Saturday, August 8, 2009

recipe for disaster - यौवनं धनसम्पत्तिः

youth, prosperity of wealth,
power of authority and lack of right judgment;
each one is enough for catastrophe/disaster,
what to say where all four are present.

यौवनं धनसम्पत्तिः प्रभुत्वमविवेकिता ।
एकैकमप्यनर्थाय किमु यत्र चतुष्टयं ॥

yauvanaM dhana-sampattiH, prabhutvam-avivekitA |
ekaikamapyanarthAya kimu yatra chatuShTayaM ||

this shloka is the second of the shlokas that king sudarshan heard on his morning walk by the river gangA (no, Ganges is NOT the right name). see the first shloka here. (hitopadesh kathAmukhaM)

four situations that may cause mishaps, misfortune, catastrophe, wrongdoing.

youth -
youth think they are immortal, nothing is impossible (or should i use the copyrighted - impossible is nothing!), nothing can hurt them. they would do craziest things like para-sailing, driving motorcycles on rear wheel at 130 miles per hour, or any such adventure sport (add you favorite crazy thing here), which someone with family and secure job and a bit of age would consider - insane!

youth may also not consider the pros and cons always, the passion and the hormones take the edge off of reasoning and thinking! do you know a teenager who fits the bill? can you relate to the crazy things you had done in your youth! youth could care less, but they are reckless :)
[these generalization should not be taken to mean absolute rule]

there is a word 'sAhasI' which people translate wrongly as 'brave'. sAhasI comes from 'sahasA' which means suddenly. so 'sAhasI' is one who does things suddenly, without much thought to it. youth is 'sAhasI', doing without much thought, at times turns out to be bravery as well, since if you had time to think, you may not have done it.

the king sudarshan who heard this shloka, had such sons - teenagers, all hormones and mischief!

wealth -
that is another mind-mangler! just like power corrupts, wealth has made mess of otherwise nice people! heard of people who think they are above law because they have the greenbacks? the money! they make their own rules, splurge, ridicule, waste, gamble, go bankrupt. usually these are those who inherited the wealth rather than those who made it with hard work themselves.

the king sudarshan who heard this shloka, had such sons - rich by inheritance!

the word used here is dhana-sampatti. sampatti means prosperity. it could be prosperity of wealth (dhana-), of happiness (sukha-), of any other thing. here it specifically says prosperity of wealth is one that messes the brain,and makes people do wrong things. someone with prosperity of happiness doesn't do wrong or bad things.

also, in the most famous Arati 'om jaya jagadIsha hare' has -

jo dhyAve, phala pAve, duHkha vinashe mana kA |
sukha-sampatti ghara Ave, kaShTa miTe tana kA ||

and one day, a close relative of mine commented - all our prayers are just asking for money, give me this and give me that, and cited these lines.

but to carefully note is - it is not asking for wealth and happiness, but wealth OF happiness. the translation of the AratI is -
"whosoever meditates (upon thee), gets the result, sorrow of the heart is destroyed. the wealth of happiness comes in the home and pain of the body is also gone"

power, authority -
oh, what to say here! "power corrupts" is so true!
in the intoxication of the wine of power, people have done so gross misuse in every country, race, time. it just gets to our head! be it kaMsa, rAvaNa, saddam, hitler or idi amin, power corrupts equally, or any recent leaders dripping in oil!

the king sudarshan who heard this shloka, had such sons - powerful by being princes!

state of lack of viveka -
viveka has to be understood as the mature faculty of knowing what is right and wrong, not in a personal, political way, but true-to-yourself, you-be-your-only-judge way!
deep down we know, even when we are doing the wrong thing.

but sometimes, we are not mature enough to even understand something. that can lead to wrong decisions, emotional decisions, immature decisions, an undeserved war, or unprepared drought! or simply saying the wrong thing in the wrong company and costing your job or something!

the king sudarshan who heard this shloka, had such sons - no viveka, only power to play with!

this shloka sets him thinking about the uselessness of his sons and future of his kingdom. more to follow.

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and now the language aspects of the shloka -

yauvanaM = youth

dhana-sampattiH = prosperity (sampatti) of wealth (dhana)
sampatti = prosperity
opp. vipatti = troubles

prabhutwamavivekitA = prabhutwaM + avivekitA
prabhu = lord, one with authority; master, owner
prabutwaM = prabhu + -twa suffix = authority, power, masterhood, ownership

viveka = faculty of right judgment, discrimination (not the bad kind :) )
aviveka = lack of viveka (a- prefix mean 'not', among other meanings)
avivekitA = state of lacking viveka

ekaikamapyanarthAya = each one is (enough) for catastrophe
this one is a great example for sandhi, liason, where vowels combine and make a line long word!

eka + ekaM + api + anarthAya = one, even one, for catastrophe
ekaikaM + api + anarthAya
ekaikamapi + anarthAya

i + a = y

and this is the reason 'y' is called 'semi vowel', a e i o u and sometimes y
because it is made of vowel sounds. try saying i and a in succession, and then fast, 'y' will come out.

artha = meaning, purpose, meaningful
an-artha = bad meaning, very wrong happening, catastrophic calamity!

kimu = what (to say)
the word is only "kim" denoting a question in various shades. here it means 'what'
but why kimu, the trailing 'u'?
these can be termed as minor modifications to fill the meter.
with kim, we have only 7 syllables (vowels), with kimu we have 8 in the 4th part of the shloka. this verse meter is called anuShTup, which has 8,8,8,8 syllables (vowels)
kiM yatra chatuShTayaM has 7 vowels, hence the kimu. sometimes, meter filling is done with minor modifications to the word, another filler word is 'khalu' which also connotes - 'undoubtedly', 'to show pleading', 'general asking', 'argument'

yatra = where
other wors = atra = here; tatra = there; kutra = where; sarvatra = everywhere; anyatra = elsewhere;

chatuShTayaM = the four

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


  1. Wonderful. I am a fan of your blog without being a member of any social networking site.

    त्वामहम अभिवादयमि ।

    - उमेश, पुणे

  2. superb work....sir we are proud of u...

  3. Wow! Nice to come across these couplets after years!! thanks

  4. really nice to come across these couplets after years! thanks

  5. What is the reference of this verse.


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