Nancy,

Would you please help me with a couple of questions?

We start our United Lodge of Theosophy Sanskrit [Los Angeles] class with the Shanti Mantra. Saha nAvavatu  Saha nau bhunaktu etc.  I was pleased to find the mantra at the end of the Katha Upanashad.

I parse the first line as:

Saha [ind.] together, nau [without sandhi  1st per. du.] we two,  avavatu [without sandhi  3rd per. imperative] he protect.

The problem is with avavatu. It seems like it should be avatu. Why the second va?

A student brought to the class’s attention “The Eight Upanashads” translated by  Swami  Gambhirananda.  The SwamI shows avatu for avavatu in his commentary.

For the second line, saha nau bhunaktu, I have for bhunaktu: bhuj [root] –bunaja-bhunaka- bhunaktu [3rd.per. imparitive] he enjoy.

Swami Gambhirananda has for the second line “may he protect us both” [same as the first line].  Is there any way this is correct?

If you see any errors I have made please tell me.

Thank you and best,

Harold Walker

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Hi Harold,

You did a good job in analyzing this mantra. You are right: it is avatu. Naavavatu breaks down with sandhi into: nau (= naav) + avatu. (So it doesn't break as avavatu.) 

In the second line, different translators take bhunaktu differently. Swami Gambhirananda does take bhunaktu as "protect," but in a different sense than avatu, namely, "by vouchsafing the results of knowledge"; while he translates avatu as "protect" in the sense of "by revealing knowledge." In doing this, he is merely following Sankaracarya's commentary, which glosses both words as "paalayatu" (protect).
  
S. Radhakrishnan translates bhunaktu as "may He be pleased" (with us both). 
Swami Sarvananda translates bhunaktu as "May He nourish (us both)."
"Enjoy," as you said, is a basic meaning of the root bhuj. There are many possible ways to translate this word.
 
Best regards,
NR

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