Sukti Sudha (Sanskrit Quotations with Roman Transliteration and English Translation)

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Item Code: NAC456
Author: Dr. A. Ramaswamy IgengarDr. B.S. Ramakrishna Rao
Publisher: Chinmaya International Foundation
Language: Sanskrit Quotations with Roman Transliteration and English Translation
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9789380864044
Pages: 725 (Illustrated In B/W)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.0 Inch X 7.5 Inch
Weight 1.44 kg
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Book Description
Back of the Book

Caught in the rat-race of today’s hustle-bustle, modern man has little time for poems, prayers and parables to bolster his views.

This is where adages or proverbs come in handy for everyone. Whether it is the soldier standing guard on an inclement glacier, a CEO addressing a boardroom meeting, a lover loading his epistle with romantic overtones, a student debating on a podium, a preacher delivering a landmark sermon or a politician addressing a rally, they take recourse to pithy sayings to pack their messages with punch.

How of ten has a timely and apt quote not uplifted a pathetic person, saved a relationship, nay, altered destinies and histories round the world!

This book is an English translation of Sanskrit adages, culled from traditional sources and everyday wisdom.

So, as you traverse through the rocks, rivers and rubble of life, may the adages console, counsel and comfort you.

Quotes heal, seal and help people express what they feel. Sanskrit, being a hoary language, its literature is replete with sayings for every season and reason.

Sukti-sudha – The Elixir of Adages is a compilation of Sanskrit proverbs culled from Sanskrit literature and its folklore giving a mention of their sources as well as their translation. While genuine care has been taken to be faithful to the original expression, there have been times when we have given precedence to the spirit over the letter!

It is with immense humility and gratification that we offer Sukti-sudha unto Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji, Head of the worldwide Chinmaya Mission, as his 60th Birthday Gift – an apt gift we thousand, since his usage of language is concise, precise and wise, indeed very much like these Suktis here.



Philosophy is the result of the mutual interaction between man and universe and the former’s attempt to interpret the universal phenomena. Human thought has always been preoccupied with the values to be cherished in his existence on this planet and this is, broadly, the subject-matter of Vedic literature including the Upanisads — the culmination of ancient human reflection. The wisdom gained by the great seers by means of experience, observation and meditation gets reflected in their utterances which were later collected. These wise reflections constitute the content of Subhasitas and Suktis (gnomes) in Sanskrit literature.

Human existence on this planet is beset with the operation of the pair of opposites like joys and sorrows, smiles and tears, light and shade, descents and ascents and the like. Ancient seers meditated upon the amazing phenomenon called human life and tried to raise certain fundamental questions on existence and find out answers for them. It is in the Upanisads that we find human thought at its best, where the significant part of its philosophy is dealing with man’s quest for overcoming the duality of human existence, a continuous enquiry for the attainments of unmixed bliss undaunted by the limitations of mundane world. At the same time Indian thought does not discard the joys of material life. On the contrary, the seers thought of various means to make life more joyful.

This aspect gets reflected In the richness of gnomic poetry in Sanskrit literature. Gnomic poetry means verses consisting of pithy sentences or witty sayings or observation on life or ethical teachings to the common man. In Sanskrit, gnomic poetry is represented in verses which are commonly known as Suktis, Saduktis, Subhasitas or Nitis. Such verses often reflect common man’s empiric knowledge recast by great men of supreme poetic capability and creativity. The Suktis are thus presented in an easy, unsophisticated and unassuming manner with the result they are easily intelligible to everybody.

All systems of philosophy and arts have evolved to help man get rid of the threefold sorrows of life — adhibhautika, adhyatmika and adidaivika. All problems facing mankind and his environs have been the subject of their contemplative intellect. It is the sparks emanating from such thoughts, that we can see in Suktis like: asato ma sadgamaya—Take me from evil to good, tamaso ma Jyotirgamaya—take me from darkness to light, nirtyorma amrtam gamaya— take me from death to immortality. To implement this threefold advice in his day-to-day life is the challenge that man has been facing throughout his worldly sojourn. But then, there are very many instances wherein he has succeeded in implementing in his life and it is these that have been explained reasonably in the rich Sanskrit literature.

