Yaksha Prasna is an episode taken from Mahabharata. It is a dialogue between Yudhishthira and Yama, the lord of Death who disguises as a Yaksha. In this Yudhishthira gives amazing and enlightening answers to very difficult questions asked by Yama.
During the time when the Pandavas were living in the forest, a deer took away the stick used to make fire from the sage’s home in the forest in its antlers. The saint tried to recover it but could not. He then requested the Pandavas (sons of Pandu) to trace the deer by its hoof marks and recover it. The Pandavas followed the hoof marks of the deer throughout the day and reached deep in the forest. Dharma Puthra the eldest of the Pandavas became very tired and wanted to drink some water before carrying on the chase any further. Sahadeva the youngest brother volunteered to bring the water. He spotted a lake near by. The lake was bare of any living beings except a crane. When Sahadeva tried to drink water from the lake, the crane spoke to him, Oh Sahadeva, the water of this lake is poisonous, if you drink it without answering my questions. Sahadeva did not bother and drank the water from the lake and died. After some time Nakula came in search. And was surprised at seeing the dead Sahadeva. He too decided to drink water and was warned by the crane and he too died on drinking the water. The same thing happened to Arjuna and Bheema. Seeing that all his four brothers are missing, Dharma Puthra came in search. Since he was very thirsty, he too tried to drink the water from the lake. But when the crane warned him, he decided to answer the questions of the crane. Before asking questions, the crane revealed himself as a Yaksha. All the questions asked by the Yaksha were answered by Dharma Puthra to the Yaksha’s satisfaction. Then the Yaksha gave a boon to Dharma Puthra to bring back alive one of his dead brothers. Dharma wanted, Nakula to be made alive. The surprised Yaksha asked him, Oh king, why did you choose Nakula, when you could have chosen Bheema and Arjuna? Dharma Puthra replied, I am alive and so my mother Kunthi has one son. I wanted my other mother Madhri also to have a son alive, The Yaksha was very much pleased and gave life back to all the Pandavas. Given below are the pointed questions asked by the Yaksha and the pithy and very direct replies given by Dharma Puthra. These are a store house of knowledge and termed as Yaksha Prasna (Questions of Yaksha).
Vidura Niti comprises of maxims of Vidura on “right conduct” in the form of a dialogue with King Dhritarashtra. This text, containing more than 500 slokas, is found in chapters 33 to 40 of Udyoga Parva of Maha Bharata of Sage Vyasa.
A Primer of Sanskrit Conversation authored by Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1824-’83), the founder of Aryasamaj, with a view to popularise Sanskrit.
The author has provided simple sentences in Sanskrit which can be used by the students in various situations in life. For instance, there are sets of sentences meant to be used at home, school, market, temple, gurukul, etc, etc. Though the author has given Hindi translation of these sentences, the Sanskrit sentences are so simple that a person who is familiar with any Indian language can easily understand them and improve his skill in Sanskrit speaking.
Altogether, this primer comprising of nearly 1000 sentences in chaste Sanskrit and their Hindi translation is a boon to those who are desirous of speaking Sanskrit.
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English Prose Translation of Dasakkumara Charitam (The Adventures of Ten Princes) authored by renowned Sanskrit poet Dandi.
The Daśakumāracarita relates the adventures of ten princes in their pursuit of love and royal power. It contains stories of common life and reflects a faithful picture of Indian society during the period couched in the colourful style of Sanskrit prose.
Daṇḍin was a renowned Sanskrit author of prose romances and expounder on poetics. Although he produced literature on his own, most notably the Daśakumāracarita, first translated in 1927 as Hindoo Tales, or The Adventures of the Ten Princes, he is best known for composing the Kāvyādarśa (‘Mirror of Poetry’), the handbook of classical Sanskrit poetics, or Kāvya. His writings were all in Sanskrit. He lived in Kanchipuram in modern-day Tamil Nadu in 6th-7th century. A shloka that explains the strengths of different poets says: Dandinah padalalithyam (“Daṇḍin is the master of playful words”).
