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How to interpret a Sanskrit Sutra? – let us keep it simple

How to interpret a Sanskrit Sutra? – let us keep it simple

The knowledge of Ayurveda has been documented by various maharishis in the form of sutras. sütra literally means a thread that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula) or a collection of such aphorisms. sütra, being the most concentrated form of knowledge, plays a key role in the propagation of knowledge. Therefore to understand Ayurveda in order to become an Ayurvedic doctor, the first step is to know how to interpret a sutra (Shloka).

Interpreting a shloka can be quite tedious because of the lack of guidance on how to do it. . Interpretation is done according to some valid guidelines. Ignorance of this basic fact leads to variety of misinterpretation, which usually transcends the boundaries of Ayurvedic terminology. Sometimes you may find that reading the Hindi/English translation and learning it is definitely the easier way out. But what you miss out on is the chance to fully understand a concept or a theory. Let’s see if you can translate it yourself.

Without making it too complicated, is there a way to know what the shloka is actually trying to tell us?

Here is how you approach a sutra (shloka) –


Padacchedaha Padarthokti vigraho vakyayojana|

Akshepascha samadhanam vyakhyanam shadvidham matam||


Let us try to understand a shloka by the above method

Shlok11. Padaccheda Aayu – Kamaymanena- DharmaArthaSukh – Sadhanam Ayurvedo-updesheshu – Vidheya – Paramadara

2. Padarthokti

Ayu– life,

Kamaymanena – desirous of,

Dharma – right conduct and clarity of action for righteous life

Artha – wealth,

Sukh – contentment/happiness,

Sadhanam – the means of,

Ayurvedoupdesheshu – teaching of science of life,

vidheya – should do ,

paramadara – with paramount respect

3. Vigraha – Ayu – Kamayamanena- Dharma+Artha+Sukh- Sadhanam – Ayurvedao + Updesheshu – vidheya – param – adara

4. Vakyayojana – One who is desirous of life – the means of right conduct, clarity of action, wealth, and happiness – should give utmost respect and attention to the teachings and learnings of Ayurveda – the science of life.

5. Akshepa – But how to do this?

6. Samadhan – By learning, understanding and practicing the principles of Ayurveda.



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