TAMIL NADU STATE BOARD HSC EXAM:
Verse 1 - Guruprasamsa
Verse 2 - Sathya Prasamsa
Verse 3 - Vidhihi
Verse 4 - Karyasidhi
Verse 5 - Udyamaha
Verse 6 - Vag-Bhooshanam
Verse 7 - Lobhaha
Verse 8 - Tripthih
Verse 9 - Dhairyam
Verse 10 - Tejaswi
Every Literature has its own collection of "good sayings".
Sanskrit has its own collection of
sacred wise sayings Subhashitani
which teach us the values of life.
These collections of "do"s and "don't"s
form the basis of all culture and civilisation.
They guide and show us the right path
to be followed so that
the purpose of human birth
is achieved by one and all.
Notable among the collections of Sanskrit Subhashitas is
the Subhashita Rathnakara (an ocean of good sayings).
Bhartruhari's Neethisathakam is yet
another collection of good sayings.
Lesson # 2: Verse #1: Guruprasamsa
( In praise of Guru ):
One such popular saying from Subhashitha Rathnakara
is in praise of the GURU - or Guru Prasamsa.
The word Guru in Sanskrit is
not a mere teacher of an objective subject.
He gives the real subjective knowledge about oneself.
Out of the letters in the word "Guru ",
the letter ' Gu ' stands for darkness or ignorance;
and the letter ' Ru ' stands for
the one who removes it or dispells it.
The Guru is the one who removes
the ignorance of a seeker about his own true nature
and gives him Jnanam or '"Knowledge"
with which he realises his identity
with the Soul or the Athman.
We are all ignorant of our real nature;
we do not know from where we came to this world,
where we are finally going after this life,
what is the purpose of our life
and whether we are fulfilling it here.
Our knowledge about ourselves is covered
by a thick layer of Ajnanam - ignorance
which impairs our true vision of ourselves.
Like a surgeon who performs a cataract operation
on the eye to remove the cataract and
restore the vision to the eyes, so also,
the Guru applies the collyrium
( a medicinal ointment applied to eyes called Kajal)
and removes the cataract of ignorance
and restores our vision about ourselves
and our purpose of life.
Thus the Guru is more than a God,
the one who shows the God and without him,
we do not fulfil the purpose of life.
Natuarally, a seeker is all praise
of the Guru who gives a meaning to life.
By praising the Guru,
the student is not obliging or
doing any service to the Guru,
but is only trying to imbibe the
Knowledge given by the Guru.
Without the medium of the teacher,
the student would always remain ignorant and blind.
The Guru thus gives a new dimension
and opens up a new bright horizon for the student.
The particular verse says: Quote:
Chakshurunmeelitam yena tasmai sri Gurave namaha.
"Salutations to that gracious preceptor,
by whom the eyes of one blinded by ignorance
is opened by applying the collyrium-brush of wisdom. "
This sloka has a very beautiful simile embedded in it.
It throws up a graphic picture
of a person blinded by cataract,
is treated by a Doctor with a medicinal ointment, Anjana.
Similarly, the ignorance of
a true seeker Ajnanam is removed by the Guru
by giving him Jnanam, Knowledge.
In this way the vision of the student
is restored by the Guru.
Significance: The verse brings out
the glory of Guru in our culture and shows
how much we owe to the institution
of Guru-sishya-parampara in our pursit of Truth.
The Knowledge imparted by the Guru
to his Sishyas flows from generation to generation
like the periennial Ganga for all times to come.
In Praise of Truth
Sathyam brooyath priyam brooyath na brooyath sathyam apriyam,
Priyam cha na anritham brooyath esha Dharma sanatanaha.
This verse is from the collection of Subhashita Ratnakara,
and it emphasises the need of telling Truth
in a pleasant manner without hurting anyone.
No doubt, one should always tell the Truth,
but it should be spoken in a pleasing manner.
If the truth is unpleasant,
better to avoid telling an unpleasant truth.
