Animal Kingdom (Tiryak) in Epics

by Saranya P.S | 2019 | 51,616 words | ISBN-10: 8190396315 | ISBN-13: 9788190396318

An English study the Animal Kingdom (Tiryak) in Epics.—The present thesis is based entirely on Ramayana and Mahabharata although an attempt is made to analytically compare the Animal kingdom with Mriga-pakshi-shastra—‘The ancient Indian science of of Animals and Birds’....

Chapter 4.1 - Animals and Birds in the Epics and their classifications

The animal world plays a crucial role in Nature. The trees in the forests were so dense and the foliage so thick that there was heavy darkness and gloom inside them. They were inhabited by innumerable varieties of birds and animals. When we speak of the Fauna of an area we mean the animal life there, just like when we speak of the Flora we mean the trees, plants and flowers of that area. India is abundantly rich when it comes to the Fauna of the land. It has innumerable varieties of birds and animals which include both domestic animals and wild animals. In the Epics we read a lot about birds like koel (cuckoo), kapota (dove), Mayura (peacock), Shyena (eagle), Gridhra (vulture) and so on. Some of them are sweet throated and melodious but some are not so. Animals like cows, sheep, horses and elephants are repeatedly mentioned in the Epics as they contribute a lot to human development and also enjoyment.

The cow contributes a lot to the economy of the country and also as a symbol of many rituals. In the Epics a cows is referred to as ‘Dhenu’, ‘Go’, and Vrishabha. There are different names to denote an elephant. They are ‘kari’, ‘ibha’ and ‘gaja. A horse is referred by the names ‘haya’, ‘turaga’, ‘vajina’and‘asva’.

Ramayana written byValmiki is an ancient epic based on the Indian tradition. In this we can see the ideals of Ramarajya along with the light of the high moral living of the society. This contains all the principles related to nature and environment. The forests, rivers, ponds, hills, mountains, flora and fauna represent ideal beauty and grandeur. They all show a pure and clean environment. In Mahabharata also the glory and greatness of nature and environment are depicted through moral and natural stories. In Mahabharata also we have exquisite and detailed descriptions about the animals and birds of the world.

Apart from these very common animals, in the Epic Mahabharata, we read about animals like pingala, siva, Sharddula and mriga. There are also very many insects mentioned in the Epics. They include Shadpada, vajramaukha and krmi. We also find a lot of reptiles mentioned in the Epics. They include nakara, makara and Bhiyaja. The Mahabharata Epic throws light on the animal kingdom that flourished in those times and contributed to the forest wealth of the epic period.

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