Tag Archives: Language

Saamethalu (Telugu Proverbs) 5

saametha5

Oorkey raaru mahaanubhaavulu

Great souls do not come without reason

Parigeththi paalu taagay kantey nilabadi neellu thaagadam maylu

It is better to stand and drink water than run while drinking milk

Pandhikemi telusu panneeti viluva?

What does a pig know of perfume

Pelli antae nooraella panta

Marriage is 100 years harvest

Pilli ki bichcham veyadu

So miserly he won’t even feed his cat

Pindi koddhi rotte

Make only as many rotis as you have flour

[Live within your means]

Pitta konchem kootha ghanam

Small bird but chirps sweetly [small child, but big brains]

Potti vaaniki puttedu buddhulu

Short person, but tall talents

Pundu meeda kaaram challinatlu

Rubbing salt [or chili in this case] on wounds

Puvvu puttagaane parimalinchunu

As soon as the flower is born it’s aroma spreads. [a prodigy shows talent at a young age]

References:

  1. http://www.saamethalu.com/op.asp

 

[Reprint Post] Reservations: Politics & Hypocrisy of Indian Elites

A version of the following Post by @Krishnarjun was originally published by Vijayvaani.


Lalu successfully questioned RSS commitment to OBC’s & Dalits in Bihar Elections

The reservation system has been a deeply contentious and polarizing issue in Indian society and politics. Reservations for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, in the Parliament and State Assemblies, were initially introduced in the Constitution through Article 334 for a period of ten years and later through amendments the period was extended multiple times. They were also given reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

The Mandal Commission or Second Backward Classes Commission headed by B.P. Mandal, a parliamentarian, was set up by the Morarji Desai Janata Party government in 1979 to look into the aspect of reservations in government jobs and educational institutions for the undefined socially and educationally backward castes. The first commission on the issue was set up in 1953 under Kaka Kalelkar.

The Kaka Kalelkar Commission submitted its report in 1955. Considering all women as “backward”, it recommended 40% reservation in class III and class IV jobs, 33% reservation in class III, 25% reservation in class I jobs and 70% reservation in technical and professional institutes for backward classes. The recommendations were not accepted by the government.

The Mandal Commission submitted its report in 1980, by which time the Janata Party had lost power; the recommendations were not implemented by succeeding Congress regimes. The National Front government led by V.P. Singh accepted the recommendation for 27% reservation benefits to backward classes in government jobs and institutions of higher learning, in 1990. Its impact on Indian politics and society created the “mandalization” phenomenon in Indian politics.

Reservation is certainly not an ideal way to transform a society or nation. Nor is it ideal for beneficiaries who would do better to emerge on their own performance, competing with others without the stigma of being “undeserved” gainers through reservation. But Indian elites have forced a situation where a level playing field without reservations has become a remote possibility in Indian society.

Without going too far back into Indian history and linking everything to Hindu birth based varna system, though that is still a factor, the single most important driver that contributed to the need for reservations in post independent India is the “English” language, the language and vehicle of imperialism.

The English language simply destroyed the confidence of the Indian masses; it impoverished the Indian mind and made it a perpetual slave. It has created a new super imposed caste hierarchy over existing caste hierarchies; destroyed the traditional education system by making it impossible to create quality educational infrastructure, teaching resources and materials in the country. It has made education a burden to a child rather than a joyous path to awareness and intelligence. It has chained the potential of Indian masses while benefiting few privileged elites at the top. To sum up, it has severely crippled the education system.

For the unprivileged majority, the journey of life starts with a load of social discrimination, caste prejudice and economic deprivation. Their only access to the world of ideas is their spoken language with limited vocabulary, and the work they engage with, which in most cases doesn’t fit into the modern definition of economic development that the elites aspire to and promote. Professional education through English medium is an intimidating barrier for them.

If Indian elites love English and consider it a global language for prosperity and enlightenment, why they have not made it a medium of instruction from primary level in public schools where the under-privileged send their children to study? It’s impossible to provide quality education in alien language to the masses. The necessary teaching resources and infrastructure needed are impossible to create unless the alien language becomes the spoken language of the masses.

With native language as medium of instruction from primary to higher education it would have been infinitely easier to create quality human resources, and infrastructure in Indian education system that can provide a reasonable level playing field for all sections irrespective of socio-economic background. No wonder even after 68 years of independence India stays at the bottom of the literacy pyramid among nations. Did the Indian elites really miss this common sense or was it a deliberate choice they made?

English has created its own caste hierarchy in the country. The elite led by those with a history of subservience to the British send their children to elite schools and colleges; the intermediate groups send children to mediocre schools; the majority suffers public school education.

Curiously, this English caste hierarchy overlaps greatly with traditional varna hierarchy and this overlap facilitates the seamless transition from varna elite, which enjoyed a monopoly on traditional education and literature, to English caste elite. The bottom of the varna hierarchy are also at the bottom in English education hierarchy. Reservations were a crude way to help them climb upwards.

The fact that the “creamy layer” concept enters recent discussions on reservation proves that the system created a creamy layer at some level for groups that never had it. The reservation system needs rationalization and can even be gradually removed if some level of equal opportunity is achieved in the education system from primary to college level, as also employment opportunities.

The “merit” argument of those opposed to reservation is hollow, opportunity can also create merit and it is not a privilege those from elitist backgrounds. The Indian elites with all their “merit” have only made India worse by exploiting the nation and society at every opportunity. There could be a conscious or subconscious reason for Indian elites for embracing English; they perhaps always need a language different from the language of the masses to maintain class purity and hegemony.

Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, reservation fires are being re-stoked. The two big reasons for Mr Modi’s historic win his integrity and social background; the masses connect with his ideas and leadership. The Indian elite and its foreign friends are not happy with this turn of events and are back to their chessboards, doing their best to divide and rule the masses. Reservation fires are being deliberately stoked to create Mandal-II.

The Mandal Commission recommended reservation benefits based on social, education and economic criteria; this gave some sections high-up in varna status the “backward” in some states. As it was not based on traditional varna classification, groups that had good socio-economic resources, mostly land owning castes, were excluded from reservation.

After the 1990s, the collaboration between Indian elites and their foreign friends increased under the mask of economic liberalization. For better control of the Indian economy, the elites have to make farmland, owned mostly by small and medium farmers, irrelevant in the economy. In the last three decades they have driven down farm income to 18% of GDP with 50% of Indian population engaged in it, leading to an epidemic of suicides among farmers.

The land owning agrarian groups which felt no need for reservations when the Mandal report was implemented in the 1990s, such as Jats, Patels, Marathas, now demand reservations with the changed structure of the economy. The Jats and Marathas were hastily included in the reservation list just before the 2014 elections, for their votes, but the courts struck down reservation to Jats on grounds of procedure. The Indian power elite, unable to digest a backward class Prime Minister with mass support, sees an opportunity in agrarian distress to derail the Modi juggernaut.

The Patels are the backbone of the BJP in Gujarat; they largely supported Narendra Modi as Chief Minister, though some elements occasionally tried to turn the group against Narendra Modi, prompted by disgruntled elements within the Sangh Parivar. Their attempts failed and Narendra Modi successfully used his Gujarat success as a launch pad to Delhi.

The Indian power elite in mission “Mandal II” aims at turning agrarian groups that are not part of their elite structure and are without reservation benefits against Narendra Modi. The Sangh Parivar factions that felt threatened by Narendra Modi’s rise in the BJP made all attempts to stop him in Gujarat; their shenanigans are now obvious.

The Delhi English power elite shows apparent distaste towards the Sangh Parivar in public, and could have get support in Gujarat against Narendra Modi before. Now, all of a sudden, the Patel community holds massive demonstrations led by an hitherto unknown 22 year old Hardik Patel, with gushing support from the English media!

This miraculous mobilisation of Patels indicates a well-coordinated plan against Narendra Modi, most likely with international backing. This is clearly a plan to turn land-owning agrarian groups that don’t enjoy reservation benefits (Patels, for instance) against a backward class Prime Minister.

The first test of this strategy is Bihar, the historical nerve center of backward class political mobilisation. With polls just weeks away, the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, in an interview to Organiser weekly, asks for a review of the reservation system while answering a question on integral humanism! The anti-BJP forces in Bihar immediately lapped on his statement to allege that BJP led by a backward class leader is genetically against reservations.

The RSS chief got support from surprising quarters – Manish Tiwari and Jitin Prasada of the Congress! The BJP had to immediately issue denial and disagreement with Bhagwat. This only shows the total gang-up of elites, beyond professed ideological positions, against a backward class leader who is the first serious challenger to their hegemony.

The agrarian groups should ponder why their demands are getting sudden coverage in Delhi’s elitist media. They should not let the power elite, which has only contempt for them, to attack the reservation system and the political might of Narendra Modi over their shoulders. They will be left to their fate and ignominy once the elite bring down Narendra Modi. The agrarian communities suffering from farm distress should join with other under privileged groups and continue to support Narendra Modi as he is their best bet to unchain real India from the parasitic elitist class and its foreign collaborators.

