शंकर: शांकरी प्रादात्दाक्षीपुत्राय धीमते |
वांग्मयेभ्य समाहृत्य देवीं वाचमिति संस्थिती: || पाणिनीयशिक्षा-५६ ||
Bhagwaan Shankar has collected theknowledge about Vyakaran and Shiksha and blessed Maharshi Panini by impartmng the same
On the occassion of the Sanskrit Week, I pay my full regards to that Great Seer Maharahsi Panini. The ‘Sanskrit Week’ is being celebrated around the world this week. On this occasion, I thought of writing about our world’s oldest and richest Sanskrit language.
Sanskrit language, is a Treasure of Universal Knowledge and Wisdom, I would like deal with certain aspects of Sanskrit language in larger perspective. The Rig Vedas is the oldest literature on the earth. It starts with a prayer to God Agni (Fire & Light),
अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवमृत्विजम् |
होतारं रत्नधातमम् ||१.१.१|| ऋग्वेद ||
Oh God Agnihi, I bow to you ! You are present in our Yadnya (Worshiping), you invoke Gods, rather you yourself is God and Rutvij. You are Greatest, Prime, Most Important God accpeting our offerings.
Agni, i.e. Fire is a universal light (प्रकाश), illumination, which makes it possible for all of us to see the universe with our eyes, The Sun, The Moon, The Venus, The Saturn and all other planetaary galaxies in the universe. It is the form of electromagnetic radiation, to which the human eyes are sensitive and on which, our visual awareness of the universe and its contents relies. We, with our sense organs (Panch Dnyanendriyas), perceive, sense, understand and comprehend the whole of the cosmos and thereby using our cognitive abilities try to decode the meaning of all those sensory imputs, for making our lives meaningful, rich, illustrious, noble and altrustic, to enable us to think, wish and do good for the well-being of the universe, ‘वसुधैव कुटुबकं |’
India’s, rather world’s oldest and richest language is Sanskrit. The origin of Sanskrit is traced back to Vedic period, which is estimated to be as ancient as 70,000 years, as per the carbon dating of the remains of the submerged Dwaraka, by National Institute of Oceanography. The beginning of Sanskrit is the Rig Veda, which is a compendium of rich and meaningful hymns (Mantras) totalling to 10,552. These Mantras are devoted to various deities like Agni (Fire), Indra (King of Gods), Vayu (Air), Varun (God of Water & Rain) etc. It also contains verses about knowledge and wisdom.
Rig Veda contains 10 Mandalas (Parts). Each mandala contains many Suktas (Prayers), like Agni Sukta, Prithvi Sukta etc. mandalas are attributed to seers. Accordingly, 2nd Mandala is attributed to Grutsmad, 3rd Mandala to Vishwamitra, 4th Mandala to Wamdeo, and 5th Mandala to Atri, 6th Mandala to Bhardwaj and 7th Mandala to Vashishta. The Rig Veda stipulates the author of each Sukta, Deity prayed in the particular sukta and the Chandas (Meter) in which the said sukta is composed.
The word Rig Veda is a compound word, consisting of ‘Rik’ means ‘Rucha’, which means Mantra in a poetic form and ‘Ved’ means knowledge. They are composed in various Chandas (Meter). Each sukta in Rig Veda contains 10-12 ruchas. The poetry in Rig Veda is of 15 varied forms, out of it seven are more prominent, namely, Gayatri, Anushtup, Jagati, Trishtup, Pangkti, Ushnic and Bruhati. Gayatri is Tripada (Three lines), Anushtup Chatushpada (Four lines), and Pangkti Panchpada (Five lines). Here ‘Pada’ means line. Each Pada contains of 8, 11 or 12 alphabets normally. At some places, there is admixture of Chandas (Meters) and a new variety is formed, called as ‘Pragath’. Gayatri, Anushtup and Pangkti have eight alphabets in each line (Pad), whereas other Chanda (Meter) have odd alphabets. Anushtup has become more systematic and is used in Post-Vedic literature, like Ramayana, Mahabharata etc.
In Rig Veda, Gayatri is used more often than other Chandas, numbering to 2450 Ruchas. The first Rucha mentioned at the beginning of this essay above is in Gayatri Chand.
