The Definition of Brevity – Scriptures in a Single Sloka

This is the beauty of Sanskrit literature. There are instances of a story written in 25000 slokas and there are instances were the same story was told in one sloka. Below three are a single sloka recitations of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata. I am not sure who wrote them, but the case is that all three follow the same pattern, meaning, either they are written by the same person or the other two are the imitations of one of them.

आदौ रामतपोवनाभिगमनं हत्व मृगं काञ्चनं
वैदेहीहरणं जटायुमरणं सुग्रीवसम्भाषणम् ।
वालीनिग्रहणं समुद्रतरणं लङ्कापुरीदाहनं
पश्चाद्रावणकुम्भकर्णहननं एतद्धि रामायणम् ॥

Once Rama went to forest,He chased the deer,Sitha was kidnapped,Jatayu was killed, There were talks with Sugreeva,Vali was killed,The sea was crossed,Lanka was burnt,And later Ravana and Kumbha karna,Were also killed.This in short is the story of Ramayanam.

This is depicted in Telugu culture in three words – Katte(built), Kotte(hit), techche(brought) – Built the bridge, defeated Ravana and brought back Sita.

आदौ पाण्डववधार्तराष्ट्रजननं लाक्षागृहे दाहनं
द्यूते श्रीहरणं वने विहरणं मत्स्यालये वर्धनम् ।
लीलागोग्रहणं रणे वितरणं सन्धिक्रियाजृम्भणं
भीष्मद्रोणसुयोधनादिमथनं एतन्महाभारतम् ॥

(With) the birth of sons of Pandu and Drthrashtra and (failed attempt) of burning alive Pandavas) in a wax house, Wealth grabbed illegally, exile in forests (of Pandavas), retreat in the house of Matsya (Kingdom) cows stolen and rescued, in battle, Attempts for compromise (between the Pandavas and Karavas by Lord Krishna) failed, Bhishma, Drona Duryodhana and others killed, is Mahabharata

आदौ देवकिदेविगर्भजननं गोपीगृहे वर्धनं
मायापूतनिजीवितापहरणं गोवर्धनोद्धारणम् ।
कंसच्छेदनकौरवादिहननं कुन्तीजसत्पालनं
श्रीमद्भागवतं पुराणकथितं श्रीकृष्णलीलामृतम् ॥

Born to queen Devaki, Brought up by Gopis, Took out the life of Ogress Poothana, Lifted the Govardhana mountain, Beheaded his uncle Kamsa, Helped in killing the Kouravas, And looked after the children of Kunthi. This is in short the ancient story of Bhagawatha,Which describes the nectar like play of Lord Krishna

As a side note, there is another Eka Sloki, this time, by Adi Sankaracharya defining Vedanta.

Kim Jyothistava Bhaanumaanahani Me Ratrau Pradeepadikam
Shyaadevam, Ravideepadarshanavidhau Kim Jyothiraakhyahi me
Chakshuhtasya Nimeelanaadisamaye Kim Dheehrdheeyo Darshane
Kim Tatraahamatho Bhavaanparamakam Jyothihtadasmi Prabho

What is light for you?
For me, sun is the light in the day and at night lamp is the light.
Let that be so. The way to see the sun and lamp, what is the light, tell that to me.
When you close your eyes, what is the light?
What is the light for you to see(perceive) the intellect?
For that It is Me (the Self or pure Consciousness)
Thus you are the ultimate light (self-luminous Self).
Yes, that is right, my Lord.


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