Strange Bird in Mahabharata: Bhulinga Bird!

graphic-croc
Crocodile and plover helping each other (symbiosis)

Research article written by London Swaminathan
Post No.1138; Dated 29th June 2014.

N.B. If you want to reproduce this article, please email me for permission. You must get written permission from me for each and every article separately. swami_48@yahoo.com

Those who have read my previous research articles on the Mysterious Vedic Homa bird, Kapinjala Bird and Double Headed Bird of Sumerian and Tamil Literature would definitely like this article.

In the Sabha Parava of Mahabharata, Sisupala criticized Bhisma for praising Krishna. Earlier Krishna told Sisupala’s mother that he would pardon 100 derelictions of Sisupala. But he crossed that limit and was killed by the Sudrasana Chakra of Krishna. It is a well known story.

croc3

Earlier in the tirade against Bhisma, Sisupala compared Bhisma to Bhulinga bird. This shows how much the ancient Hindus know about the world of nature. They enjoyed everything in nature and used them as apt similes. Earlier I wrote about Adi Shankara’s mention of four birds in one sloka, Adi Shankara’s mention of Alangium Hexapetalum and Dattareya’s 13 teachers in nature.

Here is the conversation about the Bhulinga bird:-

birds_gazelle
Sisupala said:
Bhisma, whose praises you sing, forever on your feet like a songster! If your heart must always delight in the praising of others, Bhishma, then praise real kings except Krishna. Praise Darda Bahlika, praise Karna, praise Drona and his son.

Why do you fail to praise such kings as Salya and others, if as always your heart is set on the praising, Bhisma?

Hippo and Oxpeckers - Highly Commended - Paula Martin
Hippopotamus and Oxpecker birds helping each other (symbiosis)

None of these four are done:
Censuring oneself,
Worshipping oneself,
Honouring a stranger,
Censuring a stranger;
None of these are done by a noble.

How on this keeper of herds for a Bhoja, a criminal, can you lower the entire world out of utterly personal whimsy?

Or if your loyalty, does not come by nature – didn’t I tell you before of the bird you resemble, the bhulinga?

lionmonkey
Symbiosis between lion and monkey.

This bhulinga bird lives on the farther side of the Himalaya, Bhisma; for this foolish bird, feeds on the morsels of fleshthat are stuck between the teeth of a feeding lion! This bird advises, ‘Do not act recklessly. But she fails to realize her own actions are foolhardy. There is no doubt that she lives at the lion’s pleasure, and you like her, always speak words without knowing the right law.

What does Biologists say?
Now let us go to ornithology (Bird study) to get some facts about this bird:
K.N. Dave in his ‘Birds Sanskrit Literature’, identified Bhulinga bird with plover. He says ‘bhulingasakuni’ is African plover, Pulvinus aegyptius, commonly known as the crocodile bird. It is found with the crocodiles in the River Nile in Egypt (Africa). It picks up the parasites from a crocodile when it is sunning on the banks of the river with its mouth wide open.
Dave says the Sanskrit word Simha in the Mahabharata (2-41-19) is actually a crocodile. Like we say Purushasimha (valorous like lion) Purushavyagra (valorous like a tiger), crocodile is called Simha (in the waters). But the translators of Mahabharata did translate it as a ‘lion’.
The plover lays eggs in a hole in the sand and so they are called Bhulinga bird.

MUNGOS MUNGO

Symbiosis in Mahabharata!!
Symbiosis is the interaction between two different organisms (like bird and animal) living in close association, typically to the advantage of both. Lot of meat eating animals have meat stuck up in their mouths or worms in the mouth which will be removed by the birds. Other animals have lice, mosquitoes, parasites etc. on their skins which will be removed by birds or animals. This is what described in the Mahabharata. But one may wonder why Sisupala described the Bhulinga bird as stupid. Actually the bird gets the morsel and the animal gets cleaner teeth- beneficial for both!! But this comes from the mouth of Sisupala who himself was reckless and foolish!!