Sanskrit quote nr. 27 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकर्मशीलं च महाशनं च लोकद्विष्टं बहुमायं नृशंसम् ।
अदेशकालज्ञमनिष्टवेषम् एतान् गृहे न प्रतिवासयीत ॥

akarmaśīlaṃ ca mahāśanaṃ ca lokadviṣṭaṃ bahumāyaṃ nṛśaṃsam |
adeśakālajñamaniṣṭaveṣam etān gṛhe na prativāsayīta ||


Meter name: Upajāti (Indravajrā and Upendravajrā); Type: Akṣaracchanda (sama); 11 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“One who is lazy, who eats much, who is hated by the people, who is crafty and cruel, who knows neither time nor place, who dresses in an undesirable way—these are not to be lodged in one’s home.”

(translation by Raghu Vira; notes: In Sārasamuccaya)

Secondary translations:

“One who does improper acts, one who eats excessively, one who is hated by men, one who is very deceitful, one who is cruel, one who does not know the suitability of time and place, one who dresses indecently - these six should not be allowed a shelter in one’s house.”

(translation by M. N. Dutt)

“Wer träge, gefrässig, den Leuten verhasst, ein Betrüger und boshaft ist, weder Ord noch Zeit kennt (d. i. auf dieselben keine Rücksicht nimmt) und widerliche Kleider trägt, den soll man nicht im Hause beherbergen.”

(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

Karmaśīla (कर्मशील, karmashila) is a compound that translates to “with attention”, “with great care”, “with effort” etc. The antonym akarmaśīla can therefore translate to “lazy”, “inactive”, “idle” etc.

Mahāśana (महाशन, mahashana) is a compound that translates to “eating much” and refers to one who has a great appetite. It is composed of mahā (‘great’) and aśana (‘eating’, ‘food’).

Lokadviṣṭa (लोकद्विष्ट, lokadvishta) is a compound that translates to “hated by the world”. It is composed of the words loka (‘world’, ‘people’) and dviṣṭa (‘hated’, ‘disliked by’).

Bahumāya (बहुमाय, bahumaya) translates to “one who is deceitful” or “one who is treacherous”.

Nṛśaṃsa (नृशंस, nrishamsa) refers to someone who is “mischievous”, “noxious”, “cruel” etc.

Deśakālajña (देशकालज्ञ, deshakalajna) is a compound that translates to “knowing the time and place”. The antonym adeśakālajña therefore refers to “one who does not know (the suitability of) time and place”. It is composed of the words deśa (‘country’, ‘place’), kāla (‘time’) and jña (‘to know’).

Iṣṭaveṣa (इष्टवेष, ishtavesha) is a compound that refers to “desirable appeal”, or “one who dresses agreeable”. The antonym aniṣṭaveṣa therefore refers to “one who dresses improperly”. It is composed of the words iṣṭa (‘cherished’, ‘agreeable’) and veṣa (‘dress’, ‘appeal’).

Gṛha (गृह, griha) is a common word referring to “house” or “residence”. There are many words denoting “house” in Sanskrit, used especially in the ancient Indian science of architecture (vāstuśāstra). Lists of such synonyms can be found, for example, in the 5th-century Mayamata and 6th-century Mānasāra. (more info)


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Mahābhārata (V. S. Sukhtankar: 5.37.31; Nimachand Siromani: 5.1368; M. N. Dutt: 5.37.35): 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 5: Collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (proverbial verses) with German translation. The book was written by Otto Böhtlingk in 1870.
More info

Sārasamuccaya 238: An old Javanese commentary on a series of Dharmaśāstra verses (originally in Sanskrit). The book was compiled by Vararuci.
More info


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.

Vararuci is the compiler of the Sārasamuccaya, into which he included this quote. He is an unknown author of literature and poetic works, who was according to legend, one of the “nine jewels” of the court of Vikramāditya of Ujjayinī. One of his works is called the the Satagāthā which was included in the Tanjur.

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 27 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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