Spiritual Quotations


When the mind is ruled
By the roving senses,
It bears away one’s wisdom
As the wind a ship on water.
– Bhagavad Gita

As a mirror besmeared with grime
Shines brightly when it is cleaned,
So the embodied one, seeing the soul’s real nature
Becomes single, with aim fulfilled and sorrow-free.
– Svetashvatara Upanishad

The teacher is one end,
The student, the other;
Knowledge is the link,
Discourse the tying;
This is regarding learning.
– Taittiriya Upanishad

One learns a quarter from the teacher,
A quarter by one’s own intelligence,
And a quarter from one’s classmates.
A quarter is matured by time.
– Sanskrit Saying

One who moves obtains honey.
One who moves gains the sweet fig.
Look at the excellence of the sun
Who never stops moving.
Therefore, move.
– Aitareya Brahmana

It yields desired objects,
Banishes misfortune,
Spreads fame, destroys sin,
This cow, the mother of good things,
Pleasant and sincere speech.
So say the wise.
– Bhavabhuti, Uttararamacarita

If a crow defiles the head
Of a majestic elephant,
This is in keeping with
Its family character.
The elephant remains an elephant.
– Sanskrit Saying

Undertakings are accomplished
Through industry, not dreams.
Indeed, deer do not enter
The mouth of a sleeping lion.
– Sanskrit Saying

“This is my kin, this is an outsider.”
Such discrimination
Engages only petty minds.
For the large hearted,
The entire world is their own family.
– Sanskrit Saying

Not undertaking ventures
Is the first mark of wisdom.
Finishing what is begun
Is the second mark of wisdom.
– Sanskrit Saying

A wise man steps forward with one foot
And stands still with the other.
One should not abandon an earlier support
Without ascertaining the following one.
– Sanskrit Saying

Desire single-handedly reduces to straw
In a trice the best of men,
However mountain-like and wise,
However brave, however firm.
– Sanskrit Saying

Wealthy, and yet uncriticised;
Brave, and yet not boastful;
Powerful, and yet impartial;
These three men are rare.
– Yoga Vasishtha

Whoever desires whatever object
And strives for that object consistently,
Certainly achieves it –
Unless he gives up half-way.
– Yoga Vasishtha

A man, though strong, is ignored
If he does not show his strength.
Fire dwelling within wood
Can be crossed, not fire ablaze.
– Sanskrit Saying

As secret for six ears spills out;
One for four ears is safe.
Therefore, a wise main, at all costs,
Should avoid one for six ears.
– Sanskrit Saying

A hurricane does not uproot soft grass,
Bent low in all directions.
This is indeed the nature of proud minds:
The great upon the great alone vent force.
– Sanskrit Saying

At a whiff up it comes;
At a whiff down it goes.
Oh! How like are the actions
Of the beam of the scales
And the weakling!
– Sanskrit Saying

A crocodile, keeping to its patch,
Can drag even an elephant.
The self-same beast out of its patch
Is overpowered even by a dog.
– Sanskrit Saying

Skills in actions increase
With persistence in practice.
A child does not gain
Ease in writing on the first day.
– Sanskrit Saying

Men suffer collapse
Of a great house, by conflict;
Of friendship, by harsh words;
Of nations, by a bad king;
Of reputation, by a misdeed. 
– Sanskrit Saying

Whom does the company of the great
Not elevate?
Water on a lotus leaf
Assumes the lustre
Of a large pearl.
– Sanskrit Saying

Thieves are always sustained
By the careless;
Physicians, by the ailing;
A King (as a judge), by disputants;
The enlightened, by the happy.
– Sanskrit Saying

Though endowed with strength,
An intelligent man should not antagonize
Another on his own.
Who, being discreet,
Would consume poison
For no reason, thinking,
‘I have a physician to look after me’?
– Sanskrit Saying

The Yogin absorbed in meditation
Knows neither cold nor heat;
Neither pain nor pleasure;
Neither honour nor dishonour.
– Sanskrit Verse

The wicked use
Learning for quarrelling,
Money for vanity,
Strength for oppressing others.
The good use these, on the contrary,
For wisdom, giving and protecting.
– Sanskrit Saying

How can the lazy acquire learning?
How can the unlearned acquire wealth?
How can the poor get friends?
How can the friendless be happy?
– Sanskrit Saying

Trees bear fruit for the sake of others;
Rivers flow for the sake of others;
Cows yield milk for the sake of others.
This body exists for the sake of others.
– Sanskrit Saying

Rivers do not drink their water themselves;
Trees do not eat their fruit themselves;
Nor, indeed do clouds consume crops themselves;
The good exist for the benefit of others.
– Sanskrit Saying

The good are the same
In mind, speech and action:
As is their mind,
So is their speech;
As is their speech,
So is their action.
– Sanskrit Saying

The wicked become good
Through contact with the good.
But the good do not become wicked
Through contact with the wicked.
Earth, indeed, imbibes the fragrance of flowers;
Flowers do not imbibe the smell of earth.
– Sanskrit Saying

Giving is the ornament of the hand;
Truth is the ornament of the throat;
Learning is the ornament of the ear.
Where is the need for (other) ornaments?
– Sanskrit Saying

Opinion changes with every body,
Water changes with every pond.
Customs differ with every community,
Speech changes with every mouth.
– Sanskrit Saying

Themselves standing in the sun,           
Trees offer shade to others,
Their fruits too are for others.
Indeed, trees are like good men.
– Sanskrit Saying

One in a hundred is born a hero;
One in a thousand, a sage;
One in ten thousand, an orator.
No guess is possible about a donor.
– Sanskrit Saying

Is anything lovely or unlovely by nature?
Whatever one likes would be lovely to one.
– Sanskrit Saying

What a wonderful treasure you possess,
O Goddess of learning!
It grows, when spent;
It diminishes, when stored.
– Sanskrit Saying

What use is a book of science
To one who has no intelligence?
What use is a mirror
To one who has no eyes?
– Sanskrit Saying

Rare are those who
Appreciate others’ virtues.
Rare are those who
Have affection for the poor.
Rare are those who
Love to help others.
Rare are those who
Are pained by others’ pain.
– Sanskrit Saying

Learning is nobody’s preserve.
He who studies owns the learning;
He who tills is lord of the land.
– Sanskrit Saying

The sun, moon, planets, stars
And Himâlayan peaks
Give pleasure only as long as
They are far away.
– Sanskrit Saying

Laziness, indeed, is
Man’s greatest enemy,
Lying within the body.
There is no friend like industry;
Pursuing it, one never sinks.
– Sanskrit Saying

Lions, worthy men and elephants
Venture from their locale.
Crows, unworthy men and deer
Die there itself.
– Sanskrit Saying

The basic instrument for acquiring
Virtue, prosperity,
Pleasure and liberation
(The four goals of life)
Is a healthy and clean body.
One should look after it
With efforts.
– Sanskrit Saying

Since all people are pleased
With sweet speech,
One should speak only that.
Why be frugal with words?
– Sanskrit Saying

Use is the surest way
To preserve intellectual faculties.
Disuse, on the other hand,
Is the surest way to make them defunct.
– Sanskrit Saying

One should learn and earn
By (using) every moment
And (saving) every bit.
How will one learn
If a moment is lost?
And how will one earn
If a bit is lost?
– Sanskrit Saying

Hope is the name
Of an amazing chain
For human beings:
Bound by it, they run;
Unbound, they stand still
Like the lame.
Sanskrit Saying

Inferior people
Do not undertake tasks
For fear of obstacles.
Average people
Undertake them but give up
When faced with obstacles.
But the great
Do not give up what is begun
Even though obstructed by obstacles
Again and again.
– Sanskrit Saying

Red is the sun when rising,
And also when setting.
The great maintain their composure
Both in prosperity and calamity.
– Sanskrit Saying

Walking slowly,
An ant can traverse
Thousands of miles;
But even an eagle
Cannot advance a yard
If it does not move.
– Sanskrit Saying

A man of valour who strives
Acquires wealth and glory.
‘It is Fate that gives,’say worthless men.
Conquer Fate and act with courage
And your own strength.
If you do not succeed
Despite your efforts,
You are not to blame.
– Sanskrit Saying

Scholarship and kingship
Are in no way equal.
A king is honoured in his own country;
A scholar is honoured everywhere.
– Sanskrit Saying

Howsoever weak,
Many, when united,
Are difficult to conquer.
A rope plaited of grass
Binds even an elephant.
– Sanskrit Saying

A blind man found a gem.
A man without fingers
Strung it [on a necklace].
A man without a neck wore it.
A man without a tongue praised it.
– Sanskrit Saying

May all be happy;
May all be healthy;
May all realise the good;
May none suffer pain. Sanskrit Verse

One who gets addicted to pleasures while seeking
happiness sinks into the mire of suffering like one
who, while dreading a scorpion’s venom,
gets bitten by a snake. 
– Vyasa commentary on Yoga Sutra

The intellect is like a dog;
It obeys its master.
The mind is like a cat;
It obeys only itself.
– Sanskrit Saying