Lesson 37 – A story from the Hitopadeśa

A short  YouTube version is available here. [Expand to the full article to be able to click on the link].

In the previous lesson, lesson 36, we looked at how declinable stems are derived from roots. We mentioned that, in Sanskrit, all words are derived from basic elements called roots. Words are derived from roots by the addition of suffixes. There are two types of suffixes: Primary suffixes (कृत् kr̥t affixes)  and secondary suffixes (तद्धित taddhita affixes). Primary suffixes are added directly to modified roots, while secondary suffixes are added to derivative stems (and also to pronomial stems and occasionally to particles).

In this lesson, Lesson 37, we will take another story from the Hitopadeśa and analyse it.

This story, “The Brahmin and his faithful mongoose“, is fable 13 of book 4 of the Hitopadeśa. This story corresponds to the  Pañcatantra story fable 2 of book 5.

Here is the story in Devanāgarī

अस्त्युज्जयिन्यां माठरो नाम ब्राह्मणः । तस्य ब्राह्मणी बालापत्यस्य रक्षार्थं ब्राह्माणमवस्थाप्य स्नातुं गता । अथ ब्राह्मणस्य कृते राज्ञः श्राद्धं दातुमाह्वानमागतम् । तच्छ्रुत्वा ब्राह्मणः सहजदारिद्र्यादचिन्तयत् । यदि सत्वरं न गच्छामि तदान्यः कश्चिच्छ्राद्धं ग्रहीष्यति । उक्तं च

आदानस्य प्रदानस्य कर्तव्यस्य च कर्मणः ।
क्षिप्रमक्रियमाणस्य कालः पिबति तद्रसम् ।।

किं तु बालकस्यात्र रक्षको नास्ति । तत्किं करोमि । यातु । चिरकालपालितमिमं पुत्रनिर्विशेषं नकुलं बालकरक्षार्थमवस्थाप्य गच्छामि । तथा कृत्वा स तत्र गतः । ततस्तेन नकुलेन बालकसमीपमागच्छन्कृष्णसर्पो दृष्टो व्यापादितश्च । अथासौ नकुलो ब्राह्मणमायान्तमवलोक्य रक्तविलिप्तमुखपादः सत्वरमुपगम्य तस्य चरणयोर्लुलोठ । ततोऽसौ ब्राह्मणस्तं तथाविधं दृष्ट्वा मम पुत्रोऽनेन भक्षित इत्यवधार्य व्यापादितवान् । अनन्तरं यावदसावुपसृत्य ब्राह्मणस्तावद्बालकः सुस्थः सर्पश्च व्यापदितस्तिष्ठति । ततस्तमुपकारकमेव नकुलं निरूप्य विभावितकृत्यः संतप्तचेताः स परं विषादमगमत् । अतोऽहम् ब्रवीमि ।

योऽर्थतत्त्वमविज्ञाय क्रोधस्यैव वशं गतः ।
स तथा तप्यते मूढो ब्राह्मणो नकुलाद्यथा ।।

astyujjayinyāṃ māṭharo nāma brāhmaṇaḥ | tasya brāhmaṇī bālāpatyasya rakṣārthaṃ brāhmāṇamavasthāpya snātuṃ gatā | atha brāhmaṇasya kr̥te rājñaḥ śrāddhaṃ dātumāhvānamāgatam | tacchrutvā brāhmaṇaḥ sahajadāridryādacintayat | yadi satvaraṃ na gacchāmi tadānyaḥ kaścicchrāddhaṃ grahīṣyati | uktaṃ ca

ādānasya pradānasya kartavyasya ca karmaṇaḥ |
kṣipramakriyamāṇasya kālaḥ pibati tadrasam ||

kiṃ tu bālakasyātra rakṣako nāsti | tatkiṃ karomi | yātu | cirakālapālitamimaṃ putranirviśeṣaṃ nakulaṃ bālakarakṣārthamavasthāpya gacchāmi | tathā kr̥tvā sa tatra gataḥ | tatastena nakulena bālakasamīpamāgacchankr̥ṣṇasarpo dr̥ṣṭo vyāpāditaśca | athāsau nakulo brāhmaṇamāyāntamavalokya raktaviliptamukhapādaḥ satvaramupagamya tasya caraṇayorluloṭha | tato’sau brāhmaṇastaṃ tathāvidhaṃ dr̥ṣṭvā mama putro’nena bhakṣita ityavadhārya vyāpāditavān | anantaraṃ yāvadasāvupasr̥tya brāhmaṇastāvadbālakaḥ susthaḥ sarpaśca vyāpaditastiṣṭhati | tatastamupakārakameva nakulaṃ nirūpya vibhāvitakr̥tyaḥ saṃtaptacetāḥ sa paraṃ viṣādamagamat | ato’ham bravīmi |

yo’rthatattvamavijñāya krodhasyaiva vaśaṃ gataḥ |
sa tathā tapyate mūḍho brāhmaṇo nakulādyathā ||

