A few days ago I met one of my chidhood friends (we are still great friends) and I was discussing with him about the future world, how modern inventions can affect us. I was stressing on the point how India needs to boost it’s performance be it in science, arts or sports. I was thinking being an Indian I know about India and it’s history. Then suddenly he asked me a question ‘ Dude do you really know about the hisory of India? ‘. I was at first became bit uncomfortable at his question, I mean yeah we read about it in school in our history books. And in a row he asked me about stories of some ancient indian geniuses. Holly shit! I heard most of the names but I can’t remember any of their stories or anything bit detail about them which again made me realise that reading something merely for exams and reading for own satisfaction are absolute different things. Probably we all know this but realise when time teaches us the lesson. The very next day I read a quote which goes like-
I realised something that day, this is not only a problem with me but probably with most of the younger people of this generation. In the midst of our modern stressed life we are exactly becoming like trees without roots. And you know what can happen with a tree without strong roots.
Thanks to my friend I got a new insight to learn and share with people so that we become aware of our roots. Believe me you will fascinate when you heard about wisdom that our ancestors had. That is why modern science is also embracing ancient Indian wisdom be it yoga, meditation, oneness of everything or even on different fields of science.
So from today onwards every alternate weekend I will have a post on my blog about Indian wisdom stories, contribution of our ancestors in shaping modern world etc.
Let’s start this journey with the story that my friend told me that day-
Mahakavi Kalidas is considered as one of India’s wisest persons, he was a great poet and dramatist in sanskrit language of India and is described as the Shakespeare of India. He lived in the 4th century BC. An inscription, discovered most recently, in 1964, establishes his birth in Ujjayini and shows him as a contemporary of King Vikramaditya, who was obviously Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
The most famous dramas of Kalidas were ‘Malavikagnimitra‘ and ‘Sakuntala’. It is said that when Sir William Jones translated `Sakuntala’ of Kalidas into English and published it in 1789, it created a sensation among the Europeans that such a wonderful drama could have been written in ancient times, describing human emotion and feeling in such a super way. The work was translated to German, French, Danish, Italian and other languages. The celebrated German poet Goethe was so powerfully impressed by this magnificent work that he regarded it as the greatest drama ever written in any literature.
But do you know how kalidas gained wisdom? Well There is a great story behind this-
‘ There was a king who had a very gorgeous and learned daughter named Vidyotma who can surpass all the scholars of the kingdom by her knowledge. She decleared she would marry the person who could defeat her in the battle of wits. Many scholars and pandits tried to defeat the princess but no one was sucessful, they departed in humiliation. They felt she is very arrogant because of her knowledge and decided to teach her a lessson by marrying her to a fool.
They went looking, and in the forest saw a man sitting on a tree who was cutting the branch he was sitting on. On seeing this, they decided they had found their man, and they would marry him to the princess, and they told him “Come with us, we will take you to the palace and you will be given good food to eat, but do not say a word when you are there, only use hand gestures”.
So he went and the scholars said to the king – “Maharaj (Your Majesty), we have chanced upon a great scholar who would like to challenge your daughter, but he won’t speak anything”. The fool was presented before the princess. The princess Vidyotma showed him one finger of her right hand, the fool thought she intended to blind him in one eye. He showed up two fingers signaling that if she would blind him in one eye, he would blind her in both eyes. Next the princess showed the open palm of her hand, now the fool took this to mean she would slap him. He showed a fist to signal he would box her in return.
The scholars who were accompanying the fool explained the actions this way. The princess’s one finger means there is only one God Almighty, but the scholar means that there is one God Almighty, but there is also the human soul (which as per Hindus is considered as a part of God). Next the five fingers of the princess’s palm signify the five human senses, but according to the scholar the fist means when the five senses are kept under control one can attain greatness. The princess conceded defeat and was married to him.
After the marriage when Vidyotma discovered her husband had no knowledge and was in fact a big fool, she insulted him and left him. At this the fool was very upset and he decided he would attain wisdom. The scholars who had got him there all left him alone. It is said that he went to the temple of Garhkalika in Ujjain and prayed to the goddess for the gift of knowledge. He prayed and offered to the goddess his tongue as sacrifice and when was about to cut it off with a sword the goddess appeared before him and blessed him. Because of being blessed by the goddess, words of wisdom started flowing through his mouth and he began to write poetry and prose in Sanskrit language. He then created works like ‘Shakuntala’ and ‘Meghdoot’ and the beauty of his expression made him very renowned. Thus a big fool became wise Kalidas.’
As you can see we can learn so many things from the story- 1. Never be arrogant for whatever skills you have, your arrogance can be the reason for your destruction.
2. We all have some special abilities in ourselves. Believe in yourself and the universe.
3. Whatever happens in our life be it good or bad has a good reason to happen. Have faith and patience in the adverse situations of life.
Have a great week. with♥. Until next time –Joy