When I saw the book Indus Civilization by Andrew Robinson reviewed and recommended by the good folks at www.harappa.com, I ordered the book immediately to add to few other books which I have on this topic in my bookshelf.


While the reviewers on harappa.com were truthful about this book being the most recent and most comprehensive in giving a good overview of the topic, I was quite disappointed in the end for several reasons that I will explain a bit later.Having read many other books about Indus, I must say that I was expecting a better product!

But  I do agree that the book is quite readable for anyone who has no introduction to the subject, and does not drag into too many details for a first time reader (which first time readers on any subject hard to deal with).

Now coming to my major reasons for being dissatisfied with the book:

* Given so much new data is available compared to what was available for Mortimer Wheeler, the white and black pictures in the book are unpardonable in 2016!

* The author completely assumes that the Aryan Invasion or migration (or whatever theory they call it these days) theory as a fact

* The author completely downplays the number of Indus sites, unearthed on the Sarawathi river bed in the 20th century and casually mentions that the shifting of Saraswati river could have had some effect in the downfall of the civilization

* While sticking firmly to the dating of Rig Veda to be post 1500 BC as proposed by Max Muller and Co, the author offers no explanation why the river Saraswati which had already disappeared by 1500BC is mentioned and glorified in Rg Veda, and does not even think twice about the occurence so many “Saraswati” sites

* Other casual errors such as name of Shiva not occurring in the Vedas have crept up in the book

  •  Well, one may argue the name Shiva is not found  Rig Veda, but the word Shiva does show up in Yajurveda as anyone who knows the Rudraprashna can attest

* The author totally dismisses S R Rao’s theory of alphabetical Indus script, without batting an eyelid  – Actually he gives it as an example of four deciphering hypothesis totally gone astray

  • While I’m with the author if he said the final word about the Indus script is not out, I find it strange that he jumps in with the min-meen equation, and identifying the fish sign as a star
  • S R Rao’s hypothesis was that the Indus script was alphabetic and it did assign the phonetic values similar to those for the  Semetic script.  Let’s for the moment leave aside whether Indus script influenced Semetic script or vice versa.  Andrew Robinson says that one can’t apply the phonetic values of an unrelated script/language to a  totally different language (such as whatever would have been spoken in the Indus valley), and debunks S R Rao’s hypothesis
  • However, we have evidence of the very same thing happening in India! The Brahmi script, (which was used for prAkrtas) was used with the same phonetic (or very similar) values for writing early Tamizh, Kannada etc around 2000 years ago

While this is not a comprehensive review, but hope this is good enough for anyone interested in the topic to read more on this very interesting civilization from India. Sorry folks, it is not South Asia by any means🙂

If you have come this far, you may be interested to read this old posts of mine:







This week, on the occasion of Shivratri, padyapaana asked it’s readers to write verses about the following picture of Raja Ravi Varma.


If you did not know already, the folks running Padayapaana, encourage versification in Kananda and Samskrta using traditional meters by posting a challenge every week. There are also lessons that help newbies understand the concept of versification and writing in such traditional style.

Here are my two attempts for this picture of Ganggavatarana by Raja Ravi varma:

In Bhamini shatpadi:

ಬಾನಿನಿಂದಲಿ ಬೀಳುತಿರಲಾ
ಮಾನಿನಿಯು ಹರಿಪದಗಳಿಂದಲಿ
ನೀನು ದಯೆತೋರುತಲಿ ಮುಡಿಯನು ಹರಡಿ ಲೋಕವನು
ಸಾನುರಾಗದಿ ಕಾಯ್ದೆಯೆನ್ನುತ
ಮಾನಿಸರು ಪೇಳಿಹರು ರುದ್ರನು
ನೀನು ಹೇಗಾದೀಯೆ? ಶಂಕರ ಶಿವನೆ ನೀನೆಂದು!

In mattEbhavikrIDita meter:

ದಿಗಿಲೊಳ್ ಬೇಡಿರಲಾ ಭಗೀರಥ ಮುದಲ್ ಶ್ರೀವಿಷ್ಣು ಪಾದಂಗಳಿಂ
ಭರದೊಳ್ ಬಿರ್ದಿಹ ಗಂಗೆಯಾರ್ಭಟಮನುಂ ಪರ್ಬುತ್ತೆ ನೀಳ್ಗೂದಲಂ
ಹಿತದೊಳ್ ಮಾಣಿಸುತಾಕೆಯಂ ನಲುಮೆಯಿಂ ಕಾಪಿಟ್ಟೆ ಮೂಲೋಕಮಂ
ದಿಟದೊಳ್ ಶಂಕರ ರೂಪಿ ನೀನೆನಿಸಿರಲ್ ನೀ ರುದ್ರನೆಂದೆಂಬರೇ?

The meaning of both the verses is approximately same: When Bhagiratha through his penance, brought the divine river Ganga to the Earth, to save the mankind from the deluge that may be caused by this mighty river, Lord Shiva stopped her and confined her in his long locks of hair. Hence it is befitting to call him Shiva or Shankara (doer of good deeds, blissfull) rather than Rudra  (terrible).

Happy Shivaratri to all readers of ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ!



Stitched Panorama

In an earlier post in this space, I had shared some well known samasya pooranam examples from samskrta and some more examples from Kannada poetry. Later, I had also shared some of my own solutions for samasya pooranam questions posted on Padyapaana. Since there were a few more such verses since the last post, I thought rounding them up here.

The first one is a question set in the Shardula vikreedita meter:
ಕುಣಿದಿರ್ಕುಂ ನಲಿವಿಂದೆ ಸೋಗೆಸೊಗದೊಳ್ ಕಾರ್ಗಾಲಕಿಂ ಮುನ್ನಮೇ
It’s well known that peacocks dance at the arrival of the monsoon rains. However the problem given here states the peacock is dancing much before monsoon.
For a solution, I took a few very unlikely events such as fish surviving in sand and lions eating grass,  and composed a verse saying if those unlikely events do happen, then a peacock can as well dance without clouds and rain. Here goes my solution:
ಉಣಿಸಂ ನೀಡಿರೆ ತಾಯಿ ತಾನು ಮುದದೊಳ್ ಬಾಯ್ಮುಚ್ಚೆ ತಾ ಕಂದನುಂ
ಸೊಣಗಂ ಬಾಲಮನೆಟ್ಟಗಿರ್ಟು ನಡೆಯಲ್ ಪುಲ್ಲಂ ತಿನಲ್ ಸಿಂಗಮುಂ
ಮಣಲೊಳ್ ಮೀನ್ಗಳು ಕಟ್ಟ ಪೋಗೆ ಮನೆಯಂ ನೀರಾನೆ ತಾ ನರ್ತಿಸಲ್
ಕುಣಿದಿರ್ಕುಂ ನಲಿವಿಂದೆ ಸೋಗೆಸೊಗದೊಳ್ ಕಾರ್ಗಾಲಕಿಂ ಮುನ್ನಮೇ

The next samasyapooranam is about the five arrows of the Love God, Manmatha. It is said that Manmatha carries a bow made of sugarcane, and has five arrows made of flowers. But the problem given here says that Manmatha carries 10 arrows, and not five.

ಮನಸಿಜನ ಬಳಿ ಹತ್ತು ಬಾಣಗಳಿರುವುದೇ ನಿಜವೈ!

Samasya pooranam involves lot of word play. So it is quite possible to turn one thing into another! I used a fact from Saint Tyagarja’s life to complete this verse. Composer Tyagaraja was an ardent devotee of Rama, but married twice in his life unlike Rama. If such a devotee should marry again after his first wife passed away, it should indeed be because the lord of Love should have had another set of arrows, thus making it ten in total!

ಅನವರತದೊಳು ತ್ಯಾಗರಾಜನು
ವಿನಯದಲಿ ಜಾನಕಿಯ ಪತಿಯನೆ
ಕನವರಿಕೆಯಲು ಭಕ್ತಿವೈರಾಗ್ಯದಲಿ ನೆನೆದಾತ;
ಕೊನೆಯುಸಿರೆಳೆಯೆ ಮಡದಿ ಪಾರ್ವತಿ
ಯನುಜೆಯನು ಮರುಲಗ್ನವಾದನೆ!
ಮನಸಿಜನ ಬಳಿ ಹತ್ತುಬಾಣಗಳಿರುವುದೇ ನಿಜವೈ!

It is quite possible to write multiple solutions to the same problem in Samasya Poornam. So here is one more solution to the same problem,where I changed the last line a bit keeping the same meaning.

