QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM SANSKRIT CLASSICS

Quotes from Sanskrit Classics

The classical period of Sanskrit literature dates back from the 3rd century BC right upto to the 8th century AD. One of the earliest known Sanskrit plays is the mrichakatika thought to have been composed by shudraka in the 2nd century BC. Bhasa and Kalidasa are major early poets and dramatists. Kālidāsa qualifies easily as the greatest poet and playwright in Sanskrit. His three famous plays are Vikarmorvashiyam, Malavikaagnimitram and Abhijnaanashaakuntalam. The last mentioned play is acknowledged as one the most beautiful plays not only in classical Sanskrit but also in world literature.
A few of the greatest works of poetry in this period are the following Mahākāvyas:

  • Kumarasambhavam by Kalidasa
  • Kiratarjuniyam by Bharavi
  • Sishupalavadham by Sri Magha
  • Naishadheeya Charitam by Sri Harsha

There is a sloka which says about these mahakavis:

उपमा कालिदासस्य भारवेरर्थगौरवम् ।
दण्डिनः पदलालित्यं माघे सन्ति त्रयो गुणाः ॥
Upamaa kaalidaasasya bharaverarthagauravam
Dandinah padalaalityam maaghe santi trayo gunaah

Kalidasa excels in the use of similes and metaphors in his poetry, Bharavi’s works are pregnant with meaning, Dandi’s language is simple and lilting and poet Magha combines in him all the three qualities mentioned above.

Sanskrit fairy tales and fables are chiefly characterized by ethical reflections and proverbial philosophy. The two most important collections are Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma and Hitopadesha by Narayana Pandita. These were originally intended as manuals for the instruction of kings in domestic and foreign policy.

Somadeva’s Kathasaritsagara is a work of special importance. Composed in verse it is of very considerable length, containing more than 22,000 slokas.

Fable collections, serving as the handbooks of practical moral philosophy, provided an abundant reservoir of ethical maxims. They became so popular that works consisting exclusively of poetical aphorisms started to appear. The most important are the two collections by the highly-gifted Bhartruhari entitled respectively Nīti-śataka and Vairāgya-śataka.

Given below is selection of sayings from the Sanskrit classics. The selections are in the nature of what is called subhashitani , literally meaning ‘well said’, picturesque in expression and import, embedded as diamonds strewn . They throw light on human nature, on virtues like truthfulness, compassion, love, humility, charity, perseverance, human effort etc, code of conduct according to one’s role in the family or society and practical advice when faced with obstacles or difficulties. They also warn us against negative emotions like anger, jealousy, greed, conceit, fault-finding etc. It has to be pointed out here that the selections are not intended to bring out the poetic excellences or provide a critical appreciation of the works concerned

1. Raghuvamsam (Mahakavi Kalidasa)

हेम्नः संलक्ष्यते ह्यग्नौ विशुद्धि: श्यामिकाऽपि वा ।
Hemnah samlakshyate hyagnau vishuddhih shyaamikaapi va.

The purity or otherwise of gold can be tested only when it is put through the fire.

क्रिया हि वस्तूपहिता प्रसीदति ।
Kriyaa hi vastoopahutaa praseedati.

Knowledge imparted only to a fit recipient will yield the desired result.

पदं हि सर्वत्र गुणैर्निधीयते ।
Padam hi sarvatra gunairnidheeyat.

Good qualities put their footprints everywhere.

भिन्नरुचिर्हि लोकः ।
Bhinnaruchirhi lokah.

People have varied tastes, likes and dislikes.

मरणं प्रकृतिः शरीरिणां विकृतिर्जीवितमुच्यते बुधैः ।
क्षणमप्यवतिष्ठते श्वसन् यदि जन्तुर्ननु लाभवानसौ ॥
Maranam prakritih shareerinaam vikritirjeevitamuchyate budhaih.
Kshanamapyavatishthate shwasanyadi janturnanu laabhavaanasau..

Wise men say that death is a natural thing for the embodied soul whereas life is accidental. Even if one is able to breathe and be alive for a second, it should be considered as a gain.

स्वशरीरशरीरिणावपि श्रुत संयोग विपर्ययौ यदा ।
विरह्ः किमिवानुतापयेत् वद बाह्यैर्विषयैर्विपश्चिताम् ॥
Swashareerashareerinaavapi shruta samyoga viparyayau yadaa.
Virahah kimivaanutaapayedvada baahyairvishayaih vipashchitaam..

When the union and separation of the body (shareera ) and the indweller of the body (shareeree, Jiva) is common knowledge, how could the separation (viraha) from external entities cause grief to a wise person?

2. Kumarasambhavam (Mahakavi Kalidasa)

विकारहेतौ सति विक्रियन्ते येषां न चेतांसि त एव धीराः ।
Vikaarahetau sati vikriyante Yeshaam na chetaamsi ta eva dheeraah.

Only he can be considered a dheera ( a person of courage) whose mind is not disturbed or overcome by emotions even in the presence of objects of temptation.

प्रायेण सामग्र्यविधौ गुणानां
पराङ्‌मुखी विश्वसृजः प्रवृत्तिः॥
Praayena saamagryavidhau gunaanaam
Paraangmukhee vishwasrijah pravrittih

In most of the cases, the Creator Brahma is reluctant to assemble all the good qualities in one place (person). (The idea is even the best of men will have a few failings).

क ईप्सितार्थस्थिरनिश्चयं मनः
पयश्च निम्नाभिमुखं प्रतीपयेत्॥
Ka eepsitaartha sthiranishchayam manah
Payashcha nimnaabhimukham prateepayet

Who can reverse the course of two things, namely, the mind which is steadfastly clinging to the desired object and water which always flows from higher level to lower level?

