A Hundred Names

In a poem, mind you. Possibly one of the reasons that makes the poem, the longest poem ever. So you have heard of the vile Duryodhan and of course his younger brother, Duhshasan. Ever wondered if the rest of the ninety-eight brothers ever existed? And if they did, who were they and how come they never showed up in the story – doing something specific.

Well, here are the names of all the hundred Kauravs. They were a hundred and one brothers, mind you and even had a sister. But you probably know that.

1. Duryodhana, 2. Duhsasana, 3. Duhsaha, 4. Duhshala, 5. Durmukha, 6. Vivinsati, 7. Vikarna, 8. Jalasandha, 9. Sulochna, 10. Vinda, 11. Anuvinda, 12. Durdharsha, 13. Suvahu, 14. Dushpradharshana, 15. Durmarshana, 16. Dushkarna, 17. Karna, 18. Chitra, 19. Vipachitra, 20. Chitraksha, 21. Charuchitra, 22. Angada, 23. Durmada, 24. Dushpradharsha, 25. Vivitsu, 26. Vikata, 27. Sama, 28. Urananabha, 29. Padmanabha, 30. Nanda , 31. Upanandaka, 32. Sanapati, 33. Sushena, 34. Kundodara, 35. Mahodara, 36. Chitravahu, 37. Chitravarman, 38. Suvarman, 39. Durvirochana, 40. Ayovahu, 41. Mahavahu, 42. Chitrachapa, 43. Sukundala, 44. Bhimavega, 45. Bhimavala, 46. Valaki, 47. Bhimavikrama, 48. Ugrayudha, 49. Bhimaeara, 50. Kanakayu, 51. Dridhayudha, 52. Dridhavarman, 53. Dridhakshatra, 54. Somakirti, 55. Anadara, 56. Jarasandha, 57. Dridhasandha, 58. Satyasandha, 59. Sahasravaeh, 60. Ugrasravas, 61. Ugrasena, 62. Kshemamurti, 63. Aprajita, 64. Panditaka, 65. Visalaksha, 66. Duradhara, 67. Dridhahasta, 68. Suhasta, 69. Vatavega, 70. Suvarchasa, 71. Adityaketu, 72. Vahvasin, 73. Nagadatta, 74. Anuyaina, 75. Nishangi, 76. Kuvachi, 77. Dandi, 78. Dandadhara, 79. Dhanugraha, 80. Ugra, 81. Bhimaratha, 82. Vira, 83. Viravahu, 84. Alolupa, 85. Abhaya, 86. Raudrakarman, 87. Dridharatha, 88. Anadhrishya, 89. Kundaveda, 90. Viravi, 91. Dhirghalochana, 92. Dirghavahu, 93. Mahavahu, 94. Vyudhoru, 95. Kanakangana, 96. Kundaja, 97. Chitraka, 98. Chitraka , 99. Kundasi , 100. Viranjan

The daughter’s name was Duhssala, you’d recall she is the one who married Jayadrath. The hundred and first brother was Yuyutsu, who was Dhritarashtra’s son by a Vaisya wife.

 Source: The Sacred Texts Archive; this page

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An Akshauhini

The easiest, shortest definition would be – a battle unit in the Mahabharat. You will find some description in Wikipedia and another related article here.

An Akshauhini was a specific ratio of foot soldiers, chariots, horses and an elephant. A single Akshauhini comprised of two hundred and eighteen thousand and seven hundred (218,700) “units”. Now, “units” is slightly misleading because it doesn’t necessarily mean those many persons. In my opinion there were more.

Let’s back up a little bit and know more about the composition of an Akshauhini. The Akshauhini itself has eight sub-divisions – Anikini, Chamu, Pritana, Vahini, Gana, Gulma, Sena-mukha, and the lowest sub-division, the Patti. The Patti comprised of a chariot, an elephant, five foot-soldiers and three horses. Each subdivision was a multiple of the previous one. Here is the whole composition (not the best visual representation – but it helps give an idea):

Akshauhini Composition

Akshauhini Composition

The x3 and the x10, of course, represent the multiple of the unit below it, i.e. a Gana was three times the Gulma. Each unit is three times its previous unit – except for the Akshauhini itself – which was ten times the Anikini. Now that’s a something to think about. Was there a good reason why the last unit was a multiple of ten, rather than three?

