Sunday, March 13, 2011

Perched Eagle does not move - अगच्छन् वैनतेयोऽपि

agachchan vainatéyo’pi
अगच्छन् वैनतेयोऽपि

Garuḍa (गरुड) , son of Vinatā (विनता), is the king of the birds, akin to an eagle. It has golden wings, and hence is also called Suparṇa (सुपर्ण) . Because of his speed, Lord Viṣhṇu (विष्णु) requested him to be his transport.

But even the fast Garuḍa (गरुड) would not have moved a single step, if it actually does not move, that is, while it is perched. It does not matter how fast you are, what talents and strengths you have, unless you use them. On the other hand, an ant moves all the time. Small as it maybe, “a moving ant can cover miles of distance, but a sitting eagle would not have moved even a foot.” ( गच्छन्पिपीलिको याति योजनानां शतान्यपि । अगच्छन् वैनतेयोऽपि पदमेकं न गच्छति ॥ = gachchan_pipīlikāo yāti, yojanānām shatānyapi ; agachchhan vainatéyo’pi padamékam na gachchhati )

If you do not use your power and ability, then you will not achieve anything, or impress anyone. “Even the mighty, without power is insulted. See how people trample the ash (of the formerly burning coal) with impunity.” ( बलवानपि निस्तेजाः कस्य नाभिभवास्पदम् । निःशंकं दोयते लोकैः पश्य भस्मचये पदम् ॥ = balavān_api nistéjāḥ kasya nābhibhavāspadam । niḥshaṅkam doyaté lokaiḥ pashya bhasmachayé padam ॥ Hitopadéshaḥ, Suhṛida-bhédaḥ 173 )

In Rāmāyaṇa (रामायण), Rāma (राम) prayed to the sea for three days to give way to him, but the sea did not. Rāma (राम) told Lakṣhmaṇa (लक्ष्मण) that while mercy suits the powerful, no one acknowledges unless you express your power.

Unless you take the first step, the journey does not begin. No amount of wishing or planning will take you any closer to success, unless you take the first step. As soon as the hare dozed off, the tortoise effectively started to win. Edison said that success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Sweat it out. Work on your plan once you have planned your work. Journey starts with a step.

Use your powers. Take initiative.

Language notes: 
अगच्छन् वैनतेयोऽपि पदमेकं न गच्छति ॥ = agachchhan vainatéyo’pi padamékam na gachchhati

gachchan = गच्छन्  = going
pipīliko / pipīlikaḥ = पिपीलिको / पिपीलिकः  = a male ant (the large black one)
yāti = याति = goes
yojanānām = योजनानां = yojana (a measure of distance, various values, the most common being 9 miles)
shatānyapi = शतान्यपि = shatāni + api = hundres + also/even

agachchhan = अगच्छन् = while not going.
vainatéyo’pi = वैनतेयोऽपि = vainatéyaḥ (son of Vanitā, Garuḍa, akin to an eagle) + api (also).
padamékam = पदमेकं = padam (step) + ékam (one).
na = न = not.
gachchhati = गच्छति = goes.

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  1. This is an excellent proverb and so true. My son often shares a similar story with his team at work - about a warrior. It doesn't matter how much skill a warrior has if he just goes out onto the battlefield and does nothing but stand their and allow himself to be defeated.

  2. In a way this refers beautifully to self actualization -- recognizing the inner strength is only one part, while using it is fully being one's self.


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