Veda and dice?

The general impression is that Veda hymns, teeming with praise for the divine, contain power within them to invoke any God they may so will. May as well be. Once in every while, though, one stumbles upon something different. For example, a poemthe that contains the shreds of oscillating conscience shorn off an addict in a rehab.

Oh, don’t jump out of your chairs – yet. I do not claim that they had rehabilitation centers matching the ones existing today. However, once you let go of initial disbelief, you will see the glimpses of all: the awareness of a gambler that the morbid attraction to gambling is a fruit of his hunger to get high on the sight of rolling dice, his knowledge that he has abandoned his unblemished  wife (no blame game here), his awareness of all the ensuing evils – strangers fondling his wife, social ostracization, his guilt, envy, and finally, his utterly hopeless submission to the dices, taking a vow that he (the gambler) will never covet wealth. That is a signature consciousness of a decision that he commits to the vice knowingly, in full awareness of consequences.

You see no hand of the unconscious, though Psychological insight, clear as daylight is written all over it.

In the end, the gambler also resolves that he will give up gambling, and take up farming – from consciousness to consciousness, just the hemisphere changes.

And changes how. Another story suggests that the seer of this sukta was himself this addict he talks about (explains the clear narration of a gambler’s perspective). He was ‘taken away’ – incarcerated? You can taste his pain of rejection when you read his words – it is his own people who are asking that the gambler be taken away. If he stops gambling, his friends go away. See the oscillation and ‘stuckness’??

However, it is this person who was accepted as a Rishi, and he also became a Purohita of a king. Now piece the jig-saw. The missing pieces are not really missing. One may infer (debatably?) that a fallen person got accepted and promoted to the apex of a social pyramid.

Psychotherapy and psychology may not include poetry. But poetry is potent enough to remain a moving poetry while containing guilt, anguish, insight, reflection, observation, and knowledge of the truth. Cut and dry it as psychology, psychotherapy or more, as you like it – or, as you can chew it.

See the Mandala 10, Sukta 34 of Rigveda. It contains 14 verses. This Sukta or a poem, also known as the “gambler’s lament”, is by Kavaṣa Ailūṣa.

The brief translation of the verses is as follows:

The wobbling [dice] born on tall trees in windy places, rolling on the dice-board, give intoxicating pleasure to my heart. The dice from the Vibhīdaka tree, the one that keeps [gamblers] awake, delights me, like the drink of soma from the Mujavat mountain. (1)

She [my wife] neither got angry nor felt ashamed of me [on the contrary], she was cordial towards my friends and towards me. For the sake of addiction to dice, I have abandoned my devoted wife! (2)

The mother-in-law hates [the gambler], the wife keeps him away, and the destitute does not find a comforting friend. I do not find any happiness for a gambler, like the value of an old and worn-out horse. (3)

Others fondle the wife of the one whose wealth the powerful dice has coveted. The father, mother, and brothers say of him, “We don’t know him, bind him and take him away!” (4)

When I resolve that I will not play with these (dice), then I am abandoned by my departing friends. And the tawny (dice) that are thrown down (on the board) make a rattling sound, I go towards the place where they are thrown, like a paramour (drawn to the meeting place with her lover). (5)

His body glowing, the gambler enquiring (about the gambling den), goes to it, thinking “I will win”. On the casting of the moves by his adversary, the dice stoke his desire. (6)

Dice are indeed goads that torment and destroy, and cause remorse and agony. For the winning gambler, they are like sons who keep sucking wealth (from a wealthy father), and for the loser, they, covered with honey destroy him again. (i.e. his wealth and his reputation). (7)

Their group of fifty-three cavort (on the board), like the god Savitṛ, true to his word. They do not bow down even to the anger of the infuriated, even the king bows down to them! (8)

They roll downwards and spring upwards, without hands they overpower the one with hands! Though being cold to touch, cast on the board, they are glowing charcoals that burn the heart! (9)

The abandoned wife of the aimlessly wandering gambler is tormented and so is the mother. Indebted and fearful, desiring wealth (by any means), he approaches the homes of others by night (to steal). (10)

The gambler burns with envy on seeing a woman, another’s wife and his well-established dwelling. He yokes the tawny horses in the morning and the sinner sinks down (exhausted) when the fire dies out. (11)

