When vocabulary presents different Shades of Love

Sujatha Ratnala
2 min readJul 12, 2018

A range of Sanskrit words emoting Prema


“Sanskrit has 96 words for love; ancient Persian has 80, Greek three, and English only one. This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling.” — Robert Johnson

Read this quote recently. May be an exaggeration.. Nevertless inspired me to share a few thoughts /common vocabulary in Sanskrit/Indian languages around love if not just love.

According to Bhagawadgita, Bhakthi Yoga is the path of Emotional purification, opening up of the heart and connecting to the Supreme. Kaama or lust is gratification of desire and senses. When the version of the mobile gets outdated, there is no longer interest in the device.Where as Prema is selfless love as shown by a spouse, mother or friend. vatsalya, maadhuryam,sakhyam are different rasaas or expressions of prema. Bhakthi or surrender is the final stage of love. Archana, Bhajana are different types of Bhakthi as mentioned in Gita.

While japa, shraddha, aaradhana, pooja express love to the Lord karuna, anugraha, prasada the blessings of the Lord. The Tyagarajas and Annamayas have traveled the poetic bhakthi lane with their compositions surrendering to the lord.

While kaama is synonymous with lust, pranaya, laasya, moha, madan, manmada, priya, anuraaga resonates with love and abhimaana, sneha, maitri, harda revolve around affection, friendship and cordial relations..

Shankaracharya in his gallactic ode to the Morning begins each verse with.. pratah smaraami..pratah namaami.. pratah bhajaami.. Reverence to the almighty through recollections, greetings and prayers.

Tyagaraja in his bhakthi says to Lord Rama scribes.. Pibare raamarasam..rasane..Pibare Raamarasam. May I drink the essence of Rama..

Maithreem Bhajatha Akila Hrith Jeththreem —Lets proclaim friendship and win everyone’s heart !! — Rendered at the United Nations on Oct. 23, 1966 on the occasion of the UN day by M. S. Subbulakshmi



Sujatha Ratnala

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Patterns, Science, Linguistics, Sanskrit et al..