Learning Sanskrit and GeetA together – Post # 3

Learning Sanskrit and GeetA together (Chapter 1 Verse 1) – Post # 3

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतायाः (प्रथमोऽध्यायः श्लोकः (१-१)) संस्कृतभाषायाः च अध्ययनस्य तृतीयः (३) सोपानः

धृतराष्ट्र उवाच ।
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः ।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय ।।१-१।।

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 ।

धृतराष्ट्र: उवाच ।
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता: युयुत्सवः ।
मामकाः पाण्डवा: च एव किं अकुर्वत संजय ।।१-१।।

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 क्रियापदम् “उवाच” । “धृतराष्ट्रः उवाच” इति प्रधान-वाक्यांशः । कर्तृपदं “धृतराष्ट्रः” ।
२-२ क्रियापदं “अकुर्वत” । “मामकाः पाण्डवाः च किं अकुर्वत” इति प्रश्नार्थकः गौण-वाक्यांशः । कर्तृपदं “मामकाः पाण्डवाः च” । कर्मपदं “किम्” ।

Exercise 3 Decipher the compounds and detail etymology and declensions of all words
स्वाध्यायः ३ समासानां विग्रहान् शब्दानां व्युत्पत्तीः विश्लेषणानि च ददतु ।
३-१ धृतराष्ट्रः “धृतराष्ट्र” (= Name of king of Hastinapura, father of 100 Kaurava princes) इति विशेषनाम सामासिकः शब्दः अपि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।

  • ३-१-१ धृतं राष्ट्रं येन सः (= he who reigned the kingdom) = धृतराष्ट्रः । बहुव्रीहिः । अथवा –
  • ३-१-२ धृतः राष्ट्रेण (= he, who was accepted (as King) by the nation)= धृतराष्ट्रः । तृतीया-तत्पुरुषः ।
  • ३-१-३ धृतम् “धृ” १ उ ६ आ १० उ (= to be maintained o preserved) इति धातुः । तस्मात् भूतकालवाचकं विशेषणं “धृत” (= maintained or preserved) । अत्र नपुम्सकलिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।
  • ३-१-४ राष्ट्रम् “राष्ट्र” (= nation, kingdom, empire) इति नपुंसकलिङ्गि नाम । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।
  • ३-१-५ धृतः “धृ” १ उ ६ आ १० उ (= to hold, to bear, to carry, to resolve upon) इति धातुः । तस्मात् भूतकालवाचकं विशेषणं “धृत” (= borne, resolved upon) । अत्र पुल्लिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।
  • ३-१-६ राष्ट्रेण “राष्ट्र” (= nation, kingdom, empire) इति नपुंसकलिङ्गि नाम । तस्य तृतीया विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।

३-२ उवाच “वच्” २ प (= to say, to speak) इति धातुः । तस्य परोक्ष-भूते प्रथमपुरुषे एकवचनम् ।
३-३ धर्मक्षेत्रे “धर्मक्षेत्र” इति सामासिकं नाम । तस्य सप्तमी विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।

  • ३-३-१ धर्मस्य क्षेत्रम् (= field on the side of eldest PANDava, field where righteousness prevails) = धर्मक्षेत्रम् । षष्ठी-तत्पुरुषः ।
  • ३-३-२ धर्मस्य “धर्म” (= righteousness, name of eldest PANDava) इति पुल्लिङ्गि नाम । तस्य षष्ठी विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।
  • ३-३-३ क्षेत्रम् “क्षेत्र” (= field, area, side of a field) इति नपुंसकलिङ्गि नाम । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।

३-४ कुरुक्षेत्रे “कुरुक्षेत्र” इति सामासिकं नाम । तस्य सप्तमी विभक्तिः एकवचनम् च ।

  • ३-४-१ कुरूणां क्षेत्रम् (= field of Kuru-s) = कुरुक्षेत्रम् । षष्ठी-तत्पुरुषः ।
  • ३-४-२ कुरूणाम् “कुरु” (= nme of the first person of the ancestry of “Kuru”-s, descendant of the ancestry of Kuru) इति विशेषनाम । तस्य षष्ठी विभक्तिः बहुवचनं च ।

