Sanskrit quote nr. 24 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकर्तव्यं न कर्तव्यं प्राणैः कण्ठगतैरपि ।
कर्तव्यमेव कर्तव्यं प्राणैः कण्ठगतैरपि ॥

akartavyaṃ na kartavyaṃ prāṇaiḥ kaṇṭhagatairapi |
kartavyameva kartavyaṃ prāṇaiḥ kaṇṭhagatairapi ||

⏒⏒⏒⏒¦⏑⎼⎼⏒¦¦⏒⏒⏒⏒¦⏑⎼⏑⏒¦¦
⏒⏒⏒⏒¦⏑⎼⎼⏒¦¦⏒⏒⏒⏒¦⏑⎼⏑⏒¦¦

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

Primary English translation:

“Whatever is not right to be done, must never be done even on pain of death; and what is right to do, must be done even if one should die for the same.”

(translation by B. C. Dutt)

Secondary translations:

“Was man nicht thun soll, das thue man nicht, ständen Einem such die Lebensgeister schon in der Kehle; was man aber thun soll, das thue man, ständen Einem auch die Lebensgeister schon in der Kehle (um hinauszufahreu)”

(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.

Aka (अक): defined in 4 categories.
Ritavya (rtavya, ṛtavya, ऋतव्य): defined in 1 categories.
Na (न): defined in 5 categories.
Kartavya (कर्तव्य): defined in 2 categories.
Prana (prāṇa, प्राण): defined in 9 categories.
Kanthagata (kaṇṭhagata, कण्ठगत): defined in 1 categories.
Ap (अप्): defined in 5 categories.
Eva (एव): defined in 3 categories.

Defined according to the following glossaries/dictionaries: Sanskrit, Pali, Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar), Marathi, Purana, Theravada (major branch of Buddhism), Hinduism, Jainism, Ayurveda (science of life), Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology), Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy), Vaisheshika (school of philosophy)

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: “akartavyaṃ na kartavyaṃ prāṇaiḥ kaṇṭhagatairapi”
  • akar -
  • aka (noun, neuter); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    aka (vocative single)
    ak (verb class 1); (1 der.)
    aka (imperative active second single)
  • ṛtavyam -
  • ṛtavya (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    ṛtavyam (adverb)
    ṛtavyam (accusative single)
    ṛtavya (noun, neuter); (3 der.)
    ṛtavyam (adverb)
    ṛtavyam (nominative single)
    ṛtavyam (accusative single)
    ṛtavyā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    ṛtavyam (adverb)
  • na -
  • na (indeclinable particle); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable particle)
    na (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    na (vocative single)
    na (noun, neuter); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    na (vocative single)
  • kartavyam -
  • kartavya (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kartavyam (accusative single)
    kartavya (noun, neuter); (3 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kartavyam (nominative single)
    kartavyam (accusative single)
    kartavyā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, masculine); (4 der.)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, neuter); (8 der.)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, masculine); (2 der.)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, neuter); (4 der.)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
  • prāṇaiḥ -
  • prāṇa (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    prāṇaiḥ (instrumental plural)
    prāṇaiḥ (instrumental plural)
    prāṇa (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    prāṇaiḥ (instrumental plural)
  • kaṇṭhagatair -
  • kaṇṭhagata (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    kaṇṭhagataiḥ (instrumental plural)
    kaṇṭhagata (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    kaṇṭhagataiḥ (instrumental plural)
  • api -
  • api (indeclinable preposition); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable preposition)
    ap (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    api (locative single)
    api (Preverb); (1 der.)
    (Preverb)
  • Line 2: “kartavyameva kartavyaṃ prāṇaiḥ kaṇṭhagatairapi”
  • kartavyam -
  • kartavya (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kartavyam (accusative single)
    kartavya (noun, neuter); (3 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kartavyam (nominative single)
    kartavyam (accusative single)
    kartavyā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, masculine); (4 der.)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, neuter); (8 der.)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, masculine); (2 der.)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, neuter); (4 der.)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
  • eva -
  • eva (indeclinable particle); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable particle)
    eva (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    eva (vocative single)
    eva (noun, neuter); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    eva (vocative single)
  • kartavyam -
  • kartavya (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kartavyam (accusative single)
    kartavya (noun, neuter); (3 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kartavyam (nominative single)
    kartavyam (accusative single)
    kartavyā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    kartavyam (adverb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, masculine); (4 der.)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, neuter); (8 der.)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 1 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 2 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 5 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 8 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, masculine); (2 der.)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
    kṛ -> kartavya (participle, neuter); (4 der.)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 3 verb)
    kartavyam (nominative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
    kartavyam (accusative single), from √kṛ (class 6 verb)
  • prāṇaiḥ -
  • prāṇa (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    prāṇaiḥ (instrumental plural)
    prāṇaiḥ (instrumental plural)
    prāṇa (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    prāṇaiḥ (instrumental plural)
  • kaṇṭhagatair -
  • kaṇṭhagata (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    kaṇṭhagataiḥ (instrumental plural)
    kaṇṭhagata (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    kaṇṭhagataiḥ (instrumental plural)
  • api -
  • api (indeclinable preposition); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable preposition)
    ap (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    api (locative single)
    api (Preverb); (1 der.)
    (Preverb)

Sources

This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Cāṇakyanīti 1: A collection of aphorisms belonging to the nītiśāstra tradtion (ancient India science of ethics and customs). The book was written by Cāṇakya.
More info

Padmapurāṇa 6.17.8: One of the eighteen major Purāṇas consisting of roughly 50,000 verses. Being encyclopedic in format, the contents of this work include various topics (as with most purāṇas), such as cosmology, genealogy, geography, history etc. The book was written by Vyāsa.
More info

Indische Sprüchen 7425: Collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (proverbial verses) with German translation. The book was written by Otto Böhtlingk in 1870.
More info

Authorship

Cāṇakya (350 BC) is the author of the Cāṇakyanīti. He was an Indian polymath and teacher of philosophy, economy and various other sciences. He is considered the pioneer of political sciences in India. He is traditionally identified with Kauṭilya (author of the arthaśāstra) and Viṣṇugupta.

Vyāsa is the author of the Padmapurāṇa. He is traditionally accepted as author of the vedas, the purāṇas and the mahābhārata. He was also known as Vedavyāsa or Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana.

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 24 and can be found on page 5. (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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