Sunday, May 12, 2013

Do unto others - golden rule of humanity




We have all read about the golden rule and its history in almost all world cultures - "Do unto others what you wish to be done to you" or the negation of it "Do not do unto others what you don not wish to be done to you."

But rarely you find the reference to this in ancient Indian tradition. While this sentiment abounds all over in Sanskrit literature small and large, here is an actual reference from Mahabharata that says it exactly as is.


Hence, by self-control and by making dharma (right conduct) your main focus, 
treat others as you treat yourself.

= तस्माद्धर्मप्रधानेन भवितव्यं यतात्मना ।
तथा च सर्वभूतेषु वर्तितव्यं यथात्मनि ॥
= tasmād_dharma-pradhānéna bhavitavyam yatātmanā |
tathā cha sarva-bhūtéṣhu vartitavyam yathātmani ||
[Mahābhārata Shānti-Parva 167:9]

Vidura says to the king Yuddhishthira, "Listening to wise scriptures, austerity, sacrifice, respectful faith, social welfare, forgiveness, purity of intent, compassion, truth and self-control - are the ten wealth of character (self). O king aim for these, may you be steadfast in these qualities. These are the basis of prosperity and rightful living. These are highest attainable things. All worlds are balanced on dharma, dharma encompasses ways to prosperity as well. O King, dharma is the best quality to have, wealth the medium and desire (kāma, kAma) the lowest.

Hence, (keeping these in mind), by self-control and by making dharma (right conduct) your main focus, treat others as you treat yourself."

There is no need to explain this self-explanatory, simplest of core values. If only everyone can follow just this one rule, there will be no man-made problems in the world!

And now the language aspects -

tasmād /tasmAt = hence
dharma-pradhānéna / dharma-pradhAnena = by keeping dharma as main focus
bhavitavyam = is worth becoming, one should become
yatātmanā / yatAtmanA = yata + ātmanā /AtmanA = restrained, by self , i.e. by restrained self, controlled self.
tathā / tathA = similarly, in that manner
cha = and
sarva-bhūtéṣhu / sarva-bhUteShu = in all (sarva) beings (bhūta/bhUta)
vartitavyam = one should behave
yathātmani / yathAtmani = yathā /yathA + ātmani /Atmani = as in oneself.


 


(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Greed - the root cause of all sin


लोभात् क्रोधः प्रभवति, लोभात् कामः प्रजायते ।
लोभान्मोहश्च नाशश्च, लोभः पापस्य कारणम् ॥
lobhāt krodhaḥ prabhavati, lobhāt kāmaḥ prajāyaté |
lobhān_mohash_cha nāshash_cha, lobhaḥ pāpasya kāraṇam ||


Greed influences (causes) anger, greed begets desire, from greed [come] delusion and destruction, greed is the root cause of pāpa (sin, evil, any wrongful deeds).


Also note the usage of ‘begets’ with ‘desire’, and ‘influences’ with ‘anger’.





And now the language aspects -

Word by word meaning:
lobhāt = from lobha (greed)
krodhaḥ = anger
prabhavati = happens (due to the prabhāva influence of)
bhū = to happen
bhavati = happens
prabhāva = influence
prabhavati = cause something to happen by one’s influence

lobhāt = from lobha (greed)
kāmaḥ = desire
prajāyaté = is born

lobhān = lobhat = from greed
mohaḥ = delusion, inability to think, attachment
cha = and
nāshaḥ = ruin, destruction
cha = and

lobhaḥ = greed
pāpasya = of sinful, evil, wrong doings
kāraṇam = reason



(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013





(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You make your own friends and enemies


No one is anyone's friend, no one is anyone's enemy.
Friends and enemies are born by your conduct.
न कश्चित् कस्यचिन्मित्रं, न कश्चित् कस्यचिद्रिपुः ।
व्यवहारेण जायन्ते, मित्राणि रिपवस्तथा ॥
na kashchit kasyachin_mitram, na kashchit kasyachidripuḥ |
vyavahāréṇa jāyante, mitrāṇi ripavastathā || 
Hitopadéshaḥ (Mitralābhaḥ 72)

The almost unreadable 'scanned' part right under the English explanation in the image above is from the Hitopadesh copy printed in 1864!





