Shubh Deepavali


Deepavali Greetings to all sentient beings. May your home be blessed by Lakshmi. For Bengalis especially, may Ma Kali preserve and protect you.

Here’s a prayer for Diwali.

Om sarveshaam swastir bhavatu
Sarveshaam shantir bhavatu

Sarveshaam poornam bhavatu
Sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu

Sarve bhavantu sukhinah
Sarve santu niraamayaah

Sarve bhadraani pashyantu
Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet


Auspiciousness be unto all
Peace be unto all.

Completeness be unto all
Prosperity be unto all.

May all be happy
May all be free from disabilities!

May all seek the good of others!
May none suffer from sorrow!

One thought on “Shubh Deepavali

  1. Dear Atanu,

    1. If I may suggest a few syntactical corrections:

    (1.1) In “sarveshaam,” if by “sha” you mean the vowel used in “shaanti” (i.e. peace) then you have to make it the other one, i.e. the “Sha”, here (i.e. the vowel used in “ShaT-kon” (meaning: hexagon)). Similarly, it should be the “Sha” and not “sha” in “sarveshaam”.

    Further, for “poornam”: If by “na” you mean the one used in “neti [repeat until your satisfaction]”, then, here, you have to make it the “Na” as in “praNav”. Similarly, instead of “bhadraani”, it should be “bhadraaNi”.

    [Yes, “bhadraaNi,” here, is rather like the last name of a Sindhi kid who went to a rural school in Maharashtra or Panjab—and unlike the last name carried by his paternal cousin who went to a convent school in Bombay/Bhopal.]

    (1.2) Either remove the white-space between “swastir” and “bhavatu” or make it “swastihi” [note the removal of “r” and inclusion of “hi”] and “bhavatu” as separate words. Similarly for “shaantir” and “bhavatu”.

    (1.3) It should be either “dukhkha” or “du:kha”, not “duhkha”. [Duh! :)]

    (1.4) Finally, there should be no space between “bhaag” and “bhavet”. In the “devanaagaree” script, it would be expressed as a compound thing—with a half “ga” (i.e. without the vertical bar for that alphabet), joined with a full “bha”.

    2. Now, if I may suggest something by way of semantics:

    (2.1) “mangalam” rather suggests something like: “of virtue” or a product/result of virtue/activity. The emphasis throughout is on *activity*: some activity (i.e. virtue) leading, after some actual success because of that activity, to some *other* *activity* of the body/soul as a product. The word is to be taken in the sense of the happiness or auspiciousness as in a festive or celebratory mood following a well-earned and virtuous success, as in contrast to the more mature or sober (or even metaphysical) sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, or serenity. And, the stress here is rather on the soul or the abstract than on a concrete or material end-product (as would be indicated by “prosperity”).

    The auspiciousness in “svasti” still refers to the spiritual side, but in a more serene or abstract sense, as contrasted to that in “mangalam”. The “mangalam” referes to something joyous in the here-and-now sense; the kind of joy that would be expressed with excitement, even if it be not long-lasting.

    In further contrast, the happiness in “sukhi” refers to something more enduring or stable, say, as in “very well placed.” The root “kha” here refers, in its most basic sense, to some definite cavity-like thing or some definite region of the empty space, i.e. something that is capable of receiving something else. In the actual usage, this empty space is an allegory for the mind. Thus, “sukha” literally means: “a sense of being in or at something that is capable of being filled, and then, with this thing being filled with something good/auspicious,” i.e., “a mental environment filled with good,” or: “a sense of being well-placed,” or: “a sense of being in a comfort-zone.” In contrast, “dukhkha” means its exact opposite: a sense of being engulfed by sorrow, even, of being in a sea of bad fortune.

    So, “sarve bhavantu sukhinah” really means: All ought to be (rather than may be) in their own comfort-zones. (“May all be happy” is a bit too general a description for the intended sense to be conveyed comfortably enough.)

    (2.2) “niraamayaahaa” consists of: “ni:” + “aamayaahaa”. “aam” means “raw” or “uncooked” or “undigested” and “aamaya” means “indigestion”. “ni:” is the negator. The correct sense of “niraamaya” means: heathiness in the sense: being in that state of wholesomeness in which you would find if you first had fulfilled some natural craving or urge in full, say as in having a full meal after hunger, but with this action not then producing any bad effects such as indigestion, in the process. That sense of wholesomeness is what the word conveyes. Or something similar. But it has nothing to do with abilities or disabilities (as in being handicapped or so).

    (2.3) “bhadraaNi pashyantu” doesn’t mean: seeking the good of others.

    “bhadra” means good, as in the sense of: the pleasant, soft, gentle, gracious, blessed, etc. (The English “gentlemanly” is pretty close, but not as close as what would be indicated by the Bengali word “bhadralok”.) Now, “bhadraa” (note, now with an “aa”) is a word that means a cow, as well as a gracious lady. (The name “subhadraa” means not just a gracious lady but also one who is also blessed with good fortune or is capable of bringing great auspiciousness with her.)

    “pash-” has to do with the faculty of sight or seeing. “pashya” means asking someone to do something with the faculty of sight, i.e., simply, to ask him to have a look: “behold!” or “look at [that]”. “pashyantu” is the (morally) commanded form of the same. When you try to point out something nice to your boss, it’s the simple “pashyatu”; when the boss does the same, he would use “pashyantu” (with an “n” in between). The word used here is the latter.

    Thus, “sarve bhadraaNi pashyantu” means: the pleasant, gentle, or gracious sights is what every one ought to (or must) find himself looking at.

    [“Hey, every dude gets to see what’s easy on the eyes, OK?” is what a present-day American may ordinarily say, here.]

    Someone X seeking the good of someone else Y is not at all being morally commanded here. In exact contrast, the commanding wish expressed here is that whatever X sees ought to be good/gentle (where X is every one).

    Here, you may perhaps imagine a subtle command to avert your eyes from the non-“bhadra”, even if the words to this effect are not explicitly there. Similarly, you may also imagine a subtle command for the universe to somehow always fill your visual field with every thing “bhadra”.

    In other words, here, even if your ardent wish were to lay some serious infamy at the door of this author, even then, letting your imagination run wildest in this direction, the worst with which you could end up charging him would be on the account of day-dreaming—not of *altruism*.

    (2.4) etc.

    … Of course, I myself not only can but actually do commit mistakes of the above (and also all other) kind(s) all the time in my expression and language, and also am, as always, willing to learn. So, what I wrote is to be taken in that spirit.

    … Also, as far as learning goes, if some Sanskrut expert can chime in here, great. … For example, he may clarify the sources from which these two “subhaaShita”s have come. (I couldn’t find any.)

    Happy Diwali! [I know, this mood won’t last forever!!]



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