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 ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.