Saturday, June 19, 2010


I bumped into these hilarious verses from the first canto of the Raghuvamsham:

(The context is that the great emperor Dileepa is very unhappy that he does not have children, and approaches the sage Vasishta for help and advice, and rants away:)

नूनं मत्त: परं वंश्या: पिण्ड-विच्छेद-दर्शिन: |
न प्रकाम-भुज: श्राद्धे स्वधा-संग्रह-तत्परा: || (1.66)

nuunaM matta: paraM vaMshyaa: piNDa-vichCheda-darshina: |
na prakaama-bhuja: shraaddhe svadhaa-saMgraha-tatparaa: ||

"And surely, my ancestors in heaven see that there won't be any more offerings for them (because I am childless), and won't eat to their fill during their annual ceremonies because they are busy storing away whatever they get!"

मत्परं दुर्लभं मत्वा नूनम् आवर्जितं मया |
पय: पूर्वै: स्वनि:श्वासै: कवोष्णम् उपभुज्यते || (1.67)

matparaM durlabhaM matvaa nuunam aavarjitaM mayaa |
paya: puurvai: svani:shvaasai: kavoShNam upabhujyate ||

(This one is a whopper)

"Thinking that these offerings will end with me, their hot drinks become lukewarm because of their depressed sighing."

I'm totally amazed by the detailed, extraordinarily compressed imagery!

1 comment:

S said...

Only in Sanskrit. :-) Such compression, and the word order adds to the effect. :-)

There seems no idea of a bad source of imagery or one too elaborate, good ones are welcome from anywhere :-)

Do you know the grammatical upama in Raghuvamsha? Someone informed me that Kalidasa who usually refrains from pointlessly showing off grammatical knowledge (unlike some later poets), has a grammatical analogy (in 12.58): when Rama kills Vali and Sugriva is established in his place (taking his kingdom and even his wife), it says:
स हत्वा वालिनं वीरस्तत्पदे चिरकांक्षिते |
धातोः स्थान इवादेशं सुग्रीवं संन्यवेशयत् ||
sa hatvā Vālinaṃ vīras tat-pade cira-kāṅkṣite /
dhātoḥ sthāna iv' ādeśaṃ Sugrīvaṃ saṃnyaveśayat //

As "as" (asti) dhatu is entirely replaced by "bhu" for some tenses (bhavet, bhuyat...) by adesha, so Vali was replaced by Sugriva. :-)

[One grammatical analogy in a book seems the tolerable limit. :p]