A village where wrestling is the main vocation is called mallagrāma. Malla means wrestler. Since the majority of the population consists of wrestlers the name of the village makes sense. People who aren’t wrestlers too might reside in the village. Just like in the mango grove. The grove might contain other trees. But the majority is what decides the name i.e. prādhānyena nirdeśaḥ.
194. Mahato vaṃśastaṃbāllaṭvā apakṛṣyate iti nyāya
Vaṃśastaṃba is a bunch of bamboo trees. Laṭvā is a small bird. Amidst the bamboo trees the bird resides. Within the dense bunch of trees infested with thorns, someone ventures in and catches that bird. When a huge amount of effort is spent to achieve something trivial, this nyāya is used to describe it. This is similar to digging up the mountain and catching a rat. Humongous effort, tiny result.
In the mahābhāṣya this nyāya is used to describe the second of the fourteen māheśvarasūtras ‘ṛḷk’.
When one sees their face in a huge mirror, it is huge and clearly visible. But if one sees their reflection in someone’s eyes it looks small. In a magnifying mirror the same face might look ten times larger. The import is that the same thing might look big or small depending on the way we see it. The whole world looks yellow when seen through yellow glasses or jaundiced eyes. When the instrument itself is flowed the results are flawed too.
Someone has thrown in a yoke with a hole. The yoke subjected to the waves has been tossed around here and there. There exists a turtle living in the ocean which comes up to the surface once every hundred years.
When would the turtle’s neck get caught in the hole in the yoke?
To describe such an improbable event this nyāya is used. This verse is found in a vedānta treatise called bodhasāra. (Also yogavāsiṣṭha 6.126.4)
अनेकजन्मनामन्ते विवेकी जायते पुमान् ॥
Just like the turtle’s neck which would get caught in the yoke, after innumerable lives we get to be born as human and bestowed with the power of discretion.
Weighing the frogs on a scale. If you get hold of one, the others jump around and escape. It is difficult to bring together people who are fickle and make them concentrate on one thing for long.
The law of the fishes. The big fish eats the small fish. The strong oppress the weak. This is similar to the survival of the fittest.
199. Māraṇāya gṛhītah aṅgacchedaṃ svīkaroti
Someone who is being punished with death, agrees to the lesser punishment of losing a limb. A criminal is given the capital punishment. If he is given the offer that he’ll be spared if he instead gives up an ear or a hand wouldn’t he agree? There is a maxim which goes “सर्वनाशे समुत्पन्ने अर्धं त्यजति पण्डितः” the wise would discard half their belongings in the wake of total destruction in an effort to save themselves and the other half. This is similar to that.
Mārjāla means cat and mārjālakiśora means kitten. The kitten doesn’t take care of itself. The mother does everything. It picks it up using its jaws and takes it around. The kitten isn’t afraid that it might fall down. It has fully taken the refuge of its mother and is free from worries.
Bhakti is in a way similar to this nyāya. The bhakta would not worry about anything, instead he seeks the refuge of the bhagavān and is thus always in a state of equanimity. The responsibility is entirely on bhagavān. For another perspective, see markaṭakiśora-nyāya.
201. Mālatīgandhaguṇaviddarbhe na ramate hyaliḥ
The bee which is familiar with the fragrance of the mālatī flowers would not be interested in the grass. The import is clear. The way we react to happiness and sorrow is different. Everyone will opt for reducing their sorrows. But when it comes to happiness the attitude is opposite. None would settle for a lower level of happiness.
“A piece of charcoal in a pile of black gram” It is difficult to find since they are of the same color. This episode comes in the famous play by Śūdraka, mṛcchakaṭikam. Śakāra and his friend viṭa while chasing Vasantasenā in the night find that she has vanished. Śakāra says, “My friend! In the darkness, Vasantasenā has vanished like a piece of charcoal in a pile of black gram!” This nyāya is used in Udayanācārya’s work ‘kiraṇāvalī’.
203. Munirmanute mūrkho mucyate
While the muni contemplates and indulges in japa, the fool gets mukti! This is impossible. There should be cause for every effect. When the muni contemplates, he should be the one who would attain mukti, not the fool who did nothing. It is not correct that someone else is held responsible for one’s actions. The effort is someone’s, the fruits go to someone else. This resemble the nyāya, ‘pṛṣṭhatāḍane dantabhaṅgaḥ’.
204. Muṇditaśiraso nakṣatrānveṣaṇam
After having a haircut someone asked for the nakṣatra! What use is thinking about something after it is done? That's the import. This is another form of the nyāya, ‘kṛtakṣaurasya nakṣatraparīkṣā’.
205. Mṛtaṃ ḍuṇḍubhamāsādya kako'pi garuḍāyate
Finding a dead snake even the crow becomes an eagle! When someone finds a weakling, they become brave and courageous. This is the nature of the world. The philosophers opine about the human nature extending this as follows-
“विपदाबाधतेऽल्पापि मनस्तु यदि दुर्बलम्”
When we are weak even small troubles torment us a lot.
206. Ya eva karoti sa eva bhuṅkte
Whoever does it he is the one who will suffer the consequences. This is similar to, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Whether the deeds are good or bad, the consequences should be experienced by the doer. That does not affect others is the import of this nyāya. This is something about which all our śāstras agree unanimously.
This is the twenty-third 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. Thanks to Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh for his inputs. The original in Kannada can be read here