There are many deities in Rig Veda, but no definite number can be ascertained. There are three groups of deities, Marut, Vasu and Vishvadeva. In Rig Veda there are 250 Suktas about Indra, 200 of Agni and 100 of Soma.
This is prime and first amongst Chaturvedas (Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda and Atharava Veda). The main subject being ‘Sanskrit Language’; I am not inclined to write further about remaining three Vedas or other Sanskrit literature at this juncture.
The Mantras in vedas, for a long time, were transferred and transmitted from one generation to next generation by learning by heart, by way of recitation and continued till today, accurately with a precision and diction. For this unmistaken transference of treasure of knowledge, Maharashis had and Teachers today are adopting three scientifically proven methods for memorising, called as Jata, Pad, Ghan and Kram.
How much time should it take to pronounce each word is indicated by the notation of Matras (the time it takes to pronounce a short vowel). In Paniniyavyakran, Maharshi Panini has defined a ‘Maatra’ in following Karika:
चाषस्तु वदते मात्रां द्विमात्रं चैव वायसं: |
शिखी रौति त्रिमात्रं तु नकुलस्तवर्धमात्रिकम् ||४९||
One Matra is equal to short pronounciation like Neelkanth bird, Two Matras are like crow’s voice, the sound of peacock is equal to Three maatras, whereas voice of mongoose / weasel is equal to ½ matra.
Maharshi Panini also advises ‘how not to pronounce mantras as under,
गीती शीघ्री शिर:कम्पी तथा लिखितपाठक: |
अनर्थज्ञोsल्प कंठश्च षडेते पाठकाधमा: ||३२||
If a person pronounce like singing a song, or utters hurriedly, or unnecessarily moves his head, pronounces without learning by heart, or utters without understanding the meaning of those mantras and utters without completely involving himself, in a weak manner is called as faulty reader.
In next Karika, he describes how the reader should be.
माधुर्यमक्षरव्यक्ति: पदच्छेदस्तु सुस्वर: |
धैर्यं लयसंमर्थं च षडते पाठका गुणा: ||३३||
He should be sweet reciter; his pronunciation should be clear, properly emphasising syllables, melodious, rhythmic and stable in uttering.
The recitation of mantras of the Vedas by following Jata, Pad, Ghan and Kram is a unique way of pronouncing and memorising the mantras. Sanskrit has one unparalleled distinguished feature in phonetics. The Sanskrit word’s place in a sentence does not change its meaning like in Chinese language.
Let us understand little bit more aobut the systems of recitaiton of Ved Mantras, mentioned above as Jata, Pad, Ghan and Kram. Without having the facility of writing at that time, seers have devised the unique precise system of recitation to prevent even a smallest error to occur in the recitation of the Vedas. In order to maintian the sanctity and accuracy of the Ved Mantras and also to achieve the benefits intended, the mantaras have to be pronounced in a particular fashion so specific sound and vibraations are produced. That is why it is called Chandas.
यथोदितेन विधिना नित्यं छंदस्कृतं पठेत् |
ब्रम्ह छंदस्कृतं चैव द्विजो युक्तो ह्यनापदि || मनु स्मृती-४.१०० ||
In the aforesaid maaner, a Brahman shall devotedly raed the metrical Mantra portion of the Vedas; and in the absence of distressing circumstances, he shall devotedly raead their Mantra and Brahmana as well.
Regulation of breathing pattern is expected, so that the vibrations can occur at what the body part, gives birth to the pure word-sound is also desscribed in the Vedangas called ‘Shikshaa’. A part of Shukla Yajurveda has a Taitriya Upanishd Sanhita, whihc describes Shiksha as,
शीक्षां व्याख्यास्याम: | वर्णस्वर: | मात्राबलं सामन्तान: |
The correct system deployed to chant each mantra is various ways and combinations is known as Vaakya, Pada, Krama, Jata, Maala, Sikha, Dhwaja, Danda, Ratha. Ghana etc. Vakya Paatha is to recite the mantras in a sentence straight. When mantras come in sentences, some of the words therein have to be conjoined in chanting. To recite the Veda mantras, Pada by Pada or word by word, instead of joining the words and stringing them together, is Pada Paatha. In Kram Paatha, the first word of a mantra is added to the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth and so on, until the whole sentence of the mantra is completed. In Jataa Paatha, the first word and the second are first recited together and then other words are recited to a reverse order and then again in the original order. Whereas, in the Krama Paatha the order of the recitation of words is 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and so on.