Analysis

  • asti
  • ujjayinyām – locative singular of feminine ujjayinī (The city Ujjain) “In Ujjain”
    • ud (prefix) + ji + inī (feminine of primary in)
  • māṭharaḥ – nominative singular of masculine māṭhara (descendant of maṭhara)
    • maṭhara + (secondary suffix) a [Note that when the secondary suffix is added to a primitive that ends in “a”, the final “a” is replaced.
  • nāma
  • brāhmaṇaḥ
  • tasya
  • brāhmaṇī – nominative singular of feminine brāhmaṇī (brahmin woman, wife of brahmin)
    • brahman (m)+ (secondary suffix) a –> brāhmaṇa (m); its feminine
  • bālāpatyasya
  • rakṣārtham – adverb – for the sake of protection
    • rakṣā (f) (defense) + artha (m) (aim, object) [possessive (bahuvrīhi) compound “having defense as aim”]. The accusative of this compound is used as adverb.
    • rakṣā is √rakṣ + (primary suffix) ā
  • brāhmāṇam
  • avasthāpya –  indeclinable (continuative – lyabanta) ; ava + causative of √sthā – “having posted, having left behind”
  • snātuṃ – indeclinable infinitive of √snā – to bathe
  • gatā – nominative singular of feminine gatā – gone, went
    • feminine of past passive participle of √gam
    • notice the use of the past passive participle instead of a verb. This is very common in classical Sanskrit
  • atha
  • brāhmaṇasya
  • kr̥te – preposition used with the genitive (for, for the sake of)
    • locative of  kr̥ta (past passive participle of √kr̥) used as preposition
    • brāhmaṇasya  kr̥te – for the brahmin
  • rājñaḥ – ablative singular of masculine rājan – from the king
  • śrāddham – accusative singular of neuter śrāddha – oblation to ancestors, done with care, done with trust
    • śraddhā (f) “trust, care”  = śrad (indeclinable meaning heart) + √dhā (give) –
    • śraddhā + (secondary suffix) a –> śrāddha
  • dātum – infinitive of √dā – to give, to offer
  • āhvānam – accusative singular of neuter āhvāna – call, invitation
    • ā (prefix) + √hvā  + (primary suffix) na ???
  • āgatam – accusative singular of ā+gata – came
  • tat
  • śrutvā
  • brāhmaṇaḥ
  • sahajadāridryāt – ablative singular of neuter sahajadāridrya – from connate poverty (poverty from birth)
    • saha (together) + ja (born) karmadhāraya compound
    • sahaja + dāridrya karmadhāraya compound
    • ja is from √jan
    • dāridrya is from daridra + (secondary suffix) ya
    • daridra is intensive of √drā (run about) + (primary suffix) a- daridra means a wanderer, a beggar
  • acintayat – imperfect active (लङ् (laṅ)  परस्मै पदम् (parasmai padam)) third person singular of √cint – thought
  • yadi
  • satvaram – adverb – accusative of satvara (adj) (“with haste”) – quickly
    • sa + tvarā (from √tvar)
  • na
  • gacchāmi
  • tadā
  • anyaḥ
  • kaścit
  • śrāddham
  • grahīṣyati – simple future (lr̥ṭ लृट् परस्मै पदम् parasmai padam) active third person singular of √grah – will grab
  • uktam
  • ca
  • ādānasya – genitive singular of neuter ādāna – of receiving
    • ā + √dā + (primary suffix) ana
  • pradānasya – genitive singular of neuter pradāna – of giving
    • pra + √dā + (primary suffix) ana
  • kartavyasya – genitive singular of neuter adjective kartavya (to be done)- of things to be done
    • kartavya is the gerundive of  √kr̥