But on no account, one should speak falsehood
for the sake of pleasing someone.
This is an eternal value to be followed by one and all.
Sathyameva Jayate is a declaration of our Upanishads.
This is also the motto of our nation.
Truth alone triumphs ultimately.
While speaking, one should always stick to truth
and it should be spoken in a pleasant manner
without hurting the feelings of
those to whom it is spoken to.
If the truth is unpleasant,
it is better not to speak of it bluntly.
This does not mean that one can
speak pleasantly an un-truth just to please some one.
A person who is blind
need not necessarily be addressed as a blind man
even though it is a truth.
If at all one has to refer to his blindness,
one can use words like, "visually handicpped", etc.,
which may not immediately hurt the feelings,
but can even reveal a note of sympathy.
While pleasantness is a
necessary corollary to speaking,
the verse warns the speaker,
not to go out of the way
to please someone by telling falsehood.
In that case, apart from
the strictures of moral code of conduct,
the falsehood will be exposed sooner or later
and the result will be more detrimental.
This is an eternal value and many such values constitute
what is known as SANATANA DHARMA,
the culture of ancient India.
Yet another verse, culled from Subhashita Rathnakara,
relates to what is called ,VIDHI or Fate.
The verse says:
Bhavithavyam bhavathyeva narikelaphalambuvath,
Ganthavyam gatham ithyahuhu gajabhuktha kapithhavath.
What is destined to happen will happen inevitably,
and what is not destined to happen
will never happen in spite of all efforts.
The verse conveys that what must stay
would invariably stay.
A cocoanut is destined to have water in it;
but how does this water come inside it
is a mystery to the naked eye.
We cannot perceive the source of water
that trickles into a tender cocoanut.
This does not happen to any other class of other fruits
and is destined to happen only in this family of fruits
at the appropriate time.
Similarly, what is not destined to remain, will not remain.
The example given here is of the Kapithha fruit (wood-apple).
An elephant eats a Kapithha fruit
as it is without breaking it
and excretes it as it is without any rupture.
But if one examines the excreted fruit
he will find that the water which was there
before eating it is not there now.
It has to go, and how does it go
without breaking it, is Nature's mystery.
This leads to a greater question.
Does it mean that human effort has no value
and every thing happens as per "Destiny"?
What is Fate or Destiny?
Is it blind faith leading to Fatalism?
Does it lead to cutting at the very root of self-effort?
There are three types of Karmaor
"results of one's own actions".
They are: (1) Sanchitha, (2) Prarabdha and ( 3) Aagami.
Sanchita is a bundle of all the Karmas
accumulated over a number of births.
Prarabdha is that specific Karma or Karmas
already taken up for the purpose of this life.
Since these Karmas have already
started to give results /fruition,
nothing can be done about them at this stage.
This is called Destiny or Fate.
But there is yet another group of Karmas called Aagami,
i.e.,the actions that are now being done
which will give their results later in future.
In this way, one can make or mar one's destiny.
Man is not a puppet in the hands of Fate,
he is the creater of his own Destiny.
For more details, please see FAQ question # 1.
at website: http://www.geocities.com/tvnswamy/faq.html
Success of an Action
Manasa chinthitham karyam vachasa na prakasayeth,
Mantra rakshanagoodhatma karyasidhim prakasayeth.
One should not divulge to others by words
an action contemplated in the mind;
but should keep it a secret
like protecting a secret Mantra
and declare to others only the success in actions.
This verse is taken from Subhashitha Rathnakaraor
"The Ocean of Good sayings"
An action contemplated in our mind
should be kept a secret from others.
It should not be publicised in advance.
Only the result of the action should speak for itself.
Like one who keeps a Mantra a secret
and does not divulge it to others,
similarly, an action contemplated
in mind is not meant for publicity.
What is the necessity for this secrecy?
What is the use of boasting
about what he wants to do like an Election candidate,
what is important is how far one is successful.
Empty words, promises and decisions carry no weight
till they are fulfilled in practice.
