Elephantology and its Ancient Sanskrit Sources
by Geetha N. | 2012 | 36,369 words
Elephant is considered as an inevitable part of Indian community. So they developed the study of Elephant which is based on Hastyayurveda and Matangalila. Even from the ancient time Indians were awareness about their hygiene and health. They were protected against diseases. They protected not just their own race but also plants and animals. Therefo...
Chapter 4 - Content Analysis of Matangalila
Matangalila is an earliest treatise which deals with elephants, in detail. It is a concise work in 263 stanzas divided into twelve cantos. The verses are not equal in their length.
Author (Tirumangalath Nilakantha)
The prelude (preface) of the work (Matangalila) shows that Kerala had an art known as Anappavu and the most of the Keralites were trained in this method. Katalayil Nambutiri was one of the famous artist in this Anappavu. The Rasikaranjini commentary mentions that Katalayil Nambutiri wrote a work on elephants named Matangashastra. He belongs to 9th century (Malayalam era). It describes that he can manage any tuskers. The prelude of Matangalila states that this book is written by one Nilakantha. This book (Matangalila) is based on the text Matangashastra uttered by ancient sage the Palakapya and Katalayil Nambutiri. It is emphasised in the beginning and the end of the work Matangalila.
According to Ullur S. Parameshvara Iyer, Matangalila is the work of Tirumangalath Nilakantha, the author of Manushyalayacandkrika (Manushyalaya Candrika) and Kavyollasa. The reason for such identification is the similarities of the introducing verses of these works. That is found in Matangalila.
rajate nitaram rajaraja mangaladhamani
tatratyah shrimadetaccaranasarasijaikashrayo nilkantho
nityam shrimangalavasya mangalagurujanadatta shastravabodah
brahmanandabhidham pratayatikripaprapta tatvabodhah
vadhita stairyakamkshi parshitanitaro ratnamuccai ratanit
He mentions that he was an inhabitant of Tirumangalam near Tirur. It assured in Manushyalaya Candrika.
shrimatkundapure virajati parakrode ca tejatparam
navanamni ca dhamni yacca nitaram malliviharalaye
ashvathakhyaniketanepi ca pure shrikeraladhisvare
sambhuyaita duraprakashavishaye citte mamojjrimbhatam
The author himself indicates that his name is Nilakantha and the name of his family is Shrimangala.
shrimangalaspada sadashraya nilakante
shrimadgirindratanaya tanayot∫ ngribhajam
kamaprado jayati mattamatangajjasyah
In the first shloka of fourth chapter of Manushyalaya Candrika he pays reverence to the dieties of Nrisimhayadhava installed in the Rajarajamangala temple Tirur,, now at municipal town in Malappuram District of Kerala. In Manushyalaya candrika and Kavyollasa (which are the another work of the author), he involved the deities of several temples, which are the prakashavishaya (vettattunadu) prakashavishaya is a tract of land around Tirur. Prakasha means light (vettam in Malayalam) and vishaya means country (natu in Malayalam).
Therefore it can be regard that Nilakanthan is a native of Tirumangalam near Tirur.
taddavapadakamalaikasamashrayah kopyudyota managuruvarya kripabhiyogat vidyaparishramaparo bhahudhamashuddhavyudyogavan bhavanti balavibodhane ca yesham shrutipranayini dhishana yadiyassankalpa kalpitatanh parameshvaropi tesham mahisumanasam mahaniyabhasamuttamsaye paramudarapadaravindam. nissarga samsidda samasta shilpapravinyamadyam druhinam pranamya mayamanushyalayacandrikaisa vilikhyate mandadiyam hitaya mayamatayugalam prayogamanjaryapi ca ribandanabhaskariya yugmam manumata gurudevapaddatishriharijayanadi mahagama jayanti.
yatgramasambandhi krita manushyalayacandrika
matangalila cadyapi keraliyairadhiyate
which indicate that Nilakantha is the author of Matangalila and Manushyalaya Candrika.
markandeyanibandianam mayamatam ratharatim, proktam kashyapa vishvakaramadevoktanca panashikam savyakhyam harisamhitam vivaranadyam vastuvidyadhikanam drishtva tamtrasamuccayokta manusritaivatra samkshipya te (manushyalaya candrika) nrisimhayadavau daityasamuhogratavitavau rajamanau bhaje rajarajamangalavasinous. (matangalila).
