Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Rāmāyaṇa 1.1.1-2 "A śloka a day #SAH #SanskritGrammar



प्रथमः सर्गः
Prathama Sarga


तपःस्वाध्यायनिरतं तपस्वी वाग्विदां वरम् 
नारदं परिपप्रच्छ वाल्मीकिर्मुनिपुन्गवम्

को न्वस्मिन् सांप्रतं लोके गुणवान् कश्च वीर्यवान्
धर्मज्ञश्च कृतज्ञश्च सत्यवाक्यो दृढव्रतः

tapaḥsvādhyāyanirataṃ tapasvī vāgvidāṃ varam

nāradaṃ paripapraccha vālmīkir munipuṃgavam

ko nv asmin sāmprataṃ loke guṇavān kaś ca vīryavān

dharmajñaś ca kṛtajñaś ca satyavākyo dṛḍhavrataḥ

[The hermit] Vālmīki, dedicated to austerities, asked Nārada, the best of munis, the best among experts skilled in speech [and] devoted to austerity and study [of the Vedas]:  

"Who is in this present world endowed with virtues? Who is brave, knows the dharma, is grateful, speaks the truth, and is firm in his vows?" 

My big problem (as a Hindi speaker) when I first read the first verse - I couldn't tell who was asking whom the question. And which descriptions went with which 'muni' Then I was given a small (actually, very big) hint. Work out what is in the nominative case (प्रथमा विभक्ति) and what is in the accusative case (द्वितीय). That is the key. In nominative are two words - tapasvi and Vālmīki. He is the doer/asker. In the accusative is Nārada, the one being asked, and all qualifiers in accusative are connected to him.  

तपःस्वाध्यायनिरतं - [to him] who is devoted to [Vedic] studies and [religious] austerities
तपः austerity, discipline (masc., nom., sing.)
स्वाध्यायः recitation/self-study (masc., nom., sing)
निरतं engaged in, devoted to, pleased by (accusative past participle [ni + ram] as adjective)
तपस्वी  ascetic (masc., nom., sing)
वाग्विदाम् of [those] skilled in speech (genitive, masc. plural) stem = वाग्वित् 
वरम् best (accusative adj., agreeing with Nāradam)*
नारदं - (accusative, because otherwise, being a masculine, it would have been नारदः I cannot stress this enough)
परिपप्रच्छ = परि + पप्रच्छ  asked about = (perfect of प्रछ् to ask; perfect, 3rd person, sing. agreeing with Vālmīki[Pari = prefix = about.]

वाल्मीकिर्मुनिपुन्गवम् (वाल्मीकिः+मुनिपुङ्गवम्)
वाल्मीकिः Valmīki, (masc, nom, the doer/asker)
मुनिपुङ्गवम् to the bull [best] among munis (this is in accusative so it refers to Nārada NOT to  Valmīki. If it referred to Valmīki, the ending would be मुनिपुंगवः masc. nom. with a visarga, since puṃgava is masc.)
को who? (masc, nominative, sing, This is कः in sandhi.  
नु now then/certainly (avyaya/indeclinable) 
अस्मिन् in this (locative, masc.,sing., of idam 'this') nu+asmin in sandhi become  न्वस्मिन् 
सांप्रतं  now, at present (adverb) 
लोके  in this world ( locative, neut, sing.)
गुणवान्  endowed with/possessed of virtues, [good] qualities (masc., nom, sing)
कश्च and who? (कः in sandhi with च)
वीर्यवान् endowed with heroic qualities (masc, nom, sing)
धर्मज्ञश्च (धर्मज्ञः+च) Knower of dharma (masc., nom., sing) 
कृतज्ञश्च (कृतज्ञः+च) grateful/correct in conduct (masc, nom, sing) 
सत्यवाक्यो (सत्य+वाक्यः) Whose speech is true 
दृढव्रतः He whose vow is firm


latha vidyaranya said...

very useful explanation to sort out the confusion of who was asking the questions to whom? :)

i read your blog's name "learn sanskrit and read the scriptures yourself!" and was a little amused.
our Shastras are apourusheya, not composed by any human, but a compilation by the Seers (Mantra DrashtaaraH),who could visualize the Mantras. Hence the Mantras are to be interpreted rightly by those who have done Tapas or Upaasana and understood them in the correct sense. if we learn sanskrit well, that does not mean we can interpret these mantras correctly! we have every chance of misinterpreting them if studied by ourselves, with a dictionary and a vyaakarana book in hand! we would only be dividing the material into parts and understanding them in parts. but the WHOLE is definitely much much more than just the Sum of its parts!

let us learn Samskruta by all means. but let us study the Shastras/ Scriptures under a shrotriiya and if possible, a Brahmanishta Guru, to achieve the Highest Objective of a Human Birth, for which the Rishis have handed us down the Scriptures. they can not be treated as our academic Text Books.

Rohini, i appreciate once again the love with which you are presenting the blog posts. but let not anybody be mislead by the Bolg-name. please, readers, in no way should my words be thought of as offensive. i have greatest regard for anybody who has learnt this Deva Bhaashaa and doing wonderful work to spread the melody of this language!

Rohini dear, best wishes for keeping up the good work that you are doing!

Sanath said...

Such a pleasure reading your lucid expln. It was like a class. May I take the liberty of requesting you to post one sloka every day . Valmiki has given us 50 yrs stuff :-)