And now the language aspects -

na / न = not
kashchit / काश्चित् = someone
kasyachin / कस्यचिन् = of someone
mitram / मित्रम् = friend
na / = not
kashchit / कश्चित् = someone
kasyachid_ripuḥ / कस्यचिद् + रिपुः = someone’s enemy
vyavahāréṇa / व्यवहारेण = by conduct
jāyanté / जायन्ते = are born from
mitrāṇi / मित्राणि= friends
ripavas (ripavaḥ) / रिपवः = enemies
tathā / तथा = and




(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Learning Sanskrit: The Easy and Practical Way - Workbook 2 - Ligatures



Learning Sanskrit: The Easy and Practical Way -
Workbook 2 - Ligatures (Conjugate and complex letters)


Various variants of ha-conjugates.
Following the Workbook 1 which covered single letters, Workbook 2 is out and covers conjugate letters. Conjugate letters (Ligatures) are integral to Sanskrit script for a very scientific reason (explained in the Workbook).

This Workbook 2 covers all combinations of consonants + vowels and gives writing practice. It also lists out almost 100 ligatures, where consonants meet consonants and a new letter is formed. This is a comprehensive list, and most computer fonts don't have all of the ligatures. This 80 pages, 8.5x11 size workbook covers everything there is to be able to read classical Sanskrit. This of course doesn't mean you can understand the original texts, but being able to read the original script open doors for much more material to read, learn and enjoy. And, trust me, Sanskrit looks so much more beautiful in its own script.



TO WATCH IT FULL SCREEN, click on the "Watch it on Youtube' icon (or here)on bottom right of the video frame, then on Youtube click on the 'Full Screen' icon on bottom right of the the video frame.

 Features: 
  • All consonant+vowel combinations writing practice;  
  • Coffee/tea Break Time practices, 
  • Original Sanskrit texts from famous works for exercise, 
  • Calligraphy artwork, 
  • Comprehensive list of 100 ligatures
  • Special signs and marks
  • Most suitable for those who have not had exposure to Indian scripts or Sanskrit.
Things covered in Workbook 1 are not covered again, so keep your Workbook 1 handy. If you have not ordered that yet you can do so now. Order your copy now.

There is also a focused study group for those who are following the workbook and need help or motivation. Join it once you have started studying the workbook.




(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Save a tree, save ten families



A pond equals ten wells, a reservoir equals ten ponds.
A son equals ten reservoirs, and a tree equals ten sons!
दशकूपसमा वापी दशवापीसमो ह्रदः ।
दशह्रदसमः पुत्रो दशपुत्रसमो द्रुमः ॥
dasha-kūpa-samā vāpī, dasha-vāpī-samo hradaḥ |
dasha-hrada-samaḥ putro, dasha-putra-samo drumaḥ ||
Matsya-purāṇa 154:512

The message here is of immense environmental importance.

Most people want children, even those who can't have their own, want to adopt. It is a basic instinct of Life, to continue itself. Humans want to procreate for continuing their lineage, passing on their knowledge, possessions, empires, businesses etc as well.

Since daughters mostly go away to build a new home after marriage, it has become customary in societies worldwide to also desire at least one son. Kingdoms were maintained based mainly on lineage of sons, with some exceptions of queens.

Water is an important natural resource. Earlier water scarcity was in terms of distance, today due to excessive pollution it is the scarcity of drinking or usable water that itself is a problem. In olden times it was crucial to keep water bodies clean, do some rain harvesting in dry regions. In Indian tradition, great stress has been put on water bodies and their maintenance and on water purification techniques (jala-kataka-renu). Even as far back as Veda-s, one does two kinds of deeds - one for self, another for society. Among the recommended deeds for society are building a well or vāpī (artificial pond for rain water harvesting), opening a school, hospital, inn etc.

A well was one of the closest water source, mostly man-made, well maintained with raised walls, and steps to climb up close to it and pulleys to help draw water with buckets. People would bring water from it and use it carefully, for it involved the hard work of getting it daily.

vāpī in Rajasthan.
Much bigger than a well, was a vāpī, that was man-made as well. A huge open catchment area, well-marked with walls, steps to climb down as water level dropped after usage. A vāpī could store water for a whole village for all the dry months. It had water outlets outside for animals to drink as well. The modern Hindi word bāvaḍī comes from vāpī.

