A while back, I asked the following question to Swamiji in the 15th Swaminar via the Black Lotus App

Q. Swamiji, would learning Sanskrit help me in Sadhana? I’m 41 now, hope it’s not too late to learn this ancient language…

To which Swamiji answered as follows.

A. It may not directly help in your sadhana, but it’s a beautiful language and if you have the time, worth giving it a try.

Indeed, being on the path of Sadhana for some time now, I have realised that one’s bhava (भाव ) is the singular most important component to progress on the path. If there is no bhava (भाव ) in chanting, there is no sambhavana (संभावना), i.e. possibility, to get success in sadhana! 

Anyway, recently, I got an opportunity to learn the language! I registered for a one year Certificate Course in Sanskrit Language conducted by  the Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems of my institute in collaboration with the Central Sanskrit University, Delhi. I am always a slow learner when it comes to language! But I am really enjoying this course! Our teacher Loopamudra Goswami is too good! She is patient, kind, loving and her aura draws immediate respect.  The highlight of each class is the ‘subhashita of the day’! A subhashita (Sanskrit: सुभाषित, subhāṣita) is a literary genre of Sanskrit epigrammatic poems and their message is an aphorism, maxim, advice, fact, truth, lesson or riddle (as per Wikipedia).

Our teacher, Loopamudra ji, recites and explains one subhashita at the end of each class, which she later shares to all the students through a WhatsApp group. Each of the subhashita I learnt is full of wisdom and inspiration! I simply get amazed at the wisdom of our ancient Rishis (Sages)!  Surely, this ancient language,  worth giving a try! I would even say, you are really missing something in life, if you have not made an attempt to learn this sacred language! 

I thought that, many readers at os.me may derive some benefits out of these subhashitas. Hence I am writing this  blogpost. I may even end up in writing a series of blogposts! I would share 3-4 subhashitas in each post. For this particular post, let me share the following subhashitas (Please let me know your comments if you have found them useful.): 

I. शनैः पन्थाः  (Subhashit 1)

शनैः पन्थाः शनैः कन्था शनैः पर्वतलंघने ।
शनैः विद्या शनैः वित्तं पञ्चैतानि शनैः शनैः ॥

śanaiḥ panthāḥ śanaiḥ kanthā śanaiḥ parvatamastake ।
śanaiḥ vidyā śanaiḥ vittaṃ pañcaitāni śanaiḥ śanaiḥ ॥

YouTube video

Hindi meaning*

रास्ता धीरे धीरे हीं कट जाता है। योगी बनने की साधना में भी समय लगता है। पर्वतारोहण करना या विद्या और धन प्राप्त करना ये भी समय से होनेवाली बातें हैं।

English meaning*

Slowly the journey reaches its end; it takes time to become a Yogi. Climbing a mountain or acquiring knowledge or obtaining money is also achieved in due course of time by constant effort.

*शनैः कन्था -another meaning – कपड़ा धीरे धीरे बुनता है/ the cloth is woven little by little

This subhashita clearly tells us the significance of patience!

II.  Ratri Gamishyati (Subhashita 2)

रात्रिर्गमिष्यति भविष्यति सुप्रभातम्
भास्वानुदेष्यति हसिष्यति पङ्कजश्रीः ।
इत्थं विचिन्तयति कोशगते द्विरेफे
हा हन्त हन्त नलिनीं गज उज्जहार ॥

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English meaning:

The night shall pass, dawn shall arrive, the sun shall rise and the lotus shall bloom” – even as the bee, stuck in the lotus bud, was thinking; alas, alas, an elephant uprooted the lotus!!

Commentary (taken from ‘Sanskrit Pearls‘)

Like they say, ‘it is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped’!  Perhaps, the outcome would have been different if the bee had judged the time of the day better.  Perhaps, the bee would have been spared if he wasn’t greedy for that one last sip.  Perhaps, the consequence would have been different if the bee was swift enough to fly out when the bud was closing up.  Perhaps…, perhaps… These can only be speculations. Many times in life, one would never know what would have happened differently if he made different choices.  Perhaps, it is the choices and not chances, that determine one’s destiny?!!  It is probably for oneself to decide…

III.   गन्धेन हीनं सुमनं न शोभते (Subhashita 3)

गन्धेन हीनं सुमनो न शोभते
दन्तैर्विहीनं वदनं न भाति ।
सत्येन हीनं वचनं न दीप्यते
पुण्येन हीन: पुरुषो जघन्य:।।

YouTube video

English meaning:

A flower without any fragrance is not attractive, a mouth devoid of any teeth does not look good and speech not based on truth does not enlighten anyone. Likewise a person without any meritorious or virtuous deed to his credit is considered worthless. (courtesy: संस्कृत सुभाषिते)

This one I really liked! It is easy to understand and easy to remember! Moreover, our Sanskrit teacher Loopamudra-ji has recited it so beautifully! I thank and express my sincere gratitude to her for permitting me to use her recitations. I shall try to post more subhashitas time-to-time on this platform!😊