June 22nd


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
उभयोर्नास्ति भोगेच्छा परार्थं धनसञ्चयः ।
कृपणोदारयोः पश्य तथापि महदन्तरम् ॥
- सुभाषितसुधानिधि

Transliteration:
ubhayornaasti bhogechChaa paraarthaM dhanasa~nchayaH |
kRupaNodaarayoH pashya tathaapi mahadantaram ||
- subhaaShitasudhaanidhi

Meaning of the subhAShita:
Neither has the desire to indulge, (both) earn wealth for the benefit of others!  Yet, see the huge difference (between) a miser and a generous (one).

Commentary:
The poet very tactfully compares and (in a moment,) contrasts the attributes of a miser vs a giver.  In the first part of the verse he says there is a stark similarity between two people - both of them earn wealth for the benefit of others!  On first thought the listener would think the verse is about two noble people.  But the second half brings attention to the distinct disparity between the two!

If one has to see the difference between the miser and a giver, it is quite easy.  A miser hoards his assets where as a generous, charitable, giver is readily parting with his bounty!  The world considers a giver as a magnanimous soul where as, a hoarder is considered stingy and selfish.  So far, the points are precise and comprehensible.

How about the similarity between the two?  Well, the author is cleverly pointing to the impact of each one's actions.  When a hoarder accumulates wealth, he is neither enjoying the resources himself, nor is he utilizing it for the benefit of others.  His affluence gets stagnated and comes to no use for anyone.  But one day, at least on the day he passes away, he has to part with his wealth.  What he had so carefully and diligently accumulated is finally enjoyed (or misused) by his survivors! After all, there is no saying if one's assets were put to good use or utilized for the wrong causes...
Where as, a generous giver willingly parts with his money when alive.  He gets the opportunity to revel in the happiness of the beneficiaries of his good deeds, which in turn makes him happy!  At least there is a guarantee that it was used for a right cause.

It is impossible that one's heart is enlightened and he is still a miser! Whether willingly or unwillingly, when the wealth accumulated is for the benefit of others eventually, might as well do good and be happy.  Happiness isn't a result of what we get, but of what we give.  For, it is in the giving that we receive!

pada vigrahaH:
उभयोः न अस्ति भोग इच्छा परार्थं धन-सञ्चयः ।
ubhayoH na asti bhoga ichChaa paraarthaM dhana-sa~nchayaH |

कृपण उदारयोः पश्य तथा-अपि महत् अन्तरम् ॥
kRupaNa udaarayoH pashya tathaa-api mahat antaram ||


May 21st


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
खल्वाटो दिवसेश्वरस्य किरणैस्सन्तापितो मस्तके 
गच्छन्देशमनातपं द्रुतगतिस्तालस्य मूलं गतः ।
तत्राप्यस्य महाफलेन पतता भग्नं सशब्दं शिरः 
प्रायो गच्छति यत्र दैवहतकस्तत्रैव यान्त्यापदः ॥
-नीतिशतक

Transliteration:
khalvaaTo divaseshwarasya kiraNaissantaapito mastake
gachChandeshamanaatapaM drutagatistaalasya mUlaM gataH |
tatraapyasya mahaaphalena patataa bhagnaM sashabdaM shiraH
praayo gachChati yatra daivahatakastatraiva yaantyaapadaH ||
-nItishataka

Meaning of the subhAShita:
A bald man, scorched in the head due to the sun's rays, looking for a place of shade rushed hurriedly to the base of a palm tree.  There too, due to the falling of a huge palm fruit, his head was fractured with a huge noise!  Alas! perils probably go where ever those cursed by destiny go...

Commentary:
To begin with, he is a bald man, not even a strand of hair to protect him from the scorching sun.  On a hot day, in a barren place, all he could find was a palm tree.  He scurried beneath the tree to get some scraps of shade (a palm tree isn't very dense to cast a huge shadow anyway.)  There too, as soon as he stood, a huge palm fruit (palm fruits are not very large to begin with), fell on his head.  Just for that, with a loud noise, his head cracked!

Looks like he was ill fated!  Reminds of the saying 'Sometimes, the road of life takes an unexpected turn and you have no choice but to follow it and end up in the place you are supposed to be!'  Otherwise, why would he go beneath a palm tree of all places and offer his scorching bald head to the falling fruit, so it can break?!!  There were a million other places he could have been at that time, but he chose to be where he was...  There will be times in one's life, where sometimes, no matter how one prepares or handles his circumstances, things may not appear to be going right.

