Subashita Sunday Episode 5: Sawai Jai Singh, Mankutimma and Jack London

Subashita Sunday Episode 5: Sawai Jai Singh, Mankutimma and Jack London

So we’re back again this Sunday. With another episode of the Subhashita Sunday on The Dharma Dispatch. Like always, we have curated a handpicked collection of articles drawn from the best and the most prized annals of both the Bharatiya tradition and some of the best inspired writing in world literature.

Happy reading!

The Average Person Wastes His Life and How!

Once again, Maharshi Bhartruhari tops the list with yet another immortal verse from the Vairagya Shatakam. The verse and its meaning are rather self-explanatory and as always, Bhartruhari holds the mirror to the entire world. Read on.

आयुर्वर्षशतं नृणां परिमितं रात्रौ तदर्धं गतं
तस्यार्धस्य परस्य चार्धमपरं बालत्ववृद्धत्वयोः।
शेषं व्याधिवियोगदुःखसहितं सेवादिभिर्नीयते
जीवे वारितरङ्गचञ्चलतरे सौख्यं कुतः प्राणिनाम्॥
āyurvarṣaśataṃ nṛṇāṃ parimitaṃ rātrau tadardhaṃ gataṃ
tasyārdhasya parasya cārdhamaparaṃ bālatvavṛddhatvayoḥ।
śeṣaṃ vyādhiviyogaduḥkhasahitaṃ sevādibhirnīyate
jīve vāritaraṅgacañcalatare saukhyaṃ kutaḥ prāṇinām॥

A man lives a hundred years: he is asleep half the time, and the other half comprises childhood and old age. As the remainder of his life, disease, separation from loved ones, and craven service to others torment him. How does one find abiding happiness in life, which is as wavering as a water ripple?

ಪಿರಿದೆಲ್ಲ ಮತನೀತಿಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಜೀವಿತವು ।
ನೆರೆಬಂದ ನದಿ ದಡಕೆ ಬಾಗಿ ಪರಿಯುವುದೇಂ ।।
ಧರುಮಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮದ ತಿಳಿವೆ ಲೋಕಸೂತ್ರದ ಸುಳಿವು ।
ಅರಸು ಜೀವಿತ ಹಿತವ ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ ।।
piridella matanītigaḻigiṃta jīvitavu ।
nerebaṃda nadi daḍake bāgi pariyuvudeṃ ।।
dharumasūkṣmada tiḻivae lokasūtrada suḻivu ।
arasu jīvita hitava maṃkutimma ।।

Life is greater than all religions and truths.
Can a river in flood respect its banks?
The essence of Dharma is universal, generic principles;
You alone need to seek what is good for you –Mankutimma

Sawai Jai Singh: Innovator, Pioneer and Destroyer of the Jizya Tax

Although Sawai Jai Singh was constantly occupied in battles and negotiations with allies and enemies, he was firm in his understanding of the holistic nature of Sanatana Dharma on the one hand and the barbarism of Islam on the other.

From the beginning he was intimately familiar with Muslim kings, their practices and rules of their faith, and the pettiness, injustice, and intolerance of Islam. Therefore, he realized very early that the counter to this could only come from a united group of Rajputs, Marathas, Sikhs, and Jats, and he worked tirelessly to make it a reality. He cleverly used his position in the Mughal court and tried to broker a special alliance between the Rajputs and the Marathas. Due to all these efforts he attained the favour of both Peshwa Baji Rao on one hand and the Mughal ruler on the other.

Using the sort of influence he wielded, he removed, forever, the jizya tax that was levied on tirthayatras and at tirthakshetras. He gets all the credit for this noble act. When Bahadur Shah offered him a reward of two crores, he declined it and instead asked for an order for a permanent removal of the oppressive Jizya tax!

Read the whole thrilling story!

The Indomitable Jack London: A Labour Worth Emulating

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”

Simple, direct words. But such tremendous will and strength embedded in them. Whatever the literary merit of Jack London, of the finest litterateurs of the United States, the manner in which he set about achieving the goal of becoming a writer is both thrilling and hugely inspirational. Here’s a sample of this process.

Jack London was determined to develop his intellectual capacities to their fullest extent and enroll in college – strengthening his mind so that he might make a living with it. He once again became the Oakland library’s most regular patron, checking out armfuls of books at a time. He used what little money he was able to keep for himself to purchase a dictionary, and he made it a goal to learn 20 new words a day. He studied and copied old poetry, and wrote his own as well.

 And in his words:

“I wrote, I wrote everything—ponderous essays, scientific and sociological, short stories, humorous verse, verse of all sorts from triolets and sonnets to blank verse tragedy and elephantine epics in Spenserian stanzas. On occasion I composed steadily, day after day, for fifteen hours a day. At times I forgot to eat, or refused to tear myself away from my passionate outpouring in order to eat…I had learned enough from the books to realize that I had only touched the hem of knowledge’s garment. I still lived on the heights. My waking hours, and most of the hours I should have used for sleep, were spent with the books.”

Do read the full thing.

That concludes Episode 5 of the Subashita Sunday. See you next week.

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