Seen in the image is a vāpī in Rajasthan. You can see the size of it by comparing with the humans. It had steps leading down as water level went down during non-rain months.


A hrada is a natural reservoir formed in a river bend, and is usually very calm. The modern Hindi word 'haud' comes from hrada as well.

So, by size, a well, vāpī and then a hrada.
The importance of son (to continue the family efforts of business or knowledge) was so much that a son is compared to ten such huge reservoirs. Of course it is a metaphor used to stress/acknowledge the importance of a son.

But even more important than a son is a tree. A tree, like the one shown in the photo above, is huge. A whole family could stand side by side and still not be more than its trunk! Such a tree does not grow in a few years. It develops an eco-system of its own around it, supporting insects, animals, birds, and humans. It enriches the environment with oxygen, dead leaves as nutrients to the soil.

But here is the kicker! A son would take care of one family, one's own. But a giant tree like this will take care of ten families! With its role in the circle of life, and eco-system cycle. Such is the importance of trees that it is ten times more important than an already important son (child).


Some readers may feel it lays undue importance on son at the cost of daughter, but they must see the main point, that of importance of trees for the environment. It is not to emphasize the importance of son over daughter (though it may be reflecting the cultural desire to have at least one son). It in no way says anything about comparing daughter and son, but simply emphasizes the importance of trees. A son would pass on one lineage, a tree will help so many life forms and so many generations, selflessly!

Also, for group nouns, the masculine form is used in most languages. For example, a group of lions, lionesses, cubs is called 'a pride of lions', but that does not mean it is masculine only. Similarly, the word putra covers both son and daughter, and specifically son. Also, the word may also have be chosen to fit the mete, compared to a longer word for children.


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And now the language aspects -

dasha = ten
kūpa= water-well
samā = like (fem.)
vāpī = a pond or a man made water catchment of a pond size
samo = samaḥ = like (masc.)
hradaḥ = large water body
putro = putraḥ = son, child.
drumaḥ = tree



(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Luck can't replace Effort - काकतालीयवत्



Some people believe that luck is the most important factor in success. While some are genuine humble, others may be implying that they are somehow special to have such good luck. Luck is something you can just buy, borrow or work at. But, luck is not the key to success, it is hard work, effort, industry.

Luck would be defined as something we had no control over, else if we had control over it, then it would not be luck, it would be our karma. It is called daiva, bhāgya (दैव, भाग्य) etc in Sanskrit and the 'destiny' is a good close to it. Destiny doesn't mean there is a secret plan for you and you don't know. It is the X-factor that you have no control over, since you don't even know it.

Sanskrit has a tradition of maxims, called nyāya (nyAya, न्याय) which capture a situation in life, usually with a nugget of wisdom. One of the most famous is kāka-tālīya nyāyaḥ (kAka-tAlIya nyAyaH, काक-तालीय न्यायः) which says that - a crow swoops down and sits on a branch of a Palmyra tree, and the hard fruit falls on its head and it dies. What are the chances of this happening? It is by sheer coincidence that the crow flew and sat on that very branch, and that very second a fruit had to fall on its head.

The shloka here says that even by such sheer luck like kāka-tālīya nyāyaḥ you were to see a treasure in front of you on your path, luck (daiva) would not pick it up for you, you are still expected to make some effort to pick it up.

We might say that some people get all the luck, but maybe we all get the opportunities, but a few actually realize it and put effort to seize it. During Diwali weekend of 2005, Phanindra Sama missed his bus from Bangalore to Hyderabad, and instead of just cribbing about it, he started to find whether the bus ticketing industry really was efficient enough or were there some tickets that actually went unfilled and no one just knew. So he set out to start redBus.in, a bus ticketing company. It has the largest number of bus operators signed up and by 2010, redBus.in made a turnover of 600 million Rupees.

How did that happen? Out of so many people, including IT people, who missed the bus, only Phanindra saw it as a treasure of opportunity lying in front of it. If you were expecting a story of someone finding a real treasures lying on road, I am sorry to have raised your hope, that is only metaphorical.