३-५ समवेता: “सम् + अव + इ” २ प (= to descend together) इति धातुः । तस्मात् भूतकालवाचकं विशेषणं “समवेत” (= he, who has descended along with others) । अत्र पुल्लिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः बहुवचनं च ।
३-६ युयुत्सवः “युध्” ४ आ (= to fight, to battle) इति धातुः । तस्मात् इच्छा-भावि विशेषणं “युयुत्सु” (= one, who wishes to fight) । अत्र पुल्लिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः बहुवचनं च ।
३-७ मामकाः “अस्मद्” (= pronoun of the first person, i.e. I, we) इति सर्वनाम । तस्य षष्ठी-विभकत्यां एकवचनं “मम” (= my, mine) । तस्मात् स्नेहात्मकं विशेषणं “मामक” (= my darling) । अत्र पुल्लिङ्गि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः बहुवचनं च ।
३-८ पाण्डवा: “पाण्डव” (= proper name of son of PaNDu) इति विशेषणं प्रायः पुल्लिङ्गि विशेषनाम अपि । तस्य प्रथमा विभक्तिः बहुवचनं च ।

  • ३-८-१ पाण्डोः एषः इति पाण्डवः = He, who is (son) of PaNDu is PaaNDava.
  • ३-८-२ पाण्डोः “पाण्डु” (= PaNDu, name of King of HastinApur) इति पुल्लिङ्गि विशेषनाम । तस्य षष्ठी विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।
  • ३-८-३ पाण्डु (= white) इति विशेषणम् अपि । Maybe, he was given such name because of his fair white looks.

३-९ च (= and) इति अव्ययम् ।
३-१० एव (= also, what all) इति अव्ययम् ।
३-११ किम् (= what) इति सार्वनामिकं तथा प्रश्नार्थकं विशेषणम् । अत्र नपुंसकलिङ्गि । तस्य द्वितीया विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।
३-१२ अकुर्वत “कृ” ८ उ (= to do) इति धातुः । तस्य अनद्यतन-भूते प्रथमपुरुषे बहुवचनं च ।
३-१३ संजय “सम् + जि” १ प (= to win comprehensively) इति धातुः । तस्मात् पुल्लिङ्गि विशेषनाम “संजय” (= name of charioteer of King DhRutarAShTra) । तस्य संबोधन-प्रथमा विभक्तिः एकवचनं च ।

Exercise 4 Arrange the passage in prose syntax and give its translation into English
स्वाध्यायः ४ अन्वयान् कृत्वा आङ्ग्ल-भाषायां अनुवादान् ददतु ।
धृतराष्ट्र: उवाच, “संजय, धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता: युयुत्सवः मामकाः पाण्डवा: च एव किं अकुर्वत ?”
DhRutarAShTra said to (asked) Sanjaya, “Hey Sanjaya, what (all) did (they) do, my darlings and also PANDava-s, who were desirous of fighting (it out and hence) who descended at the (battle-)field, which belongs to Kuru-s and is known to be the battle-field, where righteousness prevails ?

or

DhRutarAShTra said to (asked) Sanjaya, “Hey Sanjaya, what (all) did (they) do, my darlings and also PANDava-s, who were desirous of fighting (it out and hence) who descended at their (respective sides of) (battle-)field, assigned to Dharma (i.e. YudhiShThira) and to Kuru-s ?

Exercise 5 Comments, Notes, Observations, if any.
स्वाध्यायः ५ टिप्पणयः ।
५-१ There is a historical background to almost every word of this passage ! To start with धृतराष्ट्र
He was son of Ambika, born by the grace of Maharshi VyAsa. But he was blind since birth. So, his younger brother PaNDu was enthroned to be the king. As passage of time would have it, PaNDu was cursed by a couple of dieing deers, who were killed by PaNDu in one of his hunting expeditions. Due to the curse, PaNDu retired to the forests, leaving the kingdom to the care of धृतराष्ट्र.  This story prompts the word धृतराष्ट्र  to be deciphered as धृतं राष्ट्रं येन सः (= he who reigned the kingdom, maintained and preserved the sovereignty by taking care of the needs of the subjects)

For the optional deciphering of धृतराष्ट्र: = धृतः राष्ट्रेण  lends credence to the concept that the subjects should also accept and regard a king as a king. Non-acceptance can lead to turmoils and revolts. The deciphering implies respect of opinion of the subjects, which is some inkling of principles of democracy. Even a king should rather be commanding respect. Most important function of the ruler seems to have been his being the supreme authority in judicial matters, to punish the guilty. To do so with clear conscience, a king should be impartial. Unfortunately धृतराष्ट्र was not impartial, especially in matters involving his sons and sons of PaaNDu. He always harboured a bias – mine and not mine मामकाः पाण्डवाः च which is evident in this shloka itself ! He allowed his son Duryodhan to carry on with his will and whims. That was really one of the reasons for the battle to be fought.

