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April 16th

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

yatra vidvajjano nāsti ślāghyastatrālpadhīrapi ।
nirastapādape deśe eraṇḍo'pi drumāyate ॥
- subhāṣitaratnasamuccaya

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!

This verse is a dig at people that are in power, in a weak setup.  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 the company of the learned and noble.  Even with that, the best competitor one can have is - oneself!  If he bettered himself every day 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 janaḥ na asti ślāghyaḥ tatra alpa-dhīḥ api ।

निरस्त पादपे देशे एरण्डः अपि द्रुमायते ॥
nirasta pādape deśe eraṇḍaḥ api drumāyate ॥

Alternate Transliteration:
yatra vidvajjano naasti shlaaghyastatraalpadhIrapi ।
nirastapaadape deshe eraNDo.pi drumaayate ॥
- subhaaShitaratnasamuchchaya

yatra vidvat janaH na asti shlaaghyaH tatra alpa-dhIH api ।
nirasta paadape deshe eraNDaH api drumaayate ॥

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