They may lower one's image in
the eyes of others who matter.
At the outset, it may be made clear
that one may not be able to fulfil
all or any part of what one promises
without knowing the true picture of the given things.
Even if one knows it,
it may not succeed to the extent one announced earlier.
It may even create problem if others come to know of it.
They can generate sufficient hassles and block your way,
if they are not favourly inclined towards you.
Really great people are those who speak less and work more.
In the Mahabharatha, when Arjuna learnt
about the killing of his son, Abhimanue,
he openly vowed to burn himself if
he could not kill Jayadratha before sunset on that day.
This was openly given and alerted Jayadratha and his friends.
The result was that Jayadratha went into hiding till sunset.
Arjuna could not keep his words and Krishna
had to save the situation by creating an illusory sunset
to bring out Jayadratha to the field.
Politicians promise many things at the time of election
and are not able to fulfil all or part of them.
They become objects of public ridicule at the next election.
The success of an action depends
upon the secrecy attached to it at the beginning.
If the success is not up to the mark, even then,
no one can measure the success in the absence of
what was promised earlier.
It also helps prevent sabotage by vested interests.
Udyoginam purushasimham upaithi Lakshmeeh
Daivam pradhanam ithi kaapurushaah vadanthi,
Daivam vihaya kuru pourusham athmasakthyaa
Yathney krithey yadi na sidhyanthi ko/tra doshaha.
The Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi,
favours only those who are diligent and industrious.
Those who are weak-minded are lethargic
and do not strive forward
nor initiate an action
on the plea that every thing is
pre-determined by Fate which alone,
they say, is more important than one's actions.
One should, however,
put one's best efforts disregarding "fate ".
What is wrong, if one puts
his best efforts, but does not succeed?
This sloka is yet another quote from Subhashitha Rathnakara,
the "Ocean of Good Sayings".
It is said that no deer will voluntarily
enter the mouth of a sleeping lion.
Without an effort, even things
that are destined to happen will not happen.
Unless one moves one step forward,
even God cannot help him.
A hungry person once decided that
he will not do anything that is
required of him and wait for Fate to take its own course.
He was sitting in a choultry where many travellers come,
stay for some time and leave.
He was feeling hungry, but would not move anywhere,
for, he felt that fate will give him food.
A couple of days passed by, and he could not get any food.
His mouth began to water seeing
other travellers eating and enjoying the food.
He could not suffer any more and involuntarily,
he coughed to attract the attention of
those who were eating in his presence.
It had the desired effect and
one of the travellers heard his
peevish cough and took pity on him and offered food.
Atleast that much of effort as even a cough
was required to succeed in life.
It is only the daring and
the adventurous that succeed in life.
Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth goes
to such person and favours him with, wealth and prosperity.
Only the weak-minded people take cover on " fate"
and take an excuse for not starting a work.
The poet here asks a question
generally raised by the weakminded:
"What is the guarantee that
the work started, if at all, will win ?".
The poet says that even if it does not succeed,
what is the fault here?
It is better to try and lose,
rather than not to try at all.
VAG-BHOOSHANAM - ( The Ornament of Speech):
Bhartruhari was a celebrated poet and grammarian,
who is said to have been the brother of Vikramaditya.
He wrote three Sathakas
or "centuries of verses", called -
1)Sringara Sathaka on amatory matters;
2) Niti Sataka, on polity and ethics;
3) Vairagya Sataka, on religious austerity.
These maxims are said to have been written
when he had taken to a religious life
after a licentious life.
The verse given below is taken
from Bhartuhari's Niti Sathakam:
Keyoorani na bhooshayanthi purusham haara na chandrojwalaa
Na snanam na vilepanam na kusumam naalamkritha moordhajaha,
Vaanyekaa samalamkarothi purusham yaa samskrithaa dhaaryatey
Ksheeyanthey khalu bhooshanani sathatham vaag-bhooshanam bhooshanam.
What is the best ornament that decorates a human being?
