Monday, September 6, 2010

fickle as the mongoose on a hot surface


long time ago i had seen a nature documentary where they showed a desert scene, and a lizard running across the vast ocean of hot sand. the lizard would walk or practically run over the sand for some time, then rest. but the sand was so hot it could not put all its feet on it at the same time.

so it would put down two feet, and keep two opposing ones up. quickly, it would change positions and keep the other two feet up, to save from the heat.

it reminded me of an interesting nyAyaH, situational observation in sanskrit. it is called mongoose on a hot surface. just the animal has changed, idea is same.

अवतप्ते-नकुल-स्थितम्
= avatapte-nakula-sthitam
= mongoose on a hot [road].

this situation is used for someone who is as fickle-minded as a mongoose on a hot surface.

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and now the language aspects of the shloka -

avatapte = in very hot [situation]
tap = heat
tapta = hot
ava-tapta = very hot
ava-tapte = in very hot [situation, surface, road, path]
-e suffix makes "in, on" etc.

nakula = mongoose. brave and cunning like a mongoose, who can defeat even a snake or cobra. name of one of the pANDava-s as well

sthitam = situated.

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