Sunday, 2 July 2017

The contexts of Thank You

Aparna Krishnan
3 July 2015 at 16:52
"there is no equivalent word for 'thank you' in Sanskrit! There is only कृतज्ञता भाव - कृतं जानामि इति भावः - I acknowledge your favor, I am aware of your benevolence. There is nothing that can be done to repay that debt."
For all the people who touched my life with their friendship, love, wisdom I can only stay indebted. There were some who caused sorrow and taught me that all heals in good time, and maybe made me a little more compassionate. Then there were those who carried their own burdens lightly and carried in their hearts only the aches of others - they raised the bar for me. There were the many many children who scattered stardust into ordinary days. There were people who came by and allowed one to serve, and bring some meaning into that day.
There is no way to repay the debts, and maybe there is no need to. Thats how life operates.

Vidyasankar Sundaresan A related expression is to say dhanyo'ham or dhanyo'smi. Acknowledging that I have benefited from you, but not attempting to write off that debt by uttering a couple of words.
Aparna Krishnan Is it of traditional use ?
Aparna Krishnan Like when they say 'suprabhatam' or 'shub ratri' somehow it seems a little contrived to me.
Vidyasankar Sundaresan Yes, at least a few centuries old in usage
Vidyasankar Sundaresan Shubh ratri is perhaps a bit contrived. Suprabhatam - the famous verses for venkateswara are again a few centuries old. Note the even more ancient camakam - sUshA (su ushA) ca me, su-dinam ca me.
Aparna Krishnan Yes, in tirumala for the god. But not as people getting up and wishing one another as 'good morning', Me as in mama in the chamakam ?
Vidyasankar Sundaresan Can be taken as mama - mine, but more aptly translated as mahyam - for me.
Vidyasankar Sundaresan All the things listed as ... ca me, ... ca me, across multiple anuvAka-s are asked for to be brought into being, for the reciter's benefit, through the yajna. The words yajnena kalpantAm (plural) yajnena kalpetAm (dual) and yajnena kalpatAm (singular) complete the sentences grammatically.
Vidyasankar Sundaresan Suprabhatam as person to person is most probably a modern development. But it's not just linguistic, the change is a deep cultural and social one. There was no expectation of superficial conversation, like the exchange of good mornings, evenings and hellos, in old Indian society. Not just Sanskrit, even in Tamil, Hindi etc, there are no attested expressions for the like. So we've co opted, "thanks, da" in Tamil day to day speech. Nobody kept saying nanRi, so it is not as if the word thanks has displaced some other native usage. Seems to me that the usage itself is relatively new to us.
Aparna Krishnan yes. its a cultural shift into superficialities. which needs to be understood. its not just the language, but the entire mindset which we need to be very alert about.

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