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.

Friday, June 8, 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.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

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.

Thursday, April 26, 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 ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ups and downs are part of life - कूप-यन्त्र-घटिका-न्यायः

 

kūpa-yantra-ghaṭikā nyāyaḥ
कूप-यन्त्र-घटिका न्यायः

At least as far back as the start of the Common Era, a wonderful water-wheel device was made in India for irrigation. It had an ox moving the machine, just like an oil-extraction device. The ox’s movement moved a smaller Ferris wheel kind of mechanism, with buckets instead of seats. At any given time you would find some buckets full of water, some half full, some empty, some emptying, some getting filled.

This is the depiction of life. At any given time, we see people of all levels and states of physical, mental, financial health, sorrow and joy. And with time, a given bucket undergoes the increase and decrease of water. Similarly, a given person also undergoes ups and downs in life. These buckets are wonderful snapshots of life around us. We should not be perturbed too much by the downs, as long as we do our best in a given situation. Just like the good times passed away, so will the bad.

This is also referenced in the classic Sanskrit drama Mṛichchhakaṭikam (The Clay Toy Cart) 10:60 where at the end, the protagonist summarizes the events of the play by quoting this nyāyaḥ.

Another version simply says ghaṭī-yantra nyāyaḥ. In Prabandha-Chintā-Maṇi, ‘O wealth-blinded-stupid person, why do you laugh at someone fallen in trouble? Wealth is not permanent, why is it surprising? Do you not see the buckets of a water-wheel, the empty ones are getting filled and the full ones are getting emptied!’
आपद्गतं हससि किं द्रविणान्धमूढ, लक्ष्मीः स्थिरा न भवतीति किमत्र चित्रम् ।
किं त्वं न पश्यसि घटीजलयन्त्रचक्रे, रिक्ता भवन्ति भरिता भरिताश्च रिक्ताः ॥
āpad_gatam hasasi kim draviṇāndha-mūḍha lakṣhmīḥ sthirā na bhavatīti kimatra chitram; 
kim tvam na pashyasi ghaṭi-jala-yantra-chakré riktā bhavanti bharitā bharitāshcha riktāḥ.


Ups and downs are part of life, endure.
Language notes: कूप-यन्त्र-घटिका न्यायः = kūpa-yantra-ghaṭikā nyāyaḥ | kūpa = a water well. yantra = instrument, machine. ghaṭikā = small vessel.


Photo by Tim Booth

This Maxim has been covered in the book Attitude Shift - Sanskrit Maxims for Contemporary Life and Leadership.



And now the language aspects of the shloka -

kūpa-yantra-ghaṭikā nyāyaḥ

kūpa = well
yantra = instrument, machine
ghaṭikā = small pot. ghaṭa= a regular pot for carrying water
nyāyaḥ= maxim, saying, situational statement. other meaning is justice, but not in this usage.


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

Monday, March 12, 2012

Give your best, be of some worth - अलसस्य कुतो विद्या


No effort
then,  No knowledge
then,  No money
then,  No friend
then,  No joy :(
अलसस्य कुतो विद्या अविद्यस्य कुतो धनम् ।
अधनस्य कुतो मित्रं अमित्रस्य कुतः सुखम् ॥
alasasya kuto vidyā, avidyasya kuto dhanam |
adhanasya kuto mitram, amitrasya kutaḥ sukham || (IAST)
alasasya kuto vidyA, avidyasya kuto dhanam |
adhanasya kuto mitram, amitrasya kutaH sukham || (ITRANS)

This is a very popular shloka, subhāṣhita (सुभाषित, subhAShita, well saying), which is misunderstood often. And the main objection seems to be coming from the rather crass assumption that 'no money, then no friends.' Is friendship supposed to be so shallow? This is not ancient Indian outlook; it is supposed to be all spiritual, goody-goody, well wishing for the world kind of 'mush'.