So, if we apply this rule to a first Rucha of Rig Veda,
“अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवमृत्विजम् |
होतारं रत्नधातमम् ||१.१.१|| ऋग्वेद ||’
It will be like,
“अग्निमिळे पुरोहितम, पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य, यज्ञस्य देवमृत्विजम्, देवमृत्विजम् होतारं…..”
In Jataa Paatha, the order will be 1-2-2-1-1-2, 2-3-3-2-2-3, 3-4-4-3-3-4, 4-5-5-4-4 and so on. Two words are repeated forwards and backwards in the Jataa Paatha.
Again, we shall take the same Rucha for explaining:
अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं पुरोहितं अग्निमीळे अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं |
पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य यज्ञस्य पुरोहितं पुरोहितं देवमृत्विजम् |
यज्ञस्य देवमृत्विजम् देवमृत्विजम् यज्ञस्य यज्ञस्य देवमृत्विजम् |
देवमृत्विजम् होतारं होतारं देवमृत्विजम् देवमृत्विजम् |२
After all what is ‘Mantra’? Mantra means repeatedly meditating upon which one is saved, protected. ‘मननात त्रायते इति मंत्र:|’ It is necessary to chant the mantras repeatedly, so that the necessary vibrations are produced again and again, resullting in well-being and through the power so generated, cause the general well-being the mankind.
What is sound? Modern physics defines that a ‘vibration in an elastic medium at a frequency and intensity is capable of being heard by the human ear’. The frequency of sounds lies in the range 20-20,000 Hz, but the ability to hear sounds in the upper part of the frequency range declines with the age.
‘Hertz’, a unit of frequency. The number of hertz equals the number of cycles per second. The freqquency of any phenomenon with regular periodic variations can be expressed in Heartz, but the term is used most frequently in conection with alternating electric curent, electromagnetic waves and sound.
Vibrations that have a lower frequency than sound are called infrasound and those with a higher frequency are called ultrasounds. Sound is propagated through an elastic fluid as a longitudinal sound-wave, in which a region of high pressure travels through the fluid at the “speed of sound” in that medium. At a frequency of about 10 kilohertz, the maximum excess pressure of a sound wave in air lies between 10-4 Pa and 103 Pa. Sound travels through solids as either longitudinal or transverse wave. ‘Pa’ staads for ‘Pascal’. It is a unit of pressure and stress in the meter kilogram-second system. A Pascal is a pressure of one newton per squate metre, or in SI base units, one kilogram per metre per second square.
The objects appear differently to the eyes because energy produces vibrations of different frequencies at various points. Vibration creates sound. Conversely vibrations of different frequencies occur in the flood-stream of energy. Actually, the breathing is nothing but the regulation of the vibrations within us. Veda-Mantras activate our nerve centres and also affect the atmosphere, resulting in individual as well as collective well-being of the world. The Vedic texts contain a wealth of meaning. Besides its poetic grandeur, they contain detailed injunctions for well-ordered society and social life, great philosophical truth and even scientific laws.
It is not necessary for the Veda-mantras, which are essentially vibrations of sound, to have a verbal meaning, as we commonly understand it. We find that Aaalaps in classical singing or the detailed delineation of musical notes or Ragas, which contain no words but only a symbolic meaning nevertheless capable of producing emotions of joy and sorrow. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLU5p5u9nWw]
The very musical sound itself has an effect on human beings. The sound of mantras produce the meaning by chanting in a specified way, described above. The unique and distinguished feature of the vedas is that they have ‘Sound and Meaning’ both. Therefore, certain words, rather alphabets like ‘Lam’, ‘Ham’, Hrum’ etc., themselves do not convey any meaning, which can be described in words. In guided meditation, spiritual guru or preacger guides to pronounce particular alphabets like लं (Lam-Muladhar Chakra Sound), वं (Vam-Swadhishthan Chaakra Sound), रं (Ram-Manipur Chkars Sound), यं (Yam-Anahat Chkara Sound), हं क्षं (Hum-Ksham-Aadnya Chakra Sound), ओम (Om-Shastrar Chkara Sound).