शरीरमाद्यं खलु धर्मसाधनम्
Shareeramaadyam khalu dharmasaadhanam

The human body is the first instrument for treading the path of dharma

न रत्नमन्विष्यति मृग्यते हि तत्
Na ratnamanwishyati mrigyate hi tat

A valuable diamond does not seek, it is only sought after.

अलोकसामान्यमचिन्त्यहेतुकं
द्विषन्ति मन्दाश्चरितं महात्मनाम्
Alokasaamaanyam achintyahetukam
Dwishanti mandaashcharitam mahaatmanaam

Fools deride the character of great souls whose conduct and behaviour are different from those of ordinary mortals who cannot think of possible reasons for such difference.

प्रायः प्रत्ययमादत्ते स्वगुणेषूत्तमादरः
Praayah pratyayamaadatte swaguneshoottamaadaarh

Respect or recognition by men of noble character instills into one a belief in one’s own good qualities.

याच्ञा मोघा वरमधिगुणे नाधमे लब्धकामा
Yaachjnaa moghaa varamadhigune naadhame labdhakaamaa

Begging of a noble person and not getting what one wants is much better than begging of a mean person and getting what one wants.

रिक्तः सर्वे भवति हि लघुः पूर्णता गौरवाय
Riktah sarve bhavati hi laghuh poornata gauravaaya

Empty ( of wealth, knowledge, good qualities etc) one loses dignity and respect in society. Fullness ( of wealth, knowledge, good qualities etc.) , on the other hand, gives one dignity and respect in society.

आपन्नार्तिप्रशमनफलाः सम्पदो ह्युत्तमानाम्
Aapannaartiprashamanaphalaah sampado hyuttamaanaam

Noble souls use their wealth for the purpose of wiping out the misery and suffering of those overcome by misfortune.
 

कस्यात्यन्तं सुखमुपनतं दु:खमेकान्ततो वा
नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण
Kasyaatyantam sukhamupanatam dukhamekaantato vaa
Neechairgachchhatyupari cha dashaa chakranemikramena

There is none who is always happy and comfortable and none who is always unhappy and miserable. Happiness and sorrow alternate like the rim of a wheel which goes up and down.

3. Abhijnaanashaakuntalam Natakam (Mahakavi Kalidasa)

किमिव हि मधुराणां मण्डनं नाकृतीनाम्
Kimivahi madhuraanaam mandanam naakriteenaam?

Which is not an adornment for a beautiful form? (Anything can add to the beauty if one has a beautiful form)

सतां हि सन्देहपदेषु वस्तुषु
प्रमाणमन्तकरण प्रवृत्तयः
Sataam hi sandehapadeshu vastushu
Pramaanam antahkarana pravruttayah

For people of character, when in a dilemma whether a particular conduct or deed is good or bad, their own inner voice or conscience is the final arbiter.

अर्थो हि कन्या परकीय एव
Artho hi kanyaa parakeeya eva

A girl child is another man’s property and she is held in trust by the parents.

औत्सुक्यमात्रमवसाययति प्रतिष्ठा
Autsukyamaatramavasaayayati pratishthaa

When one gets recognition, the enthusiasm which was there while endeavouring to get that recognition, cools down.

अनुभवति हि मूर्ध्ना पादपस्तीव्रमुष्णं ।
शमयति परितापं छायया संश्रितानाम् ॥
Anubhavati hi moordhnaa paadapasteevramushnam
Shamayati paritaapam chchhaayayaa samshritaanaam

The tree bears the intense heat on its head while it lessens the heat for those who take shelter under it.

भवन्ति नम्रास्तरव फलोद्गमैः
नवांबुभिर्भूमिविलंबिनो घनाः
अनुद्धताः सत्पुरुषा समृद्धिभिः
स्वभाव एवैष परोपकारिणाम्
Bhavanti namraastarava phalodgamaih
Navaambubhirbhoomivilambino ghanaah
Anuddhataah satpurushaah samriddhibhih
Swabhaava evaisha paropakaarinaam

Trees laden with fruits bend down so that people may pluck and enjoy the fruits. Clouds laden with water come down in the form of rain cooling the earth and watering plants and trees. In the same way noble men do not become conceited when fortune embraces them but use their wealth to help others. This is the nature of persons who are always eager to be of help to fellow humans.

स्रजमपि शिरस्यन्धः क्षिप्तं धुनोत्यहिशंकया
Srajamapi shirasyandhah kshiptaam dhunotyahishankayaa

One who is blind throws away even a garland of flower placed on his head, thinking it is a snake.

4. Vikramorvasheeyam Natakam (Mahakavi Kalidasa)

यदेवोपनतं दु:खात् सुखं तद्रसवत्तरं।
निर्वाणाय तरुच्छाया तप्तस्य हि विशेषतः ॥
Yadevopanatam dukhaat sukham tadrasavattaram
Nirvaanaaya taruchchhaayaa taptasya hi visheshatah

The happiness one gets after a period of grief is all the more enjoyable. One who is afflicted by the intense heat of the Sun better enjoys the shade given by a tree than one who is not exposed to the Sun’s rays.

परस्परविरोधिन्योरेकसंश्रयदुर्लभं ।
संगमं श्रीसरस्वत्योर्भूयादुद्भूतये सताम् ॥
Parasparavirodhinyorekasamshrayadurlabham
Sangamam shreesaraswatyorbhooyaadudbhootaye sataam

The conflicting attributes of wealth and learning rarely co-exist in one person. Let there be such a rare union of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati for the benefit of the good people.

