December 8th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
वागर्थाविव सम्पृक्तौ वागर्थ प्रतिपत्तये ।
जगतः पितरौ वन्दे पार्वतीपरमेश्वरौ ॥ 
- रघुवम्श (कालिदास)

vaagarthaaviva sampRuktau vaagartha pratipattaye |
jagataH pitarau vande paarvatIparameshvarau ||
- raghuvamsha (kaalidaasa)

Meaning of the subhAShita:
(I) pray to the progenitors of the universe, paarvatI and parameshvara, who are interspersed like the speech and meaning (themselves), for the attainment of articulation and understanding.

There can be no meaning without speech and there can be no speech without meaning.  When someone speaks, there is a meaning that accompanies it.  One may talk meaninglessly, but his speech always carries a meaning, whether it makes sense or not :).  That means, speech and its meaning, are inseparable!  There is no existence of one without the other.  Once milk and honey are stirred together, one cannot separated out from the other.  Such is the union, camaraderie of Lord shiva and paarvatI.

The author here (kaalidaasa) is praying to be bestowed such inseparable articulation and understanding in the compositions he is about to compose.  This is the opening verse he wrote, before he composed the famous kaavya, raghuvamsha (raama's dynasty).

Good speech, meaningful speech is essential at any place, time or era.  Our art of communication with others, as well as ourselves, ultimately determines the quality of our lives!  So, who wouldn't want to be bestowed the best skills from the best of the bests!!

pada vigrahaH:
वाक्-अर्थौ-इव सम्पृक्तौ वाक्-अर्थ प्रतिपत्तये ।
vaak-arthau-iva sampRuktau vaak-artha pratipattaye |

जगतः पितरौ वन्दे पार्वती-परमेश्वरौ ॥ 
jagataH pitarau vande paarvatI-parameshvarau ||

November 13th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
असतो मा सद्गमय 
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय 
ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः॥
- बृहदारण्यक उपनिषत्

asato maa sadgamaya
tamaso maa jyotirgamaya|
mRutyormaa amRutaM gamaya
oum shaanti shaanti shaantiH||
- bRuhadaaraNyaka upaniShat

Meaning of the subhAShita:
May I proceed (go) from unreal to the real; from darkness to light; from mortality to immortality; may there be peace, peace, peace.

This verse is a mantra rather than a shloka.  A mantra is something for a person to contemplate upon and realize its true meaning himself.

Here, the student of vedaanta prays that he progresses -
  • from unreal towards the real.  It is believed that 'brahma satya, jagat mithya' - the Lord alone is  the truth and everything else is untruth.  We the mortals are in the quest of being untangled from the tangles of the facade of this world.  
  • from darkness towards light.  Darkness is equated to ignorance and ego.  Light is what quells darkness, meaning, knowledge and altruism are what defeat ignorance and ego.  'saa vidyaa yaa vimuktaye' - that alone is knowledge which leads to liberation.  
  • from mortality to immortality.  Here, mortality isn't only the being in physical existence, but the very indulgence in the unreal.  From there, into realizing the eternal truth - ahaM brahmaasmi - I am that Supreme self.
When this is attained, there is nothing but peace, peace, peace, everywhere!

Where there is light, there can be no darkness.  Where there is knowledge, there can't be ignorance.  Where there is altruism, there can be no egoism.

May this festival of lights quell all the unreal, untrue things of life and make way to the positive light of eternal bliss!  shubha deepaavaLi to one and all.

pada vigrahaH:
अ-सतः मा सत्-गमय 
a-sataH maa sat-gamaya

तमसः मा ज्योतिः-गमय।
tamasaH maa jyotiH-gamaya|

मृत्योः मा अमृतं गमय 
mRutyoH maa amRutaM gamaya

ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः॥
oum shaanti shaanti shaantiH||

October 24th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
गगनं गगनाकारं सागरः सागरोपमः ।
रामरावणयोर्युद्धं रामरावणयोरिव ॥ 
- रामायण, युद्धकाण्ड

gaganaM gaganaakaaraM saagaraH saagaropamaH |
raamaraavaNayoryuddhaM raamaraavaNayoriva ||
- raamaayaNa, yuddhakaaNDa

Meaning of the subhAShita:
The vastness of the sky is equal to (that of) the sky; the ocean is analogous to the ocean; the battle between raama and raavaNa is like the battle between raama and raavaNa!

