SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
SlOkam – Original
yadh yadh Acharathi SrEshtas thath thadhEvEtarO jana: |
sa yath pramANam kuruthE lOkas thadhanuvarthathE ||
word-by-word meaning (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
SrEshta: – the wise person (in gyAnam (knowledge) and anushtAnam (application of knowledge))
yadh yadh – whichever actions
Acharathi – he performs
thath thath Eva – the same actions
ithara: jana: – common people
Acharathi – perform
sa: – that wise person
yath pramANam – in whichever manner (those actions)
kuruthE – performs
lOka: – common people of the world
thath (Eva) – only that much
anuvarthathE – follow.
Simple Translation (based on puththUr krishNamAchArya swAmy’s thamizh translation)
Whichever actions the wise person (in gyAnam (knowledge) and anushtAnam (application of knowledge)) performs, common people perform the same actions. In whichever manner that wise person performs those actions, common people of the world also follow only that much.
Rendering based on ALkoNdavilli gOvindhAchArya swAmy’s English translation of gIthA bhAshyam
‘What the wise man does, another does likewise;
what law he may make, the world follows it.’
Considering from the stand-point that by one’s acts the world is profitted, then he ought to act (i.e., act altruistically.)
Śreshṭhaḥ: is a wise man, a worthy man, a man of note and respectability; and is one well versed in Śāstras1. Whatever such a man does, is imitated by all other men. It may be that it is generally known that a certain act is one which ought to be performed, yet all men wait to see how a good man, a leader of society, takes the initiative, and then they will do it, following suit.
Hence a man of special distinction or character ought always to show the example to the world, by first playing himself the part in all duties assigned to his caste (varṇa2) and order in life (āśrama3). If he should fail to do so, he commits sin, —the sin of not having benefitted the world by example.
The consequence to himself will further be that he will slip from the Path of his own jñāna-yoga.
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- Śāstra means laws, learning, and therefore spiritual laws or science embodied in the Vedas or Sṛutis, etc. ↩
- The four varṇas are Brāhmaṇa, Kshatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra. ↩
- The four āśramas are Brahmacharya (bachelor and student), Gārhastya (married life), Vānaprastha (retired forest life) and Sanyāsa (monastic or ascetic life). ↩