Sunday, July 5, 2009

the four friends - knowledge, wife, medicine, dharma

knowledge is a friend in foreign lands, wife a friend at home |
medicine is a friend to the ill, and dharma is a friend to the dead ||

विद्या मित्रं प्रवासेषु, भार्या मित्रं गृहेषु च ।
व्याधितस्यौषधं मित्रं, धर्मो मित्रं मृत्तस्य च ॥

vidyA mitraM pravAseShu, bhAryA mitraM gRiheShu cha |
vyAdhitasyauShadhaM mitraM, dharmo mitraM mRittasya cha ||

for the one who is living away from home, knowledge is the best friend. one can read up on the place even before going, know the language, customs, do's and don'ts, customs, quirks, everything, and not be so left out like a stranger. (sure money is also a good friend, but you might get cheated out of it all, if you are aware of the new place. e.g. now in the city of bangalore in india, cops can't stop you just to check the paperwork, after a recent news. if one is from outside and doesn't know this, one may end up paying fine for not carrying insurance paper but driving perfectly fine.

(there is another shloka that goes "kaH videshaH savidyAnAM" - i.e. what is foreign to the knowledgeable)

at home, wife is the best friend. among her many roles, the wife plays the role of mother, friend, confidant, adviser, lover (just like a husband to the wife).

to the ill, medicines are the best friend!

but all these friends are only of this mortal world. one comes alone, goes alone. then who is the friend after life? in afterlife?

dharma. what we did here in this world. i.e. people will remember us by what we did herein this world, even after we are gone. our fame or ill-fame depends on what we do in this world. the merits earned here will also give us the various travel classes in the other world - platinum/gold/silver member (hopefully not the frequent flyer miles!) business, economy, coach.

so do good here, while you can, to the best of your ability. the only way you can be immortal for the short span of civilization's memory is with the impact of your deeds.

simple sanskrit. great ideas.

now the shloka at hand

vidyA = knowledge
mitraM = friend; indra, the king of the divine gods, is also called mitraM, and so is the sun, both being friends of humans and life in general.

pravAseShu = in living away
vAsa = act of residing, AvAsa = residence, home, coming and/to reside
pra-vAsa = going out and residing, away from home, in foreign lands

bhAryA = wife
vyAdhi = illness
vyAdhitasya = of the one who is ill (-sya suffix for "of" in masc. gender)
auShadha = medicine

dharmaH = right deeds, actions; policy, duty, innate nature, defining characteristic
mRittasya = of the dead
mRittikA = soil. mRita = dead, that which has become soil again (back in the elements)

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

1 comment:

  1. Sir,

    Isn't this a quote from the Yaksha Prashna? I simply love it-seemingly simple and overwhelmingly complex. Thanks for explaining this.

    An idea: how about beginning a Yaksha Prashna section - and explain one set of questions per week or something? Then we could move on to Vidhura Needhi, Srimadh Bhagath Geetha etc. I am suggesting this so that we can also gain knowledge on the full works, not just some quotes.

    Lots of thanks, and Namskaarams,


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