Kulyā means a channel. People dig up channels so that the water can be transferred to the fields to irrigate the crops. The main purpose is agriculture. But the water can be used for drinking, for washing clothes, for bathing. While the primary purpose is different, the same can be used to serve many other purposes. This nyāya is used to illustrate such things.
The labourer whose work is to dig wells, would always have his hands and legs smeared with dirt. Once the water oozes out from the well, the same can be used to wash and cleanse his hands and legs. If an impediment caused by a task can not only be overcome by the end result of the same task, but further progress can be made, then this nyāya is used to illustrate such a situation. For example, we assume that the mūrti we worship is the actual deity. It might be a mistake to assume that the all pervading Bhagavān is the mūrti or worse, present only in that particular mūrti. Likewise it might again be a mistake to imagine the same all pervading Bhagavān to be Śiva or Viṣṇu or Gaṇeśa. But once we worship the same mūrti with unblemished bhakti we can transcend these transgressions and also attain śreyas.
The nyāya is concerned with the “frogs in the well” This is applicable to a fool who neither has erudition nor worldly experience or wisdom. The frog in the well assumes that the whole universe is in the well. It has no clue about the outer realm. To give the same import there is also kūpakacchapa (turtle in the well) and udumbarakṛmi (the worm inside the fig fruit)
63. Kṛtakṣaurasya nakṣatraparīkṣā
After getting a haircut, it seems he asked around about the day and nakṣatra! Matching the horoscope after the wedding is over! Or checking if the bride is squint eyed after the wedding! Things should be done in the beginning! No point in worrying about the bygones. That’s what this nyāya suggests.
For someone who has accomplished great things, it’s a given that he’ll be able to complete trivial tasks. What effort would it take for him to do some small thing when he has achieved the impossible? There is an alaṅkāra called arthāpatti whose lakṣaṇa goes like this.
When Kaimuta is used to establish something, in poetry it is called as arthāpatti by name.
स जितस्त्वन्मुखेनेन्दुः का वार्ता सरसीरुहाम्
“The moon itself has been defeated by your face, what about those lotuses?”
The moon has defeated the lotuses, but your face has defeated the moon, so it goes without saying that the lotuses stand no chance. Would Hanumān who crossed the mighty ocean in a single leap be bothered by some small lake?
The inseparability of the water and milk is well-known! They get along very well. Whenever there is such bonhomie this nyāya is used to describe. Any mixture can be either saṃsṛṣṭi or saṅkara. When the separability of individual components is noticeable then it is called saṃsṛṣṭi. Like the case of rice and gingelly. There is tilataṇḍula-nyāya to describe that situation. When the separability is not noticeable then it is like the case of milk and water, i.e. saṅkara. Aestheticians use this distinction to classify alaṅkāras formed by mixture of more than one alaṅkāra. They can be either saṃsṛṣṭyalaṅkāra or saṅkarālaṅkāra.
Someone suffering from constipation wouldn’t like milk. He’d like the taste of gruel (sauvīra) which is sour and salty! Even the best things would sometimes become unwanted. It's the fault of the person consuming it, not the fault of the thing itself. Excess use too may lead to contempt sometimes. There is an apt example in the famous drama abhijñānaśākuntalam. Duṣyanta is in love with Śakuntalā who is the foster daughter of ṛṣi Kaṇva and has spent her whole life in the forest. He is not interested in the city women dwelling in the palace. The vidūṣaka teases him thus, “If you eat dates in such excess, finally you might like eating tamarind for a change!”
67. Khale kapota-nyāya
Khala means granary. Pigeons flock in great numbers to eat grains. When a lot of people come together to accomplish one thing, this nyāya is used to describe such a situation. For example,
कुलं रूपं वयो विद्या धनं च मदयन्त्यमुम्
[Good lineage, great looks, youth, erudition and money together increase arrogance (...like the khale kapota-nyāya.)]
One quality itself is sufficient to make one arrogant. What would happen when all these turn up one by one?
Khalvāṭa means a bald man. While he was going around minding his own business a bilva (wood-apple) fruit fell on his head! Danger follows an unfortunate soul everywhere. Even in the ocean a pāpin finds the water is just till his ankles.
Ruminating the sky! What will you gain trying to ruminate the sky! It's just a futile endeavor. Like Punching the air! Equivalent to the English saying “Beating the air!”
Gaḍḍarikā means a flock of sheep. Sheep just follow the other like flow. If the sheep in the front falls in a ditch, the rest will follow. When someone blindly imitates others without discretion this nyāya is used to describe them. It is similar to andhaparamparā-nyāya.
71. Gatānugatiko loko na lokaḥ pāramārthikaḥ
People tend to follow others and imitate rather than think about the ultimate. In all worldly matters imitation is the primary trait. Why are we following someone? Will that end favourably? People don’t think about this in general.
A brāhmaṇa bathed in the river Gaṅgā. He also had some work in the city. He buried his copper pitcher in the sands and to identify the spot later, he made two heaps of sand, rounded them to shape and placed it on the spot. Another traveller who came to the spot thought, ‘This might be the convention here.’ He also did the same thing. Everyone else who came there followed suit. The brāhmaṇa came back to see that there were heaps of sand everywhere! He couldn’t find his copper pitcher. Crestfallen, he said this.
गतानुगतिको लोको न लोकः पारमार्थिकः ।
पिण्डद्वयप्रदानेन गतं मे ताम्रभाजनम् ॥
[The people just follow one another, they don’t bother about the ultimate meaning.
Due to the two heaps of sand I lost my copper pitcher.]
This is the eighth 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