सर्वस्तरतु दुर्गाणि सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यतु।
सर्वः कामानवाप्नोतु सर्वः सर्वत्र नन्दतु ॥
Sarvastaratu durgaani sarve bhadraani pashyatu
Sarvah kaamaanavaapnotu sarvah sarvatra nandatu

May all cross their difficulties. May all see good and auspicious things. May all get their wishes fulfilled. May everyone everywhere be happy.

छिन्नबन्धे मत्स्ये पलायिते निर्विण्णो।
धीवरो भणति धर्मो मे भवति ॥
Chchhinnabandhe matsye palaayite nirvinno
Dheevaro bhanati dharmo me bhavati

When the fishing net was torn and fish leaped into the water the fisherman becomes dejected and consoles himself saying that he will get merit (punya) (for allowing the fish to escape).

सर्वत्र खल्वात्मानुमानेन वर्तितुं युक्तम्
Sarvatra khalwaatmaanumaanena vartitum yuktam

It is best for every one to act in accordance with one’s status everywhere.

5. Malavikaagnimitram Natakam(Mahakavi Kalidasa)

पुराणमित्येव न साधु सर्वं
न चाऽपि काव्यं नवमित्यवद्यम्।
सन्तः परीक्ष्यान्यतरत् भजन्ते
मूढ्ः परप्रत्ययनेयबुद्धिः ॥
Puraanamityeva na saadhu sarvam
Na chaapi kaavyam navamityavadyam
Santah pareekshyaanyatarat bhajante
Moodhah parapratyayaneya buddhih

All kavyaas are not good only because they are old. All kaavyas are not bad because they are new. Good and wise people examine both and decide whether a kaavya is good or bad. Only a fool will be blindly led by what others say.

अर्थं सप्रतिबन्धं प्रभुरधिगन्तुं सहायवानेव ।
दृश्यं तमसि न पश्यन्ति दीपेन विना सचक्षुरपि ॥
Artham sapratibandham prabhuradhigantum sahaayavaaneva
Drishyam tamasi na pashyanti deepena vinaa sachakshurapi

Only one who has some one to help will be able to get hold of an object or achieve a goal when there are impediments or obstructions in the process. Even a person with eyes will be able to see an object in darkness only with the help of a lamp.

मन्दोऽप्यमन्दतामेति संसर्गेण विपश्चितः
पङ्कछिदः फलस्येव निकर्षेणाविलं पयः
Mando’pyamandataameti samsargena vipashchitah
Pankachchhidah phalasyeva nikashenaavilam payah

Even a fool becomes clever by association with the wise just as even muddy water becomes clear when it comes into contact with the fruits of the nirmalee tree (i.e. when the fruits are put in the water).

6. Kiraataarjuneeyam (Mahakavi Bharavi)

नहि प्रियं वक्तुमिच्छन्ति मृषा हितैषिणः
Nahi priyam vaktumichchhanti mrishaa hitaishinah

Those who mean well for others do not want to please them by false praise.

ननु वक्तृविशेष नि:स्पृहा गुणगृह्या वचने विपश्चितः
Nanu vaktrivishesha ni:sprihaa gunagrihyaa vachane vipashchitah

The wise are indifferent as to who uttered the words, they judge the words by their inherent quality.

निवसन्ति पराक्रमाश्रया न विषादेन समं समृद्धयः
Nivasanti paraakramaashrayaa na vishaadena samam samriddhayah

Abundance (affluence) co-exists with valour not with melancholy or absence of enthusiasm.

सहसा विदधीत न क्रियामविवेक: परमापदां पदम्।
वृणुते हि विमृश्यकारिणं गुणलुब्धाः स्वयमेव सम्पदः ॥

Sahasaa vidadheeta na kriyaamavivekah paramaapadaam padam
Vrinute hi vimrishyakaarinam gunalubdhaah swayameva sampadah

Do not embark on an endeavour on the spur of the moment without analysing its pros and cons. The absence of discrimination is the cause of great misfortune. Fortune, ever greedy for good qualities in men, embraces those who engage themselves in an endeavour after consultations and discussions with men of knowledge.

स्पृहणीयगुणैर्महात्मभिश्चरिते वर्त्मनि यच्छतां मनः
विधिहेतुर्हेतुरागसां विनिपातोऽपि समुन्नतेस्समः
Sprihaneeya gunairmahaatmabhih charite vartmani yachchhataam manah
Vidhiheturaheturaagasaam vinipaato’pi samunnateh samah

For those who follow in the footsteps of great men possessing highly desirable qualities, even a downfall on account of fate and not involving wrong doings is equal to rising higher in status.

यशोऽधिगन्तुं सुखलिप्सया वा मनुष्यसंख्यामतिवर्तितुं वा
निरुत्सुकानामभियोगभाजां समुत्सुकेवाङ्कमुपैति सिद्धिः
Yasho’dhigantum sukhalipsayaa vaa manushyasamkhyaamativartitum vaa
Nirutsukaanaamabhiyogabhaajaam samutsukevaankamupaiti siddhih

Achievement, it seems, is enthusiastic to sit on the lap of those who engage themselves diligently in an endeavour without caring for fame, happiness or rise in popularity.

किं वावसादकर आत्मवताम्
Kimivaavasaadakara aatmavataam

There is nothing which will tire out or disturb the mind of high-minded persons.

प्रेम पश्यति भयानपदेऽपि
Prema pashyati bhayaanapade’pi.

Love sees cause for fear even in the most unlikely places.

