Sanskrit quote nr. 23 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकर्णधाराशुगसंभृताङ्गतां गतैररित्रेण विनास्य वैरिभिः ।
विधाय यावत्तरणेर्भिदामहो निमज्ज्य तीर्णः समरे भवार्णवः ॥

akarṇadhārāśugasaṃbhṛtāṅgatāṃ gatairaritreṇa vināsya vairibhiḥ |
vidhāya yāvattaraṇerbhidāmaho nimajjya tīrṇaḥ samare bhavārṇavaḥ ||


Meter name: Upajāti (Vaṃśastha and Indravaṃśa); Type: Akṣaracchanda (sama); 12 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“Lo, without any armour, his enemies pierced by unbarbed arrows, crossed the ocean of existence, sinking low in battle and piercing their way through the entire solar orb (i.e., went to the highest heaven as a reward for being killed in battle).”

(translation by K. K. Handiqui)



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

Karṇadhāra (कर्णधार, karnadhara) refers to “armour”. The word akarṇadhāra refers to “without armour”. In a different context, it refers to the “helmsman”, “pilot”, “sailor” etc.


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Naiṣadhacarita 12.71: Literally “The narrative of Niṣadha”. A Sanskrit epic poem. Also known as simply Naiṣadha. The story relates the history of Nala (King of Niṣadha) and Damayantī (daughter of Bhīma, king of Vidarbha). They are both characters from the Mahābhārata. The book was written by Śrīharṣa in the 12th century.
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Subhāṣitāvalī 2559: 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..
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Śrīharṣa (12th century) is the author of the Naiṣadhacarita.

Vallabhadeva (15th century) is the compiler of the Subhāṣitāvalī, 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 23 and can be found on page 5. (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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