Learning Sanskrit by a Fresh Approach – Lesson 7

Learning Sanskrit by a Fresh Approach – Lesson 7

This time, I would like to take a longish verse.
रामो राजमणिः सदा विजयते रामं रमेशं भजे ।
रामेणाभिहता निशाचरचमू रामाय तस्मै नमः ॥
रामान्नास्ति परायणं परतरं रामस्य दासोऽस्म्यहम् ।
रामे चित्तलयः सदा भवतु मे भो राम मामुद्धर ॥

Before proceeding with exploring the meaning of this verse, some interesting features of this verse –
1. Of course this verse is an ode to Lord RAma. This verse is from a long enough स्तोत्रम् known as श्रीरामरक्षास्तोत्रम्

2. Looking at the poetry of it,

Every line has 19 syllables – exactly 19

Weightages of the 19 syllables in every line are 2-2-2, 1-1-2, 1-2-1, 1-1-2, 2-2-1, 2-2-1, 2

This pattern of weightages makes the verse of a meter called as शार्दूलविक्रीडितम्

This meter is very popular with poets, especially those composing verses to express best wishes to a couple, when the marriage ceremony is being performed, typically when they would have put garlands on each other.

3. In this verse there are two distinct sentences in each line. So, to explore the meaning of this verse, we have to understand just 8 simple sentences. That’s it.

Let us start off by the set methodology of exploring phrase by phrase, word by word.

रामो राजमणिः = राम: राजमणिः

राम: = (Lord) RAma
राजमणिः = राजानाम् मणिः
राजानाम् = of kings
मणिः = jewel
राजानाम् मणिः = jewel among kings

सदा = always

विजयते = is victorious  

रामो राजमणिः सदा विजयते = RAma, the jewel among kings is always victorious

रामं = रामम् = to RAma

रमेशं = रमेशम्

रमेशम् = रमेश: –> तम्  –> रमेशम्
रमेश: = रमायाः ईशः (षष्ठी-तत्पुरुष- समासः)
रमायाः = of RamA रमा is the name of wife of ViShNu
ईशः = Lord
रमायाः ईशः = Lord of RamA, hence ViShNu

भजे = I am devoted to, or I do devotion to.
रामं रमेशं भजे = I do devotion to RAma, (hence) to Ramesha (i.e. to ViShNu)
One may ask, how doing devotion to RAma becomes devotion also to ViShNu. The logic lies in the mythology of incarnations of ViShNu. Among ten incarnations (दशावताराः) of ViShNu, RAma is regarded as the seventh. So, mythologically, ViShNu is the supreme deity, which undertook ten incarnations in the order – मत्स्य, कूर्म, वराह, नृसिंह, वामन, परशुराम, राम, कृष्ण, बुद्ध, कल्कि
When I deliberate on this mythology of दशावताराः to me it appeals to be the theory of evolution of life. When the globe was cooling down, and migratory life form had to emerge, it could have emerged only in the more congenial environment of water and not on the terrains. So first incarnation is मत्स्य, the fish. Next is कूर्म, the turtle, which could move both in water and on ground; yet more in water than on ground. Third वराह the rhino, who loves watery surroundings, but moves on ground of shallow waters. Fourth is नृसिंह, half lion (सिंह), half human (नृ). Fifth वामन, human, rather dimunitive. Sixth परशुराम, human, but rather savage, uncultured. Seventh राम, the ideal human. Eighth कृष्ण, adept at the ways of the world. Ninth बुद्ध, the exalted, self-realised soul. Tenth कल्कि where good and evil coexist.
Associated with this mythology of दशावताराः is also the concept of passage of time, the four Yuga’s – कृत त्रेता द्वापार कलि. Incarnation of RAma is said to belong to कृत-युग Not much detail seems to have been mentioned about त्रेतायुग The incarnation of कृष्ण is said to belong to द्वापारयुग. Present times are of कलियुग, where good and evil coexist, rather times, when good is always challenged by the evil.