One speaks of a sacred character, of a power of language; it is by transference, because it is the language of the formula. The latter is designated by the term mantra. The word is etymologically derived from the root man ‘to think’. Indian grammarians see in it, a derivative of a specialised root ‘matr’ for which they recognise the meaning of hidden speech. This etymology highlights the secluded character of spiritual formulas. Another etymology emanating from tantric texts makes it a derivative of two roots: man ‘to think’ and trai ‘to protect’There are elaborate rituals whose goal is to accomplish the presence of the divinity with its true essence, in the place of worship and in the icon that is the subject of the material worship. Only the power of mantras is considered as having the ability to accomplish this presence, by involing through a mantra.
Every object starts as a vibration that includes both the object in potential form and the corresponding sound. These vibrations gradually manifested and are experienced as separate sounds. The sound manifests further and becomes the meaning–sound pair. Thus, every object contains a built-in name. A mantra originates in the subtlest levels of existence, where there is silence. Upon discovering that vibrations manifest as concrete sounds and objects, the rishi-s explored ways to return to the source.
The meaning of words in the mantra may not be necesarily to be understood intellectually, but can alkso be senses, perceived by lisste ning the osund vibrations or even by sensing those vibraitons throiugh the bones or skin; an dthe resonance created in the space inside the body can lead to unique experience (Anubhuti), which will generate intenal waves inside the body, which may recapitulate and dreexperience the earlier pleasing experience once again. This is also a ‘meannig of that word.’
It is important to note that mantras are discovered, much in the same way that Einstein discovered E=mc2. The reality existed prior to its discovery. The same is true in respect of the mantras.
One thing needs is that a person should be able to go beyond the visible word or image he uses or the form of the thing as he sees, not be limited by them, but get into the light of that which they have the power to reveal and fill them with, until they overflow with its suggestions or seen even to loose themselves and disappear into the
Transcendental Meditation, propagated by Maharshi Mahesh Yogi used a sound called Bij-Mantra, like ‘Lan, Ham, and Yam etc. It is at the beginning chanted silently, and slowly it replaces all other thoughts. Only the mantra remains. Gradually, the mantra gets softer and dimmer, becoming a faint whisper within. Then that disappears, leaving behind a subtle hint of it presence. The deep silence that remains is hyper-alert self-awareness (HaSa) and amazing experiences of transcendental occur in this state. Starting with a silent repetition, one has thus retraced a sound to the primordial source. Scientific research seems to support the claim that reading Vedic Sanskrit texts, even without the knowledge of their meaning produces a distinct physiological state, enalbing psychological experience too.
Mantras are not verses constructed randomly as per wish, nor they are to be understood only in conceptual terms. Their deepest truth is vibratory in nature and these vibrations can take us to levels of consciousness that transcend language. The Sanskrit Mantars once recorded in individual’s deep levels of consciousness, their full effect and benefits will definitely manifest as experience over the course of time. The mantra is sown in the individual and produces effects much like a seed that evolves into a tree. When repeated over and over, it vibrates in every part of the practitioner’s being and recreates within him the original reality from where it came, rather replicating, re-creating.
Mantras can be considered as ‘Energy-Thought’ sounds. Pronouncing a sound-word produces an actual physical vibration, and discovery of the effect of that vibrations leads to the meaning associated with it. The sound is the carrier, and the intention gives it additional power to produce an effect.
Mantras are used to evoke a spiritual frequency and bring about a particular state of consciousness. They are sound frequencies that are precisely sequenced so as to evoke inherent Shakti of vibrations.
Bhartruhari in his famous ‘Vakyapadiyam’ (Brahmakandam) has said that sentences (Pad) are made up of words and words are formed with ‘Aksharas’. In Sanskrit, ‘Kshr’ means disappear or vanish and ‘Akshar’ means imperishable, which does not disappear. So, it is eternal sound. A word or even a letter (Alphabet) once uttered never get destructed or disappear or vanish.
अनादिनीधनं ब्रम्ह शब्दतत्वं यदक्षरम् |
विवर्तsर्थभावेन प्रक्रिया जगतो यत: ||१|| वाक्यपदीयम् ||
There is no beginning and end to word and so it is a Brahman and all meanings are derived from that Brahmrup word and all activities of the world are carried out with those words. ‘न क्षरति न विनश्यति |’ Neither it dissolves nor it destruct or extinguishes. In Sanskrit Mahabhashya also commentators have referred Words as ‘वर्णम् बाहु: पूर्व सूत्रे’ (१.१.२) A ‘Word’ is vowl or consonant, i.e. part of word, which makes a sentence (Pad).
