Sanskrit quote nr. 19 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकरुणत्वमकारणविग्रहः परधनापहृतिः परयोषितः ।
स्वजनबन्धुजनेष्वसहिष्णुता प्रकृतिसिधमिदं हि दुरात्मनाम् ॥

akaruṇatvamakāraṇavigrahaḥ paradhanāpahṛtiḥ parayoṣitaḥ |
svajanabandhujaneṣvasahiṣṇutā prakṛtisidhamidaṃ hi durātmanām ||


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

Primary English translation:

“Want of compassion, want on pugnacity/plunder of other men’s wealth and wives, impatience with good men and kinsmen alike; all are in the nature of wicked men.”

(translation by B. S. Miller)

Secondary translations:

“Hartherzigkeit, grundloses Streiten, Raub fremden Gutes und Weibes, Unduldsamkeit gegen gute Menschen und Verwandte: dies ist ja den Bösen schon von Natur eigen.”

(translation by Otto Böhtlingk)



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

Karuṇa (करुण, karuna) is a very common term referring to “pity”, while it could also translate to “mournful”, “miserable” or “lamenting”. The word akaruṇa refers to “without pity” or “pitiless”. The term is used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism alike. (more info)

Kāraṇa (कारण, karana) literally translates to “cause” or “reason”. The word akāraṇa refers to “without a cause” or “causeless”. (more info)

Sahiṣṇutā (सहिष्णुता, sahishnuta) or Sahiṣṇu (सहिष्णु, sahishnu) translates to “patience”, while the word asahiṣṇutā refers to “impatience”.

Durātman (दुरात्मन्, duratman) translates to “evil-natured” or “wicked”. It is composed of the prefix dus (generally giving a negative spin on words) and ātman (‘soul’). Ātman is a common term in Advaita-vedānta, a major school of Hindu philosophy.


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Śatakatraya 61: Literally “The three hundred”, referring to the three collections of hundred verses of Sanskrit poetry contained within this work. They are named, repsectively, Nītiśataka, Śṛṅgāraśataka and Vairāgyaśataka. The common term śataka in all sections refers to the “hundred” verses. The book was written by Bhartṛhari.
More info

Subhāṣitaratnabhāṇḍāgāra 59.217: Literally, “Gems of Sanskrit poetry”. This work is a recent compilation of more than 10,000 Subhāṣitas, or ‘sanskrit aphorisms’. The book was compiled by Nārāyaṇa Rāma Ācārya in 1952.
More info

Subhāṣitaratnākara 26.53: Literally “Ocean of polite phrases”. A collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (epigrammatic sayings). The book was compiled by Kṛṣṇaśāstrin Bhātavadekara.
More info

Indische Sprüchen 3: Collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (proverbial verses) with German translation. The book was written by Otto Böhtlingk in 1870.
More info

Subhāṣitasaṃgraha 95: Literally “Collected discourses”. A collection of 273 Sanskrit sayings including Gujaratī prose explanations. The book was compiled by Puruṣottama Mayārāma Paṇḍyā in 1886.
More info


Bhartṛhari (5th century) is the author of the Śatakatraya. A Sanskrit writer of influential Sanskrit texts.

Nārāyaṇa Rāma Ācārya (1900 A.D.) is the compiler of the Subhāṣitaratnabhāṇḍāgāra, into which he included this quote.

Kṛṣṇaśāstrin Bhātavadekara is the compiler of the Subhāṣitaratnākara, into which he included this quote.

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

Puruṣottama Mayārāma Paṇḍyā (19th century) is the compiler of the Subhāṣitasaṃgraha, into which he included this quote.

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 19 and can be found on page 4. (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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