Bhartruhari Tag

I return to Bhartruhari after the longest time. This sloka—the third in Neeti Shatakam—is highly applicable given the times we live in and given the self-proclaimed experts in every field. Agnah Sukhamaradhyate Sukhataramaradhyate Visheshagnah | Jnanalavadurvidagdham Brahmaapi Naram Na Ranjayati || It is but very easy to please the wholly Ignorant, easier it is to please the really Knowledgeable|It is well-nigh impossible for even Brahma to please those endowed with half-baked knowledge||Read More

Posted On March 1, 2007By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

On Men of Character

Several months have passed since I published anything on the venerable Bhartruhari. In this installment, I present one of my all-time favourites from Neeti Shataka. Nindantu neeti nipunah yadi vaa stunvantu | Lakshmiih samaavishatu gacchatu vaa yatheshtam || Adya eva vaa maranam astu yugaantare vaa | Nyayaat pathah pravichalanti padam na dhiraah || Unmindful of the praise or the upbraid of Scholars learned in morals, ethics, and conduct; Unheeding of the ingress or exodus of Goddess Lakshmi (wealth), Her will; Undaunted of Death come today or Perchance eons later, HeRead More

Posted On June 19, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka: On Learning

Harturyaati Na Gocharam Kimapi Shampushnaatiyatsarvadaa| Hyaarthibhyahpratipaadyamaanamanishampraapnotivruddhimparaam|| Kalpanteshvapinaprasaatinidhanam Vidyaakhyamantardhanam| Yeshaamtaanpratimaanamunjatanrupaahkastaihsahaspardhate|| Cast away thine vain pride O King(s) Bow and make way, nay, treat men of Learning as your equals, nay your superiors; What chance stands your abundance in face of such Opulence That thieves cannot rob That provides them perennial delight That does not dimish when distributed, nay– That grows indeed, by distribution amongst its seekers and Is never destroyed even as the Kalpa ends.Read More

Posted On May 23, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka: On Evil Rulers

Shaastropaskrutashabdasundaragirah Shishyapradeyaagamaa| Vikhyaataah Kavayovasantivishayeyasyaprabhornirdhanaah|| Tat Jaadyamvasudhaadhipasyakavayohyarthamvinaapeeshvaraah| Kutsyaahsyuhkupureekshakaanamanayoyairardhatah Paatitaah|| The King whose dominion is populated with Scholars, poets and learned men famed for Excellence, erudition, sweet speech, and a Large retinue of disciples eking Lives condemned to penury Is indeed a king but in name similar to An incompetent jeweller who errs in Valuing precious gems unaware that Their true worth depends not on his whim similar to the Power and reach of genuine men of learning.Read More

Posted On May 22, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka: On Fools Redux

Ed: Bhartruhari seems to have spent a considerable portion of his life preparing a catalogue of fools. Here’s one more verse on that, perhaps the last. Varam Parvatadurgeshu Bhraantam Vanacaraih Saha| Na Moorkhajanasamparkah Surendrabhavaneshvapi|| How agreeable it is to wander with Wild brutes in dense forests and mountains than In the company of imbeciles although the Walk might be in Indra’s palatial premises.Read More

Posted On May 2, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka: On More Fools

Shakyo Vaaraitum Jalena Hutabhukhchhatrena Sooryaataapo| Naagendronishitaankushenasamadodandena Gogardabhau|| Vyaadhirbheshajasamgrahaisccha Vividhairmantraprayogairvisham Sarvasya| Aushadhamasti Shaastravihitam Moorkhasya Naasti Aushadham|| One can put out fire dousing it with water, Ward off the scorching sun with an umbrella, Tame a rutted elephant goading it with a sharp hook, Herd unruly cattle with a stick, Cure disease with medicine, Ward off poison with mantras for every known Evil has a cure save for that Of an imbecile. Saahitya Sangeeta Kalaaviheenah| Saakshaatpashuh Pucchhavishaanaheenah|| Trinam Na Khaadannapi Jeevamaanastadbhaagadeyam| Paramam Pashoonaam|| He that is Ignorant of Literature, Music and ArtRead More
Krumikulacitam Laalaalkinnam Vigandhi Jugupsitam| Nirupamarasam Preetyaa Khaadannaraasthi Niraamisham|| Surapatimai Shvaa Paarshvastham Vilokya Na Shankate| Nahi Ganayati Kshudro Jantuh Parigrahaphalgutaam|| Engrossed in joy the Cur chews incessantly on The putrid, worm-ridden, spit-drooling, fleshless piece of human bone oblivious in Even the presence of Indra just as The Knave knows no shame in Cringing before another for worthless Altruism, charity or largesse. (Ed: This verse like several others uses some strong language if only to put the message more forcefully. The bottomline: no pursuit or means is considered dishonest or derogatory byRead More