The usual ornaments like the bracelets
or the necklaces that are as lustrous
as the shining moon do not really decorate a person;
Nor taking baths frequently,
nor applying make-up with cosmetics,
nor the flowers that are worn
on the braid of hair on the head
really determine the adornment of a person.
The art of speech well delivered grammatically and perfectly,
alone really adorns a person.
All the other ornaments do perish;
but the ornament of speech is a constant ornament
that decorates a human being at all times.
In the Ramayana, there is an illustrious character
that has immortalised the art of speech.
It is none other than Hanuman.
In the introductory talk he gave
to Rama and Lakshmana on his frst meeting with them,
he impressed Rama so much with his eloquence,
that Rama praised his speech to the skies.
The speech revealed the speaker's knowledge of all the Vedas;
it was neither too long nor too short;
It was rendered without any grammatical flaw,
with the least effort and at the right pitch.
Hearing the speech, even an enemy
with a drawn sword will be humoured to friendship.
A king who has such an envoy who
knows the art of good speech,
can achieve anything in the world.
This was what Rama felt about the art of speech.
Thirukkural has also reiterated that
speaking harsh words is like chewing
an un-ripe fruit while ripened fruit is at hand.
The scar left by an wound inflicted
by a weapon may be healed in course of time,
but the wound inflicted by
harsh words can never be healed.
Therefore, good speaking is an art
and it has to be cutivated by all
and practised at all times.
The art of good speech attracts everyone
and can even change the course of a nation's fortune.
The oration of Mark Antony in
Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" was
an acclaimed speech that turned the
tide of political behaviour of the masses.
The speech of Swami Vivekananda in
the Parliament of Religions at Chicago
is yet another landmark in the art of speech.
That adorned him and his country better
than what any jewellery, dress
or cosmetics could have adorned ..
Aasaayaah yey daasaasthe daasaaha sarvalokasya,
Aasaa yesham daasee thesham daasaayathe lokaha.
"Those who are the servants of "Desire",
are really the servants of the entire world.
But to those for whom "Desire " is a maid-servant,
the whole world serves as a servant. "
This verse is taken from Subhashitha Rathnakara
or "The Ocean of Good Sayings ".
It brings out the evil effects of "Desire" in man
and stresses the necessity of
controlling it at all periods of time.
Desire is caused by the intrinsic tendencies
or " Vasnaas " with which a living thing
is born with or acquired over a period of time in this life.
All the problems in life can be traced
to this root-cause of " Desire".
Desire leads to attachment and anger.
Anger leads to loss of discrimination, i.e.
lack of proper understanding as to
what is right and what is wrong.
This makes the victim lose for the moment,
his Buddhi-his intellect.
Such a person will be prompted
to act irrationally and he goes down
in the ladder of evolution.
A person goaded by "Desire" may go
to any extent to fulfil his desire unless
it is controlled at the right time.
They stoop down to any low level
to get their desires fulfilled.
They thus become the Daasaas
or servants of all those who are
in a position to fulfil their desire.
Such people are always looked down by the world.
Not only that, they are more and more
getting involved and bound to
this material world with new and deep
Vaasanaas that make
"liberation" a distant cry.
On the other hand, a man of perfection
casts away all his desires born of
his mind and still remains happy with himself.
This is how the Bhagawat Geeta
describes a man of steady wisdom :
Prajahathi yadaa kamaan sarwan Partha manogathaan....
The Geeta further compares a perfect man
to a tortise which can withdraw
its limbs into itself at its will.
Similarly, an intelligent man can
and should withdraw his sense organs
from the sense objects at his will.
To such a wise man, "Desire"
becomes his maid-servant waitng
for his orders without enslaving him
as is the case with a greedy person.
The whole world will admire such
a person of self-control and will wait
on him like a servant waitng for the master.
In other words, the whole world serves him as a servant.
There is a story of a king's barber
who got seven jars of gold coins,
out of which one was not full
while the others were overflowing.
