Analogies

I found this scribbled note of mine written a couple of years ago, while cleaning my cupboard. Now I finally understand why diaries/journal-logs are so popular, they are such effective tools to go back in time.

I have been reading Ponniyin Selvan (with a surprisingly well-worked out English translation by the side) and am always left amazed by some of the analogies used by Kalki, particularly the ones which crop up in the conversations between Vaanathi and Kundavai.

Vaanathi asks Kundavai if it isn’t too much for a dewdrop to wish to capture the sun. Kundavai replies with a question, asking her why the dewdrop glitters. Isn’t it because it locks the sun’s light within itself ? But alas, Vaanathi replies, the dewdrop gets what she deserves for over-reaching herself as she burns up and evaporates into nothingness as the sun’s rays scorch her. Kundavai thinks otherwise. She compares the sun to a possessive husband who doesn’t like his wife to be visible to any other man during the day and thus binds her to himself, but releases her again in the night when all human eyes are closed.

Another beautiful analogy is about the break of dawn. Kalki talks about the night and the earth embraced in each other’s arms. As the dawn breaks, night lingers, but slowly and sorrowfully she leaves her beloved, clinging to him now but finally bidding him goodbye. The earth, an unfaithful lover rejoices in his freedom and bursts into bloom.

Many of the passages in the book(s) talk about each character, comparing him or her to a mythological character – Abhimanyu, Indraani, Ganga .. This is when the richness of our mythologies struck me. What a huge repertoire we can draw from, where each and every aspect of human nature is depicted somewhere or the other.

Isn’t it a pity that present day writers don’t (or maybe can’t) make use of them with such effectiveness ?

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2 Comments on “Analogies”

  1. madayan Says:

    Beautiful this. I am reminded of a phrase for another text but which might actually suit Indian mythology well: what is not in it is nowhere. Although, it sounds a tad arrogant, there is perhaps more than a modicum of truth to it. Have you read Ka, by Roberto Calasso?

    • ideallaedi Says:

      I’ve heard of the “What is not in it is nowhere” phrase applied to the Mahabharata from time to time. And have grown to agree with it !

      I vaguely remember reading that the stories of the Mahabharata were added on layer by layer, and one can spot the difference in the ages of the tales too. Yet it is amazing how well interweaved they all are in one intricate epic.

      I looked up Ka after this comment and it sounds fascinating. Added to queue !


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