Learning Sanskrit is not just for learning a language. It is also a learning of what can be or what should be the cultured way of life. The language is a refined language and its literature speaks of refined life, of cultured life. Knowledge of Sanskrit is hence essential, certainly in कलियुग. It will be the real beacon to meet the challenges of the evil without compromising the refined thoughts and conduct.

भजे is also an interesting word. From भजे we have the noun भजनम्, which has two meanings – (1) a song of devotion (2) to sing a song of devotion.

By this connotation, भजे means not just “I do devotion”, but “I do devotion by singing a song of devotion”.

This word भजे is a declension of the root verb भज् meaning “to do devotion”. From this verb भज् there is another noun, भक्तिः which means “devotion”. One can do devotion in any of nine ways. नवविधा भक्तिः Doing devotion by singing a song of devotion i.e. by भजनम् is one of nine ways नवविधा भक्तिः There is a verse summing up all the nine ways of नवविधा भक्तिः Maybe, we can discuss that verse sometime later.

Presently on to the next phrase.

रामेणाभिहता = रामेण + अभिहता
रामेण = by RAma
अभिहता = consummately killed, destroyed
A little study on both these words –
रामेण = by RAma
It may be noticed that in the first sentence राम: was the subject. So the root word राम was in subjective or nominative case, which is called as first case प्रथमा विभक्तिः.
In the second sentence, the word was “रामम् = to RAma” in object case or accusative case, which is called the second case, द्वितीया विभक्तिः
Here we have it as “रामेण = by RAma” in instrumental case, which is called as the third case, तृतीया विभक्तिः

I guess, you got a good hint of why this verse is chosen for this lesson! Two sentences in each line, each sentence presenting cases first, second, third  etc. of the root word राम, all in perfect order and every line perfectly in शार्दूलविक्रीडितम् meter !

अभिहता = consummately killed, destroyed. The meaning “consummately” comes from the prefix अभि. There is a large number of prefixes, which can be prefixed to different words to get a range of shades of meaning of that word. The prefixes उपसर्गाः or उपपदानि not only help to get a range of shades of meaning, but do it so crisply, just by a prefix. We have that in most languages also, e.g. eject, reject, inject, project, adject(ive), abject

निशाचरचमू = निशाचरचमू:

निशाचरचमू: = निशा + चर + चमू:
निशाचर =  Here we have a suffix चर attached to the word निशा.
The suffix चर is derived from the verb चर meaning “to move, to move about, to roam”. The suffix such as चर lends the meaning of capability to do the action of the meaning of the verb. So suffix चर means capable of roaming.

निशा = night

निशाचर = निशायाम् चरति इति capable of roaming in the night, ghost, nocturnal being. All राक्षसा: of army of रावण had such capability. They were निशाचरा:.

चमू: = army
निशाचरचमू: = निशाचराणाम् चमू: A compound of षष्ठी तत्पुरुष type. Army of nocturnal beings, capable of roaming in the night.

रामेणाभिहता निशाचरचमू: = Army of nocturnal beings was consummately destroyed by RAma.

This sentence is in passive voice. The passive voice is rendered by अभिहता which is a past passive participle from the verb अभि + हन्
This is another speciality of Sanskrit, that participles derived from verbs can do the function of verbs, such that a formal verb need not be visible.

रामाय तस्मै नमः

रामाय = unto RAma. This is declension of राम in the dative case, the fourth case चतुर्थी विभक्तिः

तस्मै = unto that This is declension of a pronoun तत् the indicative pronoun meaning “that”, again in the fourth case. Because this pronoun qualifies the noun राम, both the noun and the qualifying pronoun (or adjective) have to be in the same case, here the fourth case.
नमः = bowing.

रामाय तस्मै नमः = bowing  (I bow) unto that RAma. Here, “that” hints also to that RAma who destroyed army of nocturnal beings.

