Learn Sanskrit through Slokas – 13 (Guruparampara)

Welcome back to the series of learning Sanskrit through Slokas! Today we will see a sloka from Vishnu Sahasranama, a portion of our epic Mahabharata. The sloka praises the lineage of teachers (Guruparampara) starting with Vyasa.  Vyasa is the author of Mahabharata and thus Vishnu Sahasranama also. 

Learn Sanskrit
Learn Sanskrit

Here is the sloka:

vyaasam vasishta napthaaram shaakthe: pautram akalmasham |
paraasharaathmajam vande shuka taatham thapo nidhim ||

Let’s discuss the word-by-word meaning of the above sloka.

vyaasam vasishta napthaaram
  • vyaasam   –  Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata and the compiler of Vedas
  • vasishta napthaaram napthaa of sage Vashista. napthaa means ‘great grandson’.
shaakthe: pautram akalmasham
  • shaakthe: pautram Pauthra of sage Shakthi. pautra is grandson (putrasya putra: – son’s son)
  • akalmasham –  akalmasham is free of any sins. (kalmasham – dirt/sin)
paraasharaathmajam vande
  • paraasharaathmajamparaasahara aatmajam is ‘son of paraashara’. Aatmaja is son (‘born out of self’)
  • vande – I salute (‘vande maataram‘ – I salute my mother/motherland)
shuka thaatham thapo nidhim
  • shuka thaathamthaatha is father. (Janaka:, Pitha also mean father). Thus it means, father of sage Shuka. Do note that Shuka was the narrator of Bhagavatha Purana to king Parikshit.
  • thapo nidhim – nidhi as you know is a treasure/wealth. Thaponidhi is ‘a wealth of auterties/Punyam

The whole meaning of this Sloka would be, ‘Vyaasa is the great grandson of sage Vasishta and the grandson of sage Shakti. He is the son of sage Paraashara and the father of Shuka. I offer my prayers to sage Vyasa who is free of any sins and is also a wealth of austerities.’

Thus in a single Sloka, we pay homage to five generation of Sages starting with Vashista, Shakthi, Paraashara, Vyasa and Shuka. The lineage of Gurus namely ‘Guruparampara’ is a significant aspect in our tradition. That’s why we always start any chanting or learning with the phrase, ‘Shri Gurubhyo Namaha’ (Salute to all my preceptors) 

Read the meaning of other slokas here.

Author Details

Rangarajan has been blogging for over 12 years now on various topics. With Thedal, he becomes one with the universe and he is hoping that his search will help him discover the eternal truth.  Please join him as he traverses through the universe across temples, philosophies and science!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *