Monday, July 27, 2009

Science is the only eye - सर्वस्य लोचनं शास्त्रं

It blasts many doubts, foresees what is not obvious |
Science is the eye of everyone, one who hasn't got it, is like a blind ||

अनेकसंशयोच्छेदि, परोक्षार्थस्य दर्शकम् ।
सर्वस्य लोचनं शास्त्रं, यस्य नास्त्यन्ध एव सः ॥

aneka-saMshayo_chchhedi, paroksh_Arthasya darshakam |
sarvasya lochanam shAstram, yasya nAstyandha eva saH ||

[ _ and - used for pronunciation help only. see below ]

It would come as a surprise to many that unlike Europe, where there was a constant friction between religion and science, in India both went together.

Here, in the opening chapter of Hitopadesha, the king who was on a morning stroll along the river, hears some students reciting their homework early in the morning. they recited two shloka-s, one of which is this, the second we will cover later.

It shows the importance of shAstra, science, fields of study.
shAstra is a field of science, study like - rasAyana-shAstra (chemistry), khagola-shAstra (astronomy), artha-shAstra (economics, politics), chhanda-shAstra (study of verses, meter, poetry), nATya-shAstra (dramatics, theater). Some classics works are called xyz-sUtra. These are part of the shAstra, but composed in form of tight formulae, like kAma-sUtra, yoga-sUtra, chhanda-sUtra.

So not only were there names for various branches, which shows they were highly developed, their importance well accepted.

Science, unbiased pursuit of truth, is the only path to find facts. These could be hard sciences with labs and apparatus. or it could be soft sciences like the study of society, mind, behavior, philosophy. Science is finally the method, not the field.

One has to be a bit careful today about science. Because of multi-million dollar funding, many times facts of science (truths) are hidden, released at 'appropriate' times. e.g. Phillip Morris knew of the addictive nature of nicotine (science), but they distorted it, hid it (incomplete picture of science). Same goes for formula/powder milk for babies, synthetic diapers, and many other views of so called experts. That is not the fault of science, but of scientists and big corporates.

If we have a doubt, and science has uncovered it so far, then the doubts are blasted, cleared, settled, quickly. Else, some research and the doubts can again be blasted. Well, not for some chronic doubters! Because as they say, there is no medicine for doubt :)

And what about prophecy? Future telling? Well, science can tell us the results of somethings without having to do it every time. E.g. if we chop off the trees for urban development, the local climate will change. Science is used to guide our social policies and how it will impact our future. It can foresee our path of success or doom, we rarely care about that is a different story :)

This science is the true eye of people. Those who merely think of the physical eye as the eye, are actually like blind people. They can't see the future, the far reaching effects of their deeds.

There are many examples of science found scattered in "religious" texts of sanskrit. We will touch upon those as time comes and if their sanskrit is simple!

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Now the shloka at hand:

the use of - and _ is only for pronunciation aid. sanskrit itself doesn't have either.

- where two words break properly. e.g. aneka-saMshaya
_ where the words don't break exactly, but approximately.
e.g. paroksha + arthasya = parokshArthasya --> too long to pronounce. so parokash_Arthasya

aneka = an + eka = not one = many; an- prefix
eka = one. it is used in chemistry's periodic table as well! Elements as eka-mercury, eka-bismuth, eka-lead.

saMshayo_chchhedi =
saMshaya = doubt
uchchhedi = blaster
chhed = hole; chhidra = hole, loophole
chhidrAnveShI = chhidra (loop-hole) + anveShi (discoverer) = loophole discoverer
uchchheda = ut + chheda = tear through the hole, blast, explode (like a pricked balloon)

paroksh_Arthasya = paraH + aksha + arthasya
paraH = not here, in front, other, else where
aksha = eyes
paroksha = not in front the eyes, (future), elsewhere
parokshArtha = paroksha + artha (meaning) = meaning of the future, the (yet) unseen
darshakaM = viewer, spectator, one who sees;

parokshArthasya darshakaM = viewer of the unforeseen, what is not obvious (in front of the eyes)

sarvasya = of (-sya suffix) all (sarva)

lochanaM = eye

shAstraM = science; see the post on shastraM, shAstraM

yasya = whose; yaH = who + -sya suffix

nAstyandha = na + asti + andhaH = is (asti) not (na);

eva = like

saH = he (generic, group pronoun)
sA = she
tat = it

[Thank you Srinivasn for pointing out the error, it has been corrected]

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(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
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  1. This site is just brilliant. If I had the knowledge, id have built a site like this. As it is, im just enjoying the wealth of knowledge :-)

    Arvind Chandra Sen. Mauritius.

  2. Very interesting and Helpful. Especially the Elaborated summary in English helps me a lot since I am teaching these slokas to children. Dhanyosmi..

  3. Thank you very for your great service to this divine language.. needless to say helping us a lot.. But Sorry if I am wrong by poking my nose in your noble business.. But still....
    It is regarding the last line ‘यस्य नास्ति अन्धैव सः’ अन्ध+एव=अन्धैव but this is meaningless [if you say अन्ध-there is no विभक्ति in it!] It should be अन्धः+एव and it is actually विसर्गसन्धि here and becomes अन्ध एव - [Ex:अर्जुन उवाच]. if you say अन्ध+इव, though the usage of इव is very much fitting here, once again it is विसर्गसन्धि and it should be अन्ध इव सः ॥ not अन्धैव सः ॥ if you make सन्धि between नास्ति+अन्धैव it becomes यस्य नास्त्यन्धैव सः । अन्ध+इव=अन्धेव (गुणसन्धिः) not अन्धैव(वृद्धिसन्धिः) Now, if you count the number of letters it is 7 not 8, which is required for अनुष्टुभ् meter. But in a sloka सन्धि is compulsory.. So it can be either अन्ध एव or अन्ध इव but no अन्धैव । धन्योस्मि / क्षम्यताम्

  4. Shobhodhayagalu

    unexpectedly i got in to this web page, when i was in search for science and technology in ancient India. i was surprised and overwhelmed to see this article,it is of great help as a teacher to understand to deliver it to students to bring in pride feeling in them about our great nation.I would like to use your name as reference for one of my presentation sir kindly share your name and other relevant information so that can use for my reference with your kind permission.

    thanks again..


  5. very interesting . . a lot to read and digest ion this site. thank you for the effort.
    kind regards


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