(O dice)! Whoever is the commander-in-chief of your hordes, the king, the foremost of your tribe, I bow to him with ten fingers (i.e. joined palms) facing east, and I will not covet wealth – this I say truthfully. (12)

O gambler! Do not play with dice, engage in farming, enjoy the wealth gained thereby, considering it to be sufficient! There (in farming) are the cattle, there is your wife (i.e. you will find happiness in them), that is what the Lord Savitṛ has told me. (12)

(O dice!) Make us your friend, soothe us, do not deal with us using unbearable ferocity! May your fury rest in our enemy and may another (i.e our enemy) fall into the grip of the tawny (dice). (14)

Translation: Vedavedanga

Image source: https://ipnagogicosentire.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/bridge-reflection-venice-1955.jpg?w=736

 

Do you smell a flower? Or …

What happens when you smell a flower? 

You say it smells sweet (or something like that), right?

When you put a drop of honey in your mouth, you say that honey is sweet, right?

 

What if it was not right?

Today I was browsing Kaushitaki Brahmana (कौषीतकि ब्राह्मण) and came across some text – interesting piece even if slightly turned around in meaning.
3-8:
न वाचं विजिज्ञासीत वक्तारं विद्यात् न गन्धं विजिज्ञासीत घ्रातारं विद्यान्न रूपं विजिज्ञासीत दृष्टारं विद्यात् ….न कर्मं विजिज्ञासीत कर्तारं विद्यात् न सुखदुखे विजिज्ञासीत सुखदुखयोर्विज्ञातारं विद्यात् … न मनो विजिज्ञासीत मन्तारं विद्यात् …।
For the uninitiated: we all know there are four Vedas, right? Right. Each of the Vedas have four – let’s say, subsystems, or modules. Samhita, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads.
The Sanskrit text above translates thus:
Let’s not try to find out what speech is, let’s know the speaker. Let’s not try to find out what smell is, let’s know the one who smells. Let’s not try to find out what form is, let’s know the seer… Let’s not try to find out what action is, let’s know the doer. Let’s not try to find out what pleasure and pain are, let’s know the one who knows pleasure and pain… Let’s not try to find out what mind is, let’s know the one who possesses the mind.
Yet, the way our senses and our understanding of sensory signals work, we do precisely the opposite. We smell the smell (perfume) of the flower and we claim to have smelled the flower. We taste the sweetness of honey and we say we tasted honey. We experience (some/few/one or two) qualities of a person and we say we know a person. We have experienced a bit of life and we say we have known the life. How accurate is that?
Sometimes (much more than ‘some’ times) we fall prey to stereotypes and generalizations. we seek the sweet middling tendencies, universally applicable ‘truths’ and deny the other person any deviation from that ‘normality’. Although the passage above is about knowing the Brahman, I read it in a more worldly fashion. Think about the empathy and sensitivity to the uniqueness in the other it implies.
We think that ‘scientific’ approach is superior, but that is also miserable. In the name of science and ‘systematic’ approach to creating knowledge, we get tempted to take abstractions at such higher levels that they no longer apply to the chunk of reality we have in our hands. There is nothing wrong with grand theories, but in the name of grand theories, we misplace the actual point of interaction between ourselves and what we experience. And all the while, we think that we have a universal, objective truth. We think that ‘the reality’ is objective, and one for all. We establish standards and ‘cut-off’ s of ‘normality’ and brand the deviations.
It might be fine at times, and necessary at some others. But a habit of making a conclusion at a level higher than where the experience occurs is a gross error. While we do smell the smell, we do not smell the flower. Saying that we smell a flower is a gross denial of all the parts of a flower that either do not smell or have a smell that human nose cannot register. Think of what it means when applied to our interpersonal ties with others.
Does this paragraph not knock on the doors of dynamics of leadership and interpersonal relations?? What do you say?
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Four things a king cannot BE without: a la Shukraniti

In my phase of re-grouping the verses of Shukraniti, a relatively small section is on what a king should avoid. This section is further split in three: (a) what a king should not BE, (2) What a king should not DO, and (c) the ‘classical’ vices that he should stay away from.