But, one forgets two things here. One, India has been the richest civilization in the world for the longest time. And you can't build civilizations, or corporations only on spirituality. Just like you cannot have a body without proper material care of it like food, medicine, exercise etc. Empires are not built on abstract spirituality. They can be guided by it, but not only by it.

Second, Sanskrit literature is not only about spirituality. Agreed, it is the most stressed topic, and most different from other civilizations, so the 'special' factor is there, which gets more media coverage, so to speak.

When confronted with sayings like this, how should we interpret it? Or should we just trash it?

Let us ponder upon a few aspects of interpretation like context (who said to whom under what conditions) and main point of the saying, the cause and effect chain and the differentiation between theory and reality.

Effort.
If you do not put effort, you cannot learn anything. And we are not talking about just bookish knowledge in a classroom with uniform and laboratories. Even to be a great painter, machinist, miner, athlete, dancer, car mechanic or what have you, you need to put effort in learning the 'trade'.

Look at a baby. It knows nothing at birth, except wailing. In two years, it has learned more than it will ever learn in a lifetime (proportionately). By age 2, it can stand, run, climb, eat, grasp, talk, make 10 different faces, focus eyes to see, figure out where a sound comes from, and some can even operate an iPad. If a baby were not to put effort, mommy will have to carry him/her around forever!

So, you must put enough effort. What area? What job you will get? That is all secondary. But whatever you choose, put in all you can.

Knowledge.
If you go for a job, any kind, permanent or temporary, Fortune 500 or mom-and-pop shop, housekeeping at a motel or a school teacher, the first question that is on the employer's mind is - 'What do you know? What can you do?'

Some are programmers, some technicians, some policy makers, some negotiators, some campaign managers, some maids, some plumbers, some doctors, some drivers - list is endless. But they all are supposed to know their job.

'Knowledge is power' is not over-stated. It indeed is.

Money.
Many good-hearted people get an uneasy feeling upon hearing the word money. Money is not important mostly to those who have already acquired enough, at least to cover the basic needs and wants of life. After eating, most people do not feel hungry. But that does not make food unimportant!

Other times, it has got an ill-repute. We think of scandals and corruptions, Occupy Wall Street and $1.6 trillion annually spent on military expenses by the world. Yes, that is $1.6 trillion. Imagine if it was used for development, all economic problems of the world can be solved!

Now, the last thought is the crux. Money is not good, bad or ugly. What you do with it, is. Money is a social contract, promise to pay the bearer in kind. You take money and can buy bread, milk or a gun. The barter system was not scalable for growing economies even as back as 5000 years back!

The highly revered Vishnu and Lakshmi both are divinity of preservation, sustenance and wealth and prosperity. How could resources, things, be bad? But the use can be. As a race, we now produce enough food to feed the whole earth, but still so many go hungry and die.

Friends.
Now comes the sticky part. How can we say that "No money? No friends!"

When do you make friends? In childhood, when you did not earn or have money; mind was less complicated without far reaching evil plans. You enjoyed someone's company and you were friends. The second time you made friends was as grown-ups when you had something in common - job, hobby, apartment complex, gym, yoga studio, friends etc.

But we make friends among equals. A very rich person (compared to us) did not make us their friend. Nor did we stoop down four economic levels below to make a friend.

But if you look at it, it says 'the poor does not make friends.' Poor is relative. Sure, poor people have friends. But they too are poor, so relatively they are peers, not poors. You may have made a friend in good times, and now you are having a bad time, friends will help. If you slip too much down, and if it is because you are lazy and unqualified, chances are even friends will start leaving you, or replace friendship with charity.

Friends may be with you in your poor times, but you will not make new, richer friends.

Happiness.
This should not need any explanation at all. We all want friends. To talk and share life experiences. That is why we date, marry, join clubs and societies, throw parties etc. That is the real reason for success of Facebook as well.


