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September 30th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
चिन्तायाश्च चितायाश्च बिन्दुमात्रं विशेषता
सजीवं दहते चिंता निर्जीवं दहते चिता
- समयोचितपद्यमालिका

chintaayaashcha chitaayaashcha bindumaatraM visheShataa
sajeevaM dahate chintaa nirjeevaM dahate chitaa
- samayochitapadyamaalikaa

Meaning of the subhAShita:
The difference between चिता 'chitaa' and चिंता 'chintaa' is just a dot. While 'chitaa' burns one dead, 'chintaa' burns one alive.

When written on paper (in Sanskrit), the words chitaa and chintaa differ just by a bindu (dot). (Grammatically speaking, the word 'chintaa' has to be written as चिन्ता.  But the author of the poem has taken the liberty of writing it as चिंता.  Therefore he has said that the only difference is the 'dot on the top'.)

But the jobs they do are entirely different. While chitaa (pyre) burns a person after death, chintaa (anxiety) burns a person alive. This clearly says that anxiety is more harmful than even the burning pyre. Also, there isn't much that can be achieved by just being anxious. No solutions have ever been reached by anxiety, except a bunch of health hazards. So why bother with it.

'Don't worry, be happy' should be the motto.

pada vigrahaH:
चिन्तायाः च चितायाः च बिन्दुमात्रं विशेषता
chintaayaaH cha chitaayaaH cha bindu maatraM visheShataa

सजीवं दहते चिन्ता निर्जीवं दहते चिता
sajeevaM dahate chintaa nirjeevaM dahate chitaa


  1. I think विशेषतः in the verse should be विशेषः . Do you have any comments to make on this?


    1. This poem is corect as per the grammer since both lines have 16 characters

  2. It is विशेषतः only, or the Chandas will break.

  3. Thanks for your reply. But I do not get the meaning right. visheshataH is used in different senses like 'especially'. The translation given for the verse says: The difference between चिता 'chitaa' and चिंता 'chintaa' is just a dot. 'Difference' is translatable as 'visheShaH'. Is the word 'visheshaH' which means 'difference' replaceable with 'visheshataH'? Pl. see this page:

  4. visheShataH does mean 'especially' or 'particularly'. The word used in the meaning is 'just'. The word 'difference' is an 'adhyaahaara' to give a more vivid meaning to the verse. Hope that helps.

  5. Dear friends,

    The use of विशेषतः can be justified, if the reading with some minor modifications, as

    चिंतायाश्च चितायाश्च बिन्दुमात्रविशेषतः
    सजीवं दहते चिंता निर्जीवं दहते चिता॥

    Which can be translated as the difference between चिन्ता and चिता, ......... but it doesn't sound well.

    The reading suggested by you would fit the context, as it exactly conveys the idea of difference. विशेषस्य भावः - विशेष is different, and विशेषता would be difference, being different.

    The meaning won't change.

    चिन्ता दहति निर्जीवं चिता जीवं दहत्यहो।
    बिन्दुनैवाधिका चिन्ता चिताऽत्यल्पा हि भूतले॥

    The same idea is beautifully presented in a attractive manner without any grammatical aberrations. दहति is परस्मैपद whereas in the above it is used as आत्मनेपद for metrical purpose. Both are found in these two lines:

    55) चिन्तायास्तु चितायास्तु बिन्दु मात्रम विशेषतः
    चिता दहति निर्जीवम, चिन्ता दहति जीवितम॥
    56) चिता चिन्ता समाप्रोक्ता बिन्दुमात्रं विशेषता।
    सजीवं दहते चिन्ता निर्जीवं दहते चिता||

    I think the phrases have been swapped in between the two lavishly resulting in some metrical structure without any clarity or propriety of poetry.

  6. As per Amarakosha अथ मौक्तिकम्। (२.९.३९) and the modern dictionaries, the word मौक्तिक is derived used in neuter gender and I have not seen it used in masculine gender. Thanks for the rare usage.

    Can you give the source for the usage in masculine gender or in feminine gender?

    Etymologically, मुक्ता एव मौक्तिकम्, derived by the Paninian rule "विनयादिभ्यः स्वार्थे", but gender is determined by the usages accepted. क्वचित् स्वार्थिकाः प्रकृतितो लिङ्गवचनान्यतिवर्तन्ते ऽपि" is the maxix used to justify such usages, like this one. But it is generally used in neuter gender, though the original word is in feminine gender. This specific word is given as example for the maxim.

    So I was surprised to see the title in the masculine/feminine gender(?)Can it be specified?

  7. In shri bhats comment :

    The reading suggested by you would fit the context, as it exactly conveys the idea of difference.

    Here suggested reading is विशेषता in place of विशेषतः .

  8. Madam, you say:

    //visheShataH does mean 'especially' or 'particularly'. The word used in the meaning is 'just'. The word 'difference' is an 'adhyaahaara' to give a more vivid meaning to the verse. Hope that helps.
    7/27/11 2:50 PM//

    Even here i have a question: The meaning of the word 'just' is already conveyed by the 'mAtram' in the compound word 'bindumAtram'. So, still the word 'visheshataH' hangs without any reasonable meaning in that verse. I strongly feel the word 'visheShatA' is the correct fit there and does not have the defect of chandobhanga. I feel somewhere the word 'visheshataa' got changed to visheshatah by someone's typing error and that version has continued, perhaps without anyone questioning it. I would like to get a final reply on this from any source.


  9. @Bhat-ji and @Lalitaalaalita-ji, Thanks for your wonderful and detailed explanations. Have fixed the errors.

    @adbhutam-ji, please refer the above two comments that have essentially said that already.

  10. @Bhat-ji, regarding your अथ मौक्तिकम्। (२.९.३९) comment, न हि सर्वः सर्वं जानाति किल? :) मुक्ता स्त्रीलिङ्गश्चेत्, मौक्तिका अपि तदेव भवतीति मया कल्पितः। एतद्सूत्रं मया पुरा न ज्ञाता। शब्दकोशे अपि अद्य मया शोधनं कृतम्। वसुतः, मया न चिन्तितम्... ’सन्तप्‍तायसि.... ’ श्लोके ’सन्न्मौक्तिकं जायते’, ’वने वने... ’श्लोके, ’मौक्तिकं न गजे गजे’ इत्येव अस्ति किल?!! अद्य भवद्सहाय्येन, शीर्षके स्कलितं संस्कार्य लिखितं मया। अतः पुनः धन्यवादः श्रीमन्!

  11. At last there came about an end to my search for a right explanation of the word विशेषतः in that verse. A renowned Vyakarana vidwan clarified that as per a rule: 'sArvavibhaktika-tasI' (not tasil) this word 'visheShataH' takes any of the vibhakti-s and in this verse it takes the prathamA meaning 'visheShaH'. That way the meaning is 'bhedaH', difference. He, however, liked and approved the other usage shown by me 'visheShatA' which offers the least occasion for further clarification. Here is yet another reading which he himself gave:

    चिंतायाश्च चितायाश्च बिन्दुमात्रं विशिष्यते।
    चिता दहति निर्जीवं चिंता दहति जीवितम् ||

    I thank all the members who participated in this thread.

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