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Can you draw in Sanskrit?

When foreigners asked me, “Do you speak Hindu”, I used to briefly laugh and then explain them the there is no language like that, so on and so forth. Now when I ask “Can you draw in Sanskrit”, what comes to your mind? A curious mind may get a question, can we and if yes, how? Answer is “Yes we can” and here I discuss another genius of Sri Vedanta Deshikar where he has “drawn” many pictures using Sanskrit shlokas.

Style of Composition in Sanskrit – How it works?

Here is how it works, the composition is structured in such a way that, the syllables can be arranged in a fashion that represents a drawing. These are called “Chitra Bandha” compositions. It’s up to the imagination and the skill of the composer as to which figure he/she wants to bring out of the shlokas. Swami Deshikan, in his magnum opus “Paduka Sahasram” has a chapter on this style of composition and has drawn many complex figures. Let us start with a simple one to and then analyze more complex ones.

Shara Bandha Style of Composition

Shara Bandha is a style of composition in which the shlokas can be re-arranged in a symmetrical form that looks like an “Arrow”. Look at the following shloka below. It’s already tokenized for convenience.

Shloka from Paduka Sahasram
Meaning of the Shloka

We can re-arrange these syllables in the following fashion.

Shara Bandha of the Shloka

Follow the red line from left to right, and you will get the first line of the shloka. Be sure to use “रा” as the second character to get “सराघवा” while reading the first line.

Similarly follow the black line from left to right and you will get the second line of the shloka. This time use “ला” as the second character to get “सलाघवा”.

If you just look at the picture formation, it looks like an arrow traveling to the left.

Sanskrit and the languages that has been born out if it only has these capabilities. This is something that we Bharateeyas should be proud of. Now, are there pundits who can do this kind of composition? Yes there are a few and we need more and more people to develop this skill to keep it alive and pass it on to our next generations.

Read about another genius of Swami Deshikan published earlier on Knight Tour Puzzle here.

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