So, what is the context and who said it?
This is from Chāṇakya Nīti, and Chāṇakya was not interested in mushy spirituality. He was a statesman, economist, administrator first; and had real job to do, real problems to face - of human incompetency, jealousy, animosity, laziness etc. as part of his job.

What is the main point?
Put effort; be of some worth to the society. Only then will society want to give you a share of the pie.
Without pie, no party; without party, no friends.





And now the language aspects -

alasasya = of the lazy;
kuto = kutaḥ = where?
vidyā = knowledge (of anything);

avidyasya = of the un-knowledgeable;
kuto = kutaḥ = where?
dhanam = money, wealth;

adhanasya = of the poor;
kuto = kutaḥ = where?
mitram = friend;

amitrasya = of the without-friend;
kutaḥ = where;
sukham = happiness?


-sya suffix in the words indicates (of)




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

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spiritual enlightenment with Facebook

Facebook is based on this mission - gather people in close knit groups, and enlighten them spiritually!

How?

1. Time devours all.
You create a page, and add content for months and years. But by default Facebook only shows last few posts, maybe a day or two if you post a lot. You scroll back for older posts. Now imagine if there are 5-10 posts a day on a page (or your own profile), it is not easy to see what has been already posted, and same topics keep appearing, same questions being asked! Unlike a website, where you can quickly search and see content, index, list of posts etc.

So in a sense, posting on Facebook is like creating a Tibetan or Native American sand-painting or a Hindu kolam (rice-flour painting in front of the house that is created daily), throwing it in the flowing river of Time. The timeline is there, but traversing the timeline is like tracing the Sanskrit literature's history - arduous and time-consuming.

"Time eats all lives, Time kills populations, Time is awake when you sleep, it is difficult to escape Time."

Click to read the full post - Time is insurmountable

कालः पचति भूतानि, कालः संहरते प्रजाः |
कालः सुप्तेषु जागर्ति, कालो हि दुरतिक्रमः ||

kAlaH pachati bhUtAni, kAlaH saMharate prajAH |
kAlaH supteShu jAgarti, kAlo hi duratikramaH ||

kālaḥ pachati bhūtāni, kālaḥ saṃharate prajāḥ |
kālaḥ supteṣhu jāgarti, kālo hi duratikramaḥ ||

2. You should live in the present.
And so says a shloka - Past can't be changed, future is not here yet, the wise live in the present (that is they don't spoil their present in lamenting the past or fretting the future)

गते शोको न कर्तव्यो भविष्यं नैव चिन्तयेत् ।
वर्तमानेन कालेन वर्तयन्ति विचक्षणाः ॥

gate shoko na kartavyo bhaviShyaM naiva chintayet |
vartamAnena kAlena vartayanti vichakShaNAH ||(ITRANS)

gate shoko na kartavyo bhaviṣhyaṃ naiva chintayet ।
vartamānena kālena vartayanti vichakṣhaṇāḥ ॥ (IAST)

3. Do good and forget about it.
So, if you have built content over a few years, that is all gone in the darkness of history. No one can give a quick link to a Wall post that ended up in a wonderful discussion a year ago! Most of them won't even come up in a search. Some of the best discussions on Practical Sanskrit that happened last year are buried so deep, you couldn't find them if you wanted to.

4. It is all temporary.
In Page reach statistics, to tell you how many people the Page is actually reaching out to, or how many people are talking about it, it uses a short time period (first 30 day stats only), which means that if a post becomes popular after 30 days it won't matter!

5. You are not the body, but the spirit.
There are so many Facebook contacts that are virtually virtual, contacts through virtual world activity, many you have never seen in real life. But on Facebook where your word, thought is only that reaches out and not the physical interaction, it is truly the spirit that matters and not the body!

6. Why be attached to money? Jagat mithyA (The world is an illusion)
IshAvAsya upaniShad (ईशावास्य उपनिषद् ) opens with - मा गृध कस्य स्विद्धनं 'mA gRidha kasya svid_dhanam' - don't covet, for whose is the money? Implying that you didn't bring anything in this world, so it is not yours to begin with.

To all the friends addicted to Farmville and other games where you can buy a fertilizer or a hint for a dollar - 'the money is not yours to begin with, throw it in the deep well of Facebook!'

The world that you thought to be real as late as five years back, is not real. It is mithyA, illusion. Once you enter the vaikuNTha (frustration free) of Facebook, the veil of false reality removed, you see the truth in the FBville of 800 million souls, happily wondering. They say that in vaikuNTha, the abode of viShNu, there is no body needs like hunger, thirst, pain etc. So is true when surfing Facebook. The hungry of the world should be given an iPod with FB preloaded, and that will solve the hunger problem!


How has Facebook helped you in your spiritual enlightenment?




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

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Got friends? Here are four.



Got friends? Here are four.

The first three are friends in this mortal world, but who is our friend even after death?
Dharma. What we do here in this world, that can take us to heaven or hell or to mokSha forever!
If we follow our natural role in the society earnestly, we will have no regrets and no wants remaining, and the one without wants has already attained mokSha!!


In foreign lands knowledge is friend, at home the spouse.
Medicine is the friend of the sick, and dharma, that of the dead.
विद्या मित्रं प्रवासेषु भार्या मित्रं गृहेषु च ।
व्याधितस्यौषधं मित्रं धर्मो मित्रं मृतस्य च ॥
vidyā mitram pravāséṣhu, bhāryā mitram gṛihéṣhu cha |
vyādhi_tasyau_ṣhadham mitram, dharmo mitram mṛitasya cha || [IAST]

vidyA mitram pravAseShu, bhAryA mitram gRiheShu cha |
vyAdhi_tasyau_Shadham mitram, dharmo mitram mRitasya cha || [ITRANS]






And now the language aspects -


vidyA = knowledge
mitram = friend
pravAseShu = in foreign lands
bhAryA = wife (or spouse for modern times)
mitram = friend
gRiheShu = in the homes
cha = and
vyAdhitasya = of the sick
auShadham = herbs/medicine
mitram = friend
dharmo = dharmaH = good deeds, values, principles
mitram = friend
mRitasya = of the dead
cha = and




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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Speak Truth, Speak Sweet, No harsh truths, No sweet lies,



Summarizing the crux of perennial philosophy or sanātana dharma, Manusmṛiti 4:138 says – “Say what is true, say what is sweet, but do not say what is true but not sweet, nor say what is sweet but not true. This is the perennial wisdom.”

Many people interpret the third instruction as a sanction to tell sweet lies. However, the fourth instruction clarifies that. 

What it means is that when you have to convey a situation of harsh truth, you can deliver it sweetly, gently, cushioning the blow. If you cannot find ways even to sweeten the blow that you will deliver, then you are not trying hard. Feel with your heart and you will find a nicer way to communicate. 

If you are a leader, or someone others look up to, you cannot break someone’s heart and still expect him or her to follow you wholeheartedly.

Word is sacred. Word is potent. Veda advices to avoid harsh or bad words. Truths expressed harshly is not actually helping the recipient. Occasional reverse psychology may work, or as some call as 'rude awakening', but that requires compassion as well, since the rudeness is only a ploy to get the message across and not genuine disregard or lack of compassion.





And now the language aspects -

Speak Truth, Speak Sweet,
No harsh truths, No sweet lies,
- That is the eternal dharma.

सत्यं ब्रूयात्प्रियं ब्रूयान्न ब्रूयात्सत्यमप्रियम् ।
प्रियं च नानृतं ब्रूयादेष धर्मः सनातनः ॥

satyam brūyat_priyam brūyan_na brūyāt_satyam_apriyam ।
priyam cha nānṛitam brūyādéṣha dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ ॥ [IAST]

satyam brUyat_priyam brUyan_na brUyAt_satyam_apriyam ।
priyam cha nAnRitam brUyAdeSha dharmaH sanAtanaH ॥ [ITRANS]


satyam = truth

brUyat_priyam = should speak, sweet
brUyAt = should peak
priyam = dear, sweet

brUyan_na = should speak, not
brUyAt = should speak
na = not


brUyAt_satyam_apriyam = should speak, truth, not sweet
brUyAt = should speak
satyam = truth
a-priyam = not sweet

priyam = sweet, dear

cha = and

nAnRitam = not, truth
na = not
an-Ritam = not-truth

brUyAdeSha = should speak, this
brUyAt = should speak
eShaH = this

dharmaH = dharma, right action, duty, practice, obligation

sanAtanaH = perennial




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

Monday, February 20, 2012

A child's calling for Shiva - हे नटराज


A personal favorite of mine is this wonderful song of calling Shiva, by the young Tansen.

The movie - Sangeet Samrat Tansen (saṅgīta samrāṭ tānaséna : Music Emperor Tansen) based on the music maestro Tansen, a few centuries ago, who still holds many new raga-s to his name in the classical Indian music.
Here he is a small boy, at a Shiva temple, and starts to sing in his praise.



The words he uses are all names for Shiva, as follows:

Maha Shiva Ratri - महा-शिव-रात्रि


Three wonderful videos of the Shiva Tandava Stotra, including one from a TV serialization of Ravana singing it himself! Enjoy.
Many well wishes for Maha Shiva Ratri महाशिवरात्रि





Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hindu Prayer Book (Hindi)


Hindu Prayer Book (Hindi)

A new and expanded print and Kindle version of this book is coming soon. The goal is to provide accurate transliteration, easy to read for new-comers, word by word accurate translation, and meaning to help you understand your devotion.

For inquiries please contact Shashi@PracticalSanskrit.com or visit http://facebook.com/PracticalSanskritor http://PracticalSanskrit.com

Hindu Prayer Book - Hindi translation. Compilation of most common prayers. This was in response to an article published in Cleveland Plain Dealer in January 2003 that Kirtans are becoming very popular in Cleveland, but not (m)any knew the meaning. Then some ’experts’ commented that words are not important and even that words can be an obstruction to real realization.

The question then comes - why then sing a kirtan, bhajan, and that too in Sanskrit? Words are important, when they convey an idea. So this humble collection of important and common mantras, shlokas, and artis.

Any error is mine,
any perfection is divine.

Simple shloka-s for children and adults alike.
Daily prayer shloka-s and mantras






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

Hindu Prayer Book (English)

Hindu Prayer Book (English)


A new and expanded print and Kindle version of this book is coming soon. The goal is to provide accurate transliteration, easy to read for new-comers, word by word accurate translation, and meaning to help you understand your devotion.

The first section will have uninterrupted devanAgarI of the shaloka-s, mantra-s, aartai-s etc.
The second will have the full content in IAST format (Roman characters with diacritic marks).
Once you understand every word and meaning, you won't need the later section.

Then the third section will have word by word meaning, detailed explanations of each usage, stories behind each name. For example, why is Shiva called Neelkantha, and why Parvati called Uma.
The explanations will give your devotion a solid ground of understanding, not just blind 'faith'.
If you new to Hindu devotion/spirituality or an old hand, this will help understand why spirituality and Hindu religion is not a matter of blind faith but of deep psychology, philosophy and spirituality.


For inquiries please contact Shashi@PracticalSanskrit.com or visit http://facebook.com/PracticalSanskrit
or http://PracticalSanskrit.com

Read sample of the older version below.

Hindu Prayer Book - English translation and transliteration. Compilation of most common prayers. This was in response to an article published in Cleveland Plain Dealer in January 2003 that Kirtan-s are becoming very popular in Cleveland, but not (m)any knew the meaning. Then some ’experts’ commented that words are not important and even that words can be an obstruction to real realization.

