1/ What connects a French christian cult, one of the most traveled folk tales in the world, Ancient Vedic God पूषा, Puranic god of wealth कुबेर . Feng Shui and an anti-cancer drug?
Read on -An etymological and literary trivia filled thread on --- Mongoose.
2/ Our story starts with the Panchtantric tale of "The Brahmin and The Mongoose" - which is one of the most traveled folktales in the world. Written sometime between 200 BC-200AD (expert opinions differ), it has made it to places as far as Russia, Mexico, Wales and Egypt.
3/ So famous was the tale that it made to multiple temple motifs. Its westward migration is attributed primarily to a Persian (Pehlawi) copy of 6th century by Persian Physician Burzoe, who came to India in search of a fabled life giving plant. Mallikarjuna Temple, 8century AD, Karnataka- shows a sleepin
4/ A Syriac translation of the Pehlawi book by an author Bud Periodeutes was out before the turn of 7th century. Named Qalilag w Damanag, - - after the two jackal narrators of मित्रभेद in Panchatantra - कर्तक & दमनक
5/ An Arabic translation from Syriac followed 200 years later. Kalila wa Dimna (Written by Abdullah Al Mokaffa around 8th century) changed the mongoose into a weasel, & paved the way for the story to become a world-famous tale- having its own ATU Index- 178A
6/ The book was a blockbuster of the day, and is considered a a masterpiece of Arabic & world literature today. Thanks to trade relations, it got translated to Greek by 11th Century, Hebrew, old Spanish and Latin by 13th Century.
7/ Over time it borrowed and changed the story frame, especially the Hebrew version, in a book named Mishle Sindebar (the book of Sindibad - a hebrew name given to Sanskrit Vidhyapati/ Siddhapati)- which traveled to Egypt, Morocco and then to Europe. The weasel was now a dog.
8/ By the time an Italian Jew convert John of Capua came out with Latin version in 1270- named Directorium Humnae Vitae (literally- Guide to Human Life) , the Brahmin had become a minister to a king, weasel had become a Dog and the tale is called "Canis Custos".
9/ In parallel, Arab conquest of Spain meant that the bestseller made it into Castilian in 1493 as "Exemplario contra los engaños y peligros del mundo ( Morals about Deceptions & Dangers of the World) " nicknamed Fables of Bidpai (a European take on Sanskrit Vidhyapati).
10/ The first English version appeared in Tudor England in 1570, and was prepared by Thomas North who used an Italian translation - Moral Filosofia by Anton Francesco Doni- as his source. By now, the king's minister had transformed into a kinight.
11/ Published as The Moral Philosophy of Doni, it possibly led to creation of the legend of Llywelyn & his dog Killhart (now Gelert). A village exists now in Wales at the purported grave of the dog- Beddgelert (Gelert's grave) Site of Gelert's grave
12/ The Spanish version was taken to the Americas by the conquistadors while the Sindibar story got included in the Italian text "Seven Sages of Rome" and with made it to almost all languages in Europe.
13/ The child saviour dog even got its own Sainthood in France, where the fable got him a name- St Guinefort (catholic church did't recognize it) . The cult of Saint Guinefort carried on till 1930s.
14/ While the story was travelling westward, its eastward flow is equally well documented. With spread of Buddhism, Jataka tales (which it had become part of) were adopted in China, while South Indian conquests of South-East Asia made it appear in Malaysia and Indonesia.
15/ it is just not the folktale about the mongoonse which transcended from India to Europe- the name of the animal itself followed a millenia later. The route of travel to Europe this time was a little more direct, and didn't involve the Arabs.
16/ "Mongoose" is derived eventually from Sans. मद्गुश (via Prak. , Marathi मुंगूस, and portuguese Mangusto) which in turn is from PIE root -*mesg (to plunge)
It replaced the Old English nǣdrebīta (literally “snake biter”).
17/ The animal itself figures in Indian history right from the times of Indus Valley, with the famous Dholavira Mongoose figurine of 3rd Millenia BC; through Yajurveda's Taittariya Samhita & Mahabharata. Dholavira Mongoose- Indian National Museum
18/ In Taittariya Samhita 5.5.12- it is considered as an offering to the vedic god पूषा, one of the Adityas.

मद्गुश gets a mention in Shanti Parv of Mahabharata, as one of the kinds of meats Brahmins should abstain from Taittariya Samhita of Krishna Yajurveda 5.5.12 Shantiparva chapter 37
19/ yet another name used for mongoose in Ancient Sanskrit text Baudhayana Dharmasutra is बभ्रु, from PIE- *bʰébʰrus, which also gives us the English word Beaver. Incidentally बभ्रुवाहन- is the name of one of Arjuna's sons; the one who killed Arjuna per Ganga's curse.
20/ The now-common Hindi word for the animal- नेवला- also comes from Sans. नकुल/ नकुलक (via नकुड़ा >नउर>नवरा>निवेरा) - a form which is the one used in the actual original Panchantantra story
21/ नकुलक is also a name given to a bracelet like like ornament, shaped like a mongoose; as well as a word for purse - esp that of Kuber, the wealth god, who incidentally rides a mongoose.
22/ Last but not the least, the age-old tale of rivarly of Mongoose with Snakes, has led to a certain plant with alleged anti-venom properties being named as मुंगुसवेल/नाकुली /सरहटी. Mentioned in charaka Samhita as सर्पाक्षी, it is one of 68 ras-aushadhis.
23/ Now while the anti-venom properties are doubtable, the plant with a mongoose based etymological connection even in its scientific name -Ophiorrhiza "mungos", is a source of Camptothecin, an anti-cancer drug.
24/ The mongoose's connection with wealth is not only limited to Kubera; but even in Buddhist tradition- Jambhala, the god of wealth is associated with Mongoose, & so Feng-shui recommends having a mongoose amulet/ statue in the house!
That's it- on Mongoose and its association with India's religious and literary history
@avtansa/ @drsureshpant could either of you confirm if the गोधान् mentioned in the following verse in Valmiki Ramayan is mongoose (as claimed by some) , an alligator or the lizard- गोह?
रुरून्गोधा न्वराहांश्च हत्वाऽदायाऽमिषान्बहून्।।3.47.23

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9 Jul 20
Inspired frm @schandillia's succint thread on American Independence, here is another version of the butterfly effect: how events causing loss of the British empire in one continent led to the firm establishment of another 10000 km away & current Indo-Nepal border dispute
Its a tale of an astounding man who lived a singularly remarkable life,and was as much an Indian as a British... so here is a whirlwind ride of ~50 tweets. @Schandillia this is partly thx to u that I managed to convert my blog post into a twitter thread. Hoping ppl wud like it!
In the American theatre of the War of the Austrian Succession, there was a British regiment known as 16th Foot; which took part in War of Jenkins' ear and was posted Florida from around 1767, with a brief interlude in New York
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