Critical Appreciation of Prahasanas - Part 10

Though instantly smitten, Śāṇḍilya realises he needs to be rich once he comes to know that she is a courtesan! Meanwhile the Yamapuruṣa, invisible to everyone, arrives and waits for the right time to do his master’s bidding. When Vasantasenā wants to pluck some of the shoots of the Aśoka tree, the Yamapuruṣa disguises himself as a snake and bites her. She loses consciousness. Parabhṛtikā laments her loss and is about to venture out to bring Vasantasenā’s mother. Meanwhile Śāṇḍilya too is sad and implores Parivrājaka to share his sorrow.

Bhagavān Vyāsa - 4

               At the outset of the Mahābhārata Vyāsa outlines its literary qualities that befit an epic. At the end of the epic, he composes an epilogue of sorts titled Bhāratasāvitrī, where he solemnly records the poet’s helplessness:

ऊर्ध्वबाहुर्विरौम्येष न च कश्चिच्छृणोति मे।

धर्मादर्थश्च कामश्च स किमर्थं न सेव्यते॥ (१८.५.४९)

Kathāmṛta - 71 - Śaktiyaśo-lambaka - Stories of the Fools

Narrating this story to Sañjīvaka, Damanaka said: ‘Thus a wise man remains steadfast when danger approaches. Now, this is what you must do. When Piṅgalaka rises and lifts up his tail, plough your horns up his belly and rend it!’, and went straight to Karaṭaka. Sañjīvaka walked up to the lion, which slowly got up and walked forward with its tail raised up. Right then the bull sprang forward, thrusting forth its horns. The lion too landed its strong paw with sharp claws upon the bull.

Kathāmṛta - 70 - Śaktiyaśo-lambaka - Stories of the Clever Hare, Stupid Tortoise and others

The Story of Śūryavarmā

There lived a royal servant called Śūryavarmā. Once, when he came home, found that his wife was in the company of his friend. He withheld his anger thinking – What is the use of killing this animal, the disloyal friend? What will I get out of punishing this pāpī? I will acquire pāpa by killing them!

Speaking to them, he said “Don’t ever get seen by me! If I spot you again, I will kill you both!”

The two disappeared. He married another lady and lived happily ever after.

Critical Appreciation of Prahasanas - Part 8

Unmattaka is redirected to give the bowl to someone worthy. While this brings in the lofty principle of charity which says to give anything only to a worthy person, from the perspective of Unmattaka what would be worthiness? Unmattaka then immediately decides that Satyasoma is the one worthy, but also calls Satyasoma as mahābrāhmaṇa which idiomatically means a vile fallen brāhmaṇa! Satyasoma again seeing the bowl literally thinks that the epithet ‘kapālin’ has come back and he is indeed worthy of that.

Bhagavān Vyāsa - 3

In the next verse Vyāsa describes a defining trait of great poets. He intends this as a lodestar of sorts of his work:

इतिहासप्रदीपेन मोहावरणघातिना।

लोकगर्भगृहं कृत्स्नं यथावत् संप्रकाशितम्॥ (१.९६.१०३, Kumbhakonam edition)

The great lamp of itihāsa dispels darkness in the form of stupor, ignorance, delusion. It illuminates the inner core of the world and shows it as it is.    

Kathāmṛta - 68 - Śaktiyaśo-lambaka - The Story of Īśvaravarmā and Sundarī

10. Śaktiyaśo-lambaka


अवारणीयं रिपुभिर्-वारणीयं करं नुमः |

हेरम्बस्य ससिन्दूरम्-असिन्दूरम्-अघच्छिदं ||


avāraṇīyaṃ ripubhir-vāraṇīyaṃ karaṃ numaḥ |

herambasya sasindūram-asindūram-aghacchidaṃ ||


Let us pray to the trunk of elephant-faced Gaṇeśa, which his enemies find unopposable! 

It is red lustred due to the sindūra and destroys all pāpas.


पायाद्-वः पुरदाहाय शंभोः संदधतः शरं |