Today's Beautiful Gem: "Word and Meaning" by Kaalidaasa

There is an adage: "An enterprise well begun is half done."
The opening lines or stanzas in books have a real impact on
readers. The most stunning opening verse I ever came across
is from raghuvaMsha of Kaalidaasa. Most of the classics
start with a prayer by the poet to the God of his personal
choice. Kalidasa's prayer is to Shiva and Parvati. Let me
first give the shloka and its meaning.

"vaagarthaaviva saMpRktau
vaagarthaH pratipattaye |
jagataH pitarau vande
paarvatI paramesvarau ||"

"United are you
as word and meaning
O daughter of the mountain
and the ultimate Lord
I bow to thee both
the parents of the universe
Grant me the knowledge
of the word and its meaning"

Choosing the right word for the right context is the most
important aspect of writing. Political pundits of India
may be able to recall the controversy over the words "may"
and "shall". A word and its meaning are the two sides of
the same coin. Paarvati and Parameshvara share the same
body as ardha-naari-Ishvara (half-woman half-man). No
wonder Kaalidaasa perhaps attributes to this aspect of
Shiva and His consort. Of course, Kaalidaasa must have
obtained the favours for his prayers as the poet is the
ultimate Master of the word and its meaning!

Om shantiH Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao