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November 12th

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:
तत्कर्म यन्न बन्धाय सा विद्या या विमुक्तये ।
आयासायापरं कर्म विद्याऽन्या शिल्पनैपुणम् ॥

- विष्णुपुराण

tatkarma yanna bandhāya sā vidyā yā vimuktaye ।
āyāsāyāparaṃ karma vidyā'nyā śilpanaipuṇam ॥
- viṣṇupurāṇa

Meaning of the subhAShita:
That is action, which doesn't lead to binding; that is knowledge, which leads to liberation.  All other actions are mere chores of arduousness; all other sciences are plain craftsmanship.

Each and every action executed should be done with a feeling of detachment.  For any deed done, any chore performed, the motive behind should not be a selfish one.  It should be performed with the attitude of duty and responsibility alone.  Not because it brings oneself name and fame, nor because it makes one feel entitled and accomplished.  Any action performed as food for the ego, is as good as not done, says the poet!  One is even hurting himself more by indulging in such actions, for he is only tying himself up further.  It is as if a free bird, willfully flying itself into a cage, closing the door, locking itself up and throwing away the keys!   Obviously, it would take the bird forever to free itself up and enjoy the unbound skies again!! 

Only that is knowledge which leads one towards the path of liberation.  Everything else, is mere craftsmanship, says the poet.  Any other learning is just another skill.  It might be the skill of the hand, heart or head.  But that which does not emancipate one from the bindings of the world, mainly his ego, is no learning.

The essences of these two definitions are, essentially - a call for a shift in attitude.  The same chores and skills can lead to the ultimate goal, when the attitude towards the doing and the result itself, are that of detachment.  For, he who would be pristine and pure, needs but one thing - detachment!  There is no pain, hatred or sadness where there is detachment.  It is a win-win situation!

pada vigrahaH:
तत् कर्म यत् न बन्धाय सा विद्या या विमुक्तये ।
tat karma yat na bandhāya sā vidyā yā vimuktaye ।

आयासाय अपरं कर्म विद्या अन्या शिल्प-नैपुणम् ॥
āyāsāya aparaṃ karma vidyā anyā śilpa-naipuṇam ॥

Alternate Transliteration:
tatkarma yanna bandhaaya saa vidyaa yaa vimuktaye ।
aayaasaayaaparaM karma vidyaa,nyaa shilpanaipuNam ॥
- viShNupuraaNa

tat karma yat na bandhaaya saa vidyaa yaa vimuktaye ।
aayaasaaya aparaM karma vidyaa anyaa shilpa-naipuNam ॥


  1. Excellent. It is too bad that in these times, some people still deliberately misunderstand the word "detachment" as something godless or void of a loving nature. We have that Universal Principle: Do unto others ... and Don't be deceived, God is not mocked, whatever we so, we shall also reap that. If we rightly understand detachment, there would be less consternation on every side, less envy, jealousy, and pettiness the world over.

  2. Thank you for a nice selection of सुभाषितानि.

    ref तत्कर्म यन्नबन्धाय इ.इ. Shouldn't 'विद्यान्या' be corrected to 'विद्याऽन्या'?

  3. Mukund, you are right. Have written the 'a' in the vigrahavaakya and missed in the verse. Thanks for catching the typo.