Both these works (Manushyalaya Candrika and Matangalila) gives the term Nrisimbhayadavau and Rajarajamangala, and the verses of Manushyalaya Candrika gives the name of the author that is, Nilakantha. The name of his house was Tirumangalam and he worshipped the deities of Narasimha and Shrikrishna of Rajarajamangala Brahmananda, the commentator of Uttaragita of Goudapada was the Vedantaguru (teacher) of Nilakantha. Goudapada is also attributed with a work Bhagavataoladeshasaram. He is assumed to be the seer of Thrishshur convent. Nilakantha mentions of temples of Thrikkantiyur, Tripangod, Tirunavay, Mullappalli Alathur and Keladhishvaram. If we accept the reading.
nitya rajarajamangalapure carad ganeshalaye
nava namni ca dhamni rajatitaram malliviharalaye
Rajarajamangala and Ganeshalaya will replace the last two. Nilakantha was a stounch devotee of Ganesha and a resident of 'Vettattunatu'. The verse of starting with 'yesamshrutipranayini in Manushyalaya Candrika, suggests that its author is not a Brahmin and the word 'taddoshapadakamala', suggests that he was an Ambalavasin. Even now a house namely Tirumangalam is there near the temple Triprangotu. The name Nilakantha is a synonym of 'Siva' so it indicates that he may be 'saivits'.
It is assumed that the author was an illustrious Sanskrit scholar, it is clear from his usage of metres. He had tried to avoid the mannerism (repetition) of verses in this book (Matangalila). The author himself admits that this is not an independent work. He also not argue of the novelty of the content. He begins his text with an innovation, in which he salutes Naramsimha, so that he could complete the work without cohibition. The work is modelled on the Matangashastra uttered by an ancient sage. Then he narrates the subject matter of the work.
Date of Nilakantha
There is no clear evidence to fix the date attributed to Nilakantha. The (style) usage of language indicates that the work goes back to Thousands of years. Manushyalayacandrika mentions the Tantrasamuccaya and its vivarana commentary. This shows that Manushyalaya Candrika was written after TS was compiled. The kali year of the birth of the author of TS indicated in the text is 4529 corresponding of 1426 AD also Tuncat Eluttaccan lived in 17th century. So that it can be assumed that Nilakantha lived between 15th and 17th century A.D.
From this, his date cannot be earlier than Kollam era 650. Though he mentions the architecture, it helps little to determine the date of author. Traditions makes him the disciple of Kellalur comatir and hence he is believed to be lived in the disciple of Kellalor Comatiri and hence he is believed to be lived in the former part of 18th century. In Kavyallas he mentions the texts like Ekavali, Pradaparudriya and Rasarnavasudhakara. But he does not mention the works of Appayyadikita, and Jagannatha pan·ita are assumed to have been lived 16th and 17th century A.D. This supports the above idea that he belongs to the 650 Kollam era. The prelude of Matangalila mentions the period of Katalayil Nambutiri during 9th century. From this it can be concluded that Nilakantha lived after Katalayil Nambuitiri.
Other works of Nilakantha
Nilakanthan musat has several other works to his credit. The most important among them are:—
2. Manusyalayacandrika, which is similar to Vastulakshana of unknown authorship.
3. Vedikkampuvidhi, which deals with the ingredients used for, makes the fire works and mixing them from different types of fire works.
Peculiarities of Matangalila
There are many other works available an elephant science, but Matangalila considerably deviates from them. According to Gajashastras, there is no other work in Kerala, got famous like Matangalila. There is big Gajashastra text named Hastyayurveda (Hastyayurveda) which is toughness and inaccesable to common people. It may be the reason for Nilakantha to write Matangalila. Its language is ancient but simple. There is two affirmative prink of modernity is available in this science. One is Vallathol commentary and the other is Brahmshri Cheruvalli Narayanan Nambuitiri’s. In its variety, simplicity and quality, it excels other texts connecting with the same matter. Clinging closely to the Kavya tradition, the author begins the work with a benediction.
Matangalila is a very short but beautiful work., in 12 cantoes, which contains only 263 verses. It gives an exclusive picture of elephant science. For writing this text, the author choose some models.
Patur Vatakkillattumanakkal BrahmashriNambutiri's model more helped Nilakanta for writing Matangalila. It is also recorded in Matangalila's prelude.
There are twelve chapters in this text. They are:—
- The origin of elephants (Gajotpatti)
- On favourable marks (Shubhalakshana-adhikara)
- On unfavourable marks (Ashubhalakshana-adhikara)
- On marks of longevity (Ayurlakshana-adhikarah)
- On marks of stages of life (Vayalakshana-adhikarah)
- On determination of measurements (Mananirnaya-adhikarhi)
- On details of price (Mulya-adhikara)
- On marks of character (Satvalakshana-adhikara)
- On kinds of must (Madabheda-adhikara)
- On catching of elephant (Gajagraha-adhikara)
- On keeping of elephants and their daily seasonal regiment and (Dinarttacarya-adhikara)
- On the qualities of elephant drivers.
