Episode 2: A deeper significance of the Veda-Upabrahmanaas

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In the previous episode, we saw the main reason as to why “Bhagawan” (The Lord) incarnates in this earth, along with a small introduction about the Vedas and the Veda-Upabrahmanas. We also saw a short description about the “Shaastraas” and why are the Vedas described as the Shaastraas. We had concluded the last episode with a couple of questions – Why at all should one read the Vedas and the Veda-Upabrahmanas and which one to read first? Let’s see the answers in today’s episode.

Yesterday we had seen that Bhagawan incarnates on this “Mother Earth” to demonstrate the ways and means of living an honest and a sincere life. The significance of Veda-Upabrahmanas can be understood better by the following Sanskrit sentence (Vaakyam):

Vedopabrahmanaarthaaya thaavagraayatah prabhuhu!!

This sentence implies that Lord Vishnu had a desire to create the “Veda-Upabrahmanas” for the Vedas. Since the Vedas are a complex text to understand and comprehend by normal people like us, it might be easily ignored off, or could be misunderstood. To avoid these kinds of situations, it is said that Lord Vishnu wished to incarnate on the earth and enact all those principles that are mentioned in the Vedas so that, it would be a “Simplified Version” for people like us to follow. Also, when anything is in the form of a story, it’s easier for all of us to understand, comprehend and follow. It is for this reason the Veda-Upabrahmanas were created by Bhagawan, and it is also for the same reason that, one is advised to read through the Veda-Upabrahmanas prior to exploring into the Vedic texts.

Now let’s see how were these “Veda-Upabrahmanas” created. Of course, Bhagawan incarnated in different times as different “Avataars” and demonstrated various things for all of us, through his lives on earth. However, there was a need at one point of time that all the various activities, incidents of every incarnation of Bhagawan had to be documented, so that it would be made available for the future generations of people. It was for this purpose, the great “Maharishis” (Saints) were born. Many of them (like Valmiki Maharishi, Veda Vyaasa, etc.) took up the responsibility on themselves to document all the various activities performed by Bhagawan during His various incarnations in the form of “Slokas” (Verses) in Sanskrit. All these documented texts compiled by various “Maharishis” (Saints) are collectively termed as “Upa-Brahmanas” to the Vedas, meaning “The simplified version of the complex Vedic texts, in a readily understandable and an implementable form”.

This “Upa-Brahmanas” are classified further into the “Ithihaasas” and the “Puraanaas”. It’s quite a known fact that there are two Ithihaasas in the Hindu Literature – The Ramayana (Life incidences of Lord Rama) and the Mahabharata (Life incidences of Lord Krishna), and the Puraanaas are eighteen in number – Six “Saathvika Puraanaas”, six “Raajasa Puraanaas and six “Thaamasa Puraanaas”.

How do we differentiate between the “Ithihaasaas” and the “Puraanaas”? If the text is written during the time of the Lord’s incarnation itself, it’s called “Ithihaasaas”, and if the text is written after the Lord’s incarnation is over, it’s called “Puraanaas”. This differentiation is extremely important to be understood by the readers. For example, Valmiki Maharishi composed the Ramayana even when Rama was alive and was ruling the Ayodhya kingdom. The great sage Veda Vyaasa composed the Mahabharata even when Lord Krishna was alive. However, the Puraanaas were done at a much later stage after all the incarnations were over.

Even within these two “Veda-Upabrahmanas”, the “Ithihaasas” are considered to be more prominent and significant than the “Puraanaas”. Why? The answer lies in the next episode!!

Episode 1: An Introduction to this blog series – Significance of God’s Incarnations

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Koojantham raama raamethi madhuram madhuraaksharam!

Aaruhya kavithaashaakhaam vande vaalmiki kokilam!!

Vaalmeeker muni simhasya kavithaa vana chaarinaha!

Shrunvan raama kathaanaadham konayaanthi paraagathim!!

Anjanaanandanam veeram jaanaki shoka naasanam!

Kabeeshamakshahantaaram vande lankaa bhayankaram!!

Manojavam maaruda thulya vekam jitendriyam buddhimataam varishtam!

