Sanskrit quote nr. 26 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकर्मणां वै भूतानां वृत्तिः स्यान् न हि काचन ।
तदेवाभिप्रपद्येत न विहन्यात् कथंचन ॥

akarmaṇāṃ vai bhūtānāṃ vṛttiḥ syān na hi kācana |
tadevābhiprapadyeta na vihanyāt kathaṃcana ||

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

Meter name (1st and 2nd pāda): Śloka; Type: pathyā (‘normal’); 8 syllables per quarter (pāda).
Meter name (3rd and 4th pāda): Śloka; Type: vipulā (‘extended’, type 4); 8 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“If a creature acteth not, its course of life is impossible. In the case of a creature, therefore, there must be action and not inaction.”

(translation by P. C. Roy)

Secondary translations:

“The course of life for a creatures that does not act is impossible; for them there is action and never inaction.”

(translation by M. N. Dutt)

“Wenn die Geschöpfe der Thätigkeit entsagten, würden sie schlechterdings nicht leben können; darum soll man sich ihr hingeben und sie nimmer unterdrücken.”

(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.

Akarman (अकर्मन्): defined in 1 categories.
Bhuta (bhūta, भूत, bhūtā, भूता): defined in 13 categories.
Vritti (vrtti, vṛtti, वृत्ति): defined in 7 categories.
Sya (स्य): defined in 2 categories.
Na (न): defined in 5 categories.
Kacana (kācana, काचन): defined in 1 categories.
Vi (वि, vī, वी): defined in 3 categories.

Defined according to the following glossaries/dictionaries: Sanskrit, Hinduism, Jainism, Pali, Purana, Itihasa (narrative history), Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy), Kosha (encyclopedic lexicons), Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar), Dharmashastra (religious law), Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism), Theravada (major branch of Buddhism), Marathi, Yoga (school of philosophy), Shaivism (Shaiva 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: “akarmaṇāṃ vai bhūtānāṃ vṛttiḥ syān na hi kācana”
  • akarmaṇām -
  • akarmaṇā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    akarmaṇām (accusative single)
    akarman (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    akarmaṇām (genitive plural)
    akarman (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    akarmaṇām (genitive plural)
  • vai -
  • (verb class 1); (2 der.)
    vai (present middle first single)
    vai (imperative middle first single)
  • bhūtānām -
  • bhūta (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    bhūtānām (genitive plural)
    bhūta (noun, neuter); (1 der.)
    bhūtānām (genitive plural)
    bhūtā (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    bhūtānām (genitive plural)
  • vṛttiḥ -
  • vṛtti (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    vṛttiḥ (nominative single)
  • syān -
  • syāt (indeclinable adverb); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable adverb)
    syāt (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
    sya (noun, neuter); (2 der.)
    syāt (adverb)
    syāt (ablative single)
    as (verb class 2); (1 der.)
    syāt (optative active third single)
  • 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)
  • hi -
  • hi (indeclinable particle); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable particle)
  • kācana -
  • kācana (noun, neuter); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    kācana (vocative single)
  • Line 2: “tadevābhiprapadyeta na vihanyāt kathaṃcana”
  • tade -
  • tadā (indeclinable adverb); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable adverb)
    tadā (indeclinable correlative); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable correlative)
    tadā (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
  • ivā -
  • iva (indeclinable adverb); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable adverb)
    iva (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
  • abhipra -
  • abhipra (Preverb); (1 der.)
    (Preverb)
  • padyeta -
  • pad (verb class 4); (2 der.)
    padyeta (optative middle third single)
    padyeta (optative passive third single)
    pad (verb class 1); (1 der.)
    padyeta (optative passive third single)
  • 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)
  • vi -
  • vi (indeclinable adverb); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable adverb)
    vi (indeclinable preposition); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable preposition)
    vi (noun, masculine); (2 der.)
    (compound)
    (adverb)
    vi (noun, neuter); (5 der.)
    (compound)
    (adverb)
    vi (nominative single)
    vi (vocative single)
    vi (accusative single)
    ve (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    vi (adverb)
    (noun, feminine); (1 der.)
    vi (adverb)
    (noun, masculine); (1 der.)
    vi (adverb)
    (noun, neuter); (5 der.)
    vi (compound)
    vi (adverb)
    vi (nominative single)
    vi (vocative single)
    vi (accusative single)
    vi (Preverb); (1 der.)
    (Preverb)
  • hanyāt -
  • han (verb class 2); (1 der.)
    hanyāt (optative active third single)
  • kathañ -
  • katham (indeclinable interrogative); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable interrogative)
    katham (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
  • cana -
  • cana (indeclinable); (1 der.)
    (indeclinable)
    can (verb class 1); (1 der.)
    cana (imperative active second single)

Sources

This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Mahābhārata (V. S. Sukhtankar: 3.33.7 (d*115); Nimachand Siromani: 3.1209; M. N. Dutt: 3.32.8): The largest epic poem in the world, consisting of 100,000 verses. It contains the history of ancient India and the exploits of its heroes, such as the fate of the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas. It is also famous for its inclusion of the Bhagavadgītā, a conversation between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukṣetra. The book was written by Vyāsa.
More info

Indische Sprüchen 4: Collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (proverbial verses) with German translation. The book was written by Otto Böhtlingk in 1870.
More info

Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay, vol. 16 page 361: Starting from 1841, these journals were published by the Asiatic Society of Bombay.
More info

Authorship

Vyāsa is the author of the Mahābhārata. 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 26 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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