Sanskrit quote nr. 28 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकलङ्कचन्द्रकलया कलिता सा भाति वारुणी तरुणी ।
भालस्थलीव शम्भोः संध्याध्यानोपविष्टस्य ॥

akalaṅkacandrakalayā kalitā sā bhāti vāruṇī taruṇī |
bhālasthalīva śambhoḥ saṃdhyādhyānopaviṣṭasya ||

Meter name: Āryā; Type: Mātrācchanda; 19 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“The damsel of the western direction shines with the moon without the black spot (with the setting sun). It looks like the fore-head of Lord Śiva seated at his evening twilight meditation.”

(translation by A. A. Ramanathan)

Index

Introduction

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

Kalaṅka (कलङ्क, kalanka) literally translates to “spot”, “stain”, “mark” etc. The antonym akalaṅka therefore refers to “without a black spot”. (more info)

Candra (चन्द्र) is a most common term for the “moon”. While it literally translates to “shining”, it is used since purāṇic times to refer to the moon. (more info)

Kala (कल) refers to “black”. The complete compound akalaṅka-candra-kala therefore refers to “without the black spot on the moon”. (more info)

Vāruṇa (वारुण, varuna) in this context refers to the “western” direction. It literally translates to “relating to the sea or to water”. The similair name Vāruṇa refers to the Vedic deity of the water and  celestial ocean, while he is also the deity of the western direction. (more info)

Taruṇī (तरुणी, taruni) refers to a “young woman”. It is derived from taruṇa, translating to “young”, “tender”, “juvenile”, etc. (more info)

Bhālasthalī (भालस्थली, bhalasthali) refers to the “spot on the fore-head”. It is a compound consisting of the words bhāla (fore-head) and sthalī (‘spot’).

Śambhu (शम्भु, shambhu) is an epithet of Śiva, who represents the destructive aspect of the Hindu Trinity (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva). The word śambhu literally translates to “beneficent” (existing for happiness or welfare). (more info)

Sandhyādhyāna (सन्ध्याध्यान, sandhyadhyana) refers to “twilight meditation”. It is a compound consisting of the words sandhyā (‘twilight’) and dhyāna (‘meditation’).

Upaviṣṭa (उपविष्ट, upavishta) is a term used in Yoga referring to “seated”. The complete compound sandhyā-dhyāna-upaviṣṭa therefore refers to “seated at his evening twilight meditation”. Yoga refers to the Indian school of philosophy combining the physical, mental and spiritual. (more info)

Sources

This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Subhāṣitaratnabhāṇḍāgāra 303.123: Literally, “Gems of Sanskrit poetry”. This work is a recent compilation of more than 10,000 Subhāṣitas, or ‘sanskrit aphorisms’. The book was compiled by Nārāyaṇa Rāma Ācārya in 1952.
More info

Subhāṣitasudhāratnabhāṇḍāgāra 151.130: Literally, “Treasury of Sanskrit Poetry”. A compendium of amusing, sarcastic and instructive verses. The book was compiled by Śivadatta Kaviratna in 1985.
More info

Rasikajīvana 1086: A Sanskrit anthology containing subhāṣitas (ethical aphorisms). The book was compiled by Gadādhara Bhaṭṭa in the 17th century.
More info

Authorship

Nārāyaṇa Rāma Ācārya (1900 A.D.) is the compiler of the Subhāṣitaratnabhāṇḍāgāra, into which he included this quote.

Śivadatta Kaviratna is the compiler of the Subhāṣitasudhāratnabhāṇḍāgāra, into which he included this quote.

Gadādhara Bhaṭṭa (16th century) is the compiler of the Rasikajīvana, into which he included this quote. He was the son of Gauripati Bhaṭṭa from Mithilā.

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 28 and can be found on page 6. (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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