Sanskrit quote nr. 9 (Maha-subhashita-samgraha)

Sanskrit text:

अंसाववष्टब्धनता समाधिः शिरोधराया रहितप्रयासः ।
धृता विकारांस्त्यजता मुखेन प्रसादलक्ष्मीः शशलाञ्छनस्य ॥

aṃsāvavaṣṭabdhanatā samādhiḥ śirodharāyā rahitaprayāsaḥ |
dhṛtā vikārāṃstyajatā mukhena prasādalakṣmīḥ śaśalāñchanasya ||


Meter name: Upajāti (Indravajrā and Upendravajrā); Type: Akṣaracchanda (sama); 11 syllables per quarter (pāda).

Primary English translation:

“His shoulders are firm and bent (in drawing the bow); effortless is the special pose of the neck; his face puts on the clear beauty of the moon as he shows no emotion (of anger, etc.) of any kind.”

(translation by A. A. Ramanathan)

Secondary translations:

“Die Schultern sind gedrungen und geneigt, die Haltung des Halses ungezwungen; das unverändert bleibende Gesicht trägt die ruhige Anmut des Mondes zur Schau.”

(translation by Carl Cappeller)



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

Aṃsa (अंस, amsha) refers to the “shoulders” (in its dual case, aṃsau, it refers to both the shoulders). (more info)

Śirodharā (शिरोधरा, shirodhara) refers to the “neach”, and literally translates to “head-bearer”. It is composed of the words śiras (head) and dharā (bearing). In an Āyurvedic context, this term refers to a vitilizing therapy where  a warm medicated oil is applied to the forehead. (more info)

Mukha (मुख) refers to the “face”, a term used since ancient times and identified with the concept of ‘face’ or ‘mouth’. (more info)

Prasāda (प्रसाद) is a very general term, usually referring to “clearness”, “brightness” or “tranquillity”. (more info)

Lakṣmī (लक्ष्मी) literally translates to “beauty”, but oterwise refers to the ‘goddess of fortune’, or consort of Viṣṇu. (more info)

Śaśalāñchana (शशलाञ्छन) refers to “the moon”, and literally translates to “hare-marked”. It is composed of the words śaśa (‘hare’) and lāñchana (‘mark’). It can also refer to ‘camphor’.


This quote is contained within the following Sanskrit literary sources:

Kirātārjunīya (Mahāmahopādhyāya Paṇḍit Durgāprasād: 16.21; Carl Cappeller: 16.21): A Sanskrit epic poem (kāvya) consisting of eighteen cantos. The contents of the books are derived from the Mahābhārata. The plot revolves around the arrival of the Pāṇḍavas who got exiled to the forest. Arjuna performs austerities and is eventually rewarded with the Pāśupatāstra weapon from Śiva, which will aid him in the future war. The book was written by Bhāravi in the 6th century.
More info

Alaṅkṛtimaṇimālā 65:
More info


Bhāravi (6th century) is the author of the Kirātārjunīya. He is the author of epic poems from the Pallava empire. Bhāravi is famous for the depth of his style.

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 9 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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