The waters of the oceans can be contained in a shell. Time can be brought to palm of the hand. Deep ideas, sometimes incomprehensible to everybody, can be reduced to apt, effective, and beautiful Suktis. Conciseness and depth of meaning form the sine qua non of an aphorism. All great writers have the ability to condense great truths to just a few words and this art gives rise to Suktis.

Any speaking language has proverbs. But only a literary language can have Suktis or gnomes. Gnome is the product of a single human mind where as proverbs are generated by tradition. The idea of Suktis is much more throbbing than Subhasitas. A gnome exhibits justice, devotion, and excellent advice also. These gnomes are the gems collected from the mine of Sanskrit literature. They are more direct than the Subhasita verses. They suddenly come to us like a bolt from the blue and introduce us to a vision hitherto unknown. They come, pervade, impress and fill our mind with the wave of joy of learning — something which is new and beneficial. Some of the Suktis will have, around them, a halo of sublimity in the novelty of the idea conveyed.

I had put my utmost effort to trace out the source of the Suktis. Though I have succeeded in this effort to a great extent, the sources of some of the Suktis are beyond the ken of my knowledge and those scholarly friends who assisted me. With regard to those whose source remains unknown, the learned readers can help, so that more source material can be incorporated in the next edition.

A little about what inspired me to take up this work: After my retirement from Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, a sudden sense of void that descended on me was something I never experienced before. My thirty-three years of service as a teacher did not help me much to overcome the vacancy that threatened to engulf me. It was iii such a situation that I was awarded an assignment to edit and prepare an English translation of a collection of Suktis culled from various Sanskrit works. The collection has earlier been made by scholars like Dr. A. Ramaswami Iyengar and the late B.S. Ramkrishna Rao. When I went through the Suktis, I was doubtful of my capability to undertake the work. It was Dr. Ramankutty who persuaded me to take up the task and approach the same with patience and perseverance which I promptly did. When I read the wise sayings once again, I was struck by the wide variety of topics they dealt with. Indeed, I felt it as a vast world with sparks of human intelligence and wit. The elegance and directness betrayed by several maxims laid bare a peculiar world with sharp and intelligent peeps into human nature. This - feature of the Suktis attracted me and I struggled with the work of finding out the source of the Suktis, effecting categorization, as well as editing and translating them.

There were times when I felt helpless by the sudden emergence of unexpected hurdles. In all those occasions when I was in need of help, the Trustees of the Chinmaya International Foundation had been a veritable source of energy and inspiration to me for which I am deeply indebted to them. Brni. Vividisha Chaitanya with her rare flourish of language, did a commendable work in assisting me with the correct translation of the Suktis. Several persons have been kind enough to help me in many ways in fulfilling the endeavour. I also express my deep sense of gratitude to Smt. E. Amminikutty (Adyar), Sri, P.Raviacchan (Tripunithura), Prof. C.G. Vijayanathan (Retd. Prof. of English, Maharajas College, Eranakulam).

My profound thankfulness to the Lord for enabling me to successfully complete this wonderful work. I am sure that this work of wise maxims couched in short pithy sentences in Sanskrit will be of use to all lovers of knowledge.