Vaadaatmajam vaanarayoodha mukhyam shri raama thuudham shirasaa namaami!!

Aanjaneya madhipaatalaananam kaanjanaadri kamaneeya vigraham!

Paarijaatha tharumoola vaasanam bhaavayaami bhavamaana nandanam!!

Yatra yatra raghunaatha keerthanam tathra tathra kritamastha kaanjalim!

Bhaashpavaari paripoorna lochanam maaruthim namada raaksha saanthakam!!

Shri raaghavam dasharataatmajam aprameyam seethapathim raghukulaanvaya ratnadeepam!

Aajaanubhaahum aravindatalaaya daaksham raamam nishaachara vinaashakaram namaami!!

 

Welcome to the second blog series, titled “Life lessons from Shrimad Ramayana”!

Starting from today, we’re going to experience various lessons for life from our great epic Ramayana and also, our “Aatman” (Soul) should get involved into “Bhakti” or “Devotion”. The ancient and traditional culture of Bhaarata Desha (India) is centered on two main pillars – Vedaas/Vedaantas and “Veda-Upabrahmanas”. It’s known that the Vedas comprises of the four important sects – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana. However, “Veda-Upabrahmanas” comprises of the “Ithihaashas” and the “Puraanaas”. All these texts signify the ways and means as to how a human being should conduct himself/herself in this world, right from the day of taking birth till the last day of life. Also, these texts convey the significance of the “Aatma”, “Paramaathma” and the relationship between the two, in a highly spiritual context.

Vedas are also referred to as the “Shaasthras”. The Sanskrit word “Shaastram” can be split as “Shaasanaad-Shastram”, which simply means, “Do this, and do not do this”. Hence we can infer that the Shaastraas are those texts that teach us what to do and what not to do in our lives. Also, it says how should a person behave and how not to behave in a society. Although there are rich teachings like this in the Shaastraas, how much can a human mind grasp, given its limitations in terms of learning and remembering all what has been learnt? To make things simpler and to set a precedent in the world in terms of setting the right example or a role model, the Lord comes to this world in the form of numerous “Avataars” or “Incarnations”. Hence, through the various incarnations of the Lord, we as human beings can observe, experience and learn from them to lead a happy life.

Of course, we need to learn the Vedas and allied texts understand them and try to implement the principles mentioned in them in our day-to-day life. Given the fact that the Lord’s incarnations teach us much more, then a question may arise as to why at all should we read the Vedas and the allied Shaastras? Also, should we read the Vedas or the Veda-Upabrahmanas, or both? If both, which one should be read first? Let’s see in a much deeper detail in the next episode!!

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 11: Lakshmana’s reply to Hanuman

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Till the past few episodes we were seeing how Lord Rama was in full appreciation for Hanuman’s way of talking and thus we had an opportunity to learn the essentials of delivering a brilliant lecture/speech. In today’s episode we shall see what is the reply given by Lakshmana to Hanuman.

After Lord Rama finishes his accord on Hanuman, Lakshmana is in complete awe with the way he appreciated Hanuman’s speech. Lakshmana is also referred to as “Sahasra Vadana”, meaning the incarnation of “Aadisesha” (The Incarnation of the thousand-headed serpent that serves as Lord Vishnu’s bed at “Paarkadal” – The ocean of Milk). Now Lakshmana starts to reply with the following verses.

 

“Aachachakshe mahaatmaanam Raamam dasharathaatmajam!

Raja dasharato naama dyutimaan dharma vatsalaha!!

Chaaturvarnyam svadharmena nityameva abipaalayan!”

 

Lakshmana starts replying to Hanuman, explaining their entire family history, starting from King Dasaratha. He explains to Hanuman how the great king Dasaratha performed the “Putra-Kaameshti” yaaga (Offering to the sacrificial fire for the want of a son) and obtained four sons – Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. He goes on to narrate the entire story as to how they came to the forest on the pretext of the two boons asked by “Kaikeyi” (One of the three wives of Dasaratha and the mother of Bharatha), and their experiences in the forest wherein they lost Sita DeviLord Rama’s beloved wife) to the demon king Ravana and that, they’re on their way in search of the Vaanara (Monkey) king Sugriva.