Content of Matangalila
Among the twelve chapters, the first one is an introductory chapter. It describes that there is a king named Romapada in Campa. His farm was ruined by elephants. At that time a group of sages come to campa and they were well treated by Romapada. They (the sages) pleased his (Romapadash) hospitality, and they gave the king a boon for catching elephants. Accepting the boon the king ordered his men to catch the elephants. They went to the forest with the king for catching elephants. In forest they had seen a sage with elephants. The king and his retinue happened to know that a sage who will have their company without only in the evening, always accompanies elephants. Being aware of this matter they planned to catch them in the evening. Once they caught them and mured. After astringency, the inhabitants of Anga lived with peace.
Palakapya didn't know this incident and he went to the forest and searched the elephants. At last he found them in Campa, with captivity. He felt sad and treated their wounds carefully. At the same time Goutama and other sages saw him and asked his identity; but he did not reveal it. The sages told all these things to Romapada. Thus Romapada compelled Palakapya to reveal his identity. At his compulsion, the sage display the mythic origin of the elephants and his own marvelous birth. This chapter describes the story of Matanga, story of Gunavati, origin of Palakapya, origin of elephants and various caste and characters of elephants in 40 verses.
The second chapter explains the favourable marks of the elephants. This classification is based on the elephant's colour, length, height, sensitivity and other qualities. This chapter contains 17 verses. The best elephants are those, which share the king's pathos and fight in favour of the king. It is said that the elephants are driving the chariot and fighting.
yudhyanti kevalam martyah
vahantyeva haya rathah
yudhyanti ca vahanti ca
The third chapter describes the unfavourable marks in 7 verses. The king is advised not to catch a cow-elephant if a young one accompanies her, because it will seriously hurt the wealth of the country.
The fourth chapter deals with marks of longevity state and best elephants. It includes only 4 verses. This chapter explains the full length of life of the elephants. The best type of elephant will live in twelve decades while the 'slow' and 'dear' castes may be expected to live only for eight and four decades respectively.
The fifth chapter explains the different stages of life of elephant. The animal is named differently according to their age and deeds. It is depicted in 23 verses. It states that an elephant has no value for man up to the twelfth year. He is of middling value between twelfth and twentyfourth years; upto the sixteenth (60th) year and it is considered as precious.
The standard measurement of each of the three main castes, the length, height etc. is described in the sixth chapter. In modern times also this measurement is recognized.
The seventh chapter is the smallest one in Matangalila. It consists of only 3 verses. It narrates the method to calculate the price of elephants. The prices is calculated in accordance with their quantities.
griniyat purnamulyena tu nikhilagunaih -ranvitam varanendram bhagnaikamkshyam ghriidantam badhirampiruja vantamapyardhamulyaot ccinnardhashrotra baladikamapi matimam statra mulyastribhaga- ddantadvandvaprahinadikamabhivarama–pyangrimulyena grihyat
The eighth chapter deals with the characteristics marks of elephants in 25 verses. This characterisation is made according to the elephant’s acting on command of the mahouts. It is physical and mental characteristic marks. The classification resembling supernatural beings of different sorts such as gods, demons, gandharvas yakshas, sprites, goblins and serpents, brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras.
The ninth chapter is taken as the most important one in this text. It deals with the state of must. The elephant is periodically subject to a strange condition called must. The must is the discharge of sweetish sticky fluid from the temporal glands, which are situated on midway of the forehead. It flows from eyes, palate, nob, temples, ears, naval, trunk and nipples and from the hairs of the body. Must may be occur in both wild and domestic elephants after they have reached the age of maturity and accompanied by great activity of the temporal glands, which becomes highly inflamed. Must period is regarded as most dangerous and in this condition they will try to kill their own mahouts.
The tenth chapter explains the method of catching the elephants. It describes the five methods of catching wild elephants and it contains 14 stanzas (verses). The five methods are:—
- apata and avapata.
Eleventh chapter contains fifty-one stanzas, which recount the principles of keeping the elephants in details. It mentions the food items according to, each stage, medicines, on particular occasions, special attention at the time of rut etc.
The twelfth chapter and last chapter is some what miscellaneous one, which recites the nature and characteristics of elephant managers, trainers and mahouts etc. It consists of 31 verses.
The text (Matangalila) summarising all the details of an elephant in a lucid way. It is useful for the elephant lovers, managers, doctors and any one of who loves elephants. It narrates a mode of dialogue, between Romapada and Palakapya.
The Representation of Matangalila
Matangalila deals with the elephant's life cycle in detail. That is:—
Utattiḥ śubhalakṣanānyaśubhala- Kṣmāyur vayolakṣaṇam mānam mūlyaviśeṣasatvamabh® dāsca kramāddantinām vanyānām grahaṇam ca rakṣaṇadinar- tvāvārabhedādikam nāgādhyakṣaguṇādikam ca sakalam samkṣepato vakṣyatte
Matangalila gives a clear picture of the origin of the elephants and the birth of Palakapya.
