[INDOLOGY] (still) no distraction from the coronavirus...

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 11:55:51 EDT 2020

कश्चिद् गोमूत्रमादत्ते   ‘ वैटामिनाञ् ’ च कश्चन ।
हरिद्राप्रचयान् कश्चित्   सर्वे कोरोणकातराः ॥

तिष्ठन्त्यभ्यन्तरे सर्वे   कोरोणाख्याणुभीरुकाः ।
इदं दुःखं मनुष्यानां   किं भवेद् भूमिभूतये ? ॥

उपप्लवेऽस्मिनायान्ति   भिषजादय ऊतये ।
नमस्तेभ्योऽस्तु ये नूनं   लोकत्राणसमुद्यताः ॥

Dear Madhav and Christian (and dear Walter),
As the impact on our daily lives is only growing, and as long as worldwide
the mortality curves are, although perhaps slowly flattening, not yet
really coming down, it is difficult to get distracted for long from the
Your verses with epic and mythological references are fascinating even in
translation; since the ślokas I have composed simply describe the current
situation and what people do and believe, I guess a translation will
neither be interesting nor required.
Incidentally, the first professor of Sanskrit in Europe (the continent
having a name which perhaps suggests it should have a "broad outlook", *urvī
prekṣā*), Antoine Léonard (de) Chézy (partly latinized name: Apud-y),
specifically appointed for the academic study and teaching of Sanskrit in
Paris in 1815, was also, or so it seems, the last one for whom Sanskrit was
not only an object of study but also a medium of scientific expression: in
his *Théorie du Sloka*, Paris, 1827, he summarized his conclusion on
Sanskrit metrics in a Sanskrit verse which illustrated the theory he had
extracted from his large reading samples.
For the last few centuries, however, "expressive Sanskrit" and "functional
and communicative Sanskrit" constitute glaring lacunae in the occidental
Sanskrit teaching of interested students, even though a little training in
these domains can contribute significantly to a basic mastery of Sanskrit
and even to the critical study of "archival Sanskrit".
To conclude, for those who have not yet rushed away from my longish
message, I would therefore like to commemorate in a simple descriptive
sragdharā, also by way of distraction away from the corona virus, this
forgotten pioneer, de Chézy, who passed away prematurely 188 years ago due
to the cholera pandemic in 1832:

प्राद्यौत् शाकुन्तलात्मा  यदुपकृतितया  शोधिते शास्त्ररूपे

श्लोकस्यौघान् पठित्वा  रचनविधिमकार्षीत् कवीनां प्रसिद्ध् यै ।

वाचः प्राध्यापकत्वे  प्रथमत उपदेष्टाभवत् संस्कृतायाः

  सोऽ“न्त्वन् लेव् नार्द् द शेज़िः”  “परि”- नगर “उरुप्रेक्ष”-खण्डे समस्ते ॥

Stay well,

Dear Christian, Thanks for your verse with special qualities.
Apart from स्पृशतु in the first pāda,
or else मा पिस्पृशत् but then you have to give up न which you obviously
like to keep after करो, to harmonize with the current Hindi orthography
of कोरोन ,
I would suggest for the second line: कोरोनाख्यातदेवारिः  कामदेवेन हन्यताम्

*Jan E.M. Houben*

Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology

*Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite*

École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

*johannes.houben [at] ephe.psl.eu <johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>*

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