Machines and Mirrors in Bhagavad Gita (Post No.9476)


Post No. 9476

Date uploaded in London – –10  APRIL  2021     

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Newspaper cutting dated 11-1-1982


In his book ‘The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy’, Max Muller has translated the conversation between Svetaketu and his father Aruni, extracted from the first Khanda of Chadogya Upanishad as follows:–

Father to Svetaketu–

Svetaketu! as you are conceited, considering yourself well read and stubborn, my dear son, have you ever asked for that instruction by which we hear what is not heard, by which we perceive what is not perceived, by which we know what is not known?

What is that instruction, Sire? He asked.

The father replied

My dear son, as by one clod of clay all that is made of clay is known, the difference being only the name, arising from speech, the truth being that all is clay.

And as , my dear son, by one nugget of gold, all that is made of gold is known, the difference being only the name , arising from speech, the truth being that all is gold.

And as my dear son, by one pair of nail scissors, all that is made of steel (Karshana ayasam) is known, the difference being only the same, arising from speech, the truth being all that is steel— thus my dear son, is that instruction.

This Upanishad is said to belong to Sama Veda . All the Vedic Upanishads are supposed to be prior to the age of the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. If what is interpreted by Max Muller is correct, we have to believe that all the metals, especially gold and steel were widely in use at that time. Of course, Ramayana and Mahabharata do mention the use of mechanical devices prevalent at those times.

In Bhagavad Gita 61st sloka of chapter 18, Sri Krishna , says as follows

The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, and by his Maya causes all beings to revolve as though mounted on a machine (18-61).  The concept of a revolving machine to be mounted upon should lead us to believe that mechanics at that time was much advanced.

Similarly Gita also mentioned mirror and the effect of rust on it- Karma yoga 3- 38;. The 2-67th sloka of Sankhya yoga also compares the roving senses to be carried away as the ‘wind carrying a ship on water’.

It is generally said that the industrial revolution has dawned upon when man discovered the wheel to start with. If that be the case the references about mechanics in the Vedic period are a pointer to the factor that our history and culture developed in the long course of time along with development in mechanics and other discoveries, including sophisticated clothing like silks.

We come across reference to Padukas and also umbrellas in different places and in varying contexts in the epics. Paduka gained that much of importance when Bharata ruled the country with Sri Ram’s Padukas, treating them as symbolic representation of Rama. Umbrellas appear as royal status symbol in almost all places. But there appears to be no reference to anywhere about spectacles . Does it mean that eye sight those days needed no assistance or help even after advanced old age? Or is it a later necessity which has become unavoidable for the present age when we are born and brought up in artificial bright lights?

R G Prabhu, Kodungallur, 11-1-1982


tags– wheel, mirror, metals, machines 



Post No.7454

Date uploaded in London – 14 January 2020

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Hundreds of Sanskrit words found in the RIG VEDA , the oldest book in the world, are used by us today. They are found in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature and later Indian languages. Nemi which means Wheel is found in the . Rig Veda and Sangam Tamil literature. But this word has extended meaning , mainly the God who holds Sudarsana Chakra, ie.Vishnu/Krishna. It  is also found in Sangam Tamil literature.

It has other meanings such as Chakra/Indra, Varuna, Sun, sea, wheel of a Chariot, Chakravarti/emperor, chariot etc.

Indus-Sarasvati Civilization has many symbols in the shape of a wheel. So it is interesting to study the symbol. It may mean any one of the above meanings or the sound, if we believe the Indus language is phonetic. Many scholars believe it is logo-syllabic and not phonetic.

I have already written one article many years ago saying that the elephant with a person standing on it with wheel symbol is Indra. Indra’s name is Wheel/chakra and his Vahana is Airvavatha elephant.

Let me give the Vedic and Tamil references of NEMI first:-

Rig Veda  1-32-15; 1-141-9; 2-5-3; 5-13-6; 7-32-20; 8-46-23; 8-75-5 and many other places in later Vedic literature.

Linking Chakra/wheel with the Chakravarti/emperor is a unique Hindu concept. The Vedic concept is found in later Tamil Sangam poems. There’ Aazi’ is used for chakra. Strange coincidence is  Tamil ‘Aazi ‘and Sanskrit ‘Chakra’ mean sea as well. If we continue our research we may find more meanings. In the oldest part of the Vedas, Nemi meant wheel, particularly of Ratha/ Chariot.,

Nemi is found in the following places in Sangam Tamil literature:–

Akananuru.14-19, 175-14, 251-13, 324-11, 400-21.

Kalitokai .104-9; Kuruntokai.189-3, 227-1, 36-4, . Narrinai .394-5.

Paripatal.1-55, 3-94, 13-6, 9, 15-3, 19-46;

Purananuru .3-4, 17-7.,

In Purananuru verse 58- Nemiyon refers to the holder of the wheel -Lord Krishna. In Kalitokai, Nemiyaan refers to Vishnu with the wheel.

In short NEMI is connected with Vishnu or Emperor. Thus it is interesting to connect  Indus- Sarasvati civilisation with Nemi. Among the ancient civilisations all foreign encyclopedias and history books written by the British, which is followed in Indian educational institutions until today, India is the only country that has no kings for 2000 years! They wrote that we had kings only from the period of Buddha. They ignored all the kings mentioned in Vedic literature and Hindu Puranas. It is an urgent task to rewrite our history.

Neminatha -Indus connection

Some years ago we read that the submarine archaeologists  have discovered the Dwaraka port that was devoured by the sea long ago. Historians dated it around Indus Sarasvati Riverbed civilization period. Hindu Puranas say that the city Dwaraka went under the sea after the demise of Lord Krishna around 3100 BCE. We had very well developed transport facilities then because Krishna shuttled between Dwaraka and Mathura. They were 700 miles apart. More over we read about Krishna’s Naval Expeditions in the Puranas. Along with this we read about Krishna’s cousin and the 22nd Tithankara Neminatha lived in the same city. His father’s name Samudravijaya shows that he was a sea merchant like the Ma Nayaka of Tamil epic Silappadikaram. Looking with this background we should study Jain literature, particularly the activities of Neminatha and his family in sea side port. Neminatha’s brother was called Rathanemi (Chariot wheel).


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Krishna’s Friend died in ‘Wheel’ Accident! (Post No.5485)

Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 28 September 2018


Time uploaded in London – 13-30 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5485


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.


Krishna’s Friend died in ‘Wheel’ Accident! (Post No.5485)


Strange stories about Lord Krishna are available in Tamil literature which are not found in Sanskrit scriptures. I have already given the story about Dadhipandan who got Moksha (liberation) for him and his pot. Now there is another story told by Perialvar, a Vaishnavite saint, who lived 1400 years ago.


There was a cowherd by name Srimalikan who was great friend of Lord Krishna. He told Krishna that he would carry his Sudarsana wheel so that he could feel a bit relaxed. But Krishna told him that it would be dangerous, because it may cut his head off. But he was always nagging Krishna to leave the wheel with him. At last Krishna yielded to his demand and gave him the Wheel. As soon as he received the wheel it cut his head. We can guess that he would have reached heaven because it was the holy wheel and it happened in front of the Lord.


But there are some morals in the story:

Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in the Tamil Veda Tirukkural says,

Consider the aim, the obstacle and the greatness of the ultimate gain and then resort to action- Kural 676


Curiosity Killed the Cat

We are reminded of the saying ‘Curiosity Killed the Cat’.

Be Johnson used the following in his drama ‘Every Man in His Humour’ and Shakespeare acted in it:

“Helter skelter, hang sorrow, care will kill a cat, up-tails all, and a pox on the hangman”.


Later Shakespeare also used this in his drama Much ado about Nothing:

What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care

-Much Ado about Nothing.


Thus, we learn that unnecessary curiosity is not good. Moreover, if great people like Lord Krishna say something, we must listen to them.






