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Articles by Sampadananda Mishra

Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (1)

Introduction:

Sanskrit, as a language, is extremely elaborate and sophisticated. It embraces variety and richness of experiences covering the entire gamut of human sensitivity and potentiality. It unfolds multiple levels of consciousness. It has maximum number of words for the Divine and more precise terms for defining consciousness and meditative experiences. It has a great power to elevate human consciousness to sublime heights.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (2)

The Resonating Power of Sanskrit:

In the previous article I had discussed about the vastness, versatility, elaborateness and creativity of Sanskrit. There I have mentioned that this Language is a perfect tool for an integral spiritual growth. Indeed, it is true that Sanskrit has a tremendous power to uplift and enlighten and illumine. The Divineness of Sanskrit is self-evident. Sanskrit is a language which is intuitively metaphysical and revealingly poetic, subtle and suggestive, symbolic and figurative.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (3)

Sound and Sense are not separated from each other

In the last issue I had discussed about the resonating power and the vibrational purity of the Sanskrit sounds which make it a Mantirc language. Sanskrit always starts from a deeper base. It believes that the Sound and the Word are at the origin of creation. It believes that they have light, consciousness and power – the sound has potency. Therefore, the meaning of the fundamental Sanskrit roots is not arbitrary but based on a deeper truth.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (4)

Sanskrit follows a rigorous logic

In the previous issue I had explained about the significance of synonyms. There I had shown that the many words used for one object are not just different words to convey one single object but they are expressions of different experiences associated with that object. In this issue I will explain some similar feature of Sanskrit by giving few more examples. One of the very important and fascinating aspects of Sanskrit is that each and every word in Sanskrit is conscious of its origin…

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (5)

The root of Doubts

When look in a dictionary of Sanskrit to find out the meaning of a root-sound, we find that often a root-sound has more than one meaning. How do we justify the multiple meanings attached to one root-sound? Let me give you one example. One of the Sanskrit words for doubt is sandeha. When we split this word to arrive at the root of it we find that this word has two components in it – sam and deha.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (6)

What is Beauty

In the last issue I had written about the multi-significance of the root-sounds in Sanskrit by giving the example of the word sandeha meaning doubt. This time let me explain you another word to explain about the conscious creation of Sanskrit word. In example is sushamaa. In Sanskrit sushamaa usually means beauty or splendour. This is not the only word for beauty in Sanskrit. There are words like saundarya, caarutaa, shobhaa, kaanti, shree, laavanya etc. expressing the sense of beauty.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (7)

Sukha is not Happiness Nor Duhkha is Unhappiness

Sanskrit, indeed, generates clarity and joy. And what is responsible for this is the way it has been designed, the way, here the words have been created. I have given a few examples in the earlier issues to illustrate this point. And, in this article, I aim to explain the words sukha and duhkha, to further illustrate the idea of Sanskrit – a consciously designed language. The word sukha refers to happiness and the word duhkha refers to unhappiness.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (8)

Namas is not just to Bow Down

In the last issue I had discussed about two words, sukha and duhkha. In this issue I have taken up the word namas. The word namas from which we get the words namaskara or which we see in the word namas-te, is derived from the root-sound nam and has a very deeper meaning than what is usually understood by the words namaskara, namas-te and pranaama. The word namaskara is often interpreted to explain that when one does namaskara he must feel that the one whom he bows down is superior to him.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (9)

What is Sankalpa

This time I am going to explain the meaning of the word sankalpa. In our tradition before any ritual we first have to do the sankalpa which usually means a solemn vow or determination to perform any ritual, declaration of purpose. A conception or idea or notion formed in the mind or heart is also called sankalpa. Will, volition, desire, purpose, definite intention or determination or decision or wish for, are few other dictionary meanings of the word sankalpa.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (10)

Two Paths: Shreyas and Preyas

There is a beautiful stanza in the second chapter of the first cycle of Kathopanishad in which it is said – “The good and the pleasant come to a man and the thoughtful mind turns around them and distinguishes. The wise choose out the good from the pleasant, but the dull soul chooses the pleasant rather than the getting of his good and its having.” (Kathopanishad, 1.2.2, translated by Sri Aurobindo) The two most important words in this verse which need to be understood in their root-sense are shreyas and preyas.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (11)

Who is Bhagavan

Here I intend to explain the word bhagavaan, one of the most important words of the Sanatana Dharma. The base word for bhagavaan is bhagavat. The word bhagavat is formed by adding the suffix vat to the word bhaga. The suffix vat is added to a noun in the sense of possession. In feminine gender it is bhagavatii. Some other known words for instance are dhanavaan, he who has wealth, jnaanavaan, he who has knowledge. So the word bhagavaan literally means he who possesses bhaga. 

