Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Bhagvad Gita 1:1

In translating our verse for the day, we achieve three objectives. We are reading from original ancient scriptures, translating for ourselves without the interpretive filter of a translator, and last but not least, we are learning Sanskrit grammar. As we saw in the Maha Mrityunjaya verse  yesterday, grammar does matter very much. From today we will add another critical dimension. Listening. I am providing an audio link for the verses we will translate over the next few weeks. You could listen to them silently, or better still chant along! Very soon you'll find that listen/read/understand/remember is leaving grooves in your mind and that the much misunderstood Sanskrit grammar [it's sooo easy really:-)] is automatically becoming second nature.

The audio is only ten minutes long, so if you can spare the time, listen to all of it everyday, and read off the script you will find here: 


If you can't spare the time, simply listen to 1:1 today, 1:1 and 1:2 tomorrow etc. You'll find the audio link here:

Today we revisit BG 1:1, so you can get used to the format. 

धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः 
मामकाः पाण्डवश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय

Assembled on the field of dharma, at Kurukṣetra, desirous of battle, what did my (sons) and the sons of Pāṇḍu do? 

धर्मक्षेत्रे - in/on the field of dharma (neuter., locative case, sing.) 

कुरुक्षेत्रे - in/on the field of the Kurukṣetra 
Two locatives together are called a sati saptami or a locative absolute. It gives an indication of 'when'. Hence this verse if often translated 'When in the field of ....'
समवेता - assembled, come together (masc, nom., plural past participle of sam+ava+ i). The actual word is समवेता: but the visarga is lost by the rules of sandhi before the  of युयुत्सवः

युयुत्सवः - desiring to do battle (masc., nom., plural, adjective; desiderative of yudh)
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव = पाण्डवाः च एव

मामकाः my, mine (masc., nom., plural) 
पाण्डवाः lit. Pandus - sons of Pandu (masc., nominative, plural)
and (avyaya)
एव indeed, only (avyaya) here used as a rhythmic filler
Note that मामकाः does not lose it's visarga before the 'p' of पाण्डवाः by sandhi rules.
किमकुर्वत संजय = किम् अकुर्वत संजय

किम् - what (interrogative, neuter)
अकुर्वत - (they) did (3rd, plural, past ĀP of kṛ)
संजय - O Sanjaya (vocative, masc., singular)

For a historical perspective of this verse, (if you haven't already seen it) please see: 


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