Sanskrit quote nr. 37 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अकस्मादपि यः कश्चिद् अर्थं प्राप्नोति पूरुषः ।
तं हठेनेति मन्यन्ते स हि यत्नो न कस्यचित् ॥

akasmādapi yaḥ kaścid arthaṃ prāpnoti pūruṣaḥ |
taṃ haṭheneti manyante sa hi yatno na kasyacit ||


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

Primary English translation:

“If any person accidentally acquireth any wealth, it is said he deriveth it from chance, for no one’s effort hath brought about the result.”

(translation by P. C. Roy)

Secondary translations:

“If a person in the world attains, by accident, to an accession of wealth-people consider it derived from chance for none has tried for it.”

(translation by M. N. Dutt)

“Wenn Jemand hier auf Erden unerwartet in den Besitz von Etwas gelangt, so meint man, ein glücklicher Zufall habe es gemacht, da keine Bemühung von irgend einer Seite dabei stattgefunden hat.”

(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

Artha (अर्थ) in this context refers to “wealth”, or “welfare”. It literally translating to “cause”, “motive” or “reason”. Artha is also the name of the central topic of the ancient Indian science called arthaśāstra, which deals with statecraft and bureaucratic welfare. (more info)

Pūruṣa (पूरुष, purusha) refers to a “man”, which is derived from the most common word puruṣa, which is used since ancient Vedic to symbolize the “primaeval man”, or “living being”. That word is used in many of the ancient Indian sciences and philospohies, such as the Sāṃkhya ideology, which is one of the six āstika (‘orthodox Hindu philosophy’). (more info)


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Mahābhārata (V. S. Sukhtankar: 3.33.14; Nimachand Siromani: 3.1217; M. N. Dutt: 3.32.16): 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 7: Collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (proverbial verses) with German translation. The book was written by Otto Böhtlingk in 1870.
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.

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 37 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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