Friday, August 28, 2009

स्वयमेव मृगेन्द्रताl

नाभिषेको न संस्कारः सिंहस्य क्रियते मृगैः l
विक्रमार्जितसत्त्वस्य स्वयमेव मृगेन्द्रता ll

A lion is not coronated (नाभिषेको) by the other animals (मृगैः), nor is he taught ( संस्कारः) how to be a king. He brings down his prey by his own courage (विक्रमार्जितसत्त्वस्य) - and assumes the position of supremacy among the animals ( मृगेन्द्रता) because of his own (स्वयमेव) valour.

The lion, being the strongest and most courageous among beasts, has no need of acknowledgement of his superiority by lesser animals. It does not matter whether the other animals accept him as their king or not. He is the ruler of the jungle because of the attributes he, himself, possesses.

Today this quality of 'स्वयमेव मृगेन्द्रता' is not frequently seen. Everywhere we see that people are running after titles. Padmashrees and Padmavibhushans are sought after. And people are ready to sell their souls to get their names in the list of awardees.

There are controversies galore regarding such awards. Whether so-and-so artiste would not have been more deserving than some other who actually received it.

Even authors- who are supposed to 'hold a mirror to society' in their writings, are not exceptions to this. Who cares about authentic writing, when sensational but politically correct penmanship gives you a shot at the Booker Prize?

But we should not despair. There are still people like our former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He is not respected just because he was President of India but because of his rare qualities.

Or people like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is renowned for the khayal form of singing, as well as for his popular renditions of devotional music (bhajans and abhangas).

I remember reading an article where he is quoted as saying that he used to drink occasionally. But realizing that this prevented him from getting the required quality of feeling ( भाव ) in his devotional singing, he completely stopped drinking. Such is his dedication to his art.

He has received many awards, including the Bharat Ratna, but his greatness is not because of that. His greatness lies in his superior qualities.

Now for a story- about the great poet, Kalidasa and Raja Bhoja, who was a patron of the arts.

The story goes that Raja Bhoja wanted to see how talented a poet Kalidasa was. So he set a test for him. He gave the poet the last line of a verse and instructed him to compose the first three lines.

The line was as follows- " ठठं ठठंठं ठठठं ठठंठः " which seemed to have no meaning. How to compose a verse ending with this line?

But brilliant poet that he was, after some thought, Kalidasa came up with the following three lines.

1> रामाभिषेके जलमाहरन्त्या:
(While fetching water for the coronation of Shri Rama )

2> हस्ताच्च्युतो हेमघटो युवत्या: l
(a golden vessel slipped out of a young girl's hands)

3> सोपानमार्गेण करोती शब्दं
( falling down the stairs it made the following sound)

and then-
4> ठठं ठठंठं ठठठं ठठंठः ll
(Ttha ttham ttha ttham ttham ttha ttha ttham ttha ttham tthaha)

True genius! Raja Bhoja conceded that Kalidas had passed his test with flying colours!


Vinod_Sharma said...

Manju, you amaze with every post. I think this idea of your to look at the richness of Sanskrit literature in a contemporary context is not only unique, it is heart warming and educative too.

Kalidas' effort was amazing! How many of us know much about this great poet today?

Sandhya said...

The lion story is very good, Manju.

Do you know, Dr. Abdul Kalaam is a very good Veena vaadak. As you said he is a correct example for the lion story. And is a vegetarian too. A very good poet...

Bhimsen Joshi...I love his voice. He is very much interested in dismantling cars and re-assembling them, I read somewhere! He is my father's favourite too. We used to hear him in the 10 pm National programme of music, in the radio, after switching off the lights, when I was young and he was alive. Thanks for reminding this, Manju.

Will come back to read the Kalidasa story. Thank you.

radha said...

If sanskrit was taught to our children in this manner, a revival of sorts could occur! Great work.

Sandhya said...

Kalidas, Bhoja Raja story is superb. We have heard Akbar, Birbal stories a lot but now, Kalidas is new and very very interesting. tum nice. My husband read this just now, This story will be quoted in the next gathering. He is still singing tum tutum.

manju said...

Vinodji- Thank you so much for your encouragement!

This story about Kavi Kalidas and Raja Bhoja is one of my favourites.

Radha- Thank you!

manju said...

Sandhya- I, too think that Dr. Kalaam is a good example of 'स्वयमेव मृगेन्द्रता'.

And I'm glad that you and your husband both liked the Kavi Kalidas- Raja Bhoja story!

Ugich Konitari said...

I wish I had learned Sanskrit in school, and had some one like you as a teacher !

I just remembered something my father taught me as a child. Dont know if it was a Subhashita, but I used to enjoy it for its "sound" qualities. It had something to do with the jamun tree and jaumns falling . Went something like :

जम्बू फलानी पक्वानी ,
पतन्ति विमले दले
कपी कम्पित शाखा भ्योहो
गुलू गुग गुलू गुग गुलू ...

(We'd laugh at the last line)

I wonder if I remember it correctly. Maybe you can correct me. But thank you for taking me back to those wondrous days...

manju said...

Ugich Konitari- I think I have heard this verse you have written, but I don't remember exactly how it goes.

If I remember correctly this was a test by Raja Bhoja, too.

These are called समस्यापूर्ती , where one line is given, and you are expected to complete the rest of the verse. In some books of Subhashits they are included, not in others.:)