Posted On April 17, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka: On Silence, Fools &c

Svaayattamekaantagunam Vidhaatraa| Vinirmitam Chhaadanamagnataayaah|| Visheshatah Sarvavidaam Samaaje| Vibhooshanam Mounamapanditaanaam|| Verily has (Lord) Brahma provided The most powerful weapon to use as one pleases; An ornament of the Ignorant, Silence adorns the Illiterate in the company of the Erudite. (As a complement, it is worthwhile to read this in conjunction with this quote: By silence I hear other men’s imperfections, and conceal my own.) Yadaakinchit Agnoham Dwipa Iva Madaandah Samabhavam| Tadaa Sarvagnosmeetyabhavadavaliptam Mama Manah|| Yadaa Kinchit Kinchit Budhajanasakaashaadavagatam| Tadaa Moorkhosmeeti Jwara Iva Mado Me Vyapagatah|| In stark ignorance I trampled ‘longRead More

Posted On April 11, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka: More on Idiots

Vyaalam Baalamrinaalatantubhirasau Roddhum Samujjrumbhate| Chhettum Vajramaneem Shireeshakusumapraantena Sannahyati|| Maadhuryam Madhubindunaa Racayitum Kshaaraambudhereehate| Netum Vaanchhati Yah Khalaanpathi Sataam Sookhtairsudhaasyandibhih|| A rutted elephant can be calmed by tying it with tender lotus fibers A hole can be drilled into a diamond with the Shirish flower The salty ocean can be sweetened by adding but a drop of nectar But none can drill sense into the Wicked neither by Sermons nor by nectar-like advice.Read More

Posted On April 10, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka: On Fools

Here’s my next installment of the Neeti Shataka. The verses are in no specific order but they are kind of thematic: Bhartruhari talks about fools in these. The poet stretches the limits of exaggeration in two verses here if only to add greater force. The sheer ridiculousness of exaggeration serves its aim: read and judge for yourself. Agnah Sukhamaaraadhyah Sukhataramaaraadhyate Visheshagnah| Jnaanalavadurvigdham Brahmaapi naram na Ranjayati|| Truly is this world made up of The Ignorant, the Experts, and the Fools. Teaching the Ignorant is easy, Convincing an Expert likewise butRead More

Posted On April 6, 2006By SandeepIn Indian Philosophy

Neeti Shataka of Bhartruhari

As promised, I present the first few verses drawn from Bhartruhari’s Neeti Shataka. A brief introduction to Neeti Shataka is in order. Neeti can generally be understood as a teaching/exposition of morality, conduct, wisdom, behaviour, prudence, and all of these. The Neeti Shataka does exactly this: at one level, it is a treatise on a range of subjects like conduct, character, kinds of people, learning, the arts, while at another, it is sheer poetry in the sense you can choose to remain deaf to the poet’s message but experience theRead More
I owe the inspiration of this post to the learned Jaffna who left a comment on my Bhartruhari post. And so I’ve abandoned the idea of doing a part-two post on Bhartruhari; instead, I’ll try to post a translation of at least one verse from Niti Shataka followed by Vairagya Shataka everyday. Eventually, you’ll be able to find these arranged as a pseudo-table of contents in my sidebar.Read More