On the name itself

We were passing noting the immersion of the folks in the pAsha of moha. We were trying to take the upward passage when we encountered the terrific kR^ityA. The kR^ityA was blocking our path even as the kR^ityA of rudra that swallowed our ancient clansman ushanas. We evaded her narrowly and moved past despite sustaining a blow from it. The flow of internal surA from the brahmarAndhra quieted us even as a morbid yajamAna who has been struck by the fury of soma is quieted by the external surA. dhUmrachChAya asked us why this name?

Once in the halcyon days, we retired to our quiet haunt, having deftly broken away from the plebeians given to their alpa bhogas. There we came across a remarkable Sanskrit work, composed by the scholarly crest jewel of the second varNa- the chAlukya king someshvara-deva III. While the readings were difficult, we immediately felt a kinship with this rAjan. In many ways he reminded me of his better known predecessor rAjA bhoja the paramAra, who was also striking in his breadth of knowledge. The kindred feeling that I felt towards the rAjA was because of encyclopedic tendencies- he valued all branches of knowledge. More importantly, he was an astute observer- for after all, all science is observation and lively synthesizer. This was the intellectual Hindu spirit, which also produced the brahminical legalistic encyclopedias or the ritualistic encylopedias. The Hindu though often “self-absorbed” due making consciousness the axiom rather than the outgrowth, on occasion rose beyond to observe, accurately enumerate and systematize nature. In his systematization he discovered the principles of homology and “pariNAmaM“. His linguistic and intellectual cousin , the yavana sophist applied it to geometry, but the Hindu elucidated in a more general sense, when not in the inebriation of the axiom of Atman. This period of someshvara deva III was the last efflorescence of Hindu thought before the Mohammedan mayhem snuffed it out in tectonic rattles that followed.

This text the mAnasollAsa (aka abhilaShitArthachintamaNi), has been much talked about, but hardly known to the decadent modern Hindus who epitomize the downward turn of the kAla-chakra in the fourth mAnuSha yuga. While many have talked about it before, let me repeat some of this as a praise to the meteor of the chAlukya firmament. The text as we have it owes its existence ot the unflagging efforts of a maharAShtran brahmin, Shirgondekar, who edited the thing over several decades. It covers 100 chapters in 5 viMshati-s or 20 chapter divisions. A striking variety of matters are described in the mAnasollAsa. Just to give a flavor: 1) The lost wax procedure and metal casting. 2) Medicine and preparation of drugs. (These come in the sections termed rasAyaNaM and dhAtu-vAda-rasNyanaM) 3) Sex. 4) Elephants and horses and their maintenance. 5) Fishes from the Indian ocean 6) Cooking including recipes for dishes including the idli and the mAMsa bhajjis. Many of our current favorites, like the dhosaka (dosai), mAsha vaTaka (the medu vadai) and pUrika (the masala pUrI) and the amlaka pickle (AvakkAi urgAi) are laid out clearly. 7) construction of houses and temples. 8) sedentary games like cards and chess and physical games like water sports (toya-krIDa). 9) Alcoholic revelry (madira-pAna-krIDa) 10) bed, bath, footware, umbrellas and clothing. 11) deployment of mantras.

So in memory of the kShatriya’s great text we decided to name our much lesser ramblings, expressing our continuity with the hindu intellectual tradition that is all but submerged.

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