The question then comes - why then sing a kirtan, bhajan, and that too in Sanskrit? Words are important, when they convey an idea. So this humble collection of important and common mantras, shloka-s, and arti-s.

Any error is mine,
any perfection is divine.

Simple shloka-s for children and adults alike.
Daily prayer shloka-s and mantras






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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Conquer evil with good - अक्रोधेन जयेत् क्रोधम्


This  wonderful pearl of human psychology comes from the wise minister Vidura (vidura, विदुर) of the Emperor Dhritarashtra (dhRitarAShTra, धृतराष्ट्र) of the Kuru (कुरु) empire. The Emperor had real untrue policies, unjust actions which caused the major civil war of historic India. The wise minister in over 500 shloka-s advices the king in the epic Mahabharata.

This is one of the gems.

The advice applies if you are overcoming anger (or evil, greed, lie) in others or in yourself.

Conquer Anger with Calmness.
Anger (krodha) is something we confront regularly. Either expressed violently or slowly simmering. Neither one is good. One spoils the relationship, other our intestines. Anger is like the fire that burns the angry, as much or more than it scorches the recipient of anger.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It is not done, till it is done - अजातपुत्रनामोत्कीर्तन



CHANTING UNBORN SON’S NAME
ajāta-putra-nāma
अजात-पुत्र-नाम

In the USA, you have to name the baby before it leaves the hospital, in three days, since the Social Security Office has to be notified. In Indian tradition, the child is named only on the 11th day after birth. One of the reasons for this ancient practice was the high mortality rate in childbirth, as was all over the world. Whoever survived, lived long, whoever was biologically weak was eliminated by nature early on. Sad but true.

Be Happy. Be Healthy. See the good. - सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः


सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ॥

sarvé bhavantu sukhinaḥ , sarvé santu nirāmayāḥ |
sarvé bhadrāṇi pashyantu , mā kashchid_duḥkha-bhāg-bhavét || [IAST]

sarve bhavantu sukhinaH , sarve santu nirAmayAH |
sarve bhadrANi pashyantu , mA kashchid_duHkha-bhAg-bhavet || [ITRANS]

All should/must be happy, be healthy, see good; 
may no one have a share in sorrow.


The mantra, or shloka has 4 parts or phrases. The first three have the same format - "All a-must/should-verb an-adjective"

Notice the bhavantu, santu, pashyantu? They are all 'must/should' form of the verb.
'sarve' means all. So this is about all. 'bhavantu sukhinaH' means all should/must be happy. 'sukhi' means comfortable, without sorrow, happy. And 'bhavantu means 'they should/must be [happy]'.

Similarly for santu (must be) and pashyantu (must see).

With all these three, the idea is you should.must be happy, itis something under your control, you have to act on these.

But the last one 'bhavet' is a wishful dictate - 'May you'. This is what should happen (ideal, imperative) and may this happen.

Why so? Read on.

Be Happy.
You choose to be happy. It is a reaction to a situation, but you can make it a state of mind as well. You can be sad, depressed, angry, jealous or just be yourself - happy. The basic states of the divine and all of us are -' sat-chit-Ananda', that is, to be, to be aware and to be happy/blissful. That is our normal state. Children are usually happy, sometimes even for no reason. All they need is food and sleep and they are happy. Unless they meet a grumpy grown up! But if you are not happy now, just remember your childhood. Most of us have happy memories of our childhood.

No one else can make you happy. Even when 'bad' events happen, it is our attachment, our ignorance of the big play of Time, that we choose to be not happy. Don't say "So and so made me unhappy, or angry." Say, "I chose to be unhappy or angry in reaction to this or that situation." If you watch the nature documentaries about the animal kingdom, you find that the same basic tragedies happen to the animals as to us. We have compounded them by adding abstract pains and worries as well. Birth, death, meeting and separating keeps happening. That is what Krishna (kRiShNa, कृष्ण) says in Gita (gItA, गीता) - "Ups and downs come and go, bear them O Arjun."