It felt similar to putting a jig-saw puzzle together. The (a) section is here in this note:

WHAT A KING SHOULD NOT BE

(i) Without integrity: A king should not be an untruthful, deceitful, misrepresenting hypocrite who has something on his mind and in action while he says something else. Nor should he enjoy the company of deceitful people. He should not preach to others what he doesn’t do himself.

(ii) Without collaborative policy: He cannot be autocratic, unschooled to ethical policy making and closed to opinions other than his.

(iii) Without tolerance: He should not contaminate his task of control and discipline with anger. At the same time, he should not be merciless, unforgiving, violent conflict-lover who is harsh in punishing and takes everything people have. Especially he should not oppress the poor.

(iv) Without ‘class’: He should not be drawn to base things and people and overly indulging with performers of all sorts, while hating the intellectuals.

(1- 32,33,34, 94, 119, 128,129,130, 140, 160, 337, 2-4)

Layout of a king’s assembly: Shukraniti

Layout2: King's assembly as per Shukraniti

How the king should sit for discussing the matters of governance Shukraniti (1:353-360)

Layout is important not just for production and operations. The dynamics of communication and interpersonal behavior are also impacted by the sitting arrangements. Wedding receptions are a good example of social dynamics as created by sitting orders. At work, subtle signals such as th shape of the table around which people sit are given high importance by the scholars of organization culture, climate and group dynamics.

Hence, it could be interesting to see how the layout of the royal assembly was prescribed by Shukracharya, the author of post-classical Sanskrit text on governance.

The verses 353-360 of the first chapter titled “Raja Krtyadhikara” seem to suggest as under (figure-1):

Shukraniti Rajasabha

The throne, as prescribed in the Shastras should be in the center of the Western half of the assembly. To the left and right sides of the king behind him, should sit those who are in the inner coterie (1-353). King’s sons, grandsons, brothers, and sons of sisters and daughters should sit by the king’s right behind him (1-354). To the king’s left behind him should sit respectively, starting with the father’s brothers, the most prominent people of the king’s clan, assembly members and the generals (1-355). To the assembly’s east, in front of the king to his right, separately sitting should be the prominent men from the clan of his maternal grandfather, ministers, king’s relatives, fathers in law and wife’s brothers respectively. To the king’s left should be his officers (1-356). On the king’s left his son-in-law should sit, and to his right would sit his sister’s husband. King’s friend should be sitting on the same seat as the king next to him or on a seat similar to his (1-357). Adopted sons may sit with sons of daughters and sisters. Sons of sisters and daughters may take the seats of sons (1-358). Father and Acharya (Guru) would have the same or higher seat than the king either by his side or in front of him. All writers would sit behind the ministers (1-359). Servants and assistants would remain behind everyone. At the doors of entry, two doormen would stand with staffs of gold. They would convey information about entry and Vandan (when coarsely translated, it means a form of greetings) being conveyed by visitors (1-360).

However, another rendition is also possible, since the description i not made from drawing point of view and it does not specify whether people from all these categories sit in concentric fashion:

Layout2: King's assembly as per Shukraniti

Layout2: King’s assembly as per Shukraniti

 

I share some quick observations based on these guidelines:

  • Barring the Acharya, who would definitely not be a family member, it is a family dominated assembly. Ministers, writers, officers – these could also be family appointments. Of course, the servants, assistants and door-keepers are non-family.
  • It is known that marriages were political in olden times. Hence these ‘relatives’ are associates and co-stakeholders as well.
    • Question: This might seem like the board meeting of a large family business. If the relatives mentioned here are attending the assembly, then the king in question also would be attending their assemblies. How would they have arranged for the amount of coordination and quick information-sharing required simply for scheduling a well-attended assembly?
  • Question: Why are the members of assembly and generals sitting behind the king?
  • Officers have a whole side to themselves and they are in front of the king. I guess that primarily the flow of communication would be between the ‘family’ and the officers and ministers. This could suggest reporting as a major purpose of the assembly, or review or something like that. Strategic decision-making could be taking place separately.
  • Question: no women? By now, they seem to have been already eliminated from the power dynamics of the society. The maternal clan of the king, his wife’s brothers and fathers in law and other non-close relatives are separated from the ones who sit in the ‘inner coterie’ of the king. They are with the ministers and officers.
    • Question: Is it not possible that these ‘in-laws’ are also the tribute-paying and conquered kings whose daughters the king has married?
  • It is possible that the king has different sessions with the ‘inner coterie’ and since they have reached consensus there, they sit as one group and discuss matters – perhaps more operational in nature – with other people.
  • The king’s throne is located at the center of the West side of the assembly hall. I guess the only reason is that it is traditionally believed to be desirable to build structures that are east-facing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regarding the Hundred Pearls from Bhartrihari… नीतिशतकम् (2)

Once again, Bhartrihari maintains his staunch dislike for the stupid, presumably the ones who do nothing about it.