This verse looks like it is repeating itself!  Is it so?  Not really.  In this verse, the poet is at loss of words to describe or give comparisons.  He says, the best analogy for the vastness of the sky is none other than the sky itself!  Can anything be as deep and vast as an ocean?  The only collation or resemblance one can give for an ocean is - the ocean itself!  Similarly, the one and only correlation one can come up with for the fierce battle between raama and raavaNa is..., the battle between raama and raavaNa!!  They fought with such ferocity and strength that, no comparison could suffice the description.  Finally, the poet just says, it was as unmatched as itself!  Lord raama was of great valor.  But raavaNa could keep up with him.  He was an equal match to raama in his physical strength.  But what brought him down, was his mental weakness, his arrogance.

This very well depicts our inner demons.  The good thoughts are raama, the ignoble ones being raavaNa.  Their internal battle is nothing short of the battle between Lord raama and raavaNa themselves.  Just as there is no simile to the war between raama and raavaNa, nothing can be compared to the inner turmoil each one of us goes through at our own crossroads either.  Brings to mind, the story of the two wolves - the good one and the bad one.  When the grandson asked 'which one wins', the grandfather replied 'which ever you feed'!  It is entirely up to us, who we allow to win.  It sure is not easy to win the evil thoughts, just like raavaNa was invincible... But once the initial bombardment is overcome, the path for the good paves the way itself.  Because, physical strength, ignoble thoughts, and selfish motives can only survive so long.  If the thought that 'only the good and the ethical win eventually' is kept in mind, probably triumph comes sooner.

May this 'vijayadashami' which reminds us of raama's victory over raavaNa, also remind us to fight our inner war with the same tenacity as He did!  May everyone achieve noble merits in all their noble endeavors today and always!

P.S.:  This verse is an extraction from a four line verse, but the subhaaShita aspect is covered in these two lines itself.  Hence the extraction.

pada vigrahaH:
गगनं गगन-आकारं सागरः सागर-उपमः ।
gaganaM gagana-aakaaraM saagaraH saagara-upamaH |

राम-रावणयोः युद्धं राम-रावणयोः इव ॥ 
raama-raavaNayoH yuddhaM raama-raavaNayoH iva ||

September 25th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
दशकूपसमा वापी दशवापीसमो ह्रदः।
दशह्रदसमः पुत्रो दशपुत्र समो द्रुमः ॥  
- मत्स्य पुराण

dashakUpasamaa vaapI dashavaapIsamo hradaH|
dashahradasamaH putro dashaputra samo drumaH||
- matsya puraaNa

Meaning of the subhAShita:
A pond is equal to ten wells.  A dansk of water (reservoir) is worth ten (such) ponds.  (Then again,) ten (such) reservoirs are same as a son (offspring).  (But), a tree is equal to ten (such) sons.

Water is an integral part of life's very existence.  Infact, we have known man to send out space ships to different spacial objects, just to detect the existence of water.  When such is the case, a well obviously is an invaluable asset to living beings.  A well after all, is a small body of water.  Without a doubt, a pond can easily be equated to ten such wells.

The water in ten ponds can be easily contained in a reservoir.  But then, a son (good, cultured, educated one specially), is no match to even ten such reservoirs!   Because, a child quenches the thirst of the parents, in a similar way!!  But then, there is something that can even equal ten such sons!!  That is none other than a 'tree'.

Why is that?  How can 1 tree equal 10 sons or 100 reservoirs or 1000 ponds or 10,000 wells?!!!  Well... :), here's the deal.  One tree in it's life time, holds in clouds that can equal all of the above bodies of water.  How about a son.  How can a tree be better than him?  It sure is, because, a person who plants it today will never know how many people shall benefit from that tree.  In reality, the true meaning of life is said to be - to plant trees, under whose shade one does not expect to sit!  The many fruit the tree bears, shall satiate the hunger of birds/animal/people.  Many a rain clouds it might bring to the neighborhood and quench the thirst of the needy.  When he plants the sapling, he is actually doing service to many beings without realizing.  Moreover, the tree may live there for generations beyond the planter and his son and still keep serving the people, giving them water, shade and fruit.

Hence a tree is equated to so many things.  Then what does felling a tree mean?  It means we are, with our own bare hands, although theoretically, slaying so many sons and drying up so many water sources!

It is said that trees are the best antiques and the groves were God's first temples.  Strive and save those antique temples now and always!

pada vigrahaH:
दश-कूप-समा वापी दश-वापी-समो ह्रदः।
dasha-kUpa-samaa vaapI dasha-vaapI-samo hradaH|

दश-ह्रद-समः पुत्रो दश-पुत्र समो द्रुमः ॥  
dasha-hrada-samaH putro dasha-putra samo drumaH||