Some cameos from elementary Hindu education

An ancient anonymous textbook from my grandparents’ time used by my aunt for her education in the devabhAShA is one of the best introductory elementary textbooks on the language I have seen. It not only introduced the student to the Arya-vAk but also inculcated a sense of Aryatva in them via introduction the dharma.
Below is an abstract from the same that educating a child on homonymy:

sha~karaH dvAram a~NgulyA praharati|
umA: a~NgulyA kaH kapaTaM praharati ?
shivaH: aham asmi priye |
umA: kaH tvaM asi ?
shivaH: ahaM shUlI asmi |
umA: kiM tava shUlarogaH vartate? tena vaidyaM mR^igaya |
shivaH: priye, ahaM nIlakaNTho.asmi |
umA: kiM tvaM nIlakaNTho mayUro.asi ? tadA ekAM kekAM kuru |
shivaH: preyasi, ahaM pashupatir asmi |
umA: yadi tvaM pashupatir asi tadA tvayi kathaM viShANe na pashyAmi ?
shivaH: nAhaM vR^iShabhaH | ahaM sthANur asmi |
umA: yadi tvaM sthANur arthAt tarur asi | atha kathaM vadasi ? tarur hi na vadati |
shivaH: he priye, ahaM shivAyAH prANeshvaro.asmi |
umA: AH! yadi tvaM shR^igAlyAH patir asi, araNyaM gachCha |
evaM pArvatI shabdachChalena sha~NkaraM parAjayata ||

The original verse on this umAsha~Nkara krIDA is:
kastvaM ? shUlI, mR^igaya bhiShajaM, nIlakaNThaH priye.aham |
kekAm ekAM kuru, pashupatir naiva dR^iShTe viShANe ||
sthANur mugdhe, na vadati tarur jIviteshaH shivAyAH |
gachChATavyAm iti hatavachAH pAtu vash-chandrachUDaH ||

Recently my pitAshrI inquired about an elementary problem presented by one of the greatest mathematicians of our tradition, bhAskara, who graced the seuna yAdava court. While it is a simple quadratic problem it has a certain beauty in its versification in the mAlinI meter. We showed it to a few friends to take some delight in the educational devices in devabhAShA. Then it struck us that it would be a good test for R’s legendary IQ. She took a few minutes with the saMskR^ita, but not with the mathematics – we think her abilities are undiminished on the whole :-)
ali-kula-dala-mUlam mAlatIm yAtam aShTau nikhila-navama-bhAgAsh cha alinI bhR^i~Ngam ekam |
nishi parimala-lubdham padma-madhye niruddham pratiraNati raNantam brUhi kAnte ali-saMkhyAm ||

The square root of 1/2 a cluster of bees translocated to a mAlatI creep, there after went 8/9ths of the total number bees, remaining was a one queen bee, which buzzed to the other remaining drone which was trapped in the midst of a lotus that closed for the night. Tell me dear lady the total count of bees (bhAskara addressing his daughter lIlAvatI).

The answer to it may be obtained among other ways by setting the total number of bees=8*x^2 and solving the ensuing quadratic: 4*x^2-9*x-9=0
Hence, the ali-saMkhyA = 72

~ by mAnasa-taraMgiNI on June 20, 2011.

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