  1.Excess 1
  2. Guest 5
  3. Vile 7
  4. Unrighteousness 9
  5. Authority 11
  6. Ephemeral 13
  7. Offence 15
  8. Pride 17
  9. Practice 23
  10. Disrespect 25
  11. Attention 27
  12. Opportunity 28
  13. Indiscrimination 29
  14. Food 32
  15. Falsehood 37
  16. Improbability 40
  17. Non-violence 42
  18. Conduct & Practice 43
  19. Danger 46
  20. Sloth 52
  21. Wish 54
  22. Resort 57
  23. Sense Organ 59
  24. Lord 61
  25. Inspiration 67
  26. Generous 69
  27. Diligence 71
  28. Help 75
  29. Teaching, Advice 78
  30. An Expedient 80
  31. Debt 82
  32. An Unmarried Girl 84
  33. Work 87
  34. Art 96
  35. Poet 97
  36. Cupid 99
  37. Time, Destiny 106
  38. Race 112
  39. Ignoble Woman 114
  40. Ungrateful 117
  41. Miser 119
  42. Cruel 121
  43. Anger 123
  44. Warrior 127
  45. Patience 129
  46. Hunger 131
  47. Arrogance 133
  48. Quality 135
  49. Teacher 139
  50. Home 142
  51. Fickleness 144
  52. Character 145
  53. Anxiety 146
  54. Thief 147
  55. Senseless 150
  56. Victory 152
  57. Self-controlled 154
  58. Knowledge 157
  59. Factual Knowledge 161
  60. Penance 171
  61. Intense Desire 175
  62. Valour 177
  63. Sacrifice 179
  64. Punishment 180
  65. Compassion 181
  66. Charity 183
  67. Poverty 188
  68. Procrastination 192
  69. Sorrow 194
  70. Wicked 202
  71. Weak 210
  72. Bad Company 213
  73. Envoy 215
  74. Defect 217
  75. Gambling 221
  76. Righteousness 223
  77. Brave 231
  78. Cunning 237
  79. Destruction 241
  80. Free from Attachment 244
  81. Lowly 245
  82. Partiality 248
  83. Learned 249
  84. Chaste Woman 255
  85. Another’s Work 262
  86. Dependence 264
  87. Consequence 265
  88. Making Fun 267
  89. Evil 268
  90. Father 272
  91. Virtue 274
  92. Son, A Dear Child 276
  93. Man 280
  94. Manliness 282
  95. Intelligence 286
  96. Vow 288
  97. Master 290
  98. Vitality 295
  99. Dear 299
  100. Delight 303
  101. Love 306
  102. Fruit, Result 308
  103. Strength 312
  104. Child 315
  105. Intellect 317
  106. Brahmin 321
  107. Devotion 323
  108. Fear 325
  109. Fortune 328
  110. Wife 331
  111. Timid 337
  112. Earth 338
  113. Servant 339
  114. Pleasure 342
  115. Brother 346
  116. Pride 348
  117. Liquor 350
  118. Mind 352
  119. Human Being 357
  120. Fanciful Wish 360
  121. Minister 362
  122. Dull-witted 364
  123. Noble-minded Person 366
  124. Mother 380
  125. Envy 383
  126. Illusion 384
  127. Fool 386
  128. Death 395
  129. Friendship 400
  130. Liberation 407
  131. Delusion 410
  132. Silence 411
  133. Sacrifice, Oblation 413
  134. Ascetic 415
  135. Fame 417
  136. Begging 421
  137. War 424
  138. Capability 427
  139. Youth 433
  140. Gem, Jewel 435
  141. Demon 438
  142. Attachment 440
  143. King 443
  144. Form, Elegance 455
  145. Disease 457
  146. Prosperity 460
  147. Bashfulness 474
  148. Profit 476
  149. World, Mankind 477
  150. Ways of the World 480
  151. Avarice 490
  152. Deceit 493
  153. Reality or Factuality 494
  154. Garrulous, Talkative 501
  155. Trade 502
  156. Speech 504
  157. Impression of Part Actions 509
  158. Knowledge 510
  159. Fate 516
  160. Humility 530
  161. Separation 532
  162. Discernment 536
  163. Faith 539
  164. Poison 542
  165. Aged Man 544
  166. Harlot 546
  167. Strangeness 548
  168. Physician 554
  169. Enmity 555
  170. Mighty 557
  171. Rogue 560
  172. Foe 561
  173. Body 566
  174. Science, Precept 569
  175. Disciple 571
  176. Conduct, Behaviour 572
  177. Auspiciousness 575
  178. Hero 577
  179. Childhood 581
  180. Felicity 582
  181. Union 585
  182. Doubt 586
  183. Course of Worldly Affairs 588
  184. Company 596
  185. Group 599
  186. Virtuous Person 600
  187. Honesty 613
  188. Inner Strength, Courage 618
  189. Association with the Noble 620
  190. Good Quality 623
  191. Delight 626
  192. Fit Time 629
  193. Competent 630
  194. Helper 632
  195. Good Man 634
  196. Accomplishment 638
  197. Virtuous Deed 641
  198. Happiness 643
  199. Wise Saying 647
  200. Sun 649
  201. Service 652
  202. Beauty 653
  203. Eulogy, Praise 656
  204. Woman 657
  205. Position 668
  206. Firmness 672
  207. Affection 674
  208. Kinsman 678
  209. Disposition, Nature 683
  210. Selfishness 692
  211. Beneficial 694

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