Be Healthy.
Our natural state is of health. You may point out birth defects, and yes that is an exception. But rarely you find a life form unhealthy, unless they have just fought with an opponent. Bulls gore each other during the mating season, and that is the only injuries to an animal not yet hunted. Otherwise, they are all healthy.

We on the other hand, have made bad choices in our life style and started to fall ill. Too much sugar in our diet, which was never in abundance in nature. Too much food as such for the 'haves', and no food for the 'have-nots', causing illness in both groups. The obesity epidemic in US is just one example of what we can do to ourselves by bad choices.

The Sanskrit word for healthy is 'svastha' स्वस्थ - sva-stha - self-positioned, that is, one who is centered in Self, the natural state. That is everyone who survived the first few years of life is destined to be healthy. Even in modern medicine, when we think the doctor is helping with the medicine, the medicine mostly only controls the symptoms to ease our discomfort and helps the body heal itself. The body knows. It is us who don't listen to the signals due to our weakness of determination and make bad choices.

See the good.
As the saying goes - It is all in the attitude. If you want to see the bad, there is plenty. If you want to see the good, there is plenty too. It does not mean to turn a blind eye on evil, or where you can really improve. But don't just focus on the negative. See the positive also.

If you see only the negative in others and make their life miserable by constant nagging - what do you achieve with that? It doesn't help the person improve. And if your goal is not to help improve the other person then why even bother. And, sometimes things are beyond control. In which case you have to let go of the negative. A handicap person will not become able if you don't see beyond the handicap and focus on the positives, on what can-be, rather on what is-not.

All the above are under your control, they are within your will power. You choose the above.

Hence the dictate, the order is - "You must [choose to] be happy, you must [choose to] be healthy, you must [choose to] see the good."


May no one have sorrow.
There are three ways that 'duHkha' can come. The words are not exactly translatable without losing some other shades of the meaning. 'tApa' (ताप) or heat (tApa-mAna = temperature) also means that which scorches you, that which you endure. It also means sorrow, which scorches the heart. There are three sources of this sorrow/calamity/bad-state - self-inflicted (AdhyAtmika, आध्यात्मिक), inflicted by others (Adhi-bhautika, आधि-भौतिक) and caused by (super-)natural forces (Adhi-daivika, आधि-दैविक).

The "shAntiH, shAntiH, shAntiH" (शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ) at the end of a shAntiH pATha is not for 'three is a charm' but for these three types of sorrows to be calmed.

Since there is the 'other' factor here, there is the blessing that may no one have a share in sorrow. duHkha-bhAg is one who has a share in sorrow. So the blessing/wish goes - "May no one be a one-who-gets-a-share-in-sorrow."



So, unlike popularly understood, it is not 'May you be happy, healthy...'. No, you are hereby ordered (you should/must) to be happy, healthy ...

You have no choice now!

You are 'it' - the happy, healthy, nice person! You have been tagged!

Here is a very old mantra that is not only hip for today's times, it is actually the stark reality facing us. Not many of us realize the truth of this dictate-cum-blessing from the ancient seers.

Happiness, health and attitude are in our own hands.

Get up and be.




And now the language aspects -

sarve = all
bhavantu = become (as in 'you should/must become', 'bhavati' = happens)
sukhinaH = happy, without sorrow, comfortable.
santu = should/must 'asti' (is)
nirAmayAH = without (nir) sickness (Amaya)
bhadrANi = nice, good, (plural). from bhadra = gracious, good, fortunate.
pashyantu = should/must see. pashyati (sees).
mA = not
kashchit = anyone/someone [kashit kAntA = some girl]

duHkha-bhAg = one who has a share in sorrow
duHkha = sorrow, pain
bhAg = share, or the who has a share in (from this comes bhAgya = destiny, your share of the future)

bhavet = should happen





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