There are four famous castes mentioned in Matangalila. They are 'bhadra', 'slow' (manda), 'deer' (mriga) and 'mixed castes (mrigasankirina). They are born in different periods.
jatā bhadra dvipendrāḥ kṛtayugasamayelakṣaṇenābhiyuktā- stretāyām mandajātyāḥ khalu gajapatayo dvāparakhye yuge ca nāgāścaite mṛgākhyāstadanu kaliyuge traiva samkīṛṇajātaya nāgānām jātibhedaijaniriha kathita kālayogānurūpa
A version of different castes
Duration of time is divided into four yugas in ancient days they are the krita, dvapara, treta and kaliages various castes of elephants are born in this four ages respectively. Among these ages first age is krita, the spring time. The bhadra caste is born in that stage. They looked like spendiferous, bearing beauty and good characteristic marks. Their body is not over thick, they are rosy in colour, energetic, ambitious towards by the cows, having twany eyes and well balanced tusks, impartial is lustiness and grief. They are known as bhadra.
The Brihatsamhita mentions bhadra caste thus–
na copodigda na krisha kshamashca
gatraih samaishcapa samanavamsha
World's second age is treta. In this age, the cool season had born manda caste. Characteristic marks of them are described here. They can walk in misconduct mind their neck is short and their ears are very short and black coloured, highly phlemed having very long tusk and highly sensible skin. These are considered the remarkable qualities of the manda caste. They are also known as gabhiravedi.
Deer castes are born in 'dvapara age'. They are small in size, grey colour, each much shirty, like to walk water ranging places, predominance of bile, if the ankers touch the body he felt afflicted, that kind of elephant is called deer caste. It also known as Uttanavedi.
This caste is born in the 'Kali age' as the name indicates these are the mongrel of characteristics. They were born as hybrid of slow castes.
Varahamihira in his Brihatsamhita deals the mriga and samkirina castes as follow.
stanvangadhrikandadvija hasta karnah
The bhadracaste had lived twelve decades as their maximusm age, and deer caste lived for four decades. The manda castes can life upto the time of eighty and the mishra caste were born as minkling of bhadra and mriga. According to Nilakantha, mishra castes age can't be calculated.
Varahamihira refers to elephant's longevity–
panconnatih saptamrigasya dairghya
mashtau hastah parinahamanam
ekadvi vridhavatha manda bhadrau
samkirna nagoniyata pramanah
Among these castes bhadra caste have the long life and deer caste had shortest living time.
Various name of Elephants
Because of their characters they had different names. They are:
Naga, gaja, hastin, varana, matanga, kunjara, padmin, dvipa, eight blows, i-bha, karin, dantin, and sindhura.
Favourbale marks of elephants
One who has an admirable tusk, back born and is considered as an excellent elephant, its two trunk ends, penis, tongue, tip, anus, and palate are in red coloured. Twenty nails are considred as a good mark, or there must be 18 nails, their trunk and tail are long, straight and handsome, and highly dark like betel nuts are good in their characteristics.
That is described in Manasollasa (mo)
susniadau radanau vrittou dakshinashca. samunnatah akrishtam talu tamram ca dasashtau nakhashubhah 
Obesity is the essential thing, it must have long legs and arms, large long round neck is essential, trumpeting with a roar like clouds, full of water with honey coloured eye, with trunks like tree sterms and marked with three corrugations such elephants are fine. Those having drum like trunk kettle like ears, and flutes like mouth are also considered as good.
Those who do not make any sound due to hunger, thirst, grief and fright, are considered to be auspicious who make sounds like a lion, crane peacock, cuckoo, tiger, lion and bull, were considered as good.
According to their characteristics they had various names.
Since they came walk anywhere and everywhere they are named naga. They can roar in high sounds they are called as gaja. They were the portion of the troof and they protect the king in the battle so they called varana, because of their weight they make tribudiness their way so they named matanga; with the force of their feet they scrunch the earth so they called kunjara, because of blot in their body they are known as padmini, they can drink both with the mouth and trunk so they called dvipa, they are known as eight blows because they attack with trunk, tail, tusk and forefeat. They were known as hasti because they born from the hands of Brahma. Because of their beauty and immensity in body they called ibha, because of their long trunk they were known as karin they are known as dantin because they have tusk, they are joyful in the water so they are known as sindhura.
gajashiksha makes out a pictures of padminpadiminaste kinnaramshah padmagemdah shubhekshanah piryaparshvah shantacinta dhimatah priyabhashanah
It is said that elephant fights and draws the chariot. 'Yudhyanti ca vahanti ca
Unfavourable marks of elephants
Some elephants show unfavourable marks. such disqualified elephants must be forsaken from catching.
