This is a small anecdote that happened to my student Shreya when she was in 6th grade. Now she is in 12th standard and comes to me for Sanskrit tuition. Shreya was studying in a school in Mangalore when she was in 6th standard. It was the ‘Sanskrit day’ celebration season (Sanskrit day is celebrated every year on the full moon day of the Shravana month of Indian calendar). So her Sanskrit teacher had asked a group of students to prepare some charts containing Sanskrit slogans like ‘’सत्यम् वद’, ’धर्मं चर’, ’मातृदेवो भव’, ’पितृदेवो भव’ etc. The group divided the task among themselves and they quickly completed making charts and brought to the teacher. Shreya made her chart beautifully and she had written this in her chart ’सत्यम् वध’. The teacher was a bit shocked to see her chart. He then told her that ‘’सत्यम् वद’ means ‘speak the truth’ but what you have written is ’सत्यम् वध’ which means ‘kill the truth’. Then she realized how important the ‘Alpapranas’ and ‘Mahapranas’ are in Sanskrit because the meaning changes drastically with usage of wrong letter. I had a hearty laugh listening to Shreya’s experience.
Thank you Shreya for sharing this story with me.