Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Simplicity and Profoundness

Of all the sanskrit shlokas that I have heard, there are two that appeal to me the most. One for the sheer simplicity and beauty and the other for the sheer complexity, profoundness and abstractness.

The first one is the very famous "asatoma sadgamaya" from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

In english script:

Om! asatoma sadgamaya.
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrutyorma amrutam gamayah
Om! shantih shantih shantih ||

And a rough translation of that is here:
(take me) from ignorance to knowledge
from darkness to light
from death to immortality
peace, peace, peace

Simple, straight and to the point.
I still remember, when I was just beginning to make half meaningful sentences, how my grand father would stand with me with folded hands in front of the family pooja room, and help me recite this shloka. I can claim to remember this because, I have a recording of this with me reciting the shloka with my grandfather. My baby voice with that of the gruff smoke hardened voice of my grandfather.

The second one is the equally famous "purnamadah purnamidam" from the Ishvasya Upanishad

In english script:

Om! purnamadah purnamidam purnat purnamudachyate |
purnasya purnamaadaya purnamevavshishyate |
Om! shantih shantih shantih

And a rough translation:

this is complete, that is complete from this complete comes that complete
if this complete is taken out of that complete, only completeness remains
peace, peace, peace

Many tomes have been written about this particular shloka for its profoundity. It might seem incoherent at first glance, but taken in its entire context, many people would aver that it encapsulates the entire advaita philosophy in it. There are many interpretations of this shloka. It is something that can really give a feast for thought. In spite of all that I said about this shloka, sometimes I wonder is this shloka all about simplicity itself?

Here are some good links that discuss this shloka
, two (The link number two is a link to a pdf)


Blogger maheshbalaji said...

i know that u know that u'r first example was perfectly used in Matrix Revolutions when the titles roll finally! the first time i heard it i jus jumped from my seat! then i realized their zany corelation to their own theme, that any beggining has to have an end! somehow only 'cos they used this bit atlast i thought the trilogy was not ended that badly also! :)

the brothers said they had used so many old and new cults and religious logic in thier total design of the movies, like gothic and budhism and Gnostic and wat not! but for the clincher they used this absolutly profound shloka! and i jus loved it! :)

4:58 AM  

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