In such circumstances, where no logic, rhyme or reason can explain away the happenings, one decides to attribute it to destiny.  Rightly so!  There is only so much a human can understand and explain.  Somethings are beyond his limitations sometimes.  It is just the way it is!  Whatever has to happen, happens.  If we would be able to explain everything at all times, wouldn't we deem ourselves as God?!  Even with our infinite limitations, human as a species, is known to have such a complex ego.  What if he were given that ultimate power where he knew and understood why everything happened a certain way?!  Then there would be no respite for the universe :).

There is luck, but one can do things to better his chances.  Then again, the Lord may choose to over ride them all!  At that time, one's mantra should be - what can't be cured, has to be endured!

pada vigrahaH:
खल्वाटः दिवसेश्वरस्य किरणैः सन्तापितः मस्तके 
khalvaaTaH divaseshwarasya kiraNaiH santaapitaH mastake

गच्छन् देशम् अनातपं द्रुत-गतिः तालस्य मूलं गतः ।
gachChan desham anaatapaM druta-gatiH taalasya mUlaM gataH |

तत्र अपि अस्य महा-फलेन पतता भग्नं सशब्दं शिरः 
tatra api asya mahaa-phalena patataa bhagnaM sashabdaM shiraH

प्रायः गच्छति यत्र दैव-हतकः तत्र एव यान्ति आपदः ॥
praayaH gachChati yatra daiva-hatakaH tatra eva yaanti aapadaH ||


April 16th


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
यत्र विद्वज्जनो नास्ति श्लाघ्यस्तत्राल्पधीरपि ।
निरस्तपादपे देशे एरण्डोऽपि द्रुमायते ॥

Transliteration:
yatra vidvajjano naasti shlaaghyastatraalpadhIrapi |
nirastapaadape deshe eraNDo.pi drumaayate ||

Meaning of the subhAShita:
(In a place) where there are no learned people, even a dull witted person becomes laudable.  In a place where there is no vegetation, even a castor plant passes for a tree!

Commentary:
This verse is a dig at people that are in power, in a weak set up.  When everyone around is of mediocre capacity, one with even a few accolades becomes the hero!  The example given here is that of a castor plant, which, at its tallest, is a few inches high.  Even that shrub, will be considered a 'tree' in a place where there is no vegetation!!  What if one gave directions saying, 'bear left near the tree'.  The one who is following the directions may find himself stranded, looking for a 'tree' :).

One should be able to claim ownership of his abilities, as best possible within his own capacity.  It should  certainly not be dependent on the company.  Calling oneself better than those around, will only aid in boosting his ego  and nothing else!  It is quite but natural to compare oneself to his surroundings and feel a sense of accomplishment.  Like the frog in the well, thinking he is the best swimmer in the world, without even ever seeing the ocean!  If only the bar was raised higher for him, maybe, he would have learnt better or, would have humbled his false pride about his own abilities.  Similarly, if the general average of the company kept is low, one may not even know there are bigger things out  there in the world.  He would put an upper cap on himself and stunt his growth thereafter.  

One way of raising the bar would be keeping company of the learned and noble.  Even with that, the best competitor one can have, is oneself!  If he bettered himself everyday a little more than yesterday, then there are no bounds to where he can reach! That way, neither will his ego creep in, nor is he dependent on external factors for his betterment.

Bottom line, it is better to be an achiever in harsh circumstances than shine amid easy situations.  Take risks, better yourself.  That truly is the difference between the ordinary and the exceptional!

pada vigrahaH:
यत्र विद्वत् जनः न अस्ति श्लाघ्यः तत्र अल्प-धीः अपि ।
yatra vidvat janaH na asti shlaaghyaH tatra alpa-dhIH api |

निरस्त पादपे देशे एरण्डः अपि द्रुमायते ॥
nirasta paadape deshe eraNDaH api drumaayate ||

March 30th


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
सदयं हृदयं यस्य भाषितं सत्यभूषितम् ।
कायं परहितं यस्य कलिस्तस्य करोति किम् ॥

Transliteration:
sadayaM hRudayaM yasya bhaaShitaM satyabhUShitam |
kaayaM parahitaM yasya kalistasya karoti kim ||

Meaning of the subhAShita:
(He) whose heart is filled with compassion, speech is adorned with truth, whose constitution (form) is for the benefaction of others - what can kali (purusha) do to him?!

