Sanskrit quote nr. 22 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकर्णमकरोच्छेषं विधिर्ब्रह्माण्डभङ्गधीः ।
श्रुत्वा रामकथां रम्यां शिरः कस्य न कम्पते ॥

akarṇamakaroccheṣaṃ vidhirbrahmāṇḍabhaṅgadhīḥ |
śrutvā rāmakathāṃ ramyāṃ śiraḥ kasya na kampate ||


Meter name: Śloka; Type: pathyā (‘normal’); 8 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“Who does not nod his head (in delight) on hearing the pleasing story of Śrī Rāma? Hence Lord Brahmā, afraid of crumbling the universe made Śeṣa (the supporter of the earth) devoid of ears.”

(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

Karṇa (कर्ण, karna) refers to the “ear”. The word akarṇa refers to “one who is without ear”. The term is used since purāṇic times as a proper name also. (more info)

Śeṣa (शेष, shesha).—According to purāṇic lore, Śeṣa represents the “upholder of the universe”, symbolized as a many-hooded cosmic serpent upon which Viṣṇu rests. But Śeṣa is also considered a tāmasa-aspect of Viṣṇu. He is the king of all the nāgas and the force of Hari personified. His other names include Śeṣanāga and Ādiśeṣa. (more info)

Brahmāṇḍa (ब्रह्माण्ड, brahmanda) can be translated as “macrocosm”, but literally translated to “Brahmā’s egg” or “cosmic egg”. This egg symbolizes the hiraṇyagarbha (‘golden womb’), which in turn represents the principle of cosmic evolution. The concept and terms are used since Vedic times. (more info)

Bhaṅga (भङ्ग, bhanga) literally translates to “breaking”, “crumbling”, etc. In compound with the previous brahmāṇḍa, it translates to “crumbling of the universe”. (more info)

Rāmakathā (रामकथा, ramakatha) literally translates to “the story of Rāma”, and refers to the Rāmāyaṇa, a Sanskrit epic poem relating the history of prince Rāma, his wife Sīta, and the demon king Rāvaṇa. The term rāmakathā is composed of the words Rāma and kathā (‘story’).

Śiras (नासिका, shiras) refers to the “head”. The term is used to refer to this anatomic part of the human body since old times in ancient India. In Nāṭyaśāstra the head is considered as one of the six major limbs (aṅga) used in dramatic performance with which thirteen different gestures (āṅgika) can be performed. (more info)


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Subhāṣitasaṃgraha 132: 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


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 22 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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