Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ya right

This is an amazing piece of poetry:
yayayayayayayayayayayayayayayaya
yayayayayayayayayayayayayayayaya
Cool, na? Oh, wait...it's in the wrong script. Here it is:
यायायायायायायायायायायायायायायाया ।
यायायायायायायायायायायायायायायाया ।।

Maybe it's still not clear. So an explanation is in order.
What needs to be done is break up the sentence properly - a process called anvaya in Sanskrit:
यायाया, आय, यायाया, आय, आयाय , अयाय, अयाय ,अयाय, अयाय
अयाय,
अयाया, यायाय, आयायाय, आयाय, या, या, या, या, या, या, या, या
Or the equivalent in English ('A' below stands for the 'aa' sound like in cAr) :
yAyAyA, Ay, yAyAyA, Ay, AyAy,ayAya, ayAy, ayAy,ayAy, ayAy,
ayAy, ayAyA, yAyAy, AyAyA, AyAy, yA, yA , yA, yA, yA, yA, yA, yA
And when you break it up properly the verse then reveals the meaning:
The sandals that adorn the Lord, which help in the attainment of all that is good, which gives knowledge, which causes the desire to attain the Lord, which removes all that is hostile, which attain the lord and are used to travel aound by which all the places can be reached - these sandals are for Lord Vishnu
Poetic Recreation
It was and still is a great pastime in traditional circles in India to come up with such challenging creations. There are even poetry competitions held where the poet is given a theme and a constraint to base his creation on. For example:
'Create a 32 syllable verse with 16 syllables in each line using only the consonants 'da' ( द) , 'va' (व) and 'na' (न) with the theme being one of Lord Vishnu's incarnations'

And here is the creation:
देवानां नंन्दनो देवो नोदनो वेदनिन्दिनाम्।
दिवं दुदाव नोदेन दाने दानवनन्दिनः।।

Meaning:
The Lord who gives pleasure to the gods and drives away the opponents of the Veda, filled the heavens with a loud sound when he killed the demon Hiranyakashipu.
In the great intellectual activity called avadhAnAm - many of these kind of challenges are given and the person being tested has to come with up these creations instantly. It calls for great knowledge of poetic metres, mythology, grammar etc.
In fact, will do a post on avAdhAnam soon. i rememeber i had read the biography some years back of a Jain avadhAni who lived in the 19th century - i searched for it some days back on the net but could not get it. Will try again - his story just demonstrated the amamzing powers of the mind and took you back to the great intellectual traditions of India.

Source for the verses:
The wonderful book called 'Wonder that is Sanskrit' by Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry.
1) The first verse is by Sri Vedanta Desika (1269 - 1370) in his work PAdukAsahasram
2) The second one is by Bhoja a great Indian king and scholar (1010 - 1060). This verse is from his work Saraswati KanthAbharanam. The Indian city Bhopal is named after him. In fact, if you will, Raja Bhoja was the first to realize the spectre of the Islamic threat and was thus also the first to organize Indian kings under one umbrella.

8 comments:

sandeep said...

Absolutely! What a wonderful language Sanskrit is!

By the way, in the verse

देवानां नंन्दनो देवो नोदनो वेदनिन्दिनाम्।
दिवं दुदाव नोदेन दाने दानवनन्दिनः।।

Why do you give‘pain to the opponents of the Veda’ even as we are told to follow the path of non-violence? I don’t think we hindus force others to follow our religion. If we don’t, then from where did the concept of ‘pain’ got introduced?

Sharan Sharma said...

Hey thanks for the question!
Helps me clarify.

This has two aspects:
1) Improper/imperfect translation. 'Nodana' is used in the context of 'driving away'. In fact, if you notice the word 'Nindinam' - approx. the same as the Hindi 'Ninda karna'. So the meaning can actually be 'drive away the opponents of the Veda'

2) Historical aspect. The driving away that i mentioned above also could be in the context of Ghazni's invasion which occured during Raja Bhoja's time (the composer of this verse). In fact, it was Raja Bhoja who drove the invaders away.

Will also change the translation according to me understanding.

Anand K. Ghurye said...

Dear Sharmaji ,

Sanskrit is a language of the educated elite . Thus it leads to a lot of compression of ideas and concepts . I regularly use Sanskrit to remember things in conceptual format . This also leads to getting better grades in Maths and Physics .
If we begin to use Sanskrit for these purposes , the language will revive soon .
Anand K. Ghurye anand.ghurye@gmail.com

Sharan Sharma said...

Thank you for your comment, Sri Ghurye.
The language just totally represents clarity.

(i have just sent you a reply e-mail)

Prasad bhawalkar said...

Dear Shri Sharma,

I stumbled upon your blog/site and wanted to thank you. My heartfelt thanks for sharing some very interesting things about Sanskrit with us all. Not knowing much about you as a person, I still admire the posts which reflects sensitivity/respect for Hindu culture, traditions and all things interesting in the world in a way - kind of resonates with my interests. Would love to correspond personally - just to share common interests to enjoy.

Regards,
-Prasad

Sharan Sharma said...

Thank you, Sri Bhawalkar.
Given your interest, you must pursue it!

Shivamtaur said...

It means sanskrit is made universal after the death of hiranyakshipu
Is that correct

Sharan Sharma said...

Sri Shivamtaur: The verse is just to be taken poetically. Thanks.