Sanskrit quote nr. 1 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अंशवस्तव निशाकर नूनं कल्पितास्तरुणकेतकखण्डैः ।
येन पाण्डुरतरद्युतयो नः कण्टकैरिव तुदन्ति शरीरम् ॥

aṃśavastava niśākara nūnaṃ kalpitāstaruṇaketakakhaṇḍaiḥ |
yena pāṇḍurataradyutayo naḥ kaṇṭakairiva tudanti śarīram ||


Meter name: Rathoddhatā; Type: Akṣaracchanda (sama); 11 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“Surely, Oh moon, your rays are made of the young leaves of the ketakī flowers: hence your very white rays pain my body as if with thorns (of the flowers).”

(translation by A. A. Ramanathan)



Presented above is a Sanskrit aphorism, also known as a subhāṣita, which is at the very least, a literary piece of art. This page provides critical research material such as an anlaysis on the poetic meter used, an English translation, a glossary explaining technical terms, and a list of resources including print editions and digital links.

Glossary of Sanskrit terms

Niśākara (निशाकर, nishakara): Literally means “night-maker” and in this context refers to the moon. It is composed of the words niśā (निशा, nisha) and kara (कर). (more info)

Ketakī (केतकी, ketaki): The name for a plant (Pandanus odorifer, in the Pandanaceae family), also known as the “screw-pine”. (more info)

Śarīra (केतकी, sharira): The name for the human body and its various limbs. The term is used since Vedic times. (more info)


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Śrīkaṇṭhacarita 11.57: The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is a Sanskrit work in the genre Mahākāvya (Indian epic poetry) written somewhere in the 12th century. The book was written by Maṅkhaka in the 12th century A.D..
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Subhāṣitāvalī 1123: This is a compilation of Collection of 3527 subhāṣita verses authored by 360 poets. The book was compiled by Vallabhadeva in 1417-67 A.D..
More info


Maṅkhaka (12th century) is the author of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita. Maṅkhaka was an author of classical Sanskrit poetry from Kashmir, who was well-versed in grammar and ethics. He is known for his detailed reflection on his personal life and his dynasty. He was also known as Maṅkha or Maṅkhuka.

Vallabhadeva (15th century) is the compiler of the Subhāṣitāvalī, into which he included this quote, ascribing the authorship to Maṅkhaka (also known as: Maṅkha, Maṅkhuka).

About the Mahāsubhāṣitasaṃgraha

This quote is included within the Mahāsubhāṣitasaṃgraha (महासुभाषितसंग्रह, maha-subhashita-samgraha), which is a compendium of Sanskrit aphorisms (subhāṣita), collected from various sources. Subhāṣita is a genre of Sanskrit literature, exposing the vast and rich cultural heritage of ancient India.

It has serial number 1 and can be found on page 1. (read on

Sanskrit is the oldest living language and bears testimony to the intellectual past of ancient India. Three major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism) share this language, which is used for many of their holy books. Besides religious manuscripts, much of India’s ancient culture has been preserved in Sanskrit, covering topics such as Architecture, Music, Botany, Surgery, Ethics, Philosophy, Dance and much more.

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