Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mahâ-śaila-sila-sanghâta-kakarsam = hard as the collected stones of a large mountain.

67. Sváte = Arcturus, also any conspicuous constellation. The disposition of men is ranged in three degrees of an ascending scale, developing or the reverse according to their surroundings and the atmosphere in which they live : first, the disposition which produces no results is like the drop of water on hot iron, which leaps off the instant it touches the metal; next, the moderately good disposition is compared to the drop of water on the lotus-leaf, a beautiful object to look at; and lastly, the very good disposition to the pearl which is not only beautiful, but valuable. The ideas in this sloka rather suggest the parable of the talents (St. Matt. xxv. 15).

68. Cf. Prov. X. 1.

69. Khyapayantaḥ, translated " display,” means “ to declare,” “make known.” The second half of the line appears to mean “ those who make the fact of their own virtues evident by the manner in which they estimate the virtue of others.”

70. This sloka commences the section treating of liberality and benevolence.

This sloka occurs in Sakuntala, M. Williams, p. 195, where, instead of udgamaih, the word agamaiḥ is used : there is perhaps no difference in their meanings.

71. Cf. śloka 55. The ideas contained in these ślokas may suggest 1 Pet. iii. 3, 4, also Prov. i. 9.

73. The idea and simile expressed in the first line of this śloka is to be found in Sak., M. Williams, p. 213 : “Kumudânyeva sasânkaḥ savitâ bodhayate pankajanyeva," “ The moon awakes (expands) the night-lotuses only; the sun, the day-lotuses only.” The “ kumuda” of this passage in Sakuntalâ corresponds with the kaisava (a lotus blossoming by moonlight) of Bhartșihari ; pankaja with padma, the word used by Bhartsihari. The lotus called pankaja or padma is red, while the kumuda or kaisava is white. Bohlen on this passage refers to Hit., Mitralabha, 63: “Na hi samharate jyotsnâm chandraśchândâlaveśmani,” “The moon does not withhold light even from the house of a Chandâla ;” cf, also St. Matt. v. 45.

75. The bond of friendship is represented in this bloka under the figure of milk and water. The water, by itself

heatinguishes tieva páva kecurs the line loss of theting together

tasteless, receives sweetness of flavour from the milk, and therefore, as if in return for this benefit which it has received, is the first to boil over and rush into the hostile flames. The milk then follows the water, and, combined together, they extinguish the fire, their enemy. So friends acting together may overcome an enemy, even at the loss of their own lives. In Hit., Mitralabha, 89, occurs the line : “Sutaptamapi pânîyam samayatyeva pâvakam," “ Water though well warmed extinguishes the fire,” i.l., the water, though it has received heat from the fire, returns the kindness by extinguishing the flame, that is, by evil conduct.

76. The sleep of Keśava or Vishņu is referred to in Mahấtmya Devi, Bk. i. śloka 49: “Once the adorable lord Vishņu, at the end of a kalpa, had spread out Sesha for his couch on the world, which was covered with water, and was wrapped in the sleep of meditation.” For the ocean as the refuge for the mountains, v. Niti Śataka, sloka 29. The firmness of the ocean in retaining the submarine fire is mentioned in Chaurapanch., 50: “Ambhonidhirvahate duḥsahabâdavâgnim," " The ocean keeps the submarine fire difficult to bear." Cf. Śak., 56

“... harakopavahnis

tvayi jvalatyaurva ivâmburâsau.” “The fire of the wrath of Siva burns in thee like the submarine fire in the ocean." Also Raghuv., ix. 82—

“ Antarnivishtapadam âtmavinâśahetum

śâpam adadhajjvalanam aurvam ivâmburâših."

“ He bore the curse, having a place in his mind, the cause of his death, even as the ocean (bears) the submarine fire flaming (in its interior)."

The legend relating to the submarine fire, as given in the Harivansa, is as follows :-A sage called Aurva produced by means of magic power a devouring fire from his thigh. In consequence the earth was in flames, when Brahmâ, to save creation, allotted the ocean to the son of Aurva (the fire) as a suitable dwelling. The ocean was also the abode of Brahmâ, and from it, he and the subinarine fire come forth at the end of each age to consume the world, and at the final consummation of all things to consume also the gods and demons. Vide Níti Šataka, śloka 13.

78. “How many noble men there are in the world, pure in thought, word, and deed!” Expecting the answer, “But few." Cf. Bhagavad., vii. 3: “Manushyânâm sahasreshu kaśchid yatati siddhaye,” “ Among thousands of men, who strive after perfection?" (Answer, “But few.") Cf. also Bhagavadgîta, xvii. 24 et seq.