५-२ In (३-३-२) two different meanings of the word धर्म (= righteousness, name of eldest PANDava) are given. That lends two different meanings of the word धर्मक्षेत्र also (= field on the side of eldest PANDava, field where righteousness prevails). But it seems to be almost a tradition or convention in all commentories on Geetaa to interpret धर्मक्षेत्र by the second meaning as “the field where righteousness prevails”. This has lent credence also to a phrase यतो धर्मः ततो जयः meaning “Victory is where righteousness is”.

But simply as a student, I think it is good to note both the options of deciphering the word and note the corresponding meanings. The other meaning is not just academic. Basically this shloka is an utterance of धृतराष्ट्र. Partiality towards his sons was natural to him and it is also evidenced by his mention मामकाः पाण्डवाः च Such being his nature is there the need to ascribe to the word धर्मक्षेत्र used by him an exalted meaning as “the field where righteousness prevails” ?

From another practical point of view battle is always fought between two sides. Their armies will descend on two sides of the battle-field. In his utterance has not धृतराष्ट्र identified the two sides – धर्मक्षेत्र and कुरुक्षेत्र ?

५-३ That should lead us to the next word कुरुक्षेत्र. Truly speaking PaaNDava-s were as much Kuru-s as Kaurava-s. In 2-41 Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna as कुरुनन्दन

So, कुरुक्षेत्र is the battle-field belonging to the Kuru dynasty and assigned as the place to settle contentious issues, especially for settling issues where battle becomes unavoidable. By such meaning of कुरुक्षेत्र, धर्मक्षेत्र with its exalted meaning as “the field where righteousness prevails” becomes adjective of कुरुक्षेत्र.

However, considering inherent partiality in धृतराष्ट्र’s mind, is it not possible that by using the words धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे he did have in mind two sides of the battlefield ?

Rather, by these words धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे did he sort of warn Sanjaya that he would like to be told of what all happened on both sides ? A king should want to know that. Possibly he had read Sanjaya’s mind that he had become biased towards PaNDava-s ?

५-४ When giving the meaning of मामकाः it is noted that “मामक” (= my darling). The suffix  ‘क’ lends that meaning of ‘darling’. For example बालः –> बालकः Use of the suffix ‘क’ when refering to his sons also brings forth the partiality in धृतराष्ट्र’s mind ! Or is this subtlety a speciality of poetry of Maharshi Vyasa ?

५-५ Even the word अकुर्वत has a context of history ! It is known that Sanjaya was bestowed with a special sight दिव्य-दृष्टिः ! By that, he could notice from where-so-ever what all was going on in the battle-field.

In 1972-73, TV had just made its beginning in India. One day a friend of mine made a remark, “now that TV has arrived, I am getting convinced that the Mahabharata war did actually take place !” I asked him, “What have TV and Mahabharata war got to do with each other ?” He explained, “It seems as bestowing दिव्य-दृष्टिः to Sanjaya, what Vyasa-muni seems to have done is to set up a TV, with the audio signal blocked, to avoid the din on the battle-field. As things would have it, धृतराष्ट्र was blind, Gandhari had opted to wear a blind-fold on her eyes ! So, it was only Sanjaya, who could see the live transmission on the TV.”

I interrupted to ask, “But there has to be a transmission from the battle-field ?” My friend had thought about that also and had a ready answer to that also. He said, “Yes, there was the transmission, being beamed by the antenna ! The flag on Arjuna’s chariot was the antenna ! And see, how fittingly the symbol on the flag was – the portrait of वायुपुत्र हनुमान Was not that the surest place to place the antenna ?”

I was carried away by that for quite some time. But when studying this word अकुर्वत I realized that Sanjaya was not in the palace all the time, giving live commentary of happenings on the battle-field. He was right there in the midst of the battle-field for ten out of 18 days of the war, until BheeShma-pitaamaha fell ! Sanjaya was sent to the palace to report that sad event to the king personally. So, at least ten days of war was already over, when Sanjaya came to the palace. That is why the verb अकुर्वत is in past tense in this shloka, when धृतराष्ट्र asked Sanjaya to tell what all happened.

Having been right there on the battle-field for at least ten days, what Sanjaya was bestowed with as दिव्य-दृष्टिः was possibly a video-recorder !

But the person to do the video-recording also had to be the right person. Sanjaya was an expert charioteer, the king’s personal charioteer. King धृतराष्ट्र was himself not going to go anywhere during the war. So, Sanjaya had no specific work. He was the most available person ! An expert charioteer has to have the skills of maneuvering through all the thick and thin of action on a battle-field. A person to do comprehensive video-recording also needed to have exactly that skill. So Vyasa-muni’s choice of Sanjaya for the दिव्य-दृष्टिः was also a well-thought out choice, right ?

शुभमस्तु ।

-o-O-o-

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