Sanskrit quote nr. 8 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अंशोऽपि दुष्टदिष्टानां परेषां स्याद् विनाशकृत् ।
बाललेशोऽपि व्याघ्राणां यत् स्याज् जीवितहानये ॥

aṃśo'pi duṣṭadiṣṭānāṃ pareṣāṃ syād vināśakṛt |
bālaleśo'pi vyāghrāṇāṃ yat syāj jīvitahānaye ||


Meter name (1st and 2nd pāda): Śloka; Type: pathyā (‘normal’); 8 syllables per quarter (pāda).
Meter name (3rd and 4th pāda): Śloka; Type: vipulā (‘extended’, type 4); 8 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“Even the most insignificant thing can bring the destruction of others if one is pursued by bad luck. Similarly the loss of a hair from the tail of a tiger can cause the loss of life.”

(translation by Ludwik Sternbach)

Secondary translations:

“Bei denen, die vom Missgeschick verfolgt werden, kann auch das Geringste den Untergang Anderer bewirken, wie ja auch ein Härchen aus dem Schwanze eines Tigers zum verlust des Lebens führt.”

(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

Aṃśa (अंश, amsha) is a generally used term that translates to a “share”, “portion” or “part”. In a different context it can also refer to a “day”. (more info)

Vināśa (विनाश, vinasha) refers to the “destruction”. It is composed of vi and nāśa (‘loss’). (more info)

Vyāghra (व्याघ्र, vyaghra) is the Sanskrit word denoting “tiger”, but can alternatively translate to a “strong” or “noble person”. The use of this technical term for ‘tiger’ dates from ancient times and frequents throughout ancient Indian sciences, such as Āyurveda. (more info)

Jīvita (जीवित, jivita) translates to “living being”, and is ultimately derived from the word jīva (‘alive’, ‘existing’). (more info)


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Subhāṣitārṇava 253: Literally “waves of poetry”. The name of an unedited and unpublished subhāṣita-saṃgraha. It consists of over 300 pages in the Bengali script.
More info

Indische Sprüchen 1: Collection of Sanskrit subhāṣitas (proverbial verses) with German translation. The book was written by Otto Böhtlingk in 1870.
More info


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 8 and can be found on page 2. (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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