80. With this sloka begins the section on the praise of firmness or constancy.

81. Cf. Bhagavad., ii. 15–
“Yam hi na vyathayanty ete purusham, purusharshabha,

samaduḥkhasukham dhîram so'mțitatvậya kalpate.”
“The man whom these things (external things) do not affect,
(O noblest of men), being the same in pain and pleasure, and
firm, he is fit for immortality.”

84. This śloka, beginning the section on the power of fate or destiny, is pure fatalism. Everything, both in divine affairs as well as human, is represented as moving according to an irresistible law, the law of fate.

The “ basket” (karanda) is explained by Telang as the place in which the snake-charmer keeps his snakes. “Meeting with the same fate," "tena eva yâtaḥ pathâ," went by the same route as the rat, i.e., died.

85. “ The misfortunes of good men,” sâdhuvrittânâm vipattayaḥ. Telang points out on this passage that there is a play on the word sâdhuvritta. It means “well rounded,” as applied to the ball, and “of good conduct,” as applied to men. Cf. Niti Sataka, Mis. S'at., 13.

87. Cf. Job xiv. 7, “There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease ;” also Hor., Car. iv. 7; though both the writer of the Book of Job and Horace seem to draw a different conclusion from the writer of this Sataka. The tree will sprout again, but "man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?" Horace says

Nor

“Nos ubi decidimus ...
Quo pater Æneas, quo dives Tullus et Ancus

Pulvis et umbra sumus.”

tu

91. For this śloka, cf. Hitopadeśa, Mitralábhah, 52. For Rahu, cf. Nîti Sataka, sloka 27.

92. Távat = prathamam, according to commentator, “Fate first creates, &c., and then destroys.”

“An excellent man(purusharatna, lit. “a jewel of a man"), ratna, used commonly with nouns to express their extreme excellence.

93. As to the power of fate, cf. Hitopadeśa, Mitralathah, 152—"Chakravat parivartante duḥkhâni cha sukhâui cha." “Like a wheel, pains and pleasures revolve.” Also in the Meghadůta, sloka 109, translated by Wilson

“Life, like a wheel's revolving orb, turns round,

Now whirled in air, now dragged along the ground.” The expression may find a parallel in Anacreon, xxxiii. 7–

τροχός άρματος γαρ ολα

βιοτος τρέχει κυλισθείς. The power of destiny is recognised under a slightly different figure in the lines of Horace, Car. i. 34, 14

"... hinc apicem rapax Fortuna cum stridore acuto Sustulit, hinc posuisse gaudet.”

Or in Car. iii. 10, 10, where in

“Ne currente retro funis eat rota," an allusion has been thought to exist to the wheel of fortune.

94. The section relating to religious works begins with this śloka. The meaning of the stanza is as follows :-Man should give himself up to the works of religion, to study of the Scripture, to the exercise of liberality, to the instruction and the benefiting others; he should offer sacrifice to the deities and

the manes; for these works will produce happiness for him in
a future state, and are not in the power of destiny or fate, as
all other things are, including even the deities themselves.
On the idea that the gods are in the power of destiny, cf.
Eurip., Alcestis, 965:

κρείσσον ουδέν ανάγκας
nigov, · · ·

και γάρ Ζεύς και τι νεύση

συν σοι τούτο τελευτα. 95. Continuation of the ideas in preceding sloka. For Brahmâ working in the egg, cf. Manu, i. 9, 12, 13. The Avatârs or incarnations of Vishộu have been extended from ten to twenty-two. Those usually recognised are-1. Matsya, as the fish ; 2. Kůrma, the tortoise; 3. Varâha, the boar; 4. Narasinha, the man-lion; 5. Vâmana, the dwarf; 6. Parasu Râma, Râma with the axe; 7. Râma or Râma Chandra, son of Dasaratha ; 8. Krishņa; 9. Buddha; 10. Kalkî, the white horse. The first three of these incarnations are apparently connected with some Hindû traditions of the Deluge ; that of Varâha, or the boar, is referred to Nîti Sataka, Mis. Sat., 3. Siva (according to the fable) was supposed to have killed the sons of a Brâhman, and was compelled to wander for twelve years as a mendicant bearing the skull of one of his victims in his hand. This is referred to in the Sringâra Sat., 64, where it is said that persons who insult the god of love by want of susceptibility or reluctance are punished by being turned into ascetics, and pass their lives as Kâpâlikas, i.e., worshippers of Siva, who carry skulls which they use as the mendicant's jar in which to collect their food.

99. Cf. Prov. xxv. 18; Eccles. vii. 8. Šalya tulyah, equal to or like an arrow.”

100. “A field of kodrava.” Kodrava is a common kind of grain eaten by the poor, Paspalum scrobiculatum.

101. There is no escape from fate or destiny. This sentiment is repeated usque ad nauseam throughout the whole of the Hitopadeśa. Cf. however, Suhridbheda, 15, for a remarkable passage

« PreviousContinue »