Sanskrit quote nr. 29 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकलङ्कान्तिके कान्तिः केति कालङ्कलङ्किनः ।
अरुणे तरुणे मस्या धावं कामयते शशी ॥

akalaṅkāntike kāntiḥ keti kālaṅkalaṅkinaḥ |
aruṇe taruṇe masyā dhāvaṃ kāmayate śaśī ||


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

Primary English translation:

“The moon desires to cleanse his dark spot in the young (morning) sun, as otherwise his brilliance is nowhere near one who is spotless.”

(translation by A. A. Ramanathan)



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)

Antika (अन्तिक) literally translates to “proximity”, “vicinity” etc. The full compound akalaṅkāntika therefore refers to “in the proximity of the spotless one”. (more info)

Kānti (कान्ति, kanti) literally translates to “splendour”, “beauty”, “loveliness” etc. It is also a common epithet used in ritualistic worship of goddesses. (more info)

Aruṇa (अरुण, aruna) is a name for the sun. In a different context it can also refer to the dawn. It literally translates to “reddish-brown”, “tawney”, etc. It is also a common personal name in the purāṇas. (more info)

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


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Sūktimuktāvalī 11.33: The poems contained in this compilation belong to the category “muktaka” (gnomic poetry). It is divided into twelve chapters. Deals with topics such as Gods and Goddesses, politics, erotics, heroes, etc. The book was compiled by Harihara.
More info


Harihara (16th century) is the compiler of the Sūktimuktāvalī, into which he included this quote. The author calls himself a son of Lakshmi and Raghava in the verse 12.74 of his Suktimuktavali. His younger brother was Shri Nilakantha. Raghava was the son of Hrishikesha (of the respectable family of Divakara) and Lakshmi was the daughter of a renowned Maithila scholar. He was a resident of the village of Bittho, which he and his brother, in the course of time, changed into an important seat of learning.

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 29 and can be found on page 6. (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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