Reservation is a sensitive issue and any change has to be preceded by honest work at the level of education and grass root socio-economic empowerment in India. The impact of the reservation system is limited to government jobs and under privileged groups cannot be denied their legitimate share in the administration. Without due diligence and sensitivity from all sides, politics and hypocrisy on reservations will continue to polarize Indian society to the benefit of Indian elite classes and their foreign friends.


The author of this post, Krishnarjun garu, can be reached on twitter and at his personal blog. We thank him for his kind permission to reprint this piece, published on September 28, 2015, at Vijayvaani.

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Sanskrit & Sanskruti Part III – How the Language contributed to Culture

rp_Sanskrit.jpg

Continuing my series on Sanskrit, is Part III.  Here, I will evaluate how the language impacted global culture, especially in Asia, and then focus on our own Civilizational culture, specifically, one of its greatest gems.

The term “Sanskrit” was not thought of as a specific language set apart from other languages, but rather as a particularly refined or perfected manner of speaking, later standardised by Panini into the language we know today. Knowledge of Sanskrit was educational attainment in ancient India. Sanskrit, as the learned language of Ancient India, symbiotically presided alongside the common Prakrits, frequently referred to as Middle Indic dialects. However, linguistic changes led to an eventual reduction of mutual intelligibility.

Many Sanskrit dramas also indicate that the language coexisted with Prakrits, spoken by multilingual speakers with a more extensive education. Sanskrit speakers were almost always multilingual. [1] Nevertheless, one of the oft-cited complaints against Sanskrit is that it is a dead, brahminical, parochial language

That Sanskrit is a dead, brahminical, parochial language as suggested by some is refuted thus. [2]

Sanskrit: Alive, Popular, and Global

A former foreign secretary, Shyam Saran, currently chairman of the National Security Advisory Board and RIS, as well as a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, elaborates on how Sanskrit spread to other Asiatic nations and was used extensively in their chants, mostly translated or adopted in local dialects. He is a man, who traveled extensively, the world over.

File:Buddhist sects.png
Buddhism spread Sanskrit in East Asia

In China:

But the reason why my visit to the temple has remained a fresh memory is because of an interesting encounter I had with the monks at the temple. They were chanting from manuscripts written in Chinese characters…. While listening more closely, I soon realised that what the monks were chanting was some distorted form of Sanskrit ……..The monks then told me that the temple and the monastery attached to it still had large number of manuscripts in Sanskrit that the Indian monk had brought to China.

In Japan:

…in Japan and visited the ancient monastery town of Koyasan, outside the old capital of Kyoto. ……..This phonetic alphabet is known as Hiragana …. Kobo Daishi is also credited with bringing a very large number of Buddhist scriptures, but also Sanskrit texts on other more secular subjects, such as science and medicine, to Japan.

In Tibet:

“Another repository of India’s intellectual and religious wealth is in Tibetan manuscripts preserved over centuries in Tibetan monasteries across the Himalayas.”

He goes on to say:

Several of the works of Charaka and Susruta (in medicine and surgery), and Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta (in astronomy and mathematics) were translated into Arabic by well-known Central Asian scholars like Khwarazmi, Ibn Sina and al-Beruni. These were later transmitted to Europe, and became part and parcel of the European renaissance from the 12th century onwards. The Indian numeral system, the concept of zero and the decimal, the calculation of pi and the notion of negative numbers and integers were part of India’s intellectual legacy, which spread far beyond its borders including to Europe as well as China

He writes on recent controversy of introducing Sanskrit at academic level:

There has been some recent controversy over the revision of textbooks in schools that seem to blur the distinction between legend and verifiable facts. Such controversy should not detract from the fact that India has much to be proud of in terms of its contributions to the development of science and mathematics in particular. Susruta described plastic surgery techniques in detail and the principles he enunciated still form the basis of modern plastic surgery.” [3]

Between the above, the long standing connections between Sanskrit and European languages, not to mention the contributions to languages such as Telugu and Kannada, we have enough to state that Sanskrit is the Mother Of All Languages, adopted world over, but neglected by our own political system.

The contribution of Sanskrit in Traditional Knowledge Systems is no less than what the Westerners feel proud of with respect to Latin and Greek. This was illustrated with examples by Sri Rajiv Malhotra, renowned author, in his various articles, including ” Traditional Knowledge Systems“, which debunks the theory that the word “traditional” connotes primitive. Instead, he says, traditional is a continuation of the cultural value systems continued with modern knowledge, thus making it as a change in continuity. This is the best method adapted by civilizations over a period, the world over. He enunciates that India with its rich cultural heritage developed science and technology that even Westerners could not do. Origin of these works was from Sanskrit texts.  Of course, quite possibly the most famous is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a Sanskrit work of world renown and an important part of Indic Civilization and Dharmic culture. It’s history is traced here.