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (12)

Dakshina is not what is paid to a priest

This time I have taken up the word dakshinaa, one of the most important words in the Vedic system of Yoga. The word dakshinaa is the feminine form of the word dakshina which usually means: right (not left), south, southern (as being on the right side of a person looking eastward), situated to the south, turned or directed southward, coming from south; straightforward, candid, sincere, pleasing, compliant; the right (hand or arm); able, clever, dexterous. 

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (13)

Pashupati is not the Lord of Animals

Lord Shiva is worshipped by many in his Pashupati form. Literally, the word pashupati means the ‘lord of the animals’. The word pashu means animal. This comes from the root-sound pash which means to fix, to bind, to see (to fix the eyes) etc. An animal is called pashu because it is fixed or tied with a rope to be kept under control. In us, the human beings, it is the animal consciousness made up of the impulses of the nervous mentality that reigns. 

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (14)

The Meaning of Narayana

This time I would like to introduce the word naaraayana, which is a famous name of Lord Vishnu. Thousands of Hindu devotees repeat this name every day as a part of their daily ritual. The word naaraayana is constituted of two words: naara and ayana. The word naara meaning ‘relating to or proceeding from men, human, mortal, is a derivative of the base word nara which simply means man. The word nara itself is either a modification of the word nr or is derived from it. 

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (15)

Vaasudevamayam Sarvam

Sri Aurobindo has spoken about his own experience of Lord Vasudeva being present everywhere (sarvam vaasudevamayam jagat) when he was living a prison’s life in Alipore jail, and he spoke extensively about this experience of his in his Uttarapara speech.

The purpose of this issue is to explore the true meaning of the word vaasudeva.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (16)

What does the word Prasaada mean

Usually by the word prasaada we mean the food which is shared by the devotees after it has been offered to the God. The other meanings of this word are: clearness, brightness, purity, calmness, tranquility, absence of excitement, serenity of disposition, graciousness, kindness etc. The word prasaada is derived from the root sad with the prefix pra. The root sad originally means to sit down, besiege, lie in, wait for, to sink down etc.

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (17)

Yajña is not just Fire Sacrifice

The word yajña is ordinarily understood as the ritualistic fire sacrifice. Etymologically the word yajña is derived from the root-sound yaj which means: ‘to worship, adore, honor to, consecrate, and offer, to present or bestow’. If we go further deep, we find that the root-sound yaj is a derivative of the seed-sound ya which essentially signifies motion to or from, yearning, contact and union. 

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (18)

All is filled in with Shraddha

The word shraddhaa, in Sanskrit, is usually translated into English as trust, faith, confidence, loyalty, respect, reverence etc. But this is not all about shraddhaa. When we analyze and go deep into the root sense of the word then we not only know the true meaning of shraddhaa but also experience what is meant by it. The word shraddhaa is constituted of two components: shrat and dhaa. 

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (19)

Aditi – The Infinite Consciousness

The word aditi is constituted of two components: a & diti. The sound ‘a’ here is a negative prefix meaning ‘not’. The word ‘diti’ is derived from a lost root ‘di’ which means to cut, split or separate or divide. (Please remember that the fundamental experience associated with the seed-sound da is a forceful motion which splits, divides, separates). So, diti refers to division, split, separation, duality etc. The word aditi (na not diti divided) refers to that which is indivisible. 

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Sanskrit: A Language of Consciousness (20)

The Higher Half

The word paraardha in Sanskrit means the more remote or opposite side or half; it also refers to the highest number (100,000 billions); in the Puranic tradition it signifies the number of mortal days corresponding to 50 years of Brahma’s life. Paraardha is composed of two components: para and ardha. The word para as a pronoun has the following senses: far, distant, remote (in space), opposite, ulterior, farther than, beyond, on the other or farther side of, extreme etc. 

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काल kāla – The Time-Spirit

Usually the word काल kāla refers to time.  With reference to the present time the word used is वर्तमानकाल vartamānakāla; with reference to past it is अतीतकाल atītakāla; with reference to future it is भविष्यत्काल bhaviṣyatkāla; morning is प्रातःकाल prātaḥkāla; evening is सायङ्काल sāyaṅkāla; an auspicious time is शुभकाल śubhakāla; an evil time is दुष्काल duṣkāla; and an unseasonable or bad time is अकाल akāla.

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पृथिवी pṛthivī – The Earth

The word पृथिवी pṛthivī (also spelt as पृथ्वी pṛthvī) in Sanskrit refers to the earth. This is not the only word in Sanskrit for the earth. Sanskrit, in fact, has more than two hundred words for the earth, each one expressing a particular quality of the earth. The word पृथिवी pṛthivī amongst all other words, is the most popular one. Have you ever wondered, why the earth is called पृथिवी.

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आकाश ākāśa – Beyond Sky

The word आकाश (ākāśa) is formed by combining the prefix आ (ā)  with काश (kāśa.) As the Divine’s vision is infinite and endless, so the primordial आकाश ākāśa or space from which all have come into being is realized as infinite and endless or अनन्त (ananta — another name for ākāśa).

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A Call for the Propagation of Sanskrit

Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages of the world. The deeper one goes into it the more amazed one is by the beauty and perfection of this language. Whichever aspect one explores, there seems to be no limits to its treasures and wonders. Its very name means “refined” or “sculpted to perfection”. It is through this language that India has been expressing herself abundantly and incessantly for centuries, and its future rests much on this most dynamic language.

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Sanskrit as the National Language of India

Sanskrit as the National Language of India Dr. Sampadananda Mishra The Nobel Laureate physicist, Dr. C.V. Raman, believed that Sanskrit was the only language that could be the national language of India. He said, “Sanskrit flows through our blood. It is only Sanskrit that can establish the unity of the country.” It is true that a national language is a very important element in the growth and self-actualisation of a people and a nation.

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Is Sanskrit Relevant Today?

Sanskrit has some remarkable features that are important to the way we learn. This is true not just for the present, but for the future as well.

The systematic nature of Sanskrit is exceptional. Its grammatical structure was well-defined and precisely laid out by sage Panini in the 5th century BCE, and little has changed in over two millennia. Sanskrit is also almost entirely self-contained, and any new vocabulary or structure can be generated within the language itself.

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Sanskrit – A Language of Integral Perfection

The sheer depth and fecundity of Sanskrit makes it a peerless language which deserves much exploration.

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Sanskrit: A Journey from Mantra to Freedom

The mantric power of Sanskrit has the capacity to not only help create love and harmony but also uplift and enlighten our being.

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Bhartrihari’s Century of Morals – A Guide to the Art of Right Living

The ancient Indian thought has hardly paid any special attention to the conceptual and philosophical aspect of Morality. This is because the ancient Indian moral thinking was morepractical than philosophical. So, in Sanskrit or any other Indian literature, we do not get, except some cursory comments and some insightful observations, a detailed study of Moral Philosophy. It does not mean that Indian mind was not aware of Morality, but they did not formulate any Moral theories.

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Sri Aurobindo on Bhartrihari

Sri Aurobindo had a great admiration for Bhartrihari, especially his three Shatakas. Here is note on Sri Aurobindo’s views on Bhartrihari.

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Tantrikasiddhiprakaranam by Sri Aurobindo

Täntrikasiddhiprakaranam is an incomplete Sanskrit text written by Sri Aurobindo. The available text has thirty-seven sutras (short sentences) dealing with the sadhana of surrender to Kali, the shakti. Nothing much is known about the date of this writing, but the text is found in a notebook of Sri Aurobindo which contains many of his other writings belonging to the period 1911-12. This is an English translation of the text.

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Vasishtha Ganapati Muni – His Life and Works

To present a brief life sketch of Vaishtha Ganapati Muni and and introduction to his works in Sanskrit is the objective of this write up. This is written entirely in Sanskrit.

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Vasishtha Ganapati Muni and his Association with Sri Aurobindo

The Muni was an ardent adorer of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. While going through the writings of Sri Aurobindo appearing in Arya, he had developed an inner contact with the Master and the Mother. But he never had any opportunity to have their Darshan. On the 15 th of August 1928 he came to Pondicherry to participate in the birthday celebrations of Sri Aurobindo.

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Metrical Nuances in Sri Aurobindo’s Bhavani Bharati

All those who have read Sri Aurobindo’s Bhavani Bharati and have written about it have this understanding that all the verses of this poem are in a metre called upajAti. This is a mixed variety of metre belonging to the eleven syllable group called triShTubh. While carrying out my study on the metres, especially on upajAti, I found that all the verses in Bhavani Bharati are not in the same metre, though all belong to the triShTubh group.  Then I started scanning every line of each verse of this poem and my study confirmed that 17 out of the 99 verses are in a metre called indravajrA, one in upendravajrA and the remaining 81 in upajAti.

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Significance of Chandas

With regard to the metres several questions may come to the mind such as: What do we demand from the metres? Are the metres artificial or natural? Is there any higher significance of the metres other than their physical appearances? What do different arrangements count for? etc. etc. In the ancient texts on the Chandas we do not find much helpful descriptions for the above questions. This paper brings out Sri Aurobindo’s views on the subject and provides some deep insights into the understanding of the real significance of the Chandas.

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Neurophysiological benefits of Rhythmic patterns in Sanskrit

Using Sanskrit meters as an intervention technique, I carried out an informal experiment on few children with learning disability. And based on the little positive result that I got, I decided to carry out a pilot study to  understand the neuro-scientific basis as well as healing benefits of Sanskrit meters (Chandas); to understand whether the use of Chandas as an intervention technique has any significant effect on various aspects of emotional wellbeing as well as academic performance through improvement in areas such as their attention span, short-term memory, visual and motor coordination, by bringing each individual in rhythm with that of the universal rhythms.

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Sanskrit and Speech Language Pathology

This article deals with the role of Sanskrit in speech-language pathology. A brief description of the science of production of speech sounds, classification of speech sounds, causes of speech disorders and treatment of speech and language disorders etc. is given here with reference to Sanskrit. Through this paper, the author attempts to present in brief the central idea of an important project on ‘Sanskrit and speech pathology’ undertaken by him for a full and detailed understanding of the role of Sanskrit in speech language pathology. As a part of this project, the author is also engaged in the preparation of an effective voice enhancement programme through Sanskrit.

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A Fresh Insight into the Understanding of Apaadaana

As we all know that Ablative in Sanskrit is a from-case. In Panini’s terminology it is called apaadaana. When we look at the definition of this term then we find separation as the main sense in apaadaana. But when we come across the example baalakah vyaaghraat bibheti, ‘the boy is afraid of the tiger’, then we see that it is not separation but the meeting or union that generates the fear. How do we justify this? What was the idea of our ancient Rishis while designing the language in this manner? What was Panini’s intention composing the rule bhiitraarthaanaaam bhayahetuh? Where is the separation? This article answers these questions.

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Principles of Plant Taxonomy – A fresh insight into the ancient Indian methodology and philosophy of naming and classifying medicinal plants

Proper nomenclature and classification play important roles in the systematisation of any branch of knowledge. In this regard, the ancient Indian ṛṣis and ācāryas had shown much transparency in their scientific observations. For them to name was to touch the essence of the thing or object named. They could really enter into the soul or the consciousness of the thing or the object and then give the name according to their experience. We find a clear reflection of this in the names of the plants as they appear in various texts of Āyurveda. From the various names given to one plant, one can truly understand not only the various morphological characteristics of that plant but also the special medicinal properties that the plant has.

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Sadvrittani – Codes of Good Conduct

It is a proven fact that our physical well-being rests much on our conduct and behaviour. This note reflects upon certain guidelines prescribed by Caraka, a well-known authority of medical science in ancient India, which teaches us significant healthful ways of good conduct in life, svasthavrrttam.

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The Greatness of the Rishi tradition in India

A Rishi is one who flows or is in tune with the rhythmic movement of the universe.

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Ramayana in the Light of Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo meticulously studied the whole of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and wrote several hundred pages on the greatness of these two epics. In these pages he has dealt with the creative genius of Valmiki and Vyasa and the problems related to the understanding and misunderstanding of these two epics. He has also translated many of their passages into English.