In Sanskrit, unlike other languages, every single alphabet has definite meaninig. Let us look at few of them, as an example.
अ = विष्णू, शिव, ब्रह्मा, वायु, वैश्वानर = Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma or Air, Fire
आ: = लक्ष्मी = Goodess of wealth
इ: = कामदेव = God of Roamnce
उ: = शिव = Lord Shiva
ए: = विष्णू = Lord Vishnu
ऐ: = शिव = Lord Shiva
ओ = ब्रम्हा = Lord Brahma
क: = ब्रम्हण, विष्णू = Lord Vishnu, कामदेव = God of Roamnce, अग्नि = Fire, वायू = Air, यम = God of Death, सूर्य = Sun, आत्मा = Soul
ख: = सूर्य = Sun, आकाश = Sky
ग: = गंधर्व = Gandaharva
घ = घंटा = Bell
च: = चंद्र = Moon, कासव = Tortise
छ = भाग = Part
ज = उत्पन्न झालेला = Emerged
थ = पर्वत = Mountain
ध = कुबेर = God of Wealth
न = रिकामा = Empty, सारखा = Similar, जास्तीचा = Excess
प = हवा = Air, पान = Leaf, अंडे = Egg,
भ = शुक्र = Venus, चूक = Error, भ्रम = Illusion, समानता = Similarity
म = वेळ = Tine, जहर = Poison, चंद्र = Moon, ब्राम्हण = Brahman, विष्णू = Lord Vishnu, शिव = Lord Shiva
य: = हवा,वायु = Air, प्रसिद्धी = Fame
र: = अग्नि = Fire, उष्णता = Heat, हृद्य = Heart, प्रेम = Love, ईच्छा = Wish, वेग = Speed
ल: = इंद्राचे गुणवैशिष्ठ्य, Epthet of Indra
व: = हवा = Air, हात = Arm, वरूण = God of Rain / Water, वाघ = Tiger, राहू = Rahu planet, कपडे = Cloth, घर = Residence, सागर = Ocean
श: = शस्त्र = Weapon, शिव = Lord Shiva, आनंद = Happiness, विनाशक = Destroyer
ष = उत्तम = Best, नुकसान = Loss, शेवट = End, स्मरण = Reminder, विश्रांती = Rest, मुक्ती = Emancaipation
स = सदृश, समान = Similar, तुल्य = Comparable
ह = शिव = Lord Shiva, आकाश = Sky, पाणी = Water, रक्त = Blood
A word once pronounced it permanently stays in the universe, but remain un-audible by to our physical ears. A letter is also called ‘Varna’ (hue or colour). Every letter can be heard as a sound with associated visual colour as it manifest. Seers have seen them and heard too. A word and its menaing are two different things, but they are aassociated with each other. A word can be heard but the meaning it denotes can be seen, touched and feel by hands. A words has no form or structure or smell, but the meaning emanating from it is ‘अणोरणीयान् महतो महीयान्’ (कठोपनिषद-१.२.२०). It is formless, but covering all, full of all characterstics, but does not have any inhibition. So, the word and its meaning differ in their form, standard and results. They are distinct.
Sanskrit is unarguably the world’s oldest language. Long before Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Indian poets composed ancient great Sanskrit epics. And before it existed as a codified written language, Sanskrit was an oral tradition, passed on from teacher to student, generation to generation.
Before Vedic Sanskrit was codified into Classical Sanskrit, it was based on Vedic chanting. The ancient scholar Maharshi Panini began laying out the grammatical foundation for classical Sanskrit in 500 BCE, and his work included almost 4,000 syntax and semantic rules for the codified language. The translation to Classical Sanskrit was always approached in a scientific and mathematical way. The grammar of Sanskrit is so rigorous and specific in its semantic networks that it has been compared to computer programming languages. Today, some universities have introduced an entirely new subject in their curriculum, as Computational Sanskrit.
In fact Rig Veda is full of nicest and beautiful poetry in variousus Suktas, for example Usha Sukta (Prayer of Goddess of Dawn). Let us look at these lines.