Now, lets go back to thought of how many ‘persons’ were actually there in an Akshauhini. In a Patti, the base unit, there were five foot-soldiers, and we can assume that one horseman over the three horses; makes it eight ‘persons’. Do we count the chariot-driver and the elephant-driver (mahout)? Obviously these people didn’t fight – they steered the vehicle or the animal. And of course we don’t know if the chariots were drawn a single horse or a couple of them. When you do these combinations, of course, the entire number game changes and we have much more people (and animals) fighting in the Mahabharat War.

Of course the most important fact is that there were eighteen Akshauhini’s (both sides – I do not know the break up – but we all know that the Kaurav army was larger than the Pandav army) that fought the famous Mahabharat war. That means, there were three million, nine hundred and thirty-six thousand and six-hundred (18 x 218,700 = 3,936,600) people who fought the war. And of course you know how the war ended – in eighteen days and a night – these three million, nine hundred and thirty-six thousand and six-hundred were slain. All of them.

Mahabharat is known as an epic poem – and of course there are enough arguments of whether it is fact or fiction. I am not making that argument – that is not the point of the post. What intrigues me most – is that if this be a work of literature or a moral book – imagine the level of detail in the poem.

References: Wikipedia and The Internet Sacred Text Archive. The entire Mahabharat is available unabridged and online at the The Internet Sacred Text Archive. It is an amazing initiative; see if you can support them in any way.

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Bernini: Neptune and Triton

The first of my learning history series.

Neptune and Triton.

While looking for examples of Baroque architecture styles, I stumbled (obviously) on Bernini’s work, which then in turn led me to Neptune and Triton, which is currently at the V&A Museum in London. You have probably read about Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (December 7, 1598, Naples – November 28, 1680, Rome) if you have read Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.

In a historical context, it is Neptune (Poseidon in Greek context) and Triton, son of Neptune. Poseidon is the god of the sea, as well as horses and, as “Earth-Shaker”, of earthquakes. Triton is a Greek god, the messenger of the deep. He is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and Amphitrite, goddess of the sea. He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish.

I haven’t come across a reference to Triton in the Roman context, and that has kind of foxed me and will probably require some more research from my side either on the names or the timelines, or both with respect to the relationships between Greek and Roman legends and their use by the Vatican in commissioning sculpting works to the likes of Bernini.

This sculpture here, dated 1622-23, with a reference to the Virgil’s Aeneid (in the 1st century BC ), and Neptune is purportedly calming the sea for the safe passage of Aeneas, who by the way, is the leader of the Dardanians (allies of the Trojans), and a principal lieutenant of Hector (You will remember Hector, played wonderfully by Eric Bana in Troy; of course you have seen him in the Hulk, Munich or Black Hawk Down)

In the modern day context, Neptune is the eighth planet in our solar system that we all know of and Triton is one of it’s largest moons. Neptune was discovered by Johann Gotfried Galle on 23rd September, 1846 and Triton was discovered shorty afterward, on October 10, in the same year by a British Astronomer William Lassell. Both of course discovered much later than the sculpture by Bernini, but no doubt named after the Greek and Roman legends.

Quick Facts:

  • Gian (Giovanni) Lorenzo Bernini, December 7, 1598, Naples – November 28, 1680, Rome, Baroque sculptor and architect of 17th century Rome.
  • Neptune and Triton, Sculpture, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), Italy, About 1622-23; Marble and copper. At the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

References:

  1. Wikipedia, with search strings for Bernini, Netune, Triton, Aeneid, and Baroque
  2. Views of the Solar System by Calvin J. Hamilton
  3. The Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, London.
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