Indian Poets’ favourite topic: Instability of Riches,Youth and Body

kuruvi weaver bird

Picture of Bird and nest

Research paper No 1946

Written by London swaminathan

Date: 21 June 2015

Uploaded in London at 18-32

Saints and the Poets of India from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari have sung about one theme with the same tune, from the Bhagavad Gita to Bharati, the great Tamil poet, from Adi Shankara to Tiruvalluvar, the famous Tamil poet, all of them used the same similes, same words and same concerns. It is their most favourite topic. Hundreds of proverbs are available in every Indian language on the theme.

Though we find such references in other cultures Indians are unanimous in urging the public to do some charity before they leave the world and to do something to get out of the cycle of birth and death. This is absent in Abrahamic (Semitic) religions. This shows that the Indians are united in their thought. They are not divided on racial lines as propagated by the vested interests.

Poets of India deal with the instability of youth, riches and the body. Here are some examples from the two ancient languages of India, Sanskrit and its younger sister Tamil:

1.In this world of transmigratory existence, impermanence is the only permanence (Katha Sarit Sagara)

Aasamsaaramjagatyasminnekaa nityaa hyanityataa

2.Who can pity whom with this bubble like body? (Valmiki Ramayana 4-21-3

Kasca kasyaanusocyosti dehesmin budbudopame


Picture of Bubbles

Tamil poem Naladiyar also use the same bubble simile:

Who are there in this wide world who can be compared to those men of profound wisdom, who look upon the body as nothing more than a thing which like the bubbles caused in the falling rain many a time vanishes, and who in consequence determine to rid themselves of the evil of births?

3.Joy and sorrow come and go like a revolving wheel (Yoga Vasistha and Hitopadesa 1-174

Chakravath parivaratante  duhkhaani ca sukhaani ca

This wheel simile is also used by most of the poets. Life is full of ups and downs. It goes up and comes down like a wheel.


Picture of Rainbow

Our body is like a Rainbow

4.Life is like an autumnal cloud (Kahavat Ratnakar)

Jiivanam saradabhravat

The first verse in Naladiyar compared the body to a rainbow. The poet Padumanar says, Knowing that our body is as unstable as the rainbow that appears in the sky, I prostate before you and invoke the God, whose feet do not touch the earth, that the objects in my view may be well accomplished (Hindus believe that the feet of Devas (Extra Terrestrials) never touch the earth.

5.Everything born is transient

Sarvamutpaadi bhanguram

This is in the Bhagavad Gita (2-27)

Jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyur

Dhruvam janma mrtyur ca

For to the one that is born death is certain and certain is birth for the one that has died.

Bird and Nest: Soul and Body

The most famous Tamil poet Tiru valluvar in his Tirukkural, which is considered the Veda in Tamil language, summarises the Hindu teachings beautifully well in 100 couplets in some chapters such as impermanence, penance, virtue, charity, vegetarianism, renunciation, purity, realization, desire and fate.

He says

“Wealth is of a transitory nature; therefore one should seize the opportunity to do charity when one gets it “(Kural 333)

“The affinity of the body and the soul is like is like that of the egg and the chick within. The soul departs from the body even as the chick deserts the egg”. This is in Naladiyar, another Tamil book

Lord Krishna compared this to changing garments (2-22)

“Just as a person casts off the worn out garments and puts on others that are new, even so does the embodied soul cast off worn out bodies and take on others that are new.”

Katha Upanishad (1-6) gives the same message with corn simile:

“Like corn a mortal ripens and like corn he is born again”.

“The characteristic feature of the world is the transistorines of life. The disappearance today of one who existed yesterday is a common occurrence”. This is in Yaksha Prasna of Mahabharata as well.

IMG_1187 (2)

Picture of Wheel

World is a Drama Theatre

Another famous simile is comparing the world to a drama theatre and the people to actors who leave the stage when the drama is over.

“Great wealth is gradually accumulated like the audience tickling in to witness a show

But its disappearance will be instantaneous, also as it happens after a show”-  -Kural 332

It is in Bhartruhari’s Neeti Satakam

Tamil anthology Purananuru 29 has also referred to the filling up and emptying of the show-arena to bring out the impermanence of the world.

Shakespeare in his Play As You Like it, says

“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, mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms”.

We come across similar similes in Viveka chudamani 292 and Bhagavad Gita 18-61

Great men think alike!