[Advaita-l] Meaning of praNo devI sarasvatI

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 17 23:21:19 CST 2006


I remember hearing that in vedic sanskrit an upasarga, prefix, need not be attached to the word it qualifies. Since upasargas usually qualify verbs, I think 'pra', an intensifer, qualifies the verb, avatu. May the goddess protect us well.

Couple of issues in the translation given by you. Normally the karma, that is the object of an action (here 'us') should be in dvitIyA vibhakti; since nah is also the dvitIyA of aham, why should we say that nah is the shashThI? Secondly vAjebhih, means through vAja, that is the vAja is the instrument of some action. That being so, how does the word mean "those who worship her with offerings"? 

With the above, the meaning would be along the lines of "May the powerful (vAjinIvatI) goddess SarasvatI, the protector of the wise (dhInAm avitrI), protect us well through consecrated speech (vAjebhih)"?

As you suggested, I will consult the bhAshya and clarify my doubts.


----- Original Message ----
From: Ravisankar Mayavaram <abhayambika at gmail.com>
To: advaita-vedAnta List <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>; ambaa-l at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2006 9:00:12 AM
Subject: [Advaita-l] Meaning of praNo devI sarasvatI

Prasad X <xxpraxx at ...> writes:

> I would like to have a word by word translation of:
> praNo devI sarasvatI vajebhir vajinIvatI
> dhInAm avitraya avatu
> I have tried a dictionary but not found a satisfactory explanation for
> some of the words.

This is from my notes, it may have some errors. Best is look at a
bhAshhya.   Trying to discern meaning of vedic sentences without help is
prone to problems and this applies to what is written below also. Ignore the
##'s below, that is to switch between English and Sanskrit in ITRANS.

praNo devI saraswatI vAjebhirvAjinIvatI |
dhInAmavitrayavatu ||

May devI sarasvatI, who protects those who worship her, protect and awaken
our intelligence.##

praNaH  - pra \+ naH  ; naH - asmAkam ## asmAkAm  is bahu vachana shashhTi
vibhakti. of aham. -- Our ##

vAjebhiH  ##
those who worship with offerings ## vAja ##  has many meanings including
sacrifical offerings, prayers used  in sacrifice, clarified butter, etc.
##vaajebhiH## is ##tritiyA vibhakti## that is, by the means of these prayers
and offerings. Here it stands for those who worship by the means of ## vAja

vaajin ## spirited, powerful, heroic, etc. ## vaajinii## is a feminine of
this subAnta (noun). ##vat \/ mat## suffix addds the meaning of filled with
or endowed with. Here it means one who is endowed with power, etc. And also
one who is capable of endowing others with the same ##


dhI ##is buddhi or intellect ## dhInAm ## is genitive case (sixth) of
feminine dhI. It means powers of mental faculty, that is dhInAm shaktyaH##

avitR^i ##  protector##

avatu  -- loT (aaj~nA) ## of ## av; av - avati \(prathama gaNa,
parasmaipada\) ## av means to protect, to please, to favor etc.. Here the
usage is ## sA  asmAkaM dhInAm shaktyaH avatu | sA kA ? | sA devI sarasvatI
| ##

One can go deep into the name sarasvatI also. The only thing I am not very
clear is how the modifier "pra" operates here. The tamil word by word
meaning (not very useful) simply says "pra" is protect. If that is so, then
in that context naH should be taken as asmAn.  Why I say it was not useful
is it simply translates vAjebhiH as "vaNanguvOrai (those worship her) "
without going into any details.

But I think "pra"  either modifies the verbs that come after, thus making it
stronger or it modifies  some omitted words to the effect of prArambha, that
is while starting or commencing a study/yajna etc. I did not have the
patience to search for this bhAshhya on DLI library.

Corrections are welcome.

<abhayambika at gmail.com>
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