Who are Great Men? What are the Criteria for Greatness?


Compiled  by London Swaminathan

Post No.1543; Dated  3rd  January 2015.

Sanskrit Sayings on Great Men and Greatness:


1.Wow! The hearts of the lofty remain unruffled like the ocean – Kathasarit sagara

Aksóbhyam hrdayam batéha mahataam ambhónidhiinaamiva

2.The noble live up to their promises – Subhasita ratna khanda manjusa & Kahavatratnakar p114

Angiikrtam sukrtinah paripaalayanti

3.Affluence breeds no arrogance in the good – Sakuntalam 5-12; Niti Sataka 61

Anuddhataah satpurusaah samrddhibhih

4.The pains taken to honour the great never go in vain Sisupaala vada 7-1

Abhiraaddhumaamaagataanaam bhavati mahatsu na nisphalah prayaasah

5.Even a stone, consecrated by the holy, turns godly – Hitopadesa 45

Asmaapi yaati dévatvam maahdbhih supratisthitam


6.The hearts of great men ruled by scriptural wisdom become easily composed – Svapna vasava datta 2-p42

Aagama pradhaanaani sulabha paryavasthaanaani mahaa purusa hrdayaani bhavanti

7.Mere darsana (sight) of the lofty in adversities, is akin to seeing the wish-yielding tree – Bharatmanjari 13-127-1700 p 677

Aapatsu mahataaméva darsanam kalpapaadapah

8.Do not provoke the honourable! – Granthasthagaathegaaku

Aaraadhyam na prakópayét

9.The wishes of the lofty are mighty! Sakuntalam, Act 7

Utsarpinii khalu mahataam praarthanaa


10.Even a barren land turns fertile if the king is like Yudhistra – Pancharatra 1-s41

Uusaresvapi sasyam syaadyatra raajaa yudhisthirah

11.What is that the great do not part with?  — Brhat Katha Manjari

Kimadéyam mahaatmanaam

12.What is impossible for the noble?  Ramayana Manjari 4-12-450. P223

Kami asaadhyam mahaatmanaam

13.What can intimidate the noble? Kirataarjuniya 6-19

Kim ivaavasaadakaram aatmavataam

14.The saintly do not prolong their ire  –Bharata Manjari 3-14.794.p212

Kópasciram nahi mahaatmanaam

15.The noble are not attracted to the transient dangerous pleasures Subhasitaavali.299

Ksanaksayini saapaayé bhógé rajyanti nóttamaah

valmiki ramayana

16.Who can fathom the mysterious advent of the great? Bharat Manjari.1-14-687.p5

Guudham hi mahataam janma paricchéttum ka iisvarah

17.Great minds sacrifice their lives, if need be, but will never stray from the virtuous path – Kathasarit sagara

Tyajantyuttama sattvaa hi praanaanapi na satpatham

18.Even the saintly tolerate not repeated crimes! – Yoga vasistha.5-30-12

Na ksamanté mahaantópi paunahpunyéna duskriyaam

The satisfaction of the great will not go in vain — Kathasarit sagara

Na tósó mahataam mrsaa

19.The character of the noble remains unchanged even when their end is near.

Na praanaanté prakrti vikrtir jaayaté cóttamaanaam – Subhasita Ratna Bhaandaagaara.2-229. P51

20.The virtuous are never harsh to women

Na hi strisu mahaatmaanah kvacit kurvanti daarunam – Valmiki Ramayana 4-33-36

21.Great people are never eager for self praise  — Pancatantra

Nót mahaatmaanóstahanté hyaatmaanamupastótum


22.The waning of the moon, due to the gods having a fill of her ambrosia, is more appreciable than her waxing! – Raghuvamsa 5-16

Paryaaptapitasya suraih himaamsoh kalaaksayah slaagyataró hi vrddhahéh

23.The wrath of the noble has submission as its antidote – Raghuvamsa4-64

Pranipaatapratikaarah samrambhó hi mahaatmanaam

24.A base man is unable to retort to a noble man – Valmiki Ramayana 4-18-46

Prativaktum prakrsté hi naapakrstastu saknuyaat

25.The saintly are resolute even in deluge – Bhaminivilaasa 92

Pralayépyacalaa mahaatmaanah

26.Even after having accomplished a lot, the great consider it to be little  – kathasarit sagara

Bahukrtvaapi manyanté svalpaméva mahaasayaah

27.The words of the great, are to be obeyed – yet it seldom happens – Kiratarjuniya p.73

Mahataam vacanam kaaryam na tvévaacaritam kvacit


28.Everything about the great is superlative Sisupalavadha 13-17

Mahataam hi sarvamathavaa janaatigam

29.Gods delight in waylaying the noble Brhatkathaakosa 11-55

Mahataamuparódhéna prasiidanti hi dévataah

30.Who indeed is not uplifted by association with the great? – Panchatantra 3-60

Mahaajanasya samparkah kasya nónnatikaarakah

31.The right path is the one paved by the great — Mahabharata 3.117/313 & Subhasita Ratna Bhaandaagaara 3-855.p173