One who has more or less nails or portions of the body, viewed bullacks, turbid fingers, shapeless belly and body, blue coloured palate as much stout or somebody too blackened body deficiency of must lean trunk etc., that kind of elephants are considered as palfrey.
Who has harsh and different coloures massive tusks, whose body is filled with blackened or whiten blots, has short lengthened tail and tiredness buttock that type of elephant is considered as bad luck. One who has external testicle it is considered bad luck to the kingdom. It may kill the king or his friends.
Matangalila describes it:—
yatra tishtanti parthiva
hanyate tatra nripatih
sutena suhrida piva
If it can (an elephant) lacks the right ear, it will destroy the forecasts. It may cause the disease of the king if lacks of the left ear. If there has an evilbolt in his skin, tusk, check or nail they shall be forsaken.
At night who seems to rejoice, the day time who jittered and to make sounds with the birds fanning the tail, who impulse to mahout that kind of elephant is known as rogue elephant is abunded and they must discarded.
As mentions the disqualified elephant.
vikko mudo matkuno vyadhito
garbhini denuka, hastini ca agrahyah
If a she-elephant is pregnant or accompanied by a calf it is beleived to bring bad luck. That is:–
potanvita va karini sagarabha
labdva bhaved vahanakoshanashah
tapovane va svavane thavapi
Marks of longevity
Some elephants live for long time. Who has long tusks, nails, hair, eyes, long ears, and trunk, long tail and such type of elephants are live long. They have twelve good characteristic marks. Those who have found five or seven or eight good characteristic marks also have long life. There are certain peculiarities of the long-lived elephants. Some nobs, shining eyes, tusks, hairs ears and long trunk are long-lived.
According to their age the elephants are of four types. They are bhadra, mriga, manda and mishra. The bhadra caste can live 120 years while the mriga or deer caste lives only four decades; the manda or slow caste had 80 years the age of mishra (sankirna) caste is not mentioned.
Nilakantha mentions their age:—
mandaja tyasya vashtami
Slight reddish side of the trunk, tongue, lips, palate etc., are good marks which indicates their longevity. Their back born is rush into front.
They roar voice, their body is locked like very beautiful, skin is thick etc., are considered good marks of elephant's longevity.
After birth, the deer caste is a hasta and a half length and its girth is two hasta. Each year they grew up five angulas.
Matangalila describes their growth:—
panconnatisapta mrigasya dairghyam
nahapramanam tu vitastayo shtau
etat dvivarmu dhavada mandabhadrau
prapte tu varshedashame triyuket
Stages of life marks
According to their age four different names are given to them. Before twelfth year he is know as jagahanya, at this age he is worthless; before twenty fourth years he is known as madhyagaja, at this time he is of middling value, before sixty year, he is named as matangavarya. At this time he is formed as a noble elephant, after sixty year, he is known as uttamagaja.
According to Nilakntha and other scholars on elephant science, the duration of elephants age is 120 years. The bhadra caste only has this age. Working elephants will not live more than 60 years. The elephant's age is calculated by the number of teeth.
At first, the new born baby is called balan. It is light reddish colour, always like slept, it has very short trunk, always like to drink milk and these are their marks.
In the second age, it is called puncaka. At this time the baby elephant is also called pashuka. Its body parts are reddish and its eyes are partially shut, it begins to eat the spring leaves and grass indisposed to drinking milk, mostly like sweety food, journey is in orgastic, its interest is to play.
In the third age he is known as upsarapaka. At this age it is matured. At this age his nails, vidu, joints, ears, and sheaths and covering of the tusks are clearly developed; its body is hairy, he begins to eat grass with firm rows of teeth.
manak prarohaddashanohi harbarah
The fourth stage it is known as Barbarah and kalabha in the fifth age. From six to ten they are respectively called naikarika, shishu, majjana, prabhava and cikka.
In the year of 20th it is known as prota (cott) and the age of 21-30th the must arises. At this phase it seems handsome with smooth hair and skin. In this third stage he is known as javana. At this state when they issue the must they like to travel and exhibit violent anger, wish to kill etc., these are their common characteristics.
In the fourth state (31-40) they are known as Klayana. At this age it appears slimy with the must fluid he seems to the best condition that is natural to him he becomes mad and angried. From 41-50 years considered as the Vth state. In this stage they are called yaudha.
The age of 51-60 is the sixth state. At this time its body wrinkles crack open on the surface, decrease his sensation power, bodily humors spirit diminished hair grows on his tusks have fallen out these are the characteristics of the sixteenth age.