We shall deal with this at appropriate time. Now, I will discuss one other such text, one of the cultural jewels of India. A work of literature that would define the arts in the Indosphere: The Natya Shastra.

Natya Shastra & Sanskrit

The Natya Shastra is the most ancient text on stagecraft in the world. Composed by Bharata Muni between 200 BC and 200 CE, scholars who believe that it may have been written by various authors at different times, and may in fact be substantially older.

Some consider the Natya Shastra to be based upon the much older Natya Sutras. Unfortunately the Natya Sutras do not appear to have survived the ravages of time, so their existence in the present time is unconfirmed.

The Natya Shastra is tremendous in its scope. It covers stage-design, music, dance, makeup, and indeed, nearly every aspect of stagecraft. It is critical to the musician as it is the only treatise which provides such detail about the music and instruments of the period. [4]

Both Poetics and Dramatics are covered by it as well. Poetics has been one of the significant contributors to the knowledge base in India besides religion. Indian poetics, how ever, did not receive its deserved acclaim.

There is indeed a need to counter and correct the de-intellectualized mind by arguing for and developing applicational model from Indian Sanskrit literary theories to a wide variety
of English texts. Despite favourable gesture of the U.G.C. to promote Sanskrit literary theories within the existing thinking of Indian academy, problems still persist in the mind of the Educated within the existing thinking of Indian academy, problems still persist in the mind of ‘the Educated Indian’ who out rightly rejects the Indian literary theories [due to insecurity and ignorance]. The scholars of English, in the East and in the West as well, teach the translated western classics Homer (Iliad), Virgil (Aeneid) etc.” [5]

Sanskrit theories are product of the sadhana of ancient Indian Acharyas from Acharya Bharata to Panditraj Jagannath. They deal with each part of the literary text systematically. If modern Indic models are developed from Sanskrit theories and are applied in the right perspective, they can facilitate the development of a genuine Indian literary criticism.

So said, Bharata can be said to be one of the first exponents of the Natya Sutras, derived from Sanskrit texts and Vedas, Upanishads, especially Sama Veda.He is said to have inherited the Sutras from Narada, Tambura and Nandi etc., the original mythological exponents of the Natya Shastra. He gives all other arts subordinate position to the dramatic art because there is no such lore, experience, spiritual
discipline, science, art, craft and object as is not employed on some occasion or the other in dramatic presentation. Bharata encounters all issues related to dramaturgy in his treatise, Natya Shastra.

Natya Shastra is, rightly, named the Fifth Veda for it teaches the dramatics that form the basis for all abinayas. These are classified as the Nava Rasas. Nava Rasas are the natural feelings of a normal human being when encountered with a situation where he displays one of the nine emotions. The other reason is it instructs the aesthete or viewer with the purpose of life attaining the four goals, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

Bharata Muni enunciated the eight Rasas in the Natyasastra, an ancient work of dramatic theory, written during the period between 200 BC and 200 AD. Such is the spectrum and sophistication, that each rasa, according to Natyasastra, has a presiding deity and a specific colour. There are 4 pairs of rasas. For instance, Hāsya arises out of Sringara. The Aura of a frightened person is black, and the aura of an angry person is red. Bharata Muni established the following.

Śṛngāram (शृङ्गारं) Love, Attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour:green.
Hāsyam (हास्यं) Laughter, Mirth, Comedy. Presiding deity: Ganesha. Colour: white.
Raudram (रौद्रं) Fury. Presiding deity: Rudra. Colour: red.
Kāruṇyam (कारुण्यं) Compassion, Tragedy. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour:dove coloured.
Bībhatsam (बीभत्सं) Disgust, Aversion. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: blue
Bhayānakam (भयानकं) Horror, Terror. Presiding deity: Kala. Colour: black
Vīram (वीरं) Heroic mood. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour:wheatish brown
Adbhutam (अद्भुतं) Wonder, Amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow

As the tradition of alankara-shastra, rhetoric or poetics, developed, a ninth rasa was endorsed, amid debate, by certain scholars; this rasa was only widely accepted after an extended philosophical and aesthetic theorization by Abhinavagupta. Subsequently, the nine rasas were accepted by the majority of the Alankarikas, rhetoricians, and the expression Navarasa (the nine rasas), would come into vogue:

Shantam Peace or tranquility. deity: Vishnu. Colour: white

In addition to the nine Rasas, two more appeared later (esp. in literature): Additional rasas:

