Sanskrit quote nr. 15 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकण्ठस्य कण्ठे कथं पुष्पमाला विना नासिकायाः कथं धूपगन्धः ।
अकर्णस्य कर्णे कथं गीतनृत्यम् अपादस्य पादे कथं मे प्रणामः ॥

akaṇṭhasya kaṇṭhe kathaṃ puṣpamālā vinā nāsikāyāḥ kathaṃ dhūpagandhaḥ |
akarṇasya karṇe kathaṃ gītanṛtyam apādasya pāde kathaṃ me praṇāmaḥ ||

⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦¦
⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦⏑⎼⎼¦¦

Meter name: Bhujaṅgaprayāta (or Aprameyā); Type: Akṣaracchanda (sama); 12 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“How to offer (in worship) on the neck a garland of flowers of one who is without a neck; how to offer smell of incense when one is nose-less, how to sing and dance when one does not have ears, how to prostrate (at one’s feet) when one has no feet to prostrate at?.”

(translation by Ludwik Sternbach)

Secondary translations:

“Was soll der Blumenkranz am Halse, da ich doch keinen Hals habe? Was soll der Wohlgeruch des Räucherwerks, da ich doch keine Nase habe? Was soll Gesang und Tanz dem Ohre, da ich doch keine Ohren habe? Was soll die tiefe Verbeugung zu Füssen, da ich doch keine Füsse habe? (Verspottung des Götzendienstes)”

(translation by Otto Böhtlingk)

Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Glossary of terms
  3. Analysis of Sanskrit grammar
  4. Sources
  5. Authorship
  6. About the Mahāsubhāṣitasaṃgraha

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

Note: Consider this as an approximate extraction of glossary words based on an experimental segmentation of the Sanskrit verse. Some could be superfluous while some might not be mentioned.

Akantha (akaṇṭha, अकण्ठ): defined in 1 categories.
Kantha (kaṇṭha, कण्ठ): defined in 9 categories.
Pushpamala (puspamala, puṣpamālā, पुष्पमाला): defined in 1 categories.
Vi (वि, vī, वी): defined in 3 categories.
Nasika (nāsikā, नासिका): defined in 5 categories.
Dhupa (dhūpa, धूप): defined in 5 categories.
Gandha (गन्ध): defined in 12 categories.
Akarna (akarṇa, अकर्ण): defined in 3 categories.
Karna (karṇa, कर्ण): defined in 10 categories.
Karni (karṇi, कर्णि): defined in 2 categories.
Apada (apāda, अपाद): defined in 4 categories.
Pada (pāda, पाद): defined in 15 categories.
Ma (म, mā, मा): defined in 4 categories.
Asmad (अस्मद्): defined in 2 categories.
Pranama (praṇāma, प्रणाम): defined in 2 categories.

Defined according to the following glossaries/dictionaries: Marathi, Sanskrit, Pali, Shilpashastra (iconography), Purana, Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy), Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar), Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy), India history, Theravada (major branch of Buddhism), Shaktism (Shakta philosophy), Buddhism, Jainism, Ayurveda (science of life), Vaisheshika (school of philosophy), Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism), Hinduism, Vastushastra (architecture), Kavya (poetry), Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology), Yoga (school of philosophy), Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa), Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

Analysis of Sanskrit grammar

Note: this is an experimental feature and only shows the first possible analysis of the Sanskrit verse. If the system was successful in segmenting the sentence, you will see of which words it is made up of, generally consisting of Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Participles and Indeclinables. Click on the link to show all possible derivations of the word.

  • Line 1: “akaṇṭhasya kaṇṭhe kathaṃ puṣpamālā vinā nāsikāyāḥ kathaṃ dhūpagandhaḥ”
  • akaṇṭhasya -
  • akaṇṭha (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    akaṇṭhasya (genitive single)
    akaṇṭha (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    akaṇṭhasya (genitive single)
  • kaṇṭhe -
  • kaṇṭha (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    kaṇṭhe (locative single)
    kaṇṭh (verb class 1); (1 der.)
    kaṇṭhe (present middle first single)
  • katham -
  • katham (indeclinable interrogative); (2 der.)
    (indeclinable interrogative)
    (indeclinable interrogative)
    katham (indeclinable); (2 der.)
    (indeclinable)
    (indeclinable)
    kathā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    katham (adverb)
  • puṣpamālā* -
  • puṣpamālā (noun, feminine); (3 der.)
    puṣpamālāḥ (nominative plural)
    puṣpamālāḥ (vocative plural)
    puṣpamālāḥ (accusative plural)
  • vinā -
  • vinā (indeclinable postposition); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable postposition)
    vi (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    vinā (instrumental single)
    vi (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    vinā (instrumental single)
    (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    vinā (instrumental single)
  • nāsikāyāḥ -
  • nāsikā (noun, feminine); (2 der.)
    nāsikāyāḥ (ablative single)
    nāsikāyāḥ (genitive single)
  • katham -
  • katham (indeclinable interrogative); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable interrogative)
    katham (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
    kathā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    katham (adverb)
  • dhūpa -
  • dhūpa (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    dhūpa (vocative single)
  • gandhaḥ -
  • gandha (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    gandhaḥ (nominative single)
  • Line 2: “akarṇasya karṇe kathaṃ gītanṛtyam apādasya pāde kathaṃ me praṇāmaḥ”
  • akarṇasya -
  • akarṇa (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    akarṇasya (genitive single)
    akarṇa (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    akarṇasya (genitive single)
  • karṇe -
  • karṇa (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    karṇe (locative single)
    karṇi (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    karṇe (vocative single)
  • katham -
  • katham (indeclinable interrogative); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable interrogative)
    katham (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
    kathā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    katham (adverb)
  • gītanṛtyam -
  • gītanṛtya (noun, neuter); (3 der.)
    gītanṛtyam (adverb)
    gītanṛtyam (nominative single)
    gītanṛtyam (accusative single)
  • apādasya -
  • apāda (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    apādasya (genitive single)
    apāda (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    apādasya (genitive single)
  • pāde -
  • pāda (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    pāde (locative single)
  • katham -
  • katham (indeclinable interrogative); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable interrogative)
    katham (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
    kathā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    katham (adverb)
  • me -
  • ma (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    me (locative single)
    ma (noun, neuter); (4 der.)
    me (nominative dual)
    me (vocative dual)
    me (accusative dual)
    me (locative single)
    (noun, feminine); (8 der.)
    me (nominative dual)
    me (vocative single)
    me (vocative dual)
    me (accusative dual)
    me (nominative dual)
    me (vocative single)
    me (vocative dual)
    me (accusative dual)
    asmad (pronoun, none); (2 der.)
    me (dative single)
    me (genitive single)
  • praṇāmaḥ -
  • praṇāma (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    praṇāmaḥ (nominative single)

Sources

This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Subhāṣitārṇava 7, 155: Literally “waves of poetry”. The name of an unedited and unpublished subhāṣita-saṃgraha. It consists of over 300 pages in the Bengali script.
More info

Indische Sprüchen 2: Collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (proverbial verses) with German translation. The book was written by Otto Böhtlingk in 1870.
More info

Authorship

Otto Böhtlingk (1815) is the author of the Indische Sprüchen.

About the Mahāsubhāṣitasaṃgraha

This quote is included within the Mahāsubhāṣitasaṃgraha (महासुभाषितसंग्रह, maha-subhashita-samgraha / subhasita-sangraha), 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 15 and can be found on page 3. (read on archive.org)

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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