सह वामेन न उषो व्युच्छा दुहितर्दिव: |
सह द्युम्नेन बृह्ता विभावरी राया देवि दास्वती ||१||
Hey daughet of God Ushe (Dawn)! You have illuminated us with wealth, abundant prosperity and property. Hey Goddess of Dawn please illuminate our lives.
अश्वावतीर्गोमतीर्विश्वसुविदो भूरि च्यवन्त वस्तवे |
उदीरय प्रति मा सूनृता उषश्चोद राधो मघोनाम् ||२||
This Goddess of Dawn has travelled a long distance to illuminiate our lives along with horses, cows to gift us. Hey Goddess of Dawn! You be kind to us and also insire the master for whom we are conducting this yadnya ritual. [Rugved: 1.48.1-2] In fact, this Usha Sukta contains total 16 mantras, but just for example I have quioted only two out of them.
Sanskrit’s phonetic accuracy plays a significant role in its perfection. Each alphabet has a distinct sound in Sanskrit that doesn’t vary when used in different words and contexts. ‘A’ in Sanskrit will sound the same regardless of the context. This is very different from English, where the sound of the letter ‘a’ in apple will ring drastically different from it is used in autumn. In the Sanskrit language, each letter or syllable makes a consistent sound and isn’t affected by the letter before or after it. It always sounds exactly as it’s been written, no matter the context.
Many who study Sanskrit refer to something called “the Sanskrit effect,” in which they notice that after learning, practicing, and memorizing the language, they experience what seems to be enhanced verbal memory and thinking.
A neuroscientist at the University of Trento in Italy was so curious about his cognitive experiences with Sanskrit that he, along with fellow students, investigated the cognitive effects of Sanskrit by comparing MRI scans of professional Sanskrit scholars to a control group.
They discovered notably more grey matter, specifically in regions of the brain that impact short-term and long-term memory. While the real-life effect of this grey matter increase in vital parts of the brain has yet to be understood, it’s possible that memorization exercises in Sanskrit could support cognitive function in aging adults.
When we chant in Sanskrit, we create sound vibrations that affect the energy points (Chakras and Glands) throughout the body, but just listening to mantras in Sanskrit will have a similar effect, creating vibrations in our bodies. The vibrations produced when someone else is chanting are good for you. These sound vibrations can calm or energize you, depending on the sounds in the mantra and how they are chnated and sometime sung too.
OM is actually AUM. AUM comprises three Sanskrit syllables and is considered to be the elemental sound, existing from the beginning of time.
It is believed that every other sound comes from these three sounds, A-U-M; similar to how all colours are derived from the three primary colours of Red, Yellow, and Blue. AUM is the universal sound — the sound of the cosmos.
AUM creates the vibrations in different parts of our body, when we chant it. ‘A’ is felt below the navel (Manipur Chakra), ‘U’ is felt at the chest (Anahat Chakra), and ‘M’ is felt above the throat (Vishudha Chakra). You can try yourself and experience yourself the vibrations in your body by properly chanting. Put index, middle and small fingers of both of your hands on your closed eyes and press gently thumbs of both hands sound on the opening of your ears blocking the flowing of sound vibrations outside. Let those vibrations resonate inside your brain and body and feel the effect. You will feel the entire space inside your head / brain is full of divine sound energy waves and flow of vibrations and feel elevated, your mood be chnaged and happy hamroes will start flowing inside throughout.
Thus, in this experiment you will not be seeking any particular meaning out of chanting AUM. Hope to receive an almost mystical effect from the vibrations created from the sound waves. Chanting Sanskrit mantras can help calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and create positive energy within and all around you. We all know the entire universe is made up of energy. It’s this energetic force that the ancients were completely aware of when they began singing the ancient Vedic hymns in the old oral Sanskrit tradition. These divine sounds were believed to have originated in the cosmos and passed down as sacred sounds that could heal and affect the body and all the energy surrounding us.
In English, the established system of construction of a sentence is Subject-Verb-Noun, i.e. I eat a mango. This sequence never changes, as otherwise it does not convey meaning properly and hence, the system or sequence has to remain unchanged, but uniquely in Sanskrit, by interchanging the words, meaning remains the same, unchanged.