Vātsalya (वात्सल्य) Parental Love
Bhakti (भक्ति) Spiritual Devotion

The Natyasastra identifies eight rasas with eight corresponding Bhava (mood):

Rati (Love)
Hasya (Mirth)
Soka (Sorrow)
Krodha (Anger)
Utsaha (Energy)
Bhaya (Terror)
Jugupsa (Disgust)
Vismaya (Astonishment)

But, these rasas or aesthetics as evolved in the modern, colonized Indian context unfortunately defer both in the form and philosophy from the Western context. The word “aesthetics” originally referred to the material or the senses. This indicates the beauty of material objects. In the proper and original Indian context, however, they represent the immaterial, the Divine, the unseen fine arts or emotions of humans expressed on stage by artists.

For the aesthete, who is not versed with the Vedas and Puranas, Natya Shastra opens up immense opportunity to enjoy the beauty of of the Immaterial or the Unknown. It also affords dramatists and artists to show their skills, as originally, inscribed in the ancient texts in Sanskrit.  [6]

When and why Natya Shastra and Histrionics were first espoused?

During the Treta Yuga, when Rajas (the second of the three Satva, Rajo, Tamo Gunas) was dominating human emotions, the Devatas prayed the Creator to invent an artificial form of entertainment to divert the attention of the people who, led by Rajo Guna, were led away from their path of duty. So this art was created to teach the people the nine aesthetics which they should show situationally and thus control their only emotion led by Rajas.

Natya Shastra, the art of drama and dance, consists of 6,000 sutras written in Sanskrit. Though the exact date is disputable, Kapila Vatsayan, argues in favor of Bharata as the original exponent of these Sutras. According to here, it underwent change with times but the originality was secured.

Music forms the soul of Natya or Histrionics and we shall extensively deal with it in the next chapter.

The purpose of this extensive coverage of the classical arts and Sanskrit is to prove that even though, scholars oppose the language as Brahminical, it is ingrained in our day to day life and the classically artistic. Even traditional folk arts derive the Nava Rasas or aesthetics from these ancient texts though they are not said to be so. It is high time we realize our tradition, not to colour it with caste or creed or religion but learn it as as our culture…a unified Indian Culture, secure in its unity, resplendent in its diversity.

VANDE MATARAM

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To Be Continued

Next Part: I will discuss the importance of sanskrit to folk art and music, among other aspects important to regional languages.

References:

  1. Deshpande, Madhav (2011), “Efforts to Vernacularize Sanskrit: Degree of Success and Failure”, in Joshua Fishman, Ofelia Garcia, Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity: The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts 2, Oxford University Press, p. 218
  2. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A10213661
  3. http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/shyam-saran-the-knowledge-superpower-114111101452_1.html
  4. http://chandrakantha.com/articles/indian_music/natyashastra.html
  5. https://online.vmou.ac.in/oldweb/studymaterial/MAfinEnglishpapV.pdf
  6. Ghosh, Manomohan (2002). Natyasastra. ISBN 81-7080-076-5.
  7. http://rajivmalhotra.com/library/articles/traditional-knowledge-systems/

Saamethalu (Telugu Proverbs) 4

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Hello everyone! After long gap, here is the fourth part in our long running series on Saamethalu. Saametha is the Telugu poem proverb. Each verse contains knowledge and understanding that is not only pleasant to hear but useful to use. Enjoy!

Saamethalu:

Meka vanne puli.

Looks like a goat, tiger on the inside (wolf in sheep’s skin)

Mondi vaadu raaju kanna balavanthudu…

A stubborn fellow runs roughshod even over kings

Moonnaalla mucchata.

The affection of three months

Nidhaanamey pradhaanam.

Going steadily and methodically is important [Slow and steady wins the race]

Nijam nippu laantidi.

Truth burns like fire

Nippu lendey poga raadanta.

There’s no smoke without fire

Nippu muttanidhey chaeyi kaaladhu.

Hand doesn’t burn without touching fire

Noru manchidaithey….ooru manchidi.

If you don’t badmouth, town won’t be bad either

References:

  1. http://www.saamethalu.com/

Sanskrit & Sanskruti Part II – Is it needed to be taught or not?

To continue my series on Sanskrit, is the second installment. It will start on the misinformation campaign on it.

The Misinformation Campaign on Sanskrit

The very basis of arguments of the opponents of teaching Sanskrit from primary level of education either in India or in any other sovereign nation interested in teaching it to their posterity, is based on a wrong premise. The main argument centers around the wrong notion that all the scriptures or other literature written in Sanskrit were intended only for one Varna, the Brahmin and others were prevented from learning It. But the scriptures and Itihasas tell a different story.

