Learning Sanskrit and GeetA together – Post # 1

Learning Sanskrit and GeetA together – Post # 1
श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतायाः संस्कृतभाषायाः च अध्ययनस्य प्रथमः (१) सोपानः ।

ॐ श्रीपरमात्मने नमः ।

Exercise 1 Rewrite this by breaking conjugations and showing component-words contained in compound words.
स्वाध्यायः १ सन्धि-विच्छेदान् कृत्वा समासानां पदानि च दर्शयित्वा पुनर्लिखतु एतत् ।

ॐ श्री-परम-आत्मने नमः ।

Exercise 2 (a) Identify verbs and participles (verbal derivatives) and paraphrase the related clauses
2 (b) Analyse the clauses, identifying the main parts of speech i.e. subject, object / compliment, conjunctions.

स्वाध्यायः २ (अ) कानि अत्र क्रियापदानि धातुसाधितानि च, के तेषां वाक्यांशानाम् अन्वयाः  ?
२ (आ) कानि अत्र कर्तृपदानि, कर्मपदानि, पूरकानि ?

२-१ ॐ – This is a single letter, a sound to be pronounced as a sacred invocation. More about this in notes below. Because it is an invocation by itself, it is not part of any sentence.

२-२ क्रियापदम् “अस्तु” । “श्रीपरमात्मने (मम) नमः (अस्तु)” एवम् वाक्यम् । अत्र (अस्तु) क्रियापदम् अध्याहृतमस्ति । कर्तृपदम् “नमः” ।

Exercise 3 Decipher the compounds and detail etymology and declensions of all words
स्वाध्यायः ३ समासानां विग्रहान् शब्दानां व्युत्पत्तीः विश्लेषणानि च ददतु ।
३-१ श्री-परम-आत्मने “श्रीपरमात्मन्” इति सामासिकं पुल्लिङ्गि नाम । तस्य चतुर्थी विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।

  • ३-१-१ परमः आत्मा = परमात्मा । कर्मधारयः ।
  • ३-१-२ श्रीयुतः परमात्मा = श्रीपरमात्मा । मध्यमपदलोपी समासः ।३-१-३ श्रिया युतः = श्रीयुतः । तृतीया-तत्पुरुषः ।
  • ३-१-४ श्रिया “श्री” (= grandeur, splendour) इति स्त्रीलिङ्गि नाम । तस्य तृतीया विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।
  • ३-१-५ युतः “युज्” ७ उ (= to join, to combine) इति धातुः । तस्मात् भूतकालवाचकं विशेषणम् “युत” (= combined with, having) । अत्र पुल्लिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।
  • ३-१-६ परमः “परम” (= ultimate, one, which has no equal) इति विशेषणम् । अत्र पुल्लिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।
  • – “म” इति नकारात्मकः प्रत्ययः । (अस्मात्) परः न = परमः ।
    – परः “पर” (= another) इति विशेषणम् । अत्र पुल्लिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।
  • ३-१-७ आत्मा “आत्मन्” (= soul, essence) इति पुल्लिङ्गि नाम । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।

३-२ मम “अस्मद्” (= I, we, i.e. pronouns of first person) इति सर्वनाम । तस्य षष्ठी विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।
३-३ नमः “नम्” १ प (= to bow) इति धातुः । तस्मात् पुल्लिङ्गि नाम “नम” (= bowing, obeisance) । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।
३-४ अस्तु “अस्” २ प (= to be) इति धातुः । तस्य आज्ञार्थे प्रथमपुरुषे एकवचनम् ।

Exercise 4 Arrange the सुभाषितम् in prose syntax and give its translation into Englishस्वाध्यायः ४ अन्वयान् कृत्वा आङ्ग्ल-भाषायां अनुवादान् ददतु ।

४-१ श्री-परम-आत्मने (मम) नमः (अस्तु) । = May my obeisance be to the only, ultimate, fundamental, splendorous principle (soul, essence) !

Exercise 5 Comments, Notes, Observations, if any.

टिप्पणयः ।

५-१ ॐ श्रीपरमात्मने नमः This quotation is the opening prayer or obeisance. It is a good concept to open any composition with a prayer. That inculcates a sense of modesty, not only for the composer, but also for the reader.

In this quotation, ॐ is  not part of the sentence. It is a stand-alone entity. Hence it merits to be discussed all by itself.

It is held in high respects, because its mere utterance spreads an aura, a great  positive charge in the environment.

In Apte’s dictionary, it is explained as “The sacred syllable, uttered as a holy exclamation at the beginning and end of a reading of the Vedas or previous to commencement of a prayer or sacred work.”

५-२ ॐ is the sacred syllable as endorsed by this सुभाषितम् –

ॐकारश्चाथशब्दश्च द्वावेतौ ब्रह्मणः पुरा |
कण्ठं भित्त्वा विनिर्यातौ तस्मान्माङ्गलिकावुभौ ||
Meaning is – ॐ and अथ were the two (sounds or syllables) which emerged from the throat of Brahma (first and foremost, when Brahma embarked upon creating the cosmos). Hence both are sacred.

५-२ ॐ is called as एकाक्षर-ब्रह्म See श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता –

ॐ इत्येकाक्षरं ब्रह्म व्याहरन् मामनुस्मरन् ।
यः प्रयाति त्यजन् देहं स याति परमां गतिम् ।।८-१३।।

We shall of course study this in due course.

५-३ It is also called as प्रणव See in श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता –

प्रणवः सर्ववेदेषु शब्दः खे पौरुषं नृषु (७-८)

We shall study this also in due course.

५-४ People have written wholesome articles explaining this sacred syllable ॐ.

ॐ is also deciphered as a conjugation of three syllables

  • ‘ ‘a’ as in human,
  • ‘u’ as in full and
  • ‘म्’ ‘m’ as in hum.
  • So, = अ + उ + म्  Om = a + u + m

This has been detailed beautifully by Saint Dnyaneshwar. He opens his commentary on Geetaa Dnyaaneshwaree by invoking Om “ॐ नमोजी आद्या” He sees Omkaara pervading the meditating pose of Lord Ganesha, which he describes as  – अकार चरणयुगुल । उकार उदर विशाल । मकार महामण्डल । मस्तकाकार ।।

One can see the Omkaara as the meditating pose of Lord ganesh, if one looks at Om turned 90 degrees to the left i.e. anti-clockwise. By this part of अ can be seen as two laps, part of उ as the prominent belly and the trunk portion of ॐ as the circular head or face.

५-५ Most tasks are undertaken by invoking some deity or the other. Here, श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता starts with ॐ श्रीपरमात्मने नमः i.e. by paying respects, obeisances to the only, ultimate, fundamental, splendorous principle (soul or essence) !

५-६ The letter श्री is also considered a sacred letter and is often seen written separately. But in invocations such as this and as explained at (३-१-२) it is a component of a compound word. So, it needs to be written together with other components of the compound word. श्रीयुत् is an adjective qualifying the noun Atmaa It is derived from the feminine noun Shreeh by appending the suffix Yut

५-७ परमः  is an adjective meaning supreme, ultimate. परमः is also used to denote the superlative degree of the adjective पर. Here it is the adjective qualifying the noun आत्मा. परमात्मा connotes supreme, ultimate soul.

५-८ आत्मा means soul. Characteristics of soul, that it is indelible, cannot be wetted, cannot be burnt, cannot be cut are all detailed in second Adhyaaya.

आत्मा is elemental soul and परमात्मा is supreme, ultimate soul. Any supreme entity merits to be deified.

५-९ Once when I was sitting with a German friend in an open ground, a few rain-drops came down. I suspected that soon it may become at least a drizzle, if not a shower.  So, I just muttered, “Now, it seems that the rain God also does not want us to linger.” My German friend said, “Hey! You said ‘rain God’? Would you call the Sun also as God?” I said, “Yes, sun is the supreme source of energy. Being supreme it is a deity. It is God”. Then he asked, “How about the wind, the earth, nature at large?” I said, “Every element of nature is God. Deifying any entity is respecting its supremacy. Look at the ravaging caused by the hurricanes in US and what unsurmountable energy becomes manifest when hurricanes ravage vast tracts of land and life. Supremacy does not come only by being too huge. Even an ant, if it bites into the ear of an elephant, the ant is exercising a supremacy over the elephant!

Deifying every element of supremacy is imbibing the spirit of mutual respect. So, we have 330 million Gods! The basic thought has been ‘to each his own’. It does not matter what element of supremacy you respect and by what name and form you recognize it. What is important is being respectful. Quality of being respectful itself needs to be cultivated. Cultivating this quality comes from training of the mind, doing meditation, being devout.”

Meditation is facilitated by having a mantra to chant. Even ‘ॐ’ by itself is a monosyllabic mantra. This word ‘Mantra’ also merits discussion. We shall come to it at 09-16.

At the southern tip of India, near Kanyakumari, off the seashore, there is a small island dedicated to the memory of Swamy Vivekanand, hence called as ‘Vivekanand Shilaa’. It is said that Swamy Vivekanand did meditation there, before he embarked upon his famous journey to America to represent Hinduism at the World Parliament of Religions held in 1893 in Chicago. “He went, he spoke, he conquered!!!” At Vivekanand Shilaa, there is a meditation hall. There at the hall, all light is put off and on the wall in front, a figure of Om glows with a pleasant azure blue halo. It becomes such a rich experience of Omkaar-Dhyaana, meditating on the monosyllabic mantra ‘ॐ’ !!!

५-१० It is a rule of Sanskrit grammar that the word नमः should be used with dative case चतुर्थी विभक्तिः of the deity or concept to whom obeisance is being paid.

शुभमस्तु ।-o-O-o-
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