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July 5th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
काकदृष्टिर्बकध्यानं श्वाननिद्रा तथैव च
अल्पाहारो जीर्णवस्त्रं च एतद्विद्यार्थि लक्षणम्

kaakadRuShTirbakadhyaanaM shvaananidraa tathaiva cha
alpaahaaro jIrNavastraM cha etadvidyaarthi lakShaNam

Meaning of the subhAShita:
The sight of a crow, the attention of a stork, the sleep of a dog as well, little food and worn out clothes - these are the characteristics of a student.

Pick the best traits, from whoever it is! Just as every being has their own imperfections, they have a trait that they have mastered as well. A student especially needs to be constantly on the outlook to acquire the best qualities. And being a student throughout one's life is the most blissful experience!

A crow, in some respects, is considered as the most basal of birds. But not in its sight. It has a very keen eyesight and nothing goes unobserved. That kind of observation is very essential if one is interested in increasing his knowledge base and getting to the bottom of things.

A stork is popular for its attention. It can stand hours on end, on one leg, without moving. It stands in the water, waiting patiently for fish passing by. Since the stork is almost still, the fish are not warned and the stork's patience gets paid. That kind of concentration should be learnt from the stork. Without concentration, jumping from one branch to another like a monkey, a deeper understanding of any subject matter is impossible.

A dog is very easy to wake up. Even when it sleeps, it is very aware of its surroundings and ready to jump up on the slightest stir. Also, when he wakes up, he doesn't sleepwalk drowsily. He is up with full attention! Such should be the alertness of a student. Excessive sleep leads only to waste of time and laziness. Neither is it proactive towards learning.

Consumption of too much food makes one feel heavy, lazy and sleepy. Hence, a student is advised to consume food in small portions. It also curbs one from indulging himself in pleasing his palate, which can become another hindrance to learning.

'jIrNavastram' (worn out clothes) is emphasized for students. The reason being, if he wants his clothes to be new and up to date with the latest trends, his time and energy get wastefully spent on acquiring those clothes, making sure he looks good with all other accessories that go with it, etc. When the attention and dedication are diverted from the core subject and distracted into unwanted interests, productivity in the learning is anyone's guess!

Hence, the characteristics of a true student are defined as the above 5 traits. Like they say, 'Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration'. vidyaa never comes easily. One has to strive hard for it. If he adapts these traits, then, it doesn't seem like effort anymore!

pada vigrahaH:
काक दृष्टिः बक ध्यानं श्वान निद्रा तथ एव च
kaaka dRuShTiH baka dhyaanaM shvaana nidraa tatha eva cha

अल्प आहारो जीर्ण वस्त्रं च एतत् विद्यार्थि लक्षणम्
alpa aahaaro jIrNa vastraM cha etat vidyaarthi lakShaNam


  1. Hi KavyaSindhu
    I used to hear a similar one growing up back home in India:काग चेष्ठा,बको ध्यानम,श्वान निद्रा तथैव च|
    अल्पाहारी, गृहत्यागी,विद्यार्थी नाम:पञ्च लक्षणम् ||
    Anyhow,the one you posted is a fine one.
    I am forwarding it to my teenage son.

    One request I have been meaning to make is for a shlok which has the meaning that one can scold a child till sixteen but at age sixteen a son should be treated as friend. I think it starts as ताड़येत षोडश वर्षे....

  2. Nice to know that you are encouraging your teenage son to read the blog. The main purpose for me to start it, was to encourage my own daughter to see and appreciate what our ancestors left behind for us!

    The sholka you have mentioned goes as follows -
    काक चेष्ठा बकध्यानं श्वाननिद्रा तथैव च
    अल्पाहारी गृहत्यागी विध्यार्थीनां पञ्चलक्षणम्

    The other one you have referred to, is at the link below.

    There a couple others about children on similar lines