In fact, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas also learned. Rama and Krishna both studied in traditional gurukulas. The great Dharma raja of the Mahabharata who was learned in sanskrit and righteousness was the Kshatriya Pandava Yudhisthira. King Bhartruhari and even the Saka Rudradaman wrote poetry in chaste Sanskrit.

How do then do opponents of Sanskrit oppose teaching Sanskrit, dubbing it as “Brahminical”? The main scripture they quote is from Rigveda. This portion is called the Purusha Suktam. Purusha sukta (puruṣasūkta, पुरुष सूक्त) is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the “Cosmic Being”. [1]

File:Rigveda MS2097.jpg

The first controversy surrounding the hymn was that it was interpolated at a latter period to perpetuate the caste division in Hindu society, amongst other arguments in this direction. But this argument was debunked by many Hindu scholars, the main being Tiru B.V.Kameswar Aiyar, who stated thus:

The language of this hymn is particularly sweet, rhythmical and polished and this has led to its being regarded as the product of a later age when the capabilities of the language had been developed. But the polish may be due to the artistic skill of the particular author, to the nature of the subject and to several other causes than mere posteriority in time. We might as well say that Chaucer must have lived centuries after Gower, because the language of the former is so refined and that of the latter, so rugged. We must at the same time confess that we are unable to discover any distinct linguistic peculiarity in the hymn which will stamp it as of a later origin.”

The Purusha Sukta, in the seventh verse, hints at the organic connectedness of the various classes of society.
What does the hymn state that is so controversial? It is this part:

यत्पुरुषं व्यदधुः कतिधा व्यकल्पयन् ।
मुखं किमस्य कौ बाहू का ऊरू पादा उच्येते ॥११॥
Yat-Purussam Vya[i-A]dadhuh Katidhaa Vya[i-A]kalpayan |
Mukham Kimasya Kau Baahuu Kaa Uuruu Paadaa Ucyete ||11||

Meaning:
11.1: What did the Purusha (i.e. Virat) hold within Him? How many parts were assigned in His Huge Form?
11.2: What was His Mouth? What was His Arms? What was His Thighs? And what was His Feet?

ब्राह्मणोऽस्य मुखमासीद् बाहू राजन्यः कृतः ।
ऊरू तदस्य यद्वैश्यः पद्भ्यां शूद्रो अजायत ॥१२॥
Braahmanno-Asya Mukham-Aasiid Baahuu Raajanyah Krtah |
Uuruu Tad-Asya Yad-Vaishyah Padbhyaam Shuudro Ajaayata ||12||

Meaning:
12.1: The Brahmanas were His Mouth, the Kshatriyas became His Arms,
12.2: The Vaishyas were His Thighs, and from His pair of Feet were born the Shudras.

Now, what else it states in later verses?

चन्द्रमा मनसो जातश्चक्षोः सूर्यो अजायत ।
मुखादिन्द्रश्चाग्निश्च प्राणाद्वायुरजायत ॥१३॥
Candramaa Manaso Jaatash-Cakssoh Suuryo Ajaayata |
Mukhaad-Indrash-Ca-Agnish-Ca Praannaad-Vaayur-Ajaayata ||13||

Meaning:
13.1: The Moon was born from His Mind and the Sun was born from His Eyes,
13.2: Indra and Agni (Fire) were born from His Mouth, and Vayu (Wind) was born from His Breath.

नाभ्या आसीदन्तरिक्षं शीर्ष्णो द्यौः समवर्तत ।
पद्भ्यां भूमिर्दिशः श्रोत्रात्तथा लोकाँ अकल्पयन् ॥१४॥
Naabhyaa Aasiid-Antarikssam Shiirssnno Dyauh Samavartata |
Padbhyaam Bhuumir-Dishah Shrotraat-Tathaa Lokaa Akalpayan ||14||

Meaning:
14.1: His Navel became the Antariksha (the intermediate Space between Heaven and Earth), His Head sustained the Heaven,
14.2: From His Feet the Earth (was sustained), and from His Ears the Directions (were sustained); in this manner all the Worlds were regulated by Him. [1]

The main objection and the argument that this Suktam was interpolated by the upper caste Brahmins was this. From my face Brahmin was born, from shoulders the Kshatriya, from thighs the Vysya and from feet the Sudra.