There is a special ring to the meaning of ‘stupid’ – मूर्ख. Popularly, a stupid person is dim, slow and thick because the person is ‘like that’, so nothing can be done about them and their dimness/thickness/slowness.

Often in the Sanskrit literature, the term stupidity – thickness or obtuseness of intellect – is described as ‘जाड्यांधकार’ (=darkness caused by/in the form of obtuseness or thickness of intellect), which prevents the light of knowledge from piercing it.

But it is possible to move from darkness to light, albeit slowly and excruciatingly. One can and must strive for it. This makes a person fairly responsible for one’s obtuseness. Those who do nothing are derided for their inertia, and not quite so much for the obtuseness per se.

कालिदास  is an example. Legend has it that he was uneducated and dull-witted. There was an erudite princess who refused many proposals for marriage because she wanted a groom who at least equalled her if not bettered, in intellect and capabilities. Someone who wanted to take a revenge for her refusal, prepared Kaalidas as a मौन scholar and somehow got the princess to be married to him. When she found out the truth, she kicked कालिदास out. Insulted, rejected and hurt, Kaalidas went away to study and returned gems of Sanskrit literature (Kumaara Sambhavam, Meghadootam, Raghuvansham). He turned himself from a मूर्ख to a writer of timeless glory.

Therefore, सरस्वती, the goddess of knowledge, is glorified as the one ‘who removes obtuseness tracelessly (नि:शेष जाड्यापहा)’. one of the most cherished desire expressed to god is ‘तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय’ (May we shift from darkness to light). Obviously, the reference is not to the physical light and darkness, but the metaphorical ones.

In the same tradition, Bhartrihari is in no mood of sparing people stuck in the state of जाड्य. In the following मुक्तक he suggests that there is no external cure for a stupid: ‘there is a proven cure for all afflictions, but no remedy against a fool. Read it again, and consider: does he mean that there is no EXTERNAL cure? Does it mean that only a fool can bring himself out of foolishness? If so, it must mean that foolishness is a curable state, but only the sufferer has to step out of it:

 

शक्यो वारयितुं जलेन हुतभुक् छत्रेण सुर्यातपो

नागेन्द्रो निशिताङ्कनेन समदो दण्डेन गोगर्दभौ ।

व्यादिभेषजसंग्रहैश्च विविधैर्मन्त्रप्रयोगैर्विषम्

सर्वस्यौषधमस्ति शस्त्रविहितं मूर्खस्य नास्त्यौषधम् ॥ ११ ॥

 

शक्यो वारयितुं = (it is) possible to control/stop/thwart     हुतभुक् जलेन = fire by water      छत्रेण सुर्यातपो = harsh sun rays by a shade     नागेन्द्रो निशिताङ्कनेन समदो = mad elephant by sharp goad      दण्डेन गोगर्दभौ = ox and donkey with a rod     व्यादिभेषजसंग्रहैश्च = ailment with a collection of medicines    विविधैर्मन्त्रप्रयोगैर्विषम् = venom with use of mantra     सर्वस्यौषधमस्ति शास्त्रविहितं = (there is) a शस्त्र-मेन्तिओनेद् (= systematically derived, proven, appropriate?) cure for all     मूर्खस्य नास्त्यौषधम् = (but) there is no cure against a मूर्ख

Who are these stupid people? Some clues are here. Though Bhartrihari does not use the word “stupid” or refer to obtuseness, thickness, lack of refined, polished, sharp intellect; we can see what a serious lack of some true-blue elements in life can do.