उपनतमवधीरयन्त्यभव्याः
Upanatamavadheerayantyabhavyaah

Unlucky persons disregard ( do not care about) what is already at hand.

शरदम्बुधरच्छाया जत्वर्यो यौवनश्रियः
आपातरम्याः विषयाः पर्यन्तपरितापिनः
Sharadambudharachchhaayaa jatwaryo yauvanashriyah
Aapaataramyaah vishayaah paryanta paritaapinah

Youth is fleeting like the clouds of autumn. The pleasures of the senses are sweet in the beginning but yield bitter results in the end.

तदा रम्याण्यरम्याणि प्रियः शल्यं तदासवः ।
तदेकाकी सबंधुस्सन् इष्टेन रहितो यदा ॥
Tadaa ramyaanyaramyaani priyah shalyam tadaasavah
Tadekaakee sabandhuh sannishtena rahito yadaa

when one’s loved one is absent, beautiful things seem ugly, what one likes including one’s own life becomes a pain, one feels lonely even in the midst of one’s relatives.

जीयन्तां दुर्जया देहे रिपवश्च्क्षुरादयः ।
जितेषु ननु लोकोऽयं तेषु कृत्स्नस्त्वया जितः॥
Jeeyantaam durjayaa dehe ripavashchakshuraadayah
Jiteshu nanu loko’yam teshu kritsnastwayaa jitah

The enemies resident in the body, namely the sense organs like the eyes, which are difficult to control, should be conquered. Once they are conquered, it is as good as the whole world has been conquered by you.

तावदाश्रयते लक्ष्म्या तावदस्य स्थिरं यशः ।
पुरुषस्तावदेवासौ यावन्मानान्न हीयते ॥
Taavadaashreeyate lakshmyaa taavadasya sthiram yashah
Purushastaavadevaasau yaavanmaanaanna heeyate

One can accumulate wealth, one’s fame remains stable and one is considered a man of substance only so long as one commands the respect of society.

प्रकृत्यमित्रा हि सतामसाधवः
Prakrityamitraa hi sataamasaadhavah

Evil men are natural enemies of the good ones.

7. Shishupaalavadham (Maagha kavi)

महीयांसः प्रकृत्या मितभषिणः
Maheeyamsah prakrityaa mitabhaashinah

Great men, by nature, do not talk much (they limit their speech to the essentials only)

संपदा सुस्थिरंमन्यो भवति स्वल्पयाऽपि यः ।
कृतकृत्यो विधिर्मन्ये न वर्धयति तस्य ताम् ॥
Sampadaa susthirammanyo bhavati swalpayaa’pi yah
Kritakrityo vidhirmanye na vardhayati tasya taam

In the case of one who is satisfied with a little wealth, even Fate (vidhih) thinks it has done its job and does not increase his wealth. (One should have enough ambition if he wants to accumulate lot of wealth and should not be content with what he has)

मा जीवन् यः परावज्ञादु:खदग्धोऽपि जीवति
Maa jeevan yah paraavajnaadukhadagdho’pi jeevati

One who lives, even after one has been scorched by the humiliation showered on him by others, is as good as dead.

सामान्याधिकरणं हि तेजस्तिमिरयोः कुतः
Saamaanyaadhikaranam hi tejastimirayo kutah?

Where is comparison between light and darkness ? There is no comparison at all.

आरभ्यन्तेऽल्पमेवाऽज्ञाः कामं व्यग्रा भवन्ति च
महारंभाः कृतधियः तिष्ठन्ति च निराकुला:
Aarabhante’lpamevaa’jjnaah kaamam vyagraa bhavanti cha
Mahaarambhaah kritadhiyastishthanti cha niraakulaah

Fools start an undertaking in a small way and they struggle to complete it. Great men start in a big way and accomplish the task remaining unruffled in spite of its magnitude.

उपायमास्थितस्यापि नश्यन्त्यर्थाः प्रमादतः
Upaayamaasthitasyaapi nashyantyarthaah pramaadatah

The undertakings of those who are careless and negligent never bear fruit though they have used proper means.

अयथाबलमारंभो निदानं क्षयसम्पदः
Ayathaabalamaarambho nidaanam kshayasampadah

Embarking on something which is beyond one’s capacity or strength is one of the causes for diminution in one’s wealth

बृहत्सहायाः कार्यान्तं क्षोदीयानपि गच्छति
Brihatsahaayah kaaryaantam kshodeeyanapi gachchhati

Even small people can get their work done with the help of the big people

क्षणे क्षणे यन्नवतामुपैति तदेव रूपं रमणीयतायाः
Kshane Kshane yannavataamupaiti tadeva roopam ramaneeyataayaah

Beauty is that which takes on a new form every minute (so that the one who looks at it is never tired or bored)

8. Naishadheeya Charitam (Sri Harsha)

अपां हि तृप्तस्य न वारिधारा स्वादुः सुगंधिः स्वदते तुषारा
Apaam hi triptaaya na vaaridhaara swaaduh sugandhih swadate tushaaraa

One who is satiated with water will not appreciate a pouring of cool water sweet in taste and smell.

पित्तेन दूने रसने सितापि तिक्तायते
Pittena doone rasane sitaapi tiktaayate

When the tongue is corrupted by pitta, even sugar tastes bitter.

आर्जवं हि कुटिलेषु न नीतिः
Aarjavam hi kutileshu na neetih

Straightforwardness is not the right policy when people of crooked mind are concerned.

मितं च सारं च वचो हि वाग्मिता
Mitam cha saaram cha vacho hi vaagmitaa

Oratory is speech which is measured (not verbose) and at the same time pregnant with meaning.

9. Mrichchhakatikam (Raja Sudraka)

शून्यमपुत्रस्य गृहं चिरशून्यं नास्ति यस्य सन्मित्रं।
मूर्खस्य दिशाः शून्याः सर्वं शून्यं दरिद्रस्य ॥
Shoonyamaputrasya griham chirashoonyam naasti yasya sanmitram
Moorkhasya dishaah shoonyaah sarvam shoonyam daridrasya

The house of a childless person is shoonya (void), for a person without a good friend it is forever void, the four quarters are void for the fool and for the poor everything is shoonya (void).

सुखं हि दु:खाननुभूय शोभते घनांधकारेष्विव दीपदर्शनम्
Sukham hi dukhaananubhooya shobhate ghanaandhakaareshwiwa deepadarshnam

Happiness is more appreciated after one experiences grief over a period in the same way as light is more appreciated by a person in pitch darkness.

सुखात्तु यो याति नरो दरिद्रतां धृतः शरीरेण मृतः स जीवति
Sukhaattu yo yaati naro daridrataam Dhritah shareerena mritah sa jeevati

One who has enjoyed prosperity is suddenly reduced to penury is as good as dead even while living.

दारिद्र्यान्मरणाद्वा मरणं मम रोचते न दारिद्र्यं ।
अल्पक्लेशं मरणं दारिद्र्यमनन्तकं दु:खम् ॥
Daaridryaanmaranaadwaa maranam mama rochate na daaridryam
Alpaklesham maranam daaridryamanantakam dukham

If I have to choose between death and penury I will choose death not penury. Death involves only a little distress but penury brings unending physical and mental agony.

दारिद्र्यात्पुरुषस्य बांधवजनो वाक्ये न संतिष्ठते
सुस्निग्धाः विमुखीभवन्ति सुहृदः स्फारीभवन्त्यापदः
सत्त्वं ह्रस्वमुपैति शीलशशिनः कान्ति परिम्लायते
पापम् कर्म च यत्परैरपि कृतं तत्तस्य सम्भाव्यते
Daaridryaatpurushasya baandhavajano vaakye na santishthate
Susnigdhaah vimukheebhavanti suhridah sphaareebhavantyaapadah
Sattwam hraasamupaiti sheelashashinah kaantih parimlaayate
Paapam karma cha yatparairapi kritam tattasya sambhaavyate

If one is poor, his relatives don’t heed his words, even loving friends neglect him, his misfortunes spread out, his physical and mental strength shrinks, the moon of his good conduct becomes pale and even the wrongs committed by others are foisted on to him.

गुणाः खलु अनुरागस्य कारणं न बलात्कारः
Gunaah khalu anuraagasya kaaranam na balaatkarah

It is because of one’s qualities one is loved not because of force.

साहसे श्रीः प्रतिवसति
Saahase shree prativasati

In adventure resides Goddess Lakshmi (Only those who are adventurous can amass wealth)

10. Uttararaamacharitam (Bhavabhuti) 

सतां सद्भिस्संगः क्थमपि हि पुण्येन भवति
Sataam sadbhih sangah kathamapi hi punyena bhavati

The meeting of good people with good people somehow happens only by punya (fruit of meritorious deeds done in the past)

प्रियप्राया वृत्तिः विनयमधुरो वाचि नियमः
प्रकृत्या कल्याणी मतिरनवगीतः परिचयः।
पुरो वा पश्चाद्वा तदिदमविपर्यासित रसं
रहस्यं साधूनामनुपदि विशुद्धं विजयते॥
Priyapraayaa vrittih vinayamadhuro vaachi niyamah
Prakrityaa kalyaanee matiranavageetah parichayah
Puro vaa pashchaadwaa tadidamaviparyaasita rasam
Rahasyam saadhoonaamanupadhi vishuddham vijayate

Loving, polite and pleasing interaction with others, controlled speech, a heart which only thinks of the good of others, introduction which is not boastful, Uniform behaviour before and after (when face to face or behand the back)– These are the secrets, pure and simple, of saintly souls.

वज्रादपि कठोराणि मृदूनि कुसुमादपि ।
लोकोत्तराणां चेतांसि को नो विज्ञातुमर्हति॥
Vajraadapi kathhoraani mridooni kusumaadapi
Lokottaraanaam chetaamsi ko nu vijnaatumarhati.

The hearts of the best of men who are a cut above the ordinary people are harder than diamond (when facing obstacles or enemies ) and softer than flowers (towards the less privileged and the miserable). Who can understand the hearts of such men?

न किञ्चिदपि कुर्वाणः सौख्यैर्दु:खान्यपोहति।
तत्तस्य किमपि द्रव्यं यो हि यस्य प्रियो जनः
Na kinchidapi kurvaanah saukhyairdukhaanyapohati
Tattasya kimapi dravyam yo hi yasya priyo janah

Without doing anything, if one converts the sorrows of another person into joy and happiness, then the first one, who is the object of love for the second one, is a valuable thing for the latter.

अन्तःकरणतत्त्वस्य दम्पत्योः स्नेह्संश्रयात्।
आनन्दग्रन्थिरेकोऽयं अपत्यमिति बध्यते ॥
Antahkaranatattwasya dampatyoh snehasamshrayaat
Aanandagranthireko’yam apatyamiti badhyate

The concrete manifestation of the joy arising out of the union of the minds of the husband and the wife is called apatyam (progeny) on which converges the love of both of them.