E-text Source: www.manybooks.net
Regarded as one of the earliest Indian plays written in Sanskrit, Mricchakatika (The Little Clay Cart) is a Sanskrit play written by Shudraka in the 2nd century BCE.
The main story is about a young man named Charudatta of Pataliputra (Patna), and his love for Vasantasena, a rich courtesan or nagarvadhu. The love affair is complicated by a royal courtier, who is also attracted to Vasantasena. The plot is further complicated by thieves and mistaken identities, thus making it a hilarious and entertaining play.
English Translation by Arthur Ryder
English Translation by Arthur Symons
Sanskrit Text with Hindi Tika by JSL Tripathi
English Prose Translation of Malavikagnimitram, the first play composed by the great poet Kalidasa.
Often it is called Kalidasa Malavikagnimitram, as an honor to Kalidasa. This beautiful play of intrigue grips its readers and keeps them glued till the very end. The plot of the play is cleverly constructed and it revolves around the King Agnimitra’s love interest Malavika who is a maid in the royal palace.
English Prose Translation of “Abhijnaana Saakuntalam of Kalidasa” by Sir Monier Williams (1819–1899).
The term Shakuntala means one who is brought up by birds (Shakun). There are references stating that Shakuntala was found by Rishi Kanva in forest as a baby surrounded by or as some believe being fed by birds, after being left by her mother, Menaka.
In Hindu mythology Sakuntala is the mother of Emperor Bharata and the wife of Dushyanta who was the founder of the Paurav Dynasty. Her story is told in the Mahabarata, Adi Parva and was dramatized by Kalidasa in his play Abhijnaana Saakuntalam (The Recognition of Sakuntala).
Kālidāsa is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. His place in Sanskrit literature is akin to that of Shakespeare in English. His plays and poetry are primarily based on Hindu mythology and philosophy.
A complete English translation of Panchatantra – A vivid retelling of India’s most famous collection of fables.
According to Indian tradition, the Panchatantra was written around 200 BCE by Pandit Vishnu Sarma, a sage. However, based as it is on older oral traditions, its antecedents among storytellers probably hark back to the origins of language. One of the most influential Sanskrit contributions to world literature, it is “certainly the most frequently translated literary product of India” and there are over 200 versions in more than 50 languages.
In the Indian tradition, the Panchatantra is a nitisastra, a treatise on political science and human conduct, or niti. It is said that Vishnu Sarma’s objective was to instruct three dull and ignorant princes in the principles of polity, by means of stories. Panchatantra consists of five books, which are called:
1. Mitra Bhedha (The Loss of Friends)
2. Mitra Laabha (Gaining Friends)
3. Kakolukiyam (Crows and Owls)
4. Labdhapranasam (Loss Of Gains)
5. Aparikshitakarakam (Ill-Considered Action)
The Vedic Literature Collection at Maharshi University of Management site is perhaps the largest collection of Hindu scriptures available on the world wide web. This collection comprises of more than 300 Hindu scriptures with original Sanskrit texts (there is no translation) in pdf format. Since almost all the texts are digitized, the whole collection is only around 1GB in size (sizes of some of the texts are less than 100 KB). As you can see in the image given above, the collection contains all the vedas, upavedas, vedangas, six darshanas, 18 puranas and upapuranas, stotras, etc.
Index of Vedic Literature
Vedic Literature Main Page
A Complete introduction to Panini Sutras for the use of beginners.
Laghu Siddhanta Kaumudi is a text in which Panini Sutras are so rearranged as to bring together the relevant sutras bearing on a particular topic. The present book is an English translation of Laghu Siddhanta Kaumudi together with comments, references and index. The book is a valuable contribution to the study of Sanskrit Grammar.
“The Translation of Laghu Siddhanta Kaumudi by late Dr. Ballantyne has enabled even beginners to find their way through the labyrinth of Sanskrit grammar” – Max Muller.