Saturday, October 31, 2009

the six pleasures of life - अर्थागमो नित्यमरोगिता

incoming wealth, always good health, friends,
sweet spoken wife, obedient children, fruitful knowledge
- these are the six comfort/pleasures of this mortal world, o king!
arthAgamo nityamarogitA cha priyashcha bhAryA priya-vAdinI cha |
vashyashcha putro'rthakarI cha vidyA ShaD jIvalokasya sukhAni rAjan ||
अर्थागमो नित्यमरोगिता च प्रियश्च भार्या प्रियवादिनी च ।
वश्यश्च पुत्रोऽर्थकरी च विद्या षड् जीवलोकस्य सुखानि राजन् ॥ ०-१०

continuing the discussion in hitopadesh, the king after hearing the two shlokas on the morning walk - recipe for disaster and two types of knowledge - started to think about his children and their education or lack of it, future of his kingdom etc. and he remembers this shloka. this was originally said by vidura in mahAbhArata (vidur neeti) to emperor dhRitarAShTra .

in this mortal world, where we live and die, and all the experiences are within this short span what are the sources of comfort/pleasure? let us see how the wise vidur lists them out, and how the rest all follow from these! remember, this is not about the next world, or spirituality. sometimes we have to talk of the present and real as per our limited senses. specially, the people of action (rajas)!

incoming wealth.
all things are possible only through resources in this mortal world. the resource could be as simple as grass for the deer or the city metro for commuters. even that needs some money for the ticket! there is nothing wrong in resources themselves, but our false impression that we own them. what we own maybe is the control on their use and abuse.

one of the reasons why viShNu gets prominence even while shiva - the mahAdeva - is around! because birth (creation, brahmA) and death (transformation, shiva) are a matter of moments. the life in between is the tough one, that needs sustenance, constant worrying about! (separate post to elaborate that)

there are many shlokas extolling the utter importance of resources, money for the social being, the householder, the average householder who is the pillar upholding this society! so it should be understood in proper perspective here.

constant health.
what is more important than health? you may have all the wealth to acquire the best of pleasures of life, but no health to enjoy them! can't eat the sweet, or chew on that meat, or drink or hike or enjoy the music, then what good is the wealth! wealth is only the means to fulfilling the desires of life.

health is wealth. kalIdAsa says - sharIramadyam khalu dharmArtha sAdhanam - this body alone is the instrument for all dharma and artha (or for the attaining the purpose of dharma) i.e. for doing any good, you need this body. another way to understand this from social perspective would be that even after you have the capital, you need the physical and mental abilities (health) for doing any project i.e. good able employees to bring the project to fruition.

what good is the health and the wealth if you can't share the good times with friends? whether you need them for passing time, showing off (subtly of course) or in times of need, every one agrees that friends are the essence of life! sharing makes the joy double and sorrow half!

sweet spoken spouse.
and what best friend than spouse! at least that is what it is supposed to be! soul mates! constant and always present friend. we are after all social animals, and hence to ensure that at least one person is bound to laugh at our jokes, we started the practice of marriage. earlier men were really funny and some had many wives, but over time they lost their sense of humor, and now, even one wife finds it difficult to keep up with the old jokes :) [that of course was in humor, men are great!]

vidur, of course was talking to emperor, and man to man, he uses the word 'wife', but for all the non-kings, and both gendered readers, 'spouse' is a better suited translation for modern time and context.

and why sweet spoken? well, harsh words are never good for anyone! and that too from a person that you chose to spend the life with! divorce were very, very rare back then (and either party was free to make the other's life living hell or heaven :) ) and must be, back then, women were not so 'oppressed' as we are made to believe by some 'historians' and 'sociologists', that vidur has to count sweet spoken wife (and hence one who was not dominating, forget about oppressed) as a blessing and rare good luck!

obedient children.
and once we have found wealth, have good health, nice friends, and even one nice spouse for life, what next? all good marriages lead to the next generation. we make our careers for our children, send them to best colleges, look for their future, even their future spouse!! look for the day when we will transfer the controls of our empire (small or large) to the worthy son (or daughter) and retire happily. feel proud among friends and family - 'that is my boy!' or 'that is my gal!' when they have some great achievements.

and alas, the career kept us so busy, the business meetings, the tough commutes that we didn't have much time for them. they don't even listen to us, don't share or even be sympathetic to our choice of music, or movies or understand the value of hard work ... the list of complaints goes on.
they are not disciplined, or obedient, respectful.

what was the empire for? why those golden years wasted after a career overdone, and life half-done! for these kids, who don't even care! alas!

the 5th source of pleasure - obedient children, well behaved, mannered. we live through them forever. 'meet mr. sen, father of winner of so and so prize!' what a moment!

fruitful knowledge.
and what about knowledge? we spend so much time, energy and resources to acquire it. and then what if it turns out to be useless? like most of the degrees today! college students of all majors (in india) are now turning to IT or computers. for their field of knowledge is not bearing much fruits, or as sweet as IT. so what good is knowledge that can't be used. and without use, there won't be any livelihood. (this again is an example, and a satire on modern day skewed perspective of even bright students, and economies to focus only on IT at the cost of basic sciences and technology)

the famous shAnti mantra (peace invocation) of the upaniShads - 'om saha nAvavatu | saha nau bhunaktu | saha viiryam karvAvahai | tejasvi nAvadhItamastu | ...'
"tejasvi nau avadhiitam astu" - let what we studied be brilliant (successful, fruitful)

how many blessings can you count in your life?
may you have all six!

like it? then become a fan of the blog
how can this site be made more interesting, useful? share your comments, use the comment link or the comment box below

and now the language aspects of the shloka -

arthAgamo = artha (wealth) + AgamaH (coming of) = coming of wealth
artha = meaning. the meaning of life is through resources to live, so arth also means resources, wealth, money, economy etc

nityamarogitA = nityam (always) + arogitA (without illness)
roga = disease | a-roga = without disease | arogita = state of being without disease.
raaga = attachment (also, the musical raaga, that which causes attachment)

cha = and
priyashcha = priyaH + cha = dear one (friend)
bhAryA = wife. since this was man to man talk (minister to king), here he uses wife. this should be interpreted as spouse for a wider application of the wisdom.

priyavAdinI = priya (dear, sweet) + vAdinI (one who speaks. feminine) = sweet spoken wife

vashyashcha = vashyaH (under control, obedient) + cha
putro'rthakarI = putraH + arthakarI
so it should read after breaking sandhI as this:
vashyaH cha putraH arthakarI cha vidyA

putraH = son. again, since the talk was from minister to king, where son becomes the next king, here only putraH is used. it should be interpreted as children.

arthakarI = artha + karI = that which bears artha (meaning, money).
since vidyA was not to be sold, here the meaning should be taken useful knowledge. the money, or compensation was a by product, not the aim of knowledge.

vidyA = knowledge
ShaD = six
jIvalokasya = jIva (life) + lokasya (of the world) = of this world of life, this mortal world

sukhAni = pleasures,
rAjan = o king!

like it? then become a fan of the blog
how can this site be made more interesting, useful? share your comments, use the comment link or the comment box below

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


  1. i have maybe 2/6. what about you?

    - s.b.

  2. I guess it अरोगता and not अरोगिता

  3. anonymous, it is arogitA only.
    rogita = diseased
    rogitA = state of being sick
    a-rogitA = lackk of the state of being sick = health


Please do add your name and place, after the comment.