The two Rs

The Mahabharata online. No... the whole Mahabharata. Wow.

That weapon, quickly let off by the wielder of gandiva, blazed up with fierce flames like the all-destroying fire that appears at the end of the yuga. Similarly, the weapon that had been shot by Drona's son of fierce energy blazed up with terrible flames within a huge sphere of fire. Numerous peals of thunder were heard; thousands of meteors fell; and all living creatures became inspired with great dread. The entire welkin seemed to be filled with noise and assumed a terrible aspect with those flames of fire. The whole earth with her mountains and waters and trees, trembled. Then the two great rishis, Narada, who is the soul of every creature, and the grandsire of all the Bharata princes (Vyasa), beholding those two weapons scorching the three worlds, showed themselves there. The two rishis sought to pacify the two heroes Ashvatthama and Dhananjaya. Conversant with all duties and desirous of the welfare of all creatures, the two sages, possessed of great energy, stood in the midst of those two blazing weapons. Incapable of being overwhelmed by any force, those two illustrious rishis, placing themselves between the two weapons, stood like two blazing fires. Incapable of being checked by any creature endued with life, and adorned by the gods and danavas, they two acted in this way, neutralising the energy of the two weapons and doing good to all the world.
The two rishis said, "Those great car-warriors who have fallen in this battle were acquainted with diverse kinds of weapons. They, however, never shot such a weapon upon human beings. What act of rashness is this, ye heroes, that ye have done?"

Totally different subject: look to the right. It says:


The vertical text reads tate-oki, literally "arranged standing/vertically". The horizontal text reads yoko-oki, "arranged lying down/horizontally". They cross over at 置, which is the o of oki in both words.

The point of this ad is that the modular storage units being advertised can be arranged in any orthogonal way you please, but I just thought it was a neat visual demonstration of the two ways that Japanese text can be written, complete with the words for "vertical" (tate) and "horizontal" (yoko).

To get more specific, vertically written text is referred to as tate-gaki (縦書き), and horizontally written text is yoko-gaki (横書き). So if you need a neat visual mnemonic to remember any of this, just stare at this photo until it's burned in your brain.

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Oh good, comments are working again.

Speaking of disputatious translators, I looked up Oppenheimer's quote (Bhagavad Gītā 11:32) and got

The Holy One said, "I am Death, the destroyer of the worlds, fully developed. I am now engaged in slaying the race of men. Without thee all these warriors standing in the different divisions shall cease to be.

with the footnote

Kala here is death. Mr. Davies renders it Time, following some other translators. Pravriddha is not (as Mr. Davies renders it) "old" or "very old," but swelling or fully developed. Then again, Mr. Davies commits a ludicrous blunder in rendering Rite twam as "Except thee." This is one of those idioms at which a foreigner is sure to stumble who has only the lexicons for his guide. What Krishna says is not that all would perish save Arjuna, but that without Arjuna (i.e., even if he did not fight) all would perish.

-- Tim May

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