  • ca
  • karmaṇaḥ -genitive singular of neuter karman – of action, work
    • √kr̥ + (primary suffix) man
  • kṣipram – adverb – quickly
    • accusative of adjective kṣipra used as adverb
      • √kṣip + (primary suffix) ra
  • akriyamāṇasya – genitive singular of neuter adjective akriyamāṇa – not being done
    • a (negative prefix) + kriyamāṇa (present middle participle of  the passive of  √kr̥) karmadhāraya compound
  • kālaḥ – nominative singular of masculine kāla – time
  • pibati – present indicative active (लट् (laṭ)  परस्मै पदम् (parasmai padam)) third person singular of √pā – drinks
  • tadrasam – accusative singular of masculine tadrasa – the essence of it
    • tasya rasa –> tadrasa (dependent (tatpuruṣa) compound)
    • Note the use of the genitive absolute: kartavyasya karmaṇaḥ kṣipram akriyamāṇasya kālaḥ pibati tadrasam कर्तव्यस्य कर्मणः क्षिप्रम् अक्रियमाणस्य कालः पिबति तद्रसम् (Of things to be done, if left undone, time drinks up its essence)
  • kim
  • tu
  • bālakasya – genitive singular of masculine bālaka – small boy (child)
    • bāla + (secondary suffix diminutive) ka
  • atra
  • rakṣakaḥ – nominative singular of masculine rakṣaka – protector
    • rakṣaka is √rakṣ + (primary suffix) aka
  • na
  • asti
  • tat
  • kim
  • karomi
  • yātu – present imperative active (लोट् (loṭ)  परस्मै पदम् (parasmai padam)) second person singular of √yā – go, let it go,  don’t worry about it.
  • cirakālapālitam – accusative singular of masculine adjective cirakālapālita – long-time-cared-for
    • cira (adj.) long time + kāla (m) time –> cirakāla (m) long time ; karmadhāraya
    • pālita – past passive participle of class 10 root √pāl (protect) a variant of √pā (protect) “protected”
    • (Some people consider the root to be √pālaya. Some consider √pālaya to be a causative of √pā ; others consider √pālaya to be a denominative derivation from √pāla (protector) which is derived from √pā (√pā + primary suffix la)
    • cirakāla + pālita –> cirakālapālita ; karmadhāraya
  • imam
  • putranirviśeṣam – accusative singular of masculine adjective putranirviśeṣa – like son (not distinct from son)
    • putra (masculine) (son) + nirviśeṣa — putranirviśeṣa; tatpuruṣa
    • nirviśeṣa (m) –> nis (preposition prefix) + vi (prepositional prefix) + √śis  + (primary suffix) a – non-difference
  • nakulam
  • bālakarakṣārtham
  • avasthāpya
  • gacchāmi
  • tathā
  • kr̥tvā
  • saḥ
  • tatra
  • gataḥ
  • tataḥ
  • tena
  • nakulena
  • bālakasamīpam – adverb from accusative of bālakasamīpa (near the little boy)
    • bālakasya samīpam
  • āgacchan
  • kr̥ṣṇasarpaḥ nominative singular of masculine kr̥ṣṇasarpa – black snake
    • kr̥ṣṇa (adjective) (black) + sarpa (snake) (√sr̥p + a)
  • dr̥ṣṭaḥ
  • vyāpāditaḥ
  • ca
  • atha
  • asau
  • nakulaḥ
  • brāhmaṇam
  • āyāntam – accusative singular of masculine adjective āyānt – coming
    • ā + present participle of √yā
  • avalokya
  • raktaviliptamukhapādaḥ – nominative singular of masculine adjective raktaviliptamukhapāda – face and paws besmeared with blood
    • rakta + vilipta –> raktavilipta tatpuruṣa;
      • rakta (n) (blood) = rakta past passive participle of √rañj