Never avoid effort, never underestimate it and never think you can circumvent it and still achieve success ethically and legally. Or in other words, luck helps them who help themselves. You still have to put effort to use your good luck!


kāka-tālīya_vat-prāptam dṛiṣhṭvāpi nidhim_agrataḥ |
na svayam daivam_ādatté, puruṣhārtham_apékṣhaté || (IAST)
= kAka-tAlIya_vat-prAptam dRiShTvApi nidhim_agrataH |
na svayam daivam-Adatte, puruShArtham_apekShate || 4 || (ITRANS)
= Even if pure luck (‘Crow on a Palmyra tree’ maxim) one sees treasure lying in front, 
destiny will not pick it up for you, effort [to pick it up] is expected.




And now the language aspects -

kāka = crow
tālīya = of tāla (Palmyra tree)
-vat = like (suffix)
= like the kāka-tālīya maxim

prāptam = obtained

dṛiṣhṭvāpi = dṛiṣhṭvā + api
dṛiṣhṭvā = after seeing
api = also, even

nidhim = treasure, wealth

agrataḥ = in front of
agra = front

na = not

svayam = on its own

daivam = destiny, luck

ādatté = accepts, takes (for you)

puruṣhārtham = effort, literally ‘purpose of man’

apékṣhaté = is expected




(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Ali Baba and Forty Thieves - in Sanskrit

A good friend of mine, today passed on a link to an amazing book - "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves".

Before you wonder what has this got to do with Sanskrit, this is a translation in the reverse direction.

So far, I had heard of Sanskrit works being translated in other languages from thousands of years, going to Persia, then to Europe - be it the Pañchatantra, Hitopadésha, Upaniṣhad-s, or the Bhagavad-Gītā, Rāmāyaṇa or Māhābhārata.

The story of Ali Baba and Forty Thieves from Arabia was translated in Sanskrit in 1934 by Shrī Govind Krishna Modak, a Sanskrit teacher at New English School, Puṇé.


Even back in 1934, there were enough good Sanskrit scholars, even at school level, who could translate the whole story, even if it was from a non-Indian background. That implies that Sanskrit does have the ability to express modern topics, alien landscapes, contrary to many who believe that the language is not growing any more, and it cannot grow anymore and is good only for ancient topics. Sanskrit was fully vibrant and alive in lower academic institutions as well.

From the preface of the book –
“In the hands of Mr. Modak, the language becomes a wonderfully facile and fluid instrument of expressing the thought in the simplest and most natural way. The language is simple, flowing and chaste.”

The book opens with a salutation to the divine (namo bhagavaté tubhyam vāsudévāya dhīmaté, नमो भगवते तुभ्यं वासुदेवाय धीमते) as is the tradition in India.

In the style of Hitopadésha, Pañchatantra etc. the author also brings in existing famous Nīti shloka-s and uses them in context in the book. Here are some examples –

Page 8:
puṣhpam-puṣhpam vichinvīta, mūlach_chhédam na kārayét |
mālākāra ivārāmé, na yathāṅgārakārakaḥ || 3 || (IAST)
puShpam-puShpam vichinvIta, mUlach_chhedam na kArayet |
mAlAkAra ivArAme, na yathA~NgArakArakaH || 3 || (ITRANS)
पुष्पंपुष्पं विचिन्वीत मूलच्छेदं न कारयेत् |
मालाकार इवारामे न यथाङ्गारकारकः ||
That is, “Pluck flowers without destroying the roots, like the garland maker, and not like the coal-maker.”
The coal-maker destroys the who tree, but the garland maker plucks only the flowers, so the tree keeps giving more. Like the golden goose!

And

kāka-tālīya_vat-prāptam dṛiṣhṭvāpi nidhim_agrataḥ |
na svayam daivamādatté, puruṣhārtham_apékṣhaté || 4 ||  (IAST)
kAka-tAlIya_vat-prAptam dRiShTvApi nidhim_agrataH |
na svayam daivamAdatte, puruShArtham_apekShate || 4 || (ITRANS)
काकतालीयवत्प्राप्तं दृष्ट्वापि निधिमग्रतः |
न स्वयं दैवमादत्ते पुरुषार्थमपेक्षते ||
That is “Even if pure luck (Crow on a Palmyra tree maxim) one sees treasure lying in front, destiny will not give it your hands, effort [to pick it up] is expected.”