Mahaajanó yéna gatah sa panthaa

32.The noble bless even their enemies who seek refuge – Sisupalavadha 2-104

Mahaatmaanó anugrahanti bhajamaanaan ripunaapi

33.The noble too seek fame – Sanskrit saying

Mahaatmaanópi pracaaramichchanti

34.Like places of pilgrimage, the holy ones possess an ineffable aura! Uttara Rama Carita  6.s11

Mahaarghastirthaanaamiva hi mahataam kopyatisayah

35.By nature, the great are men of few words — Sisupalavadha 2-13

Mahiyaamsah prakrtyaa mitabhasinah

36.The residences of saint are shrines indeed! Kumarasambhava 6-56

Yadadhyaasitamarha dbhih taddhi tiirtham pracaksaté


37.The actions of the leaders are emulated by the rest – Bhagavad Gita 3-21

Yadyad aacarati  srésthah tattadévétaró janah

38.For greatness rely on the great  — Satopadesa prabhandha

Srayénmahaantam ahattvaaya

39.Help rendered to the great bears fruit anon! – Meghaduta 1-17

Satkaaraadrah phalati na cirénópakaró mahatsu

40.The wise view both prosperity and adversity with equanimity – Panchatantra 2-7

Sampattau ca vipattau ca mahataamékaruupataa

41.The great alone brave great suffering and gain achievements! Kathasaritsagara

Syaanmahataaméva mahaaklésah  tathoodayah  —


42.It is the nature of the good-hearted to endeavour for others – Ramayanamanjari 4-5-198. P-203

Svabhaava éva mahataam parakaaryaarthamudyamah

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Beautiful Quotations from a Great Playwright


Post 988; Dated 18th April 2014.
Compiled by By London Swaminathan

Bhasa is one of the greatest playwrights of the world. His 13 plays in Sanskrit were rediscovered in Kerala in 1912. He lived in the fourth century BCE. He is one of the greatest playwrights of the world for the number of plays he wrote and for the quality of the plays. He was praised by Kalidasa, the greatest poet of India. Probably Bhasa is the oldest playwright of India because we did not get the plays of earlier writers mentioned by Kalidasa and others. By the language, style and the theme he dealt with, we have to place Bhasa in the fourth century BCE. All others except Bhasa followed the rules laid down in the Natyasastra and this proved his antiquity.

Here are some quotes from ‘Svapnavasavadatta’, his masterpiece and one of the best dramas available today:—

1.Even deities, when not clearly known are insulted.

2.The cycle of fortune of the world revolving with the course of time, moves like the spokes of a wheel.
Kalakramena jagatha: parivarthamana
Chakrarampankthiriva gachathi bhagyapankthi:

3.No rough treatment should be accorded to the inmates of a hermitage; to avoid the insults that are received in a city these high souled persons come to reside in a forest.

Bright (Intelligent Look)
4.Good, his look is full of practical knowledge.

5.Hatred or high regard springs from the mind’s view point (looking at a thing).

Guests to hermitages
6.Penance groves are, indeed ,in the case of visitors, their own homes.

7.Surely fate does not go beyond the well tested declarations of the seers.

8. A hermitage, as is well known, is common to all people.
( All the above quotes are from Act 1)


9.That is really called beauty which has a charm for the minds of all.

Great men
10.The hearts of great men are such as yield to the first onslaught (of grief); but they are easily composed (afterwards).
(From Act 2 )

11.It is improper to hear the description of another’s husband.
(From Act 3)

12.Fate is intransgressible
Anthikramaniyo hi vidhi:

13.It is difficult to forget deep rooted love; grief revives at each remembrance. It is the course of nature that on shedding tears in this world the mind attains freshness, having a debt paid off.
14.Even the servant of a courteous man is himself also courteous.
(From Act 4)

15.Woman is timid by nature.

16.Honour met with reciprocal honour, begets affection.
So let your Honour rise.

17.The conferrers of mighty benefits and of high honours are always easily found in the world, but their appreciators are rare.
(From Act 4)


18.No enterprising spirit manifests itself in those, who are timid or weak; generally royal fortune is enjoyed by the energetic alone.

19.Who is able to protect whom at the time of death? Who support the pitcher when the rope is cut? Thus man fares equally with trees: each is cut down (dies) when his time comes and grows again (born).

20.How could such lovely complexion meet with terrible destruction! How was this sweetness of face despoiled by fire?

21.Resemblance of form existing between two persons is seen in this world
Returning borrowed things
22.A deposit ought to be returned in the presence of witnesses
(From Act 6)

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