honey in arka shrubs?

HaroldA at eworld.com HaroldA at eworld.com
Mon Sep 4 14:12:01 UTC 1995

On Tue, 29 Aug 1995, H. Isaacson wrote:

> The following subhaa.sita is often quoted (eg. "Sabara's Bhaa.sya
> 1.2.4; Yuktidiipikaa ad Saankhyakaarikaa 2;
> Saardhatri"satikaalottaravrtti ad 8.12;
> Nyaayavaarttikataatparya.tiikaa ad Nyaayasuutra 1.2.1 etc.):
> arke cen madhu vindeta kimartham parvata.m vrajet|
> i.s.tasyaarthasya sampraaptau ko vidvaan yatnam aacaret||

After receiving several replies informing him that the plant in question was
really "arka" and not "akka," and identifying it, he wrote, on 30 Aug.:

" . . .  If, however, arka is really correct, the verse is still puzzling. 
Is the situation hypothetical?  I can hardly imagine that honey
could ever be found in the wasteland shrub.  On the other hand the
contexts in which the verse is usually quoted are about avoiding
complicated ways of doing things when much simpler ones actually

I have not checked the references he gives, but in a Mimansa context, the
usual intent of such a sloka would be that if something desirable, like
heaven, or honey, could be gained without effort, then no intelligent person
would do something difficult, like performing Vedic sacrifices, or going to
the mountain, to obtain it. One can no more gain heaven without performing
Vedic sacrifices than he can obtain honey from the arka plant.

Yrs. Harold Arnold 


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