साहित्यसङ्गीतकलाविहीन: साक्षात्पशु: पुच्छ्विषाणहीन:।

तृणं न खादन्नपि जीवमानस्तद्भागदेयं परमं पशुनाम् ॥ १२ ॥

साहित्यसङ्गीतकलाविहीन: = the ones unaware of / untouched by literature, music, (some/any form of) art     साक्षात्पशु: पुच्छ्विषाणहीन: = (are) animals without tails and horns     तृणं न खादन्नपि जीवमान = they live on even without eating a blade of grass     तद्भागदेयं परमं पशुनाम् = that is the ultimate destiny of those beasts

Have you noted that he, who has once been a prince and a king, does not mention money or power?

He says that being untouched by literature, art and music is to be a beast.

[Note to myself: Blow the dust off from my music notes, join some art class 😦 ]

While we are still hankering about keeping beast-dom at bay, read a bit more about the animals:

 

 येषां न विद्या न तपो न दानं ज्ञानं न शीलं न गुणो न धर्म: ।

ते मर्त्यलोके भुवि भारभूता मनुष्यरूपेण मृगाश्चरन्ति ॥ १३ ॥

येषां = in whom     न विद्या न तपो न दानं ज्ञानं न शीलं न गुणो न धर्म: = (there is) no ‘correct knowledge’ or clarity, no persistent pursuit (of a goal), knowledge, character, good qualities or sense of duty     ते मर्त्यलोके भुवि भारभूता = they are a burden on this earth     मनुष्यरूपेण मृगाश्चरन्ति = animals wandering in the human form

… so, not all is lost. Excellence in art and literature is a fine achievement to have, but there are ways to prevent one’s self from leading the life of animals that don’t eat grass, and add to the burden on this earth – seek additional knowledge. Gain more clarity, relinquish what you like for a while in pursuit of something higher, develop some good qualities, perform duties towards someone or something – including self! Make life meaningful and stay away from the obtuseness. Because a lot of people would prefer a fate much more uncomfortable physically, over a luxurious time out with a fool:

वरं पर्वतदुर्गेषु भ्रान्तं वनचरै: सह ।

न मूर्खजनसम्पर्क: सुरेन्द्रभवनेष्वपि ॥ १४ ॥

वरं = preferable     पर्वतदुर्गेषु भ्रान्तं = to lose way / wander on a mountain fortress     वनचरै: सह = with wild animals     न मूर्खजनसम्पर्क: = but not contact with a मूर्ख     सुरेन्द्रभवनेष्वपि = even in the home of the king of gods, ईन्द्र himself

I now understand the contempt and exasperation with which people utter the phrase ‘insufferable fool!’ ..

But being stupid, obtuse and foolish is a degree. Bhartrihari does not acknowledge a cut-off to cross or a green-zone to enter where you can seek refuge forever.

यदा किञ्चिज्ज्ञोऽह्ं द्विप इव मदान्ध: समभवम्

तदा सर्वज्ञोऽस्मीत्यभवदलिप्तं मम मन।

यदा किंञ्चित्किंञ्चिद् बुधजनसकशादवगतम्

तदा मूर्खोऽस्मीति ज्वर इव मदो मे व्यपगत॥ ८॥

यदा = when     किञ्चिज्ज्ञोऽह्ं  = I knew a little      द्विप इव मदान्ध: समभवम् = became blind with pride just like an elephant    तदा = then     सर्वज्ञोऽस्मीत्यभवदलिप्तं = became overcome with (a notion) that I know everything     मम मन = in my mind     किंञ्चित्किंञ्चिद् = little by little     बुधजनसकशादवगतम् = when I became associated with learned/enlightened people      तदा = then     मूर्खोऽस्मीति = that I am a fool     ज्वर इव = like a fever     मदो मे व्यपगत = my pride disappeared

He says that when I was knowing little bit, I was filled with pride just like a wild elephant. Little by little, in the company of the discerning, wise people, I came to know what a fool I had been – and with that my pride disappeared like a fever.

So who is enlightened, who is in the zone of light and who is still fighting the demons in the light is all relative. Someone who has more thickness to deal with does not become laughable, but this thickness or obtuseness should be removed – not ‘once and for all’, but in a life-long journey of seeking.

Amen!

