Learning Sanskrit by Fresh Approach – Lesson No. 100

Learning Sanskrit by Fresh Approach – Lesson No. 100
संस्कृतभाषायाः नूतनाध्ययनस्य शततमः (१००) पाठः ।

There is a proverb in almost all languages, similar in meaning to “shallow water makes much noise”.

The theme can be paraphrased in following sentences. Let me try along side translating the theme into Sanskrit.

(1) A water-container when full संपूर्णः घटः
will not make noise नादं न करोति |

(2) When half-full घटः यदि (यदा) अर्ध-पूर्णः
it would make much sound नादं करोति |

(3) A wise person need not (or should not) show off विदुषा अभिमानः न कर्तव्यः |

(4) Those devoid of merit येषां गुणाः न सन्ति
try to impress ते प्रभावितुं यतन्ते |

The सुभाषितम् I have for reference reads –

  1. सम्पूर्णकुंभो न करोति शब्दम् ।
  2. अर्धो घटो घोषमुपैति नूनम् ।
  3. विद्वान् कुलीनो न करोति गर्वम् ।
  4. गुणैर्विहीना बहु जल्पयन्ति ॥

Here is comparative reading of the translation and the सुभाषितम् –

संपूर्णः घटः नादं न करोति |
घटः यदि (यदा) अर्ध-पूर्णः नादं करोति |
विदुषा अभिमानः न कर्तव्यः |
येषां गुणाः न सन्ति ते प्रभावितुं यतन्ते |
सम्पूर्णकुंभो न करोति शब्दम् ।
अर्धो घटो घोषमुपैति नूनम् ।
विद्वान् कुलीनो न करोति गर्वम् ।
गुणैर्विहीना बहु जल्पयन्ति ॥

Some interesting synonyms are obvious.
घटः = कुंभ:
नाद: = शब्द: , घोष: , जल्प:
अभिमानः = गर्व:
To be able to compose and present a good thought as a सुभाषितम् one would need a good vocabulary. It seems more important for poets to have Thesaurus than a dictionary. Possibly the concept of a thesaurus owes its legacy to the निघण्टु and अमरकोश, verily gems of Sanskrit literature. Oldest compilation of synonyms is said to be in निघण्टु. But most commonly quoted compilation of synonyms is अमरकोश. So often we find in commentaries the mention इत्यमरः (इति अमरः) meaning, this is as per अमरकोश.
Compiled here below are Words for sounds from अमरकोश


It can be seen that when compiling the words of sounds, some analysis of their origin is taken into consideration. In 1-7-411 there is the mention that the sound in human chest is said to be of 22 types – (१-७-४११) नृणामुरसि मध्यस्थो द्वाविंशतिविधो ध्वनिः | One can undertake study of अमरकोश itself as a subject of study !

In the सुभाषितम् three words related to sound are used – शब्द:, घोष:, जल्प: How beautifully poets choose words of right weightage in right context. When half-full noise शब्द: of pitcher becomes घोष: ! And prattle of the unwise becomes जल्प: !!

There needs to be a difference between verbatim translation and paraphrasing a thought into another language in tune with the spirit of that language.

I had translated “Those devoid of merit” as येषां गुणाः न सन्ति ते
In the सुभाषितम् for the same thought the phrase used is गुणैर्विहीना:

In Sanskrit there are two words भाषान्तरम् and अनुवादः

भाषान्तरम् would usually mean translation
अनुवादः paraphrasing a thought into another language in tune with the spirit of that language. I do not know of any word in English which has all this meaning of “paraphrasing a thought into another language bringing in the spirit of that language”

Doing अनुवाद and not just भाषान्तरम् makes a big difference in presenting the thought.

In the सुभाषितम् “one who would not show off” is described as विद्वान् कुलीनः. That is interesting. Howsoever learned विद्वान् a person may be, ‘not to show off’ has to be the person’s character. One’s character is greatly influenced and moulded by the surroundings. The influence of surroundings is summarized in the word कुलीनः That is the significance of the two words विद्वान् कुलीनः In Apte’s dictionary meaning of the word कुलीनः is given as “(person) of high descent”. ‘High descent’ connotes the cultural environment in the family in which a person is born and grows. Unknowingly the ‘culture’ gets imbibed into the personality !

शुभं भवतु ।

3 thoughts on “Learning Sanskrit by Fresh Approach – Lesson No. 100

  1. In line with the above thought, it might be interesting to observe that Kalidasa is believed to have composed a song with last paada as ‘tatantatantan tatatantatantan’.

    • नमस्ते सनतकुमार-महोदय !
      Good correlation ! By Google-search on सोपानमार्गेण करोति शब्दम् one gets the सुभाषितम् – I am however putting below the last line, the way, I had come across it elsewhere. That way it also matches the meter.
      रामाभिषेके जलमाहरन्त्याः । हस्ताच्च्युतो हेमघटो युवत्याः । सोपानमार्गेण करोति शब्दम् । ठाठं ठठण्ठं ठठठं ठठण्ठः ।।
      2-2-1-2-2 1-1-2-1-2-2 । 2-2-1-2 2-1-1-2 1-2-2 । 2-2-1-2-2-1 1-2-1 2-2 । 2-2 1-2-2 1-1-2 1-2-2 ।।
      त-त-ज-ग-ग । स्यादिन्द्रवज्रा यदि तौ जगौ गः । It is इन्द्रवज्रा meter.
      Also it comes to mind that the first word can be राज्याभिषेके instead of रामाभिषेके, because falling down of a gold-pot can happen during any coronation ceremony.

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