Today I decided I would make breakfast with vegetables from my garden. The garden is small and some of the vegetables are already getting sparse, but I was able to include beets, two kinds of carrots, spinach, chard, yellow squash, a squash blosssom, a potato and basil. I realized later that I forgot to include a zucchini and I chose not to use my last bok choy plant.
I was particularly excited about the beet because I’ve never had any luck growing them. But today the one I pulled out was BIG, at least in comparison to any I’ve had in my garden in the past.
I decided I would steam them with a bit of dill. They tasted uttamam! (Uttamam means “very good” in Sanskrit.)
Later, I realized that I could have cooked some of the beet greens, but I know the worms in my two worm bins will thoroughly enjoy eating all of the scraps. It seems fitting since they deserve a lot of the credit for the harvest.
I am still very much a beginning gardener. I love how much I learn each year
When I think of the word “Struggle,” my attempt to learn to read, write and speak Sanskrit is what comes to mind. For the last four and a half years it has been a major focus in my life, one I feel very passionate about.
The classes I have been taking recently focus on immersion. The goal is to have no English spoken in the class, although some allowances are made. Almost all of the students are Indian and many of the words in their native languages are rooted in Sanskrit. Therefore, the Indian students tend to learn the Sanskrit vocabulary very fast. Even when they don’t know a word they may have a good idea of what it means.
When I start with a class of new Sanskrit students, I feel on reasonably even ground with them, or even ahead. As I proceed in the course, however, they quickly pull ahead of me and by the end I am not understanding much of the conversation that occurs. Eventually, I hit a brick wall where I feel hopeless.
I am in that place again. I have tried retaking the class and have learned a lot by doing that, but I don’t think I can meet my goal by continuing to retake it. I’m going to take a break from that kind of learning and do some independent study focusing on reading Sanskrit; listening to Sanskrit video conversations; speaking with and writing to friends who are also learning Sanskrit; and on building vocabulary. I intend to stay committed to my goal and hope to come back to a class format sometime in the future.
Another struggle I have been dealing with this year has been lower back problems. My life has been very different since that started in mid-February. Now that the problem is resolving, I can see that it would have been a perfect time for me to focus on my Sanskrit and on doing the spiritual practices I neglect. I feel sad that I didn’t take advantage of the long hours of down time to do those things but at the same time I know I can learn from the experience rather than live in regret. I can have compassion for the choices I made this time, and make different ones in the future.
I appreciate today’s Daily Prompt. It was helpful for me to examine the struggles in my life.
I have many loves but the one that I am most immersed in at the moment is my study of Sanskrit. Almost every night, I am dreaming of Sanskrit. In my sleep I’m formulating sentences, reviewing vocabulary, hearing the song we sing in class. I’m learning words faster now and I believe some of that is due to whatever is happening during the night.
Here is a photo from the Samskrita Bharati camp I attended for three days last summer. I’m quite easy to spot!
As many of you know, learning Sanskrit is a passion of mine. I take two classes a week and each of the classes require that I write five or more sentences in Sanskrit. This week I decided to do something even more ambitious. I took much of the information from my recent fruit fly post and translated it into Sanskrit. I finished the homework by writing the sentences as if they were being spoken in a science class where the teacher was asking the children what they knew about fruit flies.
आचार्या – सुप्रभातं बालाः। अद्यतन विषयः फल-मक्षिकाः।
Teacher – Good morning children. Today’s topic is fruit flies.
आचर्या – भवन्तः विषये फल-मक्षिकानां किं जानन्तिः।
Teacher – What do you know about fruit flies?
सुल्मा – फल-मक्षिकाः अष्टतः दश-दिनानि जीवन्ति।
Sulma – Fruit flies live from 8 to 10 days.
आचर्या – उत्तमं सुल्मा। डेविद्?|
Teacher – Very good Sulma! David?
डेविद् – स्त्री फल-मक्षिकाः पञ्चशत-अण्डानि दश-दिनेषु स्ठापयन्ति|
David – Female fruit flies lay 500 eggs in 10 days.
आचर्या – सम्य़क् डेविद्। रमणः?|
Teacher – Good David. Ramana?
