Learning Sanskrit by a fresh approach – Lesson 10
I would like to take up a couplet, which for grammar of each word is fairly simple. Also, I am calling it as a couplet and not a सुभाषितम्. For the present, I shall request you to first read this lesson through and then say, whether it should be called a सुभाषितम् or not.
इन्द्रो वायुर्यमश्चैव नैर्ऋतो मध्यमस्तथा ।
ईशानश्च कुबेरश्च अग्निर्वरुण एव च ॥
First breaking the conjugations –
इन्द्र: वायु: यम: च एव नैर्ऋतः मध्यम: तथा ।
ईशान: च कुबेर: च अग्नि: वरुण: एव च ॥
Some preliminary observations –
1. Four times च, twice एव and one तथा – These are all indeclinables.
2. Balance all are nouns, all masuline, singular and in first case.
3. No verb.
4. Does this verse make any sentence at all ? What is this verse then ?
Let us get on with the word-by-word study.
1. इन्द्र: = Indra, said to be the presiding deity of the easterly direction
2. वायु: = wind, one of eight “Vasu”s, one of the five fundamental elements, said to be the presiding deity of north-westerly direction
3. यम: = Yama, god of death, god of righteousness,
3.1 Yama blessed Kunti with son YudhiShThira, also known as dharma-rAj in recognition of his steadfast righteousness
3.2 Yama is considered to be younger brother of deity Saturn, both considered to be sons of Sun God
3.3 Yama is considered to be the presiding deity of Southern direction. Sleeping with one’s feet towards south is supposed to be disrespectful to Yama and hence is supposed to invite scourge of Yama, which has dreadful consequence of death. Scientifically, it is said sleeping with one’s feet towards south is said to be unhealthy due to adverse effect of earth’s magnetism.
4. च = and, an indeclinable
5. एव = also, an indeclinable
6. नैर्ऋतः = one of eight “Vasu”s, presiding deity of south-westerly direction
7. मध्यम: = the middle one
8. तथा = so also, an indeclinable, often used also as a conjunction connecting with a sub-clause starting with यथा
9. ईशान: = name of Shiva, one of eight “Vasu”s, presiding deity of North-easterly direction.
The convention may have some correlation with the fact that KailAsh mountain and MAnas sarovar, which are supposed to be the abodes of Shiva are in north-east of India.
10. च see # 4
11. कुबेर: = God of wealth, one of eight “Vasu”s, presiding deity of north direction
12. च = see # 4
13. अग्नि: = fire, one of the five fundamental elements, presiding deity of south-easterly direction, one of eight “Vasu”s
14. वरुण: = God of rains, one of eight “Vasu”s, presiding deity of western direction
15. एव see # 5
16. च see # 4
Since all nouns are masculine, first case, singular, I thought it okay not to put in any tabulations.
Now let me put in all the names in a 3×3 tabulation, putting in the names at the direction, of which the respective name is the presiding deity. Along side, I shall also put the serial number of the order, in which the names appear in the shloka.
Now look just at the numbers. Numbers in all rows, columns and diagonals sum up to 15.
Wow ! This shloka is a solution to a 3×3 magic square !
This is a solution not just for the numbers from 1 to 9. Take any set of nine successive integers. Put them at places in the order of this shloka. Let us try numbers from 26 to 34
Sums of numbers in all rows, columns and diagonals is now 90, obviously because each number is more by 25 than the numbers 1 to 9. So, total is more by 3×25 i.e. by 75.
I guess, this can be extended to a magic square of 9×9, i.e. for 81 successive integers, first 9 integers to be placed in easterly square of 3×3 in the order of the shloka, next nine numbers to be placed in the north-westerly 3×3 square, not mistaking the order in which the numbers have to be put.
Since this shloka is a solution for a mathematical puzzle, it should now be acceptable, that there is no verb, no sentence. Yet it makes a statement, a very, very positive, powerful a statement !!
If anyone still has doubts of what treasure of knowledge is enshrined in Sanskrit verses, this verse is just a fleeting glimpse !
By the way, I first came across this verse, maybe some forty-odd years back, in a monthly Marathi magazine “AmRut”. I could learn it by heart in just one reading, just because of it being a solution of a mathematical puzzle ! Different people have different interests and the memories also work accordingly, right ?
But this verse should appeal to all people alike, irrespective of age, I guess.
Please go ahead and memorise this verse !
This verse is ascribed to…, whom else…, LeelAvati, daughter of famous mathematician BhAskarAchArya !
By the way, this verse is a solution to odd-numbered (multiples of 3) magic square ! How I wish that there is some श्लोक giving solution to any magic square !