Sanskrit Corner


(In praise of good people)

 Our scriptures advise us to keep the company of good people in order to uplift our lives. In his famous composition ‘भज गोविन्दम्’, आद्यशङ्कराचार्य: says ‘सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्सङ्गत्वम्’ meaning that on keeping good company one becomes free of attachment (to worldly objects) which then leads to जीवन्मुक्तिः – liberation while living. The following set of epigrams talks about the characteristics of good people so that we may recognize and associate with them.

गङ्गा पापं शशी तापं दैन्यं कल्पतरुस्तथा ।

पापं तापं च दैन्यं च घ्नन्ति सन्तो महाशया: ॥

The (holy) river Ganga washes away sins.  The Moon removes the (affliction caused by) heat.  So also, the wish-fulfilling tree removes poverty/dejection.  (Thus while the Ganga, the Moon or the wish-fulfilling tree is each capable of solving only one problem) the magnanimous saints destroy (all three) sin, affliction as well as dejection.

नागुणी गुणिनं वेत्ति गुणी गुणिषु मत्सरी ।

गुणी च गुणरागी च विरल: सरलो जन: ॥

A person who is devoid of merit fails to recognize a meritorious person.  A person who is meritorious is jealous of (other) meritorious persons.  A sincere person, who is both meritorious and appreciates merit (in others), is rare.

विकृतिं नैव गच्छन्ति सङ्गदोषेण साधव: ।

आवेष्टितं महासर्पैश्चन्दनं न विषायते ॥

Good people are not affected by bad company, (just as) a sandalwood tree (even when) encircled by large snakes does not get poisoned.

उदये सविता रक्तो रक्तश्चास्तमये तथा ।

सम्पत्तौ च विपत्तौ च महतामेकरूपता ॥

(Just as) the Sun is red in color at the time of rising as well as setting, (similarly) great souls maintain one and the same disposition in prosperity as well as adversity.  (Their character does not change.)

सद्भिस्तु लीलया प्रोक्तं शिलालिखितमक्षरम् ।

असद्भि: शपथेनापि जले लिखितमक्षरम् ॥

Words that are uttered (even) playfully by the saints are (as infallible as) words written in stone.  On the other hand, (even) oaths taken by the wicked are (as fleeting as) words written on water.

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