Sanskrit quote nr. 32 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकलितनिजपररूपः स्वकमपि दोषं परस्थितं वेत्ति ।
नावास्थितस्तटस्थान् अचलानपि विचलितान् मनुते ॥

akalitanijapararūpaḥ svakamapi doṣaṃ parasthitaṃ vetti |
nāvāsthitastaṭasthān acalānapi vicalitān manute ||

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

Primary English translation:

“Not judging rightly between himself and others, he sees his own vice in his neighbour’s heart. Though they upon the bank are motionless, a man aboard a riverboat supposes, that it is they who move.”

(translation by D. H. H. Ingall)

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

Akalitanijapararūpa (अकलितनिजपररूप) is a compound that can be dissected as follows: a-kalita (‘judging incorrectly’), nija (‘self’), para (‘others’), rūpa (‘appearance’).

Svaka (स्वक) literally translates to “one’s own”.

Doṣa (दोष, dosha) in this context translates to “badness”, “wickednes”, “sinfullness” etc. It is a commonly used word and is used since ancient time, eg. in Āyurveda (Indian science of health), to indicate ‘faults’. (more info)

Sthita (स्थित) refers to “standing firm”.

Nau (नौ) refers to “boat”, or in this context, “riverboat”. (more info)

Taṭastha (तटस्थ, tatastha) translates to “standing on the bank”. It is composed of the words taṭa (‘shore’) and stha (‘standing’).

Cala (चल) literally translates to “moving”. The antonym acala therefore refers to “motionless”. (more info)

Vicalita (विचलित) translates to “to depart”, “to go away”.

Manu (मनु) refers to the “man”. It is a very common word used since ancient times. Manu is also the name for any of the fourteen rules of the manvantaras (‘age of a Manu’, a period of time consisting of seventy-one mahāyugas). (more info)

Sources

This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Subhāṣitaratnakośa 1283: Contains Sanskrit aphorisms on the subject of court poetry. Supposedly, contents were drawn from a large library housed in the monastery of Jagaddala. The book was compiled by Vidyākara in the 12th century.
More info

Authorship

Vidyākara (11th century) is the compiler of the Subhāṣitaratnakośa, into which he included this quote. Vidyākara was a Buddhist scholar and author of poetic works.

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 32 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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