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Sanskrit Words for a Teacher (1)

The Meaning of the Sanskrit word अध्यापक adhyāpaka

In order to understand what the word अध्यापक adhyāpaka means in Sanskrit one has to know the root words from which this word is derived. अध्यापक adhyāpaka is the one who does अध्यापन adhyāpana which ordinarily means teaching. The word अध्यापन adhyāpana is a causal word of अध्ययन adhyayana which in Sanskrit usually means learning or reading or studying.

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Sanskrit Words for a Teacher (2)

The meaning of the Sanskrit word गुरु guru

The usual meanings of the word गुरु guru in Sanskrit are: heavy, weighty, great, large, extended, vehement, violent, excessive, difficult, hard, valuable, venerable, respectable, and a spiritual parent or preceptor.

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The Source of सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः — sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ

सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः – This is perhaps the most beautiful verse illustrating the whole idea of ‘well-being of all’ and is enormously quoted in the context of spirituality, dharma, universality, well-being etc.

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A Note on the Word त्र्यम्बक

त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे – This Mantra appearing in Rigveda, 7.59.12 and Yajurveda 3.60 is known as महामृत्युञ्जयमन्त्र-mahāmṛtyuñjayamantra. Vaishtha Maitravaruni is the Rishi of this Mantra in which Rudra is invoked as the deity. The repetition of this Mantra and meditating upon it has helped many people in getting rid of not just physical infirmities but from many other obstacles in life, both at the individual as well as collective level. Everyone who comes in contact with this Mantra with an open mind and with श्रद्धा śraddhā feels the purity and force of its vibration.

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Tamil & Sanskrit – Sanskrit & Tamil

In reality, no one knows which is the original/oldest language. If that can be proved then many a problems related to language fight will vanish. But unfortunately no clear-cut evidence is found to prove that. Neither Sanskrit in all its forms is the original language nor so is Tamil in all its forms. Both the languages, along with other primitive languages like Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Chinese etc. are cognate/sister languages.

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A Note on अतिथिदेवो भव

We are taught अतिथिदेवो भव (atithidevo bhava), ‘treat the guest as God’. And we always treat someone else as the atithi. But is atithi a guest, a stranger? Most of us are familiar with the etymology of the word ‘atithi’ as the one (known or unknown) who arrives without any prior notice (अ meaning ‘no’ + तिथि meaning ‘ a fixed day’). This confirms the meaning of the atithi as a guest/stranger.

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Aesthetics in Design – Indian Perspectives

It is said that upon the creation of the human form, the divine uttered that it was ‘sukritam’, well-ctreated – for it was ideal to express the divine bliss or Ananda upon earth. Thus human beings also have the potentiality of the creator.

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पुरोहित purohita — The Leader Who Stands in Front

The word पुरोहित purohita is generally used in the sense of a priest who performs the rituals in a temple or in any other place where a ritual takes place. It is believed that he alone knows the how and what of the rituals, therefore he is respected. This is the image that one carries when there is a contact with this word. But the original sense of the word पुरोहित purohita is much deeper than this outer sense. The purpose of this write up is to explore the original sense of this word.

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Vasudhaiva kutumbakam

Very often we hear people speaking of vasudhaiva kutumbakam‘the entire world is but one family’. This popular phrase in Sanskrit is, in fact, the last part of a full verse, meaning He is mine and the other is not, this is how a narrow-minded person thinks. For the high-minded one this world is but one family

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Gītāmṛtam 1

Why the गीता gītā is called श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता

Though the words spoken by Shri Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra is popularly known as गीता gītā, yet the original name of the text is श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता śrīmadbhagavadgītā which is a combination of three words: श्रीमत् śrīmat + भगवत् bhagavat + गीता gītā. The word श्रीमत् śrīmat refers to someone who is or something which is in possession of श्री śrī which means light, lustre, radiance, splendour, glory, beauty, grace, loveliness, prosperity, welfare, good fortune, success, auspiciousness, wealth, treasure, riches, high rank, power, might, majesty, royal dignity etc. 

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Gītāmṛtam 2

Who is the adhikārin to study the Gītā?

What should be one’s attitude who aspires to study the Gītā and enter into the spirit of its teaching. This leads to the question who is the real adhikārin to approach the Gita. To truly study and enter into the secret chamber of the Gītā or in fact of any spiritual text, the seeker or aspirant has to be a real adhikārin. An adhikārin is the one who has developed the necessary qualities within him. Only then he can gain true benefit from the study of the text. 

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Gītāmṛtam 3

The Concept of nirashrayatva in the Gita

Everyone in this world wants to be happy. No one wants any suffering, difficulties, pain or infirmity. No one ever does anything with the intention of being unhappy. No one calls for any suffering. We all run after happiness and make every effort to find it. But in spite of this intense craving for happiness the world continues to suffer and has more occasions to be at pain than to be happy. Why does it all happen? Is there any solution to this? Can the man really be happy? 

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Gītāmṛtam 4

Names of Arjuna 1 (अनघ anagha)

There are twenty-two names of Arjuna and forty names of Krishna by which each one of them is addressed in the Gita. In this series detailed explanation of each of these names will appear one by one.

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Gītāmṛtam 5

The deeper meaning of the word जनार्दन

Various meanings of the word janārdana available on the net are as follows:
– ‘the One who inflicts suffering (ardana) on evil men (jana)’
– ‘he to whom all devotees pray for worldly success and liberation’
– ‘the protector from negative forces’
– ‘exciting or agitating men’
– ‘he who is the original abode and protector of all living beings’
– ‘punisher of man’

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Gītāmṛtam 6

कार्पण्य-दोष kārpaṇya-doṣa – Root Cause of all Human Crisis

This small write up is focused on the word कार्पण्य-दोष kārpaṇya-doṣa (Gita2/7) which is the root cause of all human crisis. 

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Gītāmṛtam 7

What makes the Gita’s Teaching Great

The Yoga of the Gita is a spiritual truth applied to the external life and action. Before one enters into the Gita’s teachings, one should first know about:

The giver of the teaching
The recipient of the teaching
The situation in which the teaching was given

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (1)

Introduction

Sri Aurobindo while speaking about the greatness of Sanskrit literature says: “The ancient and classical creations of the Sanskrit tongue both in quality and in body and abundance of excellence, in their potent originality and force and beauty, in their substance and art and structure, in grandeur and justice and charm of speech and in the height and width of the reach of their spirit stand very evidently in the front rank among the world’s great literatures.” 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (2)

Bhāsa

Kalidasa mentions him as his predecessor and also refers to and imitates him here and there in his works. Bana praises him as a fine dramatist. Rajashekhara and Vakpati have admired him highly in their respective works. Yet he was a mere name till the beginning of the nineteenth century when all his dramas were discovered from a Library in Trivandrum by T. Ganapati Sastri. He is none other than Bhāsa who has maximum number of dramas to his credit. 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (3)

Kalidasa

Nothing much is known about the date and place of birth of Kalidasa. One hears so many stories about him, but all of them lack authenticity. It is said that Kalidasa was born on Ist century B.C. He was best known for his beauty and innocence. He was a member of ‘Navaratna’ or ‘nine gems’ in the court of Vikramaditya. A local princess Vidyotama, who vowed to marry only a man who defeated her in debate, outwitted all the scholars in the kingdom. 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (4)

Bhavabhuti

In the matter of eminence as a poet, Bhavabhuti stands next to Kalidasa. He lived in seventh century A.D. He is believed to have been the court poet of King Yashovarman of Kannauj. His grandfather’s name was Bhattagopal. His father’s name was Nilakantha and his mother’s name was Jatukarni. Jnananidhi was his guru from whom he got all his learning. Bhavabhuti was a man of high erudition, well-versed in almost all important branches of knowledge. 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (5)

Bharavi

Sri Aurobindo says, “…Bharavi has high qualities of grave poetic thinking and epic sublimity of description…”(The Renaissance in India CWSA. Vol. 20, p. 362). Bharavi is famous for his Kiratarjuniyam, a grand poem in eighteen cantos depicting the war between Arjuna and Lord Shiva in the guise of a Kirata (Mountaineer). This metrical composition describes the journey of Arjuna to the mountain Indrakila, part of Himalayas, for the propitiation of Indra and Siva 

Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (6)

Banabhatta

Banabhatta, who holds the highest rank among the prose writers in Sanskrit lived in 7th century A.D. The name of his father was Chitrabhanu and his mother was Rajdevi. He was born in a village called Pritikoota. His mother died when he was a child and at the age of 14 he lost his father. He was the ‘Asthana Kavi’ meaning ‘Court Poet’ of King Harshavardhana. His works include ‘Harsha Charita’ a biography of Harsha and ‘Kadambari’, a novel based on the Makarandika.