If you go further, the Lord states:

“The moon takes birth from the Purusha’s mind and the sun from his eyes. Indra and Agni descend from his mouth and from his vital breath, air is born. The firmament comes from his navel, the heavens from his head, the earth from his feet and quarters of space from his ears. Through this creation, underlying unity of human, cosmic and divine realities is espoused, for all are seen arising out of same original reality, the Purusha.” [1]

Shudras are born from the feet of The Lord and so too the Earth. What sustains us with all the requirements for a happy living? Is it the unknown Heaven or the known Earth that bears the burden of humanity? That said, the other elements like Agni, Vayu etc., too are needed but without Earth, why do we need all these?

Right interpretation of the text of the hymn clearly enunciates one undeniable fact: That like the Earth, the Lord intended the Shudras as the main sustaining force of humanity.

Let us explain it in the mundane language. A Brahmin attains jnana and teaches, Kshatriya fights, Vaishya sells the needed goods. But what is the use of jnana, if you are not secure? What is the use of security if you can not buy the needed essentials? What is the ultimate use of all the three if someone who works hard to produce the needed goods is not there?

If a man is without feet, what can he do by having all the three other qualities? So, who occupies the prime place in the God’s creation, the Shudra or the sustainer of all the other three. But, again the Shudra (and other varnas) requires guidance from the jnana of Brahmin, security through bravery of the Kshatriya and someone to market his products in the form of a Vaishya. But he forms the crux of sustenance like the Earth that sustains us with the help of other elements.

This argument may look mundane from a philosophical point of view, but I feel no God who is the Parent of humanity would like to see one section of his own creation as inferior to  other section and the other section, a higher section and so on. In the Higher Order of the Universe a moth living for 30 minutes, post seeing the light of the day to the longest living animal have the same value in God’s view. Or else he would not have created a moth without a purpose to serve the Earth.

The barriers are created by us and were used by so called upper caste zealots (i.e. casteists) then and the so called Human Rights activist zealots now, who make a living by keeping the society ignorant of our rich cultural heritage and our richest language.

The Ignorant Law Makers


Even as I was closing the first part and going into the origin, importance and value of Sanskrit in present day life, a funny anecdote took place in the House of “Elders” in India. A self-professed Gandhivadi, who was ignorant that Gandhi relied only on Alternate Medicine, brought one bottle of an Ayurvedic formulation named “PUTRA JEEVAK” and started a commotion in the house that Yoga Guru Ramdev was a male chauvinist, who produced medicine for birth of male child. Ramdev Ashram never propagated it, nor was it mentioned on the bottle anywhere, that it was so. Member after member, from pseudo secular parties expressed surprise, shock, anguish and what not that Ramdev was discouraging female birth.

Later, Ramdev clarified it was the original botanical name of the medicinal plant from which it was prepared and that in Sanskrit “Putra Jeevan” represents birth of child, both male and female. This strengthens the argument that Sanskrit must be taught from primary stage, as it crops up daily in our life and not knowing meaning of simple words will be fodder to the Media and NGOs funded by Missionaries. At least 20-25 years from now, this kind of Gandhi vadis will not have ability to make mountains out of mole hills.

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I had to dwell upon a subject deviating from the main topic only to show that Sanskrit was never a purely “Brahminical” language as is being wrongfully projected by vested interests. Nor is it now, all the more so with the whole concept of Varnashrama Dharma changing with 99% of us being Shudras or workers and it is essential to teach Sanskrit from early ages so that our culture is known to the world. It is a rich culture, not less to any other.

Origin & Aspects of Sanskrit

The Sanskrit verbal adjective sáṃskṛta- may be translated as “highly elaborated”, “cultured”, or literally, “refined”. [2] It is not just a language of rituals and agraharas, but a language of poetry, romance, and royalty. Though western scholars posit it as evolving from a Proto-Indo-European, no doubt to link the language to them, our traditional scholars hold it as the Devabhasha, language of the Gods. Indeed, it is one of the 22 official languages of India and is the second official language of the state of Uttarakhand.

Sanskrit literature maintains an outstanding tradition in fields running from poety and drama to dharma and politics. The sciences were taught in Sanskrit, and numerous texts such as the bija ganita of Bhaskara herald a storied tradition in mathematics. While Sanskrit is the ceremonial language in Hindu rituals and Buddhist practice [3], it is also a spoken one in a number of villages to this day. [4]

Prior to Panini, we had Vedic Sanskrit. Western scholars date  the language of the Rigveda dating back to as early as the early second millennium BCE, but our Traditional scholars hold it to be far more ancient. Sanskrit, the classical form was used from the Ashtadhyayi onward, and the elaborated language was used in religious practices by Brahma Jnanis. The natural, ordinary language ‘Prakryta’ was used by common folk.

