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Relevance of ancient Indian scriptures: Let’s discover together

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There is an ancient prayer that is chanted before any kind of study begins; it’s a beautiful prayer. It’s also relevant today more than at any other time, especially to the young. The prayer is:

Sahana vavatu sahana bhunattu |

Saha viryam karawavahai |

Tejasvi navaditamastu ma vidvishavahai |

It means, hear the words, ‘Sahana vavatu’— saha’ means together—that is the teacher and the taught are talked of as one unit. Learning together is the most important thing.

So, it is ‘Sahana vavatu’:  May we all be nourished, the teacher and the taught. Nourished physically, nourished intellectually.

‘Sahana bhunattu saha viryam karawavahai’: May we be protected.

‘Saha viryam karawavahai’: May our energies be together.

‘Tejasvinavaditamastu’: May the ‘Tejas’, the shining energy within us, the energy of understanding, the fire of understanding, shine forth in both of us.

It’s not that you are trying to defeat me and I am trying to defeat you in an argument; that would turn into a quarrel. That would not be a dialogue or a discussion.


‘Ma vidvishavahai’: Let us not fight, quarrel with each other, which means it’s not as if the teacher is saying something and you are opposing it for the sake of opposing. It is that you are asking intelligent questions to clarify those points that are not clear to you. Let’s call it a dialogue.

It’s not that you are trying to defeat me and I am trying to defeat you in an argument; that would turn into a quarrel. That would not be a dialogue or a discussion.

Even today, when you sit with your student or when you sit with your boss, if both of you understand things together, like two good friends, sitting quietly in a park, discussing a matter of common importance, wherein you say what you think is correct and he or she says what he or she thinks is correct.

It’s more likely that you will come up with a right solution because you are not trying to play the game of one-upmanship, whichever way you want to call it. This is applicable under all situations.

Think together, okay? In fact, thinking together, talking of thinking together reminds me of another beautiful hymn of the ‘Rig Veda’:

Sam gachadhvam sam vadadhvam sam vo manamsi janatam |

Deva bhagam yatha purve samjanana upasate ||

Samani va akutih samana hrdayni vah |

Samanamastu vo mano yatha vah susahasati ||

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