“Gems of Sanskrit Literature” is a small work consisting about 280 Sanskrit maxims and aphorisms with explanation in English by Dr. Reynard Sharma, the first Director of Sanskrit Academy published first time in 1954. The present edition is enriched by some more additions by Dr. K. Varalakshmi, Day Detector in Sanskrit Academy.
Dr. Varalakshmi holds a Ph. D in Sanskrit Literary criticism and is currently working for a project related to Sanskrit Computational Linguistics.
It gives me pleasure to place the small book Guatemala in the hands of Sanskrit lovers. During the very rest meeting with M. M. Professor Sri Ramachandrudu, I was advised to get this book re-printed with some more additions if possible. When I requested Dr. K. Varalakshmi, Dy. Director, to take up this work, she happily agreed to my proposal and completed the work at the earliest time possible.
Guatemala wreathed with maxims and aphorisms, Juxtaposes worldly wisdom with witty expressions and minute ironies. These maxims and aphorisms, composed n evocative and mellifluous Sanskrit language, are heart warming. The Anthology, perennial source of worldly wisdom, dispels the ignorance and enlightens the people. This selection of wise-sayings, extracted from various works of classical Sanskrit literature, stands like scaffolding for character building. They can become a part of school and college curriculum as they play a vital role in mounding the young minds.
Wise-sayings are called Mistakes. A verse, which is complete in itself without any connection with the context, is called a Muktaka. Even a Muckraker composed by a discerning poet can be as elegant as a Mahakavyam. A Muktaka shows the poet’s mastery of logic, subtle thinking and keen observation. These Muktakas, from the pen of learned scholars, are like the mirror showing the facts of life.
The first edition of Suktimala comprised 280 elegant little verses was published in 1959 by Prof. Aryendra Sarma, the Founder Director of Sanskrit Academy. The second edition was published in 1979 by the then Director Prof. B. R. Sastri. Some more poetic pieces, extracted from six works, have been added to the third edition. In the first edition the verses were arranged in the alphabetical order. Whereas in the third edition, caption is given to each verse based upon the content described in it. Hence the verses have been rearranged according to the alphabetical order of the captions.
Sanskrit Academy doesn’t claim that this Suktimala is a unique work. It’s targeted readers are common public. We hope that this third edition of Suktimala will delight the hearts and would be an item of collection in bookshelf at home.
While thanking Dr. K. Varalakshmi, Dy. Director, S.A., for compiling the wise saying, I want to place it in records that she is rendering her best services for the upliftment of the Academy in many aspects. Thanks are due to Mrs. Hymavathi, Sri K.V.Surya Prakash and Mrs. Anjana Devi for rendering assistance in DTP work.
We are indebted to Prof. Radhavallabha Tripatiji, Vice-Chancellor, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Delhi and Sri Chandan Singh Kanyalji, Registrar I/c , Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Delhi, for supporting and encouraging the Sanskrit Academy in every way mall its undertakings.
We are also thankful to Prof. T. Tirupathi Rao, Vice-Chancellor, O.U. and Prof. Y. C. Venudhar, Registrar, O.U., for keen interest they have been taking in the affairs of the Academy.
Sanskrit Literature is replete with maxims. The number of verses and hemistiches quotable as maxims and aphorisms runs into thousands. A very small fraction of these, only 280 pieces, are included in the present collection. They are offered to the general reader, together with a faithful and (we hope) readable translation In English, by way of specimens of the wisdom and observation of Sanskrit poets and authors. Many of them are also specimens of good poetry.
Selection for an anthology is necessarily subjective, depending on the likes and dislikes of the compiler. However, we have taken care to include in the present collection only such verses as are, in our opinion, likely to appeal to today’s reader, whether or not he is familiar with Sanskrit culture. The range of these maxims and aphorisms is fairly wide. They touch upon practically all aspects of life-love, labor, enterprise, fortune, friends, enemies, saints, villains, truth, morality, conduct, religion, etc. The reader can, if he cares to, learn a great deal from them which would be of use in life. But even if reading for pleasure, he will not be disappointed.
We have drawn upon only fifteen authors and works besides eight anthologies and similar compilations from which we have taken a number of anonymous quotations. It was neither possible, nor, we felt, essential to trace every quotation to its source; for the anthology is designed for the lay-man, not for the scholar. We have included a few verses also from the Gathasaptäsati, in spite of its being a Prakrit anthology, simply because we could not resist the temptation of sharing with our readers the joy derived from reading these exquisite pieces.
Besides, for all practical purposes, Prakrit literature may be regarded as part of Sanskrit literature. We have divided the anthology into two parts. The first part, called “Maxims’ contains only complete verses; the second one, called “Aphorisms’ contains only hemistiches or quarter verses. In both the parts, the pieces have been arranged in the alphabetical order, and references to original sources, as far as they were known to us, have been provided. The list of authors and works cited is appended separately. It has not been easy to translate these maxims and aphorisms into English, especially because they are, by their very nature, terse and pithy. It could hardly be expected that the English rendering would faithfully reflect the terseness of the original. All that could be attempted was to preserve the sense, and to present it in a readable form. Whether we have succeeded in this, is for the reader to judge. We have done our best.
We have great pleasure in placing in the hands of lovers of Sanskrit literature the second edition of(ixia) Gems from Sanskrit Literature. It is hoped that this second edition will, as its predecessor, be well received by scholars.
We thankfully acknowledge the help derived from the following works-from the first two in compiling the Anthology, and from the last three in translating :-
1. Subhashitaratnabhandagara (Nirnayasagara Press, Bombay, 8th ed. 1952).
2. Samayocitapadyamalika (Nirnayasagara Press, Bombay, 14th ed. 1957).
3. The Hitopadesa, edited and translated into English By M. R. Kale (Gopal Narayan & Co., Bombay).
4. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Sir Monier Williams (Oxford University Press).
5. Sanskrit-English Dictionary by V. S. Apte, Parts I and II, (Revised Edition, 1957-58, Prasad Prakasan, Poona).
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