एको रसः करुण एव निमित्तभेदात्
भिन्नः पृथक्पृथगिवाश्रयते विवर्तान् ।
आवर्त बुद्बुद तरंगमयान् विकारान्
अंभो यथा सलिलमेव तु तत्समस्तम् ॥।
Eko rasah karuna eva nimittabhedaa-
dbhinnah pruthakprithagivaashrayate vivartaan
Aavarta budbuda taranga mayaan vikaaraan
Ambho yathaa salilameva tu tatsamastam

Karuna(pathetic) rasa (emotion) is the only one which manifests in the form of other emotions like sringara (love) etc. depending on the underlying circumstances which give rise to the emotion in the same way as bubbles, waves, swell etc are only different forms that water takes. The basic substance is water only.

गुणाः पूजास्थानं
गुणिषु न च लिङ्गं न च वयः
Gunaah poojaasthaanam
Gunishu n cha lingam na cha vayah

Good qualities are appreciated in whomsoever they are found. The sex or the age of the person is not taken into consideration.

ऋषयो राक्षसीमाहुः वाचमुन्मत्तदृप्तयोः
सा योनिः सर्चवैराणां स हि लोकस्य निऋतिः
Rishayo raakshaseemaahurvaachamunmattadriptayoh
Saa yonih sarva vairaanaam saa hi lokasya nirritih

The speech of intoxicated and conceited persons is termed as raakshasee (demoniac) by the rishis. Such speech is the root cause of all enmities and that is hell in this world.

कामं दुग्धे विप्रकृष्यत्यलक्ष्मीं
कीर्तिं सूते दुष्कृतं या हिनस्ति ।
तां चाप्येतां मातरं मंगलानां
धेनुं धीराः सूनृतां वाचमाहुः ॥
Kaamam dugdhe viprakarshatyalakshmeem
Keertim soote dushkritam yaa hinasti
Taam chaapyetaam maataram mangalaanaam
Dhenum dheeraah soonritaam vaachamaahuh

Speech that is embellished by truth and love yields all one’s wishes, drives away poverty, builds a reputation, prevents wrong doings in the same way as the Cow Mother which yields all auspicious things.

व्यतिषजति पदार्थानान्तर: कोऽपि हेतु-
र्न खलु बहिरुपाधीन् प्रीतयः संश्रयन्ते ।
विकसति हि पतंगस्योदये पुण्डरीकं
द्रवति च हिमरश्मावुद्गते चन्द्रकान्तः ॥
Vyatishajati padaarthaanaantarah ko’pi hetu-
rna khalu bahirupaadheeen preetayah samshrayante
Vikasati hi patangasyodaye pundareekam’
Dravati cha himarashmavudgate chandrakaantah

It is some internal cause which brings together people. Love does not depend upon external attributes. The lotus blossoms when the sun rises (though the lotus is delicate and the sun’s rays are hot), the moon stone starts melting when exposed to moonlight (though moonlight is soft and the moon stone is hard).

प्रियानाशे कृत्स्नं किल जगदरण्यं हि भवति
Priyaanaashe kritsnam kila jagadaranyam hi bhavati

When the woman one loves is lost the whole world turns into a dense jungle for the one who loves.

स्नेहच्च निमित्तसव्यपेक्षश्चेति विप्रतिषिद्धमेतत्
Snehachcha nimittasavyapekshashcheti vipratishiddhametat

Love and existence of a cause for such love, these two are mutually contradictory

11. Mudraaraakshasam Nataka (Vishakhadatta)

न युक्तं प्राकृतमपि रिपुं अवज्ञातुम्
Na yuktam praakritamapi ripumavajnaatum

It is not proper to disregard or neglect even an ordinary enemy.

कीदृशस्तृणानां अग्निना सह विरोध: ?
Keedrishastrinaanaam agninaa saha virodhah?

What kind of enmity the grass has towards fire ? (there is no enmity, it is the nature of fire to burn anything whatsoever)

हिमवति दिव्यौषधयः शीर्षे सर्पः समाविष्ट:
Himavati divyaushadhayah sheershe sarpah samaavishtah

There are divine medicinal plants in the Himalayas. But on top of it are serpents

परायत्तः प्रीतेः कथमिव रसं वेत्ति पुरुष:?
Paraayattah preeteh kathamiva rasam vetti purushah?

How does a man who is under the control of another know the joy of love.

इह विरचयन् साध्वीं शिष्यः क्रियां न निवार्यते
त्यजति तु यदा मार्गं मोहात्तदा गुरुरङ्कुशः
Iha virachayan saadhweem shishyah kriyaam na nivaaryate
Tyajati tu yadaa maargam mohaattadaa gururankushah

Here the disciple is not prevented from doing anything good. But when he deviates from the right path guru will act as ankusha (weapon used to control an elephant), meaning he will be controlled and brought back to the correct path.

12. Dashakumaaracharitam (Dandi)

जलबुद्बुदसमाना विराजमाना सम्पत् तडिल्लेखेव सहसोदेति नश्यति च
Jalabudbudasamaanaa viraajamaanaa sampat tadillekheva sahasodeti nashyati cha

The glittering wealth is like the bubbles on water. Like lightning it rises suddenly and perishes with the same speed.

इह जगति हि न निरीहदेहिनं श्रियः संश्रयन्ते
Iha jagati hi na nireehadehinam shriyah samshrayante

In this world one who does not put in effort (i.e. one who is inactive) does not acquire wealth

श्रेयांसि च सकलान्यनलसानां हस्ते नित्यसान्निद्ध्यानि
Shreyaamsi cha sakalaanyanalasaanaam haste nityasaannidhyaani

All prosperity and welfare is always in the hands of those who are always active, who do not know laziness

13. Harshacharitam (Baana)

अतिरोषणश्चक्षुष्मानप्यन्ध एव
Atiroshanashchakshushmaanapyandha eva janah

The angry person, though possessing eyes, is blind.