At the seventh stage (61-70) he is known as Arivarna. In this stage they look like stiffy limbs rough skinned and faded coloured.
In the 8th decade their body is faded highly and his wounds don't heal quickly, the shining of the eye decreased, marcescence the hairs etc., these signs show that they are aged.
In the ninth stage (81-90) he is called purana with sunken neck, teeth dropping out, body movements become slow, eating soft fodder, tusks falling out, ugly in colour, sleep long time, these are the characteristic marks of the old age.
At the tenth stage (91-100) its limps are hanging, body hairs fallen out, teeth/tusks are falling, wasting away in flesh and strength, hoofslippers, eating little, rough-bodied, body covered with veins, evacuating and urinating with difficulty, thirsty he is and old elephant in the tenth stage.
At the eleventh state (101-110) he looks like sleepy. He always bield a tree for sleeping, dislike to eat, his tusk fall of, his four limbs are permanently sicky. These are the characteristic features of the eleventh decade.
At the age of 111-120 he seems like:—
nīcaiśa mandam pramṛśecca yāyaccalatkaro dhaścalakarṇabāiaḥ prastabdagātraḥ paravānajaśram sa drādaśīm prāpya daśām svapecca 
His trunks, ears, and tail-swaying downward, fore- and hind limbs are stiff, he sleep constantly in this twelfth stage. The age up to 120 is considered as the last stage of an elephant.
Having performed many duties the elephant goes to heaven in his hundred and twenty years.
It is stated that the elephant is no value in his twelfth year. It has got the middling value until twenty to fourty and of the highest value from them on until sixteenth.
At first standard measurements of each of the three main castees are given.
The 'deer' caste just after birth is a hasta (kara) and a half and he is to be a hasta high and two hand girth. Five angulas said to be their annual growth until ten years. Each year they grow eight angulas. Slow (manda) caste is more than one girth and bhadra caste is more than there girth growth than deer caste.
There are three types of cow elephants. They are best cow-elephant, middling cow-elephant and protest cow-elephant. The measurement of best cow-elephant is six drumstick girth and the middling cow-elephant has five height, seven length, and eight girth and the protest cow-elephant has four height, six length and seven girth-must need that is
navashtasa[tanabhashca mukyamadhyadhama vashah
Elephant length is calculated by measuring the distance from the eyes to the root of tail, and height is measured from the top of shoulder to the ground. Now-a-days also used this method of height measurement.
Body parts of Elephants, named differently. The two nobs between the head's called vidhu, its under part is named vahitha, its lower portion is known as vayukumbha. The space between left and right nobs are called vilaga. Tip of the trunk is known as pushkara. Brink/lair of the eye is called ishila. Corner of the eye is known as niryana and the earroot is named culika.
The lobe of the ear is civccatush. The part between he shoulders is called the proha. Above the trunk is known as avaskara, that portions over is called vali.
Middle of the body is known is nigala, above that is cikka. Over the haunch is called samdana and below this part is known as kala.
Above the waist is called apara, over the buttocks namded nishkosha, belly parts are known as kukshi, bellies elecated sides named uttrishta.
The tail root is named as pecaka below the throat is known as antarmani.
urasyantam manim vidyat
These are the names of the body part of elephant
Details of price
Elephant's value is calculated according to their mansuetude and age. A tamod bull elephant is the first one, it will be taken by full price.
Nilakantha describes, an excellent elephant shall taken full price.
They have agreeable accomplishment like, those who has one eye, one foot or tusk missing, dead or diseased, they shall taken half price;those who have half an ear or tail or lost both tusk or if it is cow-elephant they shall taken three quarters of the full price.
According to Narayana Dikshita, the value of the elephant is varies from its age and quality.
He describes that:—
uttamagajastu loke nahi labhyasarvadesheshu
ata eva mulyadanatte svikaryah parikshtah karmasha
trivayaskjah karinastu svikarya mulashatakadinaraih
evam caturtha varshah pancamavarshashadabhakah potah
Then he narrates the value of elephants in each and every phases. At the age of 5 to 10 it takes hundred price, beyond this state increasing their value accordingly their body characters. The uttamagaja carries full price.
uttamakulajah shadgunaparimanditah sarupashca
mulyadhikyarha iti dushyante dviradagunakulatnaih
According to M.S. Joy, the favourable elephant can get full price. If they lose anybody parts, such as their eyes, ears, tusk, leg or they may be diseased such elephants shall taken half value. Tail-less and deaf elephant shall get the price three fourth (3/4). If they lose their two trunk they get only one fourth (1/4) of the price.
Marks of character
Most of the Gajashastras describe varieties of elephants. Brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyaas and shudras are the four important elephant castes. This categoriation is similar to man Matangalila explains the fantastic description of the character of elephants, based on physical and psychic characteristics. According to the characteristics they are classified into various sorts. Among them the four castes are taken important.