Amarkosh is a great compendium of synonyms is Sanskrit. You will be amazed to see that many Sanskrit words have as many as 30-40 synonyms. Let us take an example of the word Agni अग्नि: There are almost 34 synonyms for this word in Sanskrit, given in Amarkaosh at प्रथम कांड (Part-I), स्वर्गवर्ग (Section-1), श्लोक (Shlok). They are as under:
अग्निर्वैश्वानरो वन्हिर्वोतिहोत्रो धनंजय: |
कृपीटयोनिर्ज्वलनो जातवेदास्तनूनपात् ||५३||
बर्हि:शुश्मा कृष्णवर्त्मा शौचिष्केश उषर्बूध: |
आश्रयाशो बृहद्भानु: कृशानु: पावकोsनल: ||५४||
रोहिताश्वो वायुसख: शिखावानाशुशुक्षणि: |
हिरण्यरेता हुतभुग् दहनो हव्यवाहन: ||५५||
सप्तर्चिर्दमुना: शुक्रश्चित्रभानुर्विभावसु: |
Any language in the world is recognised as a great and rich and unique depending upon vocabulary and number of literary works; and also the types of work like Prose, Poetry, Dramas, Autobiographies, Encyclopaedias, Commentaries, Thesis etc. Sanskrit is enriched by epics, drams, linguistic work and the works of grammarians and so on. Its greatness and beauty had infatuated many scholars like Max Muller of Germany; and there are also scholars from Europe, America and England too, who had taken keen interest in the Sanskrit literature. For example, the first English translation of famous ‘Meghdoot’ of Kalidas was done by Wilson, Horace Hayman (1813), ‘The Mégha Dúta, Or, Cloud Messenger: A Poem, in the Sanskrit Language’.
Before I write about the ‘Amarkaosh’, I would like to dwell upon one memorable historic incident. HMV had once published a pamphlet giving the history of gramophone record. Gramophone was invented by Thomas Alva Edison in the 19th century. Edison, who had invented many other gadgets like electric light and the motion picture camera, had become a legend even in his own time.
When he invented the gramophone record, which could record human voice for posterity, he wanted to record the voice of an eminent scholar on his first piece. For that he chose Prof. Max Muller, another great personality of the 19th century. He wrote to Max Muller saying, “I want to meet you and record your voice. When should I come?” Max Muller, who had great respect for Edison asked him to come on a suitable time when most of the scholars of the Europe would be gathering in England.
All cheered Edison’s presence. Later at the request of Edison, Max Muller came on the stage and spoke in front of the instrument. Then Edison went back to his laboratory and by afternoon came back with a disc. He played the gramophone disc from his instrument. The audience was thrilled to hear the voice of Max Muller from the instrument. They were glad that voices of great persons like Max Muller could be stored for the benefit of posterity.
After several rounds of applause and congratulations to Thomas Edison, Max Muller came to the stage and addressed the scholars and asked them, “You heard my original voice in the morning. Then, you heard the same voice coming out from this instrument in the afternoon. Do you understand what I said in the morning or what you heard in the afternoon?”
The audience fell silent, because they could not understand the language in which Max Muller had spoken. It was ‘Greek and Latin’ to them, as they say. But had it been Greek or Latin, they would have definitely understood, because they were from various parts of Europe. It was in a language which the European scholars had never heard.
Max Muller then explained what he had spoken. He said that the language he spoke was Sanskrit and it was the first shloka of Rig Veda, which says “Agni Mile Purohitam”. This was the first recorded public version on the gramophone plate.
अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवं रत्वीजम |
होतारं रत्नधातमम || Rig Veda 1.001.01 ||
Why did Max Muller choose this? Addressing the audience he said, “Vedas are the oldest text of the human race. And ‘Agni Mile Purohitam’ is the first verse of Rig Veda. In the most primordial time, when the people did not know how even to cover their bodies and lived by hunting and housed in caves, Indians had attained high civilization and they gave the world universal philosophies in the form of the Vedas”
When “Agni Mile Purohitam” was replayed the entire audience stood up in silence as a mark of respect for the ancient Hindu sages.
The meaning of the verse is “Oh Agni, You who gleam in the darkness, to you we come day by day, with devotion and bearing homage. So be of easy access to us, Agni, as a father to his son, abide with us for our well-being.”६ This incident demonstrates the significance, richness and greatness of Rig Veda and Sanskrit language. This is India, which is Bharat.