रामान्नास्ति = रामात् न अस्ति

रामात् = from RAma, than RAma. This is declension of राम in the ablative case, the fifth case पञ्चमी विभक्तिः
न = not. An indeclinable used to render negative.
अस्ति = is

परायणं  = परायणम् = परम् अयम् A compound of type कर्मधारय . In the compounded word न of अयम् becomes ण. Hence परायणम् from परम् अयम्. There are rules for all such minute variations. We shall not go into all that at this stage. It is mentioned here just for information. Our focus shall be in understanding the meaning, than understanding all the grammar.

परम् = the other
अयम् = the action of going, destination, recourse
परतरं = परतरम् Adjective of comparative degree from the root adjective पर. तर is the suffix which renders the comparative degree of an adjective. The superlative degree is rendered by  suffix रामान्नास्ति परायणम् परतरम् = There is no better recourse than RAma.

रामस्य दासो स्म्यहम् = रामस्य दासः अस्मि अहम्

रामस्य = of RAma रामस्य is declension of राम in the sixth i.e. genetive case षष्ठी विभक्ति:
दासः = servent
अस्मि = (I) am
अहम् = I
रामस्य दासः अस्मि अहम् = I am servent of RAma

रामे चित्तलय: सदा भवतु मे

रामे = at RAma. रामे is declension of राम in the seventh i.e. locative case सप्तमी विभक्ति:

चित्तलय: = चित्तस्य लय: A compound of षष्ठी तत्पुरुष type
चित्तस्य = of mind
लय: = resting
सदा = always
भवतु = may be, may stay

मे = for me or of me

रामे चित्तलय: सदा भवतु मे = Resting of my mind may always be at RAma or For me, resting of mind may always be at RAma.

भो राम मामुद्धर = भोः राम माम् उद्धर

भोः = an interjection to back a call “Oh” or “Eh”

राम = address to RAma to mean “Eh RAma” राम as हे राम is declension of राम in  address case संबोधन-विभक्ति:

माम् = to me
उद्धर =  (please) uplift

भो राम मामुद्धर = भोः राम माम् उद्धर = Oh RAma, please uplift me !

RAma, the jewel among kings is always victorious I do devotion to RAma, (hence) to Ramesha (i.e. to ViShNu)
by singing a song of devotion
Army of nocturnal beings was destroyed by RAma I bow unto that RAma
There is no better recourse than RAma I am servent of RAma
Resting of my mind may always be at RAma Oh RAma, please uplift me !

Isn’t that a good prayer ? It brings out all the ardent feelings a devotee would have towards one’s object or idol or deity of devotion.

The prayer does so by employing declensions of the word राम in all eight cases – first to seventh and also the address case !

Actually a noun such as राम will have declensions not only by cases but also by number. In Sanskrit, numbers are three – singular, dual, plural called as एकवचनम् द्विवचनम् बहुवचनम्

Since राम is a masculine noun having अ vowel ending, it would be good to have a look at the declensions of  अ-कारान्त पुल्लिंगी नाम such as बाल meaning “boy”

विभक्ति: एकवचनम् द्विवचनम् बहुवचनम्
प्रथमा बाल: बालौ बाला:
द्वितीया बालम् बालौ बालान्
तृतीया बालेन बालाभ्याम् बालै:
चतुर्थी बाला बालाभ्याम् बालेभ्य:
पञ्चमी बालात् बालाभ्याम् बालेभ्य:
षष्ठी बालस्य बालयो: बालानाम्
सप्तमी बाले बालयो: बालेषु
संबोधन हे बाल हे बालौ हे बाला:

You will notice that all the declensions of राम conform to the patterns of declension of बाल. We have five other words all अ vowel ending, masculine nouns अ-कारान्त पुल्लिंगी नाम in this lesson itself.

Can you find them and list them here ? ______ , ________ , ________ , _______ , _______Pattern of declensions of अ-कारान्त neuter नपुंसकलिंगी nouns are quite similar to those of अ-कारान्त masculine nouns, except in first, second and address cases.