The brahmanas are simple-hearted their body is fragrant with odors like honey, milk and obedient like to play with pairs, like to bath and are intelligent.
Kshatriyas had the fragrance of sandal, ghee, yellow orpiment and red arsenic. They are adept in all duties, fearless in battle, plucky in the battle dabing the weapons.
The fragrance of show flower, paddy, gingel flower, pandanus flower and jasmine is the characteristics of the vaishya class. They would be vulnerable and lustered in the tongue and cheek, non-vegetarian and to immediate anger and propitation.
The shudra caste is:
uccishta hrishtassahasaiva bhiruh
krodhi ca bhedayh kripanah
satvena shudra ssagajo s?hamashca
Based on the caste variety, they are classified into gods, demons, gandharvas, yakshas, gaint, goblin, serpant, etc. Another classification is based on varying the degrees of sensitivity to stimulation. The sensation of elephants is known to be seven fold according to extreme, shallow deep, comfortable to meaning, contrary to meaning, harsh and perfect. In Sanskrit they are known as atyarthavedi, uttanavedi, gabhiravedi, anvarthavedi, pratyarthavedi, karkkashavedi and siddhantavedi.
Gajashiksha Naradhamuni describes the different characteristics of elephant. In the second chapter he narrates twenty-eight varieties of elephants found on earth. Among them 16 varieties are called noble ones as they are born with the characterisation of gods, semigods, and human beings.
Gajashiksha elaborately deals with their height, colour, the place where they generally found and their dispositions etc. They are those of gods–Indra, Agni, Yama, Varuna Vayu, Kubera, Shankara, Vishnu, Brahma, and Candra and of the semigods like Yakshas, Gandharvas, and Kinnaras and of the ascetics kings and ordinary human beings. The elephants belonging to the middle class are those having the traits of manes, the fish, the birds creepers, flowers and the traits of Rakshasas Asuras, Pishacas, Lions and Monkeys belongs to the lower class.
According to Nilakantha, elephants vary their several signs indicating this. The gods - are beautiful in features, it has an odour of white water lilly, sandalwood, akstomia scholaris, orange tree, lotus or carpus fistula where face beams, who always retains the interest of kalabha who has a cry like cukkoo, in Sanskrit its name is Devastava.
Who tries to do prohibited things desirous in fighting, soon angered, unkind, smelled like aloes or fish he likes to kill anything these are the character of a Demon.
The Deva is:—
yah kantiman kumudacandanasaptaprana
phullananah kalabha kautukabanajasram
manyosnya pushaninadah sa tu devasatvah
The asuras show the reprehensible things, wish in fighting passion in pairs, unkind, fragrants like vitex negundo berry, aloes or fish etc.
Who has the fragrant like gaertnera racemosa yuthika, abja, rattieria naga, or yellow sandal, (atimuktam kurumuttimulh) who is fond of song, has an excellent gait and handsome tusks, eyes, temporal glands, head, trunk and trunktips, comparatively small spots on the body they known as Gandharva.
The characteristics of yakshas were impatient by nature;radiant, well-favoured, always seemed to pleasant aspect, spirited, with ears erect.
Then describes the demon, ghost and serpant. The serpant smells like fish,, shaivala, phanirjaka, mud, brandy or row fish, frightened by the rumbling of the clouds, becomes angered at night and delighted in the water and dust.
At last the different sensitivity is described who is gentle in all conditions and free from voice the best of that is counted accurate quality.
The must of elephant
At spring time all elephants are declared to produce must, particularly who were born in spring season. They are considered as the carriers of victory to the kings. Probably must period is calculated as in the year of 15 to 60. It is a special section devoted to the strange and interesting pathological condition. Must is not a disease, but it is a physical process. In African elephants both bull and cow-elephants are seen the must but Indian elephants are not the same.
An elephant has a temporal gland on each side of its head, about midway between the eye and the ear. About once a year of temporal glands discharge a dark oily substance that has a strong odour. This substance stains the elephant's face. The temporal glands are active for two or three months yearly. During this period an elephant is in a condition called must. Must occurs chiefly in adult male elephant.
Elephant in must becomes extremely dangerous if it gets excited. it attacks any nearby animals, including human beings and sometimes other elephants. It also causes sexual feelings to mate. Musth elephant in captivity to be believed that which is associated with elephants mating period. At this period the chained bulls always become so dangerous. At this time, they attack their keepers or others and sometimes kill. Between the age of 15 to 20 they show the symptoms of must for the first time. The following of secretions from the cheek gland occurs at regular intervals. It refers to bath the time span during which the temporal glands are active and the behavioural changes are seen. At the time of must the elephants hesitate to take food or water and exhibit other behavioural changes. The must bulls show specific features like scratching the trees where they rub forehead; cheek and trunk. The sign of such scratching will be specific enough to be smelled and identified even by human beings. During this period found behaviour of fighting. They strikes up or back with their trunk and press the inner portion of the trunk attachment area against the tree trunk sometimes actually knocking over these marked areas immediately since the hulls in this condition always will be mad.