Bharat believes in a famous shloka of philosophy of India, which is spelled out number of times by our respected Prime Minister, Shr. Narendra Modi ji, “Vasudhaivam Kutumbukam”, coincidently, it is also the Theme of G 20 Summit of 2023 scheduled next week in New Delhi, India. Now, let us turn towards some interesting features of the
Amarkosh is divided into three parts, which is called as “Vargam” (Class).
Atha Prataham Kandam (First Part):
|Sr. No.||Claass||Meaning||No. of Shlokas|
|1||Atha Swaargvarg||About Heaven||71|
|2||Atha Vyomvarg||About Sky||01|
|3||Atha Digvarg||About Directions||35|
|4||Atha Kaalvarg||About Time||31|
|5||Atha Dheevarg||About Wisdom||17|
|6||Atha Shabdvarg||About 2 Names||25|
|7||Atha Natyvarg||About Music & Drama||38|
|8||Ath Paatalvarg||About Below Earth||11|
|9||Atha Narakvarg||About Hell||03|
|10||Atha Vaarivarg||About Water||43|
Atha Dwitiya Kandam (Second Part):
|Sr. No.||Class||Meaning||No. of Shlokas|
|1||Atha Bhumivarg||About Earth||18|
|2||Atha Poorvarg||About City / Town||20|
|3||Ath Shailvarg||About Mountains||02|
|4||Atha Vanoushadhi||About Garden / Forest||169|
|5||Atha Sinhadivarg||About Lion & other animals||83|
|6||Atha Manushyvarg||About Human beings||139|
|7||Atha Bramhavarg||About Brahmins & other||57|
|8||Atha Kshtriyas||About Warriors||119|
|9||Atha Vaishyavarg||About Buisnessmen||111|
|10||Atha SHudravarg||About Servie Providers||46|
Atha Tritiya Kandam (Third Part):
|Sr. No.||Class||Meaning||No. of Shlokas|
|3||Atha Nanarthvarg||Multi-meaning words||263|
|5||Atha Avyayvarg||Imperishable / Unchangeable / Constant||23|
|Sr. No.||Class||Meaning||Author||No. of Shlokas|
|1||Ekashkarkosh||About Single Alphabet||Purushottampranit||38|
|2||Dwirupkosh||Two Forms of Word||Purushottamvirachit||75|
|3||Anekarthdhvanimanjarikosh||About Multi-meaning Words||Mahakshpanakvircahit||87|
So, as above there are total 1,793 shlokas in Amarkosha. In fact, there are 174 other such encyclopedic works in Sanskrit literature. Also, there are more than 27 commentaries on Amarkosh itself, writen by learned authors like Achyutopadhyaya, Kashinaath, Kshirswami, Naeayanchakravarty, Narayanvedantvagish, Neelkantha, Parmanandmaithlili, Bharatmallik, Ramesharam, Mathureshvidyalankar, Mahadevvedanti, Mukuta, Ramkrishma Dixit etc.
Amarkosh is a smallest example. There are numerous other works in Sanskrit literature. Yajurveda is second in sequence and eal with lot of knowledge treaure too. Samveda is third in sequence, which conatin Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for pronouncing mantras while performing Yadnya (Worship and Sacrifice). No wonder Musicology and Dramaturgy emerged out of it. Last and fourth is Atharavveada, which contains the details of many rituals like Wedding and Medicine or Health Sciences and Archery emerged out of it, like Surgery, Pharmacology and Aayurveds etc.
Before I close this, I wish to pray again that powerful, Agni (God of Fire and Divine Light) by chanting the last Sukta in the Rig Veda.
संसमिद्युवसे वृषन्नग्ने विश्वान्यर्य आ |
इळस्पदे समिध्यसे स नो वसून्या भर ||
|| ऋग्वेद संज्ञानसूक्तम् (१०.१९१.१-४) ||
Oh Powerful and Brave God Agni ! You get all types of wealth from the enemies also. We have ingnited and invoked Yuo Agni at this place of Yadnya (Altar). We invoke and urge you to kindly bless us with wealth collected by you.
Chatrapati Sambhaji Nagar
2023 August 30
Time: Morning: 09:38
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