Sanskrit quote nr. 34 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकलिलतपस्तेजोवीर्यप्रथिम्नि यशोनिधाववितथमदध्माते रोषान्मुनावभिधावति ।
अभिनवधनुर्विद्यादर्पक्षमाय च कर्मणे स्फुरति रभसात् पाणिः पादोपसंग्रहणाय च ॥

akalilatapastejovīryaprathimni yaśonidhāvavitathamadadhmāte roṣānmunāvabhidhāvati |
abhinavadhanurvidyādarpakṣamāya ca karmaṇe sphurati rabhasāt pāṇiḥ pādopasaṃgrahaṇāya ca ||


Meter name: Hariṇī (or Vṛṣabhaceṣṭita); Type: Akṣaracchanda (sama); 17 syllables per quarter (pāda); Caesurae after the sixth and tenth syllables.

Primary English translation:

“When the saint, the greatness of whose penance, splendour, and prowess cannot be told, and who is a treasury of penance, incited with not undue pride attacks me in anger, then my hand with excitement throbs for the act of worthy of the pride which arises from recent instruction in the bow, and also to embrace his feet.”

(translation by J. Pickford; notes: Speaker in this scene is Rāma)

Secondary translations:

“On the arrival of this sage, who is endowed with greatness due to illimitable ascetic virtue, and is the receptacle of fame, puffed with real haughtiness—my arms suddenly throb for such action as would be in keeping with the efficiency newly acquired in the science of archery, and also for clasping his feet.”

(translation by Gaṅgānātha Jhā)



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

Kalila (कलिल) in this context translates to “covered” or “full”, therefore the antonym akalila refers to “unlimited” or “illimitable”.

Tapas (तपस्) literally translates to “religious austerity”, and in compound with akalila translates to “illimitable ascetic virtue”. (more info)

Tejas (तेजस्) literally translates to “brilliance”, “brightness”, splendour, but in a different context (eg. Āyurveda or Tantra), tejas refers to “fire”, or even the “bile” of the human body. It has many more common and technical definitions. (more info)

Vīra (वीर, vira) as an adjective translates to “powerful”, “strong”, “excellent”, etc. In a more common context, vīra usually refers to a “hero” or “husband”. (more info)

Yaśas (यशस्, yashas) translates to “beauty”, “splendour”, “graciousness”, etc.

Nidhi (निधि) literally translates to “treasury”, while symbolically it refers to the nine “treasures” of Kubera (padma, mahāpadma, śaṅkha, makara, kacchapa, mukunda, nanda, nīla and kharva). (more info)

Roṣa (रोष, rosha) is a rather uncommon word translating to “anger”, “rage”, “wrath” etc.

Muni (मुनि) is a common epithet for a sage, or any ascetic. A more common term for “sage” is the Sanskrit word ṛṣi (‘sage’, ‘seer’), a title commonly given to the authors of the Vedic mantras. (more info)

Dhanurvidyā (धनुर्विद्या, dhanurvidya) refers to the “art of archery”. Another term to indicate this science is dhanurveda. It is composed of the words dhanus (‘bow’) and vidyā (‘science’). Dhanurveda covers all the instructions necessary for proper ancient Indian warfare and martial arts, tracing back its origins to the 2nd-3rd millennium BCE. (more info)

Darpa (दर्प) translates to “pride”, “arrogance”, “insolence” etc.

Kṣama (क्षम, kshama) literally translates to “enduring”, “suffering”, “bearing” etc. In compound with darpa, it translates to “imbued with pride”. It is also a common epithet or emanation for deities, used in ritualistic worship. (more info)

Karman (कर्मन्) refers to an “act”. It is derived from a very common root (kṛ), of which many derivations are used throughout Sanskrit literature. Karman in the dharmaśāstra (ancient Indian religious law) refers to the “six acts” of Brāhmaṇa (adhyāpana, adhyayana, yajana, yājana, dāna and pratigraha). (more info)

Rabhasa (रभस) translates to “violent”, “fierce”, “desirous” but in a masculine context it usually refers to “joy”, “pleasure” or “sorrow”. (more info)

Pāṇi (पाणि, pani) refers to “the hand” (in which a weapon is hold). It can also refer to the “palm” of the hand. A more commonly used term for the hands is hasta, which is used throughout the ancient Indian sciences, such as Nāṭyaśāstra (dramaturgy and theatrics). (more info)

Pāda (पाद, pada) refers to the “feet”. The term is also used in the Nāṭyaśāstra to indicate five different movements made with the feet: udghaṭṭita, sama, agratalasañcara, añcita and kuñcita. (more info)

Upasaṃgrahaṇa (उपसंग्रहण, upasamgrahana) translates to “embracing” (the act of clasping around). In compound with the previous pāda (‘feet’), it translates to “embracing the feet”. It is composed of the prefix upa and saṃgrahaṇa (‘grasping’, ‘seizing’), which is in turn composed of the prefix sam and grahaṇa (‘holding’, ‘seizing’).


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Mahāvīracarita 2.30: Literally “the exploits of the great hero”. The story revolves around Rāma, the hero of the Rāmāyaṇa, who is venerated as a deity. The play consists fo seven acts and the introduction represents a scene where sage Viśvāmitra ask Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa to guard his sacrifice. The book was written by Bhavabhūti.
More info

Kāvyaprakāśa 7.251: Literally “Light of Poetry”. This work is a famous exposition of the conventional definition of Sanskrit Poetry, also termed kāvya-śāstra (‘science of poetry’). According to tradition, part of the text was said to originally have been composed by Bharata, the legendary author of the nāṭya-śāstra (‘dramaturgy’). The book was written by Mammaṭa in the 11th century.
More info


Bhavabhūti (8th century) is the author of the Mahāvīracarita. An author of Sanskrit literature (dramatic plays and poetic works). He is known for his Mahāvīracarita, Uttararāmacarita and the Mālatīmādhava. The content subjects of the former two works are drawn from the Rāmāyaṇa.

Mammaṭa (11th century) is the author of the Kāvyaprakāśa. Mammaṭa was born a Brāhmaṇa from Kashmir born into a Pandit family, his father Jayyata being the joint author of the Kāśikā (grammatical treatise).

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 34 and can be found on page 7. (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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