Dedicated to learning Sanskrit, the cardinal aim of this blog is to give the reader direct access to ancient Scriptures, Śāstras, Literature, Philosophy and so on. The approach is primarily grammatical, but opinion pieces will inevitably feature. I approach the Scriptures with respect, but from a historical, social and mythical point of view. If you are looking for swooning devotion, this is not the blog for you.
Monday, 22 October 2012
Durga Saptaśati Dhyānam: Verse to comtemplate during Navratri
You'll see various translations of this verse. As ever, I quote Patrick Olivelle: every act of translation is an interpretation - so I will not comment on why 'bow to' or 'resort to' feature in some versions of this dhyāna verse. Here is the literal translation, with a note on some grey areas. I've broken it up a bit so you can see what the words are.
I serve/honour Mahākāli who Brahma praised/lauded, when Hari was asleep, for the killing of Madhu and Kaiṭabha
कमलजः is another name for Brahma - 'born of a lotus'
हरि of course is Viṣṇu and स्वपिते+हरौ is a sati saptami, a locative absolute meaning 'when'. स्वपिते comes from √svap - to sleep
अस्तौत् - 3rd person, sing., past from √stu - to praise, extol
The rest are compounds/adjectives in the 2nd vibhakti/accusative case describing Devi and her attributes. All in the accusative, because I am doing something to her - praising/serving देवी को.
त्रिनयनाम् - three eyed one को
सर्वाङ्ग+भूष+आवृतम् - all (her) limbs adorned (with) ornaments (को) आस्य+पाद+दशकां - (she) who has ten faces and ten feet (को)
नीलाश्म+द्युतिमा - of the one who shines/is luminous like a sapphire (blue stone) Since this is a fragment of a larger compound, I've left it in nominative, but were it on it's own, it too would be in the accusative
संधतीं+करैः holding 'by' her hands (this is in the plural not the dual, so maybe that is where the idea of 'more than two' hands come from. संधतीं present participle, fem.)
परिघान् - iron clubs (acc. plural) खड्गं - sword
चक्र - disc
इषु - arrow
चाप - bow
शूलं - spear
भुशुण्डीं - a sort of weapon
शिरः - head/skull
शङ्खं - conch
(Note: when not part of a compound, even the weapons are in accusative, because she is doing something to them - she is holding them - करैः instrumental plural, हाथों से)