Manimekhalai: The Dancer with the Magic Bowl

Never before translated into English, the Manimekhalai is one of the great classics of Indian culture. It is the story of a beautiful young dancer who decides to forego her looming career as a courtesan in order to dedicate her life (with the aid of gods, demigods, and a magic bowl called the Cow of Abundance) to charity and to attaining the 'bright light of knowledge.'

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Page 51 - ... earned when, on the mount of the vulture, they worshiped the lotus-like footprints of the Buddha who has freed them from the faults they committed in their lives. Delivered from the ties which fate imposes, they too will start on the bright path which leads to nirvana. "Manimekhala'i, young liana! You now possess the magic bowl, Cow of Abundance, which contains the substance of life. You must now go about the world to put an end to the pains of hunger suffered by living beings. There exists no...
Page 35 - ... report, Sutamati remained prostrated, unable to move, as if all life had left her body. CANTO EIGHT Manimekhala'i Awakes on Manipallavam While Sutamati was worrying over her disappearance, Manimekhalai, lying on a sandy flower-strewn beach, awoke from a deep sleep on the isle of Manipallavam. The strand was littered with the shells in which fishermen sow pearls to reap a harvest. Here and there, the waves had left branches of coral and pieces of scented sandalwood. Further on, the ground fell...
Page 35 - On the lake shore, there grew an abundance of punnai with bushy foliage, and violently scented pandanus. Their thick leaves excluded the sun's rays. The sand was so white that it seemed as though it were lit by the moon. Strewn petals covered it with a perfumed carpet. Like a newborn child who with astonishment discovers a world unknown, where nothing remains of the familiar places and persons of its former life, Manimekhala'i looked around her dumbfounded.
Page 5 - Madhavi of the golden bracelets had studied all the arts practiced by girls of pleasure, and had reached unrivaled perfection. She knew both kinds of dance, dances suitable for the royal palace and those for the common public, poems set to music, the art of dramatic posture ( tukku ) to emphasize the rhythm of the poetic meter, the various musical rhythms (tdla), and how to play the harp (ydl) tuned according to th various modes.
Page 5 - ... are expressed. She knew how to play the great drum and how to adjust the tightness of its skin to regulate the sound. She knew how to play the melodious flute, as also the art of playing ball, of preparing dishes according to the recipes of the best...
Page 39 - I heard of the imminent death of my husband Rahul, I was deprived of all courage and strength. I then begged you to reveal to me what would be my husband's next existence. You replied that the goddess who would carry me far from Puhar to this southern isle would explain to me what had become of my husband. Will the goddess then now appear?
Page 115 - Karachi: deduction. Katchi: direct perception. Katjnai: the beggar's bowl of the Jain monks. Kausambi: a city of the north of India. Kaveri: an important river in the south of India. Kaveripumpattinam: another name for the city of Puhar, the Kaveris Emporium of Ptolemy. Kavir: coral tree. Kayankarai : a river of the north. Konku: tree with yellow and white flowers. Konrai: laburnum. Korkai: the ancient capital of the Pandya kingdom, the Kolkhoi of Ptolemy. The modern name of the city is Quondam.
Page 118 - Buddhist paradise of non-return. Nish-kala*: the indivisible principle which exists outside the multiple, divisible world, but incarnates in it for his own amusement. Nuharvu: sensation. Nyaya*: logic. The founders of the Indian school of logic are Akshapada and Gautama. Olibu: elimination by inference or correlation. Pada-pankaja-malai: "Mount of the Lotus Feet.
Page 69 - Visits Aputra Chitrapati, the dowager of the courtesans, who had given her support to the Prince's lewd designs on Manimekhala'i, was terrified when she learned of his unhappy end under the Vidyadhara's sword blows. Extremely worried by the possible consequences of her intrigues, she ran and threw herself at the queen's feet to try to have Manimekhalai released from prison. She explained to the queen, "The wives of the hermits, whom Indra, the lustful king of heaven, had seduced, gave birth to heavenly...
Page 124 - Vajra*: lightning, Indra's weapon. Vakula: species of cassia tree. Valakku: mistaken association. Valiyon: Baladeva, brother of Krishna. Vanga: raft. Vanji: palm tree; the palm is the symbol of the Chera kings. Vanji: capital of the Chera kings (Malabar coast). Vanni: mesgrits. Varanam: ancient name of the city of Uraiyur. Vatuku: the country to the north, or Telugu country on the east coast. Vayil: channels of internal communication; also, the organs of sense.

À propos de l'auteur (1989)

Alain Danielou was an Indian historian, intellectual, musicologist, and a noted western convert to and expert of Shaivite Hinduism.

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