Let us see declensions of अ-कारान्त neuter नपुंसकलिंगी noun बालक meaning “a child”

विभक्ति: एकवचनम् द्विवचनम् बहुवचनम्
प्रथमा बालकम् बालके बालकानि
द्वितीया बालकम् बालके बालकानि
तृतीया बालके बालकाभ्याम् बालकै:
चतुर्थी बालका बालकाभ्याम् बालकेभ्य:
पञ्चमी बालकात् बालकाभ्याम् बालकेभ्य:
षष्ठी बालकस्य बालकयो: बालकानाम्
सप्तमी बालके बालकयो: बालकेषु
संबोधन हे बालक हे बालके हे बालकानि
We also have some अ-कारान्त neuter नपुंसकलिंगी nouns here in this lesson. Let me give out one – वचन meaning “mention, talk, oath”.

Can you find three more and list them here ? ________ , _________ , _________

Corollary to the masculine बाल and neuter बालक there would be the feminine noun बाला, meaning “a girl”. This is of course having vowel ending आ So, it is आकारांत स्त्रीलिंगी नाम. Let us see declensions of this also !

विभक्ति: एकवचनम् द्विवचनम् बहुवचनम्
प्रथमा बाला बाले बाला:
द्वितीया बालाम् बाले बाला:
तृतीया बाया बालाभ्याम् बालाभि:
चतुर्थी बालायै बालाभ्याम् बालाभ्य:
पञ्चमी बालायाः बालाभ्याम् बालाभ्य:
षष्ठी बालायाः बालयो: बालानाम्
सप्तमी बालायाम् बालयो: बालासु
संबोधन हे बाले हे बाले हे बाला:
We also have some आकारांत feminine स्त्रीलिंगी nouns in this lesson.
Can you find three more and list them here ? ________ , _________ , _________
We can have an interesting exercise of composing some simple sentences :-

1. We already have a simple sentence. “I am a servant.” Can you write that again ? _____  ______ ______ |

2. In the same manner you can write “I am a boy.” ______  ______  ______ | “I am a girl.” ______ ________ _______ |

3. Let us use a simple verb वदति (singular) वदतः (dual) वदन्ति (plural) and compose sentences –
1 A boy speaks ______ ______ |
2 Two boys speak ______ ______ |
3 Boys speak ______ ______ |
4 A child speaks ______ ______ |
5 Two children speak ______ ______ |
6 Children speak ______ ______ |
7 A girl speaks ______ ______ |
8 Two girls speak ______ ______ |
9 Girls speak ______ ______ |

Doesn’t it feel great to be able to compose sentences in Sanskrit ?

Before closing,
(a) अ-कारान्त masculine पुल्लिंगी nouns in the lesson were – रमेश, ईश, मत्स्य, कूर्म, वराह, नृसिंह, वामन, परशुराम, राम, कृष्ण, बुद्ध, अभिहत (adjective), निशाचर, राक्षस, दास, परतर (adjective) तत्पुरुष, पुरुष, समास and लय
(b) अ-कारान्त neuter नपुंसकलिंगी nouns in the lesson were – भजन, अभिहत (adjective), परायण, अयन, परतर (adjective), चित्त, वचन
(c) आकारांत feminine स्त्रीलिंगी nouns in this lesson were – रमा, अभिहता (adjective), निशा,
Declensions of all the above nouns and adjectives shall follow the given patterns.
Note, adjectives and pronouns will always have gender, case and number matching with gender, case and number of the noun, which they qualify. Hence they will have declensions accordingly. This rule is also given by a verse !
यल्लिङ्गं यद्वचनम् या च विभक्तिर्विशेष्यस्य
ल्लिङ्गं तद्वचनम् सा च विभक्तिर्विशेषणस्यापि

An example of this rule is in रामाय तस्मै both the pronoun and noun are in masculine, fourth case, singular

शुभमस्तु |


5 thoughts on “Learning Sanskrit by a Fresh Approach – Lesson 7

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