Classical Sanskrit versus the Common Language

It is known across globe that languages undergo imminent change as the society evolves into modern ages, each as per the changes brought about. Thus, English too underwent change with advent of internet with words “google” finding their way into lexicons and short messaging changing the very format of language. So too, Sanskrit and many Indian languages changed in form and format.

Vedic Sanskrit is distinct from Classical Sanskrit. Indeed, we see a marked change between the language of the Chatur Veda and the great Epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. This transformation is attributed to the influence of the Prakrits (or common speech). Pandits refer to such developments as “rsis”. Incidentally, this is the traditional title of our ancient authorities and great scholars. [4]

According to the  2001 census of India, 14,135 people reported Sanskrit as their native language.  In fact, there are several villages, where Sanskrit is the spoken language. We can see the all  India nature of this as well, whether North, South, East, or West [5]:

Mattur, Shimoga district, Karnataka| Jhiri, Rajgarh district, Madhya Pradesh| Ganoda, Banswara district, Rajasthan| Shyamsundarpur, Kendujhar district, Odisha

Please note these are all backward areas as per Indian standards. As I said earlier, if there is flair and we feel it fair, nothing comes in the way of learning a language and communicating in it, Indian or alien. More than 3000 Sanskrit works were published since independence, the language being no less authoritative than the Vedic Language but with needed changes as per changing ages.

What’s more, it is highly relevant in the world of music as well. Sanskrit, as the language of the Natya Sastra, is the origin and treasury of words in the Carnatic and Hindustani branches of classical music.  More interestingly, China has recorded the first musician to record a pop song in Sanskrit (Sa Ding Ding). While our misguided mediawallahs call Sanskrit “boring”, the modern obsessed Chinese have given a pop song in the language. [6]

Over 90 news publications are published in Sanskrit. Sudharma, a daily newspaper in Sanskrit, has been published out of Mysore, India, since the year 1970. [7] Doordarshan has revamped its Sanskrit News programming. [8]

When the very national mottos of India and Nepal are in this most perfect of langauges…

Republic of India: Satyameva Jayate meaning: Truth alone triumphs.
Nepal: Janani Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi meaning: Mother and motherland are superior to heaven.

…how then is this matter even up for debate? But leave aside the Indian Subcontinent, what of the legions of yoga practitioners in the west who study it to learn the asanas and mantras?

Foreigners want what our Foreign Obsessed Fools Reject

sanskritstjames

Many of you may have heard about how Sanskrit was taught in Europe in many Universities. In fact, Sanskrit is being taught today not just in the UK, but in Germany as well (ironic given the recent controversy).

While our silly people rant about how German and other European languages might get them jobs so they can migrate (how does this benefit the country?), Europeans are teaching their students our Devabhasha.

Sanskrit fever grips Germany: 14 universities teaching India’s ancient language struggle to meet demand as students clamour for courses.

According to a Daily Mail article, German students are clamoring for studying Sanskrit. Inter alia the report states:

Will Germans be the eventual custodians of Sanskrit, its rich heritage and culture? If the demand for Sanskrit and Indology courses in Germany is any indication, that’s what the future looks like.

Unable to cope with the flood of applications from around the world, the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, had to start a summer school in spoken Sanskrit in Switzerland, Italy and – believe it or not – India too.

Do we as Indians not have any shame? Are we so lost and adrift and culture-less as a people that we need, indeed, look to others to learn, preserve, and even teach us our own heritage? The fools among us will say “yessir, this is great, we will be progressive, not regressive“. Rather than encouraged, they should be laughed at. Such shameless fellows would happily sell their mothers as well, so what then is Mother Sanskrit to them?

Sanskrit Primer

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To Be Continued

Next Part: I will discuss the importance of sanskrit not only to our ancient culture, but how it influenced and helps preserve our regional languages also, like Andhra bhasha: Telugu

References:

  1. http://www.greenmesg.org/mantras_slokas/vedas-purusha_suktam.php
  2. Williams, Monier (2004). A Sanskrit-English dictionary : etymologically and philologically arranged with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages. New Delhi: Bharatiya Granth Niketan. p. 1120. 
  3. Oberlies, Thomas (2003). A grammar of epic Sanskrit. Berlin New York:
    Edgerton, Franklin (2004). Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit grammar and dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.http://www.theindiapost.com/features/featured/orissa%E2%80%99s-sasana-village-%E2%80%93home-to-sanskrit-pundits/
  4. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=80241&fileId=S001041750100353X
  5. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/This-village-speaks-gods-language/articleshow/1199965.cms
  6. BBC. “BBC – Awards for World Music 2
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanskrit#cite_note-Mint2012-33
  8. “News on Air”. News On Air. 15 August 2012. etc.