Calendar of Events

PART 3 - Legendary Verses in Sanskrit: Subhāṣhitas -- A Five-Class Series with Deven Patel *

Fri, Feb 19 to Fri, Mar 19

5:00 - 6:00 PM Eastern Time

Tuition by Open Donation; Suggested $20/session or more

or register for individual classes:

Subhāṣhita is a literary genre of Sanskrit poems or verses, also called aphorisms or maxims. Su in Sanskrit means good and bhāṣhita means spoken, which together means "well-spoken," or "an eloquent saying." Subhāṣhitas are short, memorable verses, usually in four pādas (“feet” or lines), having a particular meter, often eight syllables per line. There are tens of thousands of Subhāṣhitas derived from ancient and medieval Indian literature, covering a vast range of subjects including humor, sarcasm, politics, love, wealth, daily life, ethics, spirituality, science, riddles, language and art. Join Professor Deven Patel for one or more delightful sessions examining some of these Subhāṣhitas. Teacher and students will collectively work on translating the verses and discuss their meaning.

The text studied in this course is Sāyaṇa’s Subhāṣhita Sudhānidhi, a collection of choice quotations from classical poetic and philosophical sources, including the epics. The work is organized under the four recognized values of life: dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣha. Sāyaṇa, who lived in the 14th century in South India, was a prolific author and scholar, famous for his Sanskrit commentary on the Vedas.

These classes are continuing by popular request. They can either be taken as a series (recommended) or as single sessions.

Deven M. Patel is an associate professor of Sanskrit language and the literatures of South Asia at the University of Pennsylvania. He is especially interested in the Sanskrit language and literature (belles-lettres, epics, and drama); grammar and linguistics; Indian philosophy and intellectual history; as well as Pali, Prakrit, Hindi and Gujarati languages and literature. He writes on literary history and the formation of literary communities. His published works include Text to Tradition: The Naiṣadhīyacarita and Literary Community in South Asia, Columbia University Press, 2014, and Kavirājamārgam: The Way of the King of Poets (co-authored with R.V.S. Sundaram), Jawaharlal Nehru University and Manohar Publishers, 2017.