The thieves used a cave whose door opened with a magic chant – “Open Sesame” (or “khul jā sim-sim” in Hindi). How do you translate this into Sanskrit work, so that it looks original to the target language, and not as if it is coming from another tongue? Well, it has to be made into an invocative mantra, of course! And that is what Shrī Modak does on page 10.

skanda-rāja namasté’stu chaurya-pātava-déshika |
dasyu-déva dvāram_idam, vivṛitam kṛipayā kuru || 8 ||  (IAST)
skanda-rAja namaste'stu chaurya-pATava-deshika |
dasyu-deva dvAram_idam, vivṛitam kRipayA kuru || 8 || (ITRANS)
स्कन्दराज नमस्तेऽस्तु चौर्यपाटवदेशिक |
दस्युदेव द्वारमिदं विवृतं कृपया कुरु ||
That is, “O king of tormentors, O teacher the skill of stealing,
O lord of the dacoits, salutations to you, please kindly open this door.”

and the rock would slide and show the cave entrance!

And the story goes on!

Those with interest in Sanskrit, should try this book, no matter what your expertise in Sanskrit, as long as you can read the script. Very interesting read!

The link to the book is here - http://library.du.ac.in/dspace/handle/1/11093





(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Great vow of friendship - प्राणैरपि हिता


The great vow of friendship - always help (even at cost of life), never swindle, avoid excuses, treat like self.

प्राणैरपि हिता वृत्तिरद्रोहो व्याजवर्जनम् |
आत्मनीव प्रियाधानमेतन्मैत्रीमहाव्रतम् ||

prāṇair_api hitā vṛittir_adroho vyāja-varjanam |
ātamanīva priyādhānam_étan_maitrī-mahā-vratam || (IAST)

prANair_api hitA vRittir_adroho vyAja-varjanam |
AtamanIva priyAdhAnam_etan_maitrI-mahA-vratam || (ITRANS)




And now the language aspects -

prANaiH = by prANa, life

api = also

hitA = hitAH = beneficial, doing good

vRittir_adroho = non-betrayal in money matters
vRittiH = money, wealth
adroho = adrohaH = not (a-) betraying

vyAja-varjanam = excuses-avoidance, avoids excuses

AtamanIva = Atmani + iva = like (iva) in oneself

priyAdhAnam = holds, considers the dear/friend

etan = etat = this [is]

maitrI = [of] friendship

mahA-vratam = great vow



(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The greatness of Rama - The Ideal Man.

This week we are doing Rama week on Facebook. Please join us there as well.


Today morning I got up to see a link to a video on the Facebook Page by a member, Varsha Gokhale. The video is from some Indian TV serial on Rāma, and I started to watch it just like any other link. I started watching it with no expectation, after all it is some TV serial, which they are making dime a dozen on bhakti these days. But while watching, so many thoughts ran through the mind, outpaced only by the feelings in the heart, that this post had to be written.

Many times we only use our brain, but sometimes, it is okay to use our heart, and feel things. Even if we are men. Before you see the video, I want to set the right background, for those who do not know the (details of the ) story of Rāma.

Brief storyline.
Rāma is the eldest prince, and his coronation for tomorrow has even been announced. His stepmother Kaikeyī calls due the rain check on the boons her husband had given her for saving his life in the battlefield someday in the distant past. Kaikeyī, brain washed by her hunchback maid Mantharā, asks for Rāma to be exiled (can not enter any human settlement, not just Ayodhya) and the throne for her own son Bharata. Everyone opposes this; Lakṣhmaṇa even suggests taking the empire by force. But Rāma leaves, saying that snatching the throne against elders’ wishes will set a bad example to people.

When Sītā and all the citizens ask to accompany him, he says it is his sentence to fulfill, not theirs. But Sītā follows giving the argument of 'a wife must never leave her husband' (Till death do us part?) and Lakṣhmaṇa becomes his ‘slave’ and hence a master must take his servant.

He spends many years in the jungle, helping people, learning about the land, making bonds with forest dwellers. Sītā is kidnapped by Raāvaṇa by force and kept in Laṅkā. Rāma, who was banished from entering any civilized settlements, with the help of Sugrīva and Hanumān and their army, fights the mighty sorcerer Rāvaṇa and his brothers, his armies, and finally wins. Rāvaṇa was invincible by the boon of Brahmā the Creator not be killed by anyone but humans and animals, so Rāma, the human avatāra of Lord Viṣhṇu, was finally able to kill Rāvaṇa.

The Fire test.
After that, still in the battlefield, he says to Sītā, "I have cleared my name as a warrior who could rescue his wife. Now you are free to go anywhere you wish, and marry anyone you wish." Everyone is shocked by this, for the months long battle with heavy casualties was fought to get Sītā back. Even the Creator Brahmā himself tells Rāma, "Have you forgotten O Lord, that you are Viṣhṇu himself, and have descended to earth only to deliver it of the tortures of sinner. Now that is over, why are you not seeing your own consort Lakṣhmī standing in front of you?"

Sītā, thus humiliated, asks for the pyre to be built and says if she is pure, fire would not harm her. Indeed, Fire God Agni comes and delivers her with a certificate of purity.

Rāma says, "I knew all along, you were pure and will always be and fire could not harm you. But how would I have convinced all these people, who don't understand your divinity? Words would not have sufficed to clear your name."

In later additions to the story over ages, it is further added, that even while she was expecting, upon hearing a washer-man's allegations against Sītā, Rāma sends her to the āshrama of Sage Vālimīki, where she stays and gives birth to twins.


Here is a video, from one of the TV serials in India, the story is after pregnant Sītā has left the palace for āshrama. Sītā is needed for the fire ritual, yajña (यज्ञ). The only way out is to have a statue of hers sitting next to Rāma during the ceremony. Being emperor, of course it has to be a golden status. In the video, he is talking to the sculptor, who is blind. Sculptor requests Rāma to tell how Sītā looks, what is like, so he can make the statue. I agree that much more could be said about Sītā, but for once, look at Rāma, not as divine, but as human, that he portrayed all along.

Imagine yourself in his position -

- Heir to the greatest empire of its time, everyone loves you, respects you.
- You are eldest of four brothers, have been recently married to the most beautiful girl in the world.
- You are going to be the crown prince tomorrow.
- Because of the instigation of the hunchback maid of your step mother, she asks you to leave for 14 years of exile and throne goes to your step brother.
- You take everything smiling and leave, even when your mighty bother is ready to fight and take by force, even when your repentant father asks you to imprison him and overrule him.
- You spent life in one long camping picnic, interspersed with fighting demons and fetching water from pure flowing river, taking afternoon naps after a sumptuous lunch made by your dear wife, with whom you spend most of the time, since there is nothing else to do, you discuss matters of polity, culture, relationship, administration and everything.
- She is kidnapped.
- You weep like a madman, asking plants and birds to give you a clue.
- You make some allies.
- You find out she is on an island, trapped by the most powerful demon, who has defeated even the gods.
- You fight, help others, get help, and make the longest man-made bridge out of stones thrown in the ocean.
- You fight the master of deception, master of arms, and sorcery and one by one, with casualties on both sides, win the war.
- You are dying to meet your wife, for who you have done all this.
- You are forced to say to her 'You are free to go anywhere and marry anyone, for I know not what your character has been', while knowing very well that she is pure and you, as the new king, can very well afford to not care about anyone in the world thinks.
- She proves out to be pure, you return to be the king.
- She is expecting, there are rumors, and you once again let her go.
- Now you need a statue made of her for some ritual that requires it.
- And the blind sculptor asks you to describe her to him.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE SOMEONE WHO IS IN EVERY CELL OF YOUR BODY?
WHO HAS NEVER BEEN ANYWHERE BUT IN YOU?
WHO HAS BEEN THE FORCE THAT SAW YOU THROUGH TOUGH TIMES?
WHO WAS PUT TO ANGUISH TWICE ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR DUTY AND ROLE IN SOCIETY.


Let us watch the video. For once leave aside all logic, brains, and feel with your heart, the pain of a man bound by his duties, principle, and yearning for his love of life.

