Friday, August 21, 2009

विषय- प्रवेश

Sanskrit is regarded as a language which has little relevance today. It is also regarded as a complex language, hard to understand. But by viewing Sanskrit in this way, we are depriving ourselves of a wonderful part of our cultural heritage.

In reality, Sanskrit literature has many facets. It can be difficult to understand, its grammar can be complicated, but it can also be fun! Sanskrit Subhaashits ( सुभाषितानि) or 'wise sayings', fall into this last category.

Subhaashits are not only 'fun' but they are also what is called imperishable -'Akshar' ( अक्षर ) - literature, since they deal with various aspects of human nature which is pretty much the same in any age. Thus they were relevant not only in the time when they were written, but even today.

So through this blog, I hope to give an introduction to these Subhaashits and also try to show their relevance to our lives- personal as well as social.

I'm afraid that my enthusiasm for Sanskrit Subhaashits is greater than my knowledge of the Sanskrit language, though- which is quite limited. So it is possible that grammatical and other errors may creep into my posts here. My apologies in advance, for that!

I shall not translate the verses literally, but rather try to write free translations so they may be more easily understood.

Today I am posting a Subhaashit about Subhaashits-

भाषासु मुख्या मधुरा दिव्या गीर्वाणभारती l

तस्माद्धि काव्यं मधुरं तस्मादपि सुभाषितम् ll

Of all the languages (भाषासु ) , the most important (मुख्या ) and sweetest (मधुरा ) of all languages is the divine (दिव्या ) language of the Gods (Sanskrit).

Even sweeter than the Sanskrit language is its poetry (काव्यं ) and sweeter than all the other poetry is the Subhaashit ( सुभाषितम् ).

I'll end this post with a riddle-

अपदो दूरगामी च साक्षरो न च पंडितः l

अमुखस्फुटवक्ता च यो जानाति स पंडितः ll

Does not have legs, but travels far,

Is connected with the alphabet but is not learned,

Lacks a mouth but speaks plainly,

Whoever guesses who this is, is a wise person.

Can anyone guess the answer?


Vinod_Sharma said...

Congratulations for starting this blog. I think this is a very sorely needed peep into the glories of Sanskrit in a fun but profound way.

Hope the blog attracts many netizens and gives them a sorely needed window to India's ancient culture.

Ugich Konitari said...

What a great way for us to learn new things ! Thank you for starting this ....

Solilo said...

The answer: Language or Book.

manju said...

Vinodji, Ugich Konitari- Thank you for your encouragement!

Solilo- Close, but not quite right!

Kislay said...

Cool Blog . I thought the answer to the riddle was Language as well . But I will have to think some more .

Kavi said...

Congratulations on the new blog ! Its a great start and i am sure it will go places !

This promises to be both a language intensive and a culture intensive space. And for that, many many congratulations

Indeed !


Solilo said...

Answer: Knowledge

Congratulations Manju!

Smitha said...

This is wonderful Manju.

I am sure I will learn a lot from here :)

Waiting to know the answer :)My guess - stories or folk tales?

Gopinath's "Artickles" said...

Manju, congratulations for the new blog about the Sanskrit language. About the riddle - is it the word?

manju said...

Kavi-Thank you!

Solilo, Kislay, Smitha, Gopinathji- Thank you!

As for the answer- I probably shouldn't reveal it so soon, but it's 'a letter'.

(Not a letter of the alphabet- but the one we send by post.)

Smitha said...

A letter - that makes perfect sense! I came back here to check if you had revealed the answer yet :)

Vivek Patwardhan said...

Dear Manju,

As Pu La Deshpande said once, " Aho, beautifulam etad".

Best wishes and thanks for doing something that we value so highly.


Mavin said...

Pandita Manjuji

You teach and we learn.

Please accept my pranaams.

This is absolutely brilliant. You seem very well read in English and ofcourse in Marathi and Sansrit. Very very impressive ma'am.

Congratulations and a "THANK-YOU" fromthe bottom of my heart.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

What a great idea for a blog!

weeble said...

Looking forward to following this blog too Manju <3

manju said...

Vivekji, Mavin- Thank you!

As I wrote in this post, my knowledge of Sanskrit is very limited.

However, I had the good fortune while in college to take Sanskrit as one of my subjects for a couple of years.

Our Sanskrit professors there, were wonderful teachers who instilled in their students a love for the language.

Hence this blog...

manju said...

Roshni- Thank you!

weeble- Please feel free to ask any questions if you want to- either here or by Email. I'll try to answer as best I can.:)

SP said...

Ma'm Congrats for starting something so good .. although i do not know sanskrit well but it used to be my scoring subject in school .. and i still enjoy reading simple slokas even without understanding their meaning ..

One question i have .. how do you write in Hindi font on blogs? are you using any special software ? If you get sometime can you send me the details on it you can use my mail id ( you want or wirte it on your blog itself ...

Sucharita Sarkar said...

This is really a brilliant idea. i like your lucidity and wisdom.

And I could not guess the answer, so i need to wisen up.

manju said...

SP- No special software-Blogger has the neccessary applications- will Email you...

Sucharita- Thank you!

No one guessed the answer- though some came close!

Sandhya said...

No, I did not guess the answer correctly!

This is nice, Manju. I am familiar with Hindi but because of non-usage, it is rusty!

I was able to read Sanskrit here, but meaning? Though my Kannada knowledge can help a bit, but still ...difficult.

Now, I might get familiar with the language, thank you.

manju said...

Sandhya- Learning Sanskrit is easier for those of us whose mother tongue is written in the same script (Devnagari).

Still, there are some words derived from Sanskrit in almost all Indian languages, I think.

radha said...

Very nice. My father had a sanskrit quotation for every situation. Unfortunately I do not know the language. This is a great way to learn.

manju said...

Radha- Thank you!

Anrosh said...

this is great, but too geeky for me.

manju said...

Anrosh- I suppose it is geeky, but do read it now and then- maybe you'll begin to like it!