Need help with Shloka

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 27 16:47:58 CST 1998

  Mantralaura wrote:

>sarvebhyo namaH,
>  Thank you everyone for helping with this shloka.
>There are still more suggestions coming in from the
>Sanskrit List and I'll let you know what the results are.
>I'll have time this weekend to write in detail. Meanwhile,
>since there are so many Sanskrit scholars on the
>Advaita-L List, could you give me suggestions as to
>how to word the first line? I've got some ideas, but
>I'm not very skilled, so I'd like to hear from the experts
>  Thank you again for your enthusiastic suggestions.
>OM shaantiH shaantiH shaantiH
>  Mantralaura

 I do not consider myself a Sanskrit scholar, although I have had
 formal training in it during my school and college years in India.
 My education has been in computer science. I do have a keen interest
 in Sanskrit, but unlike many people, my approach to the language
 of the Gods is more religious/philosophical  than purely
 literary. So I find myself studying texts of the former type
 when I have time.

 Now, about the first half-verse that was posted :

 shivaM shivakaraM shaantaM shivaatmaanaM shivottamaM |

 Here the word Shiva occurs frequently. So it would be a good
 idea to find out what Shiva means. One meaning is "auspicious",
 "fortunate", etc. But, in translating works of a religious nature,
 it is good to look at our Achaaryas' works and try to find out
 what they have to say. This should be done in addition to
 considering the "straight" dictionary meaning.
 In the present context, we have an
 excellent commentary on the VishhNu sahasra naama by Adi Shankara.
 The name Shiva occurs twice in this great prayer to VishhNu and
 Shankara Bhagavatpaada has explained or defined the name "Shiva"
 in both instances. I present two meanings:

 nistraiguNyatayaa shuddhatvaat.h ShivaH

 Shiva is so called because He is nistraiguNya, ie. without  or
 beyond the three guNas - Sattva, Rajas, and tamas, and he is
 by that fact, Shuddha, pure.

 svanaamasmR^itimaatreNa paavayan.h ShivaH

 Shiva is so called because by the very remembrance of His name,
 (svanaamasmR^itimaatreNa) He purifies (the person who so remembers).

 The next term in the half verse is Shivakara. ShivaM karoti iti
 ShivakaraH. One who bestows auspiciousness, or the properties
 described by the definitions of Shiva, is Shivakara.

 ShaantaM is easily translated as peaceful.

 Shivaatmaa can be translated as one whose Atmaa or nature is
 Shiva. A second, perhaps more preferable, interpretation is to
 split the compound differently as Shivascha Atmaa cha. That means
 one who is Shiva and Atmaa, the Self (of all).

 ShivottamaM can be translated as one who is the most auspicious
 or one who has the properties of Shiva, as per the definitions by
 Shankara, to the highest degree.

 So one translation of the half verse is

 (I bow to Him who is) auspicious, the bestower of auspiciousness,
 the peaceful One, the Auspicious Self (of all), and the Most
 Auspicious One.


Get Your Private, Free Email at

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list