How Is Your Sanskrit?

Sanskrit in Sanskrit

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India (3,500 years old) and is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism.

It was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India.In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia. It became the language of high culture and of the ruling elites.

Sanskrit words have been and still are the secret language of Yoga.

You probably know some Sanskrit: Karma and Nirvana are ancient Sanskrit words. But there are other Sanskrit words that are very good at summing up large principles of guiding one's life.

Here is a quick primer on some Sanskrit:

  • Santosha = contentment and finding a feeling of content no matter what your circumstances may be. 
  • Ananda = bliss, that state of utter joy and fulfillment.
  • Mantra is another fairly common word, especially if you have seriously studied mediation. It is defined as a mind instrument - not a prayer as we normally think of that word, but a sacred phrase that can be repeated, even "hummed" during meditation 
  • Satya = truth, which includes truth-telling, practicing positive moral and also finding your own personal truth as well. While being honest with others is important, being honest with yourself allows you to realize your purpose. 
  • Saucha = cleanliness, physically and in spirit and emotions that are toxic, such as fear, jealousy, and anger.  
  • Ahimsa – non-violence both physically and mentally. 
  • Upeksha means staying grounded which is the way to an ultimate state of peace 
  • Prajna = wisdom, but not so much the learned wisdom of schooling or experience, but from spiritual wisdom

You'll find more at  and

The Sears Catalog

Sears is closing another 40 stores as it aims to survive Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They are not totally disappearing but this will leave the company with fewer than 500 locations.

But the Christmas season makes me think about another aspect of Sears that is also gone - the Christmas catalog.

When I was a kid and that catalog arrived, I spent days paging through the pages marking all the things I wanted to see under the Christmas tree. Of course, I didn't expect to get all the things I marked (even when I did believe in Santa Claus), but it was a lot of fun to "shop" in the catalog. Wasn't it called the "Wish Book" at some point?

But Sears was encouraging dreaming much earlier in the 20th century for adults. Beginning in 1908, Sears started selling entire houses from a catalog.

In those days they were still known as Sears, Roebuck & Co., and they were able to package and ship more than 400 different types of homes and buildings. These kits were  25-tons of 30,000 pre-cut parts, plumbing and electrical fixtures, and up to 750 pounds of nails. Without commercial air and ground shipping, the kits were transported by railroad.

Talk about the American Dream, if you had the cash, you could order in 1908 the original model, number 125, which was an 8 room bungalow style house. It cost $945.

Perhaps, more amazing is that while half of those kits were built professionally, the other half were built by the homeowners themselves DIY-style. Apparently, many of the latter construction projects were neighborhood "barn-raisings" with family, friends, and neighbors.

How about a 10 room colonial for $6488?

The complete homes sales ended in 1939 as WWII approached. Besides these arts and crafts Sears homes, there were other sources of homes of moderate cost.

The Last Picture Show

They say no one wants to come to picture shows no more. 

Set between WWII and the Korean War, Peter Bogdanovich's film The Last Picture Show is about the end of an era in a small Texas town.

Though it wasn't my era, I could identify with this coming of age story and the film as Film meant a lot to me when it came out in 1971.

The story centers on Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and his friend Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges)and the cast includes Cybill Shepherd in her film debut, Ben Johnson, Eileen Brennan, Ellen Burstyn, Cloris Leachman, Clu Gulager, Randy Quaid and John Hillerman.

It was one of the first films to have used a contemporary popular music soundtrack, and for aesthetic and technical reasons it was shot in black and white, which was unusual for that time. But it feels right.

The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and four nominations for acting: Ben Johnson and Jeff Bridges for Best Supporting Actor, and Ellen Burstyn and Cloris Leachman for Best Supporting Actress. It won two: Johnson and Leachman.

I have never read the book the film is based upon. The Last Picture Show (1966) was written by Larry McMurtry. He is the author of 29 novels.

I suspect he is best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove. That book was a television miniseries. That was a format that foreshadowed the limited series that are now common on places like Netflix. I loved that series and it sent me to the book. Of course, the novel and TV film are totally different experiences. In this case, both were good ones.

So, I should go back after almost 50 years and read the book of The Last Picture Show. I guess like a lot of people, I'm always a bit afraid to read a book after seeing the film version, or see the film when I have loved the book version. I don't want one to ruin the other. Most times that is what happens. It is great when one complements the other.

One of those complementary occurrences is the novel and film of The World According to Garp. I love the book. I love the movie.

Seeing The Last Picture Show film the year I graduated high school and started college made it mean a lot more. I'm not sure what this old man will think about the story now. I suppose I may identify more with Sam and the older characters and it will be a new story.

Watch a clip with critical commentary at Critics' Picks: 'The Last Picture Show' - The New York Times: