Māṇḍavya was punished for the crime committed by the thieves. The story of Māṇḍavya comes in the Ādi-parva of Mahābhārata. Māṇḍavya maharṣi stayed in an āśrama in the forest, was immersed in tapas and was under a vow of silence. The soldiers were chasing thieves who were to be captured. The thieves dropped everything they had stolen in the āśrama and escaped. The soldiers thought that Māṇḍavya is the thief, caught him and brought him to the court. The king decided that he should be punished by impalement! After the punishment was carried out, the mistake was realized and he was released. A nail (aṇi) got stuck in his body and henceforth he got the name Aṇimāṇḍavya. When the innocent is punished instead of the guilty, this nyāya is used.
Frightened of one's own shadow thinking it might be a ghost! Then if a wise friend helps in understanding that it is just a shadow, then the fear is gone. When there is a need to remove unnecessary fears this nyāya is used.
Jatu means lac, kāṣṭha means log of wood. Two pieces of wood can be stuck using lac. They would look like one piece. Thus by some means if two things look or behave as though they are one, this nyāya is used. Here, lac is the means.
There is an alaṅkāra (figure of speech) by name sabhaṅga-śleṣa (pun realized by splitting the words in multiple ways). Here is an example “sarvadomādhavaḥ payāt” We can split it in two ways, “sarvadaḥ mādhavaḥ” (Mādhava, the all bestower) and “sarvadā umādhavaḥ” (Always, the husband of Umā, i.e. Śiva). Here the joining mechanism or the “means” is the sandhi i.e. conjunction. Two words join and form “sarvadomādhavaḥ” This nyāya is used to explain such conjunctions.
Kataka means a variety of nuts. Its powdered form if mixed in water results in all the dirt settling down. Then the powder also settles at the bottom and the clear water at the top can be separated.
Our life polluted by ajñāna (ignorance) is purified by jñāna (knowledge/wisdom). As per the opinion of vedāntins, the jñāna too perishes after removing ajñāna. Here jñāna should be taken as the vṛtti (existence) once that goes the svarūpa (inner Self) remains.
There is a story of a son-in-law who edited a treatise. This story is found in the work called Prabandhacintāmaṇi of Merutuṅga: king Vikramārka had a daughter by name Priyaṅgumañjarī. When she attained marriageable age, the king instructed his minister Vararuci to find her a suitable groom. The minister who had some scores to settle, found a cowherd who was a dimwit and hoodwinked them. He convinced them that the groom is a great scholar. After the wedding the princess gave her husband a scholarly treatise to edit to gauge his erudition. The husband then took the chisel, randomly removed some anusvāras (dots) and dashes, and declared that the edits were complete! Thenceforth the story became famous.
The story continues and reveals that the groom indeed propitiated Kālī and became Kālidāsa. This story now has myriad variations and is still famous. This nyāya is used to describe activities of dimwitted people or dullards!
Jāmātr means son-in-law, sūpa means soup or broth. When the son-in-law arrives, special soup and other delicacies are prepared. If someone else turns up on the same day, they also get to savour that. There is a proverb in Kannada, “ಅಳಿಯನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಗೆಳೆಯ” i.e. A friend of the son-in-law… [enjoys the same status]. To summarize something which is done for a specific purpose can serve some other cause/s as per the situation. The lamp inside the shop also provides light to the passersby. This nyāya is used to describe such situations.
The doctor is unable to cure the ailment of a patient. He said, “Sir, in the realm of Pātāla lives the king of serpents, Takṣaka. There is a gemstone on his head. Make arrangements to bring that. I’ll definitely be able to cure your ailment once we get hold of it!” When someone escapes his duty by giving an impossible task this nyāya is used. Even now we find such doctors in plenty. Nīlakaṇṭhadīkṣita in his work Kaliviḍambana says:
“Prescribe some medicine to the patient. Follow it with instructions about an impossible diet. If the patient is cured, it is due to the doctor’s skill, if not it is because the patient didn’t follow the prescribed diet correctly.” This is indeed the nature of the doctors in this age of kali. It is just like a lame man threatening others, “If I get up you are dead!”
Tiṭṭibha (lapwing) is a small bird. A pair of lapwings were residing near the ocean, having built their nest on one of the trees nearby. Whenever the female laid eggs the ocean would rise up and take away the eggs. The male bird was enraged and decided to dry up the ocean, it tried to do so by bringing some water in its beak and depositing it on the sand. By chance Nārada saw this and was moved by the bird’s situation. He went to Vaikuṇṭha and narrated the story to Garuḍa, the king of birds. Garuḍa moved by the travails of the birds whom he thought of as his kin, requested Nārāyaṇa for help. Nārāyaṇa ordered the ocean to retreat and never trouble the birds. Thus the birds won and the ocean was humiliated.
This story comes from Hitopadeśa. It is not prudent to trouble a weakling. Who knows what kind of help or resource he can find! Without estimating that, if one causes trouble, they’ll finally end up in bigger trouble.
A thread is tied to ḍamaruka (drum) in the middle and a maṇi (gemstone) is tied to it. Due to the skill of the player, the maṇi moves back and forth and hits both the faces of the ḍamaruka producing sound. This nyāya is used to describe such situations where one thing has multiple uses or one word in a sentence has multiple interpretations. Madhyamaṇi-nyāya also means the same.
This is the eleventh part of the multi-part translation of the Kannada book "Sandarbha Sukti" by Mahamahopadhyaya Vidwan Dr. N Ranganatha Sharma. Thanks to Dr. Sharada Chaitra for granting us permission to translate this wonderful work. The original in Kannada can be read here