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July 30th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
सुलभाः पुरुषा राजन् सततं प्रियवादिनः
अप्रियस्य तु पथ्यस्य वक्ता श्रोता च दुर्लभः
- रामायण, युद्धकाण्ड

sulabhaaH puruShaa raajan satataM priyavaadinaH
apriyasya tu pathyasya vaktaa shrotaa cha durlabhaH
- raamaayaNa, yuddhakaaNDa

Meaning of the subhAShita:
Oh, King, it is easy to find people who always talk in (your) favor. But people who speak or listen to - words not in favor, yet in your welfare - are rare to find.

Especially when one is in power or holding a political office, he is sure to find tons of 'yes sir', 'yes your highness', kind of people. Given that he is the man of authority, many a people in his cabinet of ministry, would not dare to oppose or say a word against him. Whether he takes a right step or a wrong one, people around would just nod and oblige, without expressing their honest opinions.

On the contrary, a person holding a high position has the most need of people around him, who are honest and have the courage to express it too! Rare are such people who dare to express their true opinions, keeping the welfare of the land in mind.

Even if the counselors council the person in power, chances are, he would not heed them. As long as the words are spoken in favor of the listener, it is valued. But many a time, although a word is not favorable, it may be in the welfare of the better good. Rare are such people who would heed to such well-intended words as well!

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. Speak with honesty and have the courage, to be honest.

pada vigrahaH:
सुलभाः पुरुषाः राजन् सततं प्रिय-वादिनः
sulabhaaH puruShaaH raajan satataM priya-vaadinaH

अ-प्रियस्य तु पथ्यस्य वक्ता श्रोता च दुर्लभः
a-priyasya tu pathyasya vaktaa shrotaa cha durlabhaH


  1. very well explained! this is one of my favourite quotes in samskrita. it would be nice if you can add the context of these words spoken by vibheeshana to king ravana. thank you.

  2. Thanks for your kind words Latha. Have omitted the context on purpose for a couple reasons. Incidentally, this verse appears in mahaabhaarata too, where vidura says it to dhritaraaShTra. Wanted to capture the essence of the verse than elaborating on the duel background. Agree with you, one of my favorite verses as well!!