      • vilipta (adjective) vi + past passive participle of √lip (smear) – besmeared
      • mukhapāda –> mukha + pāda (dvandva)
      • raktavilipta + mukhapāda ; karmadhāraya
  • satvaram
  • upagamya
  • tasya
  • caraṇayoḥ – locative dual of masculine caraṇa (foot) – on two feet
    • √car + ana
  • luloṭha – perfect active (liṭ parasmai padam) third person singular of √luṭh (roll) – rolled
  • tataḥ
  • asau
  • brāhmaṇaḥ
  • tam
  • tathāvidham – accusative singular of masculine adjective tathāvidha – in such condition
    • tathā (adverb ta + thā) (so, thus) + vidhā (f) (vi + √dhā) (sort, type); bahuvrīhi
  • dr̥ṣṭvā
  • mama
  • putraḥ
  • anena
  • bhakṣitaḥ
  • iti
  • avadhārya – indeclinable (continuative – lyabanta) ava + causative of √dhr̥ – having assumed
  • vyāpāditavān
  • anantaram
  • yāvat
  • asau
  • upasr̥tya – indeclinable (continuative – lyabanta) upa + √sr̥ – having aproached
  • brāhmaṇaḥ
  • tāvat
  • bālakaḥ
  • susthaḥ – nominative singular of masculine adjective sustha – well situated, safe and sound
    • su + √sthā; karmadhāraya
  • sarpaḥ
  • ca
  • vyāpaditaḥ
  • tiṣṭhati – present indicative active third person singular of √sthā – stands
    • vyāpaditaḥ tiṣṭhati = lies dead
  • tataḥ
  • tam
  • upakārakam – accusative singular of masculine adjective upakāraka – doing friendly service
    • upa + √kr̥ + a + ka
  • eva
  • nakulam
  • nirūpya – indeclinable (continuative – lyabanta) of ni + √rūp – having looked at
    • √rūp denominative from rūpa ??
    • ni is a verbal prefix (this is not part of the normal set of verbal prefixes)
  • vibhāvitakr̥tyaḥ – nominative singular of masculine adjective vibhāvitakr̥tya – possessing a discovered deed; ie. realizing what he had done
    • vibhāvita (adjective) (discovered) + kr̥tyā (f) (deed); bahuvrīhi
      • vi + past passive participle (??) of causative of √bhū
      • kr̥tyā feminine of gerundive of √kr̥
  • saṃtaptacetāḥ – nominative singular of masculine adjective saṃtaptacetas – with sorrowful mind
    • saṃtapta (with sorrow) + cetas (n) (mind); bahuvrīhi
    • sam + past passive participle of √tap
    • cetas – √cit + as
  • saḥ
  • param – accusative singular of masculine adjective para – most, highest, greatest, beyond
    • para –> √pr̥ (pass) + a ??
  • viṣādam – accusative singular of masculine viṣāda – dejection, sorrow, despondency
    • vi + √sad + a
  • agamat – aorist indicative active third person singular of √gam – went to (became)
  • ataḥ
  • aham
  • bravīmi
  • yaḥ
  • arthatattvam – accusative singular of neuter arthatattva – true state of the matter, case
    • artha + (m) (thing, matter, cause etc.) + tattvam (n) (essence, real condition of a thing; “that-ness”)
    • artha –> √r̥ + tha
    • tattva –> tad + (secondary suffix) tva
  • avijñāya – indeclinable (continuative – lyabanta) of a (negative) + vi + √jñā – not having ascertained
  • krodhasya – genitive singular of masculine krodha – of anger
    • √krudh + a
  • eva
  • vaśam – accusative singular of masculine vaśa – will, controlling power
  • gataḥ
  • saḥ
  • tathā
  • tapyate – present indicative middle third person singular of √tap – suffers, repents, does penance
  • mūḍhaḥ
  • brāhmaṇaḥ
  • nakulāt
  • yathā

