Monday, June 16, 2014

Whatever comes, also goes.

Whatever comes, also goes.
सर्वं वा इदमेति च प्रेति च
sarvaM vA idameti cha preti cha
[ शतपथब्राह्मणम् shata-patha-brAhmaNam ]

The English saying 'What goes around, comes around' means - what you do, so will you get. If you spread love, you will receive love. If you spread hatred, you will get hatred.

The Sanskrit line is not just advising on what you should do to get good stuff happen to you. It warns that whatever comes to you, will also go away. So don't have attachment to anything, else it will lead to sorrow later on. As we met lot of people, and leave lots, so is everything. Nothing is permanent.

So what is yours? What you got is from this world, and you will leave everything here.
You came with nothing, you leave with nothing.
So why be selfish in between and hurt others for momentary pleasures?
Why not live happily helping each other?

Word by word meaning
sarvaM vA idameti cha preti cha
= sarvaM vA idam eti cha preti cha
sarvaM = all
vA = for emphasis
idam = this
eti = comes
cha = and
preti = goes (returns)
cha = and

For a list A, B, C and D, it is written as 'A B C D cha' or 'A cha B cha C cha D cha'. Here it is second method used.

(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशीॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Sanskrit origins of English's possessive case using apostrophe

I always wondered where does the apostrophe 's come to mean possessive case. Like John's = Of John, car's = of car etc.

It also struck me the ShaShThI ekavachana षष्ठी एकवचन (sixth vibhakti, singular) for masculine and neuter gender end in -sya. Like rAma-sya = of rAma; deva-sya = of deva etc.

So I did some searching around and here is what I found.

The possessive 's comes from the masculine genitive case ending on -es in Old English. This means that you could say "of [the] man" by simply sticking -es after "man". The genitive case was often used to indicate the possessor of something. In German, the genitive case is still used, and it ends on -(e)s for masculine and neuter singular words: the man = der Mann; the man's house = des Mannes Haus. As you see, the genitive is also used with articles.  [ From]

When the apostrophe mark was introduced into English in the 1500s, it was originally used to show where a letter or syllable had been omitted. 
We still use it this way in contractions, but in fact it’s also how the apostrophe came to be a mark of possession.   
In Old English, long before the apostrophe came into use, the possessive ending for most nouns was es.
A house belonging to John, for example, would have been called something like “Johnes house.” (Another way to show possession was by using the word “of,” as in “the house of John.”) 
After the apostrophe came along, a possessive word like “Johnes” was written as “John’s” to show that a letter had been dropped—the e in es.
But the story is not as simple as that.
In Middle English (around 1100-1500) and later, the possessive ending es was often misheard as the possessive pronoun “his.”
This accounts for such erroneous old constructions as “John his house” (meaning “Johnes house”).
Historians have suggested that printers used the apostrophe (“John’s”) as a shortened form of either possessive, the legitimate “Johnes” or the illegitimate “John his.”
In “Axing the Apostrophe,” a 1989 article in English Today, the language writer Adrian Room has called the word for this punctuation mark “a cumbersome name for an awkward object.”
Where does this clunky name come from?
The short answer, John Ayto’s Dictionary of Word Origins tells us, is that we got it via Latin and French from the classical Greek phrase prosoidia apostrophos, literally “accent of turning away.”
[ From ] 


And that is where the Sanskrit influence can be seen, not in 1500's but in Greek times.

(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
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My idea of India - by Prime Minister of India

I recently found this video on the official page of the Prime Minister of India.

This is before he made this speech. Even then he was clear on what kind of India he wanted. Maybe that is one of the things that got him the landslide victory.

Most of his ideas are coming from the vast ocean of wisdom of Indian seers right from the Vedic times. Those who (yes, there are many) see this as a red flag of Hindu fundamentalism, should remember that it is India's grand heritage which everyone in India should be proud of. Don't give it religious color just because it is in Sanskrit.

One great ting the then Prime Minister-candidate did is to take the inspirations from Indian sources, rather than to quote Western philosophers. After all, in thought leadership why look anywhere else? Our own mind is enough. And when it is not enough, we look in the minds of our ancestors who shared it in their works over the ages.

The ideas he mention are all also shown in Sanskrit and English with translation in the video, you can pause to read if the meaning is not immediately clear.

That is where the utility of Sanskrit for modern times is (apart from others for more serious pursuers). The great ideas it has. For the skeptics, you are free to not take all ideas, since some may not be good or relevant for today. But think and process before discarding.

This is not a political post, but all leaders should learn thought-leadership first from the wisdom of the land, and then if still the need be, look beyond the borders.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Members of Parliament take oath in Sanskrit

For those who thought Sanskrit was a dead language, in the latest Parliament, two members took oath in Sanskrit. Many more took oaths in their own mother tongues, from different states. Check this link for all the interesting facts.

It is also evident from every Indian Rupee note, all the various languages recognized in the constitution.Fourth from bottom is Sanskrit on this Rs 50 note.

Watch the video below of MP Sushma Swaraj taking oath.

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

Monday, June 2, 2014

It is what you give, not what you have, that matters.

In life we see many great success stories, very prosperous people, companies etc. Sometimes we have to ask for help in terms of a job, loan, advice, whatever. Who should we approach?
Who is a better employer? A better help in times of need?

A small well with sweet water is any day preferable for quenching thirst than a huge ocean which only gives salt water. It is not how much you have, but what you give that matters.

Your success and greatness is not in hoarding a lot of things from the rest of the society. How are you using those resources for which the society has given you the charge? Are you using to splurge on yourself? Or are you using it for the good of others?

Ultimately, you can only consume and use a very limited amount of things. Everyone has a fistful of stomach to fill with food. You can splurge it on a $5000 of single wine bottle from a century back or use that to do some worthwhile cause.

Your greatness is not in how much you have, but in what you are willing to give.

And now the language aspects -

Here is the anvaya (all sandhi broken into base words):

दाता लघुः अपि सेव्यः भवति, न कृपणः महान् अपि समृद्ध्या ।
कूपः अन्तःस्वादुजलः प्रीत्यै लोकस्य न समुद्रः॥ (devanAgari)

dātā laghuḥ api sévyaḥ bhavati, na kṛipaṇaḥ mahān api samṛiddhyā |
kūpaḥ antaḥ-svadu-jalaḥ prītyai lokasya na samudraḥ || (IAST)

dAtA laghuH api sevyaH bhavati, na kRipaNaH mahAn api samRiddhyA |
kUpaH antaH-svadu-jalaH prItyai lokasya na samudraH || (ITRANS)

dātā = giver
laghuḥ = small
api = even, also
sévyaḥ = worth pursuing (serving or being served. In case of a boss/master it is worth serving under such a master. In case of a well, it is worth being served by well’s water)
bhavati = happens, is.
na = not
kṛipaṇaḥ = miser
mahānapi = mahān (huge, big, great)+ api (even, also)
samṛiddhyā = in/by prosperity [sam+ṛiddhi = samyak (complete) +ṛiddhi (growth) ]
kūpaḥ = well
antaḥ-svadu-jalaḥ = whose water is sweet inside
prītyai = for pleasing
lokasya = of people
na = not
samudraḥ = ocean

That is, A giver is worthy even if small, not a miser great in prosperity. The sweet water well [is for] pleasing people [who are thirsty], not the ocean.

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