न सन्त्येव ते येषां सतामपि न विद्यन्ते मित्रोदासीनशत्रवः
Na santyeva te yeshaam sataamapi sataam na vidyante mitrodaaseenashatravah

There are no such persons who do not have friends, enemies or neutrals even though such persons possess good qualities.

उपयोगं तु न प्रीतिर्विचारयति
Upayogam tu na preetirvichaarayati

Love does not consider use or benefit.

14. Kaadambari (Baana)

सर्वथा न कञ्चन न स्पृशति शरीरधर्माणमुपतापाः
Sarvathaa na kanchana na sprishati shareeradharmaanamupataapaah

It is not possible that one, who is subject to the vagaries of a body, will not ever suffer any disease or discomfort

सुखमुपदिश्यते परस्य
Sukhamupadishyate parasya

It is easy to preach to others

बहुभाषिणो न श्रद्दधति लोकः
Bahubhashino na shraddadhaati lokah

People do not listen to one who talks too much.

मिथ्यापि तत्तथा यथा गृहीतं लोकेन
Mithyaapi tattathaa yathaa griheeetam lokena

Untruth takes the same form as the one given to it by people.

15. Kaavyameemaamsaa (Kaviraja Rajashekharah)

प्रायः प्राणभृतां प्रेमाणमन्तरेण नान्यद्बन्धनमस्ति
Praayah praanabhritaam premaanamantarena naanyadbandhanamasti

Generally, for the living, there is no bondage except love.

पक्षपातो हि गुणदोषौ विपर्यासयति
Pakshapaato hi gunadoshau viparyaasayati

It is only partiality that interchanges good and bad (i.e. good is considered as bad and bad is considered as good)

परैश्च परीक्षयेत् यदुदासीनः पश्यति न तदनुष्ठातेति प्रायो वादः
Paraishcha pareekshayet. Yadudaaseenah pashyati na tadanushthaateti praayo vaadah

The plan should be got examined by outsiders. The argument is, what the neutral person sees, the one who executes may not see most of the time.

अनियतकालाः प्रवृत्तयो विप्लवन्ते
Aniyatakaalaah pravrittayo viplavante

Actions not done at the appropriate time do not yield the desired result

सम्यक्स्वापो वपुषः परमारोग्याय
Samyakswaapo vapushah paramaarogyaaya

The right kind of sleep is good for a very healthy body.

मतिदर्पणे कवीनां विश्वं प्रतिफलति
Matidarpane kaveenaam vishwam pratiphalati

In the mirror of the poet’s mind there is the reflection of the world.

16. Kathaasaritsaagaram (Somadeva)

अप्राप्यं नाम नेहास्ति धीरस्य व्यवसायिनः
Apraapyam naama nehaasti dheerasya vyavasaayinah

There is nothing unattainable to the one who has courage and who works hard.

अश्नुते स हि कल्याणं व्यसने यो न मुह्यति
Ashnute sa hi kalyaanam vyasane yo na muhyati

Only one who does not lose his cool in adversity will enjoy prosperity

एकचित्ते द्वयोरेव किमसाध्यं भवेदिति
Ekachitte dwayoreva kimasaadhyam bhavediti

When two people think alike then what is it that is impossible?

करुणार्द्रा हि सर्वस्य सन्तोऽकारणबान्धवाः
Karunaardraa hi sarvasya santo’kaaranabaandhavaah

Good people whose heart is full of sympathy and kindness become, without selfish motives, the friends or relatives of all.

कामं व्यसनवृक्षस्य मूलं दुर्जनसंगतिः
Kaamam vyasana vrikshasya moolam durjana sangatih

The root cause of sorrow is the company of bad people.

त्यजन्त्युत्तमसत्वा हि प्राणानपि न सत्पथं
Tyajantyuttamasatwaa hi praanaanapi na satpatham

Those of good nature may give up their life but not the righteous path.

पङ्को हि नभसि क्षिप्तः क्षेप्तुः पतति मूर्धनि
Panko hi nabhasi kshiptah ksheptuh patati moordhani

Mud, thrown at the sky, falls on the head of the person who throws it (If one does something bad it recoils on him)

17. Panchatantra (Vishnu Sharma)

न स्वल्पस्य कृते भूरि नाशयेन्मतिमान्नरः
Na swalpasya krite bhoori naashayenmatimaannarah

The wise man should not incur a big loss for the sake of a little gain.

प्राकाश्यं स्वगुणोदयेन गुणिनो गच्छन्ति किं जन्मना
Praakaashyam swagunodayena gunino gachchhanti kim janmanaa

Good people are noticed by their good qualities, not by birth.

पैशुन्याद्भिद्यते स्नेहः
Paishunyaadbhidyate snehah

Love and friendship are broken by backbiting.

यस्य बुद्धिर्बलं तस्य निर्बुद्धेस्तु कुतो बलम्
Yasya buddhirbalam tasya nirbuddhestu kuto balam?

He who has brains has strength (power), where is power in a fool?

सेवाधर्मः परम गहनो योगिनामप्यगम्यः
Sevaadharmah parama gahano yoginaamapyagamyah

To be in the service of another is a difficult job which even a yogi may not be able to fulfill.

मृदुना सलिलेन खन्यमानान्यवघर्षन्ति गिरेरपि स्थलानि
Mridunaa salilena khanyamaanaanyavaghrishyanti girerapi sthalani

Eroded by the soft water incessantly, even the hard stones of the mountain wear away over time.