Commentary:
The current era, kali yuga, is deemed the most corrupt and atrocious of all 4 eras.  The reigning master of the era, kalipurusha, causes havoc in the world, it is said.  But the poet says, if one's heart is brimming with compassion, speech is adorned with honesty and he is readily available for the welfare of others, to such a human being, what can the kalipursha do?!  Even the most atrocious of the masters can do nothing to shake the resolve or cause havoc in the life of such a person, it says.  The tenacity of these attributes in one's character are so strong, that they can ward off the ill effects of the highest order.
  • If one is compassionate to his fellow beings, the happiness that gives to both, the giver and the receiver, are immense.
  • If there is honesty in one's words, he has nothing to hide or defend.
  • If one is always available for the welfare of others, then there is no ounce of selfish motives in him.  
How can such a person not be happy?  When one is internally happy, what can anyone do to deter his well being or contentment?!!

May we all win over kalipurusha's atrocities, develop these traits and make the world a happier place!

pada vigrahaH:
सदयं हृदयं यस्य भाषितं सत्य-भूषितम् ।
sadayaM hRudayaM yasya bhaaShitaM satya-bhUShitam |

कायं परहितं यस्य कलिः तस्य करोति किम् ॥
kaayaM parahitaM yasya kaliH tasya karoti kim ||

February 12th


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
दुर्जनेन समं वैरं प्रीतिं चापि न कारयेत् ।
उष्णो दहति चाङ्गारः शीतः कृष्णायते करम् ॥

Transliteration:
durjanena samaM vairaM prItiM chaapi na kaarayet |
uShNo dahati chaa~ngaaraH shItaH kRuShNaayate karam ||

Meaning of the subhAShita:
Do not have (develop) enmity or affection with the evil.  When hot, coal burns; when cold, blackens the hand!

Commentary:
When one comes across an evil doer, what kind of bond should he build?  Should he make friends with him, so that he doesn't get on the evil doer's bad books?  Or, should he rub him on the wrong side and erupt an argument, declaring open enmity?!

Poet says..., neither!  He establishes his stance thus - a piece of charcoal, when hot, will burn the hand holding it.  Now, can we say, it is okay when it is not lit up?  Not necessarily.  Because, a piece of charcoal, when cold, will blacken the hand that handles it!!  It is not a pleasant outcome either way. Who wants a lose, lose situation?!

Similar is the companionship of an evil doer.  When he is angry, the enmity with him may prove fatal.  That said, even when he is calm, his friendship may cost heavily as his values are not placed in the right direction.  His motives can be drive out of selfishness or just plain wrong!  Hence, the best approach to such a person is - staying away, keeping it neutral.  One needs to beware of one's company at all times, in order to keep Joy, Peace, Love, Hope and all positives in his life.

pada vigrahaH:
दुर्जनेन समं वैरं प्रीतिं च अपि न कारयेत् ।
durjanena samaM vairaM prItiM cha api na kaarayet |

उष्णो दहति च अङ्गारः शीतः कृष्णायते करम् ॥
uShNo dahati cha a~ngaaraH shItaH kRuShNaayate karam ||

January 15th


Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
अनुगन्तुं सतां धर्म कृत्स्नं यदि न शक्यते ।
स्वल्पमप्यनुगन्तव्यं मार्गस्थो नावसीदति ॥

Transliteration:
anugantuM sataaM dharma kRutsnaM yadi na shakyate |
swalpamapyanugantavyaM maargastho naavasIdati ||

Meaning of the subhAShita:
If following the righteous path of the noble is difficult and seems impossible, in spite, if one follows - even a little bit, he does not perish.

Commentary:
No need of elephantine sized steps!  If one wants to tread on the path of the noble and tries to do so, there may be many a hurdles he may face on the way.  It may not only be difficult, but seem impossible!  In spite, if one continues to grasp at least a little bit and persist on the same path, he shall not perish.

It is said that even an ant can traverse miles by just keeping at it.  Just the fact that it is moving, means that it is covering ground and reaching some place else.  Finally, due to persistence, it would have left its starting point miles behind!  Similar would be a person on the path of dharma.  If he keeps doing righteous acts (however small in size or caliber,) in a lifetime, he would have accumulated so much virtue to his credit that he would be amazed!  How can one with virtue in his account ever perish?!

Great acts are made up of small deeds.  In reality, true happiness comes from the joy of deeds that are done well, with good intentions.  These are the things that shape one's fate.  True winners are not people that never fail but people that never quit.

So, let's take charge of our fate and give it the direction we want it to be in!

pada vigrahaH:
अनुगन्तुं सतां धर्म कृत्स्नं यदि न शक्यते ।
anugantuM sataaM dharma kRutsnaM yadi na shakyate |

स्वल्पम् अपि अनुगन्तव्यं मार्गस्थो न अवसीदति ॥
swalpam api anugantavyaM maargastho na avasIdati ||