Regarding the hundred pearls from Bhartrihari: नीतिशतक (1)

(Disclaimer: I am a beginner and lack depth in Classical Sanskrit literature. I tread that zone on the clutches of translation and often ride piggyback on my teachers’ knowledge. What I share here is more for opening up of discussion and perhaps reflection. So I call it an “avalokan”, a closer look – of Bhartrihari’s collection of 100 verses, called Neeti Shatakam. Not much is available on the net, and I think it could be interesting to explore it)

Yesterday I reviewed the hundred shlokas of the ’मुक्तक’ form in the नीतिशतक of भर्तॄहरि. My book says that a मुक्तक is a पद – a set of two to four lines, each containing its own autonomous topic and message. Thus, in a standard poem – say, a गीत, meaning evolves through the parts such as स्थायी, अन्तरा and so on. मुक्तक काव्य is a collage made in poetry.

नीतिशतकम् of भर्तॄहरि can be sorted into a few themes. Noticeable is the point that he begins with description of how he finds the fools absolutely insufferable (first three shlokas after prayer and cursing of the cupid). Then he writes about the सज्जन/महात्मा/… in short the people who should be emulated. Then he also derides or criticises दुर्जन / toxic people, their behavior and qualities with an obvious ring that they should not be emulated. Of course, he also writes some more मुक्तक on some general themes.

Bhartihari was a king, an elder brother of the famous king Vikramaditya. Strangely, he abdicated throne and became a sanyasi. There are rumors that it was because his wife, whom he deeply loved, was in love with someone else.

[Incidentally, his second श्लोक (after the first one of namaskaar to God) is, यां चिन्तयामि सतत सा मया विरक्ता  / साSप्यन्यमिच्छति जनं सजनोSअन्यासक्त: । अस्मत्कृते परितुष्यतिाचिदन्या / धिक्तां च तं चदनं च  इमां च मां च ॥ २  ॥ Meaning is – The one whom I ceaselessly contemplate is not into me any more. She desires another man who is enchanted by yet another. There is some woman who wants me. To hell with my beloved, this bloke, the cupid, this woman and me. Of course, that proves nothing autobiographical.] I am not going to discuss the second verse despite this sobering realization that even a king with all the wealth and power at his disposal is lamenting the matters of love.

Moving on to the third one:

अज्ञ: सुखमाराध्य:  सुखतरमाराध्यते विशेषज्ञ:

    ज्ञानलवदुर्विदग्धं ब्रह्मापि तं नरं न रञ्जयति ॥३॥

अज्ञ:= someone who is a blank on a subject     सुखमारध्य: = is easy to please (persuade?)  खतरमाराध्यते = (सुखतरम्+आराध्यते) more easily pleased/persuaded      विशेषज्ञ: = an expert  ज्ञानलवदुर्विदग्धं = (ज्ञान+लव+दु:+विदग्धम्) badly (not half-)baked with a bit of knowledge     ब्रह्माSपि = even Brahma, the creator     तं = him     नरं = man     न रञ्जयति = cannot please/persuade

It is easy to persuade someone who knows nothing about the subject. An expert is easier to persuade. But (God forbid!) if you ever have to persuade someone who has just a bit of badly baked knowledge in all the wrong places – उसे आप तो क्या, ब्रह्मा भी खुश नहीं कर सकते!

Current leadership and change management literature puts a lot of stress on “getting the right people on  the bus” —

कहीं ये वो तो नहीं?

If you were a manager and if you have the दुर्विदग्ध people on your block, would you not need to get rid of them?

Easier said than done if you are an employer – What would you do if you were a trainer? Parent? Spouse?? What if the thick-headed also possessed something on which you critically depended? What if you were bound with such a partner with contractual obligation??

भर्तॄहरि presents several verses concerning the मूर्ख and the thick-headed ones. Why would a king and a high-achieving ascetic place description of fools at the head of his शतक? Hmm, what is your take?

 

प्रसह्यमणिमुद्धरेन्मकरवक्रदंष्ट्रांकुरात् समुद्रमपसंतरेत्प्रचलदुर्मिमालाकुलम् ।

भुजंगमपि कोपितम् शिरसि पुष्पवद्धारयेन्न तु प्रतिनिविष्टमूर्खजनचित्तमाअराधयेत् ॥ ४ ॥

(One can forcibly retrieve a jewel from the teeth of a crocodile, one can swim across the ocean (with nothing but bare hands as a help) on the series upon series of its agitated waves, one can even wear an angry snake on the head as if it were a laurel of flowers – but (please, sorry – ) one just can’t persuade/please the mind a stubborn fool.)