दीर्घो बुद्धिमतो बाहू
Deergho buddhimato baahoo

The hands of the one with brains are long indeed. ( Using his brains he can do many things with hands which less brainy fellows cannot do)

यद्भविष्यो विनश्यति
Yadbhavishyo vinashyati

One will face adversity if one does not take precautions to counteract anticipated difficulties or problems

बहूनामप्यसाराणां समवायो हि दुर्जयः
Bahoonaamapyasaaraanaam samavayoo hi durjayah.

If a large number of people unite for a purpose they become invincible, though each one, by himself is weak.

अत्यादरः शङ्कनीयः
Atyaadarah shankaneeyah

One should be circumspect with regard to those who show more than the usual respect or regard.

संपत्तौ च विपत्तौ च महतामेकरूपता
Sampattau cha vipattau cha mahataamekaroopataa

In prosperity and adversity the great do not lose their equilibrium.

कः परः प्रियवादिनाम्
Kah parah priyavaadinaam?

Who is not one’s own for people of soft and soothing speech.

नक्रः स्वस्थानमासाद्य गजेन्द्रमपि कर्षति
Nakrah swasthaanamaasaadya gajendramapi karshati

The crocodile, in his own habitat, can drag even an elephant into the water.

कृशे कस्यास्ति सौहृदम्?
Krishe kasyaasti sauhridam?

Who will make friends with a lean (down and out) person?

आत्मनः प्रतिकूलानि परेषां न समाचरेत्
Aaatmanah pratikoolaani pareshaam na samaacharet

That which is hurting oneself should not be done to others.

अनागतं यः कुरुते स शोभते
स शोच्यते यो न करोत्यनागतम्
Anaagatam yah kurute sa shobhate,
Sa shochyate yo na karotyanaagatam.

One who takes precautions before misfortune strikes will prosper. One who does not take action when misfortune is anticipated, will come to grief.

संतापयन्ति कथमपथ्यभुजं न रोगाः
Santapayanti kamapathyabhujam na rogaah

How can one be unaffected by diseases if one eats food not conducive to one’s health ?

सर्वनाशे समुत्पन्ने अर्धं त्यजति पण्डितः
Sarvanaashe samutpanne ardham tyajati panditah

When everything is at stake the wise give up half of it to save the other half.

उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुंबकम्
Udaaracharitaanaam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam

To those of generous character( disposition) the whole world is one family.

यादृशी भावना यस्य सिद्धिर्भवति तादृशी
Yadrishee bhaavanaa yasya siddhirbhavati taadrishee

Whatever one dreams or imagines the outcome will be similar.

18. Hitopadesha (Narayana Panditah)

उद्यमेन हि सिद्ध्यन्ति कार्याणि न मनोरथैः
Udyamena hi siddhyanti kaaryaani na manorathaih

One’s goal is achieved by industry (hard work) and not by building castles in the air.

ज्ञानं भारः क्रियां विना
Jnaanam bhaarah kriyaam vinaa

Without action knowledge is a burden (knowledge, not put into practice, is sheer waste)

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16 Comments on QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM SANSKRIT CLASSICS

  1. sir, i stumbled upon your blog while browsing for a sanskrit shloka. the blog posts are all invaluable by their contents.

    but sir, the very length of each post puts off an ordinary reader like me! i feel lost in your post, not knowing what is more interesting to read immediately and what i can read later?! if only you can categorize the contents, divide them into smaller posts, it would be much more welcoming to us ordinary mortals, who have great interest to know, but no scholarship to read and understand the entire content of long posts like this.

    i applaud your effort and enthusiasm to present interesting information about sanskrit literature to all of us. thank you so much. god bless all.

  2. Thanks for your comments Ms. Latha. You can start with the Master Index of Posts which will be appearing at the top of the posts when you log in to prramamurthy1931.blogspot.com and follow the
    instructions there
    P R Ramamurthy

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is great ! Thank you

  4. Anonymous says:

    Aapko meri shubh kamnayen, dhanyawad

  5. Unknown says:

    Sir, from which Sanskrit works can we attribute these quotes to?

    1. It is difficult to list them. But, you may look in subhAShitaratnabhANDAgAra. It may have sources mentioned.
      – moderator

  6. Beautiful quotes. Do you mind if I use some for a piece of fiction that I'm currently writing? It's about some of the ancient nobility and they are almost all well-read and educated characters. I will give you the necessary credit if that's your policy

    1. You may use parts of the present post giving necessary credits to this blog or author(P R Ramamurthy).
      – moderator

  7. Unknown says:

    Thank you. Very inspiring

  8. i appreciate your work…hope youth understands value of sanskrit.. as they are being influenced by more of western pattern….i know this is because of comparison of material manifestation of western world with Bharat

  9. I would like to know the full quote of Bhavbhuti which ends with "kalay anantou vipulach pruthvi" Can anyone help?

    1. जागर्तु कोsपि वसुधावलयेsनसूयः सन्मार्मिकः प्रयतनं हि तदर्थमेतद् । उत्पत्स्यतेsत्र मम कोsपि समानधर्मा कालो ह्ययं निरवधिः विपुला च पृथ्वी ।।

  10. Unknown says:

    too much helpful…..for today's generation

  11. raghuram says:

    I am looking for one sloka on "karma siddhanta". I don't know the complete sloka but can give you starting 2-3 words. "yasya yatracha yenach…..". could you please help me and post on this blog.

  12. Sir, you are a great blessing to Sanskrit lovers. Countless thanks to you for your efforts. God bless you.

  13. RODRA MUKHI says:

    very informative blog… keep it up sir..