Word-by-word meaning

  • asti (there is) ujjayinyām (in Ujjain) māṭharaḥ (Māṭhara) nāma (named) brāhmaṇaḥ (brahmin)
  • tasya (his) brāhmaṇī (wife) bālāpatyasya (of infant child) rakṣārtham (for the sake of protection) brāhmāṇam (the brahmin) avasthāpya (having posted) snātuṃ (to bathe) gatā (went)
  • atha (then) brāhmaṇasya (the brahmin’s) kr̥te (for the sake of) rājñaḥ (from the king) śrāddham (oblation to ancestors)  dātum (to give, to offer) āhvānam (call, invitation) āgatam (came)
  • tat (that) śrutvā (hearing) brāhmaṇaḥ (the brahmin) sahajadāridryāt (from connate poverty) acintayat (thought)
  • yadi (if) satvaram (quickly) na (not) gacchāmi (I go) tadā (then) anyaḥ (another) kaścit (someone) śrāddham (oblation) grahīṣyati (will grab)
  • uktam (it is said) ca (also)
  • ādānasya (of receiving) pradānasya (of giving) kartavyasya (of things to be done) ca (and) karmaṇaḥ (of action, work) kṣipram (quickly) akriyamāṇasya (not being done) kālaḥ (time) pibati (drinks) tadrasam (the essence of it)
  • kim (what) tu (then) bālakasya (of the child) atra (here) rakṣakaḥ (protector) na (not) asti (is)
  • tat (so) kim (what) karomi (I do)
  • yātu (le me not worry about it)
  • cirakālapālitam ( long-time-cared-for) imam (this) putranirviśeṣam (like son) nakulam (mongoose) bālakarakṣārtham (for the protection of the boy) avasthāpya (having posted) gacchāmi (I will go)
  • tathā (thus) kr̥tvā (having done) saḥ (he) tatra (there) gataḥ (went)
  • tataḥ (then) tena (by that) nakulena (mongoose) bālakasamīpam (near the little boy) āgacchan (coming) kr̥ṣṇasarpaḥ (black snake) dr̥ṣṭaḥ (saw) vyāpāditaḥ (killed) ca (also)
  • atha (then) asau (that) nakulaḥ (mongoose) brāhmaṇam (the brahmin) āyāntam (coming) avalokya (having seen) raktaviliptamukhapādaḥ (with face and paws besmeared with blood) satvaram (quickly)  upagamya (going) tasya (his) caraṇayoḥ (on two feet) luloṭha (rolled)
  • tataḥ (then) asau (that) brāhmaṇaḥ (brahmin) tam (him) tathāvidham (in such condition) dr̥ṣṭvā (having seen) mama (my) putraḥ (son) anena (by him) bhakṣitaḥ (eaten) iti (thus) avadhārya (having assumed) vyāpāditavān (killed)
  • anantaram (meanwhile) yāvat (as soon as) asau (that) upasr̥tya (having approached) brāhmaṇaḥ (brahmin) tāvat (then) bālakaḥ (boy) susthaḥ (well situated, safe and sound) sarpaḥ (snake) ca (also) vyāpaditaḥ (killed) tiṣṭhati  (stands)
  • tataḥ (then) tam (that) upakārakam (doing friendly service) eva (surely) nakulam (mongoose) nirūpya (having seen) vibhāvitakr̥tyaḥ (realizing what he had done) saṃtaptacetāḥ (with sorrowful mind) saḥ (he) param (greatest) viṣādam (sorrow) agamat  (became)
  • ataḥ (so) aham (I) bravīmi (say)
  • yaḥ (who) arthatattvam ( true state of the matter) avijñāya (not having ascertained) krodhasya (of anger) eva (even) vaśam (controlling power) gataḥ (gone)
  • saḥ (he) tathā (then) tapyate (repents) mūḍhaḥ (foolish) brāhmaṇaḥ (brahmin) nakulāt (from the mongoose) yathā (like)

Meaning

There lived in Ujjain a Brahmin named Mathara. His wife, having left the Brahmin to watch the child, went for her bath.

In the meantime, he received an invitation from the king to receive gifts associated with the Shraaddha ceremony. On hearing this, the Brahmin, from innate poverty, thought: If I don’t go quickly, some other brahmin will grab the gifts.

It is said : In the matter of receiving, giving and of doing and action, if it is not quickly done, the essence of it is lost.

But there is no one here to watch the child. What will I do now? Okay, let me not worry. I will go, having posted this mongoose, long-cared-for by me and like a son to me, to watch the boy. Having done this he went (to receive his gifts).

Then (after the brahmin had gone), the mongoose saw a black snake approaching the boy, and killed it.

Presently, the mongoose, seeing the brahmin returning, went with blood besmeared face and paws, and rolled at his feet.

The brahmin, seeing the mongoose in this condition, assumed that it has killed and eaten his boy and (so) killed it.

Then as soon as he went in, he saw that the boy was well and the snake lay there, killed. Then looking at the mongoose that had done him good service he was filled with great sorrow.

Therefore I say:

He who, without having ascertained the true fact, gives himself up to anger, has to repent, as did the foolish Brahmin in respect to his mongoose.

This is the end of lesson 37. In this lesson we took up a story from the Hitopadeśa and analysed it.

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