In spite of all the wealth at his disposal,
he was the most unhappy person on the earth
as he wanted to fill the seventh jar
which was not full to the brim.
He wasted his precious life pursuing
the elusive seventh jar and finally
gave up everything to exchange it
for peace and happiness within.
There is yet another story of a sage
who was taken prisoner by Alexander,
the great Greek emperor who
offered all the wealth that he wanted
in life if only he could
accompany him under his command.
The sage wanted none and that made
him greater than the
emperor and the entire world.
Significance: It is not fulfilment of desires
that makes a man great,
but his ability to control them
and withdraw his sense organs
from them that is really great.
Sarpaah pibanthi pavanam na cha durbalaasthe
Sushkaisthrinaih vanagajaah balino bhavanthi,
Kandhaih phalaih munivaraah kshapayanthi kaalam
Santhosha eva purushasya param nidhanam.
"Serpents drink air and they are not weak;
wild elephants sustain themselves on dried grass
and still they are very strong;
Great sages pass their time with fruits and roots.
Therefore, contentment alone is the supreme wealth of man."
This verse is taken from Subhashita Rathnakara-
"the Ocean of Good Sayings ".
Many of us have a wrong notion
that we cannot achieve success in life
because of the various limitations
and privations we have to
encounter for our very existence.
Life is too precious to be wasted
in an eternal search for fulfillment
of the un-ending desires.
What makes life happy and worth living
is a sense of contentment at all times.
It is this contentment that makes a person strong.
Great people are those who do not
hanker after material comforts that
stifle the growth of man.
A great Vidya Sagar was happy with
his surroundings and studied under a lamp-post
and came up in life to new heights
which no student of the present day
with all his pamperings can ever dream of reaching.
The great secret of success is,
therefore, not wealth, comforts and luxury,
but a sense of contentment with what one has.
This contentment alone makes
a person concentrate on his work,
instead of frittering away his energies
in brooding over his limitations in comparison to others.
In support of this universal truth of contentment,
the verse gives three examples.
The first is that serpents are
poisonous and they are strong.
Even an army will be scattered by
the mere mention of a serpent at hand.
What makes the serpent so powerful?
Certainly it does not take strong doses
of strength-building medicines,
nor take food that nourishes the body
as we would like to, but they are
fed on air ( pavana).
Still they are strong, hale and healthy.
Another example given here is of the wild elephants
who are very strong and sturdy.
What do they eat to develop
such extra-ordinary strength?
They eat only dried grass and leaves
and are purely vegetarians.
But that does not hamper its strength or power.
May be animals and rodents are created that way,
but men cannot be compared to them!
To this natuaral possible query,
the poet gives an example of sages and saints.
The sages, Rishis and Munis
of yore ate only fruits and roots
that came their way and passed
their time with them only.
Still, they were not weak but
extra-ordinarily strong both physically and mentally.
They could visualise a galaxy of
sciences like astronomy, astrology, medicine,
mathematics, physical sciences and above all
the science of the Self and spiritualism.
What made them great was not their food in-take,
nor a comfortable living condition nor wealth,
but a sense of contentment with what they had
and their ability to transcend all such petty considerations.
It is a sense of Contentment with what we have
that helps us go beyond the fringes of our
creature comforts and enables us to rise to greater heights.
Therefore, contentment is truly the supreme wealth of man.
Prarabhyathe na khalu vighnabhayena neechaih
Prarabhya vighnanihitha viramanthi madhyaha,
Vighnaihi muhurmuhurapi prathihanyamaanaha
Prarabdhamuthamagunaah na parithyajanthi.
This verse is taken from Bhartruhari's Neethisathakam.
Regarding the poet and his works,
please see notes against verse #6.
There are three categories of people for everything.
First, the best category,called UTHAMA.
The second category is the mediocre,
the MADHYAMA type.
The lowest of all the types is called the ADHAMA.
The lowest of the low is also called a Neecha.
Such Neechas do not start
a work at any time as they always
anticipate problems if they start anything.
