Wednesday, July 7, 2010

brave, smart, wise giver - शतेषु जायते शूर

among a hundred is born one valorous; among a thousand [is born] an intelligent.
an orator among ten thousand; a [true]giver, may or may not [be born]!

shateShu jAyate shUra, sahasreShu cha paNDitaH ।
vaktA dashasahasreShu, dAtA bhavati vA na vA ।।

शतेषु जायते शूर, सहस्रेषु च पण्डितः ।
वक्ता दशसहस्रेषु, दाता भवति वा न वा ॥

śateṣu jāyate śūra, sahasreṣu ca paṇḍitaḥ ।
vaktā daśasahasreṣu, dātā bhavati vā na vā ॥

(some places it says dAtA lakSheShu jAyate, i.e. a giver is born among 100,000)

valor, intelligence, oratory, giving - they are considered rarer and rarer than the previous one. that is the main point of this shloka. what is the significance of this order?

valor or bravery is executed at the body level. in times of emergency, the decision is even made by the nervous system, doesn't even need permission from the brain. a component of this is at an animal level, the urge to fight and prove the might, turf protection. or to fight injustice.

the word for bravery is sAhasa (साहस), which comes from sahasA, all of a sudden. so sAhasa is not an admirable quality most of the time, but invaluable in emergencies, where it can make you climb 5 floors and rescue someone. it is also dangerous if you overestimate your powers out of emotional surge.

but still, valor is not everyone's cup of tea. hence, one in 100 has valor, the strength and will to fight injustice or do heroic deeds.

this is still a physical thing, in the sense that a lot of it is nature endowed. you are born with the brain capacity so to say, and the infrastructure on which intellect builds. nurture helps a lot in making or losing the synapses, the neural connections, which ultimately define how much of it we are using.

even among those born with great brains, many lose out the neural connections simply because they are not given enough stimulation in the early childhood. and brain uses the 'use it or lose it' law. if certain neural connections are not used, they die away. others get reinforced. these are the ones which become our 'second nature'. we don't have to think about these, like eating, walking, etc.

yet, intellect is rarer. and if we take paNDita to mean wise as well, then the element of patience, time, experience also comes, which still reduces the numbers.

why is this rarer than the wise? one may ask. well, what is meant by a vaktA (वक्ता)? one who can convey his/her ideas effectively. not just one who can speak or talk. but really speak, talk, reach out to the souls of people. shake their thinking, convince them that the sun comes out in night!

how many such people do you see around? when they talk, all listen intently! see across the ages, among the celebrities or anyone. the charisma of words to hold the audience captive is rare.

to learn is one thing, to understand and be able to teach it, get it across to another properly, without ambiguity or doubt, is totally another. all wise people are not good teachers either. not all swAmIs are good gurus. a swAmI controls himself, a guru teaches others. it needs special skills in handling a student.

when hanUmAn finds sItA in la~NkA in rAvaNa's garden, he thinks how to speak. if he spoke in chaste saMskRitam (sanskrit) she may not believe him and think it was sorcery of rAvaNa. whenever hanUmAn speaks in rAmAyaNa, it is always filled with wisdom and thought and are very convincing. even rAma listens to his advice. when rAma and lakShmaNa first meet hanUmAn as a human, rAma can not stop praising the beautiful way of his speaking, flawless, poetic, wise...

when you see the movie industry, many are involved in the making, few are actors, even fewer are leads that hold a movie just by their screen presence, but among all these, fewer are those who give back, as in charity, social causes etc.! just a crude analogy to our times.

valor or bravery was at the body level, intellect at the mind level, wisdom over time, but what about giver? one who gives has reached the heart level. s/he has started to identify everyone with oneself, AND started to act upon that realization by giving, helping others.

the intelligent may know that one should give, the orator may convince you to give and yet, only when you actually give have you reached the stage of going beyond yourself and stepping in the divinity. but give without ego.

what is true giving? sAttvika dAna? we already discussed this -
given with a sense of compulsion/duty, to someone who can't pay back, given in proper time, place and to worthy receiver is called true giving.

how many of us have so much to spare, yet we don't give much to the needy. we don't even give our full attention to anyone these days! what to say of giving materials to the needy. when we give, we give as a result of our need to be guilt free, rather than the others' need. hence, when we don't want to give, we can quickly make excuses for why we should not give. we give what we don't need, not what someone needs.

that is why it is said that "a true giver? well, may or may not be (born even) in a hundred thousand!"

be brave. be smart. be wise. give.

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and now the language aspects of the shloka -

shateShu = in hundreds
shatam = hundred
-eShu suffix for 'in', plural
related words:
shatAbdi = 100 years
shataka = century (as in cricket also)

jAyate = takes birth, is born
not to be confused with jayate (which means, wins; as in satyameva jayate)

shUra = valorous.
the word sAhasI is not valorous, but someone who does something 'sahasA', suddenly. so sAhasa is not an admired quality, shaurya or valor is.

sahasreShu = in thousands
sahasra = 1000
mahAbhArata is called shata-sahasrI = 100x1000 shlokas in it!
-eShu suffix for 'in', plural
also, it is NOT sahastra

cha = and
paNDitaH = intelligent person, wise person (though the word for wise is 'dhIraH') :) :) )

vaktA = speaker
vAk = speech
vAgdevI = saraswatI, deity of speech

dasha-sahasreShu = in ten thousand
dasha = ten

dAtA = giver
dad = to give
dAna = charity

bhavati = happens
vA = maybe
na vA = or maybe not (na = not)

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

You are definitely one in sahsra kotis Raguveeradayal

shashi said...

सहस्रधन्यवादाः, thousands of thanks, raguveerji.

inthearmchair said...

Nice. दश्सहस्रेषु is an excellent example of a tongue twister.

CK said...

I've heard about a version which says "Shrotha bhavathi va na va" and use it to highlight teh importance of listening skills. Please let me know if this is right.

shashi said...

ck, i have not heard it with shrotA.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I have seen this - makes me to want to learn it all, so nice A BIG THANKS.

shashi said...

thank you anonymous! please keep visiting. read more selected writings at -

mpckar said...

This is good! Really good. There are any number of "last line shlokas" we use frequently in discussions and debates to drive our point home; but the complete shloka is long forgotten. I think it will be nice to have a forum wherein people can ask as well as contribute the complete shlokas.

Dr. Mohan Chougaonkar

शांतीसुधा said...

@ CK, I guess you are right. I also have heard the same thing. But 'giver' also goes with the verse.

Anonymous said...

The true giver in Marathi is called "DAtAr" as Jnaneshwar Maharaj called his Guru Nivruttinath. What is the most one can give .. money? wealth ? or life itself ? as in save someone's life from danger ? But Indian philosophy says birth after death is certain, so only a true Guru gives liberation and that is why a true giver is rare and one may or may not come across him/her during (this) lieftime.

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