रमणः – एकस्मिन् फल-मक्षिकस्य नेत्रे ७६० दीप्तोपलाः सन्ति|
Ramana – In a fruit fly’s eye there are 760 lenses.
बार्बरा – फल-मक्षिकाणां रक्त-नेत्रौ पिङ्गल-देहा: तेषाम् उदरेषु कृष्ण-रेखाः च सन्ति |
Barbara – Fruit flies have red eyes, brown bodies, and black stripes on their abdomens.
सवत्री – फल-मक्षिका: पक्षौ द्विशत-वारं पतिक्षणं अ्भिविक्षपन्ति |
Savatri – Fruit flies wings beat 200 times per second.
रामा – फल-मक्षिका: विज्ञान-प्रकल्पेषु उपयुक्ता: सन्ति |
Rama- Fruit flies are useful in scientific research
कर्ल् – फल-मक्षिका: चत्वरि-chromosomes मानवानां इव सन्ति |
Carl – Fruit flies have four chromosomes that are similar to humans’ chromosomes.
सुमती – फल-मक्षिका: Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, aging, cancer, immunity, alcohol, and drug abuse विज्ञान-प्रकल्पेषु उपयुक्ता: सन्ति |
Sumati – Fruit flies are used in Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, aging, cancer, immunity, alcohol, and drug abuse research.
सुसन् – फल-मक्षिका: क्षीयमाणानि फलानि शखानि खादन्ति।
Susan – Fruit flies eat decaying fruits and vegetables.
स्टॆव् – विगल-फलानि मा खादतु। तेषु फल-मक्षिक-अण्डानि भवेयुः|
Steve – Don’t eat rotten fruit. There may be fruit fly eggs and disease (causing organisms) in them.
आचर्या – उत्तमं बालाः। श्वः इतोपि वदिष्यामः विषयॆ फल-मक्षिकाणां |
Teacher – Very good, children. Tomorrow we will talk more about fruit flies.
[Thank you Madhavi for helping me with this translation! I so appreciate your constant support.]
Every week our homework in my Sanskrit class is to write five to ten sentences in Sanskrit. To accomplish that I pick a theme, compose the sentences in English and then translate them into Sanskrit.
Sometimes I publish my homework on my blog. This is one of those weeks!
Generally I don’t show the direct translation in my posts. I included it this time because I thought it might be interesting for you to see that the structure of Sanskrit sentences is not the same as we use when we write in English. Notice also that the Sanskrit meaning is generally more poetic than the direct English translation.
प्रतिजनस्य जीवनं महत्त्वपूर्णं अस्ति ।
Direct translation: Every person’s life important is.
Meaning: Every person’s life is important.
प्रतिजनः विश्वाय योगदानं करोति ।
Direct translation: Every person for world contribution makes.
Meaning: Every person makes a contribution to the world.
युध्दं मा भवतु । Direct translation: War no be.
Meaning: May there be no war.
प्रतिजनाय पर्याप्तं आहारं भवतु ।
Direct translation: Every person enough food be.
Meaning: May every person have enough food.
प्रतिजन: प्रसन्नः भवतु ।
Direct translation: Every person happy be.
Meaning: May every person be happy.
प्रतिजनः अन्यान् गौरवेण पश्यतु ।
Direct translation: Every person others with respect see.
Meaning: May every person look at others with respect.
Last month, I attended a three day Sanskrit immersion family camp being held at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The camp was sponsored by Samskrita Bharati (संस्कृतभारती), an international organization that is “devoted to the mission of popularizing Sanskrit as a spoken language, and, thereby, engendering a cultural renaissance through rejuvenation of this language which holds the key to the unfoldment of India’s rich cultural heritage and knowledge.”
This was the fourth year I had attended their summer workshop. I loved being with the faculty and students I had met in previous years, as well having the opportunity to meet the new students. I felt very connected to everyone; connected through our love of Sanskrit.
A few days ago, I found a photo of the students and faculty who attended this year’s camp on the Seattle Samskrita Bharati Facebook page. I don’t think you will have any trouble spotting me! 🙂