Literature

A Story for a Verse - Matrgupta

शीतेनाद्ध्युषितस्य माषशिमिवच्चिन्तार्णवे मज्जतः
शान्ताग्नेः स्फुटिताधरस्य धमतः क्षुत्क्षामकण्ठस्य मे ।
निद्रा क्वाप्यवमानितेव दयिता संत्यज्य दूरं गता
सत्पात्रप्रतिपादितेव वसुधा न क्षीयते शर्वरी ॥

shitenaddhyushitasya mashashimivaccintarnave majjatah
shantagneh sphutitadharasya dhamatah kshutkshamakanthasya me |
nidra kvapyavamaniteva dayita samtyajya duram gata
satpatrapratipaditeva vasudha na kshiyate sharvari ||

Sarasvati in Classical Sanskrit Poetry – 3

Sarasvati as one of the characters in a poetic work

Banabhatta, the unrivaled champion of Sanskrit prose, begins his Harshacharitam in a dramatic manner. The setting is satyaloka, Brahma's abode. Brahma, seated on his lotus throne is conducting an assembly of sages well-versed in the Vedic lore when Durvasa, known for his anger, picks up a quarrel with the sage Mandapala, and in the process makes a glaring mistake while chanting a saman.

Panini's Poetry

Panini (पाणिनि) was a grammarian of ancient India. We do not know when and where he lived. 5th century BCE is a safe estimate. Today, the word ‘Panini’ connotes several things, of which the foremost is perhaps a computer-compatible, NASA-approved system of grammar. Over the decades, many learned minds have been engaged in extracting algorithms out of अष्टाध्यायी ('the eight-chapter book'), a treatise on Sanskrit grammar authored by Panini. The world of computers – though advancing at the speed of light – has not benefited from this ‘computer-compatible’ system.

A Story for a Verse - Kalidasa and Bhagiratha

इह निवसति मेरुः शेखरः क्ष्माधराणा-
मिह विनिहितभाराः सागराः सप्तचान्ये ।
इदमहिपतिभोगस्तम्भविभ्राजमानं
धरणितलमिहैव स्थानमस्मद्विधानाम् ॥

iha nivasati meruh shekharah kshmadharanam
iha vinihatabharah sagarah saptachanye |
idamahipatibhogastambhavibhrajamanam
dharanitalamihaiva sthanamasmadvidhanam ||

Sarasvati in Classical Sanskrit Poetry – 2

Sarasvati as a remover of ignorance and bestower of knowledge

In the words of Mankha, when the swans that form Sarasvati’s vehicle flap their wings forcefully, the dust of ignorance in the minds of her devotees is swept away:

या वेगनृत्यद्रथहंसपक्षपुटैरिवाज्ञानिरजः प्रमार्ष्टि ।
सा चित्तकूलङ्कषदोषशोषं पुष्णातु वाचामधिदेवता वः ॥

The following verse quoted in Subhashitaratnabhandagara calls Sarasvati the touchstone of intelligence since she reveals the ignorant as different from the intelligent by their speech alone:

ಸಹೃದಯ ಮತ್ತು ಭಾವಯಿತ್ರೀ ಪ್ರತಿಭೆ

ಕಾವ್ಯ ಪ್ರಪ೦ಚದಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುವ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ಮೂರು. ೧. ಅದರ ಆತ್ಮವೇ ಆದ ಕಾವ್ಯ ೨. ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಕರ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿ ೩. ಕಾವ್ಯಪ್ರಯೋಜಕನಾದ ಸಹೃದಯ (ಓದುಗ). ಪ್ರತಿಭಾಶಾಲಿಯಾದ ಕವಿಯಿ೦ದ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಲ್ಪಟ್ಟ ಕಾವ್ಯವೃಕ್ಷ ಫಲನೀಡುವುದು ಸಹೃದಯನಿ೦ದಲೇ; ಸಹೃದಯನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ; ಒ೦ದು ಕಾವ್ಯಸೃಷ್ಟಿಗೆ ಸಾರ್ಥಕತೆ ದೊರಕುವುದು ಸಹೃದಯನು ಅದನ್ನು ಓದಿ ಮೆಚ್ಚಿ ರಸಪರವಶನಾದಾಗ. ಹಾಗಾದರೆ, ಸಹೃದಯನೆ೦ದರೆ ಯಾರು? ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಓದುಗರಿಗೂ ಸಹೃದಯನಿಗೂ ಇರುವ ವ್ಯತ್ಯಾಸವೇನು? ಎ೦ಬ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳು ಸಹಜವಾಗಿ ಏಳುತ್ತವೆ.

मङ्गलश्लोकः - Invocation

अर्थचतुष्टयशिक्षा ।
साक्षात्कृत-यज्ञ-दान-तपसां दीक्षा ॥
वाग्वृत्तित्रयरक्षा ।
प्रेक्षाऽसौ जयति भारतीपदलाक्षा ॥

Victorious indeed is prekshaa
the clear intellect that has been
constantly educating everyone
about the purusharthas.
Prekshaa is synonymous with
the initiation into
yajna, dana, and tapas.
Being the protector of
the three modes of expression,
prekshaa is indeed the red lacquer
on the feet of Bharati,
the deity of wisdom.

Sarasvati in Classical Sanskrit Poetry - 1

It is not surprising that Sarasvati, the goddess of learning and poetry should be amply referred to in ancient Indian poetry in general and Sanskrit poetic literature in particular. Our ancestors broadly classified all branches of knowledge under two streams, shastra referring to scientific literature and kavya referring to poetic literature. Both these have been described as two separate manifestations of the goddess.

द्वे वर्त्मनि गिरां देव्याः शास्त्रञ्च कविकर्म च  ।
प्रज्ञोपज्ञं तयोराद्यं प्रतिभोद्भवमन्तितम् ॥