Are you Mr or Miss Dirghasutri ?

long rope

Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Research article No.1366; Dated 23rd October 2014.

“The doer who is unbalanced, vulgar, obstinate, deceitful, malicious, indolent, despondent and procrastinating (Dirghasutri), he is said to be of the nature of dullness (Tamasik)” – Bhagavad Gita 18-28

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna uses a beautiful word “Dirghasutri”. Literally translated it will be ‘Long Rope’. The word has got a bad connotation. One who is procrastinating is called a Dirghasutri. Postponing everything or delaying is the quality of lazy people. Those who don’t plan very well are also forced to do it. I was wondering why procrastination is called Long Rope. When I googled for the meaning, one site gave me the meaning of the English phrase, ‘to let someone commit mistake’.

Different poets use different terms for procrastinating. Tamil poet used Long water. Probably he meant diluted water. There are Sanskrit phrases which explain it in detail.


1. diirghasuutrataa naama kaaryaantaram utpaadayaati — Padmaprabhrtaka
That is procrastination that needlessly generates other tasks.
My comment :- If we don’t pay the bills or fees on time, we have to more work to compensate the damage.

2. diirghasuutraayatee dharmé paapé siighraayaté bhrsam –Kahavat ratnakar. Page 132)
Quick to act sinfully, slow to act virtuously.
My comment :–How true it is! If it is a ticket for an entertainment show or a big sports event we do it by taking time off from work and standing in the long Queue . If it is any essential shopping for the house we conveniently forget it. If it is criticizing anyone we act quickly. If It is appreciating something, our laziness prevents us. Sometimes it becomes too late and then we do tell them lies!

3. Dirghasutri vinasyati – Pancatantra 4-41
The procrastinator is doomed
My comment: –This is very true in military action. Many attacks have failed because of procrastination. Lord Krishna told Arjuna (18-28) in the context of war in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He also meant it for spiritual aspirants. kincid Diirghasuutraanaam sidhyatya aatma kshayaadrtee —Yoga Vasistha 3-78-8
Other than self destruction, the procrastinator achieves nothing.

5. na khalu kaalaksepah sreyase — Hanumannataka
Killing time will not bring prosperity
Tamil proverb is Kunthith thindraal kundrum karaiyum. The meaning is if any one sits idly and eats, even a hill of wealth will disappear.

large varam Diirghasuutrataa– Kahavat ratnakar p.140
Postponement is no good
7.praayoo subhasya kaaryasya kaalahaarah pratikriyaa –Kathasaritsagara
Procrastination is the solution for bad deeds.

7.Vilambee kaaryahaanis syaat
Delay harms work
These seven adages are taken from ‘’ Súktisudhá ‘’ published by Chinmaya international foundation, Ernakulam, 2010.


Mr Three Steps (Tri Vikrama) in Badami caves.

Tamil Wisdom on Sloth

Like Lord Krishna’s Long Rope (Dirgha sutri), Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar used a rare word Neduneer (Long water) in couplet 605 under the Chapter Sloth:
Procrastination, forgetfulness, idleness, and sleep are the four ill-fated pleasure boats sailing towards ruin.

To reemphasize his point, the Tamil poet used the simile of Vamana avataram in the last couplet in the same chapter.

The king who is free from sloth shall gain all that has been measured by the feet of Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu is known as Trivikrama who measured the entire earth in three steps. This is a well known story in Hindu mythology .

It is very interesting to imagine a cow with a long rope for it gives more space for her to graze. If it is a dog with a long rope, it can attack any one in its vicinity; if it is a wild animal no one can go into that area. So give one long rope, then you are in trouble. But it doesn’t give the sense of procrastinating. Probably Sanskrit speakers imagined a woman drawing water from a well. If you give more than required dip of the pot, it is going to waste time. Or when you have something to tie and bundle it to send as a parcel, using a long rope may delay the job and loosen the grip. In short, using more than required time or rope will go against us.

Don’t be a Mr Dirghasutri !!!


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