While introducing himself and Rama to Hanuman, Lakshmana says the following, which is of great interest:

 

“Aham asya avarobhraata gunair tasyamupaagathaha!

Kritagnyasya bahugnyasya Lakshmano Raama naamakaha!!

Dhanur naama jiteh puthraha shaabaat raaksha shataangataha!

Evamuta dhanussargam braajamaano divangataha!!

Lokanaathaha puraa bhuudvaa sugreevannaathamichhati!”

 

Here, Lakshmana says “Lokanaathaha puraa bhuudvaa”, meaning, “If there’s one Lord for this entire world, that’s my brother Rama, and today He has come to seek help from Sugriva. Lakshmana continues, “Aham asya avarobhraata gunair tasyamupaagathaha!” meaning, “The world would describe me as the brother of Rama – The Lord of the entire Universe, but if you ask me, I would say that I’m a servant to Him. It’s not important for me to be His brother, but it’s more important for me to be his “Daasaa” (Meaning, “Servant” in Sanskrit). I’m a “Raama-Daasaa” more than a “Raama-braathaa” (Braatha means “Brother” in Sanskrit).

The moment, Hanuman hears the word “Daasaa”, he decides at that point – “Just like how Lakshmana serves as a “Daasa” for Lord Rama, from today I should also be the same!!”, and this continues even till date!! This is why Hanuman is also referred to as “Raama-Bhakta” or “Raama-Daasa”.

After this accord, Hanuman takes Rama and Lakshmana on his shoulders, to the place where Sugriva is hiding and henceforth the two brothers declare friendship with Sugriva, and thus the story moves forward.

Thus with the blessings of Goddess Sita Devi, along with Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman, we come to the end of the blog series “Guru Vandanam”. I shall commence the next bigger series of “Management Lessons from Ramayana” shortly, wherein I would be explaining every “Kaanda” (Section”) of the Ramayana, in relation with the current day management. Stay tuned!!

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 10 – Hanuman, the “Aacharya” or “The Spiritual Master”!!

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In the previous episode, we saw in detail the significance of body language, diction etc. as part of an appealing lecture/speech. Today, we shall continue the same context and appreciate the reason behind Lord Rama stressing and appreciating the beauty of Hanuman’s speech.

Rama continues in praise of Hanuman:

“Samskaarakrama sampannaam adhrutaam avilam vidaam!

Ucchaarayathi kalyaaneem vaacham hridaya haarineem!!”

Anayaa chitrayaa vaachaa tristhaanavvyanjanastathaa!

Kasya naaraadhyate chittam puthyataase narerapi!!”

 

By the above slokas (verses), Rama explains to Lakshmana that even if an enemy comes in front of Hanuman and listens to his oration for five minutes, his attitude towards Hanuman would completely change and his weapons would automatically fall off from his hands on to the ground! In fact, that enemy would feel ashamed as to why he had come to attack such a person who talks so sweetly and so appealingly.

Rama continues to say that more than anything else, the way his lips open and close while talking is what captured his attention the most. He says, “His lips were opening and closing like how a sunflower would blossom during the day and close itself by night, and it was such a beautiful sight to watch!” Here, the reader would be able to appreciate the amount of significance Rama places for facial expressions and the positive body language in almost every sloka (verse) of his response to Hanuman’s speech. From this, our inference for the modern day corporate life should be that, we’ve to be extremely watchful within ourselves in terms of proper body language as well as keep a check on our facial expressions while delivering an address or a presentation.

Lakshmana is perplexed and surprised to see Rama appreciating Hanuman to this extent. As I had mentioned before, in the entire text of Valmiki Ramayana it’s extremely rare that Rama appreciates and applauds someone to this extent, but when it comes to Hanuman, Rama is so generous in appreciating him and bringing out his excellent qualities. This is because the character called “Hanuman” is equivalent to an “Aacharya” or the “Spiritual Master”. It is to be understood that the Lord brings out the significance of an “Aacharya” through all the above-mentioned slokas (verses).

