Sanskrit: दमयन्त्याः स्वयंवरकाले etc.

MindBoggle

Senior Member
Danish. English from childhood
Hello guys! :)

I'm stuck in this one from my book:

दमयन्त्याः स्वयंवरकाले बहवो नृपा मामियं वृणीत मामियं वृणीतेति मन्यमानाः स्वासनेष्वसीदन ।

I can't make sense of the first part at all (and not really of the rest of it either).

I'm thinking the first string comes from dama (tame), plus yat, (someone who has tamed), plus feminine marker I, plus abl/gen ending AH.
The second string is very confusing, but seems to consist of sva (oneself) + yam (relative) + vara (boon) + kAla (age). Or maybe the beginning is svayam, but I don't see how sva can take that form.

Then we have 'many kings' and then 'me this(F) you(pl) must choose' (x2) 'thus thinking in the good seats they sat'.

Altogether i'm getting something like 'In the boon-age of she who has tamed, many kings, sitting in good seats, thought, you must choose me.'

- but it makes no sense, and some bits are missing, so I'm sure it's completely wrong.

Can anybody make sense of it?

Best regards,
MindBoggle
 
  • marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Damayanti is a proper name of a character from Mahabharata.

    svayamvara is a noun for the procedure of choosing a husband by a woman herself.
     

    MindBoggle

    Senior Member
    Danish. English from childhood
    Damayanti is a proper name of a character from Mahabharata.

    svayamvara is a noun for the procedure of choosing a husband by a woman herself.

    Ah! Ok, that's very helpful, marrish. Thanks a lot.

    Let me try again, then. I guess it must be something like:

    In Damayantis age of self-choice many kings sat in their comfortable seat thinking: "this woman, choose me, choose me!"

    - but the iyam is still confusing me (is it vocative?), and why is 'choose' in plural imperative? Is it polite plural? Or are they thinking 'Let this woman choose me!'?

    :confused:

    MindBoggle
     

    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    You got it almost right. Excellent work!

    I won't solve it completely for you to let you have the fun of untying the knot, but I'll give you a hint. Here, वृणीत is an optative middle form, and not imperative active, like you were assuming. Please, try again. :)

    ----------

    Also, I'd suggest an alternative translation to "दमयन्त्याः स्वयंवरकाले" as "at the time of Damayanti's svayaṃvara". Your translation (In Damayantis age of self-choice) is perfectly correct, but I am suggesting what, I feel, may be a little better suited to the context (of the Damayanti story). I think, I understand why you translate it the way you do: (Damayanti-gen. (svayaṃvara-gen. age/time-loc))* which directly reflects the forms in the Sanskrit sentence, whereas my translation has a different syntactic hierarchy ((Damayanti-gen. svayaṃvara-gen.) age/time-loc). However, such "wrong" syntactic hierarchy analysis involving compounds is very common in (classical) Sanskrit. You have to rely on the context to figure out which is meant.

    * -gen = genitive, -loc = locative, and the parantheses to show the syntactic hierarchy.
     
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    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    You're welcome. वृणीत is, I think optative third person sg. (let her choose me). iyam is "she" in the nominative, again, I think, off the top of my head (as I once told you about idam, it will be the feminine form).

    Edit: I'm very sorry I didn't see Dib's response.
     
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    Dib

    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    I should also add, that, in classical Sanskrit, the root sad- (sīdati) by itself is normally used to mean "to be nervous, unhappy, low-spirited", etc., probably from an extension of the original meaning "to sit down". You should consider the context, if you have any, to decide whether that is the more appropriate meaning here, e.g. in the Gītā 1-29, Arjuna says:
    "sīdanti mama gātrāṇi; mukhaṃ ca pariśuṣyati;
    vepathuś-ca śarīre me, romaharṣaś-ca jāyate."
    (I leave it untranslated to let you have some more fun - but I added some punctuation to help you.) :D

    where the meaning "to sit" will never work!

    "To sit" is typically rendered in Classical Sanskrit by either ni-sad- or ās-.
     
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    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    - but the iyam is still confusing me (is it vocative?), and why is 'choose' in plural imperative? Is it polite plural? Or are they thinking 'Let this woman choose me!'?

    iyam is "she" in the nominative, again, I think, off the top of my head (as I once told you about idam, it will be the feminine form).

    The इदम् idam- (and अदस् adas- for that matter) paradigm is a really nasty one. For your personal reference, MindBoggle, the full paradigms begin lesson 23 and can be found on pp.185-6 of Madhav Deshpande's book, at least if you have the green fifth(?) printing. You may also be able to make use of the following link http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Sanskrit_Grammar_by_Whitney_p1.djvu/220 as a quick and easy reference, which I hope other readers may also be able to put to good use :)

    I'm thinking the first string comes from dama (tame), plus yat, (someone who has tamed), plus feminine marker I, plus abl/gen ending AH.

    You know you were thinking along good lines there, as Monier-Williams tells us, the name दमयन्ती damayantī- has the literal meaning "subduing (men)," Monier-Williams has obviously supplied the "men." It is, unless I'm very much mistaken, nothing more or less than the fem pres (act) part (feminine present (active) participle) of the root दम् dam- in, I believe, the causative, as in the causative of the root दम् dam- would mean to subdue, and Damayantī is she who subdues (men).

    The second string is very confusing, but seems to consist of sva (oneself) + yam (relative) + vara (boon) + kAla (age). Or maybe the beginning is svayam, but I don't see how sva can take that form.

    स्वयंवर svayaṃvara- is, as others have said, a marital ceremony, where the bride-to-be nominates a husband from a choice of suitors, rather than having one selected for her by her family. I have heard it translated as "self-choice ceremony" which reveals the origins of the word. It is, of course, from स्वयम् svayam- "self, oneself" (clearly related to स्व sva-) + वर vara-, presumably best taken here as "choice" (from the root वृ vṛ-).
     

    MindBoggle

    Senior Member
    Danish. English from childhood
    Here, वृणीत is an optative middle form, and not imperative active, like you were assuming. Please, try again. :)

    Of course! The two forms are identical. I didn't realize that. You have been very helpful, thank you so much. :)

    Also thanks to Marrish and Au for their kind contributions. :)

    At the time of Damayanti's svayamvara, many kings sat in their comfortable seats thinking: "Let her choose me! Let her choose me!"

    Or maybe even (going with Dib's suggestion that sad=nervous and also suggesting that maybe 'good seat'='throne'):

    At the time of Damayanti's svayamvara, many kings, nervously perched on their thrones, were thinking: "Let her choose me! Let her choose me!"

    It certainly sounds like she was a subduer of men!
    (While I still haven't read the relevant part in Mahabhata, I can already picture the scene...).

    Thanks a lot to you all! :) :) :)
     
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