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (7)

Magha

Magha (c. 8th century CE) was a Sanskrit poet who lived under King Varmalata in Srimala in present day Rajasthan state. His Mahakavya Shishupalavadham in twenty cantos is based on the Mahabharata episode of the slaying of the defiant king Shishupala by Krishna. In the Indian tradition, Magha is recognized as one of the greatest poets of Sanskrit. Indian tradition speaks of the sweet melody of the words of Dandin, the profoundest thoughts in the words of Bharavi and the similies of Kalidasa…

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (8)

Shudraka

Very little is known about the life, date and the very identity of Shudraka, the author of the play Mricchakatika. But it is certain that he was a king, learned and victorious. Mricchakatika is one of the best dramas in Sanskrit literature. Nowhere else in the hundreds of Sanskrit dramas do we find such variety, and such drawing of character, as in this drama of Shudraka, and nowhere else, in the drama at least, is there such humor. 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (9)

Bhartrihari

 “He has the true heroic turn of mind and turn of speech; he breathes a large and puissant atmosphere. High-spirited, high-minded, high of temper, keen in his sympathies, admiring courage, firmness and daring inspiration above all things, thrilling to impulses of humanity, kindliness and self-sacrifice in spite of his rugged strength, dowered with a trenchant power of scorn and sombre irony, and occasionally of stern invective,”…

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (10)

Vishnu Sharma

Long ago in India there lived a king called Amara Shakti who had three sons. These boys were a constant worry for the king. They paid little attention to their lessons and showed no signs of ever being able to take over the kingdom. One day the king called all his ministers and courtiers for consultation. At that moment, there were more than five hundred salaried teachers in his kingdom, a rarity in those days where teachers had to live on alms. 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (11)

Sriharsha

It is said that Sriharsha lived in the second half of the twelfth century A.D. He was supported by Vijayachandra and Jayachandra of Kanauj. He was the son of Hira and Mamalladevi. His poetry Naishadhacharitam is one of the master works of the ornate court epic. In twenty-two cantos it narrates the story of Nala and Damayanti. This epic poem of Sriharsha is considered to be a tonic for the scholars (niashadham vidvadaushadham). 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (12)

Sri Dandin

Sri Dandin is a 6th-7th century Indian Sanskrit author of prose romances and expounder on poetics. Although he produced literature on his own, most notably the Dasa Kumara Carita, translated in 1927 as The Adventures of the Ten Princes, he is best known for composing the Kavyadarsa (‘Mirror of Poetry’), the handbook of classical Sanskrit poetics, or kavya. His writings were all in Sanskrit. 

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Classical Sanskrit Poets of India (13)

Jayadeva

Jayadeva, the saint poet, had composed Sri Gitagovinda, to please Sri Purushottama (Lord Jagannatha) in the twelfth century at Srikshetra. Jayadeva was a saint poet who has composed Gitagovinda in the twelfth century. He and his wife Padmavati, an accomplished dancer and musician, used to offer prayers to the Lord of the Blue Mountain, in the musical mode – in geeta, vaadya and nritya. Jayadeva was a native of Kenduli village, in the sacred Prachi valley in the hinterland of the holy city of Puri.

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Our Rishi tradition (1)

RISHAYAH: THE SEERS OF ANCIENT INDIA

RISHAYAHTHE SEERS OF ANCIENT INDIA It is said that Bharata is what she is because of the Rishis. Therefore, the culture of India is often called as the culture of the Rishis. The Rishi tradition in India seems to be a stream perennially flowing to enrich the mind and imagination of her common people. So, in India the Rishis have been rightly valuated as supreme. Living a true life was to be learnt from the Rishis.

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Our Rishi tradition (2)

Vishvamitra

Vishvamitra is one of the most venerated Rishis of ancient India. All that he contributed has pervaded the collective consciousness of the people of India. He was a veritable ocean of knowledge, power and tapas or austerity. One can find in him the highest point of spiritual realization. As a seer, he has given to the world many sacred mantras. He was the seer of all the hymns of the third book of the Rig Veda, which includes the famous Gayatri Mantra. He had such a powerful personality that he became a prominent figure in hundreds of stories recounted in different ancient Indian scriptures.

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Our Rishi tradition (3)

Vasishtha

Vasishtha When Brahma created the world, he forethought that there would be pain, suffering, miseries and grief as a result of ignorance. He was not happy with the idea and so he meditated and by his creative imagination brought forth Vasishtha, also known later as the mind-born child of Brahma. Vasishtha was taught the science of peace and was sent to the earth to help human beings to overcome suffering and pain. 

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Our Rishi tradition (4)

Agastya

Agastya Agastya was a famous Sage or Rishi of the Vedic period and is considered the greatest of the Seven Sages or Saptarshis. It is believed that he was the first Rishi who brought and popularized the Vedic religion to the southern part of India. We mentioned in the previous issue that Agastya was born of twin Gods, Mitra and Varuna, from Urvashi, along with Vasishtha. 

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Our Rishi tradition (5)

Dirghatama

Dirghatama “Truth is one, the wise call it in different ways.” “Heaven is my father Earth is my mother.” “What is above is moving downward and what is down is moving upward; yes, they who are below are indeed up above and they who are up are here below.” These are not the fanciful imaginations of any ordinary thinker or poet. These are some of the most illuminating words of Rishi Dirghatama, the words of his deeper experiences.

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Our Rishi tradition (6)

Maharshi Bhrigu

Maharshi BhriguIn the third chapter of Taittiriya Upanishad, we see the story of Bhrigu, son of Varuna. It is said here that once the celebrated sage Bhrigu approached his father Varuna requesting him to instruct about the Brahman. While speaking to his son about Brahman Varuna said, “Dear Bhrigu! know that everything in the universe originates from Brahman, exists in Brahman and unfolds through Brahman and merges in Brahman alone.

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Our Rishi tradition (7)

Kashyapa

KashyapaKashyapa, as per the Puranic descriptions, is the father of the Devas, Asuras, Nagas and all of humanity. As per the description of the Mahabharata, he was the son of Marichi, one of the six mind-born sons (Maanasa-putras) of the Creator Brahma. Ramayana, on the other hand states that he was the youngest brother of Marichi. However, we can regard him either as the son or grandson of Brahma. In the later Puranas we find references to him in both ways.

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Our Rishi tradition (8)

Yajnavalkya

Yajnavalkya Once king Janaka performed a major sacrifice in which he declared that a thousand cows each carrying a bag of gold coin will be presented the sage who claims to be the most eminent among the sages. None dared to come forward. After a long silence one sage stood up and ordered his disciples to take home the cows. Other sages questioned his right to take the cows. All the sages came forward to pose questions of various types. 

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Our Rishi tradition (9)

Ashtavakra

Ashtavakra Kahoda was the best among other disciples of Sage Uddalaka. Uddalaka was so pleased with him for his dedication and devotion, that he had his daughter Sujata married to him. Sujata, eventually got pregnant, and with the desire of wanting the intellectual and spiritual growth of her child in the womb she began to sit in the classes taught by Uddalaka and Kahoda, listening to their chanting of Mantras.

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Our Rishi tradition (10)

Rishi Uddalaka

Rishi Uddalaka Rishi Uddalaka was famous as a great teacher. He had one son by the name Shvetaketu and one daughter by the name Sujata. There were many disciples getting their education from him in his hermitage. One of the disciples whom he liked most was Kahoda. Rishi Uddlaka gave his daughter Sujata to Kahoda in marriage. Ashtavakra was the son of Kahoda and Sujata. 

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Our Rishi tradition (11)

Maharishi Panini

Maharishi Panini There is a story in Kathasaritsagara (it is kathasaritsagara) (originally written in Paishachi (or satanic [a sort of jargon spoken by demons on the stage]) language by Gunadhya and translated into Sanskrit by Somadeva) which says that Panini was a disciple of Guru Varsha of Pataliputra. Panini was allegedly the most dull-witted amongst all disciples of Varsha but he was greatly devoted to his Guru. This pleased the wife of Guru Varsha who took great care of Panini. 

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Our Rishi tradition (12)

Patanjali

Patanjali The first commentary on Panini’s Ashtadhyayi was written by Patañjali, one of the most famous Sanskrit grammarians of ancient India. In fact, it was with Patañjali that Indian linguistic science reached its definite form. Panini’s Sutras are elaborated meaningfully in the commentary of Patanjali called Mahabhashya. The tardition says that reading Mahabhashya of Patanjali is equal to ruling a great kingdom. The whole commentary is presented in a dialogue method.

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