Rama further adds the following phrase that comes as part of “Kamba-Ramayanam” (The version of Ramayana in Tamil written by Kambanaatazhwar):

“Ivan virinchano vidavalaano”

With this very important phrase, Rama exclaims that Hanuman might be the incarnation of Lord Brahma (Creator of the Universe) or Lord Shiva that he’s so perfect in every word that he speaks. It’s very interesting to note here that Rama doesn’t cite “Vishnu” in this context, because he knows that he himself is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, standing in front of Hanuman.

After all these appreciation given by Rama, how did Lakshmana react? What did he say? The answers would evolve in the next episode!

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 9 – Significance of Body Language & Diction during an address

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In the previous episode we analysed the significance of four important aspects – “Eethi”, “Sheegri”, “Shirahkampi” and “Likitapaatakah”, that needs to be taken in to account while delivering an address. In today’s episode, we would see the significance of maintaining a good body language while delivering a lecture or a presentation as mentioned in the “Shaastras” (Hindu Scriptures). We shall explore a few key aspects in this context.

First, while delivering a lecture, the orator should not keep jumping around all over the stage. This would distract the audience because their attention would be shifted from the subject to the unwanted physical movements of the orator. Hence, it is advisable that the orator maintains minimal to zero physical movement while delivering an address or lecture.

Second, while the talk is going on, the audience should be able to clearly distinguish between two successive words used by the orator. This directly implies that the orator should have a clear diction while talking. The audience should be able to feel the difference between two successive words, but at the same time there shouldn’t be a feeling that they are two separate words. In simpler terms, the diction and the speed of the talk should balance out with each other, and only then the human brain would directly receive the content of the talk.

Third, the important points under discussion during the lecture, should be repeated minimum twice or thrice to enable better understanding for the audience. Here lies the significance of “Reinforcement”. On the contrary, if the orator explains a seemingly tough context just once, there is a possibility that a majority of the audience wouldn’t end up understanding it. Hence it’s advisable that the orator reinforces the important points more than once so as to enable proper and better understanding and interpretation by the audience.

Fourth, there should compulsorily be an introduction and a conclusion as integral parts of an oration. This is to ensure that the audience have a continuity with what was said during the previous /next session of the talk.

Fifth, the orator should convey concepts that are difficult to understand and interpret, within the first 30-45 minutes of the lecture. Else, the audience would become restless after some time and would lose concentration and ultimately the concepts wouldn’t be grasped.

Thus Rama says to Lakshmana that Hanuman seems to be an expert in all the above-mentioned skills and thus he’s able to deliver such an excellent speech.

In the next episode we shall see the significance of facial expressions while delivering a speech. We would be able to appreciate the amount of importance Lord Rama gives for this particular aspect. Stay tuned!!

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 8 – Four key factors for an appealing Corporate Speech

 

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In the previous episode we were able to understand the significance of maintaining a uniform speed of talking during a corporate presentation. We were also able to simultaneously recognize  the importance of certain key elements like the tone (Dhwani) of the speech, pronunciations and maintaining a “Pleasant face” while talking. Today we shall see four important factors that are essential for an appealing speech.

Here, I’m adding an extended explanation to the sloka (verse) stated in the previous episode. The ancient scriptures (Shaastra) lists down four subtle but very important aspects to be taken care of while delivering a lecture or an address. They are “Eethi”, “Sheegri”, “Shirahkampi” and “Likitha paatakaha”. I shall give an explanation about each of the above with the modern day’s relevance.

Eethi – While delivering a lecture, the orator should neither sing in between the talk, nor talk in a way that is musical in nature. The only exception where this rule is not applicable is “Harikatha” (a popular style of discourse that is in praise of Lord Vishnu). The focus should only be on the content of the talk and directly to the point, rather than employing other means like singing to while away the time. This is a way to be precise in what we talk and thus this assumes lot of significance.

Sheegri – The talking should not be way too fast, that the audience wouldn’t be able to understand even a word out of the entire lecture!

Shirahkhampi – While talking, the speaker should not move his head too much. This might distract the audience and the focus on the subject might be lost. The head position is to be maintained still as much as possible throughout the entire talk, and it is also to be ensured that proper eye-contact is maintained with the audience at all times. This is extremely important because the audience might lose focus and feel disconnected when the speaker doesn’t adequately look at them.