When the sculptor asks to describe Sītā, he starts saying she is the best woman, best daughter, best wife, best daughter-in-law.
And then he quivers with sorrow, remembering that she was expecting when she left the palace. And he remembers all the wonderful time they had spent during their extended forest camping of fourteen years. Imagine today, how much time do we give our spouses in a 24 hour period? Spending all your time together would have made the bond all that much stronger!

Then he describes Sītā to the sculptor in verse. I am giving the Hindi words for those can read, and meaning for those who cannot. Subtitles are also there on the video.
परिचय कर सौन्दर्य सृष्टि सेGet introduced to the creation of Beauty
देख सिया को मेरी दृष्टि सेSee Sītā through my eyes
वरदानी चरणों से गति लेTake nirvāṇa (gati) from boon-giving [auspicious] feet
मूर्ति बनाने की अनुमति लेTake permission to make her statue
कटि कोमल कर-कमल सुहानेSlim waist, enticing hands soft and pink as lotus
बाहों का हार बनाना जानेKnew how to make a garland of the arms
है देदीप्यमान मुखमण्डलHer face has a divine brilliance
गहरे नयन-श्याम, बिन काजलDeep eyes are black without applying kohl
मस्तक पर सूरज की प्रभा हैForehead stands tall and shining like the Sun
केशों में घनघोर घटा हैIn her tresses are the deep rain bearing clouds
हर नाते की हर छवि प्यारीEvery memory of every interaction is dear
मन से देवी, तन से नारीA woman by body, a Goddess by heart
जब यह मूर्ति बना लायेगाWhen you will bring the finished statue
तू भी अमरता पा जायेगाYou too will attain immortality
यज्ञ, मूर्ति रख होगा पूराThe ritual will be complete only with the statue
सिय बिन राम रहेगा अधूराWithout Sītā, Rāma will be always be incomplete.

Listen at 3:45 minutes, when he says 'mastak par sooraj ki prabhaa hai', he pauses at 'mastak par ....' - 'on the forehead...' lost in the memories of her company. I think thanks to the TV serials, we can reach out to him as a human, else his character has been so exalted, we never tend to see his side of the story as a man separated from his wife.





"Sometimes I feel I  know Sītā very well, and the very next moment I think I don't know her at all." - what dilemma, what yearning, what drama!

Would you have been able to carry out your duties as a noble king, without faltering? Or would you have simply given up everything in disdain and remorse? What would be more difficult, leaving all this, or bearing all this? Not even remarrying, when it was not unusual for kings to have many wives.

Many - who do not understand much about anything, much less understand poetry or the mass psychology of society, or a scripture written thousands of years ago - have maligned Rāma. There is one classic example used by detractors with agendas - of him asking Sītā to take the fire-test (agni-parīkṣhā). Interestingly, he never asked her to take any test. She understood and took the test on her own accord to prove herself innocent. People do not realize that what Rāma did was not a male dominated woman-oppressing action, but he took all the blame of possible allegations away from her and onto himself.

As a husband, as a king, as a leader he took all that personal sacrifice onto himself. We may be angry at him, upset at him for behaving thus, but no one has ever said a single word against Sītā. That is because what Rāma did. Knowingly. It is not easy to do that when you have just won the war and got your wife back, and no one is expecting you to doubt or leave her. He did this as a preemptive action against possible blemish for her later on. Is that not the epitome of manly love? If there really was women’s oppression then any one of Dasharatha, Rāma, Lakṣhmaṇa could have killed the hunchback maid or Kaikeyī the step-mother.

When you have given up a trillion dollar empire at the whims of a stepmother who is under the spell of a hunchback woman, left everything and lived like a warrior monk in the jungle for over a decade, lost your wife to a kidnapper, never took any other woman to your heart or even with your eyes, gathered an army of alliances, fought the war against the most powerful of all being at the time, then, only then, and surely then, you have the rights to decide whatever you think is right.

And anyone who dares to belittle that, is not even a dust particle, wishing to be in the same time-space zone as the greatness of this soul, the perfect man - Maryādā Pusuṣhottama Rāma.

May your life be guided by his examples, and may you seek answers when in doubt, rather than drawing wrong conclusions.




(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
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