The Love God Manmatha is said to visit Earth during the spring season , but as we know the spring occurs in different times in the northern and southern hemispheres, he then should have two sets of five arrows- and the following verse is written about these ten arrows of Manmatha.

ಉತ್ತರದಲರೆಭಾಗ ಪೃಥಿವಿಗೆ
ಚಿತ್ತಚೋರ ವಸಂತ ಕಾಲದ
ಲತ್ತ ಹೂಡುವನೈದು ಹೂವಿನ ಶರವ ಮುದದಿಂದ
ಮತ್ತೆ ಪೋಗುವ ದಕ್ಷಿಣದ ಕಡೆ
ಗತ್ತ ಪ್ರೀತಿಯ ಸೊದೆಯ ಹಂಚಲು!
ಹತ್ತುಬಾಣಗಳಿಹುದೆ ಸೈ ಮನ್ಮಥನ ಚೀಲದಲಿ !

After having spent arrows made of lotus, ashoka, mango, blue lily and jasmine flowers during the spring in the northern hemisphere, if Manmatha has to go to the southern hemisphere he must indeed have a second set of these love arrows!

Another problem given on Padyapaana  was to complete a verse that ends in the phrase ಮಳೆಯು ಮುದವಾಯ್ತು.  By the time I saw the problem, there were already a bunch of solutions. So I had to look for a different type of shower, a meteor shower in this case:

ಕುಳಿರುಗಾಳಿಯ ಮಾರ್ಗಶಿರದಲಿ
ಚಳಿಯ ತಡೆಯಲು ತೊಟ್ಟು ಟೊಪ್ಪಿಯಿ-
ರುಳಿನ ಮೂರನೆ ಜಾವಕೆನ್ನುತ ಕಾದು ಕುಳಿತಾಯ್ತು
ಇಳೆಯ ಹಾದಿಯ ಬಾಲಚಿಕ್ಕೆಯ
ಪಳೆಯುಳಿಕೆಗಳು ಹಾದುಹೋಗಿರೆ
ಹೊಳೆಯುತಾಗಸ ತುಂಬಿ ಲಿಯೊನಿಡ್ಸ್ ಮಳೆಯು ಮುದವಾಯ್ತು!

Leonids meteor shower is seen during mid November every year, and the solution describes how waiting for the meteor  shower in a chilly winter night was fruitful with a fabulous display of the meteors in the sky.

I will end with another samasya pooranam, set in Bhamini shatpadi. This was a question given to the audience in an Ashtavadhana in Puttur a few years ago.  The line given was

ಹರುಷದಿಂದರ್ಜುನನು ಸಾರಥಿಯಾದ ಕೃಷ್ಣನಿಗೆ

We all know that Krishna was the charioteer for Arjuna during the Mahabharata war. However this line is stating otherwise – ” Happily, Arjuna became the charioteer for Krishna”. Quite interesting indeed.

I ended up writing more than 30 solutions to this question – some of them relating to the final battle of Karna and Arjuna are posted in this link, but will post a couple of lighthearted ones here:

ತುರಿದು ಕಾಯನು ಘಮಘಮೆನ್ನುತ
ಹುರಿದ ರವೆಯುಪ್ಪಿಟ್ಟು ಮಾಡುವೆ
ತರುವ ಸಮಯವು ಬಾಲಕೃಷ್ಣನ ಶಾಲೆಯಿಂದೆನಲು
ಹೊರಟನರ್ಜುನ ಪುಟ್ಟ ಮಗನನು
ಕರೆದು ಮಾರುತಿಯೊಳಗೆ ಕೂರಿಸಿ
ಹರುಷದಿ೦ದರ್ಜುನನು ಸಾರಥಿಯಾದ ಕೃಷ್ಣನಿಗೆ॥

ವಿರಸ ಬೇಡೆಲೆ ಮಾನಿನೀ ನಾ-
ನರಸುತಿಲ್ಲವು ಸುಳ್ಳುಕಾರಣ
ಕರೆಯಬೇಡವೆ ಮಾಲಿಗೇ ಶಾಪಿಂಗ ನಾ ಮಾಣೆ ।
ಹೊರಡಬೇಕಿದೆ ಮಗನು ಟ್ಯೂಷನ್
ತರಗತಿಗೆ ತುಸು ಹೊತ್ತಿನಲೆನುತ
ಹರುಷದಿ೦ದರ್ಜುನನು ಸಾರಥಿಯಾದ ಕೃಷ್ಣನಿಗೆ॥

In the above contemporary solutions, Arjuna is the dad of a lad named Krishna, and drives the boy in his car. In the second one, he is also trying to avoid going shopping in the pretext of taking the child to a class.  :)


Image courtesy: Manmatha Vijaya, on the ceiling of Virupaksha temple, Hampi; taken from http://iiacd.org/murals-south-india/#/hampi-virupaksha-temple-ceiling-paintings-interactive-plan

Today is the ninth day of Navaratri, Mahanavami – 2015.

Mahanavami was a grand festival during Vijaya Nagara times. Even today you’ll see remnants of Mahanavami dibba, where the festivities would take place.
The traditions of Vijayanagara continued in the Tanjavur and Mysore kingdoms.
So did music and arts. We can’t forget the contributions of people who had origins in the Vijayanagara court to the development of what we call Karnataka sangeeta today.

It’s a common occurrence that ragas go out of vogue and new ragas become popular. Similarly new types of musical compositions also come into the scene. Thus we several new classes of musical compositions starting in the 17th-18th centuries and one such is the Swarajati.

Many a times performed on the stage by dancers as well, a Swarajati is a composition that is primarily made of swaras, and which may or may not have lyrics to go with it. Many swarajatis are taught in the early training for music while some swarajatis (such as those of Shyama Shastri) are very elaborate compositions, in line with the Ghanaraga pancharatna kritis of Tyagaraja.

On this day, I am very glad to present one of my compositions -, a swarajati, in the raga Ramakriya. (This is a traditional, slightly older form of what we call as Kamavardhini/Pantuvarali).

You can listen to the complete swarajati here:

The lyrics are by Ashtavadhani Sri Mahesh Bhat and the vocalist is Vidushi Ragini Sanat.

Happy Vijaya dashami to all visitors of “ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ”.


There’s an occultation tomorrow (Oct 2nd, 2015) – where the Moon covers the star Aldebaran ( Rohini, as known to Indians). You can consider an occultation as an eclipse where one object in the sky covers another, as seen from the earth).

The west coast of the USA slightly misses it (or slightly gets it) depending on whee you are location. Check this link for more details.http://www.skyandtelescope.com/…/moon-hides-hyades-occults…/

I used the Capture1Neave Planetarium software to get some pictures of how it would appear in the SF bay area. I suspect the accuracy particularly when showing the Moon and the star is not perfect, but you can see through the 4 pictures how the Moon hovers over the star as time goes by.

Occulations are not as rare events, but occulations of bright stars is somewhat rare, as seen from a given place. Since there are only a few bright stars near the path that Moon takes in the sky and Aldebaran (Rohini) is the brightest star that the Moon can occult

Somehow this aspect of Rohini (that it comes very close to the Moon) made an impact on ancient Indians. So when they came up with a list of the 27 lunar mansions (“Nakshatras”), they were thought as the daughters of Daksha Brahma, and wives of the Moon. And out of these 27 wives, Rohini is said to be the most favorite of all to the Moon. It is not hard to see how this imagination come through given that the Moon occults Rohini quite regularly!



  • 412,320

My book “Hamsanada” for iPad, iPhone or iPod

A Collection of  Samskrta Subhashitas, translated to Kannada


My Book, on Google Play!

My Book Hamsanada, on Google Play

My Book Hamsanada, on Google Play

Facebook page of My Book

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,493 other followers

ಅವಧಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೀಗಂದರು:

"ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ…ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ… ಎಂಬ ಘೋಷ ವಾಕ್ಯದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಮಂಡಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಿಸಿಕೊಂಡವರು ನೀಲಾಂಜನ. ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಪರಿಮಳವನ್ನು ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಹರಡುತ್ತಾ ಇದೆ. ಕನ್ನಡದ ವಚನಗಳು, ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ಸುಭಾಷಿತಗಳು ಜೊತೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಸಂಗೀತ ಹೀಗೆ ಹಲವು ಲೋಕವನ್ನು ಈ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಿದೆ." ಅವಧಿ, ಮೇ ೧೫, ೨೦೦೮
October 2016
« May    

ಬಗೆ ಬಗೆ ಬರಹ