Likitha Paatakaha – This means that the speaker should avoid looking into the paper/book/notes while delivering a speech. It should be ensured that the talk happens only with the audience in focus, and not anything else in between. There are two serious repercussions if the speaker goes against this rule. Firstly, the flow of words while talking gets affected if there’s a constant referring to the notes during the lecture. This affects the concentration of the speaker to a great extent and there would be pauses and fillers while talking, which is not a good sign. Secondly, if the person refers too much into the text while talking, it can be understood that he/she is not confident about what is being delivered and hence, the speaker might be in danger of losing respect among the audience. Hence, adequate care is required in this important aspect of delivering a lecture/speech.

Rama says that Hanuman is an expert in all these four aspects, and thus he’s able to deliver such an excellent and a flawless oration.

In the next episode, we shall see the importance of “Diction” and “Reinforcement” during a corporate speech!! Stay tuned!!

 

 

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 7 – How significant is “Speed” during a talk?

 

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In the previous episode we understood the significance of body language of the speaker, while delivering an address. Special emphasis was given to the facial expressions of the person while talking. In today’s episode we would see and appreciate the importance of “Speed” while talking. What does Rama had to say about Hanuman in this particular context? Let’s read on!!

Rama continues in praise of Hanuman:

“Avistharamasanviddham avilambithamadrutham!

Urastham kantakam vaakyam vartathe madhyamasware!!”

 

Rama explains here to Lakshmana that Hanuman has maintained the same speed of speaking throughout the entire duration of his speech.

Here are extremely important corporate learnings: Rama explains that, while delivering a lecture or an address, care should be taken so as to ensure that there is a uniformity in terms of speed and also in terms of the tone (Dhwani). In some cases we might have seen that people start talking at a high tone and putting in lot of energy into it, with long sentences and without taking a breath or a pause in between. This would easily result in the orator becoming tired and exhausted mid-way and because of that, he/she might even start struggling for words. It’s well known that such ways of talking are not permissible in a professional set-up. So, the learning from this verse is that, we should maintain a medium and a uniform speed of talking throughout the entire duration of the conversation.

If the speech is delivered too quickly (for instance, 180-200 words per minute), the orator might not be able to establish a good connect with the audience. On the contrary, if the speech were delivered way too slow with too many pauses in between, this would invariably make the audience go off to sleep! Here, we can understand and infer that both the extreme variations of speeds are not acceptable and thus, a balance should be achieved so that it’s neither too fast nor too slow.

In any language, there are certain alphabets that are to be pronounced with an “open voice”, certain alphabets that are to be pronounced with the “head voice”, certain alphabets that are to be pronounced strongly by exerting energy from the stomach/abdomen and certain alphabets that are to be pronounced by twisting our tongue in certain fashions (today we call them as “tongue-twisters”). Only if proper attention is given to all the above-mentioned methodologies of pronunciation, will our communication be effective for the audience to understand and interpret.

Also, Rama continues to say that Hanuman always had a pleasing smile throughout his oration. This is a very important aspect while talking. A pleasant face is to be maintained for the entire duration of the talk. This is directly related to the psychological aspect of listening and grasping in a human being. Anything that is conveyed with a smile and a pleasant look has more probability of being grasped and interpreted by the audience.

So Rama says here that Hanuman is giving an excellent oration only because he has gained mastery over all the above skills.

In addition to this, there are four very important but subtle aspects that are necessary to give an impactful lecture. What are they? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!!

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 6: Some useful tips for an effective Corporate Presentation

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In the previous episode we understood the significance of knowing the Vyaakarnam (Grammar) of a language, coupled with the knowledge of “Tharka Shaastra” (The expertise of employing the apt words for the apt context) and “Bhimaamsa” (The expertise of explaining the context in a highly thought-provoking way) in delivering a good speech. In today’s episode we shall see some important tips as to how to maintain a good body language while delivering a corporate presentation/speech.

Rama says….

 

“Namukhe nethrayoschaapi lalaatecha bruvosthathaa!

Anveshwapicha sarveshu doshassamvidhitam kvachit!!”

