting from the is about to enter the grove of Marica’s hermitage and has his first glimpse of his son is a replica of the scene in Act One, where also the king after dismounting from the chariot at the fringes of the grove of Kanva’s hermitage, enters and see the boy’s mother for the first time. The finding of the lost son and heir precedes and leads to the recognition of the mother. An interesting parallel is provided in the last scene of Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’.

 

Othello and Sakuntalam

There is an interesting parallel in Othello. In the drama, proof of heroine’s chastity and love is demanded. Desdemona’s chastity hangs on a handkerchief; Sakuntala’s on a ring. Both heroines are blissfully unaware of the importance of the token. To them love is its own proof and a witness to their chastity.

 

In Ramayana, Sita was asked to prove her chastity by undergoing the ordeal of fire to allay the suspicions of the public: In Shakespeare’s Othello and King Lear where proof of fidelity and of filial love is demanded, we have a parallel.

 

A lot of Shakespeare’s quotable quotes have parallel in Sanskrit verses (I will give them separately).

 

Source Books:

Orient and Occident, Manmath C Mallick,1913

Kalidasa, The Loom of Time, Chandra Rajan, 1989

 

–Subham–