How can one justify the names given to Mani and Bhusan in the story "The Lost Jewels"?

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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You might be interested to know that in Sanskrit, the name Bhushan means ornament. In the story, Tagore tells us that Bhushan was not especially successful in his business nor his marriage. Thus, we are led to speculate whether Tagore intended to highlight certain themes through utilizing Bhushan as a character foil for his wife, Mani.

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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1) The name Mani in Hindu mythology translates as jewel. Legends about Mani are known in myth. All in all, there are supposed to be four precious jewels in heaven: the Kaustubh, Syamantaka, Chinta, and Rudra. Two are relevant to our story.

a) The Syamantaka Mani is an extremely powerful jewel. It is rumored to have belonged to the Sun God; indeed, the jewel itself is the basis of the stunning rays surrounding the Hindu deity. Anyone who wears this Mani or jewel will always live in opulent wealth. It is said that whoever owns this Mani/jewel will never encounter any natural disasters in one's lifetime, be it droughts, earthquakes, or floods.

b) Kaustubh Mani is able to infuse the wearer with good fortune and invincibility. It is the most brilliant jewel in Hindu mythology and is said to be a corrupting influence on the wearer. It is obtained by the churning of the sea.  By owning this jewel, the wearer will be gripped with an insatiable greed to keep the jewel to himself/herself.

Comment: In the story, the skeleton has presumably been personified as the spirit of Mani, Bhusan's lost wife. We are told the skeleton

... had rings on all its fingers, bracelets on its wrists and armlets on its arms, necklaces on its neck, and a golden tiara on its head,—in fact its whole body glittered and sparkled with gold and diamonds.

Remember that both the Kaustubh mani and the Syamantaka mani bestow great wealth on the owner. The skeleton leads Bhusan into the river. We are here reminded of the Kaustubh Mani which can only be obtained by the churning of waters. Those who obtain such a jewel become greedy and possessive of the Mani.

At his Phulbere house he had no mother, but had plenty of aunts and uncles and other relatives, from which distraction he brought away his wife to this house and kept her to himself alone...

2) Bhusan Saha.

This is a Bengali surname. Owners of the surname are mostly of the trade class. Some are engaged in money-lending or farming. In the story, Bhusan Saha is not an especially adept businessman. He is characterized as a man who thoroughly adores his wife. Having found his Mani, he worships her, but is unable to hold on to her because he does not possess the necessary decisiveness and tenacity to sustain her respect.

Under the spell of modern civilisation man has lost the God-given power of his barbaric nature, and this has loosened the conjugal ties. The unfortunate Bhusan had been turned out of the machine of modern civilisation an absolutely faultless man. He was therefore neither successful in business nor in his own home.

The husband-wife imagery shelters a truth; according to the story, the man who finds great wealth may lose that wealth through unwise management just as Bhusan Saha loses his wife, Mani, through injudicious 'gentleness.'

“Sir, you are certainly a married man, so that it is hardly necessary to tell you that the ordinary female is fond of sour green mangoes, hot chillies, and a stern husband. A man need not necessarily be ugly or poor to be cheated of his wife's love; but he is sure to lose it if he is too gentle."

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