 

Rama continues his praise for Hanuman by saying, “Yes. He’s a learned person, and so he talks well.. That’s fine, because this might be seen in many learned scholars elsewhere. But what’s more important is that, the manner in which he talks. His facial expressions were extremely minimal and his eyebrows never shrank. His head was still without any movement. He has spoken with the same beauty of talking for every minute!”

From this point onwards, we’re going to see very important aspects of a good speech, especially for corporate employees who focus on soft skills. We can see the aspects that are extremely important for a person while he/she delivers an address or a corporate presentation.

To begin with, the facial expressions of the person who is presenting the content should be as minimal as possible – In olden days musicians do “Saadagam” (rigorous practice) of music during the early morning hours (also called “Brahma muhurtam”). During this rigorous practice session, it is said that if a person is singing with a pot full of oil on his/her head, not even a single drop of oil should spill out of the pot. In other words, the facial movements should be maintained as minimal as possible and the focus of the presenter should exclusively be on the content of the subject. This is because, if there are too many facial expressions, the focus of the audience would be veered away from the main content of the program and such things are not admissible in a corporate setup. This rule applies for any form of presentation – Be it Music, Oration or a Discourse.

Secondly, the pitch in which the person is talking should be maintained the same from the beginning till the end. For instance, in music, the pitch should be selected according to the capability of the singer’s voice texture. Else if portions of the song goes into a higher or a lower octave, it would be difficult for the singer to reach those high and low points and it sounds awkward during a music concert. Similarly for a speech, the pitch and tone of the presenter should be constant for the entire duration of the presentation and it should not deviate up and down unnecessarily. This might again disturb the focus of the audience on the subject.

So Rama says here that Hanuman is giving an excellent oration only because he has gained mastery over all the above skills.

In the next episode, we shall continue seeing more tips for an effective corporate presentation and there are many more exciting elements to be learnt. Stay tuned!!

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 5 – Significance of delivering a “Flawless” Address.

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In the previous episode we saw the significance of learning each sect of the Vedas (Rig, Yajur & Saama) to attain different qualities for delivering an excellent oration. In today’s episode we’ll see yet another important quality – The art of delivering an address without flaws.

Rama continues in praise of Hanuman:

Noonam vyaakarnam krisnam anena bahudaashritam!

Bahuvyaakartaanena nakinchit abashabdvitam!!”

 This is a very important sloka (verse). Rama says to Lakshmana “I’ve been keenly watching Hanuman talk for the past fifteen minutes or so. However I couldn’t find even one mistake in the words he used and also in the way he formed his sentences. Some people would speak four words continuously with one mistake in the middle, whereas some people would speak ten words with two or three mistakes in the middle. But for the past fifteen minutes of Hanuman’s speech, I failed to deduct even one mistake in whatever he spoke!

Rama continues, The way he combines the usage of words to form a sentence suggests to me that he has learnt the “Vyaakarnam” (Grammar of the Sanskrit language), “Tarka Shaastra” (The expertise of using the apt words for the apt context) and “Bhimaamsa” (The expertise of explaining a highly thought-provoking research material) thoroughly.

It is to be noted that Hanuman is also called as “Nava-Vyaakarna Pandit” which means that he has mastered all the nine chapters of the Sanskrit grammar. It’s common that the modern-day human being takes minimum twelve years to learn one chapter of “Vyaakarnam” and even this is too difficult for us in the current day. But there are supposed to be nine chapters of Vyaakarnam that exists in the Sanskrit language. It is said that Hanuman, when he was a kid, has learnt all the nine chapters (Vyaakarnam krisnam) from Soorya Bhagavan (The Sun God) within just nine days (One chapter per day, from dawn till dusk).

When Rama says Nakinchit abashabdvitam” in the last part of the verse, he means that Hanuman has that great and a unique skill of being “perfectly precise” in whatever content he conveys.

Here we can learn the importance of putting the apt words to suit the apt context. In a speech, it’s not acceptable if a person uses too many words/phrases that are not apt for that particular context. In any language, if a person has to combine words in the fashion that conveys the exact meaning precisely, he should be an expert in the grammar (Vyaakarnam) of that language. If one has to make sure that he conveys exactly what he wants to convey, he should be an expert in “Tharkka Shaastra” and whatever has to be conveyed, has to be a high-end research content that is thought-provoking and a thought-triggering. For this, one should be an expert in “Bhimaamsa”.

So, Rama says that Hanuman has the expertise on all the above said things and that’s why he’s delivering such an impressive speech.

What are the other important qualities required for delivering a brilliant speech/lecture? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!!

Hanumad Prabhaavam # 4 – The Art of “Effective Communication” from the Vedas

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In the previous episode we witnessed how Rama and Lakshmana were amazed and taken aback with the way Hanuman had spoken with them for the first time. We also saw that Rama asked Lakshmana to reply to Hanuman and also the reason behind it. Lakshmana is about to start his reply and Rama interrupts him. What did Rama say to him? We shall see the answer in today’s episode.

Lakshmana is curious and asks Rama why did he stop him even before he started talking. Rama replies that he had never listened to such an excellent and a brilliantly compiled speech from anyone in his life so far. So he cautions Lakshmana to be careful in the way he replies.

Rama goes on further to explain in detail how he admired Hanuman’s speech. Rama has a unique distinction called “Vaakmi Shrimaan”, meaning “An expert in talking”. If Rama himself has to appreciate someone else for his or her speech, we can infer the significance of Hanuman in this context – He has the unique status of being the “Aachaarya” meaning, “The Supreme Teacher” (I shall explain in a later context, why is Hanuman considered to be in this status). Also, one can observe that in the entire Valmiki’s Ramayana there are very few instances wherein Rama praises anybody else, but here, he’s in full praise and appreciation to the way Hanuman crafted his speech.

This is going to be a good learning for all of us – How to deliver an excellent and an eye-catching speech? How do we conduct ourselves in front of a group of audience? What are the things to do and things to avoid?

Rama himself gives a detailed accord and says that all these characteristics are imbibed in Hanuman and that’s the reason why he talks so well! To begin with, we can look into a verse from a very famous text called “Thirukkural” written by Thiruvalluvar in Tamil. It states the following:

“Iniya ulavaaga innaadha kooral kani iruppakkaai kavarndhattru!!”

 

Thiruvalluvar says that, a person should never employ a bad or a filthy language to address another person, whomsoever he/she might be. The language that we use should be pleasing for the audience to listen to. People should not feel irritated or bored in listening to our talk. Hence in this way, Rama tells Lakshmana through five to six slokas (verses) on the important characteristics of an excellent and a well-crafted speech.  Starting today, we shall explore one by one in subsequent episodes to gain a detailed understanding.

 

“Naanrig veda vineetasya naa yajur veda dhaarinaha!

Naa saama veda vidushaha sakhyamevam prabhaashitum!!”

 

In this above verse, Rama says that if a person hasn’t learnt the Rig Veda or Yajur Veda or Saama Veda thoroughly, he cannot talk excellently like this. We can note at this point that, by learning each sect of the Vedas, one can attain different characteristics.

Only if one learns the Rig-veda thoroughly, he would be able to get the “Politeness” and “Humility” (also called “Vinayam” in Sanskrit) while talking.

Only if one learns the Yajur-veda, he will attain the power of “remembering” things (also called “Dhaarana Shakti” in Sanskrit) in his mind perfectly. This is because, in Yajur-veda there are lots of verses that are very tough to pronounce, read and remember. Only if a person by-hearts the entire text and keeps recollecting it frequently, he would be able to remember everything. Hence, here comes the significance of having a good memory through adequate reinforcement of the learning. 

Only if a person learns the Saama-veda, he would attain the power of shrewdness and the ability to understand the depth of a subject easily (also called “Vaidushya Buddhi” in Sanskrit). 

Hence, it is evident from the first sloka (verse) that an orator should be able to imbibe “humility” in his talk, coupled with the power of remembering the subject with adequate capability of memorizing and reinforcing it in his/her mind. Also, for the address to be effective, the speaker should be able to understand and explain the subject in an “In-depth” manner.

Rama says that only because Hanuman has a mastery over every sect of the Vedas he’s able to craft his speech this well.

What are the other essential aspects of a well-compiled speech? We shall wait for the next episode to find out!!