Vighnas or obstacles do come up,
invariably, if any work is involved;
but those who do not start any work
because of possible obstacles that may crop up,
belong to the worst type of categories of men.
The second category of people,
or the mediocre type, Madhyamas start
the work in right earnest, no doubt;
but stop it when they encounter
any obstacle on the way.
They lack the firmness of mind or fortitude,
nor do they have the courage required
to face problems and strive forth towards success.
On the other hand, the Uthamas,
or the best type of men are those
endowed with noble character.
They do not leave their efforts till they succeed,
once they undertake a work,
even if they confront obstacles again and again.
They are resolute in their pursuit
and possess a high degree of fortitude.
We all know the story of Robert Bruce and the spider.
Robert Bruce lost his battle six times.
He gave up all war and fled to the jungle in despair.
In a cave where he had taken shelter
he watched a spider spinning its web.
Every time the spider was to finish,
it fell down and again tried.
Six times it fell to the ground being
unsuccessful in its efforts.
But it did not lose heart and
tried again for the seventh round;
and the spider could succeed on the seventh time.
The story goes that Robert Bruce saw
this fortitude of a spider and
went back to his kingdom and started war
for the seventh time, and he won this time.
The man who wins ultimately is
the one who thinks he can.
There is a popular Quote which says:
"If you think you are beaten, you are:
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you 'd like to win, but think you can't,
it's almost a clinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost;
For, out in the world we find
...SUCCESS BEGINS WITH a fellow's will."
It was due to his sincere and consistent
perseverence that a Bhagiratha could
bring the Ganga from the heavens
down to the earth and to the netherworlds.
It was because of the firmness in his resolve
that a five-year old boy called Dhruva,
could undertake severe penance for
five months to make the Lord appear before him.
He is the best who believes in himself.
Simhah sisurapi nipathathi mada-malina- kapola- bhithhishu gajeshu,
Prakrithiriyam sathwavathaam na khalu vayas-thejasaam hethuhu.
A lion,though a cub, pounces upon
the temples of an elephant.
The temples of the elephant are
already made dirty and sticky with
its flowing rut, which means that
the elephant has extraordinary
strength during this time.
Even a young lion cub strikes at
this mighty elephant without
any hesitation or fear, because,
it has an inborn heroic nature,
quite natural to it.
So also, the heroic people are
those who are heroic by nature.
They are born heroic and not tailor-made.
Age is never a criterion for reckoning the heroic,
but the in-born qualities of Nature.
This verse is also taken from Bhartruhari's Neethisathakam.
(Regarding the author, please see
the introduction to verse #6).
A living being is always a product of
its innate nature, the Vasanaas.
This innate nature belongs to three categories,
viz., Sathwa, Rajas and Tamas.
These qualities of Nature are present
in different shades and
proportions in different beings.
Accordingly, the personality of a
person is manifest in this world.
The vasanaas of a lion,
even if it is still a cub, are Rajasic,
active and virile and it is its Dharma
or nature to be heroic and ferocious.
A scorpion stings, because that is its nature,
and if it does not sting, it is not a scorpion.
Fire is hot at all times,
because that is its nature.
We do not hear of a "cold " fire.
The Sun is bright, because that is its nature,
and we do not come across a " dark " sun.
Similarly, a man of high calibre
is heroic by birth and does not
become one with advancing age.
This does not mean that we should
accept lying low whatever low quality
we have and do not make any
effort to improve upon it.
We should put our efforts to strive,
to seek Knowledge, and not to yield
to our present limitations.
A majority of the people are
steeped in Tamas,
sluggish and lethargic due to
their ignorance of their real
identity with their immortal nature.
They have to be stirred up to
activity through Karma Yoga
and exchanged for Satwic quality,
thus paving the way to have the Knowledge
to transcend all the qualities
born of Nature and lead to Self-Realsation.
This is what the Geeta prescribes for human evolution..
Significance : Age is not the criterion for the success of man.
It is the inborn quality that makes or mars him.
(END OF LESSON #2)