Punching the sky! Spending effort on futile things! Punching the sky would just lead to exhaustion but won’t hurt the sky in any manner whatsoever!
Ākhu = rat, annapiṭaka = vessel with rice. The rat pushes the vessel and makes it fall due to its desire to have the rice. But it will not place the vessel back as it was before. It doesn’t even have the capability to do so. Likewise someone can spoil an organization but cannot rebuild it. You can demolish a house easily but it is difficult to build a new one.
34. Āmrān pṛṣṭa kovidārānācaṣṭe
“When asked about the mango trees… speaks about Bauhinia variegata (i.e. orchid tree/mountain ebony)” In summary, when asked about one thing, speaking about something totally unrelated, speaking out of context. This is used for illustration in mahābhāṣya, bhāmati and kalpataru.
35. Āmrāśca siktāḥ pitaraśca tṛptāḥ
The mango trees were watered and the manes were also pleased. When one activity results in two accomplishments this is used. The tarpaṇa is to be given to the manes. It can be given anywhere, but if we give it in the base of a mango tree, that also gets some water. This is the trait of intelligent people! ‘The assigned duty is also done while one’s own work too is accomplished’ In the work mahābhāṣya Patañjali uses this to comment on the first sūtra of vyākaraṇa (grammar).
Preparing sweets and savouring them in our imagination! When the intended activity might not be accomplished, even the possibility of fruition is remote; even then feeling that it has been done and also the fruits have been reaped, such daydreamers exist! In kannada it is paraphrased as “ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲೇ ಮಂಡಿಗೆ ತಿನ್ನುವುದು.”
37. Āṣāḍhavāte calati dvipendre cakrīvato vāridhireva kāṣṭhā
“When the mighty elephant itself trembles in the winds of Āṣāḍha, the donkey has only the ocean as the limit” the winds roar and gush in the month of Āṣāḍha, even the elephant is not able to withstand it what would a donkey be able to do? It can only go and drown itself in the ocean! When a mighty opponent bites dust, what of the weakling? For someone who has destroyed formidable foes will some routine people be difficult to handle? Will it be difficult to engulf a boat for a storm which has swallowed a huge ship?
38. Itovyāghra itastaṭī
On\e side there is a valley and on the other side there is a tiger! The tiger is chasing you and you can’t climb or descend. As though stuck in between a pair of tongs. This describes someone stuck in between two equally dangerous situations.
39. Utpatito'pi hi caṇakaḥ śaktaḥ kiṃ bhrāṣṭrakaṃ bhaṅktuṃ iti nyāya
When being roasted the gram can jump up and down in the frying pan but can it pierce it? Since the frying pan is roasting it and torturing it, the gram, though capable of jumping, can’t exert any sizable force to damage the pan. At the same time it cannot escape too. It's like the mouse stuck in the clutches of a cat. Or a deer caught by a tiger.
Everything is under control, whatever the captured person does he/she cannot escape is the summary.
40. Upajīvya virodhasyāyuktatva-nyāya
Upajīvya is something which is the cause, the supporting entity. It's not prudent to oppose it. ‘Shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you’ the usage of this in worldly affairs is verily evident. Even in treatises related to grammar this has been put to use heavily. The examples have been left out for the sake of ease. To summarize, one shouldn’t harm someone who has helped.
41. Ubhayataspāśā rajjuḥ
The rope which has nooses on both ends. There are various knots which can be tied. One such knot is the noose which would result in getting caught if a hand is placed inside. If the rope has nooses on both ends, then either way we would get caught. And we are compelled to place our hand at least in one of the ends. In such situations, this nyāya is quoted. In many treatises when proposals and disposals grow unchecked, this is used. It resembles the itovyāghra itastaṭī. Whatever you try you are bound to fail.
The nyāya which is concerned about the camel eating thorns. The camel eats thorny plants. It doesn’t care about the pain caused by those thorns. It is enticed by the leaves which go along the thorns. Likewise, even though while earning there is hardship, later it can be enjoyed, so people neglect the difficulties and work for the future gains.
This can also be interpreted in another way. The camel can eat and digest thorns but humans can’t. It will only bring him misery. Thus the same activity can bring joy to one while it brings sorrow to the other. An object by itself neither causes happiness nor sorrow. As per space, time and situation it produces different results. It resembles the English saying, “What is one man’s food is another man’s poison.”
Laguḍa is a cane. The camel bears the cane and also bears the thrashing by the master administered through the same cane! It has the misfortune of not only carrying the cane but also to bear the pain from the same cane. In an argument when one side proposes many points and the opponent turns the table and thrashes them using the very same points this nyāya can be used.
Just because a part of an entity changes in some way it doesn’t change the entity itself. In mahābhāṣya we find an example. If the tail of the dog is dismembered it still stays a dog, it doesn’t become a horse or a donkey!
Even though India is partitioned, the remaining part is still called India.
Two fruits emerge from the same stalk! In poetry there are innumerable possibilities where the same word or sentence gives different meanings. Then this nyāya is used. The import is that the same means is used to achieve two different ends. It is the same as killing two birds with one stone.
This is the sixth 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