The state of must increases the strength endurance, and deverness, of the bull. It is only a temporal change. The must bulls usually remain in the group with cows and their offspring. They are largely successful in keeping other bulls out of the living space of the maternal families.
Varahamihiractarya mentions different colour of the must:—
bhadrasya varno harito madashca
krishno bhavashcano hi hito mrigasya
sangirna nagasya mado vimishrah
According to M.S. Joy must is also known as must, musth and matt; in Sanskrit it is called mada, means intoxication. It is only rupture.
In Matangalila must is stated as a rupturous condition. Must is found majority in male elephants and very rarely in females on maturity, are subject to peculiar paroxysms of excitement which have some connection with the sexual functions it occurs. Most frequently in the cold season and may perhaps due to ungratified sexual desire in some cases, but not always. So since the society of female by no means always quells or even pacifics animals in must. Other times an animal in must. Other times an animal is must doubtedly seeks the opposite sex for mating. Some elephant becomes dull and morose. The behavioural changes shown by disobedience to commands trying to break away or shows violence to man or destructive tendencies and being altogether out of sorts. When must is established there is often a partial retention of urine the water to trickled away. As soon as the urine is passed freely the natives consider the dangerous stage is over. The attack may last for a few days, week or months. It is considered to be of sexual nature.
Must means 'joy', 'rupture' or 'exhilaration'. It mentions eight valuable traits excitement; swiftness, odour, florescence of the body. It occures only in elephants of very good physical/healthy condition;which mentions as much parts the eyes, palate, temples, ears naval, penis, trunk, nipples and hairs of the body.
When the elephant reaches in its furious stage, then he has no desire for bed, food; and water, always seems to be in anger, he can not able his own shadow and is constantly benton yeloping. During the must reduced stage, his power has departed from the intensity of his fury, lost jealousy. He shines like a cloud that has discharged its accumulation of water.
The bodily humors of the elephant constantly waste away by flowing of the must fluid. So that they caught serious diseases. Because of previous wasting they can't to develop must in other years. One shall cause him to appease his must through three months devoted to the bodily humours. After coming the must the elephants should be treated well.
Some medicines are given to them before three months for derivation and control of must:—
kapitha saptacchada candananam
keripayah kshaudrayuto gajanam
pindah pradeyo madasambhaveyam.
sengudairmadhuna pindo deyo roshavivardhanah
matta varanavaram vasham nayet
M.S. Joy in his text named Ana mentions that must gland is the differentiation of an elephant. He further states that if there is an elephant with must in the town or the country the earth Goddess be pleased to shower good food, which could be attained easily. If the must found in its right ear side, that elephants owner becomes a victor, and if it is found in the left side then there is plenty of rain fallen in the earth. If it is seen in the penis then the king become luminory person (Kubera).
The must is related to the sexual sensitive swoon. But it is not connected with last perplexity. Matangalila and other connected works reveal it is an excitement or rupture state of an elephant.
It is said that for reducing the must the elephants are given foods and water; and it isn't given more works in that time. For reducing the must, the elephant should be given sufficient quantity of food regularly. Its works should also reduced timely.
Matangalila is filled with observations reflecting elephants biological behaviour. Unlike most modern texts, which separate poetry from prose, Nilakanthas work makes no distinction between imagination and reason.
Hastyayurveda and Matangalila are revealing almost the same matters, even if there is no other best work, on Gajashastra like Matangalila, which caused for simple description of a monstrous topic.
Various phases of development of elephant is an interesting topic.
Footnotes and references:
Keraliya Samskrita Sahitya Caritram (Keraliya Samskrtia Sahitya Caritra). 8. 2.3. 503.
Keraliya Samskrtia Sahitya Caritra.8.506.
Ullur. S. Parameswara Iyer Keraliya Samskrtia Sahitya Caritra (II part) Kerala University, 1953-27, 304-305.
Matangalila. Prelude. 1-3.
Manushyalaya Candrika. Introduction. XI.
Matangalila. 2. 11.22.
MO. 41. 225.49.
Matangalila. 6.1.4. 39.
Domestic Animals, 7.168.
Gajagrahanaprakara. 5. 715-716. 72.
Matangalila 8.1.25. 41-48.
Matangalila. 5. 50.
Matangalila. IX. 20-23. 55.