Sunday, July 22, 2007


I am too small to praise Valmiki's greatness as a poet. And this praising work has already been done by many. But Valmiki also can sometimes describe things oddly, as such descriptions were not taboo during the ancient days, but look odd when read in 21c.

(Book 5: Sundara Kaand`a - Book of Beauty)
Chapter 29
Gaja indra hasta pratimaha ca piinaha
Tayooho dvayoooho samhatayooho sujaataha
PraspandamaanaH punaha uuruhu asyaa
Raamam purastaat sthitam aacacakshee.

Context: Sita was in the As`ooka Garden. Stolen by Ravana, she was under confinement. She was in a miserable condition, threatened by Ravana. At that time Hanuman appears before her and consoles her. This verse is a foreboding of good things to come. She gets good omens such as quivering of left eye and left thigh.

Meaning: Sita saw many good omens. Her left thigh started quivering (praspandamaanaha). (A belief of those days that quivering of left parts in women, brings good for them, we do not bother today). It spoke (aacacakshee) as though Rama was in front of her (purastaat sthitam). Valmiki described her thighs as strong, comparing them to the heads of princely elephants (Gajeendra hasta pratimaha ca piinaha) .

Pl. see Review No. 28 at this blog. There you can find that Valmiki (through Rama) described Sita's thighs as resembling the trunk of a Kakubha Tree.

1 comment:

Varun said...

Sita's head- Elephant' head.
I see this as a little deviation from what actually is conveyed by Valmiki.looking back on this verse and if we take a word by word meaning, "gajendrahasta pratimah = which resembled the trunk of a princely elephant" would be an ideal translation i feel. Look in to the upama or the comparison here the trunk of an elephant is big in circuferance at the begining and slenders linearly down in a beautiful proportion. Similarly was sita's left tigh which was beefy and resembeled the trunk of a princely elephant.
Sanskrit is one such language which has etymology complications. Lot of mis-interruptions can happen. Also the mood and the idea of the peot may not match the angle in which we see. In any case a good collection of Blogs.