Sanskrit Times – Episode 4

Hi Readers,

Hope you’re doing well, wherever you’re in the world. Today I am going to share a couple of verses from one of the great works of an 8th century Indian Philosopher Sri Adi Shankaracharya – Bhaja Govindam. It is a song/poetry that reminds the sage’s followers to reflect on the Truth (so as to be free from illusions of the mind). It starts like this:

bhaja govindaṃ bhaja govindaṃ
govindaṃ bhaja mūḍhamate |
samprāpte sannihite kāle
nahi nahi rakśhati ḍukriṅkaraṇe

Sing the name of Govinda*, Repeat the name of Govinda,
Serve Govinda, oh deluded mind!
At the time of your death,
Rules of grammar will not save you.

bāla stāvat krīḍāsaktaḥ
taruṇa stāvat taruṇīsaktaḥ |
vṛddha stāvat-chintāmagnaḥ
parame brahmaṇi koapi na lagnaḥ
bhaja govindaṃ bhaja govindaṃ
govindaṃ bhaja mūḍhamate

Childhood flickers by in play;
in youth, one is attached to sense pleasures;
in old age, one is burdened with worry and anxiety.
Life slips by without one ever paying heed to the attainment
of Self-Knowledge, knowing Brahman**
Oh deluded mind, sing the name of Govinda,
Repeat the name of Govinda, serve Govinda.

*Govinda literally means cowherd. Historically, it refers to the God Personality – Krishna. (Replacing this name with Jesus or Buddha – wouldn’t alter the intention of the author).

**Brahman is the Ultimate Reality, commonly referred as “Self”. Advaita Vedanta (Non-duality) philosophy says our Soul is the Self – but this knowledge is hidden because of our identification with body, and mind (which are bound to pleasure and pain). Self-realization is possible through the practices of Yoga.

I hope you find this post useful. Thank you so much for reading.

Sanskrit Times – Episode 3

Hello Readers,

Today I am here to share a verse from the Indian Scripture “Bhagavad Gita” (The Songs of the Absolute/God). It is from chapter 2 and verse number 20.

na jāyate mriyate vā kadāchin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śhāśhvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śharīre

Neither born nor ever dies
Nor having been does it ever come not to be
Unborn, Eternal, Perpetual
Not destroyed when the body is

This verse is spoken by the “God” Krishna, who talks about the “Soul” which is never born and not destroyed when the body is.

Personal Remarks: Often times, we forget our true nature – we think we are this body, we think we are this mind, and sadly we think we are the thoughts created by the mind – if we stop and look deeply, it is easier for us to understand that all of these aforementioned phenomenon are prone to change every single moment.

Well, there is nothing wrong in assuming we are this changing phenomenon but we have to be careful about not getting imprisoned by these mental afflictions, so as to live at peace and do our daily duties without anxieties and/or worries.

I am a Soul, and I am ever Free.

Sanskrit Times – Episode 2

Today I am going to write the verses being chanted during the Hindu wedding ceremonies in India. This part is called as “Saptapadi” literally means “Seven Steps”. The couple is asked to walk around the “Holy Fire” seven times – which is the necessary part in any Hindu ritual.

Each of this verse is chanted one-by-one and only when the couple has finished taking this vow, they are declared as married. So, let’s see the Sanskrit verses and their translated meaning in English.

iṣā ekapadī bhava iti prathamam
ūrje dvipadī bhava iti dvitīyam
vratāya tripadī bhava iti tṛtīyam
māyo bhavāya catuśpadī bhava iti caturtham
paśubhyā paṃcapadī bhava iti paṃcamam
rāyaspoṣāya ṣaṭpadī bhava iti ṣaṣṭam
hotrebhyaḥ saptapadī bhava iti saptamam

With this first step, we provide for and support each other
With this second step, we will be resilient and strong in body, mind and spirit
With this third step, we will share all worldly possessions
With this fourth step, we will live in harmony offering constant love to one another
With this fifth step, we will have a family and nurture them together
With the sixth step, we will enjoy the fruits of all seasons
With this seventh step, we will always remain friends and cherish each other

My favorite “steps” are the fourth, the sixth and the seventh – of course, I love this ritual very much overall and it excites me every time I read or listen.

What about yours?

Thank you for reading!

Sanskrit Times – Episode 1

As I am learning new Sanskrit words, I sometimes feel inspired to share some of the ancient scripts. I will post them titled “Sanskrit Times” implying my quality time with Sanskrit.

Today, I read the following verse, took from the Vows being chanted during the Wedding Ceremony in India.

oṃ asato mā sadgamaya
tamaso mā jyotirgamaya
mṛtyormā amṛtaṃ gamaya
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

The English translation by Shunori Ramanathan is as follows:


Lead me from the unreal to the real
From the darkness to the light
From death to immortality
Let there be peace, peace, peace

Namasté!