प्रसह्य = forcibly     मणिमुद्धरेन्मकरवक्रदंष्ट्रांकुरात् = मणिम्+उद्धरेत्+मकर+वक्र+दंष्ट्र+अंकुरात् = can retrieve a jewel stuck in the saw-like teeth of a crocodile      समुद्रमपसंतरेत्प्रचलदुर्मिमालाकुलम् = समुद्रम्+अपसंतरेत्+प्रचलत्+उर्मिमालाम्+आकुलम् = can swim across the ocean by swimming atop the lines upon lines of the agitated waves     भुजंगमपि = eve a snake     कोपितम् = angry     शिरसि = on the head पुष्पवद्धारयेत् = पुष्पवत्+धारयेत् = can wear as if a laurel of flowers     न तु = but not     प्रतिनिविष्ट = a committed, stubborn     मूर्खजनचित्तम् = मूर्ख+जन+चित्तम् = mentality of a fool     आराधयेत् = can be persuaded/pleased

लभेत सिक्तासु तैलमपियत्नत: पीडयन् पिबेच्च मृगतृष्णिकासु सलिलं पिपासार्दित

कदाचिदपि पर्यटन् शशविषाणमासादयेन्न तु प्रतिनिविष्टमूर्खजनचित्तमाअराधयेत् ॥ ५ ॥

(If you grind the sands hard enough, you may get oil out of it. If you are thirsty enough, you may be able to drink from the mirage itself. If you wander, perhaps you may be able to find the horn of a rabbit. But one just can’t persuade/please the mind a stubborn fool.)

लभेत = can find     सिक्तासु = from the sands     तैलमपियत्नत: = oil, by efforts     पीडयन् = grinding   पिबेच्च = and can drink     मृगतृष्णिकासु = from the mirage     सलिलं = water     पिपासार्दित = thirsty enough    कदाचिदपि = perhaps     पर्यटन् = wandering/traveling     शशविषाणमासादयेत्  = can find a horn of a rabbit     -न्न तु प्रतिनिविष्टमूर्खजनचित्तमाअराधयेत् = same meaning as the last line in the previous one

So I am wondering why zero tolerance for ‘fools’? The shlokas 4 and 5 throw some more light. Note that Bhartrihari uses the phrase “Pratinivishta moorkha:”, which means a person who is foolish by commitment and stubbornness. That means that ignorance and lack of ability cannot be removed from such a person because they are highly unlikely to learning.

These people, especially when in key positions surrounding a king (a CEO or any top manager) would block flexibility, adaptability and change.

Hmm, I can see why King B can’t stand them.

What do you think?

No fixation on language, just fascination with what it holds

Mahabharata says something very interesting:

युगान्तेऽन्तर्हितान् वेदान् सेतिहासान् महर्षयः।
लेभिरे तपसा पूर्वमनुज्ञाताः स्वयंभुवा।।

युगान्ते=at the end of epoch/era, अन्तर्हितान्=disappearing वेदान्=Vedas (2nd Vibh.) स+इतिहासान्=along with history, महर्षय:=sages, लेभिरे=gained, तपसा=with Tapas, पूर्वम्=as before, अनुज्ञाता:=known, सयंभुवा=spontaneous

[On the merit of their prior Tapas, the sages spontaneously gain back the Vedas*, which disappear at the end of each epoch. When regained, they are intact as they were known before, complete with the history.”]

These wise words assure that the precious knowledge harvested by generations will be lost at the end of every major era. But, knowledge is never truly lost. Those who have been engaged in seeking it will gain it back along with its history as before.

What Mahabharata does not say is *where* will the knowledge reappear.

Will it appear back in the same land as it is lost from? Perhaps not.

So, let the languages as the conduits and repositories of knowledge, flow. Let others learn ours and let learn others’. Let’s not bicker over compulsory-this and compulsory-that. Let us expose our children to more and let the choose what they truly love. Let them grow along with the repositories of what is beautiful, profound and valuable.

Are we ready?

* A number of scholars of etymology have related the word “veda” to the root “विद्” that in turn has been known to mean ज्ञान/Gyan/Knowledge, लाभ/Labh/Gain and सत्ता/Satta/Authoritative system